Ever get annoyed? Ever feel like someone needs to be told where the dog died? Or handed a crowbar and a tub of Elbow Grease to help them pry their head out of their arse? Congratulations--you've come to the right place.

And when I'm not commenting on the latest thing to piss me off, I'm trying to figure out my own twisted life. Because, hey, I'm like that.

On a gentler note: for anyone dealing with depression, anxiety, and other assorted bullshit: You are NOT alone.

And if you're looking for a laugh, search on the key word "fuckery." It's just my little thing (as the bishop said to the actress).

Monday, January 31, 2011


A preview of posts I'm cogitating over...

Still Not Bored of the Rings - because I'm rewatching them whilst making Lurrrrrve Monkeys
Fuck You, Star Wars - because the only REAL Jedi, Qui Gonn Jin, is BACK!
Mum - Daftness Reigns - She wants to go to Foxwoods.
Belated Baking - The recipes from the Xmas baking I promised so long ago
Mr. Lyons, Or How I Learned to Start Fighting and Hating the N-bomb - A new Jack story about how I learned what the Only Word I Censor meant
Dating: In Which I Join the Cougarverse Progress report at some point. Maybe.
Joy of YA - This will become a regular feature, I think, of reviews of REALLY FREAKIN' AMAZING books
Random Notes & the Empress Promotes - Another regular feature where I promote the projects friends & favorites are working on. The next one will feature the gaming store Chris Melville is trying to launch and Beat Da Wrap restaurant and nutrition

Plus the regular random fuckery, bitching, pissing, moaning, and the progress I'm making in the gym.

I'm also going to put together a quote file and update the other pages - particularly the Cast of Characters & What's Cookin'!

After the 19th, there'll be another Jim Jefferies performance review (becoz I'magoingta Foxwoods! The only fuckin' reason I'd step foot in a @#$%^&*()_ casino. My people* can take their revenge on the white man all they want; don't mean I'm gonna let the house win. Not on my salary.)

Any requests?

*Yes, I am part American Indian. A very little part, despite the efforts of the elder generation of my mother's family to prove the tribal affiliation and cash in for scholarships, etc. for my generation. Sheesh. Talk about exploitation... you will NEVER see a whiter family than mine. I mean, like PALE friggin' white, so pale I can wear that white Japanese face powder and it looks GOOD. I think where it comes through is the shamanic bit of me, but that could be pure conjecture. At least I'm not like a Certain Aunt who likes to believe my great-great-grandmother was an Indian Princess. I blame Disney.

Dear Jesus... Two VERY Different Conversations

Or, Why I REALLY HATE Religion

Death: Humans need fantasy to *be* human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape.
Susan: With tooth fairies? Hogfathers?
Death: Yes. As practice, you have to start out learning to believe the little lies.
Susan: So we can believe the big ones?
Death: Yes. Justice, mercy, duty. That sort of thing.
Susan: They're not the same at all.
Death: You think so? Then take the universe and grind it down to the finest powder, and sieve it through the finest sieve, and then show me one atom of justice, one molecule of mercy. And yet, you try to act as if there is some ideal order in the world. As if there is some, some rightness in the universe, by which it may be judged.
Susan: But people have got to believe that, or what's the point?
Death: You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?
- Terry Pratchett, Hogfather

Dear Jesus,
Could you have a direct word with your followers and remind them about the One Commandment? And that to be one of your followers, they're supposed to follow that ONE Commandment? Or, better yet, tell them the truth about the censoring of the Bible, the truth about your life (especially those missing years), and the fact that they weren't supposed to make a separate religion out of it?
Many thanks,

So, I had an interesting weekend. It seems that even when I'm not trying to get into trouble, I get into trouble. Now, I've mentioned that I am a Neopagan--that while I believe in God, I really feel like He needs friends, and I like having a man to argue with who doesn't argue back. It doesn't work in a real, face-to-face relationship, but it gives me the illusion/delusion that I'm not talking to myself.

I used to be a Catholic. Scratch that--I was never a Catholic, but I was raised Catholic and realized after graduating from Catholic school that the reason I never quite fit in is because I didn't believe the dogmatic bullshit. For the record, I don't believe in Jesus Christ as a God figure. I love his philosophy--it jives with several other philosophies that I think are worth living by--and I generally respect his message. HOWEVER... I also accept that he has been used across two millennia as both an agent of civilization and oppression, and that clever men have manipulated that message and history for their purposes.

That is historical fact.

I also accept that we all need beliefs and superstitions. I get that--I have a shitload of my own, and I get that most of them are security blankies--my way of insulating myself against the ugliness of reality. I included the exchange from Hogfather because I think Sir Terry got it right--belief is the essence of being human. It's just that some of us take our beliefs a little too far. Allow me to elucidate.

I was late leaving work on Friday because I stopped by the desk to chat a sec with one of my favorite student workers, Tess. Tess is awesome--aside from the fact that she's brave enough to venture on a jaunt to the Asshole of the Northeast with me to see Celebricrush--she's just a fabulous person. Now, two other students were having a convo, and I couldn't help but listen because it was a GREAT convo--convos like this are the reason I LOVE working in academia because every so often, I get to witness (and take part in) a REAL exchange of ideas--people listening and sharing and discussing--the free exchange of ideas--with civility and respect. What was even more awesome was that Lex and Chris invited us into the conversation. It started with single parenthood and went on to feminism, language, racism, and ended with a handshake on the steps.

I LOVE THAT. Convos like that are food for my soul--nourishing, uplifting, joyful, stimulating and just AWESOME. I left here happy and feeling fabulous, my faith in humanity renewed.

Fast forward to Saturday afternoon. I overslept Saturday morning, missed Jason Ciaramella's comic scripting seminars (both of them) at the Brockton NE Comics (majorly annoyed, considering the next writing project after the rewrite is finished is taking a hack at adapting Tory's MS for a manga), as well as getting my hair cut (which it needs desperately). It also put me behind schedule for Getting Things Done--I had a long list that included working out, hitting the supplement store, getting coffee, taking Mum on errands, and running a few of my own before getting home by 8:00 in order to finish up the Lurve Monkeys for etsy.

Sooooooooooooo... I finally made it to the supplement store around 4:30. A friend is running this side of a new business, and I'm psyched because he always give great advice without trying to rip people off. He knows how strapped I am budget-wise, BUT he also knows that I'm hoping for some serious success in the gym PLUS all of my allergy issues, so I can trust Lou's advice (and I will be giving the store a plug in my next "promotes" post). So, I have my selections and he's ringing me up, and there's this old guy leaning against the counter, talking away, and of course, I get pulled into the convo, talking about how long we've known Lou, yadda yadda.

Well, of course, the talk shifts to politics, and it becomes almost immediately obvious that this gent and I are on POLAR opposites of the political spectrum. When I politely make this clear, he tries to hand it off to Lou, who clearly states that he and I have agreed not to talk politics because we are friends and want to stay that way. Lou and I agreed years ago to agree to disagree and not try to sway each other. It's about respect.

Then it gets interesting, because Old Guy is NOT gonna let it go. He pulls another guy over--"Here, let me introduce you to my friend, HE knows all about the TRUTH."

I should have RUN. Instead, I continue to be polite. Mistake: turns out Mr. Truth is a Tea Partier. And a fundamentalist Xtian. Who has studied theology. Who KNOWS Jesus. Who tells me that I don't know Jesus, I haven't studied theology (and yeah, the idiot did NOT know where I work), I don't know the Bible, and the list went on.

I finally said, once I'd been told that I was WRONG, that I was getting out of the conversation because he was being uncivil and not listening and I was walking away. And I did.

Stop fainting--I was in a friend's place of business, I was dealing with old people, I was not going to start cussing him out and making a scene. I modeled my beliefs--I remained civil, polite, and walked the fuck away to look at the menu for the restaurant this place is attached to. Mr. Truth continued to yammer and gesture to Old Guy about how wrong I was, and eventually, they walked out. I tried to look at the menu, but my appetite was gone at that point. I turned around, said good-bye to Lou, and headed for my car. I opened the door to hear Mr. Truth say, "She seems like a really nice lady, but she's WRONG."

I grin, shake my head, and start to descend the stairs. To have Mr. Truth suddenly in my face, trying to evangelize me, reiterating how I don't know The Truth. At which point I say, "There is no single truth. Truth is subjective."

And he freaks. FREAKS. "There's only ONE TRUTH!!!"

Me: "No, there's three sides to the truth: yours, mine, and somewhere in the middle, is fact."


I walk away while he blathers and yammers. He continues to shout at me while I walk to my car.

I turn and tell him, "Go in peace," and do the yoga half-bow, hands together with just the fingertips touching.


What brings me up short is this: "YOU'LL NEVER KNOW JOY BECAUSE YOU DON'T KNOW JESUS!"

I stop, standing by the door of my car, looking at him with a look that clearly conveys the fact that he has grown four extra heads and I'm trying to comprehend it. I have been rendered speechless. Seriously. Speechless. He repeats himself. And repeats himself as he disappears between his vehicle and an SUV.

Old Guy is standing there, watching me, waiting for my reaction.

And finally, my face splits into a grin, and I say to Old Guy, "Get him a good psychiatrist, willya? He's crazy!" I wave, bust a gut laughing as I get into my car, and I can hear Mr. Truth's voice dopplering over that I'm the crazy one and he doesn't need a shrink, he's got Jesus.


*slams head on the desk*

Being me, I posted the statement to the Twitverse & FB: Evidently, I can never know joy because I don't know Jesus." I also had to call a couple of my Fellow Faithless, the Fabulous Alicia and Vicki and have a damn good laugh with them. Leesh explains that her hubby used to have a roommate named Joy, and she knew her pretty well, so she's OK, and we conclude that I just need to meet someone named Joy. Vicki and I just shake our heads and laugh. I went to the gym, still amused, and got in a good (if short) workout. The FB exchange was pretty good, and of course, I had to tell St. Teresa when I got home because I was still trying to process this insanity. She had the best reply (and remember that St. T. is a good Catholic and real Christian): "How the hell can you know him? HE'S DEAD!"

Yeah, I actually inherited my sarcasm and lack of tolerance for the morons from her.

Had a laugh in Sbux over it with the baristas AND the clients. I got mileage, let me tell ya. I actually had to watch I Swear to God yesterday for a dose of Jim Jefferies's atheism and common sense as an antidote to the rabid Xtianity that had infected my day. How fucking sad is it that the atheists and Neopagans know more about Xtianity and Jesus's philosophy and religion than the people who claim to believe? And to tell me that I hadn't studied theology when the fucker didn't even know my name, never mind my background. *slams head on the desk* THIS is why I HATE people--I really tried to give him a chance, but the idiot wouldn't give me a chance to get a word in.

And I know why--it's not because Mr. Truth trusts his belief. I always find that argument amusing--that it's because a person is SO INFUSED with their FAITH they MUST share it with you. BULLSHIT. It's because they have so little faith they need to shout down the rest of the world lest a little fucking common sense and intelligence worm its way in and create doubt. It's the ultimate form of insecurity--they have so little grounding, they have to shove what little bit of meaning they've found down the throat of others. I hate it. Jesus wept, I have so many fucking insecurities, but I have enough faith in myself and my spirituality to give others the space to be who they are and believe what they need to.

Gimme the same fucking courtesy, willya? Don't look down on me as some poor, uneducated, deluded fool, and I'll give you the same respect, ferfuckssake.

I'm still baffled by it, but for me, it really sums up the difference between the right and the left these days (and it's not an original conclusion): the Right believes that it is RIGHT and leaves no room for discussion. The left concedes that the Right has a right to believe what it does, has a some valid points, but isn't seeing the whole picture.

I'm in the middle--there are people who will tell you that I'm not, but it's not the truth. See, while I have seriously liberal leanings, I also have a fair measure of common sense. I belong to the Coffee Party because I believe in what they're doing--they're working towards civil dialogue. That's all I want. I'm sick of rhetoric, bullshit, bullying, and outright lies. I'm tired of the truth being twisted. I'm tired of the conspiracies and the conspiracy theories. I'm FUCKING TIRED, PEOPLE. It's fucking time we all got along and played nice. Either that, or Washington and the lobbies and the bureaucrats need to be wiped off the planet, let a little anarchy in, and rebuild. I'm done.

(That being said, let it be noted that I am not one of these extremists that has a stockpile of weapons--chemical or firearms--at home who would act on such an insane premise. What has been stated above is HUMOR--BLACK HUMOR, CYNICISM. And it makes me very sad and lose hope that I have to make a statement like this on this blog because my country has forgotten sanity and civility and is going the way of ancient Rome--once a beautiful civilization worth respect and glory, now a crumbling ruin of inanity, excess and extremity.)

So in conclusion... Argh. To be Christlike, consider the above parable-ish. If you find yourself dealing with someone with an opposing viewpoint, LISTEN. CONSIDER. You don't have to change your beliefs or your faith, but at least allow that the other person has a right to their own truth.

Doing what Mr. Truth did to me on Saturday is how wars start. How Christlike is that?

Friday, January 28, 2011

*deep breath*

Thank the merciful Gods, it's Friday. This has been a whirlwind of a week.

My apologies, darling blurkers, for avoiding you for most of the week. I have a few posts brewing, but my head into other creative endeavors than writing at the moment (been designing a few things--about to do my first customization of a pair of Chucks, and I'm VERY excited about it, and am designing two beautiful jackets--finally making my miliary jacket in a raspberry pink satin taffetta with black velvet details, and FINALLY making myself a velvet coat--been dreaming of one for years and years, looked at several, and finally settled on a pattern. This is going to be black velvet lined in a sumptuous green crepe-backed satin with custom covered buttons. Not sure what the buttons are going to be exactly--I have a few ideas and have bought the cover-yourself kit to do it with. I don't know that I want green on the outside--perhaps a bit of piping around the collar, etc. Need to go and buy the trims tomorrow. I forgot how much I love designing clothes, and it's been forever since I built myself something beautiful.

So... what else is going on? Well, I have decided that I'm giving the job another six months, and then time to get out. I've had enough. I'm burnt out, overworked, and not happy with the situation in there. A few things have happened over the past few months that, put on top of the past year and a half, have, really drained the joy out of it. Ten years is a long time to do the same job. Time to move on.

I've also been back in the gym. YAY! Have managed three workouts--skipped yesterday because I was aching from the shoveling--and am trying to go every other day. Size 20, here I come.

Home is quiet. May it stay that way.

I'm sure I have a gajillion things to tell you guys, but I'm sitting here on Leesh's couch, feeling asleep. Can't navigate snow-choked streets half asleep.

Oh, and I joined Cougar Life. Because it seemed like a good idea at the time.

99th Page Challenge

Good morning, my blurking darlings. Today we have a slight departure from the norm. I've joined some fellow writers in the 99th Page Challenge. Oh, I can hear all of you now, complaining, "But, Empress, I haven't had time to enter your Sensible Reading Challenge, how can I face another? Dammit!"

Because this one is EASY. Easy-peasy, as the Brits say. This is based on the 99th page test (don't ask me, go over to the Fabulous Alicia's blog, A Slice of the Blog Pie, and read and follow. She's almost to 100 followers, and when she hits it, CONTEST TIME!).

When reading this page and all the others, you should focus and answer the following three questions:
1. Would you turn to page 100?
2. Why or why not?
3. Based on what you read, how likely would you buy the book?

All I'm allowed to tell you is the title and the genre (I HATE having to genre my book, but it's da rules, dammit...)

One Flew Out of the Broom Closet

Hal just shook his head (he does that a lot around me); he’d told me that living in L.A. for a couple of years had given him a high weirdness tolerance—nothing could shock him anymore. “If I cross your palm with silver,would you read my cards?” he asked.

“No, but if you cross it with ten dollars, I’ll be happy to,” Ronnie beamed.

Hal laughed and pulled out his wallet and instead of a sawbuck, he laid a fifty on her. Then I remembered California community property laws; he must have done REALLY well from the divorce, especially if she still had the Beverly Hills property.

OK, I was far too cool and pure of soul to have thoughts THAT avaricious.

Ronnie looked at Hal speculatively and motioned him into the tent. I toasted him with my tea cup and waved him in. She closed the flap behind him, and out of courtesy, I moved over to a nearby picnic bench to sip the mint tea and relax.

It was a perfect early autumn day. If you’ve never been to New England in the fall, you have to make a trip because it’s just breathtakingly beautiful. I won’t live anywhere there isn’t four seasons; the fun of living in Boston is that you can get any one of the four at almost any time: New Englanders live for the January Thaw when, in the middle of the worst of winter, we’ll get a few days of 40-60 degree weather, and all the snow (if we’ve had any that year) will melt. And when Spring first shows her face… there is always one day in March when the temperature will shoot up to 65 degrees and the world will smell GREEN, that incredible scent that promises the cold is leaving and the world is waking up again. On that day, every Bostonian that can gets out for the day—busts out the lighter jacket, the non-winter footwear, and just basks in the weather. We bitch and piss and moan constantly about the weather, but let me tell you, REAL New Englanders, real Bostonians, won’t live anywhere else because we’ve got the best weather in the world. We NEVER get the horrible extremes that you get down South—no hurricanes wiping out the entire freakin’ coast—or like in Buffalo or Chicago, where you’re either buried in snow from October until nearly June or the wind rips your skin off; or like the Midwest where a tornado can take out a town with almost no warning, or Cali where half the state burns down while the other half falls into cracks in the earth. We may get a couple of weeks of extreme heat in the summer (and the humidity SUCKS ASS), but for the most part, it’s a really temperate place to live. Our springs are lovely (when winter doesn’t decide to go straight into summer like it usually does), but our

Our autumns are GLORIOUS. I live in a city where just driving down a street at the height of fall can break my heart with its utter beauty because the trees are a riot of color and the sun creates a golden light that fills my soul with utter peace and joy.

I love where I live.

Today was one of those days. We’d hit September, our first real autumn day when the blast of summer had chilled a bit, and the trees had started to change, although peak hadn’t hit yet down here, and probably wouldn’t for at least another three weeks but there was already a carpet of old pine needles and new-fallen leaves, and the air was scented with wood smoke from Ronnie’s little fire and a couple others around the compound, roasting meats from the cookhouses, crushed pine, a little whiff of stables, and that lovely, loamy fall smell… leaf mould, earth, dew… Gods, I love that smell. For me, that’s the smell of adventure and potential, the scent of life to come. All combining with the lovely mint steam of the tea slid me into a gentle meditative state.

Soooooo... whatcha think?

And don't forget to hit up the other blogs in today's little challenge.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Random Notes: Ethics of Sharing

"Bittersweet Symphony" by The Verve is one of the prettiest songs ever made. Just saying.

Tomorrow is pay day, so tomorrow will be music download day! Hooray! I realized the other day that I don't own a single CD by The Pixies. There goes my indie cred, right down the shitter, so I must remedy the situation. :-D

Y'know, years ago, it was so much easier when it came to dealing with music, etc. I mean, I recently pitched a box full of old cassettes that were all labled "Radio Songs" which was what I'd call my mix tapes taped directly off the radio. (For those of you who may not remember what a "cassette tape" is, see the picture above. That was one of the higher end brands; sometimes I could convince Mum to buy my stash for me; otherwise, it was the el cheapo Radio Shack house brand.) I did not, however, throw out the track lists. Some of them were slightly... errrrrrrmmmm... embarrassing. Some of them brought back excellent memories and a resolve to acquire some of those wonderous songs.

Of course, I own a bunch of them on vinyl, as well as a USB turntable so that one of these days when I have a little extra time, I will be able to convert all my awesome old skip & pop vinyls to digital, especially some of those gems that will probably never see the light otherwise. Every week, FNX asks for someone to be the "guest chef" on the Leftover Lunch on Friday--I am tempted to throw them a curve ball, as many of those tapes were taken off of FNX when it was WLYN, Y102. (If anyone reading this remembers that station, congratulations--YOU'RE OLD! Like me. *sigh*)

Anyway, it was a lot easier to share music in some ways. You went out, bought an album, taped it on a cassette, and you'd put together mix tapes for your friends and swap your music. It was a local thing. There were these wonderful places call "record shops"... Discount Records in Harvard Square was where I bought my first Bowie album in freshmen year, ChangesoneBowie. Used to haunt Stereo Jack's on Mass. Ave (still in existence)... and then there was Disc Diggers in Davis Square, the greatest effin' record store on the planet. I bought more than half of my record collection there, incredible finds... original copies of Sergeant Pepper, Sadinista!, Blah! Blah! Blah! *dreamy smile* I actually had the guy behind the counter offer to trade me his CD copy of Blah! Blah! Blah! (Iggy Pop's 1986 album produced by David Bowie--still a fucking classic and untouchable) for my vinyl after I'd been in there for the seventh time trying to track it down, to which I said, "HELL NO!"

This was the same guy who sold me my first CDs, and when I hefted the bag and made a disappointed lemon face and said, "It's not the SAME," nodded his head sady and said, "I know. I KNOW."

I never had an issue taping a record for a friend--records were expensive and a pain in the ass to tote around, and cassettes were lightweight and ephemeral. I have no problem ripping a CD to my computer's library and putting the tracks on my MP3 player, or burning a copy of a CD for a friend--that's not an issue or a problem. I do, however, have an issue with putting crap out on the torrent stream.

I've been thinking a lot about this stuff lately, the ethics of it, especially as I'm preparing to get out into the e-verse with publishing, podcasting and performing. In the pre-digital age, it was very simple: if I wanted to read something, I bought a book. If a friend wanted to read the book, I lent it to them. If I wanted a book and couldn't afford a new copy, I went to a used bookstore OR I got it via interlibrary loan. On a very, VERY rare occasion if it was an out-of-print book and I had access to free copying, I would make a copy of it.

Movies... unless you video taped them off of the TV, you had to buy or rent them.

Now... now it ain't so simple.

The internet is a bloody miracle. I remember when it first got started--I was working at one of the companies responsible for creating it, and may have been one of the first non-engineers programming in HTML (very briefly) in January of 1994. Doug, one of the engineers I worked with at BBN, showed me this amazing new technology that was coming out--a way to look at things on a computer that wasn't just text: it was images and everything else! I was a usenet user back then (anyone else remember usenet? All those wonderful newsgroups that migrated to google and fuck knows where they are now, and I'm not going looking for 'em), and my first glimpse of the web boggled my mind. It was something completely new.

It's been 17 years (*gulp*) since that first glimpse, and in that time, there's been a revolution. Now, if it's out there, a dedicated searcher can find it. EVERYTHING is digital, just about, and if it's not digital, the information about it is. Even the most hands-on of things, the DIY movement, has gotten some of it's biggest boosts from the internet simply because of the information-sharing capabilities. (I love instructables.com. LOVE IT! And the fact that there are even adult versions... )

An ex informed me that the porn industry has been the biggest motivator in terms of developing new advancements in web technology, and I completely believe it. Consider: the 'net was developed by defense contractors. What are the two most basic elements of human existence? Fucking and fighting. There you have it.

With new technologies, however, comes new ethical issues (you knew I'd get back to it eventually). My own potential adventures aren't the only thing that has brought this home. A couple of months ago, Celebricrush posted a line on his FB stating that anyone who had ever illegally downloaded a movie from the internet was scum. Now, I took it with a grain of salt and a drop of humor, but it provoked some serious, serious discussion, as well as a troll who really took what was said personally and posted some seriously naive statements and threats. Based on the private message he sent me, I think I managed to make him cry.

As a "working" artist (i.e. someone who has to work a 9 to 5 job because when I was younger I didn't take the chance and try to make the art full-time, so the art is part-time) I am not doing shit for free. Sorry. You want my work, you're paying for it. Some stuff--like this blog--is free because, honestly, there is nothing polished about what you're getting here. These are my free-form rants and ruminations, weeping and moaning, and random bits of fuckery, and considering all that's gone into them is a bit of thought and a lot of typing (and I'm doing this to keep myself from losing my shit and going insane) AND it's publicity in the end, whatever. HOWEVER... my novel is another matter. I have worked my ass off on that, writing, rewriting, polishing, editing, taxing the patience of other writers and asking them to critique. You want that, you're paying for it.

That being said, I also want to be sure that when it goes out, it's at a fair price. I HATE the price of books these days; it's insane. That's the real advantage of the ereaders--they're making reading much more affordable. And easier on the back. That's the other thing I like about the whole electronic music industry--I don't have to shell out $10-25 for a physical CD that may have only one or two decent tracks (honestly, I seldom pay more than $10 for a CD; I have to really, REALLY love the band to buy a brand new CD that isn't on sale; if I'm paying more than that, you can bet I love the band and the collection is a greatest hits that has EVERYTHING). I can drop a buck, get the song that's buzzing my bean, and I'm happy--just like the good ol' days of 45 rpms. (I miss 45's... some of 'em were works of art.) Right now, as I'm trying to clean out my crap in the house, I'm consolidating down my CD collection, which means with very few exceptions, I'm pulling out the covers and back inserts and tossing the cases (most of them are pretty beat up, so recycling is the only option rather than reusing) and putting everything in albums. Which means the 12 crates of CDs are being reduced down to four albums that will take up less than a bookshelf. Ditto with my DVDs.

BACK TO ETHICS... That troll's words stuck in my head because as the rational anarchist I am, I kinda saw his point TO A POINT... He said he was a working musician who was happy making 500 pounds a week (roughly $800/US, or $3.2K/month--almost double what I make as a librarian), and that art should be free! I agree that there needs to be a cut-off point--I think the entertainment (and I include pro sports in here) industry is out of control. The cost to the consumer is fucking ridiculous, which is why you will not see me at Fenway or Foxboro or the Garden. Last year, for Muse and the Silversun Pickups, our tickets were $35/ea plus whatever fees. The Foxwoods tickets for Celebricrush (if I go) will be $45 for the VIP, $30 for the regular. I can deal with that. That's fair. Eight years ago, a friend called me from the Garden to tell me she had an extra U2 ticket--$250. My response: ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?!?!?!?! Is Bono going to take me out for dinner and fuck me afterwards?

Because, kids, NO ONE is worth $250. Not to sit in a ginormous stadium, crammed in with umpteen thousand other people, without a single piece of commemorative merchandise sold for less than $10 (if you're lucky) that was made for less than a buck in the third world in conditions that amount to slavery. The Eagles started it with the Hell Freezes Over tour--everyone was in shock because they were setting tickets at almost $100. Now... now, it's obscene. The luxury boxes, the amenities... I'm almost glad I don't have kids because we wouldn't be going anywhere with the prices they charge. I still want to put Mick Jagger against the wall and strangle the $80 for the two tickets to the Steel Wheels show in '89 because it was such a rip off.

I wish I knew how to fix this. Actually, I do, I guess, at least for my little corner of the world... if I e-pub my novel, I can set the price point and be sure that you're paying a fair price for good work, and for my critters (going up on etsy this week, I hopes), again, a fair price for good work.

Anyone else want to weigh in on this?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

What Are We Going to Do Tonight, Empress?

The same thing we do EVERY night, blurkers... try to take over the world!

(With apologies to one of the greatest animated series ever, The Animaniacs.)

I spent two plus hours on the phone last night with one of my oldest friends, Ferd. Ferd is a God among friends--that poor bastard has put up with me for almost thirty years. (We met not long after birth... YEAH, RIGHT!) We became friends our frosh year at St. Clements by virtue of being stuck in a lot of the same classes together, including the misery of Mr. Lynch's French class. I went into that class enthusiastic, eager, DYING to learn the lovely French language. By the end of the year, it was my favorite blow-off class. I actually stop studying for vocabulary quizzes and did a challenge to see if I could get him to catch me cheating. (He did, eventually, but it took him two months. I laughed, took the zero, and didn't give a shit. I proved my point and still got an A in the class.) Mr. Lynch was a sad creature. I mean, you know you're in trouble when even the freshmen give you shit. And showing up to teach in plaid pants in 1981... not the smartest sartorial choice on the planet. We had a good time in that class--didn't learn a lot of French, mind you, but some of my favorite memories of high school come from that class... Talking Cheese, Steve G.'s Great Leap to Freedom... and I became a crackshot with a rubber band thanks to a lot of practice.
Ferd is the only one of my old high school chums that I've stayed in regular, constant contact. We've done a lot of theatre together, something for which he forgave me a long time ago. If all goes well, I hope we're going to be able to revive the radio theatre company. Tangents Radio Theatre was a hoot and a half. I wish we still had video from the Bump in the Night show--it was brilliant. Would have given a cup size to have seen the mayhem Ken and Kevin got up to, destroying a chair as part of the sound effects for "The Fall of the House of Usher." (There was a 2" shard of wood embedded in the wall when they were through. AWESOME!)
Anyway, the Ferdinator and I have been talking for almost a year about my website. I own a domain--madmadameriz.com--it's been mine since 2003--but I never got around to building a website because I really didn't have a reason to. For real. I mean, if I'm going to spend money to have a web site out there, I want it to be there for a reason besides just existing, y'know?
Well, Broom Closet and the Kinsale Chronicles have given me a reason to finally get my arse in gear, and Ferd offered to build a super-duper ultra-awesome website because that's what he does as his sideline. He'd like it to be his main line, and honestly, I hope that between my website and the one he's building for another friend (that one is going to be INSANELY amazing, but I can't say who, what or where until it goes live and then will promote the fuck out of it!) he'll be on his way towards that.
We've had periodic discussions over the past seven months about what's going to be on there--last summer, he introduced me to the concept of podcasting as a way to do readings and promotions, and considering that some of the consistent feedback I got about the first draft was the question of whether or not people will get my rather dry and sarcastic sense of humor, I really began to see the value in the idea. Sooo... hopefully, by the end of February, my website is going to be live with my sexy black and pink logo, a writing-specific blog (this one will not go away; this is my space to talk about WTF I want to without worrying about being censored or censured. Taking shit is a different story), merchandise (because who doesn't love merch?), news, podcasts, performances, freebies (in terms of snippets), and other marketing opportunities.
Yes, I said "other marketing opportunities." That's the purpose of the website--marketing the work. Because honestly, I have to get the hell out of my current sitch before I go postal.
Well, not totally postal--I'm against violence and guns, for one thing--but I am ready to just scream. Part of me wants to investigate working for the Evil Empire; part of me wants to set up shop reading Tarot and working Voodoo part-time and being a barista part-time. It has to be less stressful.
So, there you have it. BTW, Ferd is the guy kneeling down next to his sexy blue Fender. Dennis is the other guy. Two damn good friends. :-)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Destruction of the Throne of Power

Or, the Downfall of Sports in Hell's Vestibule

Well, there's little joy in New England this week--aside from all the snow, rain, and more snow, the Patriots lost on Sunday to the Jets.

I couldn't be happier.

Now, I (usually) am a home town supporter; I certainly am NOT a Jets fan, not after their utter lack of sportsmanship (although the Pats don't have a great rep with the coaches spying on other teams, etc.), but I also can't stand the way the city erupts whenever there's a championship here. I mean, I understand getting excited about the Sox. We waited a longass time for that World Series in '04, and after the division win over the Yanks, that Cinderella comeback... That was a glorious year, the one that left all of us saying, "I wish *insert dead dear one's name here* was alive to see this." Then 2007 was just the icing on the cake, y'know? But the stupid behavior in the streets... *sigh* I hate it. I REALLY hate it.

It doesn't help that I don't have a lot of respect for the way the team owner has held the state hostage for money to rebuild the stadium, not to mention the fact that I won't patronize the place--what they want for parking is obscene. And I really, REALLY hate football. I mean, I was cool with the Pats for a little while--seeing Teddy Bruschi playing with his kids on the field right before that first Superbowl win softened my attitude towards them, but after he retired... And let's face it, Hollywood Tom is the NFL's version of the blonde joke. What a fuckin' IDIOT. He opens his mouth, and it's like, Dude, are you retarded and just got lucky that it doesn't show in your face? Wow. That, and the fact that he dumped his pregnant girlfriend to shag a supermodel... Ug. Classy guy. And the fact that the city almost shut down because he had a little fender-bender on Cambridge Street... Please. WHO FUCKING CARES?!?!?!?

I mean, if it was Jason Veritek or Jonathan Papelbon, I'd worry a little. Ditto if it was Papi.

I also don't give a hang about basketball. I used to like basketball--I came of age in the era of Larry Bird, Robert Parrish, Kevin McHale... Decent gents who played the game with style, class and skill. Now... thugs, the lot of 'em. I gave up on basketball after Charles Barkley made the announcement that he was a basketball player, not a role model. Sorry, for the money they're paying you, you can behave like a decent human being and shut the fuck up about it.

Whatever happened to the concept of citizenship? Explain that to me.

Ditto for football. Thugs. I mean, how many convicted felons are playing in the NFL today?

We won't discuss the prices they charge for "official" team gear. Jesus wept. I was actually having a convo with an idiot in Sbux last week, and he tried to give me shit for wearing "official" team gear (I had my pink Red Sox fleecy scarf that Vicki made for me for Xmas). It gave me a tickle to say, "Hate to tell you, but all of my 'official' gear has come from Canadian thrift shops. I've never paid more than $5 for it."

It was funny to watch his jaw hit his chest and try to recover. I LOVE doing that to idiots. That conversation was a trial; not only does he worship Radiohead *gak*, but he needed to one-up everything. What was funny was when he switched the topic to autism and how a "guy he knew" could pass for normal because "he'd learned scripts." When I replied that I could always spot it, he was like, no, I doubt that. The exchange went on for a bit, and I had to bite my tongue from saying, "ASSHOLE, I KNOW YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT YOURSELF!!!" Fucking retard. Two decades working at an education school with an LD program, yeah, I know how to spot.

I'll talk about retards at another time. I have one in my family; I hate his guts. He's an asshole. Not because he's retarded, but because he's a fuckin' retard. If you're one of those apologists who think that just because someone has a handicap, they're a saint, please... fuck off. Go read someone else. Please. Being retarded doesn't exempt you from being human. Don't believe me? I'll introduce you to my older cousin. Actually, I won't. I don't speak to him.*

Going back to the Red Sox in '04, my *insert dead relative here* was my mother's father, Jack. He was a die hard Sox fan, definitely one of the faithful. Never went to Fenway; I don't think I can ever recall Jack going to a live sporting event, but by God, that TV never went off, and if it wasn't the news, it was sports. *slams head on the desk*

And where he watched was from the Throne of Power.

I hadn't thought about the Throne of Power for years (probably because I'd deliberately blocked it out), but Celebricrush's story about his mother (yeah, the fat joke that still makes me howl) and the Throne of Misery brought back all the horror of the Throne of Power. I promised you guys a Jack story a couple of weeks ago, and this is the one that came to mind...

And now… the Saga of the Epic Battle

In Hell’s Vestibule, the Throne of Power was the Center of the Universe. Jack always had a chair, a recliner covered in naugahyde (what the fuck is naugahyde? Has anyone ever seen a nauga?). God help you if you sat in His Chair, even if he wasn’t home. Ever seen All in the Family? My grandfather made Archie Bunker look like a flamin’ liberal, I shit you not. My grandmother had her chair, too—always a fabric-covered rocker, sometimes with a foot rest that popped up, sometimes not. Their chairs were side by side in The Den, and the narrow path between them was the only way to get into The Parlor. Directly across from the chairs was the TV, to the right of the kitchen doorway. The TV was the High Altar of the household—Jack’s constant companion after he retired. That goddamned thing never went off, I swear, and if it wasn’t news on the box, it was sports.

If you ever wondered why I am not a professional sports fan (with the exception of the Red Sox, but then, that’s a religion; and hockey because he never liked hockey) it is because of Jack. If there was a football game on, he’d find it. If there was no football, there was a boxing match. If there was no boxing, there was baseball. Basketball. Gymnastics. Horse racing. Billiards! Shit, the Olympics were like Christmas for him, TV wise. Didn’t matter that no one else wanted to watch it, it was HIS house, HIS TV, get the hell out if you don’t like it.


Anyway, Himself went through a couple of Lazy Boys and fuck knows what else. After my grandmother died in ’85, he decided to get himself a NICE chair. Her rocking chair was moved to the parlor, and he bought himself a Craftmatic Contour Recliner.

With heat.

With massage.

With a fucking remote control.

It was warm beige. Naugahyde. Wooden arm rests. HUGE.

And it was FUGLY.

And uncomfortable.

This was a $1000 chair, and the damn thing was the worst piece of shit to sit on. There was no way to get comfortable on it unless you used a mound of pillows and covered it with a sheet. Any bare skin stuck to it otherwise, and peeling yourself off of it was painful, like ripping off a bandaid times ten.

And he loved that chair. It was his Throne. He watched TV in it, he read in it, he ate in it, he slept in it.

Well, he and his love affair with the chair lasted until he went into the nursing home in 1989.
When it was well and truly established that he was not coming home, the decision was made to dismantle the chair.

We tried to do it properly. We did. Rick (my ex-husband; he'd earned a shot at it--he'd done more to take care of the old man towards the end than any of his miserable sons, including bathing and dressing and generally dealing with him when the rest of us were considering calling Dr. Kevorkian, or just grabbing a hammer) pulled out his electric screw gun and tried to find a way to take it apart piece by piece. However, the chair would not cooperate because even though the motor had gotten cranky and the heat didn’t work any longer and the massager made an ominous grinding noise that made the monstrosity dance across the hardwood floor, it was actually incredibly well constructed.

So we decide to take it apart.

Fuck that—we decided to massacre that damn thing.

Picture this: three adults (myself, St. Teresa and Rick) armed with a crowbar, a hatchet, and a saw, approaching the Throne of Power like we were stalking a wild boar, ready for it to turn on us and gore us bloody. It took all three of us to turn it upside down, legs in the air, helpless as a turtle dropped on a rock by a hungry eagle.

And then… then we fell upon it. Every scream of a screw being ripped from its anchorage made us cackle in fiendish delight as the Throne protested its demise. Every wire torn from its housing, every mechanism levered out of its safe niche… the Throne of Power put up a hell of a fight, but three hours later, covered in sweat, dust and sawdust, the three of us stood over the pile of scrap that had been the symbol of ultimate control in the house, gripping our instruments of destruction, panting with exhaustion, glowing with triumph.

The Throne of Power was dead.

And the oppressed celebrated! We howled in jubilation over the pitiful remnants of the instrument of our subjugation. We patted each other on the back, complimenting ourselves on our fortitude and grace under pressure, for not bowing before our stubborn foe.

Frabjous Day!

And then, of course, we had to haul the parts out to the side of the house to wait for garbage day. But that bit of drudgery didn’t matter—we had prevailed.

And you can be DAMN SURE not a scrap of it was allowed to be squirrelled away and taken back in.

I'm also willing to state that, with the exception of the occasional Bruins and Red Sox game, professional sports has not been allowed on our TV since the day he left the house.

I'm good with it.

* I used to work in a theatre company with someone who would deliberately cast at least two of the LD students per production. It was good for the company. The only problem was that, rather than treat them like they were human beings, this person would speak to these kids like they were three-years-old and hard of hearing and thinking, rather than just in possession of a learning disorder. I don't see that as a positive thing; I see that as just another form of stupid prejudice. I mean, yeah, you make allowances for the LD, but at the same time, the whole point of the program they were enrolled is was to prepare them for independent living and functioning.

Random Notes, Cool Quote & the Empress Promotes

"True terror is waking up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country." - Kurt Vonnegut

My second favorite provider of t-shirts, Northern Sun (www.northernsun.com - patronize them, oh, my fellow progressive liberal blurkers, they're nice people with fabulous, humorous, sarcastic and moving shirts for people with brains and a conscience), enlightened me this a.m. with this quote, and it just made my day. I may have to start a quote page--a static page with favorite one-liners and quotes.

Speaking of one-liners... I wrote my first new real standup material in months last night. First bit of material--at least, material directly intended for performance--I've written since September. *insert shy but proud grin here* I think I may be coming out of the funk finally.

I also had a chat with a friend yesterday who is also starting out in standup after many years of thinking about it. He opened miked at the place I had been doing back in September, and it was a relief to hear him say he found it a tough room. He's also been taking classes through Improv Boston in both improv and standup and gave me some advice and comfort. I'm psyched for him--he's a talented guy (and, yes, when he starts gigging, I will definitely give shout-outs on here) and very, very funny--a damn good storyteller. He infrequently blogs here: http://dotdotdotandme.blogspot.com/2010/07/someone-i-wish-i-knew-betterand-me.html but you're more likely to see him over at ImprovBoston.

One other standup thing I want to mention--if you're in L.A. on Saturday, January 29th, there's a gig at the Hollywood Improv to benefit the victims of the Australian floods. Show hasn't gone up on the website yet, but tickets can be gotten here: http://www.improv.com/ComedyClub/Hollywood/Index. So far on the bill Jim Jefferies, Eddie Ifft, and Wil Anderson. Regular blurkers know that I'm a huge fan of Mr. J. and have my fingers crossed that Eddie Ifft will hit Boston on tour--I've actually subscribed to the podcast he and Jim do every week because honestly, they're fucking hysterical. Utterly, utterly WRONG, and I hope the two of them riff off each other on stage, a bit like the rednecks did on the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, but without the Piggly Wiggly and cars-on-blocks references. And better accents.* If you want a sample of the podcast, go here: http://traffic.libsyn.com/talkinsht/JE-MP3_for_Audio_Podcasting.mp3 or search for talkin shit or either of the comedians' names on itunes. Oh, yeah... they've got a website: www.talkin-shit.com.

I also went back to the gym last night, and unlike on Saturday, did not have a knee fail. Managed forty-five minutes using the hip aductor/reductor (I know I'm getting that wrong) thingies and crunches and am NOT in pain today which means I did not do enough yesterday. (My Zune battery died; I hate doing crunches without music.) Depending on what the weight rating is on the ellipticals, I may try that tonight. (Yes, I am still paranoid about that; spend most of your life too heavy for most exercise equipment, and you'd be paranoid, too.)

**To be fair, I actually found the Blue Collar Comedy standup special pretty damn funny, once I realized that the voice I was hearing--i.e. Larry the Cable Guy--was NOT my dad. Yes, that is EXACTLY what Foghorn sounds like. There is nothing worse than being on the toilet and hearing a TV blaring comedy in the next room and thinking your north-of-60 alcoholic father has suddenly become a compatriot of Jeff Foxworthy. It has a negative impact on the lower intestinal tract and its functioning, let me tell you. And the jokes LtCG tells... yeah, I'm sure Pop belongs to the fan club and goes to see him when he plays Branson.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Black Dog Slinks Back

So, after a few really good weeks, the depression has flared.


I am hoping this is just my hormones. I am REALLY hoping this is just my hormones. I can't take another bout of wanting to die, honestly. I need my energy for the final push on my rewrite, not for a crying jag.

Ah, well.

I hate these times of transition, the time when life goes into flux. I have these periods of clarity & strength & then-WHAM. And when the chemistry goes out of whack, the smallest thing seems huge. This morning is bothering me. It shouldn't be, but it is. I guess because all of my artistic endeavors (isn't THAT a precious phrase) revolve around my sense of humor & fun, I hate it when someone else doesn't get the joke.

And right now, I really feel stranded & alone & like nothing is going to change.

Xanax, take me away. Yeah. *sigh* I have to ask myself what is the difference between needing a drink, a toke, a snort, a hit, whatfucking ever the latest street word is, and a Xanax?  Aside from the fact that the Xanax is legal & prescribed by a physician, what is the fucking difference? They're all drugs. They all cause different chemical reactions in the brain.

And while I am not about to start taking crystal meth or shooting heroin, i still have to ask: what's the difference? Because the Xanax will bring me to a societal approximation of normal, therefore, it's OK. Well, maybe my mind & body are rejecting societal normal because it's NOT OK. Maybe, just maybe, what has become acceptable really isn't at base human.  Really what we're putting ourselves through in our high tech, super privilegedl disconnected, over-informed & undereducated world is NOT good for our bodies, our minds, our souls.

But then, what do I know? I'm depressed.

What's Cookin': Guinness Mac 'n' Cheese Recipe

OK, I finally got around to making the Guinness mac 'n' cheese. I have to say... it's as close to perfect as mac 'n' cheese has ever gotten. It has even passed the Day 2 Microwave Test. SCORE!

The history... I have a thing for intense flavor. I'm not a spicy person--i.e. I am not addicted to hot sauce and anything that will set my digestive tract on fire--but I like serious flavor. The problem I have with most mac 'n' cheese, whether it be the boxed shite (although Annie's Peace Pasta is fairly yummy) or what you get in restaurants, is that most of it is BLAND. Blech. BLAND. A plate of gummy pasta with a cheese sauce that has nothing in it but a pinch of salt and a dusting of nutmeg (an ingredient in mac 'n' cheese I will NEVER understand). The only places I've ever had mac 'n' cheese that I found passable were Tavern in the Square (their White Truffle m'n'c is excellent), The Barley House (more below), and Not Your Average Joe's. Beyond that... the pasta version of spackle OR the chemical cheese factory.

So a couple of years ago, I embarked on the mission to create the World's Best Mac 'n' Cheese (according to my tastes, at least), a baked pasta dish that would incorporate amazing cheese, good pasta, some decent protein, and cause the diner to speak in tongues, it's so damn good. (Hey, I aim high.) It's been a journey up a road full of potholes. Early experiments were edible, but not sharable--I could eat the stuff, but really didn't want to share. The cheese mix... happening but not perfect. The protein... *sigh* Although I do like Niman Ranch ham steak as a protein choice, it just wasn't happening. It was putting the flavor of the rest of the dish slightly off.

The break-through--the AH-HA! moment that gave me the kick in the bum I needed came last summer. I had the mac 'n' cheese at The Barley House in Concord, NH. Their m'n'c is made with Guinness-based cheddar cheese sauce and a Ritz cracker crumb topping. It is also out of this freakin' world. I reread the menu description after lunch, just to get an idea of what the ingredients were and then began my research. Well, a net-troll turned up zero on the recipe front; HOWEVER, I did find a number of beer fondue recipes.

The first try was good. I made a lot of notes on the beer fondue recipe I had found on the net--what I added, etc. This incredibly valuable document was one of the things the idiots threw away (along with all of the rest of my research for the cookbook). Luckily, I found it. Last night, in consultation with that and The Joy of Cooking, the recipe was perfected. (And I knew I got it right because I caught Mum sneaking second helpings half an hour later.)

Which brings us to The Recipe. This is a certified Rizoriginal--fresh from the test kitchen of Hell's Vestibule. One warning: it's VERY filling and a bit rich, so keep your portions reasonable. Half a cup to a cup of this plus a good green salad makes for an excellent meal.

If you try this recipe, PLEASE LEAVE COMMENTS. I want to know how it works for others.

Guinness Mac 'n' Cheese a l'Empress (aka the Best Frickin' Mac 'n' Cheese on the Planet)

1 16 oz bottle Guiness or other good stout
1 - 1.5 cups beef broth
3/4 cup Half-and-half (milk is fine)
dash Tabasco
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter (salted or unsalted)
Fresh pepper
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Celery salt
1 - 1.5 lbs of cheese, coarsely grated*
.5 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 lb. pasta (I used small shells; elbows are also good)
1-2 tablespoons butter

1 package of cheese & garlic croutons
1 dozen saltines
.5 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons of butter
Fresh pepper
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Celery salt

Cooked chicken breast, cut into bite-sized chunks (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F
Put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta (I do this on low heat while I make the sauce).
Pour the bottle of stout into a large sauce pan; heat to a low simmer & add the beef broth, half-and-half, tabasco, Worcestershire, & spices, giving it a stir after each ingredient goes in. Add the brown sugar and stir to dissolve. Add the butter and stir to dissolve. Bring to a simmer.
Grate the cheese while the sauce is heating. Once the liquid on the stove is simmering, add the cheese in handfuls, stirring to melt evenly (it may clump; don't panic).
Once the cheese is thoroughly melted, remove from the heat. Stir occasionally while the pasta cooks.
Bring the pot of water to a full boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions until al dente.
Make the crust while the pasta is cooking: melt the butter in a microwave-proof bowl (I use a large Pyrex measuring cup). Dump the the croutons into a one quart zip-bag and crush into large crumbs; add the saltines and crush them into the mix. Dump the crumbs into the melted butter, add the parmesan cheese & spices, and mix thoroughly.
Drain the pasta, return it to the pot, stir in butter until melted, and stir in the cheese sauce. Stir in the chicken.
Pour the pasta mixture into a 9x13 baking dish (or a foil lasagna pan supported by a cookie sheet) and smooth it fairly level. Sprinkle the crumb mixture on top. Bake for 30 -45 minutes in the middle of the oven (I use the convect setting on my oven for half an hour). Allow to cool for fifteen minutes at least before serving.

This will give you eight HUGE portions or twelve reasonable portions. This can also be reheated in the microwave--depending on your wave, 1-2 minutes on high.

* The cheese mix is the secret to this recipe's success. I am a devoted Trader Joe's shopper, and quite frankly, they have the best and most affordable selection of cheese in my neighborhood. Whole Foods may have more, but their prices are too damn high. For this batch, I used 4 ounces of Trader Joe's Cheddar/Gruyere cheese, 8 ounces of English Coastal Cheddar, and 9 ounces of Wisconsin Mild Cheddar (plus the grated parm). Play with the mix and find what you like. This one works for me--it's a nice combination of sharp, mild and sour.

I may try one more pass at this with some Greek yogurt added to the pasta after it's drained. Just for shits and giggles and to up the protein content and nutritional value.

Well, THAT was Surreal


Greetings, oh, my blurking darlings, on this horrible Monday-like Tuesday.

The weather outside is frightful, and your Empress has been taken to task for her Celibricrush yet again.

This time by a stranger.

I know I should NOT be amused. I shouldn't be. But I am. As someone with a bloody hot temper who has gone off half-cocked more than once (and been called out for it), it's nice for once to catch someone doing it to me. I honestly feel for this woman--I've endured enough prejudice over the years for stupid, superficial reasons to understand her pain to a degree. But to slam someone like that... Oy. I'm trying NOT to make a joke of it because... yeah. It would be incredibly cruel of me. INCREDIBLY cruel of me.

In short, for those not wanting to click on the link, the poster called me out on calling Jim's show on 10/1 awesome. I don't think she's seen him live--I think it was about I Swear to God.

And I try to avoid cruelty whenever I can. Unless someone deserves it. And this woman doesn't.

There. Ethical decision made.

Next post will be about someone who DOES deserve a good kick in the bollocks. If I can remember what I was thinking about last night... *sigh* And recipe for the perfected Guiness mac & cheese coming as well.

Wow. And I had decided not to post about Celebricrush until after I'd bought my tickets for Foxwoods. *shakes head*

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Woo! Dey Darker Den Us!

If You're Brown, You're Goin Down

Especially if your country is full of brown people. Oh, we like that, don't
we? That's our hobby now. But it's also our new job in the world: bombing
brown people. Iraq, Panama, Grenada, Libya. You got some brown people in
your country? Tell 'em to watch the fuck out, or we'll goddamn bomb them!

Well, who were the last white people you can remember that we bombed? In
fact, can you remember any white people we ever bombed? The Germans! That's
it! Those are the only ones. And that was only because they were tryin' to
cut in on our action. They wanted to dominate the world.

Bullshit! That's our job. That's our fuckin' job.

But the Germans are ancient history. These days, we only bomb brown people.
And not because they're cutting in our action; we do it because they're
brown. Even those Serbs we bombed in Yugoslavia aren't really white, are
they? Naaah! They're sort of down near the swarthy end of the white
spectrum. Just brown enough to bomb. I'm still waiting for the day we bomb
the English. People who really deserve it. -
George Carlin

I want to add this to Carlin's rant: we especially like to bomb NON Christian brown people. Because, hey, they just don't know any better.

Today's title comes from the amazing 1974 Mel Brook's film Blazing Saddles (which I hope he never turns into a musical).

I'm having issues today. Yeah, know, says the Greek chorus in my head, what makes today any different from any other day, Riz?

All this week, my newsfeeds have been innundated about updates on the Haitiian earthquake aftermath, one year later. OK, yeah, I get, Haiti is a third world country that the U.S. and other Euro-derived nations have exploited the fuck out of. It's one of the places our garbage (in the form of exported salvage) gets deposited (and yeah, we won't discuss the rotting hulks off the coast of southeast Asia), and honestly, there is bloody little hope for their recovery.

There's news about Brazilian flooding all over Yahoo right now--ditto Sri Lanka--lots about Tunisia--but only a sidebar about new flooding in Australia.

This is annoying me, but not for reasons that might be obvious.

See, I have an odd view of racism, one that's been developed through spending more than half my life in academia. I've bitched before about it--the result of misplaced white guilt that instead of producing better human beings produces a far more insidious and ugly form of racism disguised as compassion and charity.

I'm annoyed that we're not hearing more about what's going on down in Australia. I like the country--aside from the fact that it has produced some very hot men and damn fine actors, it's a place I really want to check out at some point (it's the whole Brit penal colony thing--America plays it down, but in reality, in the beginning, we weren't much more than a penal colony for England). I think the other reason we're not hearing a lot about Australia is that there are a lot of white people who live there, at least in the eyes of the rest of the world, and in our current white guilt-ridden view of the world, white people can take of themselves.

(And my apologies for getting the stats wrong the other day. I didn't have an internet connection at the time, so I couldn't do any fact checking. I think I used the stat of 100K--WAAAAAAY elevated. Hey, it was 3:00 in the morning and my memory ain't too sharp on remembering figures these days. I'm lucky I remember how much is in my bank account, aside from "too damn little for comfort.")

I have a problem with this. Because we all need help. Every single one of us. I have friends "of color" (I have a problem with that phrase--what am I? Translucent?) who, like Dr. Cosby, have an issue with this demeaning attitude. When one of my friends was applying to grad school and was given the advice to underline the fact that she was African American, she was incensed that this would garner her more scholarship and funding options, and ditto a better chance of acceptance to the school of her choice. INCENSED. She wanted to be accepted solely on her artistic merits and nothing more.

We've also reached a point in human history where it's really hard to tell sometimes what someone's ethnic and racial background is. This is not a bad thing; Heinlein talks about it Time Enough for Love--set 3,000 years in the future, it posits that the intelligent people left the planet and went out to colonize and intermarried without regard for the trivialities of race and ethnicity; occasionally, distinct characteristics would appear when a recessive gene came to the fore, but the point was, humanity had evolved beyond it.

Because the people with the brains to put a person's quality over their appearance were the ones who survived. Darwinian adaptability at its best.

Now, I am speaking from the point of view of someone who grew up working class in a predominantly white working class city. Most of the people I knew growing up were European-descended Catholic, generally Irish or Italian, first or second generation immigrant (I was a bit of an anomally, being third generation). However, because my mom actually had a fairly diverse group of friends, I was exposed and encouraged to be open to other cultures and ethnicities, and taught NOT to discriminate but accept.

In short, we're all people. We're all human. This is why I hate the "white guilt" approach I see from so many in the circles I have to travel in. I think we have to help others, but I think we have to be equitable and intelligent about it. I also think helping others means making sensible decisions in your daily life about where you travel, what you buy, how you use it, and how you behave.

It does mean making sensible judgments. Sorry, but seeing two kids in urban hip-hop style dress, standing at the head of the alley in my neighborhood, nowhere near the bus stops, looking over their shoulders, pulling out the cell phones periodically, jigging up and down, and generally looking like drug dealers tells me that I need to pull out my cell phone and call the local constabulary and have them do their job. Sorry--you want to call me a racist, fine, but I know the kids in my neighborhood. They weren't them, and I don't want that shit going on in my neighborhood.

I don't feel great about affirmative action these days; I've seen too many qualified people not get jobs because of it. I've also seen too many dedicated and quality people lose jobs because they weren't the right shade on a color chart. I just don't think this is the way to run the world.

Do I think the world is fair? Hell, no. And I can sit here on the edge of the People's Republic of Cambridge and bitch about the racist political correctness of academia because I live in a place where it's gone way too far. Other people have different experiences--they're living in places where the Confederate flag is still flown (think I'm kidding?) proudly and the idea of NOT judging someone by the color of their skin is baffling. It ain't right, but it's the way of the world.

I don't even know what my point is at this point. I guess I'm just tired of double standards all over and bitching. I'm tired of people making assumptions based on the surface of things. And while I accept that, yeah, there ARE racial and ethnic characteristics, both physical and social, it's still not right to make assumptions that everyone in a given group has them and is handicapped by them.

If that was true, I'd have ten kids, be a stone drunk, a devout Catholic, and still married instead of single, childless, and writing this. Although I do still have the Irish temper. ;-)

And if you want to donate to the Australian relief effort, here's the URL: http://www.qld.gov.au/floods/donate.html

Friday, January 14, 2011

Celebricrush - Cashing a Reality Check

Written 13 January 2011

Greetings from my aching head and back. I really hate storms; some people find them fun and fascinating and cool. I find them a trial. I’m a bit sensitive to the weather; aside from the fact that I can predict any change in it by the pain in my head, I’ve always been a bit of a “weather witch”—can’t control the shit, but I can feel it when things are malevolent.

I haven’t been sleeping well, either, partly because I have someone in the house who watches far too much true crime TV—the shit gives me nightmares. For real. I don’t want to hear about the ugly, horrible things the serial rapist/murderer did to all those girls in Westofnowhere, Middle America. I REALLY don’t, ESPECIALLY as I’m trying to get to sleep. On a work night. I don’t need dreams about Greek gods, floods, magic German Shepherds, underground Somerville (which looks a lot like a cement marble run big enough for Indiana Jones-sized boulders), rain, angry mechanics trying to get a date, broken cars, convenience stores (a lot of convenience stores, for some reason), trying to find pizza, and generally being on the run from bad guys and trying to save people who can’t protect themselves. And partly, my sleep has been fucked up because of stress.

Last week… last week was not fun. I’m still trying to put my head together. I managed not to have a fight with St. Teresa until Monday night; of course, get in the car, start heading out to go shopping, and the shit hits the fan, and I end up angry, yelling, and crying. I finally told her that an offer had been made; I also told her that it wasn’t happening, but that the offer was made because my friends are tired of seeing me so stressed out because I’m getting it from all sides—home AND the job. I also told her that once the house was dealt with, we would find her a decent elder housing place, and I was going out on my own.

I have so many decisions to make in the next six months (which is the projected time line from the cleaners for getting this place under control). I am going to pull out my resume and start retooling it. I think I’m done with the library game for a while. I love what I do, but I’m toast, and honestly, this is not what I trained for and where my passion lies. I think I have enough producing experience to make a go at event planning; fuck knows, I’ve done enough of it; possibly even promotion. I need to be working with people and being social.

And there’s the book and the performing thing.

One of the things that was said to me that really upset me was the accusation—and it was an accusation—that I am in love with Jim Jefferies. I actually got offended by the remark and refuted it fairly effectively (considering I was utterly fucked up on tequila). It was followed by the comment that if this person came along to the NJ gig, they were going to damn well make sure I ended up fucking him.

I was horrified. Honestly. Horrified.

Not at the idea of sex with Mr. Celebricrush, but at the way that it was put to me and the idea that someone who knows me so well could get something so wrong. For one thing, for all the shit I talk on here, I actually have a fair bit of respect for men (usually more than I have for most women, honestly). I have never—EVER—had a sexual liaison of any level with someone I didn’t actually feel a connection with and some measure of respect. Sex is PERSONAL for me—we are discussing the most sacred and secret part of my body and my favorite team sport on the planet. We’re also talking about someone whose work has had an amazing affect on my life, and whom I respect for that reason.

And being misjudged like that by one of my closest friends REALLY upset me. While I will readily admit I need to get laid worse than a priest in a whorehouse, I am so not into just putting it out there. I mean, right now… Folks, I am so fucking sick of being misjudged. I get that I am a very judgmental person. I know that. There’s a reason for it—I feel like I’m on trial most of the time, like 95% of my life, so it’s my way of fighting back. The situation at home has me on edge completely, especially after overhearing all the bullshit Idiot was telling the cleaners last week, and knowing that these lies have been perpetuated not only to them, but also to Elder Services. I’m tired of dealing on a daily basis with the weak little bullies, stupid, little people who never, EVER think outside of their tiny little mental cages, because to do that would mean they’d have to leave their comfort zone. I’m tired, weary to the soul, with people looking only at the surface and not getting that the rage, the sarcasm, the lack of tolerance for hypocrisy and stupidity comes from having a very gentle, compassionate and deeply, deeply loving and caring heart that has witnessed far, far too much pain, both for myself and for the people I love. Think about that the next time you try to pass judgment on someone—think about why they’re angry and what has pushed them to that point. I don’t talk about the things I do for other people—and there’s a fair bit—because honestly, that’s between them and me. The only applause I want for an act of kindness is a sincere thank you; I don’t want public lauds. That kinda shit annoys the piss out of me.

So excuse the fuck out of me if I have a serious comedy hard-on for a kindred spirit.

HOWEVER… just to be sure I wasn’t in denial—because I KNOW how I can get—I did a quick reality check with the Fabulous Alicia because if anyone is going to be straight with my ass, it’s her. Now, the Fabulous A knows quite a bit about Celebricrushes—she has a couple of singers that she refers to as her “celebrity husbands,” as she is quite happily married. Her husband is aware of them; he even encourages them as he accompanies her to the concerts whenever they’re in town. So, if anyone could empathize, it’s the Fabulous Alicia.

Well, Leesh responded thusly: “No, he’s your distraction right now. And you need it.”

Christ, I was relieved. I mean, this blog is a piece of my reality—but only a piece. There’s a lot of fuckery on here. It’s my public persona, the stuff I don’t mind people knowing, the shit I will stand by and take whatever lumps come from it. As open as I’ve been about my views on sex and politics and my own issues, there is so much I keep off of here because it doesn’t belong here. I can talk all I like about myself; however, I have a trust to keep with my intimates. This is my story I’m telling, and when I have to tell someone else’s as a part of it, I make sure that what I’m saying won’t hurt them or upset them (unless they’ve put themselves in the position to be in the firing line; e.g. Captain Strapon and St. Teresa) and if it isn’t harmless, I file off the serial numbers and keep them as anonymous as possible. The bitching I’ve done about my job here has not gone into specifics because honestly, I have people there who would love to see me fired. I’m not giving them any ammo (although that last sentence probably just did).

I’m still horrified that I made a pass at Jim in NYC. I mean, a) I have never been a starfucker—I have never been one of those chicks willing to blow her way backstage for a chance to fuck the singer or the band or what have you. The idea offends me on so many levels because 1) there is an art to a good blow job; and 2) I enjoy giving them too much to just bestow one on just anyone. Point b) is that I’m not a one night stand kinda person, especially not with someone I have genuine admiration and respect for. I may talk shit on here about finding him hot (and I do, have no doubt about that, he fits my definition of WOW! for a lot of reasons), but… I mean, c’mon! Aside from the fact that he’s an internationally known comedian, I’m ten years older than him, at a very different place in my life, and quite frankly, it’s silly. Would I say no if the opportunity presented itself? Hell, no—I may be loco in the cabesas, but I am NOT stupid. And c) well, honestly, I am incredibly shy that way. Seriously. And a bit old fashioned—I prefer a man to make the first move.

The reality of the situation is that I came across his comedy at the right time—at a time when I really needed to hear someone taking no prisoners on stage. I don’t agree with everything he says, nor do I take everything he says seriously. But I love his honesty—the fact that he’s totally willing to use his own life and experiences, and just doesn’t give a fuck. There’s a price you pay for that, I know it, been through it, and I respect it when someone else has the balls to do it. Too many fucking people in this world care too much about what others think, rather than calling them on their shit, and it’s the cause of a lot of pain and misery. (Hello, Catholic Church, let’s let the jackals loose amongst the lambs and cover it up! Hello, lace curtain Irish let’s not talk about all the terrible things in the family so the cycle can keep on going!) I hate hypocrisy, can’t abide it, and I love that Jim lambastes the hypocrites—and himself—in his comedy. In short, I love his work. That I can deal with. It’s no different from my love of Shakespeare or Terry Pratchett—love the work.

That’s what matters.

As for being in love… For fuckssake, BE SERIOUS. Aside from the fact that I don’t know the man personally, shit, I don’t know if I’m even capable of ever being in love again. I don’t know if I even want to ever fall in love again. I don’t know if my heart can take it. The last couple of times almost killed me, literally. I’m dealing with the one year anniversary of Brit Boy #5 and missing him terribly. And love is something that takes contact—regular, serious contact. Plus, I’ve been taking care of other people for so long, I want some time to take care of me. Considering my age, I don’t know if that means I will be able to have a family, as desperately as I want one. I’m trying to accept this, and it’s so damn hard.

And honestly, I don’t know if there’s anyone out there who can accept me for who I am, as is. I mean, I can improve my body, no problem, but I’m still going to be me. My Imperial Self with all my flaws and fabulousness… that won’t change. And I’m hoping to make a complete life change over the next year—I don’t even know where the fuck I’m going to be living—never mind what city, state or country—in the next year.

So someone let Jim know he’s safe—I’m not stalking him, and I have no plans to EVER make another pass at him. But I still have a serious artistic hard-on for his work.

Embrace the Dark Side…

I have a habit of remarking on a regular basis that I am an old broad, and I have several people in my life who refute this, bless them. And while it’s true that I do not dress like a middle-aged frump—I like artistically stressed jeans, Woot shirts, my ratty black leather jacket, and (weather permitting) pink Chuck’s—I do need to remind myself that I’m not 25. I AM 43, like it or lump it, and I need to keep that in mind, especially considering that the majority of my friends are at least ten years younger.

Age is NOT just a number, sadly—it’s a measure of time and experience, how long you’ve been on the planet and what you’ve gleaned from the experience. I tend to forget that I’m not in my twenties most days because unlike a lot of folks I went to high school with, I am not married, I don’t have kids, a mortgage, bills for braces and soccer equipment, and a minivan. Instead, I have two grumpy little old ladies in my house—one with two legs, one with four and a perpetual fur coat—with kidney disease. One of them is heading for elder housing in six months or so; the other will stay with me wherever I go because she pines without me. Stupid cat. Love her to death.

However, where it gets me into trouble—and the reason I need to remind myself of that numerical milestone—is with guys. Now, when I was younger, I dated older men. Seriously—until about ten years ago, I had never dated anyone younger. The closest I ever came to dating someone my own age was my first boyfriend, and even he was four months older than me. In the past ten years, I’ve been seriously involved with two men younger than me; close enough in age that I didn’t really think about it, but still… And since passing forty, I really do consider the age difference. I don’t have a problem dating a younger man, but I really think I’d prefer him north of 30. I’d like him to have some living under his belt. Note, I said “living” rather than “sexual experience”—I have had a couple of real eye openers from the under 30’s I know of late, to the point where they’ve made me feel (slightly) inexperienced. I blame the internet, honestly—who the fuck needs to sneak a peek at a porn mag when you’ve got the internet and know how to erase the browsing history?

However, the other place where age comes into play is in writing. I’ve been writing for more than three-quarters of my life. I still have some stories upstairs I wrote when I was eight. I’m afraid to read them because, honestly, I think I’d find them painful, but they’re up there. Ditto the novel I worked on all through high school, my grand fantasy epic. I know it’s a piece of shit, but I also know there is some great imagery in there and some ideas I can still use at some point if I ever go back to the idea of writing epic fantasy. It’s doubtful; I’ve kinda grown beyond that stuff. Can’t really even read it anymore, which makes me sad, but there it is… you live, learn and grow. I’m even having trouble reading Pratchett these days. Loved I Shall Wear Midnight, but still haven’t been able to get through Unseen Academicals. I don’t think I’d even want to read the stuff I wrote from 1991-2001—the TV series, movie script and play script. I mean, there was some good stuff in there, but most of it was melodramatic crap, fueled by an incredibly unequal and dysfunctional writing partnership. The stuff worth saving, I have.
I didn’t really start to find my voice until 1999; I wrote a pretty amazing essay (would probably be another blog post today) after being raped. My voice in that was so damn strong… sometimes, it takes tragedy to break the fetters and free the artist. Whatever.

My outlook on life is that I’m going to find some meaning and MAKE A PROFIT! off of all of the shit I’ve been through. It would be nice if some of that profit was monetary rather than just gobs and gobs of character development. I was genuinely and pleasantly surprised when I reread Get In, Sit Down, Shut Up, Hang On, my one-woman show, that despite some of the dated political material, the work is still DAMN good—there’s a lot in there that’s salvageable and usable (yeah, most of it about sex). The short story Rise of the Morningstar still amazes me; I wrote that late in 2001. I still hope to find an artist and turn it into a graphic novel series. Then came Richardson’s War; and now, the Kinsale Chronicles.

My work over the years has gotten darker and darker; ironically, it’s also gotten considerably funnier. It’s also gotten far more honest and personal. I really don’t shy away from talking about anything, whether it’s sex, emotions, experience, opinion, whatever. I do try not to hurt people who don’t deserve it, but at the same time… well, the truth only hurts when it should. That statement is a double-edged sword, and I’ve cut myself enough times with it to know.

What prompted this blog was a Twit exchange during Snowmageddon. A WriMo I exchange Twits with commented that his work in progress had taken a dark turn, and I was really excited for him. For me, that’s the best moment in a new story—the point where you leave the safe, well-trod path and strike off into the dark woods of the unknown. There’s a real joy in that part of the writer’s journey—it’s scary as fucking hell (writing the flashback scenes in Broom Closet were hell, pure fucking hell, but by the Gods, the writing is SOLID and BLOODY AMAZING. I am so damn proud of it, and I managed to catch the reality of PTSD and that moment when the real world disappears and the past becomes real, and yet, you’re in the present, but your mind isn’t… Damn, it’s so good), but the results… Dear Gods, the results are incredible if you let yourself just tumble down the rabbit hole into terra incognito and just WRITE.

What pulled me up short—to the point where I had no response—was that the other writer was utterly noncommittal about it. It freaked me. I mean, I live for that moment when the story goes off the rails and plunges into the dark because that’s when it starts to come alive. And then I found out how old the WriMo is, and I was like WHOA! OK, no wonder.

His age? Twenty-six. I had taken him for about 32. But, no, 26. At 26, there was no way I could go willingly into the dark in my writing. I know that. I was writing the crap TV scripts at that time—the sitcom set in the Chinatown loft with its cast of zany neighbors and the two working theatre pros and profs, Bridget and Vickie. (Note, this was long before BF Vicki came into my life.) The sitcom was the stuff of fantasy—a projection of what we wanted our lives to be, and while there are a lot of great one-liners in there and probably some great ideas, as writing… CRAPtacular, at least from my point of view because we were both too afraid to go into the darkness.

And I’m not slagging the guy for his age, nor am I denigrating his talent (I haven’t read his stuff, so I have no clue, but I have read one of his blog posts which was excellent, so I am assuming there is some talent and skill there), but it really brought me up short in considering how age affects the journey.

Back when I was at Emerson, the basis for the acting training was the Linklater method. Now, Kristin Linklater is an amazing voice teacher—she’s an imperious old bitch (and I say that with INCREDIBLE respect and affection, as another imperious old bitch—her Shakespearean Acting class was amazing, and she is not only an incredibly dedicated and committed teacher, but a genuinely compassionate and lovely human being and an AWESOME storyteller) whose method is an incredible tool for the actor. There’s only one little problem: it’s not designed to be taught to traditional aged students. Emerson lured Kristin there with the promise of a masters program to train Linklater teachers (she never got it; it’s why she went to Columbia). She spent five or six (maybe more) years training traditional aged undergrad actors in a voice method that freed the natural voice (her original text is Freeing the Natural Voice—highly recommended) through a yoga-based physical training, deep breathing, and vocal progression that trained the entire range. The Linklater-trained vocal instrument, when fully warmed up, could go from a deep bass to a soprano trill in the space of ten seconds. I’ve seen it done; I’ve done it.

HOWEVER, the other part of the process, and probably the most important part, is the psychological side. The text makes a point that Western civilization and modern acting techniques have all been about suppression—the minuteness of gesture, of sound—and modern parenting is about learning to use the inside voice and keep quiet. The price of this necessary socialization is the loss of sound and the freedom to make sound. As the actor works through the progression, from the deepest sound to the highest, there is a process of letting go, of releasing the personal shit that clogs each place and prevents you from achieving the pure release of sound.

As amazing as the progression is, I wasn’t ready for it. I was 25 and dealing with a lot of shit; what the progression and the experience of letting go—which I was not ready for—did to my psyche, I really can’t assess. I know I was close to suicide for most of the three years I was there (to be fair, I also lost a baby in my second year, and was in an abusive relationship; dealt with Mum going through a double bout of cancer, reconciled briefly with my father… yeah. Not easy times). This method is the basis for the training at Shakespeare and Company; when you apply to be an actor/student there for the summer, there are a range of questions you have to answer before they’ll accept you, and it’s all about you personal readiness and openness to the experience.

I know what I went through; I hate to think what the traditional age kids—the ones fresh out of high school and still trying to figure out who the fuck they were—went through.

The point of all of this is that acting—like writing—is not a young person’s game. The movies are—the movies are all about youth and appearance (well, the popular ones, at least). There is a big difference between being a movie star and being an actor. Movie stars fade with their looks (or their PR disasters); actors only get better. Harvey Keitel is a good example of this; Mean Streets is an interesting performance, but nothing, nothing compared to Reservoir Dogs or The Piano. The nuances of both of those performances are not the kind deliverable by a 20-year-old kid. At 20, most of us haven’t seen the kind of shit that you’ve seen by the time you hit 40 or 50, or at least haven’t processed it. Something happens between 30 and 35 (for artists, at least)—there’s a deepening, a reckoning… a decision is made in your soul that you’re either going to go forward and really BE what you are, really go for it; or, you get scared and play it safe and keep doing the same old schtick.

I can’t judge either decision. I know which one I made, but I didn’t have a choice because of who I am. I haven’t always lived up to that choice; I don’t think it’s possible for anyone to be 100% committed, 100% of the time.

Either way, I know that I’ve gotten here by embracing the dark and loving it. There is no dark without light—remember that. Neither can exist without the other. There is no truth without lies, no victory without defeat. Embrace your darkness, accept it as a part of you, as necessary as everything that is good within you. It’s easy to live in the light; the dark… the greatest artists I’ve ever known, either personally or through their work, learned to love their darkness, cherish it, care for it, love it.

It’s the only way to find the light.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Myopia, Thy Name is America

Or, why I really hate the American new service.

Greetings from the Imperial Snowwoman. I am still chilled to the bone from shoveling out of Snowmageddon '11.  Idiot cleared the front walk & sidewalk. I cleared the driveway, all the way to the street, including the 2 feet of frozen plow spill.  Yep, the upper body strength is still good, but for the first time in my life i understand why people live in Florida & southern Cali. Either that, or i have to go cougar & trade great cooking, good massages, & hot sex for shoveling services. Nah, better to move. ;-)

Of course, all the local news could talk about was Snowmageddon. I mean, it's New England, it's January, WHAT IS SO FUCKING SHOCKING ABOUT TWO FEET OF SNOW?!?! Christ on a crutch, people, you act like this came out of nowhere!

You know what came out of nowhere? The awful flood in Australia. An area the size of Texas was under water yesterday, 100,000 people unaccounted for, and do you think these idiots mentioned  word about it? Half the newscast was given over to talking about the snow, and roughly 2 minutes of the 20 was useful information. I shit you not. More time was given to their pundit and his spin-o-meter yapping about Alaska Barbie than to Mr. O and his speech from Tucson.

Not a mumblin' word about the rest of the world.

THIS is not a good thing, folks. This is one of the big issues i have with my fellow Americans these days-our isolationist POV on the world. It's got to stop. Yesterday (well, Monday, but as I haven't been to sleep yet, it's still Tuesday to me) was the 1 year anniversary of the horrible Haitian earthquake. I got dozens of updates about it; i got three about the current tragedy in Australia.

Two of them from comedians. Yeah, Eddie ifft and Jim Jefferies.

Oh, and Yahoo had something about it on the splash screen when i signed in to IM.

That's it.

Now, i feel a greater affinity for Australia than i do Haiti. Sorry, but there it is. I have no intention of ever visiting Haiti (honestly, I don't want to do the Carribean at all-I think white folks have exploited the fuck out of the people there & don't have any need to be a part of it). Australia... man, that is a place I would LOVE to check out. Also, being of both Irish & English descent & coming from a long line of hellraisers & footloose types, there's probably a few long lost distant cousins there. (Not that I'd ever go looking for them. Families split up for reasons, some of them sensible.)

OK, I'm rambling. The point... the point is that a horrible disaster has hit a country that has been an ally of ours for a long time. The point is that people are homeless, suffering, & in need of our help. I'm blogging from my phone, so I can't pull up the donation URLs & cut & paste them, BUT if you pop on to Jim Jefferies's or Eddie Ifft's Twitter feeds or Jim's Facebook, the links to donate are there. For my friends in Cali, Jim will be donating the proceeds from one of his gigs at the end of the month, so that's a chance to help & be bloody well entertained.

My heart goes out to Queensland.