Saturday, December 28, 2002

Speaking of the Unspeakable....

Christmas brought us the first good snowfall of the year--about 4 inches of soft, packable, beautiful white fluffiness. I was naturally thrilled, and felt a need to celebrate the snow's arrival. How to let the Snow Gods know of my gratitude for their beneficence? Build them a statue, of course. Not one of those namby-pamby frosty-style snowmen, but one more fitting the wild and capricious nature of snow gods.....


The dark god himself, held in place by a trampled elder sign in the surrounding snow. You know, sometimes I even scare myself.

Thursday, December 19, 2002

First off, I should say that the most gratifying moment of the evening for me was before the movie started. There, at a Game Preserve-sponsored event, attended by the very woman who fired me, my former co-workers Jason and Jay proposed to start chanting “RE-HIRE CATHY! RE-HIRE CATHY!” and see how many people in the audience took it up. It was a sweet gesture, though of course it would have resulted in death for everyone involved....

Right, so I saw the midnight showing, 12:01 Wednesday, at the AMC in Greenwood, with about 300 Game Preserve employees, customers, and friends. No costumes, just a solid crowd of fantasy geekdom from wall to wall. That, in itself, is worth the price of admission. (Which was of course $0, since I had the coupon out of the extended DVD version. But still.) Last year at this time, I was totally jazzed--Fellowship was everything I wanted it to be, and then some! I didn’t miss anything that was cut, I didn’t mind the tiny alterations of plot because I felt they contributed to the movie trilogy as a whole.... It was beautiful, it was fun, it rocked. The Two Towers is very different. Even now, I am certain Tolkien geeks everywhere are spewing bile into their blogs complaining about this movie. I’d hate to be that negative, or take it that seriously, so I’m going to go through and rap about the stuff I loved, and then some of the stuff I didn’t love, and you can feel free to email me and tell me what you think of my thinking.


I. The Ents. Wow. Cool. Super. Fabulous. They looked just as I always imagined them, and then some. The film did well in conveying the slow deliberate nature of Ents. John Rhys-Davies voices Treebeard, and he’s always a good thing! I wonder if when Gimli meets Treebeard in volume 3, they’ll explode in a burst of anti-matter.

II. The Ents assaulting Orthanc. Again, my mental picture of this event was done justice by the reality. Wowwww.

III. Rohan. Another triumph of turning New Zealand countryside into bona-fide Middle Earth. The viking-style huts and halls of the Rohirrim were perfect.

IV. Eowyn. Overall, a nice casting choice for a favorite character, and it’s good they gave her a moment of swingin’ her sword around to show us she’s not just a pouty teenage girl. Very much looking forward to her part in movie 3.

V. Gollum. More on him below, I was of a divided mind on Gollum. But the plus side is, his movement and animation is incredible. Especially his fingers. Gollum should be creepy, and those hands were creepy.

VI. The Black Riders on Winged Steeds. OK, Cthulhu players--THAT is what a shantak looks like! You saw them at Gavigan’s estate in England. Man, those were cool.

VII. Oliphants. Neato!


I. Gandalf casting Sauruman out of Theoden like a revivalist preacher banishing demons. What the hell was up with that? Theoden’s depressed, not posessed.

II. Aragorn falling off a cliff during a warg attack. Again I say, what the hell? We all read the books, dudes, we know he’s not dead so there is no suspense involved. I’m presuming it’s so he can have a long dream sequence about Arwen, but couldn’t he have done that just dozing on the wall at Helm’s Deep before the seige, or something? (The only thing that would have redeemed this event was if Gimli/Rhys-Davies had greeted him with his line from Raiders of the Lost Ark: “Oh my friend, I am so pleased you are not dead!” There’s a nerd wish for ya.)

III. The Arwen-Elrond moment. It was like a bad TV drama--”You’re not marrying a mortal, and that’s final! Now get on the boat!”

IV. Elves at Helm’s Deep. Not only were we treated to more of that flaming elf from movie #1, he brought a whole damn army with him. I’m presuming this was because elves are popular, and we need a reason why Helm’s Deep doesn’t get totally squashed. Here’s the thing--and maybe I am being too nitpicky here--but in the book, the seige of Helm’s Deep ends because the ents send these things called huorns, kind of sinister living trees that creep up and surround the orcs and kill them en masse. To me, this would have been a totally amazing visual--looking past the sea of orcs, realizing that the background trees are moving closer, inexorably closer, then some of the backmost orcs start screaming, and then like the thorny bushes in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty suddenly all these branches and thorns are everywhere and the orcs are being pulled down, man. Instead, we get elves. And then a bunch of Rohan riders. And that’s it. So I’m sad.

V. Gollum. I can’t put my finger on this, exactly, but somehow I feel like Gollum was missing something. Maybe it’s that they played him a little too silly, overplayed the multiple personalities or something. Gollum should be crafty and sinister, as well as annoying and pathetic. I want to re-watch the Ralph Bakshi version, I think; for some reason I remember being really happy with his version of Gollum, but I can’t think what he had that this one doesn’t. But don’t get me wrong, he’s still in the “cool” column.

VI. Faramir. The more I thought about it, the more bothered I was by this; Faramir is supposed to be different from his brother. He’s supposed to grasp the import of Frodo’s quest. Instead, the film has him act just like Boromir, drag Frodo and Sam around for a while planning to take the ring, and then suddenly, inexplicably change his mind and let them go. This Faramir is Boromir warmed over, rather than a clearly defined personality of his own. Why?

VII. Gimli as Comic Relief. Yeah, ok, dwarves are funny. But he’s my favorite character in the books, and he’s coming across with no dignity whatsoever. A little less buffoonish, please, and no more “tossing.”

I guess what it really comes down to is that I don’t see strong cinematic or plotting reasons behind these things. There were other changes that didn’t bother me at all, because they made a certain amount of sense. But these changes that I’m grousing about all just seemed gratuitous and strange to me. I still liked it, I’ll still see it again and buy the DVD and worship it and all that. But I was happier with the first one.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Idiocy is Our Watchword.

For all you aspiring cooks out there, a note:
Zucchinni bread comes out much, much better when you remember to put the sugar in.

Saturday, December 14, 2002

No Snow. Doh!

Last night when I went to bed it was snowing hard. 1-3" predicted. I went to sleep with dreams of waking to a winter wonderland (we haven't had one yet this year...) Instead, I wake to a bit of crusty white slush stuck to the leaves I never raked up this year, and that's it. Apparently the temp got up above freezing soon after sunrise, and by the time I hauled my lazy ass out of bed, it was gone. BOOOOOOOOO!!!!

In other news, for those of you keeping track, I finally got word that I am unofficially accepted to start in the Museum Studies program at IUPUI in January despite their having lost, at various times, my application, my GRE scores, and my recommendation letters. It all got found eventually, and I'm apparently IN, just have to wait til the Grad School Admissions dept signs off on it. Still waiting to hear about financial aid. Also have gotten several possible new painting gigs (for my life as a painting prostitute, go to The Painter's Den, or possibly to my home page and click the prostitution link.) It's not really a living, but it's better than nothing. Beats working, as we say!

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Simply MARVELous!

Last night I took an online quiz called "What Marvel Superhero Are You?" The answer:
Well, really, who else would I have been? As Erin can tell you, my love affair with the blue furry swashbuckler is a long-standing one. Nightcrawler rocks. Or he used to, apparently he's undergone some changes in the current Marvel regime. Anyway, to be fair, I also took the "Which Marvel Superherione?" quiz, and ended up with
That was a bit more of a surprise--yeah, she's the one played by Famke Janssen in the movie. Who knew I had a gorgeous red-haired telepath inside me, crying to get out? Anyway, if you want to take this quiz yourself, check it out at Liquid Generation. Click on the little button with the question mark and you get quizzes. You might also try their surprisingly entertaining cleavage-identification game show, "WHOOSE BOOBS?"

Liquid Generation comes to me courtesy of my friend Pete, who has the distinction of once having created a $500 error in the Game Preserve's computer system using only a Twix bar, the barcode scanner, and his index finger. I'd link you to Pete's web address, but he recently took down his site because "It was stupid." Yes, it was stupid, but it was YOURS, Pete! Defend what's yours!

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Shaping Young Minds

Sub taught at Brebeuf Jesuit again yesterday--woo hoo! Two gigs months!--and had a good time. It mostly involved 4 back to back showings of the first 40 minutes of "Eyes on the Prize: The Civil Rights Movement Brought To You By Pepsi-Cola." (Nothing quite like watching Malcolm Jamal-Warner, formerly Theo Huxtable of The Cosby Show, introducing a serious documentary on civil rights by saying "Pepsi and I hope you enjoy this program.") I did have one class where the kids were supposed to "study quietly" for a test the next day; I'm not stupid, and after taking attendance told them that I knew perfectly well that only a handful of them were going to actually study, and as long as they took the "quiet" part to heart, they could talk or do other homework or whatever. Immediately 8 girls rocketed out of their seats to plant themselves on the floor--what is up with that? I can't even remember why it was cool to sit on the floor to study.... Anyway, I had a pleasantly intense discussion about the various merits of Lord of the Rings vs. Harry Potter, threatened to go all Gimli on a girl who commented that she thought The Hobbit was "the stupidest, most boring book EVER!" and told a young man who was squatting down to talk to the girls on the floor that "I am seeing waaaay more of your underwear than I really needed to, dude." Probably scarred him for life, but oh well.

1) Reading the list of intermural basketball teams, which all had great names; my favorites were "Spongebob Squarepants and His Absorbent Gang," and "We Didn't Make The Real Team."
2) Walking through the cafeteria and overhearing a group of male students having the following fairly loud conversation:
"I'm bisexual." "Yeah, I'm bisexual too." "Me too man, I think it's cool." My my, times have changed since this ol' fart was 15....How cool is THAT? :]
3) The girl who informed me that history was boring because it was "about dead people," and when I reminded her that she too would be a dead people some day, she said, "Yeah, but I'm not going to do anything important. I'm gonna be a pharmacist." Dear god, I hope she's not filling MY prescriptions one of these days.

Thanksgiving was fine, thanks, except that I had a horrible cold for the whole holiday weekend. Oh, and I can't seem to make a cherry pie that doesn't leak juice all over the place. Suggestions are welcome.

Sunday, November 24, 2002

Reality Series in the Making

Those of you who know and love me, I want you to think for a moment about my personal qualities. Recall, if you will, the Blender Incident, the Flowerbox Stumble, the Toothpick Impalement. If you’ve known me since high school, you may even recall the Flying Leap Ankle Imbroglio and an injury involving a ball point pen which almost required stitches. Now, keeping all this in your mind, I want you to ask yourself, “Who among my friends should never, under any circumstances, attempt to clean her own gutters without a safety harness, climbing equipment, and possibly a team of paramedics standing by in the driveway, idly munching on Hydrox and taking bets on which piece of extraction equipment will come into play first when it all comes crashing down?”

Was it me? Was I the person you thought of?? Well, let me tell you, everyone, I am truly disappointed in your lack of confidence in me. Just because I am one of the clumsiest, most injury-prone individuals on God’s green earth doesn’t mean I can’t handle a simple household task like cleaning out my gutters with nothing but an extension ladder (2 feet too short) and my father standing on the ground going, “You know, I don’t think this is a good idea. No, seriously, come on down, this just isn’t safe.”
Oh, he of little faith! I wedged my tennis shoes up against the edge of the porch roof and proceeded to scoop the goop out from a mostly horizontal position, gripping the edges of the shingles with one hand and scraping with the other. Lacking the courage to actually stand up, I scooted up to the peak of the roof on my butt, and back down the other side of the porch to do the other front gutters, with dad wincing below and me freezing my cheeks off. (Both. Thanks for asking.) Then it was up and over the back of the house, whose gutters are about 20’ off the ground and whose roof is at about a 60 degree slope with nothing to hang onto. I’m no wimp, so I scooted on down there and started scraping.....and after about 5 minutes and one serious overbalance (which thank god dad didn’t notice, but for a fractional second I thought I was going over the edge) I chickened and retreated. I claim a partial victory! And my neighbor with the 25’ ladder will administer the coup de gras later this week.

In other news, y’all go check out my friend Francie’s new web site! shows off the jewelry and other cool stuff that Francie’s been making for years, and if you like it, buy somethin’! The holidays are coming up, after all. I went to the Stutz Studios’ Holiday Show to visit her booth and provide moral support, and also had the pleasure there of meeting Rob Harrell, who draws a daily online comic called Big Top, which is worth checking out if you’re a comics buff! So there’s my pitches for the day, take em or leave em!

Monday, November 18, 2002


Yeah, yeah. I've been busy, with all working and all. Last year, around this time, the boiler started leaking, entailing two visits from the heating and cooling guys and a chunk of money, plus some water damage. Last week, literally two days before my houseguest was to show up, my plumbing backed up and flooded the downstairs bathroom, soaking the hall carpet to the point of total squishiness. Frantic mopping, dehumidifying, moving the cat boxes so the cats could get to them without getting their paws wet... Thought I had problem fixed, Claire arrived, and then it backed up again. One emergency call to Roto-Rooter later and things are fixed, but it turns out my plumbing has a Tragic Flaw which will probably lead to this problem arising again in future. Unless I buy the MIRACLE ENZYME CLEANER from Roto-Rooter for $75. Think I'll do a little comparison shopping first....

Thursday, November 07, 2002

*Insert Bad Leaf-Raking Pun Here*

It's that time of year again! A veritable explosion of fall colors has done exploded all over my yard. I've been out today plowing the mulching mower through an ankle-deep carpet of leaves, trying to take advantage of the one or two warm days we're having this week before it's back to rain and chill on Sunday. I particularly like mowing underneath the silver maple, as its leaves are a gorgeous bright yellow and the chopped up bits blowing up on either side look like a fountain of gold dust! Well, gold dust made out of chopped leaves. At any rate, I got around the big part of the yard 4 times before the exertion and dust triggered a rather startling asthma attack. I had to make a dash for the inhaler, and I'm only just feeling semi-normal again. Think I may wait til tomarrow to do the rest of the yard, that gives it more time to dry out and gives me time to be smart and actually medicate myself BEFORE risking death. Sigh.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Well, it's been downhill since Halloween, I'm afraid. My fish died, and I have been frantically combing my house for the Vassar transcripts that I was sure I had but can't find. Now I'm going to have to beg VC to next-day-air them to IUPUI. Am I the most disorganized individual in the world? It's possible.

On a somewhat related note, my friend Claire is coming to visit next week. My decision to excavate the downstairs den was originally based on not being able to find transcripts (that's where they would have been, in the piles of unsorted papers left over from my move 16 months ago.) But now there's the added incentive that someone new is coming to visit! Someone who hasn't seen what a total rathole my place can be! If I can get things shaped up between now and then, Claire could actually sleep in the den if she chooses. (Less comfortable pullout couch instead of living room futon, but warmer and more privacy.) The possibilites are heady. So even though I've given up hope on the transcripts, I'm continuing my blitz through the junk in that room. So far I've filled two trash bags with old papers, receipts and records from my life in Chicago--that was 1996-1998, folks! Be afraid! Be very afraid!--and it's not over yet....

Thursday, October 31, 2002


My favoritest holiday of the year, though of course it's been a bit of an anti-climax since I was finally forced to stop trick or treating by people who threatened to call the cops.

You all know how much I hate scary movies, right? I've gotten a lot of flak for this over the years. I trace it back to a night in 1979 when my best friend Karen came over on Halloween and her big sister Elizabeth was babysitting us, and she decided to watch the absolute worst choice of late-night movie possible in this situation--namely, the blockbuster horror hit from the year before, John Carpenter's "Halloween." My god. Two nine-year-olds and a babysitter, watching "Halloween," on Halloween? I was petrified. And that's with having watched the movie in short bursts, punctuated by me and/or Karen fleeing the room screaming. I didn't sleep for days.

So the other night on AMC, what should be on but a documentary about the making of "Halloween." Wow, I thought to myself, this could be fascinating! At last I can de-mystify this movie for myself, conquer my fears, and look forward, not back!

You guessed it. The documentary gave me nightmares.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

More Aquatic Fun!

Red the Fighting Fish hasn't been doing so hot in the past couple of weeks. I'm not sure if it's that the thuglike danios have been beating the crap out of him, or if he's got some kind of fungus or disease that's causing discoloration. All I know is, he spends 90% of his time hiding under the air pump and he looks awful. So I resurrected my old goldfish bowl from my parents' garage, got the loan of a pump, airstone and tubing from my dad the fish expert, and set up a real hospital tank. No more beer pitcher for Red! I medivac'd him from tank to bowl this morning, and it's been a little stressful for all concerned.

1. He immediately injured himself on the plastic plant I put in there to give him something to hide behind. I had to take it out.

2. I went to the store to get some mecurichrome (mom's suggestion for disinfecting injured fish) only to find that it's no longer being made. One of the staples of my injury-filled childhood! And now it's gone. Apparently, someone found it disturbing that parents were painting their children's cuts with a vile orange compound containing mercury. Go figure. So I settled for iodine; it was just a bit of a shock.

3. The cat, who has never shown the slightest interest in the fish before, has locked onto the new fishbowl like a guided missile. Those who know my cat Hal know how big he is. When he stands up, he's tall enough to pat his little paws against the fishbowl sitting atop a 3' high, slightly tippy bookcase. So we have to find a new location. And lastly,

4. Froglet is now paralyzed with fear. Froglet is my tiny African dwarf clawed frog. He was an impulse purchase two years ago when I was in the depths of a serious personal depression. (Some people turn to drugs, or alcohol. Me, I go buy frogs.) He's in one of those little aquababy containers, and he's always seemed pretty laid back, never really took an interest in his surroundings. But now that there is a giant red fish floating (in his perception) just about 10 inches up and to the left of his box, he is pressed up against the wall, his little beady eyes locked on Red's every move. As Red's eyes are kind of atop his skull, I think he hasn't even noticed Froglet's presence. But he's being watched...

Sunday, October 27, 2002


Spent all day today planting bulbs. Well, not all day, but a while. I had to do a lot of preparatory digging first, I'm turning my front yard from a crappy looking lawn to a garden of bulbs and perennials and that requires the removal of a LOT of grass and weeds. Today the menu was as follows:
30 Grape Hyacinths (3 varieties, 10 each.)
6 Real Hyacinths (3 Peter Stuyvesant, 3 Woodstock)
6 Tulips (3 Orange Emperor, 3 Red Emperor, also known as chipmunk food.)
This is in addition to the 20 Lilies of the Valley and 9 Bleeding Heart I planted last week. Man, if this doesn't look cool in the spring, I am gonna be SO pissed.
Don't mind me, just trying to fix my archive problem....

Thursday, October 24, 2002

Could Cathy Be the D.C. Sniper????

Well, no. Definitely not. I think I effectively removed myself from the pool of suspects yesterday when I went target shooting for the first time in about 10 years. Not only does my choice of weapon not fit the M.O. (bow and arrow, field points, rather than semi-auto rifle, .223 caliber) but my marksmanship is so poor as to be almost laughable. I mean, wow. I was shooting at a target about 16" x 16", 20 yards downrange, on lane #7. I hit that target 27 times. Out of about 120 arrows. Yep. Just call me Oliver Queen. The other arrows hit above the target; below the target; over in lane #8; over in lane #6; and the wood framework around the top and bottom of the backstop, which causes the arrow to make a really loud "BAM!" noise when it hits and bounces backward up the range. This also causes the other archers on the range (all using compound bows with advanced deer-seeking target systems) to glance over at me with a "What the hell are you DOING?" look in their eyes. My personal dignity is in a shambles. But it's a small price to pay for the eventual realization of my dream--which is, of course, to hit the target with a full 50% of my arrows! Woo hoo!

Monday, October 21, 2002

Well, THAT was exciting.

I always wondered what it would be like to have one of my tires blow out while doing 75 mph on the highway. Ideally, this would happen on one of the stretches of I-65 where there is nothing for 15 miles but corn, soybeans, and the occasional sharp-shinned hawk wheeling overhead. The only thing that would have made it better would have been if it had been sleeting at the time.... As it was, aside from the high winds created by passing semis, the whole experience was really not too traumatic! I had a mini-spare, I had a jack, and I had the sheer muscle power required to get the lug nuts off (that last was sort of iffy for a few minutes.) I got to Chicago just fine, and Alex helped me go tire shopping the next morning, so all is well.

Friday, October 18, 2002


Well, all right, so the only demand I got was Jeremy's. But it's been a busy week, and then when I did try to post a couple days ago, Blogger rejected me. I was sad....hurt....unable to continue. I had to have time to recover from the experience.

So what have I done for you lately? That is to say, what have I done worth writing about in the past 10 days, in no particular order? Let's see:

1. I took the GRE. Again. When I did the practice test I missed 20 out of 24 questions on the quantatitive section--I'm too old to remember crap like how you find the circumferance of a circle! Well, too old, or too dumb, or something. Anyway, I did fine on the exam, apparently 66% of GRE testers are even older and dumber than me about math.

2. I gave a paper at an academic conference. My first paper-giving experience ever. A success, plus I made friends with an Egyptologist. You never know when you might need one of those.

3. I went to a haunted house with a bunch of friends down on the southside, and almost got myself punched in the face by a high school girl who didn't take kindly to me gently pointing out that it's rude to yell "CUT THAT SHIT OUT ASSHOLE!!" at the masked Jaycees one has just paid $10 to be scared by.

4. Won two games of Warhammer, a surprising feat coming from me.

5. Finished a rough section of the book I'm trying to write for Call of Cthulhu, and posted it on the web for Mr. Willis to look at. (If you'd like to look at it too, find it here.) So far I haven't heard back from him. The way my luck has been going, he'll reject it out of hand. :]

Oh, and to bring everyone up to date--no, I still don't have a job. Right now I am looking for temporary work, and am applying to go back to school at IUPUI here in Indy in January. This will hopefully lead to my getting a "Museum Studies Certificate" which hopefully then will lead to an actual job at a local museum. That's the Life Plan at the moment. Subject to Change Without Notice.

Monday, October 07, 2002


That's what I thought, too--good god, there's a dead cat in my trash can! I was on my way to Evan's yesterday to watch the Colts/Bengals debacle, running out the door, and as I pass the tall green trash can I keep outside the back door, out of the corner of my eye I see matted grey fur smashed down in the bottom. I did a pretty visible double take, and came back to find NOT a dead cat at all (thank you, lord) but a very small opossum, curled up, asleep. Apparently he/she got up on top of the recycling bin to climb into my trash can, and then found he was too small to climb back out and too lightweight to tip it over. Being a possum--practical animals, though dumb--he made the best of the situation and sacked out. I left him there for the rest of the day, figuring that evicting him during daylight hours would be unkind at best, and dangerous for him at worst--plenty of dogs here in Rocky Ripple. Got home after dark, shined a flashlight on his now awake and irritated little self, and tipped the trash over so he could escape at his leisure. Which he did.

What else is new? Not much. Heard from Chaosium again, so I am throwing myself wholeheartedly into this book project. Giving a paper at a medieval studies conference this weekend, I'll probably get all worked up about that in another day or two. Wish me luck.

Sunday, September 29, 2002


You may remember the saga of Red, my Siamese Fighting Fish (betta splendens) from the previous post. I isolated him in a beer pitcher with a Lovecraftian Mythos motif in order to medicate him for a mysterious white patch on his head. For those who aren't fish enthusiasts I should say that Red is utterly gorgeous, deep red, with long trailing fins edged in blue. The reason they're called "Fighting Fish" is because the males will fight to the death when kept in the same tank; they're extremely aggressive with each other, though totally passive with other species of fish. Red has had a pretty peaceful existance since coming home from the pet store, where apparently he made a name for himself by leaping out of his tank and into the one next door to get at a rival male. Here he has been utterly placid--that is, until I isolated him. On Wednesday, I was sitting here typing email and drinking coffee when I noticed Red flaring his gills and puffing himself up, just like they do when there's another male in the tank. What the hell, I thought. Then I noticed he seemed to be looking fixedly at my coffee mug, which I'd carelessly set down next to his pitcher. The mug happened to be a deep, dark red color, much like Red himself. Could it be that he was mistaking my coffee mug for another male betta? I moved the mug, and moments later he was back to normal. Replaced the mug, and he puffed up again. How neat is that? The coffee mug is easily 10 times as big as he is, and yet he was willing to kill it or die trying. What a great fish. On a more melancholy note, he also spent hours constructing a bubble nest to impress a female who is nowhere to be seen. When I added the medication (which turned the water a sickly green color) the nest got wiped out. Now he's given up.

Oh, and I didn't get the Apple job. I don't know why. It's frustrating that 14 years of retail experience can't get me even a part time job in their store. Maybe TJ remembered the fashion show after all....

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

I had my interview with Apple today; but before I write about it, I have to share the "small world, isn't it?" anecdote that made the whole thing a lot more stressful than it would have been otherwise.

Back in, oh, last October or so, we had an "incident" at the Game Preserve, which required me to write a formal letter of apology to the manager of The Gap across the hall. The details are far too sordid for Blogger, but it involved one of our teenage male customers, a fashion show, and an escalator. ANYWAY, so I wrote this letter after being told that T.J., the manager of the Gap, was so incensed by our customer's disruptive behavior that he was demanding Game Preserve heads on platters. I assumed things had been smoothed over, though, as I left the letter at the Gap for T.J. and never heard another thing about it.

So I get an email from Apple preparing me for my interview, and it mentions that the name of the manager of the new Apple store in the mall is....hmmm....T.J., now that's a familiar name, I wonder....Oh. Shit.

I went in expecting him to say, "I see here you worked for those Game Preserve a-holes. Don't I know you?" and that'd be the end of it. But as it was, he apparently either never got the letter, was never really that mad, or just has an amazingly short memory. He was totally oblivious to the connection. Whew! Interview went fine, should hear in a few days.

My other excitement for the day involved Red, my Siamese Fighting Fish. He needs medication, and I decided to take him out of the tank so the other fish wouldn't have to get medicated too. I set up a large pitcher ("Whateley's Brew Haus: Dark Ales for Dark Times") in the only place I could find where the cats wouldn't molest him (computer desk) and then netted him out of the tank. While carrying him over to the pitcher he flipped around in the net, and BLOOSH! A whole handful of water landed in the keyboard. So my IM with Jane at the time went something like this:

ME: So how's your houseguest working out?

JANE: Fine actually, we watched football.(long pause)

ME: a dfysdtf Z %^X%%$%$$ $$$$$^&*****

Two hours later, the keyboard had recovered with the aid of mom, a screwdriver, and a hairdryer. Now Red is paddling irritably around in the pitcher, giving me hostile looks as I type.

Monday, September 23, 2002

I think it's a measure of party success that it's nearly 3 in the afternoon and I am still recovering from yesterday's festivities! Not because I am hung over (only slightly, and since I was my usual moderate self I blame it on dehydration from not having drunk anything else AFTER the beer) but because so many people came and brought so much food that I am still struggling to put away the leftovers (literally and metaphorically.) Final head count was around 20, I think. Special awards go to Mara and David, who apparently bought out an entire grocery before coming; to Kristen, who thought to bring s'mores fixings; and to Natalie and Max, the first two children ever to visit my home who did NOT manage to injure themselves in some way! I'm amazed at their powers of self-restraint. Also Max thought my stuffed animals were cool.

The bread saga: the wheat beer bread was not bad, but definately denser than its counterpart. And much paler, which may account for the dark loaf having been almost totally consumed while the light one is still more than half there. More leftovers for me! Whee!

Sunday, September 22, 2002


Beer bread is good. Wheat beer is good. Therefore, beer bread made with wheat beer should be good, right?

Let's just say that that extra bit of gluten in the wheat beer made what's usually a sticky, unmanagable batter into a self-aware entity with the strength of ten thousand men. I'm actually making two loaves of beer bread for my cookout today; one with a new wheat beer I bought at Kahn's, and one with my classic Goose Island Hex Nut Brown Ale. We shall see which one emerges victorious, but I have my suspicions that the former may be close to inedible. And after promises that the rainy weather was over til at least Tuesday, today is gloomy, overcast, 60 degrees, with a good chance of showers in the afternoon. My house will not physically hold the 25 or so people who have been invited to show up. Solution? Pull the lawnmowers out of the garage, pull the Mustang out of the garage, flip Stephen's pool table right side up, and voila! A space for food, fun, and games! If you don't mind the spiders. Hmmm. Perhaps I should go sweep the place out a bit.

Friday, September 20, 2002

It lives!

I always thought I had a reasonably high constitution; at least since about age 12 I don't get colds very often, and most of my lost productivity in the last two decades has been due either to clumsy injury or sheer laziness. But perhaps because I'm not out serving the buying public 50 hours a week these days, I seem to have become suddenly succeptable to a whole host of viral invasions in the last two weeks. I had an awful cold last week, and just when I thought it was over, this week I had a stomach thing so unexpectedly violent that I seem to have pulled a muscle in my abdomen. All this has not really been conducive to accomplishing housework lately.

Then this morning, I woke up and it was raining. To you, this may mean nothing, but to me it was like a dream come true.... Not only has it not rained significantly here for over a month, leaving my lawn crunchy and pale and my perennials miserable, but I am a rain junkie. I love listening to rain. I love the way it sounds, the way it smells, the distant rumble of thunder... and I haven't gotten the pleasure of waking up to rain more than once or twice this whole summer. It's been awful, I tell you! I was so happy I stayed in bed for a whole extra hour just enjoying it. BUT..... one person's bliss is another's misery. That wonderful rain of the a.m. hours turned into a storm of biblical proportions, and ushered in a huge-ass tornado which ripped its way across the south side of Indianapolis (as well as the outlying cities of Martinsville, Pendleton, Anderson, etc etc.) Cars flipped in the Greenwood Mall parking lot, not half a mile from the store where I used to work. I called to make sure Brian wasn't dead, and was told that they got to see the tornado go by up US 31, and the Wendy's where Keely and I used to go on break had the front ripped off it. Sheesh.

Monday, September 16, 2002

Remember that first posting back in August, where I was trying to decide whether to be depressed about the Apple Store job, or happy about the pretty flowers?

Friday I got a call (at what I thought was a pretty unreasonable hour of the morning, but then again I tend to be unreasonable later and later these days) from a guy at Apple Computer, wanting to schedule a phone interview with me for a sales position at the aforementioned store. We scheduled it for a more reasonable hour, later in the day, and the short story is, I now have a face-to-face interview set up for a week from tomorrow. So I might yet get a job with Apple. It may be part or full time, don't know yet. And while it's a step back to retail, I can accept that if I view it as temporary and if I'm selling stuff I enjoy playing with. But the best part is, the store's going to be in the SAME DAMN MALL where I spent 10 years working for the Game Preserve! Free pizza from Rudy at Enzo's....Cribbage with Dave and Jason on break time....hideously expensive coffee at Starbucks--no, wait. Nice locally owned coffee bought on the way in from Monon Coffee Company!

And on the flower end of the picture, I'm planning on ordering stuff from Burpee today. Lillies of the Valley and Bleeding Hearts. I'm assured they love shade. They better, that's all I can say.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

Note: while the time signature on this posting is September 12, I would like to emphasize again that it is still September 11 here in Indiana; I promised myself I'd update this today, and I did, no matter what Blogger says.

I didn't do anything special today. I'd thought that I should spend this September 11 doing essentially what I did last September 11: I sat around and felt sad, I fed the ducks in the canal, and I went and had a beer with my friends. I did not watch television. Those, to me, were all far more personally meaningful exercises than any kind of memorial service, or group therapy, or whatever else the media had planned for today.

But as it turned out, the only consistency was the lack of TV. There was a duck on the canal, but she swam off while I was getting bread. (Last year there was a whole family of mallards living right across from me, but this year it's wood ducks and they're far shyer and disinclined to eat stale baked goods. So no hard feelings.) No beer; I was running Runequest for the southside gang tonight, and it was a blast as usual, but by the time it was over it was too late for beer. And I wasn't sad, because little good things happened today, and life goes on, you know?

What were the little good things, you ask? Well, I heard back from the zoo, and I didn't get the job. Of course, that's not in itself good, I wanted that job! But the woman who interviewed me told me something I didn't expect, which was that I'd been a major contender for the job (!) and they had seriously considered me (!!) and that they may have another opening of a similar position in December, and they'd definately consider looking at me again if it does (!!!). So I guess I did have slightly more chance than a monkey at getting that job. It made me feel good to hear it, even if nothing comes of it. Then I heard from Lynn Willis at Chaosium (publishers of Call of Cthulhu RPG) saying yes, they were interested in my book proposal I sent them 2 months ago, and they'd also be up for having me do some map drawing work for them as well. And THEN I heard back from the car dealership saying they could fix my Mustang, and it was only going to cost me $550.

Ok, so that last one wasn't really good.

Sunday, September 08, 2002

Well, yesterday I wrote an informative and amusing account of my substitute teaching gig. Then Blogger ate it.


After I returned to my normal human form, I decided it wasn't all that amusing, anyhow. I showed movies, I gave out tests, I made some of the kids laugh and that's always a good thing. So guess I am good to go there, anxiety attack over. I think they may even call me back! And on the home front, I may get a private tutoring job this week. Thank you,!

For those of you keeping score, this is the last week during which I can maintain even a slight fantasy that I might get the cool job at the zoo I interviewed for in August. They said they'd fill it in a month; it's been 3 1/2 weeks. (If I hadn't told you about it already, basically it's an excessively cool job that I would absolutely love having, only I am totally unqualified for it.) Hmm, am I getting job-obsessed?

Thursday, September 05, 2002

Tomarrow, I do my first honest day's work in over 3 months.

Yes, tomarrow I substitute teach. For the first time in about 8 years, I will stand up in front of a class of high schoolers and implore them to not draw blood on one another for 40 minutes. It's at the local Jesuit prep school, so it's not exactly like I expect them to be armed to the teeth of course. But still, I can feel the tension slowly building in my brain. By tonight, I'll be unable to sleep soundly; in the morning, I'll wake up panicky at 5 am, dress and re-dress myself at the apex of the anxiety attack, be unable to eat a full breakfast, and therefore be wolfishly starving well before noon. All because of a buncha kids!

I'm not really sure why I'm so nerved up. Probably something to do with not having worked in a while, and something to do with not having subbed in a while....and something to do with wondering if my whole life is turning in a direction I don't really want it to turn. But I don't really have anyplace else to go, at the moment! And I really do enjoy teaching. So, introspective to the end, off I go! Look out kids, the physics sub is a little whacko...

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Natto, I am informed by reliable sources, is fermented (read: rotting) soybeans. And even the Japanese hate it. This explains why both the Iron Chef and the Challenger seemed to concentrating on covering up, rather than enhancing, the natural flavor of natto.

In other thrilling news, my front porch is finally fully painted. And this after only 14 months! Look out world, she's on a roll! Actually, since my parents offered to help me finish it, I can't even take credit for overcoming my own inertia. But at least it's done, except for the front door which I can't paint until I find something that'll take the sticky goo from a bad weatherstripping job off the door edge. Thanks, mom and dad! Now I just need to put all the furniture back where it belongs....ergh....

Sunday, September 01, 2002

I think I must be getting old.

I know I say that all the time, but honestly, the last couple days I'm thinking I might actually mean it! I went to the Ohio Renaissance festival yesterday with Stephen, Francie, Chris, and Heather, and it was just amazing--a truly awesome renfair! And yet, what did I spend most of the day doing? Choose from the following:

A) Dancing around the Maypole in a bar wench costume
B) Purchasing mighty weapons of steel for slaying enemies I don't actually have
C) Winning the golden arrow in an archery tournament, or
D) Whining, "It's hot. I'm hot. Can we sit down? I'm thirsty. Jesus, it's hot."

I mean, really! Not that I was likely to have done any of those first three things either, mind you, but I was such a total wuss! And then, when I got home, all I could do was fall over on the couch and watch Iron Chef (Natto Battle. What the hell is Natto? It looked like Soy Krispies Treats) and then go to bed, unable to wake up fully again until 9 this morning. Pitiful.

Friday, August 30, 2002

"He who juggles a cat, also juggles its fleas."

Or, in my case, flies. A few weeks ago I had a plague of flies in my house--large, nasty, slow-moving flies. You know I am highly adverse to killing things; the thought of mashing a bug brings unbidden to my mind thoughts of "What about his bug family? What did this bug ever really do to deserve squashing, other than being born a bug in the first place?" and by the time I'm finished the bug has crawled off anyway. I've lived and let live like this for a long time. But the plague of flies has transformed me. Two weeks ago I spent a couple days laying savagely about with a flyswatter, shouting, "Take that, you little bastards!" until I'd killed them all. I felt guilty, but at least the horror was over.

Last night I noticed four--no, six--maybe a dozen--small flies collaborating in the kitchen. I swear to god, it's like I'm living in freakin' Amityville....

Thursday, August 29, 2002

Hmm. Should I be bothered by the fact that blogger has no option for "Indiana time" in its preferences? My postings are being tagged with times from the eastern zone (which as you all know I'm a part of) but since we don't go on Daylight Savings here, the times are an hour off. Should I lie, and say I'm in the Central Zone? Should I suffer, knowing that this blog is an hour in my future at all times (at least until October?) Hmm....actually that's sort of cool....
"Open your door to a good day, and prepare yourself for a bad one."

I had two emails in my inbox this morning. One was a reply to my inquiry to about a job application I sent in over a month ago, for a position still listed as "open" on their web site. The email informed me, politely, that all positions for their Indianapolis store have been filled. So that's that. The other email was from, advertising their "Pansy Spectacular Sale."

So which one sets my tone for the day? Dashed hopes of regular employment and a discounted iBook? Or masses of colorful flowers?

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Yes, the day I said would never come, came.
I realized that I am just too darn lazy to keep updating the essays on my own site (The Lion's Den) regularly. So this will be my tiny, daily effort to remind the universe that I'm still here. And I still don't have a job. Not that there's anything wrong with that.