Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Velvet the Dungeon Master

Velvet is staying home today because he doesn't feel well. I'm having a hard time mustering up any sympathy since all last week, during his spring break, he should have been working on an essay but he's been playing Dungeons & Dragons until dawn with his buddies instead. This essay will complete his application to be a counselor at the Hippy Dippy Quaker Camp we all know and love up in Vermont. As it happens, half the time the kids who were over here playing D&D unitl 5:30am were his bunk mates.

If said essay is not ready to email the instant I walk in the door after work this afternoon, there will be Trouble in Mudsville. Since his 18th birthday is Sunday, and I haven't killed the little testosterone driven Aries by now, we can be sure the child will survive my wrath. Most likely, he's pretty sure he can survive anything I dish out because it seems to me like Velvet has had the upper hand for years. I can still make him feel exceedingly guilty, however, which I suppose is my role in life as his mother.

This Dungeons & Dragons game took over my living room roughly ten days ago. In general, I completely support this activity because the kids agree you can't be too stoned or it fucks up the game. Ergo: they have stopped Hotboxing his bathroom. Velvet knows I hate it when I get off the elevator into our hallway and can smell weed as soon as I clear the smell of heavenly Indian cooking that generally seeps through the second door on the left. That curry is probably what has saved us from being raided by the hostile hag at the other end of the hall - an unattractive high school teacher who Velvet and the girl who used to live next door called the wicked witch when they were little kids. I'm sorry to say she does look a lot like the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz only with a substantially bigger ass. In any case, I hate it when you can smell weed twenty feet down the hall.

Velvet originally started playing D&D as a camper up in Vermont. Many people will dismiss D&D as something just for geeks - and I would agree except that there's a female in hot pursuit of Velvet who has told him that she thinks it's sexy that he's the Dungeon Master. I doubt this girl has thoroughly explored the BDSM sites on line to see exactly what goes on in one of those sexy dungeons, but she's not the first female who swooned over a fellow with an air of confidence and control. Unfortunately, her attitude has contributed to Velvet's cockiness.

I have been warned by my mother to expect Velvet's cockiness to reach new and staggering heights as a high school senior. He's right on developmental cue, and I must confess it's kind of heart warming. He is a popular child and living in Menopausal World Headquarters increases his panache. Notably, most of his friends have much nicer apartments. We have always been hanging tightly on to the lower rungs of the socioeconomic ladder here in NYC, and since Velvet has always attended private schools, he was convinced we were poor. People thought we were nuts to take him to India when he was in fifth grade, but he's never said one dang word about us being poor ever since he was surrounded by beggars at the Taj Mahal who were his own age. Velvet may not have the cash behind him that other kids do, but his Coolness Factor has more than compensated.

One of his long time buddies from the Hippy Dippy Quaker Camp -- a formerly rich one who's father died in a diving accident, leaving the family so strapped for cash that the widow had to sell the experimental farm, the house in the Hamptons, and finally a Warhol -- has told me that the reason Velvet makes a good Dungeon Master is that he's completely random and retarded. I have since learned that his quick computational abilities enhance his Master Status. I always wondered what they were doing with all those goofy dice, and now I know that D&D requires a lot of statistics to determine exactly how much damage was inflicted by The Hydra, for example.

Between the mathematical computations and the reliance on mythical peoples, beasts, customs and weaponry, I can see how D&D got a reputation as a game for geeks without dates - especially since if you listen to them playing it sounds remarkably like Hercules has fallen into a chapter of The Lord of the Rings and started demanding statistics.

If they were stoned, they would never be able to do the math, and the argument about Mithril would continue for hours. They wouldn't remember the designated mathematical functions of the various dice.

That Velvet has spent his spring break developing his skills as a Dungeon Master indicates to me that he's figured out a way to enter into a college social scene. I imagine he'll be presiding over epic games in the freshman dorm since plenty of kids are RP Gamers (that's role playing, for the uninitiated). They may not have played D&D, they will certainly have played Grand Theft Auto or Halo.

Life at our house has improved dramatically ever since the Xbox broke. You can be UberHigh and play the hell out of Xbox - and that's why you would smell weed all the way down the hall in the first place.

So on Saturday night, in honor of Velvet's 18th Birthday, there will be a D&D Fiesta here at Casa de Trish. I may even bake an M&M cake, just like the ones I made for him when he was three, four, five and six.

Plugs for Friends:

If you happen to be in Austin, Texas before April 11, neon artist Ben Livingston aka beneon has a show up and running at the illustrious Continental Club upstairs in the gallery. I haven't seen the show yet since I won't get to Austin until the 10th - but I've known that Ben is a genius ever since he and my brother started hanging out in the 80's. Ben has one of those lives where you suspect all his major decisions are based solely on their entertainment value. He never fails to amuse. He describes the experience of performing in the world famous festival of Austin music, SxSW, at The Continental Drift.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Slice of the Truth

One day soon, I forget the exact date, will be the 13th Anniversary of my being released from the mental hospital. After I got used to the idea that I was in The Looney Bin, I enjoyed the few weeks I spent there - most likely since I had been beyond miserable for several months before the general consensus was that I needed to be locked up for my own protection.

Main drive, Four Winds Hospital, Katonah, New York

Suicidal Tendencies are a drag. I don't have them anymore, but they were full blown for a while which is why I was medicated into a coma for the following year. Although I always remember the anniversary of the day I went in - St. Patrick's Day, 1996 - I much prefer to celebrate being released since if I were really crazy they wouldn't have released me. I had good insurance.

I'm proud to say that this year I celebrate the anniversary for the first time without medication. It took months to phase off all the meds but I've been totally stable - or at least as stable as anyone every gets. I am an intense individual who has extreme reactions. Some have called me a Drama Queen, but that term is, in my view, entirely too small. Empress of Emotional Extremes is more like it. I had my drama queen crown before I went to Kindergarten.

There was a little girl in my class last year who would have worn a tiara every day if she could have gotten away with it - we'll call her The Mermaid since one morning at clean up time, she announced, "I am a mermaid. We don't clean. We sit on rocks and sing." I gave her a sponge to scrub the table with the assurance that she wasn't touching pastels or sparkles again in my classroom unless she cleaned up her own mess. She had enough sense to recognize who controlled the sparkles and sprang into action.

Watching The Mermaid over the course of some months, it became clear that she experimented with the emotional impact she could have on her classmates in much the same way some kids experimented with balance in the block area. When you're building a tower, you figure out how to support a tall structure using all kinds of sizes and shapes. Through trial and error, you grow proficient at judging what will balance and what will cause the entire thing to come crashing down. Same with the words you say to your friends and your tone of voice.

When one of the girls ran sobbing into my skirts, soul crushed to tiny bits by something The Mermaid had said or done, I sat down on the floor and looked The Mermaid straight in the eye and said, "Surely you didn't hurt her feelings on purpose?" We both knew damn well she did. Guilt washed over her smooth little face and filled her big, brown eyes. Her dainty chin tilted slightly as she formed a perfect pout, golden curls brushing her shoulders. I doubt she was a bit sorry, but she didn't like getting busted by me - with my own sparkling eyes and natural curls, flowing skirts and cozy bosom - the empress of sparkles and song. In our human essence, the only difference between The Mermaid and me is that her mom thought she farted rosebuds and mine would paddle my butt whenever I got too big for my britches. I remain grateful to my mother for making sure there was one less spoiled brat in the world.

There was another girl last year who was actually my favorite, although teachers aren't supposed to admit that kind of stuff. Well, maybe she was one of my two favorites. She's in the older class now, and we see each other on the playground. She still enjoys sitting in my lap and singing together. We actually look so much alike and have so similar a spirit that it's like having a window into myself at that age. This time last year, I watched her holding hands and skipping with her friends, and wondered how things might have been if my grandfather hadn't thought it was a good idea to introduce me to his penis while I was sleeping. I don't remember exactly what happened, and my therapist says that's just as well.

I had forgotten the whole incident until six years ago or so when Buzz Kill simply shut the bedroom door in the night. I opened my eyes at the sound of the door and saw Buzz Kill crossing the room a few feet away wearing blue oxford boxer shorts - just like he always did. We had gotten a new bed, though, and the height of the new bed put the ordinary sight of those boxers in a new position. Must have been about the same perspective I had that night when I was almost four. A few years earlier, I had begun to get a creepy feeling that there was something I didn't remember. Something significant. My shrink said not to push since the mind has ways of protecting itself, and I would remember if and when the time was right.

I guess that day was the day. For a while, I wished someone would make it all go away - but then I realized that as bad as it was, he hadn't killed me. I could be a victim or a victor. We choose who we want to be. Like the Rune Book says, "That which you are striving to become is what, by nature, you already are."

In one of life's little ironies, yesterday I saw myself on a movie screen in a theater - big as Dallas - in Amy and Kimberly's documentary. I was animated, outspoken, filled with good spirits and laughter. Not unattractive although I could be thinner. To me, my face looks like the moon - round and pale. Much too round, but shimmery pale, not at all sickly. I'm robust. I'm a bit surprised because in many ways, I'm still not quite sure who I am as an individual since I've defined myself by my relationship to others.

One of the festival's organizers said that Why We Wax is such a raucous film it had to go last because no one would have settled down enough to watch any of the other, more earnest films with appropriate respect. The small theater was filled, and these kind strangers laughed at delight at some of the things I said. They laughed a lot at what Mara said too. Neither she nor I were trying to make anyone laugh at all. We were just telling the truth. A tiny slice of it anyway.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Menopausal Stoners World Headquarters to Remain in NYC

The Universe has spoken: Menopausal Stoners World Headquarters will weather out the economic clusterfuck on Central Park West. Not because of real estate market conditions directly but because my next door neighbor, who has almost exactly the same apartment as I do, listed her dang unit a couple of weeks ago at less than Buzz Kill and I want to get for this one.

Simultaneously, Velvet has been admitted into New York State's premier university: SUNY Binghamton. Binghamton has worked very hard to compete with the Ivy League, and if you can believe all the press, has accomplished that mission. Velvet would prefer Binghamton over SUNY College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry because he already has friends to party with at Binghamton and the girls are more attractive.

Parties and Girls seem to be Velvet's highest priorities when it comes to choosing a college which is why University of Colorado at Boulder is his first choice. Notably, the only two college applications Velvet filled out on his own were University of Colorado at Boulder and Denver University. Everything else required substantial parental involvement which in our happy little home means plenty of attending drama since I will get theatrical when I'm agitated. In the meantime, Rice University has rejected the boy, and that suited him fine since he was flat ass opposed to living in Houston. Can't blame him for that. So his task is to convince Boulder that he should pay the same tuition to attend their school as the Colorado Residents.

All this college stuff will be settled by May 1 since that is when everyone has to sign on the dotted line.

I was still getting used to the idea of being here indefinitely yesterday morning when my buttroy assistant allowed a pot of candle wax she was melting for a project with the kids to ignite while simmering on the hot plate in the classroom corner. Most of the kids were over in the block area, and the fire never spread beyond the pot, but the moment did illustrate the bullshit involved in working with her. Making candles with a bunch of 3 and 4 year olds had been her big idea from the beginning, and she had convinced me that she knew 100% everything about making candles in baby food jars.

Having never made candles myself because the whole idea sounds like too damn much trouble to me, I was not aware that wax should be melted in a double boiler. I simply saw the direction she was headed and had informed the office that she was fixing to set off the smoke alarms in the building roughly three minutes prior to the pot catching on fire. Fortunately, the office is right beside my classroom, so I just had to shout for the fire extinguisher and they all came running.

The kids found the scene highly entertaining and were pleased to go to the roof playground a little early yesterday.

I was looking forward to "retiring" to Austin this summer, but it seems that all is right with the world anyway. My contract with Buzz Kill runs through 2012. Velvet is delighted that he can continue dropping popcorn all over the floor in familiar surroundings when he comes home from school. He couldn't have all his friends over to play Dungeons and Dragons until 4:00am and sneak a blunt on the terrace at Buzz Kill's primarily because (1) Buzz Kill has no terrace and (2) Buzz Kill carries on about disturbing Vagina Denata. As much as Velvet adores Vagina Dentata - who, for the record, loves Velvet to pieces - her apartment is not conducive to teenage activities. Plus Velvet would have to sleep in a maid's room that Vagina Dentata turned into an enormous walk-in closet. There's a twin bed in there among all the hats, shoes, handbags and clothing archives, but it's not an ideal location. Buzz Kill has been living in the room where he spent his own youth ever since he stomped out of this place a couple of years ago.

As a good Bokonist, I know that things happen As They were Supposed to Happen. There are worse fates than being forced to remain in a big, sunny apartment on Central Park West especially when the trees are finally fixing to burst into bloom.

Besides, as soon as Whole Foods opens across Columbus Avenue, my place is practically an Austin Outpost on the Upper West Side.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

March is Women's History Month

At Drunken! Careening! Writers! last week at KGB, I met a young woman whom I quickly came to admire. Her name is Jami Attenberg, and her third book is about to be published. We struck up a conversation about the characters in the piece she read - about some kids in a bar in Portland. They were authentic, well crafted and likable. They pulled you into their slice of the world in a way that made you want to stay.

Jami said she structures her life around being able to write. The places she lives, the jobs she does - everything practical and logistical about her life revolves around her commitment to writing. When I was younger, making career decisions (such as they were), it never entered my mind that such a choice was possible. I don't regret the choices I made at all, except that it would have been nice if I had had faith and confidence in stuff like Talent, Art, and Myself.

As much as I often lament the fact that my mother was not a bit encouraging when it came to me being a writer, I have to admit that from a practical standpoint, she was right. My mother never once told me to get married since she is philosophically opposed to being financially dependent on a man. The time I wanted to blow off college, my mother told me:

Patricia, the same man who says he'll love you and take care of you forever when you are cute and nineteen might get up and leave you when you are fat and thirty five. THEN what are you going to do?
I had enough sense to recognize The Truth and never considered dropping out of college again. It is worth noting that the world and I all accepted as a given that I would be getting married and having children, and any career ideas I had were secondary to that mission. When I discussed the possibility of being a writer with relatives and peers, the general consensus was that I was going to have to marry somebody who made a good living because most writers are broke.

The point I'm trying to wind around to is that although I didn't become a Real Writer when I was young, I'm finally in a position to turn my attention in that direction, and I have accomplished other things. For example, I can write lots of letters behind my name: BA, MAT, MSEd which means I have a decent, secure day job of my own with insurance. My marriage didn't last, but it could have been worse. We have a great kid, and he's off to college. I'm still young(ish). I have my own property. It would be nice to have a portfolio, but lots of people who had focused on retirement accounts and portfolios are thinking the same thing.

Years ago, when Velvet was a toddler, I was national advocacy chairwoman for a group women who had altered their career paths to care for their children called FEMALE. Formerly Employed Mothers At the Leading Edge. It's called Mothers and More now. The basic idea is balancing career and family. FEMALE believed in Sequencing - a woman can "have it all" just not all at the same time. Sometimes you throw yourself into your career; other times, you concentrate on your family. My own feeling is that in this society, no matter what anyone chooses to do with his/her life, a chorus of voices rises up to criticize. You can't help but feel guilty - and you'll probably feel fat when you stop to think about it - because no matter what you do and where you go, everything you do is wrong. It therefore becomes imperative to create your own support systems in order to counteract these critical voices. FEMALE was that kind of system.

Through my position with FEMALE, I was able to be a guest lecturer at Columbia Graduate School of Business in an entrepreneur class in 1996. The other Advocacy chair and I gave the class a reality check on the impact of children on your business plan. Watch a bunch of Ivy League grad students piss themselves when told it cost $22,000 for private kindergarten in New York City. Or $400/week for an illegal nanny. The whole experience was a bit disturbing, though, because the professor opened the day's discussion by showing a clip of some newscasters talking about the influence of old TV shows like Donna Reed on prevailing attitudes about Families. When it was my turn to talk, I introduced myself by saying, "Hi, I'm Donna Reed," since my entire lifestyle had just been held up as a stereotype in the clip.

A couple of weeks later, the prof sent copies of the reflections the students had written on the class, and fully 1/3 of the students in that prestigious academic institution thought I was really Donna Reed. No doubt they became investment bankers and stock brokers.

I haven't thought about that episode in a long time, but talking with Jami Attenberg reminded me that I've been Sequencing. And if you ask Velvet, he would think our little family really is a 21st Century version of Donna Reed. Imagine me having coffee with Donna in the sunny kitchen, me bursting with pride over Velvet studying environmental engineering in Boulder, Colorado - but pissed off because he swiped my dang bong.

For my next trick, we have to determine if we are relocating the kitchen table at Menopausal Stoners World Headquarters to Austin, Texas this summer or if we're sitting out the economic clusterfuck here on Central Park West. Meetings with real estate agents are already scheduled.

While Velvet is checking out SUNY college of Environmental Sciences and Forestry next weekend - where he has been admitted with an academic scholarship - I will be attending the New York Premiere of Why We Wax

Kimberly and her friend Amy made this documentary, and I'm in it. Women in Film and Television is sponsoring a film festival for SWAN Day. That's Support Women Artists Now. Apparently March is Women's History Month. Who knew?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Audio Pareidolia and Me

There is a goofy video making the rounds these days that illustrates a phenomenon known as Audio Pareidolia wherein people listen to something then hear words and patterns that aren't' really there. Here is the real version of O Fortuna from Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. Someone on YouTube thoughtfully provided the real lyrics and the English translation so we can see what is actually being sung.

Here is the version making the rounds. If you set aside the fact that the original lyrics are in Latin and simply listen with an English ear, these alternate lyrics make perfect sense.

I ran across this delightful tidbit over at Bruce's Blog. I can always count on Bruce to post something goofy that perfectly illustrates all manner of human beliefs. Aside from being good for a laugh, these videos resonate with me right now because they show the power of the mind to take a random experience and find a pattern or meaning that, while plausible, is in fact completely off base.

As it happens, the real lyrics reflect my current mood with striking accuracy except that I used to believe Buzz Kill himself was the oppressor not fate. Looking at the alternative lyrics, we see perhaps that fate is nonsense - although that could just be the valiant attempts of a pathetic human mind to find meaning in all the bullshit.

I have misinterpreted data before and come up with totally erroneous conclusions - generally because I am either looking through the proverbial Rose Colored Glasses and refuse to acknowledge something (or someone - like That Narcissist, for example) is in fact as awful as it appears to be. Other times I'm bumming out and see malicious intent where all parties could, in fact, be innocent of sinister motives. They may be stupid assholes, but they aren't members of a vast conspiracy. My recent conviction that Buzz Kill and Vagina Dentata are trying to render me irrelevant in Velvet's life falls under that category.

The fact is that I will never be completely irrelevant to Velvet no matter how much Vagina Dentata would like to see me burn in Hell. I may be guilty of coming up with Windmill cookies and an octopus in boots or knees and berries when in reality all we have is ordinary, typical family crap that goes along with divorces.

I do think I have a legitimate concern that Buzz Kill has gotten off very easily on the teenage discipline front because Velvet elected to avoid weekends with Buzz Kill. The one time Velvet went over there in January after the grounding debacle ended in Velvet telling Buzz Kill to fuck off and Buzz Kill getting irate enough to grab poor Velvet around the neck in what must have been a feeble attempt to choke off the defiance. Velvet left the premises and came straight home since Velvet has enough sense to avoid out of control bullshit.

Buzz Kill isn't normally violent and Velvet was intentionally provoking him. Buzz Kill and Velvet had a session with Velvet's therapist to clear the air, but this nasty scene perpetuated my being in charge of all the day to day parenting while Buzz Kill gets to arrange spontaneous lunches in China Town. God (or The Dog, if you prefer) knows I am not the only mother in the world who has had to deal with this foolishness from an ex-husband. To his credit, Buzz Kill has been adequately involved in Velvet's college application process, and under the terms of the divorce, Buzz Kill has to pay 75% of all college expenses.

I believe I'll insist on putting the college money in an escrow account when we sell the apartment so that Buzz Kill can't pay off his debts with Velvet's college money. It's my considered opinion that Buzz Kill drove the business into the ground because it was the only way he could get his mother out of the business without actually telling her that he didn't like having her as a business partner especially since she insisted on being the CEO and dressing like Alexis Colby. She even had faux antelope carpet in her office.

That's Joan Collins as Alexis Colby in Dynasty, not Vagina Dentata. Here is Vagina Dentata:

See - I'm not making this shit up.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Blogging vs Journaling and What to Do About the Accountant

Respect for other people can get in the way of lots of things you'd like to do for your own reasons. Take my date with the Accountant from Brooklyn last night.

I'd be pondering over the events here in blogland except that I'm pretty sure that no man would be comfortable with the idea that some goofy broad was wondering - in front of God and Everyone on the Internet - if he is restrained and cautious with amazing self-control or has erectile dysfunction. Or both.

Also there is the unfortunate possibility that Velvet might get a wild hair and read the blog. He knows all about the blog because when I first got the Statcounter and noticed the unusual reading habits of people in far off places, I would often speculate out loud on WTF - especially since in the beginning, I couldn't believe some clearly random events were, in fact, completely random. I have since learned from reading Bruce's blog about SuperSense that human brain is wired to find patterns where there are none - which explains some people's belief in The Almighty.

I frequently dismiss the Velvet Factor - but my dad occasionally checks in over here and there is nothing that embarrasses me more than my dad reading about my sex life.

And you also have to worry about hurting other people's feelings which is why I never discussed the abrupt end of the budding relationship with The Artist from the South of France. I told him about the blog because, at the time, I felt it was only fair that he knew he might wind up being discussed all over the internet by some goofy broad since, at the time, I still felt guilty for upsetting The Narcissist who was highly pissed about being called, in a public forum, a Cheap, Emotional Black Hole. I felt The Artist from the South of France should be warned about my potential for bad behavior. The Artist from The South of France still checks in here sometimes although not with his original frequency. Nevertheless, he was an innocent bystander in the Tricia Experience, and I would hate to be rude.

Clearly I don't give a flying fuck about the feelings of some people - namely That Narcissist, Doublewide, ShatAKing and The Dick with Ears. They were all so arrogant and offensive that they are merely reaping what they sewed. The Narcissist used to read the blog all the time to see what I'd said about him. He'd call me up to talk about something he'd read but I'd never told him, and it became a twisted form of communication between us. He is under the impression that I am so respectful of his feelings that I would never, ever say anything about his being a Narcissist on the blog again. My shrink felt it necessary to point out that I may not have been entirely honest with him, but apparently I have had a tendency to appease the people who make me the most angry - probably because Nice Girls don't express rage and hostility. We bake a peach pie and eat the whole thing instead. I'm glad to say I've been rehabilitated.

Some people say a blog is like a journal, and that's true to an extent because you do write down your own thoughts in your own Private Idaho. However, people leave comments on blogs which never happens with journals. Sometimes comments come from friends in real life, but more often they come from Private Idaho because my bloggy buddies and I don't have the opportunity to go out for cocktails.

Then there is the fact that when a person is journals, s/he never has to worry about parents, children, friends, would be significant others, etc. reading a journal entry. Everything you say is between you and the empty page. That is not the case with a blog.

All that shit I said about The Narcissist found it's way onto computers around the globe because people are always googling "narcissistic supply source," or "condescending narcissist." Other people google for panties which is why Gayle's Panties is on it's way to becoming a cult favorite. The panty fetish thing is a bit bizarre because it never occurred to me that there even were panty fetishers out there in the ether who would land on Menopausal Stoners every day on account of her underwear - or mine, for that matter, because I went on to ponder the condition of my own underwear and that post gets a lot of attention too. I went into detail about how I maintain the lingerie drawers in my dresser without the foggiest notion that I was providing a segment of the population with erotica.

Which brings me back to today's question: What to do with The Accountant. Clearly I need the sort of information that can only be gained from a road test, as it were, even though I know that no matter what, he's not long for this road. Sooner or later, this road leads to Austin, Texas and I already know damn good and well he ain't going on that trip. He's a nice guy in many ways, but when he and I were talking about birthday presents for two four year olds in his life, he clearly showed entrenched, outdated gender biases. Add that to his being so kosher he's never eaten lobster in his entire life and we already have some major lifestyle differences that make me wonder exactly what he's doing with this Shiksabelle - besides the obvious, which isn't so obvious to me right now since every man I've ever known would not have gone home so early last night.

It was all very pleasant, and any lesbian can testify that a fully functional penis is not mandatory. It's possible that The Accountant wasn't adequately prepared - but again I have to wonder if that means he didn't have a Trojan in his wallet or a Viagra. I already know enough about him to know if it was simply a Trojan issue, he's so gender biased that he would think it was bad form to ask me if I had any since that would suggest I was a loose woman. As if there weren't already enough evidence that I am a confirmed floosie and proud of it. Which makes me wonder if there's any reason to see him again at all what so ever.

You never know. I might be surprised, hang out with him a while and learn something. I've already fixed it so that he can't know about the blog, though. Ooops.

Thanks to Utah Savage and Liberality for this Sisterhood Award.

It's about the Sisterhood between Bloggers and I'm very appreciative. It's nice to be included in a group of women who are very thought provoking. They lift my spirits. I'm going to pass it on to Comrade Kevin, even though he's not a woman, because he's so self-aware and emotionally insightful that he should be held up as an example to everyone - men and women alike - as a remarkable individual.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Shooting Husbands

Long ago in a land far away, sixteen women shot their husbands within a two week period. It was in Houston in 1961, and the cops were responsible.

It seems that when women were finally allowed to put restraining orders on their violent husbands and ex-husbands, they kept calling the cops to come remove the offenders. The cops got tired hauling in the same fools all the time, so one day when a call came in from a distressed wife, the deputy who answered the phone said, "Lady, why don't you just shoot him?"

The rest is history - which I would verify if I could find the story on Google in 30 seconds or less. I can't though, so my mother's version of this tale will have to be taken as Truth.

As Mother tells it, within a couple of weeks sixteen men were shot. I doubt anybody got killed or it would have been a bigger story and I'd have found it on Google. I don't know if it was 16 men or 26 either, and it doesn't matter anyway. What matters is that the dang cops are the ones who told the women how to manage the shootings so they wouldn't get in trouble, and the women all thought it was a fine idea.

I know it's a true story because my father remembers hearing drive time disc jockeys at 5:00 rush hour warning husbands, "Don't be number Seventeen!"

I don't know if restraining orders were just becoming prevalent in the US, or if someone finally told women in Texas they had the right to protect themselves from abusive men. You never know about that stuff in Texas since the well known holiday Juneteenth came about because it's when the slaves learned they had been freed two and a half years earlier by the Emancipation Proclamation.

Even if I moved back to Texas tomorrow, I would get in trouble for shooting Buzz Kill. And I really don't want to shoot Buzz Kill. I just wish he weren't such a dumbfuck, aka Buttroy, about money. It has occurred to me that a major reason I was involved with three or four narcissists in a row during and after my divorce (Stonerdate 9.28.08) is that dealing with narcissists is so mind-boggling that I was completely distracted from being so enraged at Buzz Kill that I filed for divorce.

The Narcissist period was important to my personal development in all kinds of healing ways, but now that it's over, I can no longer ignore the steam coming out of my ears every time I talk to Buzz Kill about money. About anything at all for that matter since I'm so pissed about the money I can't see straight.

It'll be all right, though. Next year we'll sell the apartment, I'll get all my money and only talk to Buzz Kill when there's something going on that involves Velvet.

Velvet leaves on Sunday for a week long trip to Yosemite National Institute. Last year, Velvet went to Olympic National Park in Washington State. Before that Velvet went to Yellowstone. Velvet gets to go all over the damn place - but it's all for the good of humanity since he's fixing to become an Environmental Hero. He got accepted to the Environmental Engineering school at University of Colorado at Boulder in addition to SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. We're all very proud of our young Al Gore with Panache. His zits have even started to clear up.

Once his plane is in the air, I've got a date with the Nice Accountant from Brooklyn. According to the Weather Channel, spring will be in the air.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

John McCain Twitters, Lazy Assed Hippies and Scientists

Over at Cosmic Variance, the scientists are having a discussion concerning the ongoing derision of scientific jobs. It all started a couple of days ago when John McCain announced that he was going to, "tweet the top ten porkiest projects in the Omnibus Spending bill Congress is about to pass." When the list appears, McCain tweets:

$2 million “for the promotion of astronomy” in Hawaii - because nothing says new jobs for average Americans like investing in astronomy.
Cosmic Variance is the blog you can find on the Discover web site. Some people follow celebrities; I follow science. Anyway - the scientists are discussing the Us and Them stance many Americans have toward scientists in general in Scientists are not You and Me.

Given that we're only talking about two million out of trillions of dollars and Hawaii, being pretty dark and all, is a good place to look at stars - this project seemed pretty reasonable to me. Curious about the criteria for Porky Projects, I followed the links and wound up at John McCain's twitter account page and have discovered that he pooh poohs all sorts of projects that are good for wild life, the environment, the Earth and everyone's quality of life in general. No surprise. And it's no surprise he's very tacky, too. Another example from Mr. McCain's page:

$900,000 for fish management - how does one manage a fish...

It seems deliberately ignorant to mock this idea when people make money off raising fish. The very fish my own mother sometimes buys for dinner at Costco. You don't get any more Middle America than what my mother buys at Costco. So what's John McCain's problem?

That's a rhetorical question since it leads right to that damn Sarah Palin. And Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich and Tom Delay and all those people who would reduce greenhouse gasses if they'd just STFU.

Apparently McCain is all bent out of shape about earmarks, and Maureen Dowd quotes McCain's twittering in an Op-Ed piece on March 3. She's more concerned about Obama not doing more to live up to his promise to cut earmarks, I think.

Frankly this kind of argufying bores me into a coma since it all falls under the category: Things I Cannot Do Anything About. The Summer Boyfriend Reality Show, however, is something I can get behind -- just like finding a cure for the chronic headache associated with Buzz Kill and the Where's My Damn Money question. The thing about science, though, is that discoveries really do trickle down to benefit everyone.

In my classroom, we don't even separate Science into a different part of the curriculum because when you get down to it, science is all about making sense of our world. When a little kid is watching glue drip from a Popsicle stick into a bottle cap on a scrap of cardboard from a box it's just as much science as art even though "junk collages" fall into the Art category of the curriculum books. Comparing the way glue drips slowly (unless there's an awful lot of glue) and water spills all over the place in a hurry is also science - if a teacher will take a minute to look at the lesson that just poured out all over the floor.

If kids don't get time to explore the world through play and experimentation because we're force feeding them academics in Early Childhood - that's giving too much control to politicians who think reading is about the ABC song instead of understanding sound/symbol correlation. Which brings us to those damn standardized tests that have dominated education ever since Ronald Regan got elected and told white people to forget the sixties, go back to the suburbs and shop.

At Cosmic Variance, the scientists think nobody likes to fund their work because folks can't imagine having jobs as researchers, but they can imagine working construction. Ergo: people support funding construction projects but not scientific or environmental ones. Makes sense - and if you ask me, that's because for the last several years, too many teachers were caught in the trap of having to teach the test - so kids didn't have the opportunity to make sense of their worlds through experimentation and exploration. Those kids may have passed all their tests and become part of today's adult work force, but there is a big, fat hole in their education where their analytical thinking skills should be.

I know who I like to blame:
Conservative Christian, Right Wing Republican, Straight White American Males

Todd Snider (Peace Loving, Tree Hugging, Pot Smoking, Porn Watching, Lazy Assed Hippy)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Buzz Kill and Buttroys. The Beat Goes On

I've taken the major step of relocating my Match profile to Austin. Maybe it's the snow outside. Maybe it's the never-ending fight with Buzz Kill about his unfortunate tendency to forget that everything he does or doesn't do has an impact on Velvet and me.

This fight has been going on for almost nineteen years now - ever since we were in the middle of creating Velvet and I asked him if he'd put me on his health insurance. I had just quit my job in public relations to start teaching Mommy & Me art classes part time, so I no longer had health insurance through my job. Having a baby is an expensive proposition, and I wanted to make sure I was covered by his health insurance before I got pregnant - and if things continued in the direction they were going, I was going to be totally pregnant in about five minutes.

Buzz Kill declared that he had certainly taken care of the health insurance, and just as I thought, two weeks later I missed my period. Two weeks and one day later, I learned that Buzz Kill still hadn't put me on his health insurance. I knew it was a bad sign at the time. If the insurance was any indication of the way Buzz Kill was going to take care of his familial responsibilities, I was in deep doo doo. But Buzz Kill was very apologetic, and we had plenty of cash since it was the 80's. I figured that paying out of pocket wasn't a crisis considering that lots of couples spend thousands and thousands of dollars on fertility treatments.

Everything has turned out fine with Velvet - but the insurance incident was the first of a long, annoying list of half truths and bold faced lies that Buzz Kill has told about money. Buzz Kill was okay in almost every other way as far as husbands go. The money thing drove me crazy, though, since we were always getting sued because of his business, or the apartment went into foreclosure or the electricity was cut off. The weird thing with the utilities was that the minute I'd call Buzz Kill to say the lights were off, he'd call ConEd and they'd be back on in an hour. So why the hell didn't Buzz Kill just pay the dang bill in the first place? Why didn't I just pay the dang bills? Well, I couldn't pay the bills because Buzz Kill took all the mail down to his office and locked them in a drawer. I never had access to the bills. Sadly, Velvet and I were so accustomed to the bullshit with the bills that when we had the black out back in August of 2003 and the TV went off, young Velvet said, "Dammit, Dad didn't pay the bill again."

The only reason I filed for divorce from Buzz Kill is to protect the apartment. We'd still be married if that man could have shared financial responsibility with me. I don't think he had anything against me personally when it came to being partners. He had problems with Vagina Dentata, his mother and long term business partner. She's so intrusive that he has to be secretive to protect himself from her, and the marriage was collateral damage.

I won't deny it cut me to the core to realize that Buzz Kill was more committed to his own mishigas than to our marriage, but facts are facts. Like most everyone who has gone through a divorce, I was devastated. So devastated that I failed to notice That Narcissist was a big asshole when he started paying attention to me about a month after Buzz Kill moved out.

That's all ancient history. The residual anger, however, bubbled over last week when Buzz Kill was compelled to participate in filling out the FAFSA and CSS forms so that Velvet will get financial aid for college next year. Buzz Kill didn't like hearing that nobody cared about his finances anymore since Velvet lives with me. I did take the opportunity to holler at Buzz Kill about owing me $10,000 in back alimony. Actually, what happened was that Buzz Kill made some tacky remark about Velvet's friends being over on a school night (it was only 7:30 and his homework was done), and I told Buzz Kill that if he wanted his opinion to count for something in my house he could fork over my ten grand. Until then he could mind his own business. The conversation deteriorated from there.

All this Bull Shit with Buzz Kill is what prompted the thinking about justifiable homicide in Texas. I have to take a moment to thank Yellowdog Granny for coming up with the term, "Buttroy." I'm not sure anyone really knows what Buttroy means, but it's good to look at someone and say, "What a buttroy." In my mind, Buttroy is synonymous with Complete Dumbshit, and Buzz Kill is a Buttroy for sure.

Under the terms of the divorce, Buzz Kill will have to pay alimony and child support until 2012, but I'm getting it all up front when we sell the apartment next year.

Then I'm going to go to Texas, sit on my porch and drink a beer. I might even fire up the bong if Velvet hasn't swiped it again. I'm looking forward to that bright, shiny day when I can finally say: Menopausal Stoners World Headquarters in Austin, Texas. Menopausal Stoners World Headquarters on Central Park West is okay, but there is a fine tradition of having your world headquarters in Austin. Remember The Armadillo.

Armadillo World Headquarters by Sam Yeates copyright 2006

Like many outstanding elements of Austin culture, the Armadillo is long gone. Only the roof remains as a memento at Threadgill's on Riverside Dr. in Austin - I believe they're calling that place Threadgill's World Headquarters now. Last time I ate there, though, the chicken fried steak was not what it used to be. They had excellent chicken fried steak down the road at Shady Grove Cafe - which is on the site of a trailer park that had been there for as long as anyone can remember.

I believe that RV park is going to be condos if it's not already. Probably destroying the community with high rises - and hell, I may even buy one when I move back.

My profile has only been up an hour in Austin, and there's a new candidate for The Summer Boyfriend Reality Show. He's handsome, lives on the coast, has his own little airplane and an ocean going sail boat, and visits New York from time to time. Could be a buttroy, though.

And the Beat goes on . . .