Saturday, November 28, 2009

Moneypenny and the Patriarchy

I lost my temper yesterday and threw an empty beer can at Velvet. I wish it had been totally empty since a bit of liquid spilled on the sofa, and it wasn't really beer. It was a drink called Sparks which is a low rent malt liquor product some kid brought into the apartment. I'm pretty sure all malt liquor products are low rent, and I'm not sorry I threw it at him. I hit him over the head with an empty seltzer bottle a couple of years ago for the same reason: A disrespectful comment about an indispensable woman.

I smacked him on the head with the seltzer bottle because he said Smurfette was a ho. Yesterday, I threw the Sparks on account of he said James Bond could get along just fine without Moneypenny.

I'm nearly certain that on both occasions I was cleaning up the kitchen. Truthfully, I'm not certain what the situation was on the Smurfette day. I just know that I had recently purchased an ice blue wig for Halloween and was involved with Double Wide - that married man, adult child of Holocaust Survivors who gave me the opportunity to experience the world of the narcissists without much emotional connection. Forming emotional connections is tricky with adult children of Holocaust survivors because their ability to form attachments with others has been undermined since their parents got so thoroughly fucked up. There's all kinds of documentation about this phenomenon, and I know a little bit about it because I was at a period in my life where I needed to interact with emotionally unavailable men to sort out some personal issues.

If you ever need to work out your own mishigas by interacting with an emotionally impervious individual, a narcissist is perfect because they will not be damaged by anything a normal person says or does. It so happens that many adult children of Holocaust survivors are narcissistic, and there happens to be a number of them in New York City. I wasn't seeking out the second generation. I simply wound up with a few when I was dating fellows from Ashley Madison, the online hook up site for married people.

Note: It had been over a year since I filed for divorce but Buzz Kill wouldn't move out. I thought I needed to practice dating and didn't want to go on Match until my divorce was final. Ashley Madison made sense, although I have to say that the men were astoundingly self-centered. I could never understand why so many men thought I was looking for a new husband on a website where all the men were cheating on their wives.

The point is that I had just bought a blue wig when Velvet said something about Smurfette being a ho. Most likely, I was over identified with Smurfette on account of the wig although Smurfette is blue with blond hair. I would have been light skinned with blue hair which sounds remarkably like an old church lady but in view of my activities with Double Wide nothing could have been further from a blue headed church lady - which is probably why I was touchy about Smurfette being called a Ho.

It seems to me that when there is only one woman in an entire society, and sex is never mentioned in that society, it is exceedingly patriarchal to assume that female is having sex with every man in the village. I barely watched the Smurfs so I'm not going to talk about Gargamel and Papa Smurf (more patriarchs). I'm just saying that Smurfette was not pulling a train like some poor whore in the mining towns of the Old West. And even if she did have sex with multiple partners, that doesn't make her a "whore." To label Smurfette a Ho is a patriarchal, moralistic imposition.

Some people say that Smurfette was introduced to the village because the network didn't like all the speculation that Smurfs are gay. Others say it was strictly a capitalist trick to sell Smurf toys to girls. Wikipedia says that Gargamel created her for the specific purpose of causing jealousy and competition among the smurfs in order to cause their fall. None of that is relevant when when your son is being disrespectful to women. And to say that James Bond would be the world's greatest spy without the support of Moneypenny is just dead wrong.

The fact is that without an outstanding support staff, James Bond would have been killed early on.

We got into this discussion after some dumbass kid who was in my living room said that James Bond fucked Moneypenny all the time. I went into the living room and said, for the record, that James Bond never touched Moneypenny. Up until that moment, Velvet and I were in complete agreement. I went on to say that James Bond would have been up shit creek on several occasions but was saved by Moneypenny's foresight and efficiency and that James Bond had better sense than to risk pissing off Moneypenny, and Velvet was compelled to argue.

He was just talking shit in much the same way the boys do when they argue over who would win if Superman were fighting Spiderman, but as he kept arguing I got more and more pissed off.

The thing is that it's pretty damn foolish to argue with your mother when she's been facilitating your party for days on end and it's even more foolhardy to disregard the contributions of the support staff to someone who has been warming your pumpkin pie and doing the dishes after you're done.

We eventually came to an understanding and he apologized for hurting my feelings and said, in front of his friends, that if it weren't for Moneypenny, James Bond would be stranded in the airport without an assortment of passports, large sums of various currencies and clean shirts. Without his support team - and let's not forget Q - James Bond might as well be MacGyver.

When people don't recognize the huge amount of effort that carries the Talent, it reminds me of Katie Couric covering Katrina. Wardrobe had provided her with hip waders and other sundry gear to protect her candy ass. As she reported on the toxicity of the water, standing there safe and looking good, the camera crew was in sneakers and jeans - completely at risk to the very toxins she was going on and on and on about. Who got the glory? Katie Couric, not the camera crew, and in the end, not New Orleans either.

And who can we blame for New Orleans? Patriarchal assholes, that's who.

If I have to throw every beer can in the house at my son, I'll be damned if he grows up to be a Patriarchal Asshole. I threw out his pumpkin pie, too. That's what happens when you dis the folks in the kitchen.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Exoskeletons and Ear Pollution

Thanksgiving Day has never been one of my favorite holidays since I associate it with hassle. Of course, everything is what you make of it, so you can arrange a pleasant holiday for yourself - and others if you choose to include them.

My thinking about holidays is not dissimilar to the Jehovah's Witnesses. Whatever you're celebrating is not restricted to an artificially imposed calendar date. Actually, I don't know much about Jehovah's Witnesses and I'm not going to make the effort to learn about their beliefs because, frankly, I don't care. The point is that we should be thankful for all kinds of shit all the time. Anniversaries and Birthdays are tied to specific dates, but the reasons we celebrate them are not. I figure if you feel like throwing a party there is no reason to wait for the calendar to tell you to have one. If you don't, you shouldn't go through the motions just because everyone else is.

I would feel this way even if I had gotten enough sleep.

Velvet being home from college is much the same as when he was home before - further illustrating that there's no need to fret over an empty nest. Your daily activities and routines change when distance becomes part of the package, but that's about it. I'm pretty sure if I had to keep up this routine all year long for a whole other year, I'd collapse.

It's great to see all the kids again, even Cupcake who remains as aimless as ever (Cupcake and The Prom Stonerdate 05.15.09). I could have gone my whole life without the information that Velvet is currently engaged in selling hash for Mike The Russian. It's not a permanent arrangement, and the quantity is very small, but I wish to high hell I did not have this information.

I probably could have done without the information that he imagined himself turning into a dragon fly as he went to bed after an all-night adventure involving Mushrooms. Before Velvet went away to Tree Hugger University, I didn't give much thought to the types of substances that would be popular at the parties. Upon reflection, it seems inevitable that a bunch of ecologically inclined scientific types - particularly botanists - attending a college that describes itself as Hippilicious (a term I learned from the Senior Counselor at the Academic Success Center of Tree Hugger University) would lead straight to Mushrooms.

I'm not philosophically opposed to Mushrooms since they are organic, after all. I would prefer that he participate in All Night Adventures after exams, but he seems to have sorted out that particular detail.

The trouble is that when he was talking about turning himself into a dragonfly, he got enthusiastic about his skeleton turning into the bug's skeleton. I was compelled to point out that dragonflies have no skeletons. He instantly corrected my mistake by saying they have Exoskeletons. Their skeletons are on the outside. I explained that I knew all that - but they don't have bones. He maintains that an exoskeleton IS bones. I tried to tell him that an exoskeleton is simply a crunchy coating like on M&Ms at which point I was told to keep studying philosophy because I suck as a scientist. The coating on M&Ms is not a bit like an exoskeleton.

It's a good thing I got the hang of the eternal game of You Can't Win that children love to play with their parents long ago and already know that everything I say is wrong.

We started in on another round of You Can't Win at about 1:00 am when I had to get out of bed to let in one of his friends. I was happy to see her, actually. She's the one who needed a lesson in making herself throw up last year when she tried to drink as much as some of the boys. Sensible, attractive, stylish, bright young woman who is clearly not bulimic or else she would have already been proficient at barfing.

I just couldn't understand why Velvet had gone back out on the terrace with his friends when I had just told him that the doorman rang to say Isabelle was on her way up. He not only went out there, but he stayed out there so long he didn't hear the poor girl pounding away on the front door even though I'm confident all the neighbors heard distinctly.

Maybe he's gone deaf from the dang headphones he just got which can double as speakers. The brand name is Ear Pollution, and he used his emergency funds to order a pair exactly like this from Amazon:

Pretty Fly for a White Guy

In reality, you can never hear anyone at the door when you're out on the terrace, so that's no indication that he's deaf. It's evidence that he's still a dumb ass. I'm pretty sure these flashy ear phones are evidence that he's a dumb ass too. It's difficult to believe that the RA in his dorm says people are complaining about the music in his room when he's using a headset for speakers, but that's what he tells me.

What the hell do I know? I just know he thinks he needs a sound board for Christmas and his sister the pole dancer has offered to arrange an internship for him with some hipster DJ sound engineer. She's babysitting at this very moment. A celebrity mom whose children attend the school where Gigi teaches gave her regular nanny the weekend off, so Gigi has the children this morning at the Macy's Parade. They have tickets somewhere conspicuous in the stands. Public Relations people like celebrities in the audience at televised events such as The Macy's Parade. They will have Gigi, today, though, in addition to the celebrity ex-boyfriend who fathered the celebrity mom's first child. I believe the second child was adopted from war torn Africa after the Celebrity Couple were on the skids. The bio-dad is with his own child for the parade, and Gigi is in charge of the sib. The four of them will be picturesque since Gigi has the striking mixed race look of a J Crew model. There is sure to be some speculation on their relationship, and Gigi enjoys that sort of thing.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Velvet on the Horizon

Velvet will get home Tuesday evening. Most colleges make arrangements for buses to run from the student union to Port Authority at school vacations at a reasonable, affordable fare. He has already asked me to come pick him up at Christmas and take him back in January - which would cost four times as much, but I'll probably do it since I like the idea of having him all to myself in the car. Now that I take Route 17 through the Catskills instead of the crowded, annoying interstate through New Jersey and Pennsylvania, it's a lovely drive. Riding in the car with Velvet is especially fun because he sings along with the CD player so enthusiastically that he occasionally howls like a hound dog.

That reminds me: I have to make an appointment for him to get a hair cut while he's here. As I was drifting off to sleep last night, I was wondering how it is that I seem to have more money than I thought I would lately. The explanation is, in a word: Velvet.

As it happened, a number of the folks who were supposed to come to the Gemini Party after their performances on Saturday apparently went home to bed instead. That suited me fine since the idea of jumping up at 11:30pm to play Hostess to a room full of buzzing actors sounded exhausting at about 11:00. Apparently, this sort of thing can be expected now that they are all approaching or have passed the 40 year mark.

We old poops get tired.

Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to hold off on opening the hemp chips and smokey peach salsa from Trader Joe's until I saw the whites (or reds) of their eyes so that there is now an abundance of snacks for Velvet and his buddies. I haven't decided what to do about Thanksgiving dinner since it's only me and the boy. He's waffling between ham with mac & cheese and turkey with mashed potatoes. One good thing about HQ is the ease of food shopping in the neighborhood. Between Whole Foods and Fairway, we're set. We're in especially good shape since I loaded up at Trader Joe's last weekend.

For the record, Menopausal Stoners prefers Trader Joe's to Whole Foods. Whole Foods does have an excellent selection of "gourmet" kind of stuff - but for that, we'll go to Zabar's or Fairway. I only go to Whole Foods for the salad bar. Nevertheless, it's handy to have Whole Foods across the street. We just always have to remember that Whole Foods ultimately sucks because of the boss, John Mackey. I maintain that there is no point boycotting somewhere that you can't afford to patronize in the first place - but I always bring my Trader Joe's shopping bag to carry my purchases home. I may buy a couple of things at Whole Foods, but I'll be damned if I'm advertising it with one of their paper bags.

While we were drinking punch and listening to Ella Fitzgerald on Saturday, my dear friend Kyle mentioned that an acquaintance was working hard to make the MFA program for creative writing at Hunter College an attractive, affordable degree program to compete with NYU and The New School. It never occurred to me until that very moment that I might need an MFA.

I had been kicking around the idea of going to Teacher's College at Columbia for a PhD ever since Woody and me started talking about Curriculum Theory. Until I started talking to Woody, I never knew there was such a thing as Curriculum Theory since I've been too busy floating ping pong balls in the water table. Once he mentioned it, though, I ran with the idea because of course there are lots of good, theoretical reasons to mess around with ping pong balls.

At the moment, I'm ideally situated to go back for another degree as long as it doesn't wind up costing too much money. Columbia is pricey, but I hear that PhD candidates get all kinds of financial support. The thing is, though, that I'd rather be working on my personal writing projects than piling Early Childhood training higher and deeper with a PhD.

An MFA in Creative Writing from Hunter would be just the ticket. Ergo: I need to get my fifty year old self over there tout de suite to determine if this idea is as good as I think it is. I'm happy to say that as soon as my mother heard that an MFA wouldn't drive me into debt or cost her any money in any way shape or form, she was in total support of the plan.

In addition to popping out of Hunter with a completed manuscript, I'd have the benefit of total hand holding through the publishing process in New York City. I need a lot of hand holding sometimes because I'm a chicken. The prospect of finding a handsome professor for hand holding purposes is an attractive idea, too. Or maybe a charming grad student. There will be straight men at Hunter who are not married and not the fathers of small children. When you teach preschool, finding a Single, Straight Man with No Small Children is virtually impossible.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Matters of Trust

Since I started turning fifty last spring, I've been examining my identity. We create and polish identities here in blogland. I've been developing and understanding the narrator, PENolan, and recently changed her avatar to my picture which is fitting since she's me. I haven't got that one quite sorted out yet.

I'll be turning fifty at least through New Years. I figured that a fiftieth birthday required more than one party. I didn't realize that my 49th birthday dinner was the beginning of the occasion. I was with The Man from San Antone. I'm particularly grateful to him at the moment because he sent a cash infusion just in time for the Gemini Party on Saturday. It's not as much as I asked for or wanted - but it's enough, and there's sure to be more where that came from. The good news is that it's the sort of amount that qualifies as a gift as opposed to a loan. Not that we've discussed repayment. When I went for the big amount, I swore I'd pay him back, but he's never mentioned it. Some people might think my instant dismissal of repayment shows that I'm untrustworthy, and I admit that in certain contexts, perhaps you're supposed to keep your word. I do keep my promises when I actually say the words, "I promise." If those specific words have not been used or if I haven't signed anything, agreements are as light and variable as the wind.

I am, however, consistent and dependable. Dependability is a lot like being trustworthy.

Some people may think this cartoon shows that Lucy is terminally untrustworthy, but I say Lucy is as reliable as Old Faithful. As sure as the sun rises and Mr. Moose's ping pong balls fall.

This clip is all from the color version and the Captain looks kind of scary - but it's the best I could find.

Both Lucy and Mr. Moose would probably stop playing with their targets if those guys were sincerely distressed because they aren't evil characters. They are both simply following their essential natures, and their interactions become fixtures in the cosmological landscape of their worlds.

I'm not sure that playing games with someone counts as untrustworthy anyway especially since the nature of games involves strategic thinking and outsmarting your opponent. Mr. Moose is certainly playing a game with the Captain, who is certainly playing along much like grown ups play along with little kids. Lucy, on the other hand, makes a point for Charles Schultz, and even though a person may be playfully proving a point, s/he is serious. Serious intent always spoils a game. Friendly competition is one thing, being seriously intent on winning is no fun.

Either way, though, both are acting according to their natures just like in The Tao of Pooh. The task of uncovering your Pu is tricky. In Taoist terms, P'u is a sculptor's uncarved block - something in it's most simple, natural state. In Winnie The Pooh, Pooh is Pooh which is much the same thing.

Charlie Brown's trouble is that he expects Lucy to go against her nature. He trusts that she'll act the way he wants her to - and as I recall, she usually swears up and down that she will, but that is also in accordance with her nature. The readers know that they can trust Lucy to yank that football aside at the last instant, and on some level Charlie Brown does too - so Charlie Brown on his back lamenting his own gullibility doesn't make Lucy untrustworthy. It's the same as expecting Barack Obama to act like someone other than a politician. He may be more liberal than George Bush, but he's still a politician. If we're flailing around on our backs like cockroaches, it's because we had a fantasy.

The Man from San Antone both trusts me implicitly and doesn't trust me any farther than he can throw me. He understands my nature. My high school friend, Cretin Vodka, who may or may not still be mad at me for being untrustworthy, was told in no uncertain terms by all our common friends that trusting me, particularly in an emotional context, was a bad idea. And I will confess that I felt remorse as he was lying stunned on his back after I'd yanked away the proverbial football. But I couldn't feel altogether guilty on account of it never made sense to me that somebody would trust me in the first place.

Which brings us back to my quest for influences on and illustrations of my essential nature. This song is an illustration, but Granny the Ho was the original influence.

Monday, November 16, 2009


I'm getting ready to read at KGB on Thursday. I fleshed out the story of the Drunk Girl in the Bathroom which was on the blog last year which should take about 7 - 8 minutes and then I'm reading a chapter from that book I've been talking about forever.

Here's an excerpt to prove the book is not a figment of my imagination. It's about what I was thinking when Velvet was a tiny baby.
Fortunately, the baby started smiling at me after a few weeks and I finally had moments of tenderness, but it was still like being trapped in the house with someone on acid. He stared at his feet in fascination. He’d be peaceful then start screaming for no apparent reason, completely freaked out by his own stomach growling. Nobody – not the nurses, not the OB/Gyn, not my own mother, my grandmothers, nobody in the books and especially not the other mothers at breastfeeding support group – nobody ever mentioned that it was perfectly normal for a new mother to feel so thoroughly overwhelmed that she might imagine locking the baby in a closet under a few pillows until he stopped crying. So naturally I thought I was the only mother who hated having a baby, and being a grown woman with a nice husband and home, I didn't have a good excuse for giving this baby away like I would have if I were a 16 years old crack whore.
There are lots of things I won't talk about in public because I am afraid people will holler at me. Talking about hating the baby feels just as socially unacceptable, but I have a feeling that lots of people hated it when their kids were infants and will be glad the topic is on the table, although this week at KGB, I'll probably be one of the few people there who is a parent. The audience for Drunken!Careening!Writers! tends to be Gay/Lesbian/Bi Singles. I've seen some straight men there, but the only time I ever got a date from KGB it was with the man who owned the joint which wasn't bad, but it wasn't much either -- most likely because he could be considered sexually ambiguous himself.

Actually, I'm pretty sure some women have mentioned hating the baby in the beginning in recent parenting books or books about women's issues. I'm a woman and I'm a parent, but that's not what the book is about.
As it happens, the book is about sex.
And that's all I'm saying on the internet.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Existentialism and Grace, with soundtrack

I don't pretend to know what he's talking about in this song.
I just need to hear it every now and then, especially when I'm feeling hopeless and lost.

This one too:

The need to hear the song has got something to do with healing.
We all have wounds that need to heal.
Just when you think you're okay, you're lost and filled with hopelessness again. Old pain? New pain? New Pain that triggers Old Pain that triggers the plunge into despair? Who cares? It all sucks.

Sometimes when you reach out, you'll find somebody there to surprise you with understanding and wisdom.

Other times you reach out into nothing. The isolation is particularly crushing when you think there is a bridge between you and someone - actually, you know it and you can see it. You can stomp on it, hear it and feel it solid beneath your feet. But when you reach out to that someone, you're still alone, bewildered and afraid, crying in the dark, absolutely unlovable.

That's when I used to want to kill myself.
I'm pretty sure I didn't really want to die. I just wanted the hurt to go away and it seemed like dying was the only thing that would surely stop it. I already knew I could knock myself into a coma with drugs and that wouldn't work.

Eventually, I learned that it was safe to let the sadness take over. To sit with that permanent despair, alone except for my tears and tissues,and stay there long enough to see that my Self was waiting there. Maybe that's what it means to be beside yourself - conscious mind beside unconscious self.

Maybe you've got to be beside yourself before you find grace.
I'm thinking that red rain has something to do with grace.

Some people might say that I didn't find my Self, I found God, but I'm pretty sure that if there's a god s/he'd give us internal peace. It's not unlike pleasuring yourself which some people would call Godless or Sin - but they're the ones who depend on God the Patriarch. Since there's no way to prove or disprove god - and I'm sitting here in a state of grace, I can't see that the phenomenological distinction really matters.

Sometimes you have to quit analyzing shit out of existence.
You just have to be.

You can count on finding yourself in the same place again soon enough, but next time it won't be nearly as desolate. And you don't have to have mousy hair, either.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pondering Christians

According to the person who made the video, when David Bowie sang this song, he was exploring the writings of Aleister Crowley. In his day, Crowley was called "the wickedest man in the world," possibly because he was a notorious hedonist, bisexual, drug experimenting social critic (Wikipedia). I only learned that stuff today when I was trying to find the video. I originally heard this song because my mother listened to a Biff Rose album called The Thorn in Mrs. Rose's Side over and over and over again when I was a little kid.

I've been pondering my theological foundation lately. I'd have to say I'm a Universalist Christian, but I hate to call myself a Christian on account of so many Christians are perfectly awful people making a mess of everything they touch. That twisted group at C Street call themselves Christians, and so do countless suburban dumb asses who think they found a good place in the parking lot because God loves them Best. Of course, most of these people would say Universalists are going to Hell, but they call themselves Christians. I don't want to have anything to do with those people which is difficult since they seem tirelessly intent on being the boss of everything.

As I understand it, Universalists do not think there is any One Right Way to enlightenment. Further, I can't say that I believe in God per se since belief about God, and everything else when you get down to it, is all in the mind anyway which brings us back to Fill Your Heart by Biff Rose and Paul Williams.

I only learned that Paul Williams had been involved in writing this song today, too, which made me think that it's pretty easy to dismiss anything that could be attributed to Ewoks.

Warm Fuzzies notwithstanding, the idea that people need to let go of their own xenophobic fears so the world will be a better place is compelling. We see these societies in Sci Fi all the time, perhaps because Science Fiction is the only place where societies that are based on open-minded compassion can actually exist.

I wasn't particularly surprised to read that Aleister Crowley experimented with drugs and may have been behind David Bowie's choice to record the song since the lyrics remind me of the way you think when you're tripping - or to be more historically accurate, the way we thought back in the late 70's at North Texas State University when we were tripping on the acid somebody cooked up in a bathtub and sold to a school full of jazz musicians.

Given that Timothy Leary has been credited with spawning the New Age movement with his book High Priest, I think it's safe to say that the philosophical underpinnings of our tripping came from that vein of thought. It was all about Love and An Open Heart and Mind. And so is that Biff Rose song my mother listened to over and over and over again when I was a little kid which evidently became a central influence in my personal theology.

It doesn't really matter if you believe in God from a Kabalistic view or the Christian view. Or if you view God not as a being at all but more like The Force in Star Wars, or The Colors of the Wind in Disney's Pocahontas. Or if you don't believe in God at all. Your spirit is the key. I'm much too much of an existentialist to say "eternal" spirit because, in the end, it doesn't matter whether the spirit is eternal or not. What matters is how we live our lives.

Looking at America today - with all the rancor about Gay Marriage and Health Care, not to mention endless wars, crime and whatever other bits of reality that make you want to hide under the covers forever - I'm wishing that I could go live with aliens like in Cocoon. It's easy to blame Congress, Christians or Corporate Greed, but all kinds of people in all walks of life are ruled by fear, anger and suspicious self-interest.

All the Yellow Submarines in the world won't free those minds, and they make up the dominant culture. I truly believe that Love, in a universal sense, could cleanse those minds and make them free - if only they weren't tragically and dramatically afraid. Frankly, I don't understand what is so damn scary. Romans don't like it when people try to take away their power and their money which is why Jesus had to go. And most Americans today, regardless of the religion they claim as their own, are simply petty little Romans fiercely clinging to their sorry status in this socio-economic hierarchy we call home.

It's no wonder a lot of us turn into recluses smoking weed.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Marijuana and Mercy

My visit to Tree Hugger U was pleasant and productive. It looks like Velvet simply needed a bit of parental support and encouragement. When he said that he wasn't cut out to be an engineer and thought he should be a DJ for raves, I told him that the next ten years of his life were meant for exploration and as long as he got some kind of degree and a day job, he should follow his bliss.

The next morning over a Grand Slam breakfast at Denny's he announced that he and his buddy Mad Max want to go to Cannabis College in California. I said that was fine by me and that when it was time to sell this place on Central Park West, I'd be happy to stake him.

Years ago, when I lived in Austin, my vision for the future involved being a cool old lady with a long, gray braid sitting on my wrap around porch in the country. My biggest problem would be keeping my horses out of my pot plants. At the time, I figured on living in Bastrop or Gruene. Since I'm pretty sure the Baptists will still be in control of Texas when it's time to sell HQ, maybe we'll move up to Lake Tahoe with that side of the family. Then again, Vermont might have medical marijuana before long. I always liked it up there, too. I found this video in my inbox this morning from a dear friend who shares my enthusiasm for hemp. He didn't even know Velvet wanted to go to Cannabis College.

We must all remember that life in America today would be very different if it weren't for the corporate interests that banned hemp production. I think it was the cotton growers, but I may have the story wrong. I refuse to speculate on any changes that may or may not occur in America now that the health care reform bill passed the House. There's still the Senate, and plenty of BS will be served up in the meantime.

Who knows? Maybe it's time for all those Insurance Company execs to get behind Medical Marijuana.

The original Cannabis College is in Amsterdam. I could go there my own self. People are always telling me I should open my own school. I could start a Cannabis Campus in Lake Tahoe. The funny thing is that I know for sure my mother would be proud. Hell, the Cannabis Campus could be a new family business. Stranger things have happened.

Driving home down I-81, just as I was passing the road to Ithaca, this song came on the CD player. Somebody I used to know went to school in Ithaca and the verse about the brother reminds me of him. He also seems to be trapped behind fear and doubt. He was weighed down by his baggage, for sure, and could use some mercy just like every single one of us.

Right now, one of my buddies is having the final stand-off with his parents because they are convinced he's going to Hell for being Gay. More "Good Christians," so entrenched in harsh, judgmental bullshit that they'd condemn their own child. Like other Good Christians, they are convinced they are right to be harsh and condemning. Like God approves of their fucked up attitude. Now that I think about it, that bastard Jehovah might have approved - but he was an invention of the patriarchy, if you ask me. Besides Cat's Cradle, I get most of my theology from Christopher Moore's book, Lamb: The gospel according to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal.

It all starts when Biff observes Joshua and his little brother at the village well. The little brother smites a lizard on the head and kills it, then Joshua puts it in his mouth and brings it back to life. Then the brother smites the lizard again, and Joshua brings it back to life again. Biff thinks that's a fine game and decides to make friends. Joshua and Biff eventually set out in search of the three wise men. It's a well-researched, satisfying, funny look at what Jesus was trying to accomplish.

Sadly, there are plenty of folks in every religion who are judgmental, unhappy, critical, self-righteous and isolated which brings us back to Mercy and, quite possibly, a future as a marijuana grower.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The King of the Halloween Party

I'm off to Tree Hugger University.
You might say that Velvet needs an intervention - at least that's what Buzz Kill thinks.

The last few weeks have been tricky as far as Velvet has been concerned. I'm not exactly worried, but I have some work to do, and I'm fixing to head out to the hinterlands to do it. Buzz Kill, on the other hand, is fraught with anxiety which makes him so completely unpleasant that he's not invited.

The issue is Velvet's grades if you can call them that.
He has a D in Calculus. Velvet never got a D before.
Velvet has never been King of the Halloween Party before either.
In my view, the two are inextricably intertwined.

There are a number of factors involved. When Buzz Kill and I were up there for freshman orientation, the three of us met with the boss of the Office of Disability Services at Big, Beautiful Private University. Tree Hugger University, a SUNY school, is integrated into BBP's campus so that they share a lot of stuff like dorms and dining halls. libraries and student services. The young science and math majors up the hill at Tree Hugger take all their liberal arts and language classes at BBP. We had to make sure that the BBP office had all the documentation outlining Velvet's accommodations - such as extra time on tests, a distraction free environment for testing, note taking services, an audio version of his text books on CD as well as individual tutoring. BBP takes care of most of them, but the tutoring comes through Tree Hugger. Since the beginning of school, Velvet has been supposed to set up this tutoring.

Most likely, Velvet is unhappy about being a SPED - a special ed kid - and just wants to be like everyone else. It is not unusual for kids, particularly 18 year old boys, to get to college and act like their issues have magically vanished. He has never been good at admitting he needs help which means he absolutely doesn't know how to ask for help either.

Meanwhile, Velvet was spotted at a party by the daughter of one of Buzz Kill's friends. As it happens, Buzz Kill has an old, dear friend who is married to a woman that teaches English at BBP. This couple - who was at our wedding - have a daughter who is a month older than Velvet. She's not at college this semester due to their own personal family drama which is why she happened to see Velvet at a party the other night. In response to questioning from her mother, the girl said that Velvet seemed very energetic at the party. When Buzz Kill heard that, he concluded that Velvet was taking extra Ritalin.

That's when Buzz Kill called me in an enraged panic, reporting that Velvet said he hated me and wanted to go the school far, far away from us because we were up his ass all the time. I'm pretty sure he told me about the D in Calculus during the same conversation. I was pretty pissed off about the D, but told Buzz Kill that the extra Ritalin idea was about the dumbest thing I ever heard. I suggested we needed to be looking at something infinitely more mind altering than Ritalin, but Buzz Kill wouldn't hear of such a thing.

I understand about Velvet's issues in every way a good mother can. I'll be taking the blame for those issues for the rest of his life, after all. We all know that if it's not one thing, it's your mother - although in my view, it's preferable to blame everything on Buzz Kill.

Put the LD/Sped stuff together with being exceedingly annoyed at his father's aggressive, attacking whine, and Velvet stopped picking up his phone.

After a few attempts, I got a hold of Velvet who said, first of all, that he never said he hated me. He said he hated US for being up his ass all the time and he felt like going to school out of state. I pointed out that Velvet is the one who couldn't find three minutes in the last two weeks to email the program coordinator at the Academic Success Center. I hadn't talked to him for more than 15 minutes during the month of October and had sent money and cookies. If he wanted to see "up his ass" wait until he's flunked out of school and has to live with Mudgie in Texas because I'm so pissed he's not safe in this apartment. He said I didn't understand and hung up the phone - although he said "good bye" first. Then I called back and left a voicemail saying he couldn't get into the University of Afghanistan with his grades, so he better think about his transfer options while he was doing everything else in the world except arranging for tutoring.

Then I proceeded to call every ten minutes for a while, but Velvet wouldn't pick up his phone. Since it was clear that Velvet wasn't going to talk to me but that he needed to talk to somebody, I left a message for his shrink. Velvet has been seeing Mr. Laidback since the evaluation he had in eight grade indicated that we needed to address his anxiety. Velvet has always felt comfortable with Mr. Laidback because Mr. Laidback is familiar with Hippy Dippy Quaker Camp. Velvet has always said that he felt most able to be himself at Hippy Dippy Quaker Camp, and Velvet felt Understood by Mr. Laidback.

I figured that if Velvet wasn't going to talk to me, he could talk to Mr. Laidback. Buzz Kill approved this plan which is good since he has to pay Velvet's therapy bills. Mr. Laidback was concerned when I told him what was going on. I left a message for Velvet saying Mr. Laidback was going to call and that I wanted him to have a phone session. The next day, I called Velvet to say Happy Halloween. He answered the phone and agreed to my request. They'll be talking this afternoon while I'm driving up to Tree Hugger U.

While I was relieved that Mr. Laidback and Velvet would be talking, I decided over the weekend to take Friday off for the specific purpose of dragging Velvet into meetings with both the program coordinator and the senior counselor at the Academic Success Center. Velvet had spoken the the senior counselor back at the beginning of October, roughly one month after he was supposed to talk to her. He was miffed because when he called, she didn't know who he was.

Eighteen year old Male Ego? Typical reaction of a kid who went to a school with a total enrollment of 250 students, K - 12? Since second grade Velvet has had almost exactly the same 36 kids in the grade which was broken into 12 kids per class who were broken into smaller groups for classes like Math.

When I called Velvet on Monday night to say I would be there on Friday for these two appointments, he was prepared to give me an attitude and wanted to know why I was coming up there. When I told him that I felt sorry for him and was coming to help, he was surprised. Buzz Kill had told him I was furious and coming up there to kick his ass. Actually, Buzz Kill wasn't altogether wrong. I was furious at Velvet's lack of initiative in the tutor department compared to the superior motivation he showed at finding parties. He particular enjoys the parties at the fraternity with a six foot bong.

I knew something like this was going to happen last year when somebody left a drunk girl in the bathroom (Stonerdate 08.20.08).

When I told Velvet that his father had heard through the friend's daughter that he seemed very energetic at one of these parties which convinced his father that he was taking extra Ritalin, Velvet and I both had to sigh over the obtuseness of Buzz Kill. Then Velvet said, "I was rolling on ______ and it's the best drug ever! I was King of the Halloween Party!"

He danced around with glowsticks all night and says everyone wanted to dance with him. Maybe it will wind up on youtube.

I'm not particularly worried about this incident because it's not as bad as all that. The guys I hung out with did worse and most of them graduated, got jobs and became responsible members of society. We didn't have youtube in those days, but hopefully the child was masked since it was Halloween. Now that I think about it, me and the Man from San Antone hosted similar parties years ago in the Austin, Texas of myth and legend.

It was as a result of those parties that I could impart this wisdom to Velvet:

When you're at a party
and you're tripping,
and the police come to the door,
let somebody else open the door.

Happily, when Velvet was in Kindergarten, I had the foresight to take him over to our local precinct and asked the desk sargent to show him where the guys had to sit when they didn't listen to their mother. She was a little, round Latina and embraced my request with enthusiasm and vigor. She even took him into the holding cell so he could get a whiff of that industrial strength disinfectant. People thought I was crazy at the time and that giving my kid an individual tour of the precinct bordered on abuse. It did scare the living shit out of him so thoroughly that he remembers it to this day which is why I maintain that it was brilliant.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Boarder Patrol

I'm cleaning up the apartment because I've got a boarder. Actually, there are two people coming. I'm told the woman is a butch lesbian who used to be a corrections officer. She has Joan Jett's autograph tattooed on her arm. I don't know anything at all whatsoever about her colleague. I'll find out tomorrow night when they arrive.

She had arranged housing for the week while they are in town to work on a project for Comedy Central. Sadly, when they got to that apartment, she says it looked like a crime scene so she sent out an SOS to her friends. That SOS was received by a dear friend of mine who had a front row seat to the miniseries that took over my living room a couple of years ago involving Gayle The Hillbilly Hustler, aka Cousin Rhonda Gayle Texas Ranger (Stonerdate 02.16.08)

As it happens, that episode was instrumental in the evolution of my character. Cousin Rhonda Gayle awakened my inner Texan. I had always been recognized as a Shiksa from the South, but back home in Texas, folks made fun of my New York accent. It was a relief and a delight to converse with someone who talked like me and whose world view was informed and distorted by life along the Texas/Louisiana border. I'm pretty sure a vein of insanity runs pretty deep along that border just like the Sabine River.

Rhonda Gayle was from there too. We went to the same high school, but we only met after corresponding for a little while on I don't know if Classmates is a hotbed of grifter activity or if I just got lucky. I'm glad the whole thing wound up with me requesting that she pick up her belongings from the doorman who had instructions not to let her pass the front desk. It was a bit extreme, for sure, and Velvet was understandably pissed off at me for months over the incident - but it's not often that you get to give the doorman a memo saying someone is not permitted to cross the threshold complete with a mug shot cropped from pictures taken on Christmas morning.

And as it happens, I am once again at a defining moment in self-actualization. Last year, I found grace (Stonerdate 01.01.09). This year, I'm coming into my self. It must officially be the start of the holiday season.

The evites are out for the Eighth annual Gemini party, and I'm very excited to be reading at KGB earlier that week, too. All that before Velvet gets home for Thanksgiving. It's already warming up to be a festive year.