Tuesday, December 31st 2002

posted @ 2:49 pm in [ ]
Hey, kids, do you know what time it is?
That’s right! Time for more things I suck at!

For those of you just joining us, I started a list back in September of things I suck at, and I intend to keep innumerating until I get to 100.

46. Land speed. I’m quick in the water, but the only way I can go fast on land under my own power is on a bicycle, where torque = speed.

47. Climbing. Related to #46, those of us who are built for speed have a much easier time climbing hills on bicycles. Those of us who are built for endurance can haul ass on the flats, but have a harder time verticalizing.

48. Making a decision without weighing all the options. Oh yes, even if it’s just a decision about which black magic marker to buy. I want to see *all* my options and then I’ll know for sure which one is right. It makes me a little crazymaking to shop with, but I hardly ever return anything.

49. Containing my restlessness when distracted. If I’m distracted by some unresolved thing in my life, even if I can’t do anything about it at the time, I have a really hard time focusing on the task at hand, even when it’s really important. I must *go* somewhere or *do* something. Driving usually helps.

50. Sleeping when there is the slightest little thing out of order with my environment. Oh yes, it’s Princess and the Pea time. Heaven forefend the sheet should be crumpled around my feet or not fit properly. God forbid my hair should fall across the front of my throat, or *gasp* someone else in the bed with me should attempt to cuddle me while I’m sleeping and raise the ambient temperature in my immediate body space, or worse, drape some heavyass limb over me. I know, it probably makes me a bad mammal.

Whoo-hoo, halfway there!

Saturday, December 28th 2002

posted @ 9:59 am in [ ]
You may have guessed that I’ve regained my mobility, as it’s been a little while since I posted something. You’d be right. I’ve torn muscles before and it always surprises me how long it takes for them to feel normal again. It sure doesn’t feel normal yet, but it is functional, so I’m out and about.

One of the major places I’ve been out and about to quite a lot has been Home Depot. I’m implementing storage solutions in the little house I’ve just moved into. The other day, I went to Home Depot and got a bunch of those laminated particle board cabinets you assemble yourself. The vote’s not in yet on whether I recommend them. So far, the pre-drilled holes aren’t really deep enough and they’re kind of a pain in the ass to put together. I say that both as someone who enjoys putting things together and as someone who assembles bicycles for a living. On the other hand, they seem pretty heavy and like they’ll be pretty sturdy once they’re together, and all I really need is a few years’ worth of reasonably attractive functional storage, so it looks like they’ll suit my purposes, even if they piss me off for a few days. They can also be cut and drilled and what-not, so they can be customized to some extent. They may even be prime-and-paintable, if temporarily annoying.

So back to Home Despot. One of the things about buying storage solutions in kits is that the kit people often don’t tell you everything you need to know. They never told me, for example, that I’d need L-brackets to install the countertops and that it really was time to fish out the power tools for that. I went back to The Despot twice: once for the L-brackets, once for screwdriver bits for my [insert monkey noises here] 3/8 cordless rechargeable drill. I have other drills, but I this is the one I could find in the morass of boxes.

Here’s what I love about The Despot: If you’re a woman who can handle a lumber cart and who appears to be relatively competent, you really feel the love. The staff is helpful and nice, and nobody has ever been the least bit patronizing. Compare this to the stump-the-chick attitude of most auto parts store denizens, and you begin to see why this is so lovely. Also, the male customers seem sort of swoonily impressed with a woman who is testing out power tools and handling the merch. In many ways, Colorado is behind the times in terms of gender equality–much moreso than in my native Boston, where it doesn’t matter much with folks my age, and it’s sort of a sign of sophistication that you don’t acknowledge non-biological gender differences of any kind. But inside Home Depot, you’d never know there was a problem here. Inside some auto parts stores, it’s like you’ve walked into the men’s room and they don’t want you in there. Inside the Despot, feelin’ the love. It sure takes the edge off having to go back there again and again during a project.

Yesterday, when I was in there picking out a screwdriver bit, I examined several possible options before making a selection, as I always do. First, I found a regular old Phillips bit, and then there was this whole set of various screwdriver bits complete with guide, in two different sizes. I made some sort of delighted, slightly simian noise and began to deliberate between the kits. The guy standing next to me seemed genuinely pleased. It’s as if they’re not quite allowed to express themselves in there and the presence of chicks lets them do that or something, I’m not sure exactly what. I’m sure I’ll get the chance to research this anthropological phenomenon further because now I have to go get a damn masonry bit and some screw anchors.

Monday, December 16th 2002

The time I jammed a 10-inch spike through my hand
posted @ 6:19 pm in [ ]
You know, being injured reminds me of other times I’ve been injured. For example, once at the bike shop where I work, I impaled my own hand with a bigass spike. If you’re squeamish, skip this one.

It seemed one of my fellow bike mechanics had been having some legal difficulties and had been joking around and made this prison shiv to take with him to the bighouse. I don’t want to think about how he planned to get it into the joint. It was about 10 inches long, with a diameter and point gradation like a pencil on one end and a handle wrapped in handlebar tape on the other to allow for maxium cafeteria riot grip. I ended up being the custodian of the shiv. I don’t know why.

Anyway, one day, my boss was having a hard time cleaning some serious detritus out of a shock tube. You know how stuff in the LaBrea tarpits gets sort of petrified and stuff? Yeah, it was like that. I had the bright idea to soak the inside of the tube with degreaser and pull a shoprag through it. At one point, the rag got stuck, but I had just the tool to dislodge it from the other end: the shiv! So I’m there, shiving the rag to get it loose, and I guess I glanced away at the last minute. I missed the hole in the end of the shock tube completely and instead stabbed the shiv right through that oh-so-tender fleshy webbing between my thumb and forefinger.

Part of why this is funny is that I have a parallel scar on my other hand from when I was bitten by the next door neighbors’ evil Basenji (and my father called me “Alpo” for weeks afterward). I am certain that animal has long since gone to dog hell. The other funny thing is that my intensely tatooed and pierced boss went completely white and almost fainted.

Rule #1 if you’re the only woman on an all-guy crew is this: NEVER LET THEM SEE YOU HURT. So I extracted the shiv from my hand and set about cleaning out the wound, which was utterly bizarre: almost no blood at all, and the stuff inside was fiberous. I would have been more curious about it if it hadn’t hurt like a sonofabitch, and it did begin to close up very quickly. After a careful soap-and-water washing, I sprayed it thoroughly with the alcohol bottle while onlookers winced. My boss stammeringly asked me if I needed to go to the emergency room or anything. When I demanded to know what kind of pussy he thought I was, he grinned a little bit and said he was required to ask by law. The color still didn’t return to his pierced face for a while, though.

I’ve had lots of other entertaining injuries. If I can’t leave the house pretty soon, I’ll be forced to record them for posterity (or at least posteriors).

Friday, December 13th 2002

Aristotle drives me batshit
posted @ 3:15 pm in [ ]
A great deal of western thought is still all about Aristotle. I happen to think that’s terribly unfortunate because he was so unbelievably wrong about so many things. Not only was he sort of a dessicated old windbag with sketchy logical skills, he was really uptight about all the wrong stuff.

Now, we can’t fault Aristotle for not being too good with some of his quality of thought, because he’s the beginning, right? Wrong! Aristotle’s teacher was Plato, and Plato’s teacher was Socrates. We don’t have much from Plato from his own pen, but we have a lot from Socrates through Plato, and Socrates was much more dead-on about a great many things. He was sort of a professional fly in the ointment, always asking questions and seeking to find the answers, so it’s not like Aristotle shouldn’t have known how to do that, too. True, some of Socrates’ logic is a little iffy (he contributes political science’s first crappy model in the Republic when he talks about how the life of a tyrant is 725 times worse than the life of a just man, for example), but he’s genuinely looking for answers, whereas Aristotle seems to be pulling stuff right out of his ass and holding it up as Truth.

Socrates also has a healthy respect for women. Women were guardians alongside the men, and his teacher, Diotema, was a woman, plus, he’s married and thinks women are probably capable of thought and a whole host of other skills. For his time, he’s really quite progressive. Whereas Aristotle seems to think women are only good for procreation and crying, neither of which he has much use for. I can’t say that rollback of healthy values doesn’t stick in my craw just a little bit.

So why should some 3000-year-old desiccated windbag bother me now? Well, Aristotle’s legacy lives on. The linear statistics we’re stuck with, the logical basis of things, that’s all from his work, and it’s just as dessicated and useless in the real world as most of Nicomachean Ethics is for much of anything but telling your friends how much you love them. And you know how I feel about bad linear statistics: they drive me batshit!

So, linear statistics drives me batshit, linear statistics is based on Aristotle’s mode of thought, therefore, Aristotle’s mode of thought drives me batshit. Right?

Wednesday, December 11th 2002

Day 4 of my confinement
posted @ 3:40 pm in [ ]
I’m pleased to report I’ve mastered bathing myself for the second time. I can now do it without the use of my right hamstring. Not that it matters, because I am more or less bereft of human contact, and the cats don’t care if I’m stinky. Still, I’ll take my little victories where I can get them. I hope to be able to put on my own socks soon.

I took a little hobble out to the mailbox today, and I’ve been catching up on numerous small-to-moderately-sized projects I’m too busy to complete when I’m not all cripped up. I even hauled the trash out to the curb, whoo-hoo!

Freaktown Elections!

I’ve also been thinking today about all the freaky men in my life. You know, women have this reputation for being all emotional and irrational, but in my experience, that’s basically crap. I’m about 40% less guided by my emotions and 80% more rational than most of the men I know. The worst part is, they refuse to see their own irrational freakiness because they’re what? Men. Fellas, you need to embrace your freakdom. Accept it–it’s part of you.

My friend Amy and I have been talking about the freaky men in our lives, and we’ve decided to hold elections for Mayor of Freaktown. Not that you need to be a man to be mayor of Freaktown, but in this case, I’d say it helps. What might election platforms be like, you ask? Well, we’ve been considering what sorts of fiscal policies Freaktown might need, and we think a Commitment Tax is definitely in order. Now, when visiting Freaktown, I would undoubtedly fall victim to the Commitment Tax myself, but when in Freaktown, do as the Freakyfolks do. It’d be like getting a speeding ticket out of state. I might not even pay it.

We also think a Closet Toll might be helpful. This bill was primarily inspired by a gay man Amy dated earlier this year. Aside from the fact that Amy is certainly yummy enough to tamper with anyone’s notions of their sexual orientation to favor her, it seems that the gentleman in question was in deep denial about his true sexual identity. One would pay a toll upon entering or exiting The Proverbial Closet.

Candidates for the Office of Mayor of Freaktown:

Freaky Marcelo.
Marcelo has been a very good friend of mine for several years, and he also dated Amy for a while. He’s a quirky guy, and so has long had a sort of profile in Freaktown politics, but most recently, he accused me of disrespecting his current girlfriend, a woman who doesn’t speak and whom I can’t get to know without any sort of communication, but who seems nice. I have no real opinion about her personality because I have yet to see it, but Freaky Marcelo, now following his girlfriend’s lead, is apparently not speaking to me over it. He’s currently living in Paris with her in an 8 x 8 room. I think that’s called a cell, but whatever.

Amy’s Gay Boyfriend.
I forget his name, and even if I remembered it, I wouldn’t want to accidentally tip him off that he’s gay. But we could still elect him and not say why.

You knew he’d make the list! Matilda still doesn’t really know how to categorize their relationship, and neither do I. They are not technically lovers, but could be considered such in some sort of Bill Clinton sense. They are more than friends in some ways, less than friends in other ways, just friends in still other ways than those. They do collaborate on academic projects, but are not currently being published, presented or funded together. Harry is absorbed in a relationship that is sapping his creative energies, so Matilda is currently having most of the ideas. In the meantime, he continues to be more emotional than Matilda’s grandma. She has no idea how to handle him but just takes it day by day, with a view to what she’d like to do to him once he regains his senses. She just hopes she doesn’t have to introduce him because she has no idea how she’ll do it.

Poopy Boy.
Another of member of Amy’s Cavalcade of Men 2002, Poopy Boy got his name by coming home with Amy and completely freaking out that the dog had crapped on the rug. He didn’t step in it or anything, and said crap was quickly whisked away to become a mere receding memory, but his manhood never returned. He has since impregnated his sourpuss subsequent girlfriend, Buzzkill, to whom he is currently not too willingly betrothed.

Write-in candidates will also be accepted.

Tuesday, December 10th 2002

posted @ 6:43 pm in [ ]
Hey, kids, it’s time for STILL MORE THINGS I SUCK AT!!!

38. Tennis. Man, I am about the crappiest tennis player alive. I couldn’t be worse if I only had one leg and significantly fewer fingers. I took tennis lessons for a little while when I was a kid, and the guy my parents were *paying* to teach me how to play suggested I try something else. (I did, but I was good at it, and this list is about what I suck at, so let’s stay focused).

39. Pool. I’m good for probably one decent shot per game. When I get sucked into playing a giant tag-team game, I quit after that great shot to keep up the illusion that I don’t suck, and then I go get someone else a drink, which makes me cool, too.

40. Confinement. This is a new one for me. I didn’t know I sucked at staying home until I had to.

41. Patience without distraction. True, I have been called pathologically patient. Some have even said I have a zenlike quality about it. What they don’t know, though, is that I’m really just distracting myself from the incredibly annoying thing that’s making me so damned impatient. I have not calmed the chattering monkey, I’ve just given it a banana.

42. Remembering which it is: 42 or 43. Every other number, no problem, I can keep straight. For some reason, though, mental block between 42 and 43.

43. Same deal. Douglas Adams fans will appreciate the irony of my predicament.

44. Not allowing myself to be distracted by sexual fantasies. It’s true, I’m like an erotic Walter Mitty. If I get a good sexual fantasy going, I’m pretty much locked in. Pocketa, pocketa, pocketa.

45. Concealing my nerdiness once I get comfortable. True, I can behave like a normal person for a little while with a new group, but as soon as I settle in, this big scarlet N on my chest gets awfully noticible.

Tuesday, December 10th 2002

posted @ 12:14 pm in [ ]
Well, folks, I’m still too injured to drive, and today I’m bored out of my tree. I suppose I could be writing Christmas cards or doing paperwork I’ve been putting off, but what I really want to do is get out of the house (which is clutterously full of recently-moved boxes I can’t lift or bend to unpack) and run some errands, but as I mentioned, I can’t drive, and *nothing* in Denver is walking distance–let alone gimping distance–from anything else. After my brief moving hiatus, I think I’m about to be rather prolific over the next few days.

So I saw the new Bond movie! I got into the car with a minimum of screaming and had my butt hauled down to the theater.

It seems that de-prancifying Pierce Brosnan is an ongoing process. There is a scene where he is in a North Korean prison camp for a while, learning to be more of a tough guy, but unfortunately, he still occasionally runs like a girl and consistently fences like a nancyboy.

However, I STILL LIKED IT!!! Die Another Day is way better than the last two Bonds, and in my opinion, better than Goldeneye, too, making it Prancy Pierce’s best work yet. Not only does it revert back to being more of a real Bond flick than an action flick with Bond, but there are lots of little treats for diehard Bond fans, like Halle Berry coming out of the Caribbean in an Ursula Andress suit, and Bond visiting Q (a delightfully cranky John Cleese) to find Col. Kleb’s knifeshoe and the jetpack from Thunderball. Also fabulous: invisible Aston Martin, mmmmmmmmmm. And the aforementioned fencing scene totally got me hot. Something about two men doing something as elegant as fencing yet attempting to brutally beat the hell out of each other in a barely-controlled fashion is inexplicably sexy. Plus, I thought the villain was kinda cute. A little pretty for my taste, perhaps, but not without his appeal.

There were a few blunt-instrument moments that were pretty lame, however, even to me. When the traitorous agent gets stabbed through the abdomen with a commando knife stuck through a tasteful leatherbound copy of The Art of War, I’d say that’s a bit much. And that’s ME saying that.

All in all, I highly recommend it.

Monday, December 9th 2002

Top 10 things it’s insanely hard to do with a torn hamstring
posted @ 2:19 pm in [ ]
I hamstrung myself during a dance performance over the weekend. It’s better now, and I can even walk a *little* bit, but I had no idea how hard it would be to do the mundane things of life with one damaged muscle. For example:

10. Drive a stick-shift.
9. Put on your own underpants.
8. Get in and out of the tub/shower.
7. Pick up your cane if you drop it.
6. Dress your feet.
5. Navigate around the cats, who are very concerned about you, and keep from accidentally hammering your cane down on some small furry appendage.
4. Not fall down laughing at the surprised noise the cat made.
3. Get in the car without screaming (out is not too bad).
2. Get some.
1. Not contemplate how if you were a horse, you’d be shot by now.