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Name: Justine
Location: Annapolis, Maryland, United States

Justine, is a little bit more than you'd expect. This is where you are supposed to put your "elevator speech". What you'd say if you were in the elevator with somebody you wanted to connect with. I don't have an "elevator speech". If I ran smack-dab into one of my "heroes" I'd just have to smile and be polite and keep my yipper shut and that's probably for the best anyway!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Oh, James
“Oh James.”

That’s the phrase murmured by countless James Bond conquests as they succumb to his physical charms.

Last night I heard myself breathing that same sigh in the cold night air. I was awash in a heady mix of adrenaline, hormones, and the mysterious biochemicals of lust. Watching my breath steam into the dark, I leaned against a car, closed my eyes, and sank into sensation.

Legs tingling, face flushing, heart pounding in my chest, I knew I was lost. It was the same feeling I get putting on stockings, garters, and heels to go out. It was sweet anticipation of doing good bad things; the feeling that the night couldn’t possibly be long enough to fulfill all my desires.

“No wonder you went to the North Pole.” I whispered. “I would have too. Just to be near all this.”

I was talking to the night on an acre wide tarmac lot stuffed with Mercedes SLKs, Jaguar XKRs, Porsches, Audis, Cadillac CTS’s, Suburu WRX s, and row after row of myths and legends. Alone, I was free to amble from car to car. My hands slowly came from behind my back and my fingers traced paint and metal curves. I read specs. I made a mental list of what I could reasonably ask to drive. A man named “Kenny G” appeared at my elbow with a license plate and a set of keys. When I told him my list, he replied “You can certainly drive those.”

In a white hot moment sparks snapped in my brain. Here was a tiny taste of the fun James May and company have. I knew then for freight train certain that James May would always have more fun that I do. I didn’t care as route 32 faded into darkness; I twined an Audi A4 flat out into the night.

I drove the border road to the military base and I slowed down. The military police watched me pass. In drive after drive I felt bits of despair, hopelessness, and futility shake off like sand from the tires. Beautiful, supple, strong cars did exist. My world stretched far enough in possibility that one of those cars could be mine. The secret, languid rapture of the road snapped my synapses alive.

When the driving was done I had picked a favorite. I weighed the lurid joy of speed and handling against the slavery of daily driving. I tabulated blue book values, new model costs, expected lifespan, and my anemic budget. There was one car in stock that fit the bill, except when I looked at the condition. Somebody had done a botched fix on a cigarette burn in the door, the tires didn’t match, and the headlights were scratched to opacity. It moved like a scalded cat, that much was true, but with the signs of neglect I had a strong feeling the engine hadn’t seen oil changes or regular maintenance. I walked away.

I’m prowling dealer inventories looking for my chosen poison. With a wee bit of luck and some camel trading skills I’ll find what I want by the end of January.
Monday, December 29, 2008
The ring's the thing. . .
1/2 carrat brilliant cut round diamond in the center. Six smaller brilliant cut diamonds round the outside. Platinum setting.

Loverly ring. It's going off to the jewelers for sizing.

Am I getting married? Not planning on it. But it's a nice little token of appreication.

Totalled the Sable over the holiday. Not in an accident, blown electrical components. Apparently the repair shop screwed up putting the last components in and the new one's have shorted out. It's gone out of extended warranty and the parts cost more than the car is worth. That bitch didn't even last five years. No more Ford/Lincoln/Mercury products for me.

Spent Sunday having a "track day" at the car dealerships. Wound up test driving cars with a "performance driving" trainer who was moonlighting. We did a nice session on "lines through corners". That was the highpoint of the holiday season.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Christmas Eve.

Right about now little children in London are tucking into bed in anticipation of Santa’s visit.

It won’t be dark here for another three hours.

Right now NORAD tracks Santa as just finishing up his run over Russia. You can check the jolly man’s progress at

I expect Santa will leave me a bottle of Klonipin , a Top Gear tub toy, and a DVD on working with molten embossing powder. There is a package from the UK addressed to me and labeled “Do Not Open Til Christmas” There is a package from “D” that seems to be a shelving unit of some type.

The Klonipin will come in handy tomorrow. We’ll take mom out to lunch or dinner and I’ll give her prezzies. She won’t remember what the hell we’re doing for more than about a minute at a time. I’ll watch her and think of Christmas past. Christmas is nothing but a reminder of death and disintegration. It’s a happy slap up side the head to remind us all that our life peaks at age six. Everything from there on in is hormone induced hysteria, drudgework, decline, and decomposition.

For anyone who is winding up giving me a lecture on the season of hope and joy. . . Stick A Cork In It! Christmas is an appropriation of midwinter festivals from the pagans. It's a good excuse to eat up stuff that was spoiling in storage and get drunk in the hope that spring would soon arrive.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Nice Ice for Xmas?
Will a certain blogger be receiving a marriage proposal for Christmas?

Will there be a bit of "nice ice" in the form of a diamond ring in a prezzie for me this year?


Will I be packing up and moving house? Will I be making room for a second car in the driveway?

We will just have to see what happens.
Cold Spell . . .
Christmas Eve’s Eve at the old Tuxedo Inn.

This holiday is a bit different. I have a house guest. When I cruised off to work this morning, she was conked out in the spare room and bundled up like a caterpillar waiting to become a butterfly.

The homestead has been equipped with a brand new high efficiency Carrier gas heater system, but it’s been in the single digit temps. There’s only so much anybody can do against 30 mph wind gusts and artic temps. The house was originally of cedar shingle design and it was bricked over. It has double pane thermal windows, weather stripping, and tight storm doors. But flying monkeys Batman it’s cold!

The auxiliary heater in the office was firing away when I left the house. The only way we are putting more heat into the house is if we set the oven to self-clean and fire it up.

Last night at midnight or so “D” was in so much pain from the cold and her arthritis that she was up looking for a drink of whiskey. The closest thing I had was cognac. I poured her two fingers and after it burned the hair out of her nose and set her throat on fire, it knocked her out cold. Remy Martin is good for that. I used to drink a glass of cognac in the evenings before bed time; it was quite a civilized way to unwind. Now I just cut to the chase and take a benzodiazepine. It’s a less genteel ritual but it ensures that I sleep and it cuts down on the nightmares. Of course I still have my reoccurring dreams about my WWII flyboy, but that seems to be something I’m stuck with.

I’m still traveling through the Dreamtime to an airfield in the UK during WWII. I’m also popping in and out of the mysterious blue bedroom on the other side of the world. I might as well be calm about it.

My Christmas presents are all purchased. Tonight we’ll go out to the grocery and lay in the extra provisions. The Christmas ham is in the fridge. The wine is chilling away nicely. We’ll pick up veggies and things to make cookies with. This will be my first year making Christmas cookies with the Kitchen Aid mixer, it should help a lot. I’m looking forward to making bread with the mixer as well. I’ve paid my dues and learned to knead bread by hand; I know what it feels like when it’s ready. Now I can take the easier way. I specifically bought a mixer that says it will handle kneading four loaves worth at a time so it should have enough power to knead two loaves well.

It’s cold enough that running the oven will make the house cozy instead of stifling. If we put the stand fan in the hallway it will draw out the extra warmth and give the bedrooms a boost. The guest bedroom is a bit nippy because it’s on the windy side of the house.

My guest has just phoned to let me know she is still alive. I may, however, need more cognac.

“W” has elected not to pay his planned visit because he would be uncomfortable with “D” in the house. I have promised him that we would not both savage his body at once. (Although I suspect that at several points in his life he has had several women attending to his bodily desires at the same time. ) “W” and I are at a tricky crossroads. He will never move to where I live and I will never move to where he lives. Even the thought of moving back to “hell town”, as I refer to the area, makes me want to panic and make a run for the west coast.

I just about had to “blow Hitler” to get off that rural rock the first time. Willingly going back seems like having to “blow Goering” as well.

Quite frankly as of my last milestone birthday I formally gave up blowing anybody. Beastly, thankless business that. Plus then you wind up totally unsatisfied yourself. If it’s all going to be self-service why not go home alone, watch vids of Bugattis and do it myself anyway?

The Cure for Hysteria?

Sometimes I wonder if I’m even capable of learning to become trusting, gentle, and intimate with a man ever again. It would take a lot of trust and time.

“Casual” might have been in my repertoire at some point when I was a teenager, but not very much so. I went through too much abuse as a kid to let youthful hormones completely override my wariness. “Casual” is gone out of possibility now.

I regret that. It would make things easy and clinical. I could go get a manicure, a new hairstyle, and have my intimate needs taken care of in an afternoon of pampering. I pay somebody to release the tension points in my back, clean the leaves out of the gutters of the house, and wax the car. Why not pay somebody to take care of specific “yens” as well?

In the late 1800’s physicians cured “hysteria” by providing manual manipulation for their female patients. The docs were having problems with hand cramps and so they invented the vibrator. GoodVibes.Com has a “history” section that explains the whole funny thing.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Now what James?
Ok, picking up from the earlier post. I've got a 'supe' named James who runs a business in Annapolis. He comes from old money, or so it seems. He's been living in seclusion since the mid-80's. The only time anybody sees this guy is when he takes one of his cars out for a drive or when he has to show up at a community function to promote his business.

Now he's got a theme song, Dr. John's "I Don't Want To Know About Evil".

Since I can't write diddle from a man's perspective, we have a female narrator. I haven't named her yet. I have the most overwhelming urge to name her Lilith. But, with the connotations of the name, I don't think this would be a good choice.

Can anybody come up with a good first name for our girl? Amber, Tiffany, Ashley, Britanny, Jennifer, Mary, Ann, Cathy, Dianah, Sarah,Jessica, Monica, Susie, Nicole, and Julie are out for a myriad of reasons.

Sahara is too pretentious. Ivy has too many possible jokes incumbent. Sookie is taken. Leticia is too horror movie. Gabrielle has angelic connotations. Stephanie is taken. I like Logan but the Wolverine has that one already. Virginia hauls that whole "virgin" business in with it.

Pete Townshend is singing "I Put A Spell On You" in my ear. If any man would sing that "earnestly" in my ear, I might just give up being a bad girl. At least for twenty minutes or so. Ole Pete looks like "W" or "W" looks like ole Pete. "W" has retained more hair and avoided heroin addiction and skipped revelling with rent boys.

Hmm, come to think of it, young Roger Daltry's penchant for wandering around half naked was distracting. The Who has just always been easier on the eye then Led Zep. Robert Plant, even when he was young, could scare a gargoyle.

I noticed last night that I have accumulated six gargoyles in my household decor. Most of them have been gifts. I was looking at them last night. They aren't particularly scary, they feel protective. The first time I had a friend over who had studied and practiced Shamanism, she remarked on how many "guardians" I had in the house. She pointed out my tendency to have gargoyles, dolls, stuffed animals, mannequins, and portraits packed to the rafters. Now I have a small caravan of amphibious cars added to the collection. Someplace in storage I have a nice collection of model Ferraris.

Well, I'll go back to moodling on a name for our narrator who is relating the story of James the "supe".
Refugees, Supes, Mercedes, and Mays
Last night I used smoking white sage leaves to smudge my home. As the winter solstice spun the longest night of winter outside, I walked through my bedrooms and prayed for peace and safety for my little home and the sleepers within.

This morning the smell of smoke still clings in my hair. The smell is sweet, it reminds me of Taos. On my last trip to Taos I stayed in a hundred year old adobe house with sage in the rafters. The squirrels living in the ceiling would rummage around and tiny bits of leaf would sprinkle down on the bed and the floor.

Tonight on the way home from work I’ll swing by the airport, as I do every night. Tonight I’ll stop and pick up my Christmas refugee, “D”. Saturday night her son decided that he ‘needed his space” and that she was not permitted to come to his house for the annual family Christmas Eve dinner. She was also not permitted to see her grandchildren for Christmas. Her daughter pulled this same trick earlier in the week. Instead of banding together to take care of their mother, they keep sucking the life out of her. They can’t even manage to be hospitable until the holidays end.

I don’t get how families work and why. “W” has a family that is tightly twined. “J2” doesn’t have any family left and doesn’t care. “T” has extended family but no close family and he’s fine with that. My family always worked like a loose confederation of states. We all had our own lives and we had a grand time on holidays and vacations. We also banded together like a pack of rabid wolverines when one of us was in trouble. Now most of my family is dead. My mother has memory deficit and dementia. On Christmas we will go to the Double T Diner for a noon meal because mom won’t remember it’s Christmas day for more than three minutes at a time. If I try and have a family meal, mom will want to go out. So we’ll flex and we’ll go out while the diner is open.

Mom’s Christmas gifts this year will be simple, new undies, a deck of cars, and a package of mechanical pencils. We’ll go out for lunch.

I’ll make the best of what remains.

She no longer remembers my birthday. She doesn’t remember holidays. She gets confused because all the trees “look dead” in the winter time. Sometimes she thinks I’m her cousin Betty.

Friends wonder why I don’t write anymore or why when I do my stories are dark and full of violence and horror. The sex in the work is either conducted as psychological warfare by one character on another or it’s lush and vulnerable beyond measure. When I write in the confines of traditional fiction the characters are ugly and brutish and the world is dark and not worth life. When I write supernatural creatures they become odd representations of the archetypes running through my life over and over again. The principal characteristic of a “supe” character is that they are outside of society, convention, and time. They can become containers for things that can’t be worked with head on because they are too intense.

I have some friends that think writing about “supes” is falling in league with the devil. I see it as falling in league with the darkness that lives within humans and giving it a place to free itself.

I’ve been working with a new kind of “supe” for the last year or so. I have a 10K work crack at the start of a story during Nano Wrimo but tossed it in the drawer. I think I may pull it out again and see where it goes. If I can’t spin past the beginning of the story I can’t finish the story. I need to let this “supe” off the lead and see where he runs to.

I think I’m going to name him “James” because it means “usurper” and he does a lot of usurping. Currently he only has a last name and is referred to as Mr.

He’s been around since before my fascination with Top Gear and he’s not modeled on the envy inducing Mr. May. As a polite nod to my favorite person to envy I may give my character a ratty old Bentley that runs intermittently. Right now the character has a Maserati and Mercedes. Really, if I'm writing him I should be able to have some fun too, right?
Thursday, December 18, 2008
After the fire. . . .
After the fire,
The fire still burns
The heart grows older
But it never ever learns
The memories smolder
The soul always yearns
After the fire
The fire still burns.
-- Pete Townshend

I’ve spent the last three weeks with Pete Townshend tunes rattling around in my head. It’s been years since the last time my inner “ear” craved “Slit Skirts” or “Eminence Front”. It was an odd time, then, I bought my only Townshend CD and loaded it into the CD changer in the trunk of my car. The album had the preponderant title “The Best of Pete Townshend: coolwalkingsmoothtalkingstraightsmokingfirestoking” The title spiraled around the edge of the CD and towards the center. It lived in the player for almost six months. The hard edge to Townshend’s voice and the sentiments of the songs soundtracked the hard cold winter I was living through. Then the yen faded away.

Now it’s back. I don’t even know why. I think I heard “Slit Skirts” on the radio and wanted to hear it again. For some reason I pulled up Pete Townshend on Rhapsody Music Service. The album “White City” wound up on my MP3 player and it’s been cranking non-stop. The other day I hit the “repeat artist” button and didn’t realize that I played the same album for six hours.

Last night I added another slew of Townshend and a selection of songs from the soundtrack to the HBO series Trueblood. Watching 12 episodes over the weekend wedged the theme song “Bad Things” by Jace Everette into my head.

The song has got that ¾ down south shuffle rhythm to it. The first time I heard it, I thought of someone in particular. It’s that kind of song. Everybody has somebody that fits the bill when it comes to mischief and mayhem.

The opening credits to TrueBlood are gruesome, bigoted, and offensive. Fans of Charlaine Harris’ books are sure to see no relationship to the images and the Sookie Stackhouse series. The film sequence had to have been created by somebody who has never spent more than 20 minutes in Atlanta airport in the south.

When I watched the series on Demand during the preview weekend, I had the luxury of fast forwarding around all the naked bouncing backsides and breasts that HBO added to the story. I guess HBO felt that the sleepy southern supernatural mysteries weren’t graphic enough to capture the “blod, guts, and tits” audience so they added twenty minutes of nudity and sex to each episode. They even convoluted the plot lines so they could have more bouncing buttocks. The poor actor that played Jason Stackhouse didn’t wear clothes more than four times. In the books Jason is a horn dog, but the details happen off page.

I like a nicely turned leg as much as the next girl, but the sex in TrueBlood obscures the story and erases the “mystery story” element of the original story series.

At the point in the story where the lead character, Sookie, finally looses her virginity HBO clutters the scene up with cutaways to two other naked couples boinking. In places where the characters would naturally have intimate moments the emphasis is lost because the viewer has already been pummeled with three other sex scenes.

I guess I’m old fashioned. When I want to watch a mystery I watch one. When I want soft core porn, I turn over to the porno channel.

Supernatural creatures, vampires, mind reading, murder, mayhem, and mystery are enough to hold the story together. The naked asses, no matter how chiseled, were unnecessary.

At work, the internet is disabled. The IE software glitch is deemed too dangerous. I don’t doubt that it is. Lack of contact with the outside world has certainly served to make the place seem more isolated. I needed to look up an error code and found myself lost without the online libraries. I eventually phoned around until I found somebody who knew where the printed manuals were. But whew was it a stretch!

The whole time I’ve been writing this I’ve been listening to Pete T wail. The MP3 player just went dead. It’s time to put it in the charger and it’s time for me to pack up to go home.

I’ll have to send this missive out on email.

How old fashioned.

Are you wondering where James May in all these dreary posts? He's on vacation for the holidays. I hope wherever he is that he's having a good holiday time.

Of course I'm still jealous, but it is the holiday season.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
James May Might Just Have A Point
James May Might Just Have A Point.

And before J2 emails me, no I do not mean on top of his head.

In this week’s column James May writes that he thinks the credit crunch is largely a media hoopla and not a reality. And for the best part I think he’s right.

If you’re a car company that has badly botched your market forecasts and isn’t likely to turn a profit in this century; you are certainly going to be experiencing a credit crunch. Loaning money is wagering that you’ll get that money back with a bit of a fee attached. Sane people don’t bet on three legged horses to place, they bet on them to go to the pet food factory. Once you’ve been turned into pet food, you stop paying your debts.

Maybe instead of saying a “Credit Crunch” has started , we should say that “Credit Lunacy” has ended.

In recent years a lot of financial institutions have been betting on legless horses to win. If you loan 500,000$ to someone who makes 45K a year, you pretty much have to know that you aren’t going to get it back. Fooling yourself by putting in an adjustable interest rate doesn’t improve your odds.

James May makes a point that, even though the book value of my house has dropped 25% since I bought it, the roof is still firmly attached. No amount of financial nattering is going to make the bricks dematerialize. Financial upheaval makes it impossible for me to sell the house and satisfy the creditors. But why would I sell the house? I’m living as cheaply as possible short of living in the car.

I’m making the mortgage payments on time and I’m making an extra principle payment every month. My job is about as stable as anyone’s can get. Since we work on a legally binding set of regulations, we are locked in to get a raise this year. Barring total financial collapse of the United States or me accidentally burning the office building down, I will get a merit increase next year. Hells bells, I do know how to do this job.

Thinking about the house though, the day the media announced there was no consumer credit to be had I went to the bank and secured a nine thousand dollar signature loan. I refinanced the HVAC system and some other home repair bills into a single loan at a very good rate. It took me about twenty minutes.

When I get my income tax refund this year, I’ll pay off the rest of the loan and double check my credit score.

I may not have a 500K house or a Porsche but I have a steady job and pay on time. Creditors feel safe betting on me to repay on time.

In the back of my mind I feel like I’m skating on luck. I am to a certain extent.

I was lucky enough to get a permanent position against tough competition. I was also lucky enough to have twenty years experience in the field and street cred.

My “luck” took a whole lot of grace from God and a whole lot of years of work.

Now I’m staring down the barrel of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

It’s all part of the old axiom “You can’t get enough of what you don’t really want.”

For whatever reason I found my way in the world working a trade I hate. I didn’t despise it at first. I was gung ho and I liked being Uber Geek. It was an identity. An identity of some type was better than nothing at that point.

Now, that identity isn’t me. It never was. Hanging on to it blisters me like an ill fitting pair of shoes.

Here I am wanting to be somebody else, to be myself, and to go about working with my artistic interests. The trouble is I’ve only got the one trade, the one pair of shoes that don’t fit.

It would be a miraculous relief if some great Pete Thownshend song started playing in the background and the world faded to a 1980's montage of perky people doggedly saving the day. But I suspect that isn't going to happen. This isn't an easy peazy feel good movie with a punch list of tasks that take the protagonist from looser to Uber Dog in three easy minutes.

This is a ball of confusion with me barking and running in circles at the center.

Last night "W" was yelling at me to get mad and fight. J2 is urging me to become a Britt. "S" is reminding me that I've been at the bottom of the lake before.

I'd like to protest that this time I'm at the bottom of the lake, I've been sick as a cur for two months, and my ovaries are having their own distinctive ideas about what I should be up to. This afternoon they're prodding me with pitchforks and making dark comments.

But, then what am I babbling about? I might as well go home and argue with the televison set. There is no help to be had.

Tonight on the way home I'll stop and get a carryout roast beef sandwich so I can have a warm meal. My buddy "D" will phone me up and we'll watch television on the phone. We'll talk about sending her kids to antartica in a box with no return address. She'll remind me that I'll be better on January 2nd when the holiday season has finished its guilt trip. We'll watch reruns of Top Gear and wait to see who mentions Richard Hammond and a bucket of caramel syrup in the same sentence first.
Monday, December 15, 2008
True Blood
It’s 3:30 on Monday morning and I’m sitting at my desk at work with a daylight lamp pummeling me with blue light.

I hit the parking lot at 2 a.m. all to make a 4 a.m. software migration time. It should take about 45 minutes to put the software in and I can leave for the day at 10:30 a.m.

Why did I come in so early?

I couldn’t get to sleep.

I usually can’t sleep much before 1 a.m. on a good night. Tonight I started trying to sleep at 9 p.m. and was still wide awake at 1 a.m. I figured if I was going to suffer, I might as well do it on the clock.

By the time I amble home at 10:30 in the morning I will be ready to sleep a good twelve hours.

Of course that leaves me with all sorts of issues for tomorrow night, but tomorrow night will have to take care of itself.

Over the last few years I’ve run down the list of sleep meds until there aren’t any more left that work well for me. The lowest key number that still works knocks me down for a 12 hour count. Some don’t work at all. I am nocturnal born and bred.

The migration is finally over. It took me an hour and twelve minutes, mostly because I’m punch drunk and couldn’t read a listing. I just love looking like a moron. I’ve heard so much gossip this week on the job I’m in that I’m surprised I got it at all. I was third choice but had some inside pull on my side.

After this morning I’m going to crank up and look for another job. 4 a.m. is not an hour to be awake.

4 a.m. is the perfect hour to roll off top of a lover and pass out. It’s a great hour to stagger in the front door after going out for a post club date breakfast. 4 a.m. is no friggin’ time to be in a computer center.

I am way too old for this shit.

Am I depressed? Oh hell yeah.

Am I suicidal? Hide the shotgun Wilbur.

Do I think I should have run away from home when I was seventeen and joined an artists colony? Hell YES!

(When I was seventeen I didn’t think I had anything to write about. Now I think I have plenty to write about but I can’t bear to relive one second of it to put it on paper.

Never appears to be the perfect time for me.)

On the up side tonight is “Top Gear” night and it’s a new episode. I’m not even sure if I can watch it though. Everybody is this freakin’ world seems to have gotten the trick of living right except me.

Me, I feel like the world’s biggest good-girl fuck up.

If I believe the latest rig-a-ma-role I’ve read, that means I’m on the edge of something fantastic. I think it means I’m finding fewer and fewer reasons not to go down to the gun range and rent a nice 38 to blow my head off with.

There must be some kind of way to steer this crazy runaway shit wagon I’m on, but I certainly haven’t found it.

Self-determination has proven itself futile.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Message Received
Message received on Thursday December 11th. Approx 9 p.m. EST, 21:00hrs Romeo Time

You said you had been searching. I'm putting this tab here for you to find.

Please contact when connection is made.

Click email link on right hand side of page.

I will gladly supply confirmation details.
Romeo Time, Zulu Time, Millitary Time
What the flying fiddlesticks is "Zulu Time"? If you've seen a rerun of "JAG" or "Stargate" you've probably wondered what all the blathering about "Zulu Time" is about.

If you're breathing you've most likely heard of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). GMT and Zulu time are the same thing.

For all the ruckus that's made about Greenwich, there's not much said about the names of the 24 world time zones. The time zones are named in alphabetical order from A to Z.

If you've seen any airport movie you've heard the "Alpha Talk" from pilots to control towers. They yack out their call signs with phrases like, "This is Alpha, Bravo, Yankee, Niner, One, One".

This chatter, while annoying to the rest of us, is meant to keep letters from being misunderstood. Computer jockeys have addopted this sing-song when they report job names and numbers over the telephone.

I can never remember the accepted words for the letters. Although "C" is supposed to be "charlie", I had somebody named "Charlie" that tried to kill me on a routine basis for the better part of a decade. That name does not come thrippingly from my lips. I usually stutter and say "Catfish". (It's better than saying c**t isn't it?)

"B" is bagel. "F" is Fig Newton. "D" is dog. "W" is woodpecker. "S" is snake. Most of the time I totally confuse the computer operator and myself. If they'd just let me say the job name and then repeat it back to me we'd be just fine.

That aside, the creators of the time zones decided to name them by their aero-centric call signs.

Click here for a link to a Time Zones page that lists them all.

In my crepuscular world everything lives and breathes on GMT. Years before Y2K computer clocks and timestamps switched from local time to GMT to facilitate worldwide computing.

On New Year's Eve 1999 our entire office was forced to arrive at work at 11 p.m. to make sure the computer didn't explode at midnight. Upper management was too stupid and arrogant to listen to the techies. They wouldn't believe all the tests where we set the system clock ahead and run full processing loads.

To properly celebrate their hubris I checked the system at 7 p.m. Romeo time, phoned into the management messaging system, and left them a message. "The system rolled over to the year 2000 at 7p.m. local time and all is running well. Have a nice evening." Then I went out and partied.

On January 2nd, I received several "Thank You"'s for checking the system, all of them from red-faced managers. If we could somehow conspire to keep "Systems Management" magazines away from managers we could cut our workload of redundant and futile projects in half.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
English Boy
"I'm an English Boy.
I was brought up right.
Hold me down and I will bite."
----- Pete Townshend

English Boys

"I know no fear.
I serve with joy.
I'm proud to be here an English Boy."
----- Pete Townshend

Looks a lot like W

"I am an English Boy.
Precisely made.
You can pin me down I am not afraid"
----- Pete Townshend

I seem to have a English Boy problem, don't I?

"I'm an English Boy.
I was brought up right.
If you raise your dress then I will bite."
----- Pete Townshend

I'm looking for the man who has my speed key.

"My voice is clear.
I've got perfect poise.
Good to be down here with all the English Boys"
----- Pete Townshend

English Boy at the end of a long day.

It's English Boy Thursday. Why? Because I want to. Oh yea, James May is still most likely having more fun than I am today. That is unless he's in hospital or hanging by his thumbs in a rumpus room somewhere.

This seems like an opportune place to mention the fascination with being hung up and birched that appears in much printed material from Victorian England. But really, that's not going to be a good segue is it? After all I seriously doubt that the author of "Davina and the Romance of Mesmerism" has survived long enough to be involved with writing for the "Top Gear" television programme.

If you have any passing interest in the best of the "bad" of Victorian fiction I would reccomend obtaining a copy of "The Pearl". First published in July of 1879 in London, the Pearl was a "Journal of Voluptuary Reading". The book by our friend "Anonymous" has all issues of the periodical combined together. There are serialized stories, jokes, ditties, and other tidbits. It's an interesting look at what our Victorian ancestors did that "got" us here. It's available from Amazon.Com and in many bookstores for $11. Not for the prudish.

It is Thursday and it's raining like we need to build a friggin' ark. This morning I had the singular joy of taking a fall on a slippery terazzo floor. My right knee took the brunt of the fall. My back took a nice wrenching as well.

As of this writing I'm medicated with Advil and basking in the eery blue glow of my goLITE light box. I'm taking in Pepsi and Pete Townshend therapy, hence the English Boy reference.

This would be a good place to say soemthing about J2 and his Vauxhall and his goldendoodle dog. But, he seems a bit put out that I haven't applied for political asylum in the UK and that I'm still American. It could also be that he's a bit miffed that "W" and I lark about. I've got to put notice out that I'm sick of long-distance everything. Fair warning!

I heard from Cousin Tuesday on my birthday. I missed him by moments online. So Thanks-Cuz! I still say we've got to road trip and not return. It's like the old Springsteen song says. . . "I went out for a ride and I never went back." Austrailia might not be bad.

I've started having those dreams of the desert again. This time instead of riding a camel and blowing up rail lines, I'm dreaming of riding a touring motorcycle and rumbling around the Las Vegas desert by moonlight.

Since my new cottage in the cube farm doesn't have a window, I'm back to hanging up lucite frames with "interesting bits" in them. I brought the first of the new frames in today. I was shy on time to work with the art supplies. The first batch of "pseudo view" continues with the English Boy theme. I have two prints of random pics from the Top Gear website. I have a particularly nice pic of Richard Hammond with an Aston Martin. James is posed with his motorbikes, his ocean going car, and an Aston Martin. There's a pic of Jeremy in a suit and one of him carrying his "man bag".

My cohorts have photos of motorbikes, The Rolling Stones, and ocean going helicopters being attacked by sharks. I have pictures of English Boys and their toys. It's a nice counterpointe to my "classic handbags" day calendar and my pic of Hugh Jackman in sheep shearing duds. I may look like a gear head but the heterosexual vibe is making itself clear.

The blue light is working it's magic and I'm feeling a bit better. So this is the point where I don't mention that the Regimental Bark has turned into the office "tummy bug" and I spent last night yarfing. Today has been Pepsi and crackers.

This Sunday is supposed to be Christmas tree day. Except I have to be in bed asleep by 9:30 p.m. so I can be in here by 4 a.m. on Monday. Add that to the fact that I'm exhausted and I want to sleep in and you've got a 3 hour window of awake. I think the whole "holiday" is going to be cancelled for me this year.

I don't know what on earth made me take this job it sure seems like something has been trying to kill me off since I got here.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've some English Boys to attend to.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Dark Season
I started out my birthday with an accidental overdose of sleeping pills. After that things were a bit of a blur.

Monday night I went to bed wide awake and chatting on the phone to “W”. I asked “W” if he’d heard me take my pills. He said "No.", so I took a set of night time meds. Apparently that was set number two.

I knew I’d overdone it when the ceiling fan started morphing into Hunter Thompson’s face.

I’ve had a lot of Gonzo moments since the turn of the century. The sad fact is that I can’t blame a single one of them on Gonzo journalism or the quest for fun.

Nope I’ve made my mind bending journey into psychotropic drugs on the company prescription program. In high school and college I indulged in alcohol in moderation and caffeine in the extreme but I was a mild mannered "good girl". I've saved the "Better Living Through Chemistry" chapter of my life until recently. And it's all been in a scrabble to keep me on my feet and earning income whilst I sorted out a lifetime of "postponed" disasters.

You know the kind of "postponing" I mean. We all do it. It's the practice of putting something out of your mind during a crisis or a heartbreak with the idea that you'll "deal with it later". It's the act of "solidering on" until one day you can't.

In the wicked days of Y2K I stopped soldiering. My endocrine system shorted out. I had a stack of skeletons in the closet, a few catastrophically failed romances, and a family that put the “fun” back in dysfunctional.

I woke up one morning and realized I’d been living like a war zone refugee for over a decade and my body wasn’t having it anymore. The rest is history and empty prescription bottles.

They say stress is a killer. Twenty or thirty years of it is a maim-er with a keen eye on killing you off before you get your pension.

It didn't take a doctor to diagnose stress but it took several to keep me propped up until while I sorted skeletons and postponed feelings.

Everybody has to process, forget, or buckle. As Jimmy Buffet says “If it takes all the future, we’ll live through the past.”. November and December are the time of year when my ghosts put on their chains and pick up their pickaxes and come after me again. Each birthday becomes a bit darker and more difficult.

I’ve had some new and mind rattling things happening in my life in the last six months that have made this year’s “dark season” more surreal than ever.

This year my birthday was the most difficult to date. I still suspect part of me had the right idea in sleeping the day away.
Monday, December 08, 2008
Speed Key
I'm looking for the man who has my speed key.

It’s a Monday. It’s a Pete Townshend music, jigsaw puzzle, drink strong tea, wear your bathrobe all day sort of day.

Saturday night it snowed a Maryland snow, full of sleet and rain and ice. Today it’s grey, grey, grey, and a few darker shades of grey outside.

I used to love these kinds of days. I’d hole up in a cubby with my typewriter and write for hours. I’d let the record changer replay the same side of the same LP over and over again. I’d drink wickedly strong tea out of my Schlitz thermal mug. I’d toss my keys on the shifter lever of my ten speed bike and pedal over to my “old man’s place”. (He was 27 years old after all!) We’d spend the evening getting drunk on cheap red wine and rolling around naked on the living room floor. Did I mention the candle light? It's probably better if I don't mention the candle light and how beautiful everyone was back then. God, I could get really depressed if I thought about all the piss elegant poetry both of us parroted from the "great books" and scribbled in our "journals".

Who in the hell was the girl? I keep finding pieces of her strewn all over my house. Her bicycle is in the storage. Her key ring is in the top dresser drawer. Her notebooks are in a box in the attic. I see her eyes in the mirror once and a while. Am I just moving about in her mausoleum?

Point Blank?

When did she die? Is there any reason to keep moving through the world or is it just time to go? Is life after 30 or 40 or 50 just a babbling scramble to recover the people who were loved long ago and thrown away? (Both ourselves and those we left behind or tossed out.)

"If I'd have known then what I know now; I would have. . . "

I would have drank, screwed, and stole my way through the world in a cyclone without a conscience. To hell with regrets, you have them anyway. My conscience damns me for the most bizarre things remembered. Most of all it whips me for living like a refugeee for so long. I had the power to lie, cheat, and steal my way out of where I was a long time before I earned my way out.

Being a mid-life nice girl is about as useful as being a cup of coffee in an insomnia study. It's exactly what nobody wants. Just like me.

All very nice but not very good.

I have a friend that tells me that if I dropped 30 pounds or so I'd be "Scary". She says that men would appear and life would improve. I have my doubts. When I was slinky and strong and "Scary" in days of yore, guys ran the other way like they were on fire.

The only way I got a date was to saunter up to some unsuspecting guy and ask him out. Even then I got used to rejection.

It took a brave and deranged guy to go out with me. In the last few years that supply has ceased.

Friends tell me how "nice, compassionate, empathetic, and understanding" I am. They tell me I'm "cute" and "dependable". What they mean is "This is what happens when you teach a girl to read and wear shoes. If you'd loose some weight and act like everybody else you'd be ok you spanner. Now quit watching car shows and loan me some money."

Ah, can you tell it's 4:30 in the afternoon now? I wandered off and left that post unfinished for too long. I just realized I've been listening to the same Pete Townshend set for 6 hours.

Can you tell tomorrow is my birthday? Can you tell I really want to go home and get drunk and delete this f**king blog? Who'd give a rat's ass anyway?

Oh yeah, James May, odd though he may be, still has more fun than I do.

Point Blank?
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Point Blank
Click here to Hear Point Blank as my guest at Rhapsody.:

1. Point Blank - Bruce Springsteen
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Does a Bugatti really look like a mole?
This morning, as I was soaking up the blue light from my "goLITE" gadget that is supposed to make me not turn into a werewolf from working in a windowless building, my friend C came over to take a look at the light and caught a glimpse of the Bugatti on my computer screen.

Today's computer wallpaper is a pic of a Bugatti Veyron with Richard Hammond leaning on the side of it.

click on the pic for a wallpaper sized version
click here for a great interview on Richard and his cars

Instead of making one of ten obvious remarks any straight woman is liable to make about Richard Hammond, C says "Oh that has to be a Bugatti, look at that grill!"

C thinks the Bugatti grills are ugly and they make her 'nuts'. I suggested they are mole like in appearance with that puckered up snout. We embarked on a discussion of all the "wire grates" across the front and back of the car and how they worked to cool, style, and hold the car on the road. Then we got into a discussion of a V or W or inline style engine.

Then we got into the "Speed Key" feature on the Veyron and the wing/flap/thingie on the back. Jeremy Clarkson did a nice job of showing how you have to deliberately use the Speed Key to retract the brake flap.

C and I debated on whether or not that feature kept Bugatti from being sued when some idiot turned it off, made it difficult for someone to make a mistake in the heat of speed, or ensured that anyone rich and goofy enough to drop that much on a car would make a repeat purchase.

So now everybody in my area of the digital plantation knows I'm not right in the head. But it's still better then the nut on the other side of the cube wall talking about somebody in his church that was shot by a cop after attacking the cop and trying to take his gun. The church and family don't understand why the cop shot the guy trying to strangle him. Those are the people that Speed Keys are made for. It's a shame they can't put that type of device on the inside of houses. Then if you're too stupid and off kilter that day you have to stay home and not annoy anyone else. Jeremy Clarkson would endorse that one I'm sure.

Of course C and I did discuss the beauty of the Veyron Pur Sang and then we wingled around to discussing something about Richard Hammond and eating crackers.

Hmm. I started this post hours ago and then it crashed into a tree while I was looking at something else. It might be best to bail out of this train wreck and leave you with an amusing link at this point.

If you'd like to read something interesting, incorrect, offensive, and funny try "Sniff Petrol" at
Bang, bang baby. Am I dead?
Hello Kiddies. The Regimental Bark is tapering off to kennel cough. (As though it matters.)

My hard earned day of leave is to be spent tomorrow. I shall be wrestling with the Veterans Administration on whether or not mom can get into the female Alzheimer’s unit in Baltimore.

I suspect a great deal more of my hard won leave days will be spent trussing mom up in restraints and a winter coat and taking her to doctor’s appointments.

Ok, I’m hoping I don’t need restraints. But if she starts pulling that “mule” jazz I will use the driver-override-child-safety-restraint system in the car. That’s nothing as romantic as the Top Speed Key on a Veyron. But I can stop her from getting out of the car. But if she’s having a henny fit I want her to get out of the car so I can lock her out and keep her from beating me senseless.

What is my plan for such a contingency? If she gets ass backwards violent with me I’ll phone the cops and let them take her back to Sunrise in the paddy wagon.

As mom used to say to me. “I’m not here to be your best friend; I’m here to take care of you.”

It may seem a bit harsh to make contingency plans for such things but that is the key. If you have your stratagem and fallback plans made, then when the time comes you are free to act without hesitation or confusion.

See what 25 years in the tech industry will get you? You become a hierarchy charting, fall back planning, disaster recovery contingency documenting hard case.

In another life I used to read poetry, love turn of the last century art, be a harpsichord junky, and believe that I would be someone’s cherished love.

Amazing what time and mileage does to a car and a person.

I still read poetry on occasion, I still love harpsichord music, but as for the rest, I’m afraid I may wind up disappointed. Moreover I’m afraid that I can’t cope with the disappointment. How sad to live life and have so many things and never have the one thing I’ve always claimed to want the most.

XM radio picked up the Sirrius radio lineup last week. I now have the “Bruce Springsteen” channel tuned in on my radio in the car. Wednesday night I was careening along the beltway in bumper to bumper traffic in twenty seven degree weather. I had my shirtsleeves pulled down over my hands and was hoping we’d get a chance for a burst of speed so the heater core could warm up and give me some heat. The all Bruce station was cranking out chirpy hard headed songs from Born to Run and I’d felt optimistic when I’d made the on ramp but two miles up the road the traffic ground to a stop and XM started playing songs from “The River”.

“Point Blank” came on when I was too busy driving to fiddle with the radio.

I should have turned it off.

I remembered a time when I last worked “in the system” and I felt like the song described me perfectly. I tried to write about the experience in yesterday’s post . I quoted the lyrics. I tried to draw a corollary between then and now. I was left chilled to the bone by more than the weather.

I’ve made a complete orbit out and back into a cubicle farm. All that’s left is to figure out if anything is different this time.

Part of me wants to delete this post just like I did yesterday’s. Part of me wants to rewrite this and make a grand case for how different my life is today. Part of me is numb with fear and frustration. Part of me still wants to struggle to have more than 40 hours a week in a cage and mortgage payments on an old house.

Bang bang baby, am I dead?

Point Blank
By Bruce Springsteen

Do you still say your prayers little darling when you go to bed each night?

Praying that tomorrow everything will be all right.
But tomorrows fall in number, in number, one by one.
You wake up and you're dying, you don't even know what from.
Well they shot you

Point blank. . .

You grew up where young girls they grow up fast
You took what you were handed and left behind what was asked
But what they asked, baby, wasn't right
You didn't have to live that life
And I was gonna be your Romeo
You were gonna be my Juliet
These days you don't wait on Romeos
You wait on that welfare check
And on all the pretty little things that you can't ever have
And on all the promises that always end up

. . . .

Once I dreamed we were together again baby, you and me
Back home in those old clubs the way we used to be
We were standin at the bar and it was hard to hear
The band was playin loud and you were shoutin something in my ear
You pulled my jacket off and as the drummer counted four
You grabbed my hand and pulled me out on the floor
You just stood there and held me and you started dancin slow
And as I pulled you tighter, I swore I'd never let you go

Well I saw you last night down on the avenue
Your face was in the shadows but I knew that it was you
You were standin in the doorway, out of the rain
You didn't answer when I called out your name
You just turned and then you looked away
Like just another stranger, waitin to get blown away

. . .
You've been twisted up till you've become just another part of it
Point blank
You're walkin in the sights
Point blank
Even one false move, just one false move away
Caught you in their sights
Point blank
Did you forget how to love?
Girl, did you forget how to fight?
They must have shot you in the head cause
Point blank
Bang bang, baby, you're dead
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
James May Is Driving Me Mad!
Ok, I know the big 7 sins include envy. But hang damn. I've had three hours of sleep in two days, I'm spiked to the moon on cold meds, I still can't breathe well and today I am insanely jealous of James May.

Last night the BBC pre-empted Top Gear for some heartwrenching sensationalized special on something. When the show started I turned it off.

I had to make due with watching a DVR of the only Top Gear episode left on the machine. That was the episode where Jeremy drives the Merc Mac and races Richard and James on a ferry boat. En route James attemps some incredible lame pick up lines on Richard. ICK. It's not that I'm opposed to gays, it's that Richard Hammond is entirely too fine for James. I would loose my ever lovin' mind! James has his newspaper column, televised drinking holidays, drives the most beautiful cars in the world, gets away with being an irresponsible pet owner, and can read music. If he had Richard Hammond too, I'd start frothing and would have to be immersed in Holy Water.

The Regimental Bark has intensified over night despite serious cold meds. This means voice practice is shot for this week.

The harder I go after the things I'm chasing in this crazy life, the more I get of what I don't want!

There is an ancient Barry Manilow song that sticks in the gummy part of my brain that goes "It's all very nice but not very good." That describes the situation.

Then I read interviews with James May and he goes on about being lazy and how everything is a series of accidents.

No dear. The current state of my car is what results from a series of accidents. You have had luck smack you in your arse and give you a pinch.

I'm sure Mr. May works hard, parties hard, and suffers hard. The trek to the North Pole looked like a good reason to kill somebody at work. The trek through Botswana looked like a good reason to throttle Jeremy Clarkson. However there are some of us who ply our trade in cloth covered boxes in poorly ventilated digital plantations. We certainly think we got here through a string of accidents. We are burnt crispy and feel like being lazy on Sundays. Veyrons do not appear in our driveways. Nobody reads a word of anything we write. We bark at the moon and struggle away.

I don't even wonder why. I don't even question it anymore. Life is not fair, ok. I want my tea and biscuits too. If James May can have, then there is nothing to say that I can't. My never ending question is how? How the hell do I get there from here?

How long do I have to hold on? How much suffering does mom have to go through? It seems like she had three or four good years out of eighty three. Is my life going to be no better? How can any of this make any sense at all if all that exists is pain? Why be alive at all?

The Regimental Bark continues. The torture continues. The hope fades.
Monday, December 01, 2008
Was James May beaten enough as a child?
Ok, this is Monday morning. Nobody can expect to be totally cheerful and angelic on Monday morning. But this morning I am Lilith incarnate.

I do not envy James May, I want to drop him off the Bay Bridge from the center span. His column included James Bond, Aston Martin, and Fusker the cat shit*ing on him. All these things should at least mildly amuse me. Instead it serves to adjust me more firmly into a Ms. FuFu stance.

May claims to have consumption again. Perhaps his mother didn’t beat him enough as a child. Perhaps in the UK “manful” is acceptable.

I’ve got the “Regimental Bark” so I am in no mood to be envious or kind.

When I worked at LM the office was well lit with natural light and well ventilated. I went almost two years without a cold or respiratory infection. Since I’ve been back “in the system” I’ve had 2 bouts of Regimental Bark

Regimental Bark is the headcold/respiratory infection that circulates in offices between people who have small children (aka germ factories) and those who do not. The happy crappy parents catch everything the little ankle biters get at day care and they bring it in to work to give to the rest of us.

Since I have to care for an 84 year old in that puts me in trouble. I can’t go breathe all over her with this crap or she’ll have it and so will every other 200 year old lady in the joint.

Personally I don’t want to be responsible for giving somebody’s granny the bug that killed them off right before Christmas.

To top this off I spent all the 4 days of the Thanksgiving unholy nightmare days patrolling around mom. I removed all but 6 changes of clothes from her room. I took out an entire 30 gallon trash bag full of spoiled food and other trash. I cleaned her room. I also discovered that she’s been hiding her medicines instead of taking them.

Assisted living charges us 20$ a day to hand her the meds and they haven’t even been watching to see that she takes them! All they have to do is open a plastic baggie with mom’s name, the date, and the time on it and make sure she swallows the pills!

The cost of the medicine is extra!

No freaking wonder mom isn’t responding to iron therapy! She’s been tossing the pills out and the damn doctor has been giving her 500$ a dose injections of Procrit!

I’ve been in witch on wheels mode. Now I need to shift up to drunken-loud-Jeremy-Clarkson mode. If that doesn’t work I shall turn the whole thing into a pub brawl worth of newspaper coverage.
Next weekend, should I rebound from the Regimental Bark, I will have to make mom take a shower. She stinks and I don’t think she’s had a full bath or shower in quite some time.

Those who have been there know that when you have to start bathing a parent it crosses a line of demarcation that demoralizes everybody.

However no one is going to make sure your butt is clean except somebody who cares about you.

This weekend I had to do clothes sniffing patrol and that is something only a loved one will ever do for you too.

“W” and I had planned on going out to get a Christmas tree next weekend. However we suddenly have maintenance to do Saturday night. Our fearless leader doesn’t want to pre-stage anything because he wants to earn overtime.

I and the third on our team want to do all the prep work ahead of time and get the hell out of here early. We’re already starting at 9 p.m. and we have to be done by 11:45. So we need to book and we need to be accurate.

Ah well. I’m earning overtime so the fuzzy rats ass I do not give.

Hmmm did I mention the letters from collection agencies I found in mom’s stuff? Not to worry they are from January 2008 and for a trip to a hospital that I never heard about. I’ll untangle that later on.

Right now I want to find a local actor who can pull off a good Jeremy Clarkson impersonation. Then I am going to pay them to lumber into Sunrise, say they are my brother, and let the whole staff have it with a verbal barrage that brings them into line. I’m not tall enough to look threatening when I get mad. I just look like an angry mouse squeaking away. I need somebody who can shoulder past the staff and get in to see the 50 cent Harvey Banes that runs that joint.

Vengeance belongs to the Lord. Kicking ass over family members belongs to the daughters.