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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!

Friday, May 29, 2009
Bacon Salt! ?!?!?!
Has someone finally created the "perfect food"?

In my daily ramble through Amazon, looking for the next "Top Gear" DVD or book to add to my stock pile, I found a "Gold Box Deal" for Bacon Salt. The advertising motto is "Everything should taste like bacon!"

Oh the glorious possibilities!

I can almost hear a beautiful, deep voice murmuring in my ear, "Darling we've got to get up and change the sheets, they're full of bacon salt!"

I can imagine that in the bacon flavored trembling afterglow I'd say "Let's just go sleep in the guest room. Oh and bring the bacon salt with you."

I wouldn't have to worry about "flavor boredom" either. Bacon Salt comes in hickory, applewood, maple, and jalapeno. For those "quick moments" away, there is a bacon flavored lip balm! That would be handy to keep in the car for those stolen "parking garage" moments of passion!

The company even makes Baconaise! Baconaise light! Low salt Bacon Salt!

It's a whole new world!

Just imagine what would happen if I actually used it in cooking!

Go get you some! Click Here to go to the Bacon Salt Homepage!

Note: At this point it would be entirely too easy to make some comment on how the highly esteemed Mr. May would taste if covered with Bacon Salt. That, of course, would be outside my "rules of respect" for this blog. For my "Top Gear" reference today I'll just have to speculate that The Stig carries a bottle in his track bag at all times!
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
It's only a plasticine moon. . . .
. . . sailing over a cardboard sea.
But it wouldn't be make believe
If you believed in me.

-- Misquoted from the song "It's Only A Paper Moon"

Last week James May was photographed with pots of plasticine tulips. He smiled and went through interviews citing his girlfriend as the gardener and himself as the keeper of the tangled garden hose. In a bid to get children to play with art supplies instead of electronics, May is doing a show on toys. He did a display of plasticine at the Chelsea Flower Show.

For Americans "plasticine" means "modeling clay". That oily, gunky crap that never gets warm enough to work with until your wrists are too tired to sculpt anything. It was almost made extinct in the 1970's when mothers unanimously banned "goopy" substances from shag carpeted areas. Modeling clay never comes out of carpet, upholstery, or clothes. (But it does squeak when you chew on it.)

I discovered polymer clay about five years back and reclaimed my joy at moodling with thumb printed figures and suspicious looking non-ashtrays. Polymer clay is baked in a regular oven after it's formed so it gains functionality and textile friendliness. Polymer clay can be a bear to warm up but it can be run through a dedicated pasta machine or a food processor to get it supple. I use it to create faux metal, plaster, sandstone, and rock bits to go in my collage work.

As The Telegraph online posted James' pic and interview for the delight of May Watchers, I drove my Cadillac down to a small crematorium and made arrangements for the burning of my mother's body.

She left a written advanced directive, mom had decided what she wanted. I carried out her requests.

My steadfast friend "DM" made the trip into the back room to identify the body. Some memories I don't need. The woman I knew was gone. I didn't want the sight of her lifeless shell to diminish my memory of the force-of-nature that she was.

As the esteemed Mr. May enjoyed his success at the flower show, I received sympathy bouquets. James May once again had more fun than I did.

That's the way it should be.

That's what writers and television presenters are out there for. They are there to remind us that there is more to life than whatever we have on our immediate radar.

My DVD player was cranking through Top Gear Series 10 on Saturday afternoon when "W" arrived at my house to pay a condolence call. He arrived from his home 130 miles away with a shoulder for crying on and a pair of electric hedge trimmers.

Sunday he mustered me out into my yard to trim back two forsythia bushes that had grown larger than my car. We paddled around the yard together cleaning out the neglected flower beds like an old married couple. We made the obligatory trip to Lowe's for mulch and Holy Tone and brass screws. I made lunch while "W" fixed the laundry room door. I felt the comfort of old rhythms, normalcy.

We worked in the yard until dark. We did the "drive round dinner" and picked up fried chicken just like back in our "broke" days.

We tried to watch "Mr. Magorium" on DVD but I teared up and we swapped over to "Top Gear". I dozed off on the sofa while Jeremy and Richard were booby trapping James' car with a cow's head. James' sense of mischief and whimsy doesn't show much on top gear. To look at him enduring Jeremy and Richard sabotaging his car you wouldn't think he'd be the one to build a modeling clay garden at all. But he did.

Mr. May even snuck a garden gnome into the Chelsea Flower Show.

Tonight I will go home and unpack boxes in my newly remodeled studio. Maybe the polymer clay will turn up. Maybe I'll make a perverse garden gnome for my newly revived flower beds.

Be warned Mr. May! You may be having all the fun now, but I intend to catch you up.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
It is finished.
At 4:05 a.m. on May 18th, Mary Frances Truitt went through the door home to Jesus Christ her Lord and savior.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Don't Let Go The Coat

Don't touch that dial!

Above: Pete Townshend copping a squat amongst the gizmos. Remember real mechanical dials?

Below: Roger Daltrey, looking yummy and posted again 'cause I like looking at this pic!

Who the fuck are you?

Hmmm. Looking at Roger is triggering vague memories of scorching hot summers spent living by the ocean. There was a particular tall, lanky fellow that comes to mind. I remember the smell of the salt water drying on our bodies, the touch of skin still warm fromt he sun, and the sound of the front door slamming when my stepfather came home unexpectedly for lunch. My temporarily-mine beauty and I froze stock still and barely breathed for an hour, hidden away behind my locked bedroom door, until my stepfather left again.

Below: Johnny Depp from "Libertine". Does beauty beget corruption or does it only serve to make it more noticable?

What delights await in the dark?

Below: I have a rumble tumble collection of pics to use for wallpaper at work. I found all these pics online but I don't have notes on where. Apologies for not giving credit.

This is my desktop collection of Top Gear tidbits. Today I have no words that work so I'm posting images again.

Since I don't have access to my Rhapsody account where I'm posting from today, you'll just have to imagine that the background music for this assemblage is Sarah Brightman's "Free(Swiss American Federation Mix)".

Below: The esteemed Mr. May in a Veyron. James is having more fun than just about everybody else is this pic. Enjoy that Veyron for all of us sir!

Long ago and far away.

Below: The mad, bad, and dangerous to know Mr. Clarkson and the bartending Mr. May have a gin and tonic as they drive to the pole.

Oh Captain I fear the worst!

Below: The detail oriented Mr. May attends to his Alfa Romeo in prep for the concourse judging. It's truly a shame he didn't lock the hood latch. Mr. Clarkson & Mr. Hammond slathered his engine in cheese and he lost points for a slovenly engine compartment.

I need buffing.

Below: Mr. Hammond poses for a pic while enjoying a game of billiards.

Invoking the right to remain silent.

Below: Mr. Hammond and his bag of tricks. It would be totally inappropriate to use the phrase, "Pretty in pink", here.

Mum's to word.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
From the edge of the world to your town.

The Brown Dirt Cowboy

Above: Dee Murray, Elton John, Nigel Olsson, Davey Johnstone, Ray Cooper, Bernie Taupin. In the pantheon of heroes summer of '78

Below: Roger Daltrey, another rocker that scared my parents. If they'd only known something about my boyfriends, Roger would have looked tame. Guess I'm lucky the folks weren't paying attention!

Who the fuck are you?

Below: Roger Daltrey as a centaur. There are so many things so wrongity, wrong, wrong with this pic but it seems so very, very right. The word mordacious comes to mind.

Down the dark hallway to the past.

Below: James May & Richard Hammond. My thoughts on why I like this pic violate every rule I try to follow with this blog. Let's just say I keep a pack of Camel Cigs on my desk at home.

Yank me, crank me, but don't wake up and thank me.

Below: A glowing portrait of my date for this evening.

Better Red than dead!

Below: "Mysterium" DuClaw Brewing's spiced Belgian style ale. Out of season now but I'd love to find a grolwer at home waiting for me anyway. Click on the pic for a jump to DuClaw's description of this yummy brew.

Better Red than dead!
Monday, May 11, 2009
Air Aces
As the spring night turns grey with rain clouds, I feel the need to send a playlight out to my Air Aces.

To play this playlist as my guest through the Rhapsody service.
Click Here ==>airaces

1. Serenade In Blue - Glenn Miller
2. Long Ago And Far Away - Jo Stafford
3. Are You Having Any Fun - Tony Bennett
4. G.I. Jive - Louis Jordan
5. I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire - The Ink Spots
6. Bell Bottom Trousers - Kay Kyser
7. Across the Alley From Alamo - The Mills Brothers
8. Praise The Lord And Pass The Ammunition! - Kay Kyser
9. Bargain - The Who
10. Don't Let Go The Coat - The Who
11. Love Reign O'er Me - The Who
12. Anytime, Anyday, Anywhere (Produced by Amp Fiddler) - Nat King Cole

Who are my Air Aces? My dear old father for one. Perhaps the highly esteemed Mr. May. Snoopy of course! A few others as well.

Hey Cuz!

Firepower was Cuzin Tuesday's fave machine in the way back. I thought I'd post a pic for him.

Last Saturday the postman brought me a parcel with MillWax Pinball Wax and microfiber cloths. Saturday evening I opened up "Creature" and brushed out the gritty dust from the remodeling. I pulled up the playfield and dusted the hollogram and replaced the steels. I fiddled with the lighting harness on the targets and got all the lights on again. I waxed the playfield, cleaned the glass, and got the grit out of the slots in the siderails. "Creature" is back to lightening fast and mirror finish.

I have played the machine with the glass out and the sound from the thumper bumpers and kick bumpers is amazing.

I've had "Creature" for over a year and I've yet to get so I can casually get a score based free game. The machine isn't even set at the high difficulty rating. I think I could play the machine everyday and still never get so I could trounce it in "tuff" mode.

I'm not going to say much else about the weekend. For some grief there is no words. Mom is under hospice care, she drifts in and out of sleep, there is no recognition in her eyes.

Let's all go down to the pinball arcade Cuz. Otherwise I might just have to go find and ice cream truck to dance in front of!

Hi Again Cuz! Oh yes, these are OEM!

I sincerely hope that James May is having more fun than I am.
Thursday, May 07, 2009
We do the desperation samba con los amigos.
"Desperation Samaba" came out on the "Last Mango In Paris" album by Jimmy Buffet.

Also on that album is my theme song: "If The Phone Doesn't Ring It's Me"

There are oceans of feelings between us
Currents that take us and sweep us away
That's why we seldom have seen us
In the light of a cold hard day

Lots of new friends with the same old answers
Open your eyes, you might see
If our lives were that simple
We'd live in the past
If the phone doesn't ring, it's me

If the phone doesn't ring
You'll know that it's me
I'll be out in the eye of the storm
If the phone doesn't ring
You'll know that I'll be
Where someone can make me feel warm
It's too bad we can't turn
And live in the past
If the phone doesn't ring, it's me

I've had good days and bad days
And going half mad days
I try to let go but you're still on my mind
I've lost all the old ways
I'm searching for new plays
Putting it all on the line

Lots of new friends with the same old problems
Open your eyes, you might see
If our lives were that simple
We'd live in the past
If the phone doesn't ring, it's me

If it takes all the future
We'll live through the past
If the phone doesn't ring, it's me

Snoopy and I both fly Sopwith Camels
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Nor more norepinephrie reuptake inhibitors!
This afternoon I am greatly relieved to have gotten a reasonable final bill from Sunrise Assisted Living. I'm also in the pipeline to get the tax bill fixed. My organizer buddy even has some time to help me get the office back together this coming Sunday.

The new medicine is not helping.

They say the human body has no accurate memory of physical pain. But I will tell you that I've hurt like this before and now I'm hurting like this again.

My nose twitching apprehension on this set of adjustments to body chemestry was correct. Luckily this particular med has a short half life. It should get out of my body by tomorrow morning. Right now I'm drenched in sweat. My nerves are "jumping" up and down and I feel like a flashing stop light.

It's wonderfully reassuring to have had experience with this before. I know it's going to hurt for a while. I also know it isn't permanent and it isn't going to get worse.

It's the old capsized boat rescue drill. No matter how many times you tip your sailboat over on the river the response is always the same. You right the boat and you get back in. If you are in the middle of a storm or a bad wake, you hold onto the boat hull until you can get it flipped over and get back in.

I'd like to quit capsizing my boat so much. But eh, boats are safe at harbor but that's not what they're meant for.

My pinball dude has moved his shop space. He is now sharing with a guy that buys bulk pins from gamerooms and people. I have given him my "Wish List". It may take years for any of these machines to surface, but that's allright. I've figured out places for 2 more machines in the house. If I redo the guest bedroom there might be room for more!

My Wish List In No Specific Order

1. Triple Action/Star Action

Oh yeah!

2. Scared Stiff

Oh yeah!

3. Addams Family

Oh yeah!

4. Wizard!

Oh yeah!

5. Captain Fantastic

Oh yeah!

6. Haunted House

Oh yeah!

7. Creature From The Black Lagoon - - CAPTURED!
This machine is already in my collection.

Oh yeah!

"Creature" was one of the very last great Bally pinball machines. I've been a "Bally Snob" since I was 11 and it's wonderful to have a big Bally machine thunking away in my studio.
Nor epinephrine Uptake Inhibitor, Serotonin Enhanced
What happens when you don't sleep for days and days? You get sleepy. What happens when you tack on days and days of nausea and the green-apple-quickstep? Sleepy and cranky. Then toss on a few weeks of eating like a college student. You know what happens?

Your silly middle aged ass catches every virus in the world and you collapse. That's what happens!

Your blood sugar numbers stop making sense. Your endocrine system goes on strike. You drag yourself off to bed and sleep for 23 hours straight for a few days.

Then, to make sure that you don't do it again, your body yanks down the serotonin and nor epinephrine levels so that you hurt like you've been beaten with a bat and you are not optimistic about your chances of survival if you leave the house.

Yes children. Not even the sound of a Bugatti or the dulcet tones of Jeremy Clarkson can make you stick your nose out from under the duvet. You have odd dreams of James May as a WWII Flying Ace and of Satchmo putting a new door on the house.

You crank up TCM on Demand and set "A Shot In The Dark" to play repeatedly as you sleep the hours away. Occasionally you stir to watch Clouseau stumble through the nudist camp. Mostly you pretend you were never born.

This morning I stumbled back to work and spent 1/2 a page of paper ciphering how to make my time sheet balance with as little non-paid time as possible.

I went to see the doctor yesterday. That's who took the friendly blood tests to find out what was going on. Garden variety stress induced exhaustion.

When the doc asked me how I was doing, I told him.

"I'm the closest I've ever been to stopping at the airport, catching a flight to someplace far away and then never coming back."

"That's not good" He replied in his gentle wisdom.

He sent me from his office with a small packet of samples. I am breakfasting on chopped halves of neurochemical treats engineered to pump me full of nor epinephrine and serotonin. These miracle neurotransmitters are proported to refill my vim and vigor bin.

I sit quietly at my desk as they digest. My MP3 player is crooning Mr. Jones wailing "Sex Bomb". My toes are not tapping. I do not have ignition. The belly button popping Mr. Daltry has left me as much unmoved. I'm afraid if all the miracle substances perform their tasks it will just give me a deeper night's rest tonight.

That might work out just fine. After last night's adventures of "James May RAF Ace" I might dream about The Stig as a U-Boat captain. Anything has got to be better than IBM DB2 for ZOS V9 Installation. I must go now. It's time to read the next exciting chapter of "DB2 Installation & Tuning".

I hope Ace May and Capt Stig are in the next chapter!
Friday, May 01, 2009
So We Delight In Evil. . . .
Yes, eeeeee-villllllllll.

Not the evil of world domination. Who wants this f'd up world anyway?

Not the evil of savagery. Who wants to have the screams and pains of the victims on their tally sheet come their judgement day?

No, I am talking about the everyday garden variety of evil that we all struggle so hard against.

The sweet evil delight of buying a pricey toy, eating that extra chocolate bar, the slovenly excess of skipping work in favor of a day in bed with an excellent lover.

The delightful joy of breaking the "rules" is the evil we all secretly fret about as we bustle about in traffic jams and grocery lines.

"What if someone finds out I stayed home to shag Mr. X?" We ask ourselves.

We fret that word will get out that we're voluptuaries. Our employers will brand us as "unreliable". We'll be cast out of our jobs and our homes. We'll wind up living in a box under a highway overpass. Our lives will be ruined because we took time for a little languid toe curling congress instead and dashing off to sit at a desk and watch the clock.

If there had been any toe-curling-congress available at my house this morning I'd not have phoned in "sick". I'd have phoned in "dead", in anticipation of my actual demise from the shock of enjoying "hot monkey love" once again.

Instead of being consumed by a day of connubial activity and naked cognac swilling, I motored in to work with my mother's tax bill in my pocket. Bereft of the opportunity to warm a nice XO cognac on a lover's skin, I spent the morning on the phone with the Maryland State Comptroller's Office. They have taken to employing someone who does not speak English to answer their phone inquiries. I'm sure this was a lovely person but they did not understand a word of what I said, nor did I understand them. It took 30 minutes and two more phone calls to discover that the stack of paperwork I mailed them, at their behest, has never been put into their computer system.

I've seen their computer system. It's a friggin' miracle it doesn't short out and burn the building down.

I will now have to fax the stack of forms to them so that they may loose them again. They will turn my mother over to a collection agency for a debt she doesn't owe. By the time that agency arranges it's faux enraged dignity over a debt that is not owed, mother will be dead.

I have had dealings with the state before. Their levels of bureaucracy, double dealing, and legal grey water make the southern states look like innocent babes in arms.

Back to lesser evils. Today's evil is the Pinball Wizard's Convention in Allentown PA. I am scheduled to work tomorrow and I shall. But as I fiddle with computers and wathc the clock, my pinball dealer "Jay" will be at the show scouting for me. He has my "wish list" in his pocket and will phone me if he hits pay dirt.

Yes I want another pinball machine.

No I don't have a place to put one. Perhaps I'll get rid of the guest bed or the dining room table.

I really shouldn't buy another machine, I should be saving my pennies, nickels, and dollars.

Do you see the unctuous evil creeping in here? I have a 3 bedroom house and I'm worried about a place to put another pinball machine. I have a good job and enough savings to pay for a machine, but I'm sweating the cost before Jay even finds anything.

In the midst of bounty I am beating myself with the scarcity fear stick. I am throttling myself over an imagined yet to be committed sin that isn't a sin at all. My mortgage will still get paid if I get another machine. I won't be throwing my mother into the street because I've squandered everything on a toy.

I've wanted the machines on my list for twenty years. Now that I may find them I'm beating myself in the head over possibly of actually having what I want.

How evil is that?

I am a tax paying, working, law abiding citizen who is kind to little old ladies and dogs. Yet I'm treating myself like an escaped axe murderer.

I'm tossing myself into the pit of lack, want, despair, and self deprecation without any reason.

The same treatment expands into other parts of my life. Daily I languish without feeding myself well, getting enough rest, or doing the most routine self care items. This is because I am too cranked up doing things for work, for mom, or for someone else. Those other people aren't demanding that I trash myself to serve them, I'm doing it automatically by myself.

It makes no matter where I learned the habit, it has to stop.

Even writing that line feels evil. "Good girls" don't do things like that.

Heaven! Listen to me! I have been subsumed by the drudge android!

The only cure is evil. Garden variety, daily evil. I must become a voluptuary to save myself.

Even now I have begun my slide toward the questionable lux. The CD player is loaded up with the "Switched On Box Set" by Wendy Carlos. Bach on the Moog. I've loved it since I was a kid. The juxtaposition of the electronic and Bach. It's enough to make James May's nostrils flare in disgust. But I must risk of offending Mr. May's delicate sensibilities if I am to avoid turning grey in the life of a grubber. I must have my daily evils to spark me up from tinder to life again.

As Jay scours the market for a "Scared Stiff" pinball machine I must put myself to the painful question, "What would Elvira do?"

Oh yeah!