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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, July 31, 2009
Wet, soggy, moggy
Friday afternoon twines onward towards rush hour. It's raining sideways. Tree branches are bending at odd angles before the wind. The state highway administration decided that because some twenty year olds held a drag race on our on ramp to the freeway that SHA should make it one lane instead of four. Now we've only got one decent exit out of the parking lot and that dumps into the worst on-ramp in the system. That's why they'd built the nice wide ramp they just pruned down. There are a couple thousand of us who would gladly strangle two drag racing kids.

Work is work.

I sit with a pile of completed prep work for software modifications. Lily Allen is burbling along in her perky seventies retro style. With a quick double cowboy beat in the background, and a few well placed guitar twangs, she sounds like she's singing about "her man" somewhere in the great southwest. She's not. She's complaining that her metro sexual beau is afflicted with disappointing sexual dysfunction.

She should wait and see what she thinks when her beaus are post-35 and are all on cholesterol reducers. Her little musical fingers will be googling their way over to Goodvibes.Com or Betty Dodson's website. I'd fire up the Rhapsody jukebox to listen to songs she wrote about those experiences!

The rain is diminishing the ninety degree heat, but leaving a steamy fog on the roadways. It's the kind of evening where I want nothing more than to go home, bolt the door, pop an ice cold Killians, strip off the work clothes on the way back to the bedroom, and jump naked into the duvets.

Only problem with that is that there is no one there to massage unguents onto my silky skin or ply me with carnal delights both mysterious and mundane.

Which is to say, my Johnny Depp clone/robot hasn't arrived yet.

Don't worry I own a scrub brush.
Proposed appearance of Johnny Depp clone/robot.
Pic from

Let's face it, since my new clone/robot will come straight from the factory, and be made from washable silicone, I can safely take the plunge for a "dirty boy" without risk of ruining my health. Besides, if I tire of him with guyliner on, I can rinse him off and restyle his hair. Most Johnny Depp characters would be yummy, with the notable exception of Sweeny Todd and The Mad Hatter. Come to think of it JM Barrie wouldn't be too savory either. I'll have to rethink styling choices when the time comes.
It ain't the Algonquin Round Table but it'll do
National Novel Writing Month!

It's coming. Hide neath the covers or run headlong to the typewriter, November is on the way. With it comes the fantastical literary frenzy that is "NANO WRIMO"

From November 1st through 30th, writers around the world will strive and struggle to plonk 50,000 words into an electronic text document. The NaNo WriMo website will then gargle the prose and award "winners" certificates for those who have met the word count.

Deathless prose or dukie scented drivel, it makes no never mind. The goal is to apply yourself to your work with abandon. No editing, spell checking, critiquing, or fretting required. Park your backside in a chair and let your freak flag fly!

Writers can join local groups for "write ins" replete with word count prizes. Camaraderie and coffee shop cuisine are on offer as "write ins" spring up in bookstore cafes and Starbucks.

Online writer's support is available as well. You can join the message forums, add friends, and show your word count. You can also join your local area in "word count wars" against other regions around the world.

I have participated in Nano WriMo month several times. I've even garnered a "Winner" certificate. 50,000 is a lot of words to write while you're still working full time and running two households. This year perhaps the slow down in my schedule will let me stride into the total more comfortably. Although I still reserve the right to pad up my word count by adding episodes involving gratuitous sex in Las Vegas high roller suites, tedious descriptions of house fires, and verbose retellings of how to run a bakery.

I'm already blocking out the Thanksgiving Day weekend as a time for wandering about the house in my nightshirt, overdosing on caffeine, and spending hours at the keyboard laying down keystrokes. I will be rummaging for good photos of my writing trinity Thompson, Taupin, and Clarkson to paste on my desktop for momentum.

Won't you join the NaNo WriMo fun? Go out to their website and check out the program today! The National Novel Writing Month Website
Top Gear Host "Weary", "Snappish" in wake of CJMTU threat.

Up yours!
Photo from Top Gear UK website shows James May looking exhausted and churlish with co-presenter Clarkson.

In the wake of this week's CJMTU crisis, it's reported that James May is exhausted but holding up as well as can be expected.

Bravely he's continued with the filming of this week's Top Gear episode. It will be the last in the current series. Sources say that the co-presenters are expected to take summer holidays.

For this TI correspondent, this means no weekly twinkle and spark from Clarkson's column in the TimesOnline. It also means that Mr. May will slide back into projects that will never be seen on this side of the Atlantic.

Admittedly the Tuxedo Inn has a region free DVD player and a stash of DVDs from 'across the pond'. But seeing Mr. May drunk and crashing a motor home can in no way be as interesting as seeing him taking shelter in a Lego house.

American television, for all it's "Deadliest Catch", "Burn Notice", "Mythbusters", "Good Eats", "Ghost Hunters", and "Dog the Bounty Hunter" offers no entertainment as mild and stimulating as the prospect of watching a full grown man openly play with children's toys on camera.

Although we have several cable networks dedicated to grown men playing with adult toys on camera, that is not in the same spirit in which, I hope, Mr. May's series is created.

Gonna get me some tush!
Another shot from Top Gear UK showing May continuing to mimic Clarkson. Also an excuse to show a gratuitous backside shot for a fan girl on staff at TI

In a related note, one member of the TI staff looked at this pic and remarked that Mr. May seemed to have inordinately large feet. Although I don't know what that has to do with anything, she said I should include the info in this post because some readers may find it informative.

In related summer holiday news, sources say that Richard Hammond is planning on joining a "Monkees" tribute band and touring the United States. We'll keep you posted on tour dates as the information is made available.

I gotta be free. Like the bluebirds flying by meeeeeeee!
Is Hammond going to portray a young Davy Jones? Does he realize the original one is on tour this summer as well?

Before we sign off on today's CJMTU threat update, we'll post a pic of Mr. May receiving tender attention on the Top Gear set. Notice his makeup is applied with a sable brush and not a hardware store acid brush. It's nice to see the BBC is being sensitive to his needs after this week's scare.

Paint me all over with your mad love!
Richard Hammond watches protectively on as makeup is applied to Mr. May
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Security Precautions Continue
It was a restless night here at the Tuxedo Inn. Although The Stig vaporized the "Harkness Man Tart" threat late yesterday afternoon, we have been apprehensive that Harkness' phoenix like powers would bring him back into play.

As rumors swirled on Torchwood linked websites that a fourth season of Torchwood with Captain Jack Man Tart of the Universe (CJMTU) may be forthcoming, the Top Gear camp continued ramping up security precautions surrounding Mr. May.

Below are pictures from the Top Gear UK website showing the Top Gear crew ramping up their efforts.

Rock me you shaggy dogs!
Making May harder to single out. Richard Hammond has grown a shaggy mane so that marauders to the studio would find it harder to pick May out from the crowd.

Wake up?
Hammond mimics the patented May thoughtful stare.

This is how we do it!
Jeremy Clarkson coaches Mr. May on how to "do the Clarkson".

I'll take that one right there.
Reprising Clarkson's earlier role "breathing life into Adam"

Although we are not a news service, we will do our best to keep you posted as developments occur.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Real Stig Comes to James May's Aid

Don't make me take the helmet off!
The real Stig arbiter of intergalactic disputes.

Today the REAL Stig, not the man in a white suit who removed his helmet on Top Gear this season, came to the aid of his team member James May.

Our sources have it that The Stig showed up at Denbies Wine Estate, Surrey where May and The Doctor are working on their Lego house. The Doctor and The Stig had a private conversation within the bland blue walls of the TARDIS. The Doctor exited the TARDIS, resumed work on the Lego house, and reassured May that the situation was coming to an end.

Moments later the TARDIS disappeared with The Stig still inside. It reappeared several moments later and The Stig exited the vehicle with a burnt and smouldering air force blue swing coat in his hand.

The Stig, The Doctor, and Mr. May had a confab where the coat was opened up and the damage inspected. Any physical being wearing that piece of material was certainly vaporized in a conflagration. Although The Stig only converses in Morse Code clicks, The Doctor appeared to have a translation utility in his ever present sonic screwdriver. Mr. May, it appears, understands Morse Code by ear and responded by tapping a yellow Lego brick on The Stigs helmet.

Judging by snatches of conversation overheard by our source and the smiles all round, the menace to May's safety is over. After some white board drawings and a display of deft mathematical prowess, The Doctor indicated that it would take a large sum of BBC program funding to bring Harkness back from beyond the pale.

Hushed whispers around the building site indicated that Harkness attempted to charm The Stig and was immolated when he lifted The Stig's visor.

Enjoy your Lego house in peace and safety Mr. May. We at the Tuxedo Inn are truly pleased you are safe.
Dr. Who Moved to Tears By Pleas of James May Fan Girls

Stop your tears!
Dr. Who responds to fan girls pleas for help.
Photo from David Tennant Online.

James May Fan Girls forced their way into a panel at Comic Con yesterday to beg Dr. Who to rush to the aid of their beloved Mr. May.

Moved to tears by the devotion and concern of these girls and women, Dr. Who cut short his panel speech and dashed to his TARDIS. Reports are that he touched down in London moments before he left San Francisco and a shiver of temporal displacement thrilled the crowd.

The Doctor is currently helping Mr. May build a Lego shelter to ride out the "Jack Harkness Man Tart" threat.

On a minor note the Doctor's K-9 unit stunned Fusker May with an immobiliser ray after Fusker mistook K-9 for a vacuum cleaner and clawed his radar array. Both parties are fully recovered and Lego construction continues.

Now to address concerns by OneMockingBirdHill. Of course Dr. Who is real! Captain Jack Harkness is fictional. He's just some guy in a uniform that the Doctor dreamt about while time traveling. Harkness became a physical construct only through a twist of the time/matter continuum. Time Lords, on the other hand, have had a hand in keeping humans from destroying the earth for eons.

Seriously, Dr. Who fictional? Next people will be saying the moon landing was faked and President Obama was born in another country! Rest easy OneMockingBirdHill, the Doctor is on call!

P.S. I don't know who this David Tennant online gentleman is, I hope he will not mind my reporting on his photos from Comic Con. Thanks, Mr. Tennant.
James May Seeks Safety in Lego House in Public Venue

Kevlar Pants On!
May bears up well under pressure
photo from Top Gear UK website

In a bid to protect himself from maruading space tart Jack Harkness, James May has decided to let public view and a goodly quantity of plastic insulation be his shield.

May, who reportedly owns a conventional home already, is citing "creativity" as his reason for building a full sized Lego block home.

An insider source says it's not the credit crunch that has led May to explore Lego blocks as a housing material. Instead it's his research that shows Captain Jack Harkness can't teleport through solid platic walls.

Once inside his Lego home, sources say, May believes he will be able to hold off any intrusion by Harkness by brandishing his tuxedo cat "Fusker". Harkness is reportedly deathly allergic to cats, not unlike the partially resurected corpse of Imhotep in the movie "The Mummy".

For more information on Mr. May's valiant efforts follow this link> James' Lego House
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Dr. Who rushes to save James May!

How's it hangin!
You haven't seen James May have you?

"You haven't seen James May have you? I've heard rumours that tramp Jack Harkness has him in his sights.

I've got to save James from a "fate worse than death"!

I dropped the ball last week with the Torchwood gang but I'm here, now, to do what I can!

Aw geeze if I screw this up Stig will never let me drive that Bugatti!"

Aw come on Stiggy!
Dr. Who and The Stig in less perilous times.
Pardon me Mr. May have you seen my cousins?

Run for your life!
ET arrives on earth looking for his second cousins on his mother's side, the 456 (aka the peeny weeny people)

"Seriously Mr. May I'm not here to savage you on the hood of a sportscar! I'm just looking for my cousins. They got loose at the family reunion and we're trying to round them up.

Don't mind the finger, I had it installed so I could jump start my own car through the cig lighter.

Seriously your fan girls are worried about you. If you see a guy in an old millitary uniform with a swing coat, just remember to keep your back to the wall!"
Run JAMES! Run! Run! Run!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Or better yet, hop in that Veyron and blast down the highway to somewhere far, far away from danger!

Run for your life!
James behind the wheel of a Bugatti in happier days.

Allow me to reiterate. I "like" Mr. James May. I appreciate him as a television presenter, author, and motoring journalist. I respect his wit, education, and his "Christian motoring" philosophy. He is highly esteemed.

Also allow me to put forth my feelings on last week's BBC America Torchwood blitz. I hated it. Torchwood started out as a nicely balanced ensemble cast with humor and monsters. I liked that. Then the story lines took a turn for the worse. Every episode was more depressing than the last. Everyone around Captain Jack Harkness started to croak is unusual ways. One character got to croak twice!

I stopped watching the series because I didn't want to soak up an hour of death, destruction, and depression.

Last week I made the mistake of stopping on the BBC America channel long enough to watch poor, hapless Ianto Jones get killed by the peeny-weeny people simply because he was standing next to Captain Jack. That took the cake and peed in the coffee pot at the same time. Now, mind you, this is strictly my opinion of a fictional series on television.

However I noticed that Capt. Jack started out on Dr. Who, jumped to Torchwood, and is currently is "suspension" waiting for another show.

After seeing the highly esteemed Mr. May in a group shot with a dwarf and a "Dr. Who Companion Candidate"; I extrapolated that perhaps the BBC was throwing a little of the formula they used for "Torchwood" into "Top Gear".

Since James is usually singled out for teasing, I saw him as the likely target for "Capt. Jack Man Tart of the Universe".

James May being a real person and Capt. Jack being a fictional character, James is safe in the parking garage without needing Kevlar panties. But leave it up to some wacky marketing person to suggest it.

Mr. May be careful when you are out and about. Captain Jack Harkness is out there, somewhere.

Run for your life!
Captain Jack Harkness Swing Coated Man Tart of the Universe!
James May Better Be On The Lookout For A Man In A Swing Coat!
Run James! Run!

That's all I can say after seeing "The Mole's" pics of last weeks show on the Top Gear website. It looks like the BBC has singled James out from the the TG herd and they're prepping him for the Ianto Jones treatment. Somebody must have seen James' space travel programs and assumed he was a Time Lord or what ever Capt. Jack Harkness is.

Last week they prepped James for the beginning of the end by teaming him up with a dwarf and a scantily clad "fan service" girl.

Shake your boobies James!
Notice James is disguised as a mundane computer geek replete with security badge around his neck.

Let me whisper in your ear.
James switches to "flowered camo" and a casual untucked look. We can tell from the proximity of his ambhibi-car that he's about to pull a clever trick and save the world.

Gawwwwd. They must really think I'm gay.
James reads a top-secret-eyes-only note from the PM. It's up to him and his Fiat Panda to save the UK from mutated mopeds!

Elsewhere on set, the evolving story line continues to be revealed. Below, Richard Hammond, the "cute one", is now being made up with a hardware store "acid brush" instead of the customary sable makeup brush.

Oh tin man I'll miss you most of all!
Richard Hammond doesn't "feel the love" the way he used to?

Jeremy Clarkson moves into a more "in charge role". Below he practices his pose of "God Breathing Life Into Adam" from his Sistine Chapel Ceiling Tableau to be used for print advertising. This is a huge revision from his previous "C**t" t-shirt photos.

Jezza reaches out.

All above photos from the Top Gear UK website.

There has been a rumor that next week we will find out that the Stig is really a third generation Dalek!

With Torchwood on hiatus and Captain Jack on the loose with his "transporter" watch, things bode ill for the TG3. Perhaps the TG "powers that be" have decided the next "challenge" should be less about motor cars and more about touching the fan base of the BBC's sci-fi powerhouse shows.

In recent seasons James has been set up to appear erudite, off beat, and possibly gay. He's been maneuvered into a prime position for Captain Jack Harkness to strike.

Ianto once said he wasn't gay but there "was something" about Jack that made him fall.

Could it be that Jack Harkness isn't spending his off screen time with the space aliens but is instead lurking in the parking garage at the BBC? Will our Mr. May be tossed upon the hood of an Aston Martin and savaged by a man in vintage military uniform? If so, can he fend off the glut of murdering mad space creatures who will scent the pheromones and descend to erase him from the television universe?

If James falls prey, how will Hammond ever feel safe walking to his car without armed guards again?

If only The Stig is left on the show next season, can they possibly keep the franchise going by getting Stephen Fry to narrate? Or would the the directors of the show make Mr. Fry reprise his role as Jeeves and have an old fashioned "stereotype" brawl with Captain Jack? My money would be on Jeeves. Any character that can put up with a hungover spoilt rich boy isn't going to buckle to some angst ridden pretty boy.

Wear your Kevlar underpants Mr. May. Be careful out there.
Joy on the Doorstep

Tuxedo Inn

I know it's going to be a good evening when I pull into the driveway and see a box of new books waiting on the doorstep. Opening the mailbox to find a package of books on CD as well makes the evening improves a bit more. When I come in and crank up the computer and find a new ZBS audio book ready for download to my MP3 player, things really start to bubble. Last night was a triple consolation evening.

I had a bit of supper and dove into my Eames recliner for an evening of aural luxury. Stephen Fry read me his book "Hippopatamus" in animated and grumbly bedtime story fashion. Luxury!

We had arrived at the part where the hunters down pheasant using cake dragees. I had to force myself to turn the stereo off and go to sleep.

Let me whisper in your ear.
Stephen Fry. Photo by Jonathan Player for The New York Times

This morning I have a new book loaded to my MP3 player and a fresh book in my purse. I can keep two or three books going at once if I can find that many I want to read at one time.

The "almost best" part of going on retreat is the orgiastic bookstore buying spree and subsequent opportunity to read for hours on end.

I love the smell of a new book in the morning!
Monday, July 27, 2009
Livin' the "Top Gear" lifestyle!

Zoom zoom zoom?
Zoom, Zoom, Zoom

Today's car is the Mazda 3. It's a peppy little number in Copper Mica Red. It rumbles along with all the road noise of a boxcar but it makes up for the noise by hurtling along at 80 MPH fairly effortlessly. There are loads of leg room and very comfy cloth seats.

Through no fault of Mazda's there is also a less than enthusiastic driver.

It goes to reason when you buy a Cadillac, that you want to drive a Cadillac. When you make payments on a car, you usually want use of that car. When you take that car in every three weeks for six months for service, your confidence in the car tends to erode.

When you go to Sunday brunch with your fancy man on a beautiful sunny summer day, you expect Belgian Waffles, Mimosas, and the warm purring of a large 6 cylinder engine. Fancy man and I had waffles and sweet tea, but when we tried to amble home we were treated to the "ignition click of doom".

Not 'errrrrrrrrrnnnnnnnn', not 'winny winnny winny clunk', but "CLICK!" singular. In a one hour span the car went from fully charged battery to non-functioning. (No I didn't leave the headlights on.) It took quite a lot of fiddling and several jump attempts to get the damnable thing running again.

Then we spent two hours trying to find a new car battery. There were none to be had in that freaky deaky AC/Delco size.

This morning the car started and fancy man and I took it to the garage.

They were low on loaners. When they tried to present me with a Kia Rio, I laughed and quietly told the man I feared that my "honor" may become entangled with the steering wheel on turns. I'm a busty girl. I was rewarded with a Mazda3. It's peppy and practical with no electronic doo-diddles on it.

As fancy man and I ambled out for Monday morning breakfast I realized that, like the Top Gear crew, I get to take home test drive a different car every few weeks.

This would be amusing and perhaps fun if I didn't loose time from work each time it happened. When I think of it, my fancy man might be very amusing in a white driving suit and full face helmet. We could play "Stig and the stranded motorist." Hmmm.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Ianto Jones, he was hard done by
Ianto Jones, they used him ruthlessly.

As Ianto slipped from life into the "black nothingness" I heard myself whisper, "Give me a f**king break!".

Ianto Jones' character on Torchwood died telling Captain Jack he loved him. Jack couldn't be bothered to return the sentiment. Jack's probably got a little "grief fatigue" since four of his six person team have bit the dust in the last season.

Torchwood started out as a nifty sci-fi spin off of Dr. Who. With a nice ensemble cast, the show had plenty to offset the ooogly-boogly monsters.

Thanks to a run in with Dr. Who and Rose, when Captain Jack gets killed he doesn't' stay dead. You can kill him over and over and he reassembles and gasps to life. Not only does he come back to life but he spreads the word that there is no God and no afterlife, he raises the warning that "something" is coming from the dark realm of death to wipe out earth. Of course, Jack has kindly made it his mission to stay on ratty old earth and help it battle the cosmic doom. (I guess Dr. Who was busy.)

The rising from the dead is a nice trick for occasional emphasis, but they started dropping him off buildings or shooting him every single episode. When that lost its tingle they started throwing in same-sex snogging scenes and played up his cosmic promiscuity. I don't want to watch anyone or anything in a prolonged snoggied scene on series television. If I want to see human congress, simulated or otherwise, I can flip the dial over to the channels where they show the whole spectacle. (Including the gentleman's area in all its peculiar glory. Seriously why do we women put up with so many bouncing boobies and so few fit men on network TV?)

That brings me back to Ianto. To use a Jeremy Clarkson-ism, Capt Jack was continually bending Ianto over some furniture and giving him a good seeing to. That's all fine and good. However, Ianto got used like a teenage girl and he died because they needed a place to put the dramatic music in the episode.

To make it more demeaning, Ianto was killed by viral ooze spurted out of creatures that looked like semi-errect penises with legs, arms, and oversized scrotums. The aliens, known as the 456, were shown in mist behind steamed up glass. After Jack and Ianto challenge them to war the creatures sputter and goop up the glass with dripping viral slime from of their "peeny weeny snozzle things".

Ianto dies crying that Jack will forget him in a thousand years. I suspect it will be more like twenty minutes.

Did I forget to mention that even Dr. Who has called Jack a "ho"? I also forgot to mention that the 456, not to be confused with the 359 junior shops, are dealing with Jack because he fed them a parcel of children 40 years ago.

Oh yeah, that's right. Just before Ianto dies for the sake of his love, he finds out that Jack brokered a deal with the 456 to trade a group of children for the safety of earth.

As the episode ends with nattily dressed Ianto in a body bag on a gymnasium floor it appears that the poor man died for being in love with the wrong inconsiderate son-of-a-bitch. As the two surviving members of Torchwood gather over Ianto's corpse, it becomes pretty obvious that the series has one more night to run and one more mortal team member to kill.

Such a cliff hanger! Where will Captain Jack find another gun toting, stop watch carrying, tea making, tidying up, desk humping office boy? How will the last surviving team member get away before Jack feeds her to the penis people? Does she have Dr. Who's phone number on speed dial? It's going to take a TARDIS to get her away from the mayhem in time.

Before he transmogrifies into a new actor can Dr Who pop in to London, grab Capt jack by the swing coat, and give him a good castration?

In Memorium
Ianto they done you wrong
Thursday, July 23, 2009
It's not Uncle Howard, It's Barry Gibb!
I was checking out how much James looks like my uncle with the exception of the long locks. Then it hit me where I'd seen that "do" before!

It held a place of honor in my teenage world, mounted atop the head of of my high school heart throb, Barry Gibb! Mr. Gibb's poster held sway over the back of my bedroom door for years. Today that poster is framed and hanging in my guest room.

Barry Gibb (circa 1979)

Ahhh haaa haaa ahhh!
James May (circa yesterday)
Photo from TopGear UK website

Above, Mr. May rocks the luxuriant rock-n-roll mane.

If he shows up on next week's show wearing low rise jeans and a silk shirt the transformation will be complete.

That's an idea. Richard's already got that "boy band" look down. If James switches over to the "lurid" side of the force, they can shove Jeremy behind the drum kit, toss Stig onto lead guitar and hit the road!
Thrusting Thursday?
It's been a quiet Thursday here at the Darth Vader Building. The new "chefs" in the employee cafeteria made a mess of things this morning and it took us 30 minutes in the line for for chow. However once we had our carbs and caffeine all was well.

I logged my trek around the parking lot at lunch time and snagged a close up parking space. The humidity is around 200% and rain is looming large.

There is a current discussion about a group outing to the drive in. When I pointed out if we went separately we couldn't' get in, a snort of indignation rose. Somebody is married to a lawyer and snorting may turn into a complaint.

The Top Gear UK website had some nice pics from the filming this week. The pic below struck me as odd though. I won't say who I thought looked like they were doing something unseemly to that car. Send me a comment if you see what my little Lilly Allen music infused brain is seeing.

Stand and deliver?
Photo from TopGear UK website

Below is another picture of James looking terrifyingly like my dear departed uncle.

But he does look pleasant. That's better than seeing him looking suicidal. They said he flew his plane to work this week. Perhaps that helps him be happy.

Uncle Howard Returns!
Photo from TopGear UK website
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
When "S" talks, I try really hard to listen
You aren't responsible for anyone else's satisfaction. I don't see anyone running around here putting your needs ahead of theirs!

That's what "S" reminded me of last evening.

"S" does a remarkable job at reminding me what is true. She is also acute at pointing out what is not.

What are the TG guys pics doing in this post? Well I like the way Richard looks in the top one and I wonder if James spit on the camera man in the second one.

Next time put down a blanket first!

Camels aren't the only thing that spits you know!

Pics of the Top Gear Gang from the Top Gear website.
Haunted Landscape
My reader and commenter "R" has commented that she too is morning the loss of her parents. Like me, she passes by the places they used to inhabit.

I can empathize. I send out electronic well wishes.

I am fortunate enough to live 140 miles from where I grew up. The places that inhabit my past stay there. (For the last four years, my mother lived in an assisted living near my current home.)

But, for the most part, the places I inhabited as a younger woman are not in front of me everyday. I have no intention of going back to visit them either. They are lost to me in time as well as distance.

The buildings still stand. Once in a while I look up my childhood home on Google Earth just to see the sapplings my father planted as full grown trees.

This "running down the past" has been importatn at times. It's been critical to confirm that my previous life did exhist. "It was really real" I find myself thinking.

In "dark work" the pieces of the puzzle need to be pulled out of the box and acknowledged. You don't have to complete the whole puzzle, you just have to acknowledge it's there.

Since my mother's passing there is nothing left to hold me to any part of the past. "W" and I have been aquainted for 25 years, but he seems more of a constant than a part of the past.

I am finally free to move on. The act of moving forward is exciting.

Grief is a sneaky thing, it never really leaves. I have moments when I miss my father, my mother, my dog, my aunts, my uncles, and even the girl I used to be.

I had a nightmare that I was trapped in a refridgerated delivery truck. My stepfather was at the wheel. My mother was in the passenger seat. I was trapped in the back with 33 corpses in cardboard boxes. The truck was bound for a creamatorium. I felt trapped with old Mr. Satan at the wheel. I appealed to mom and she didn't respond. Then I realized I was the only one on that truck still alive and I could do what I wanted. I wasn't going along for the ride. I crawled over everything and everyone, popped open the door, and got out.

It is a new world these days.
"It's Not Fair"
Now, that's 3 words I try to never say together.

"It's not fair."

When I used to say that to my mom, she'd answer "So what is?"

Fair hasn't got a lot to do with a lot of things. (Like Drive-In movie policies, tax laws, and the way people are judged on appearance.)

However, this morning, Lily Allen bowled me over with the song "It's Not Fair".

I was cruising along in Oliver, heading for the "Darth Vader Building" where I work, and Radio 1 played the song. Yes, I'm listening to BBC radio in Washington D.C. It comes in on a time delay over XM radio.

I realize that I've been putting song lyrics into the blog with annoying frequency. But I'm going to do it again to illustrate what made me laugh myself to tears. I will ellipsis out the repeated lines this time.

"It's Not Fair" by Lily Allen

Oh, he treats me with respect,
He says he loves me all the time,
He calls me 15 times a day,
He likes to make sure that I'm fine,
You know I've never met a man,
Whose made me feel quite so secure,
He's not like all them other boys,
They're all so dumb and immature.

There's just one thing,
That's getting in the way,
When we go up to bed your just no good,
its such a shame!
I look into your eyes,
I want to get to know you,
And then you make this noise,
and it's apparent it's all over

It's not fair,
And I think your really mean,
I think your really mean,
I think your really mean.

Oh your supposed to care,
But you never make me scream,
You never make me scream,

Oh it's not fair,
And it's really not ok,
It's really not ok,
It's really not ok,

. . .

I lay here in this wet patch
in the middle of the bed,
I'm feeling pretty damn hard done by
I spent ages giving head.

Then I remember all the nice things
that you've ever said to me,
maybe I'm just over reacting
maybe your the one for me.

. . .

I'm going to throw poop at you now!

Ok, to me, that's a scream. In more ways the one. I'll show my age here and say that when I was a teeny bopper/college student, "booty" was hot new naughty word in song lyrics.

I don't know that girls/young women expected to be "made to scream". That was until we started hearing people doing it in songs on the radio. Guys didn't really have any way to "pony up" and get us "shrieking". My generation was on the cusp between "liberation" and "information overload".

Now you can go to the web or a bookstore for instruction on anatomy and technique.

I remember the "good old days" when ignorance was worshipped. My college room mate thought she was pregnant because she'd been "french kissing". I was so dumbstruck at her lack of knowledge about reproduction, and her own body in general, that I took her to the campus library for an informative session with the encyclopedia. The little "see thru woman" flip charts were very helpful.

How in the hell could any self-respecting parent let a college age daughter off to school without knowing where babies come from?

I remember after she got married. I was the only one she felt comfortable to ask about why "things didn't fit". Good heavens. I didn't feel comfortable trying to explain "deflowering" to her. Perhaps I wasn't the best friend in the world but I did the best I could. If I had the explain it now I guess I'd just blurt out, "Oh it hurts like hell but only for a minute or two. Just wing it! It gets better. Tell that idiot to trim his finger nails and read a book on how to do it!"

My mom told me about reproduction when I learned about the rest of the body parts. I don't remember ever "not knowing". Mom told me that she didn't find out where babies came from until she was in nurses training. The nursing coordinator at the school took the new recruits into the delivery room to watch a birth.

A hell of a shock, that. Mom was traumatized. I imagine the others were too. It's bad enough to link together what all this "woman" business is about as you're growing up. To get the "spectacle' of birth thrown out you straight out of the gate was brutal.

Not out of my bottom it's not!

Each generation of women stands on the shoulders of the generation before. We're slowly coming out of the dark ages. When my grandmother was a girl it was illegal for a doctor to instruct a woman on contraception. Birth control information and products were illegal. When my mom was a girl it was a scandal to know about reproduction. My generation had knowledge and birth control available but we had limited resources for finding out about our own satisfaction. Ms. Allen's generation is comfortable talking about their own needs, their struggle seems to be integrating the whole package.

In the 80's one night stands were still naughty but commonplace. Now, "hooking up" and "friends with benefits" are in vogue. It boggles my mind. I couldn't be "just friends" with any guy I'd had sex with. For me sex and relationship have always been tied together. I can no more understand "hooking up" now than my mother could understand my fervent wish for serial monogamy without marriage.

I try to consider how much things may still be the same underneath the appearances. I truly don't think human behavior has changed a jot over the last several thousand years.

I try to consider how things may be different, but I don't have enough friends who are in their college years to keep me up to date on the reasoning going on.

Pardon me, I've wandered off track. I started out to write about how funny it was to finally hear someone sing publicly about being disappointed in a lover's lack of prowess. I wanted to somehow, without sounding like a four hundred year old woman, remark that in my world we were always syncophantically praising men for their lousy performance. We didn't orgasm? So what? They had premature ejaculation? Too bad! We were obliged by convention to fake it, or whimper about "just being with you is enough". It was all done in the name of "being polite" and not wanting to hurt a potential "catch"'s feelings.

Good lord we were stupid!

Guys always judged us like cattle on the dance floor. I had guys comment on how I should dye my hair from its original color, loose weight, or dress to look like Linda Rondstadt! They had no mercy and no concern for the girl inside the body.

These days I respond to critiques by saying, "You don't like it, turn your head and look someplace else."

I wish I could have done that then! :)

Geeze I can't even write openly about it now! :) I'm dancing all around the issue.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Flash Back Fun

Davy Jones circa 1968

Richard Hammond circa 2008

Striking resemblance? Opinons anyone?
Stephen Fry Reads Me A Bedtime Story

Let me whisper in your ear.
Stephen Fry. Photo by Jonathan Player for The New York Times

If reading a ditty by Jeremy Clarkson is the brain byte equivalent of a home made chocolate chip cookie then something by Stephen Fry is like gobbling down "Death By Chocolate" cake.

Dense, flavorful, subtle, soul satisfying, nourishing, balanced, and laced with undertones of complex communication. Who? Both! In my world good cooking and good prose are both signs of true happiness.

Stephen Fry is not only a Twitter celebrity, he also has a series of pod casts and fresh content available on ITunes. Currently he's writing, reading, and distributing a serial entitled "The Dongal of Donald Trefusis". He's up to episode 3 of the mystery tale.

I've downloaded all 3 episodes and burned them to disk. In ultimate luxury, I sat back with eyes closed and let Stephed read me off to sleep last night. His voice is reassuring and warm. Cozy times.

Stephen also woke me up this morning. I have a Voco "Jeeves" alarm clock. It begins each morning with soft birdsong and then a bon mot by everyone's favorite butler. This morning he intimated that my household staff is looking forward to my new designs for their uniforms. Considering my household staff would most likely consist of Johnny Depp and Antonio Banderas clones, my ideas for their costume may get out of hand. Jeeves, no doubt, would gently instruct me in the correct direction.

It's been written that the hallmark of a fine Victorian home was to have all the footman similar in stature and appearance. They would blend harmoniously together and it saved on uniforms when staff changed.

I would have been in constant trouble in the Victorian Era. It's a good thing I'm here now.

This morning the MP3 player is being kind and amusing. It's currently cranking out "Peter Gunn's Gun" by the Monkees. Oh yes, that's a real song, available on Rhapsody. I've also been regaled with "Heartbeat" by Don Johnson, "He May Be The One" by Miley Cyrus, and "Pop! Goes My Heart" by Hugh Grant. While this may seem the antithesis of "Stephen Fry-ness", it isn't. They both have made me smile.

Davy Jones will be making the rounds of our local showroom shortly. He's on a double bill with Peter Noone. Davy is now crooning "Moving in with Rico" in my ear. it's catchy. Richard Hammond reminds me of Davy Jones sometimes. Perhaps it's Mr. H's new longer hair style or the fantastic way he pronounces the "g"s on the ends of words.

Here comes Mickey on the headphones with "Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day". Hmmm, maybe I have my new theme song.

Luxuriating in aural delight.

Richard Hammond Shocking Confession!!!!
Today, on the set of Top Gear, Richard Hammond shocked his co-presenters James May & Jeremy Clarkson when he revealed that he is a shape shifter.

Inspired by the character of "Sam" on HBO's "TrueBlood" series, Hammond demonstrated his ability to transform into a canine and back.

In a photo leaked by our source. (Ok it was the Top Gear web site.) A multiple exposure shows Hammond making the jump from wolfhound back to man.

Sniff Sniff?
Multiple exposure pic shows Hammond's amazing transformation from Wolfhound to TV show host.

Clarkson stammered on with his usual humor in an attempt to cope.

"I can turn into the Ferrari stallion, just let me get my trouser's off and give you a look!" He is quoted as saying.

May was more prosaic and stood by blinking and twitching for a statement when Clarkson lashed out again.

"Nobody wants to see what you can change into James. It will undoubtedly wear suspenders and still manage to be frightfully boring!"
Monday, July 20, 2009
Doctor, Doctor, Give me the cure

Sniff Sniff?
Ginger hair, freckles, dark dead eyes.

Have some David Tennant related numminess to relieve your cubicle boredom today!

This pic is from the website and there are many more yummy ones there as well!

What can I get for a 50?
The look of one who has known too much too soon.
Monday, Monday, Mundane

My driving giving you a fright?
How do you like the "special sauce" Richard?

It's one of those mornings when I'd like to stagger into the bath, throw up, have a nice shower, and go back to bed for another five hours or so.

I refuse to feel guilty any longer about being a night owl in an early bird's world. When I no longer have to show up at work earlier than noon, I will stop doing so. My best times are 12:30 p.m. to 3 a.m.

There! I have come out of the "Cuckoo Clock"!

The MP3 has mellowed out this morning. It's treating me to Jesse Cook. He plays flamenco, gypsy, southwest, northeast, yummy acoustic guitar music. He's not a whining troubadour moaning about lost love or somebody who tweaks the strings and tries to look emotional. Cook's music whips along without melancholy or boredom. Layered, complex, and sumptuous.

Hmmm, I appear to have dozed off. But I'm back now.

I've had a sneak out to the parking lot and moved my car up while everyone is at lunch. It's a nice way to make sure I get my 1 mile walk in a day. It's also a nice treat to be parked in front of the door on rainy summer evenings. This evening we're slated for thunder showers at leaving time.

There's also the added perc that I brought in a six pack of soda pop. The machines in the building are up to 1.50$ for a 24 oz soda. The "cafeteria" aka "Mrs. Lovett's" charges 1.65$ for a 16 oz size. The rest of the food and drink is comparably overpriced. A candy bar from the vending machine is up to a buck. Water is 1.50$ as well. That's particularly concerning since they've surveyed the water coming out of the ancient taps is foul. I bring in a bottle of water and a bottle of ready made tea every day. SIGG aluminum water bottles hold up to tea, soda, water, and the commute.

I look like a pack mule bringing in a weeks supplies on Monday's. Everyone does. Because it takes 45 minutes to get and out of the campus, the on site comestibles vendors have a captive audience.

But enough foolishness without a point. The weekend was very restful. I reorganized the art studio to be able to shove more stuff into it. I unpacked another three boxes. There are 8 more boxes and two rolling plastic drawer cabinets to go. I have no clue how I had all that stuff in the studio unless part of the room was employing TARDIS technology. No wonder I couldn't find anything!

Richard imitating a Fan Girl

Looks like they've been caught at something. At least the cord is not around James' neck. Safety first!

James looking like my Uncle Howard when caught sneaking a drink.

**** Top Gear pics from the website. Please go there and show your support.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Ave Mary A
The MP3 player is sticking to contemporary music this morning. Pink is wailing away with "Ave Mary A" from the album "Funhouse".

Pink is a guilty pleasure. I like her music. I like her pluck. I'd like to borrow a little of her audacity and self-confidence.

I'd like to try the feeling of walking around in the world and getting what I ask for without a fight. Pink's a "rock star" and an "artist", she brings in the bucks and she's taken seriously. I fight every step of the way. Makes me wonder what's wrong with me. Is it a lack of conviction, the blond hair, short stature, or being female? I know, by now I have to, I just don't tell myself. It's that mad human phenomena of holding things out of our own sight.

It's one of those mornings when I want to stare out the windows at the birds hopping on the lawn having a feed before the thunderstorms come. A front is pouring through and storms are building up. After two days of 95 degrees the humidity is on the rise and the skies are grey. I parked out on the back half of the employee lot this morning. I followed the "lunch out on Friday" crowds and took one of their close in parking spaces as they left. My lunch is home made and in the fridge. I wait until 1:30 to nosh. It splits the day in half.

I'm in the process of writing directions on how to winnow down system wide SMF records for input into a performance reporting package. Since I'm having trouble snuffling through the hundreds of thousands of lines of data, it's a challenge to make a 1-2-3 solution document.

The gazillion syllable named syndrome is acting up. They say that humans don't remember pain. I can tell you when pain comes back, you remember exactly where you felt it before. It started creeping in on me last week. I took my rest and my medicines. Sometimes the protocols don't work. This week the sheets of shiny, electric pain are back. Traveling through my body from top to bottom. When I move they jar up and down the nerves. When I sit still they tub thump from pressure points.

There is nothing for it but to take ibuprofen and slip off to bed. Safe in my nest, I'll lay under the ceiling fan breeze, wait for a break in the aches, and dive down into sleep. Swimming in the deep world of sleep, who knows where I'll go? Sometimes I pop out into bright worlds elsewhere. Sometimes I'm regaled by jesters or tutored by guides. Sweet sage and truth disguised as small talk.

A teacher told me the time had come for me to 'know what I know'. That triggered memories of a sick saying used by someone who beat the hell out of me regularly for years.

When I damped down the memories,the thought of truly knowing what I know became a scary proposition.

There are things shoved down in my head, way past memory. Some of them can just as well stay there. The sand in the Vaseline is that, wedged in amongst the nasty bits of garbage, there are things I need to remember. Indeed there are things I need to know.

There is something important in the dark, terrifying basement. Nobody else is going in there to get it but me. Do I have the stones to walk past the boogie man and flip him the bird?

I know I do.

Do I want to dance down the cellar stairs and get this party started?

I'm not so anxious to do so.

Who is ever excited by ramping up to do another round of 'dark work'?

But there it is, waiting for me. Between me and what I want.

Time to borrow a little "P!nk" bravado and get this over.

Go pony go!
So What ?

Along with the mounting nerve overload in my body the last few days, I've been getting that "wheels are turning" feeling. It's a close kin to the "somebody's staring at me" feeling you get in restaurants and county fairs. The "wheels are turning" feeling is a feeling of certainty that someone somewhere is making decisions and taking actions that will change your life.

This doesn't include the usual changes the President and Congress are always plotting that will tax your dental floss or drain your retirement fund. This is along the lines of the company's division director deciding to move your office to Urgway. Perhaps it is someone who's met you at a party trying to get your phone number. It may even be someone reading the resume on Monster and deciding to shoot you an email.

I'm going to lean in hard on the thought that it's something good.

I got the parking spot right in front of the door when I moved the car. Thank God! (Rain and hail are predicted for afternoon exit time.) Good omens abound.

Walking in the dark with a torch in hand and God holding me by the scruff of the neck.

Thursday, July 16, 2009
Drive In Update
So far no response from my petition of the television stations or the Drive In Owner's Association.

I rather doubt I will hear anything. But at least now I will be banned from that damn drive in by name and not just "solo status".

If I wrangle up a more efficient way to protest, I'll post it here.

Foment rebellion Americans before we're completely muzzled!

Doggie Lib!
If you don't have a local drive in to protest, how about fighting for "yard dog" freedom? Here's a campaign to ban chain kept dogs!
Haunted MP3 Player

English Mist
A misty morning field that once saw RAF planes taking off for the front?

A recording of the Glen Miller Orchestra and girl singer doing a German language rendition of "Long Ago & Far Away" appeared on my MP3 player this morning.

My first memory of this song is the Jo Stafford English language version. I heard it for the first time six months ago on the XM 1940's station. This two minute and fifty two second ditty hit me like a bolt from the blue. My twinge-y middle bits did a flip flop. Tears jumped up in the corners of my eyes. It isn't even a sad song. It's a song about romantic dreams coming true.

I had one of those reactions that belongs to the "Oh that was our song." moments.

Long Ago & Far Away isn't an "our song" memory.

Neither is "Serenade In Blue". But it broke my heart the first time I heard it last March when I was reviewing 40's tunes for music class.

This morning both songs turned up in the shuffle on my MP3 player. I went hurtling back to the "wistful blues".

I want to ask, "How can I be broken hearted for a time I don't remember?"

I know better than to ask. I might find out.

I really know better than to ask how these old songs made there way onto my MP3 player. At some point I hooked that puppy up to the Rhapsody music service and the little electrons bipped onto the hard drive.

Fate? Destiny? Serendipity? Coincidence? Electric Boogabug? Accident?

Why yes of course! All of them.

By the pricking of my playlist, something amazing this way comes!

The "Judgement" card from the "Justine's Tarot"

For your enjoyment, the lyrics to today's tunes.

Long Ago & Far Away

Long ago and far away, I dreamed a dream one day
And now that dream is here beside me
Long the skies were overcast but now the clouds have passed
You're here at last

Chills run up and down my spine, Aladdin's lamp is mine
The dream I dreamed was not denied me
Just one look and then I knew
That all I longed for long ago was you

Serenade In Blue

When I hear that serenade in blue
I'm somewhere in another world, alone with you
Sharing all the joys we used to know, many moons ago.
Once again your face comes back to me
Just like the theme of some forgotten melody
In the album of my memory, serenade in blue
It seems like only yesterday, the small cafe, a crowded floor
And as we danced the night away, I hear you say forever more
And then the song became a sigh
Forever more became goodbye
But you remained in my heart, so
Tell me darling is there still a spark?
Or only lonely ashes of the flame we knew
Should I go on whistling in the dark, serenade in blue.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Drive In Doesn't Want Solo Patrons!
As the weekend looms large I received my email with the listings from the local drive in. I started planning my Friday night movie fest when I noticed that email also declared that it didn't want me as a customer.

Citing a "phenomenon" that had to be dealt with they complained that customers were arriving solo and then sitting outside with other patrons. (Heaven forbid a drive in movie be a social occasion?) They have proposed to "fix" this problem by refusing entry to patrons who arrive alone but only when the fancy strikes them. Below is the excerpt from their email:

HEADS UP WARNING TO ONE PERSON IN A Vehicle. It is a new phenomenon that we need to be address. Folks want to show up with only a driver in the car, and then park and join another party. The trouble is, that one car takes up the same amount of room as a car full of passengers. On slower nights, this is not a problem, but on busy nights, we lose spaces for folks because we will fill rather quickly. We will need to take steps that I have never imagined, so it may actually be possible on a very busy night to simply deny entry to persons arriving one in a car. On busy nights, the Bengies Drive-In Theatre reserves the right to refuse entry to one person in a car.

This means that "if" I were to make all the arrangements and drive twenty miles to watch a flick at Bengies, they may refuse me entry. They wouldn't refuse me entry based on my breaking any law or house-rule. They wouldn't turn me away because the drive in was already full. They would turn me away simply because I was alone and they could make more bucks off the packed cars behind me.

I suppose this also means that in the fall and spring when they have almost no patronage my nasty old money will be ok.

After years of supporting Bengies by attending movies there and recruiting new fans, I'm being told to "shove off" in favor of more lucrative customers.

It's just a plain old fashioned rude business practice. I've emailed the head of the Drive In Theater Owners Association and asked for his help. (The owner of Bengies is an official of that organization.) I've also requested help from a local television station.

I had tried to enlist a group to go to Bengies this weekend for the triple feature. Even if everyone wants to go, I don't think I will. When a business owner makes it clear that he thinks my patronage is a "problem" because I don't have a carload of people to plug his cash register, I don't see any reason to give him any more of my money.

It's back to weekend morning matinees at the local Cinemark Egyptian 24. They're perfectly fine with solo movie patrons.
The Brown Dirt Cowboy Goes Digital

Have you seen me?
Pic of Bernie Taupin from his web site
Check out his website and the complete lyrics section.

I was searching the web for a print of a very old photograph and I came across a web site that made me smile. Bernie Taupin has joined the web. He's got a proper web site encompassing a blog, news updates, links to his artwork, and the obligatory shopping page.

But this isn't about finding out a seasoned artist is "still around and kicking". It's more than thinking "good on him" because he has his ranch and his livestock. Even though I am truly glad he is living well.

This is more like a rattling of the foundations, a trip down to the basement to find something good from the past. It's the memory of joyously sliding a thumbnail into the cellophane on the edge of a record jacket and prying out the lyrics booklet from inside. There was a certain angle you had to twist your thumb or you'd get a paper cut. I remember the tactile sensation of the cardboard sliding between my thumb pad and nail.

Back in those days to get a new album I had to go on mom's weekly grocery shopping trip to a store fifteen miles away. In the time it took her to round up the comestibles I'd fast walk down to the Ames department store on the other end of the strip mall. The record department was small but it was the only one in a twenty mile radius. It was small too but back then Elton John and the Bee Gees were readily in stock. I'd pry five dollars out of my wallet,nab the newest apple of my eye and run back to the grocery store.

On the drive home, the sacred ritual of reading lyrics wold commence.

Back then I worked in an ice cream stand and minimum wage was 3.10$ an hour. In the winter I only worked 5 hours a week. As the oil crisis began albums sky rocketed to $4.99. Buying a dud album was a bone jarring disappointment.

Mr. Taupin never disappointed. I'd read through the poetry pages of lyrics before I'd play the album. I'd stack the record onto the turntable, don my Koss headphones, and play the track whose lyrics intrigued me most.

Elton John always had glorious gate fold albums with lyrics and photos galore. The lyric booklets never went back in the jacket, they lived in a stack on my desk. My desk was my finest chosen possession, even though for some odd reason it was designed for the left handed. (I still have that battered desk in my guest room. It is the only piece of my teenage bedroom set that I didn't sell.)

In a Lucite box frame, hung on one of the only four parentally sanctioned nails in the walls, was a picture of Bernie Taupin. It was the full page pic from the "Don't Shoot Me" album. That picture went with me and stayed over my desk all the way through college and grad school. It disappeared into the rubble when I had to put everything into storage and rent a room as I started computer work.

Last year it re-emerged. Even after all these years it still had the same effect when I held it in my hands. It reminded me. . .

But here I get maudlin. I can't talk about what his writing means. I can't talk about what my writing means. Here everything goes beyond words, it disappears into the power of story. I'm not willing to write that story. That one is for me to keep. I'll just say Bernie Taupin's work touched me and it went deep.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Just downright sleep deprived. . . .
Ok, this is wearing me down. Another night without sound sleep.

I'm just downright sleep depreived, exhausted, evil, and sharp edged.

Even car numminess isn't perking me up today. Since I can not be made fit for human consumption I will bow out and let my current fave Lady Soverign song have center stage.

Love Me Or Hate Me - Lady Soverign

It's officially the biggest midget in the game
I dunno
Make way for the S-O-V!

Love me or hate me, it's still an obsession
Love me or hate me, that is the question
If you love me then, thank you!
If you hate me then, **** you!

I'm fat, I need to diet
No, in fact, I'm just too light
And I ain't got the biggest breastesses
But I write all the best disses

I got hairy armpits
But I don't walk around like this
I wear a big baggy t-shirt
That hides that nasty shit

Ew, I never had my nails done
Bite them down until they're none
I'm the one with the non-existent bum
Now I don't really give uh!

I'm missin' my shepherd's pie
Like a high maintenance chick missin' her diamonds
I'm missin' my Clippers lighters
Now bow down to your royal highness

No, I don't own a Corgi
Had a hamster, it died 'cause I ignored it
Go on then, go on report me!
I'm English, try and deport me!

Love me or hate me, it's still an obsession
Love me or hate me, that is the question
If you love me then, thank you!
If you hate me then, **** you!

I'm that funky little monkey
With the tiniest ears
I don't like drinkin' fancy champy
I'll stick wit Heineken beers

Whoops! Might burp in ya face
A little unladylike, what can I say?
Well, oh gosh, I'm not posh, me? I wear odd socks
I do what I'm doin' yeah

So everybody's entitled to opinions
I open my mouth and sh** I got millions
I'm the middle kid, the riddle kid
I'll make you giggle till you're sick
My nose jiggles when I spit

Yeah, I do have some stories
And it's true I want all the glory
Go on then, come on support me
I'm English, try and deport me!

Love me or hate me, it's still an obsession
Love me or hate me, that is the question
If you love me then, thank you!
If you hate me then, **** you!

So I can't dance and I really can't sing
I can only do one thing and that's be Lady Sovereign!
So I can't dance and I really can't sing
I can only do one thing and that's be Lady Sovereign!

Sweet biscuits?
May I scream and run overboard now, please?
Monday, July 13, 2009
Not your Aunt Tina's Scrapbook
I'm an art class junkie. About five years ago I found a little joint called "The Queens Ink" . They have the art supplies and the classes to teach you how to use them.

Over the years I've taken book binding, metal embossing, inking techniques, faux patina techniques, polymer clay, collage, and assemblage. I have amassed a luxurious selection of paints, tools, papers, binding gadgets, and polymer clay tools.

I've also learned which side of the classroom I sit on.

Over the years the "class girls" have all gotten to know each other and to know each other's styles. I've even had at home crafty get togethers with some of the ladies from class.

Some of the ladies make sweet scrap book pages of their children and grand children. Some make collages of flowers, vintage children's photos, and perky sayings about "dreams". I don't sit at that table.

I'm the one who swerved off the Valentine's Day lesson plan when I realized red embossing powder makes a very realistic "wet blood spatter" medium. I used that Valentine's class as a springboard for an altered book made from "At Home With The Marqis De Sade". The finished book was packed with blood spatter, demon winged things, hidden compartments, lost innocence, and bits of Tori Amos lyrics.

It was autobiographical. It was liberating.

Having found my voice, I now sit at the classroom tables with the other "irreverants". One of my tablemates dabbles with religious icons. One piles on dark tones of colors until things are almost obscured completely.

Enter the male teachers into the arena. I've experienced a male/female team, a guy that was into fish & nature, and Tim Holtz and his grunge movement.

Tim Holtz is by far and away my favorite. No prissy flowers and hearts. No hunting and fishing fascination.

Dark & Delish
Tim Holtz Tag Creation. Pic from Tim Holtz Blog

The last Tim Holtz class, I took we created a Halloween lighted shadow box. My side of the table fell upon the "barbie like cupcake pics" with unmitigated glee. My tableau contained an faux patent medicine bottle stuffed with chopped off doll arms and topped with a doll head. This was combined with the mini-skeleton that came with the kit. Someone else at the table did one that contained cigarette butts and a burned doll and expressed their sorrow at loosing a family member to lung cancer.

Tim was quiet and calm with the dark side. I appreciated that.

Now I've noticed that Nick Bantock is teaching weekend workshops in his studio. The class fees are even reasonable. The trick is that his studio is on an island in Brittish Columbia.

I think I've discovered my next vacation location. That is when I earn some leave to take vacation with!

Meanwhile I've signed up for three more Tim Holtz classes at Queens Ink in August. Should be dark and delish!

PS If this post seems a bit woogly it's because I've worked on it while being trapped on a conference call with people fighting about machine capacity. Oooo, what a party!
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Brown Dirt Cowboy

Sweet biscuits?
Another Brown Dirt Cowboy?

"While little Dirt Cowboys turned brown in their saddles
Sweet chocolate biscuits and red rosy apples in summer
For it's hay make and "Hey mom, do the papers say anything good.
Are there chances in life for little Dirt Cowboys
Should I make my way out of my home in the woods?""
-- Bernie Taupin
From Captain Fantastic & The Brown Dirt Cowboy

**Photo from Top Gear July Issue Page 104.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Pass the dutchie . . . .

Burn baby burn. Photo snitched from Top Gear Promo Email.

That must have been some hot a**!!

I have lost my friggin' mind. Just when I have an evening of rolling in the paint planned, here comes car porn creeping into the mailbox. Car porn, that's what "W" calls my tendency to drool harder over a sports car than he does.

With my nightly commute past the "private aviation" gate of the national airport I get to see a fair number of Rolls Royces and other exotics. I saw one of the brand new Rolls Royce Phantom Coupes in the traffic heading into Annapolis last weekend. Somebody had taped a hand written piece of paper in the passenger window but nobody in my car could read the note. It probably said something like "Stop stealing the hood ornament you heathens!"

I've fired up the MP3 player for the last three hour stretch of the day. I'm even more convinced I've lost my mind. I've loaded the thing up with Lady GaGa, Lady Soverign, Jesse Cook, Nat King Cole Remixed, Sarah Brightman, and Britney Spears dance remixes.

I'm in the mood to jump up on the desk and do my rendition of Lady Soverign's "Love Me or Hate Me!". Instead I'm doing a brain damaging head bob to the Junior Vasquez remix of "Circus".

Oh yeah, I'm in the mood to read documentation. Can't you tell?

I noticed in the Top Gear Car Porn Missive shows Richard Hammond sporting longer, shaggier hair. He's emanating that Johnny Depp Wild Haired Yum Yum Vibe. In this month's issue of Top Gear Magazine there's a nice pic of Richard resting between speed tests. He looks like he's just come in from a day of working the ranch, all hot and sweaty. Someplace on that magazine there is a female editor who slipped us a treat. Most of the time the glamor shots are all the rollling stock. Heaven only knows why they always use the same full page of the same stock photos of Jeremy for his column. Jame's column is so hard up for a presentable photo they've dug up and ancient snap of him scowling like he just found a short and curly in his beer.

Oh yeah, I've lost my mind. Burned out my fuse. It's about da** time.

I'm heading for a coma here!
Photo snitched from Top Gear Promo Email.

This rag tag band . . . searching for a new home.
We control the vertical. . . . . sort of. . .
Ok, so maybe it's not all that dramatic. I've made some changes to the template and moved things around a bit. I've also gone back to the original name. I've been learning to work with Blogger templates on the fly. The color scheme isn't exactly the way I would like it, but it is tidy.

Instead of the beret clad "Screamy", the original "Tuxedo Inn" logo centered on a woman in 1920's dress. At some point I may revamp the logo and replace it. Right now I'm more interested in getting back to creating some new artwork.

I've added a selection of my favorite links on the web.

As for Top Gear. I've taken it out of the programming for my DVR. Maybe I'll start watching again during the next season. I've got to give up the "car porn" for a while. Too much other stuff to get done.

I've taken a lot of things off the DVR this week. For the first time in over a year there is room on the machine to record a movie or two.

I gave up "Torchwood" a long while ago. That show got so it was either stuffing same sex snogging or bloody tragic death up your nose.

The "Sarah Chronicles" didn't last long enough to get on the DVR schedule.

"Dr. Who" got bounced because I can't take all the "morphing" the doctor is doing. Just when I really started to love Christopher Eccleston as the doctor, he runs off screaming in the night. Then I get used to David Tennant and he makes a dive for the door.

Goodnight Sweet Prince

Heck, I liked Sylvester McCoy but the scripts got so bad the series fell over dead of its own accord.

Tom Baker was the doctor I first met on Public Television one dark and stormy night. Instead of knitting a ten foot replica scarf, I knitted a cozy afghan for the sofa. I spent many a cozy afternoon and evening under that blankie watching the doctor crash about time and space. But not anymore. Dr. Who is off the menu and the afghan is in the blanket chest in the guest room.

"Moonlight" was a fantastic Vampire series last year but it got axed it before it got a bite on the market. "Dresden Files" and "Night Stalker" got the same treatment. If I put the show on my "must watch" list it's doomed.

I'm almost afraid to mention "Leverage" and "Burn Notice" as favorites. But they are. "Leverage" showcases Timothy Hutton as an alcoholic avenger in a combination of "It Takes A Thief", "Mission Impossible", and "The Equalizer".

There is something so overwhelmingly attractive about Timothy Hutton. I can't help but stare. The auburn hair nails my attention. The light eyes, slim build, and unique way of moving draw me in. When he played Archie Goodwin on the Nero Wolfe series I almost lost my mind.

Pin my stripes but you are a eyeful!

Hmm. Am I breaking my own rule here? I don't think so. Although I may be bending it a good bit. Mr. Hutton is an actor. When he is on camera or on stage his job is to draw the audience in, seduce them with the character. In the role of Archie Goodwin, Mr. Hutton makes the character as delectable and dapper as he was written in the books. The fact that I find Mr. Hutton attractive may be a bit over zealous but I am not outside his home with a telephoto lens. I stick to his work as an actor and published interviews.

Pardon me while I self-righteously wipe the drool off the keyboard.

Now I shall reveal one of my deepest, darkest secrets. I used to sew. I used to study fashion from the Victorian Era forward. I used to be fascinated with movie costumes, especially clothing designed for women to dance in. Tailoring fascinates me.

As a present several years back I received several costume pieces from the movie "Playing God". I was given two shirts and a pair of slacks from Timothy Hutton's wardrobe. One shirt is a dark royal blue silk wrap around worn during the scene when Angelina Jolie's character is shot. The other shirt is an illusion red/grey material worn during the final scene where David Duchovney's character shoots Hutton's. The slacks are a light mauve velvet.

To display my goodies I made a muslin figure with a soft sculpture head. "Archie" currently sits quietly on a side chair wearing his velvet trousers and red shirt.

During the holidays I add a green velvet smoking jacket from the "Avengers" movie to his ensemble. His feet are petite so he wears a pair of my cast off loafers.

A little more Archie for your enjoyment.
Thursday, July 09, 2009
What If Top Gear Never Came Knocking?
Regular Reader "R" took the time to leave me a comment on my last post. She also posed a question. What if James had never received the call to join Top Gear?

From "R"
"I do agree with you regarding our beloved Mr. May. If he hates being a public figure, I'll bet he loves making pots of money, and getting the BBC to indulge in his television fantasies so he can make even more money. I bet driving a different car every week is nice, too...and never a Chevy Impala, I might add.
Here's a thought...what would he be doing if Top Gear never called? I doubt he'd make a living as a motoring journalist. Chamber musicians don't get paid much. Male model? Teacher? What do you think? R."

The question enticed me enough that I'll take a shot at the answer. Even if the one I am speculating about worked in some form of journalism, it probably wouldn't pay his bills. I can envision him as a part or full time piano teacher. He'd have his students around to his house to work on their renditions of "The Happy Farmer".

The guys, being forced into piano by their mothers, wouldn't respect "Teacher". They'd think his was milque toast no matter how smart he was or how many choir mates he'd punched out.

The guys who were into music lessons, especially those sitting the fence about their identities, would have their first man-crush.

The girls would probably be a little rougher on old "Teach". The bright, pretty, and developing coquettes would make good sport out of trying to seduce him. They'd make a good game out of brushing against him with arms, legs, and breasts. The bold may even make a go at laying hands upon him with a direct aim to ruin his salvation.

The earnest and plain girls may very well buy into the romantic persona of the odd and reclusive musician and moan away with passionate affections.

His studio would be subsumed in waves of teenage pheromones and their attendant drama. He'd have to fake oblivion or walk a narrow ledge of temptation. Either way a spiteful child could make accusations that would ruin him.

As he trundled along a goodly portion of jocks, average girls, parents, and neighbors would probably take one glance at the wardrobe, hair, and mannerisms and cluck their tongues.

He wouldn't be working the piano bar at Phillips Crab House but he might be a bit depressed with his lot in life all the same.

A Flamer?

"R" what do you think they might be up to if TG had never called?

P.S. - Yes I did take music lessons way back when. :)
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Snap, Crackle, Pop
When I typed the title, I remembered a line from some old Sting song where he takes a moment to harangue Rice Krispies. He's also taken the time to lambast America in general in several songs. But, as I recall, nobody from the American diplomatic corps asked him to move his United Kingdom Citizen's ass to New York in the first place.

And that little comment sums up the change that's come over me in the last week.

Snap, crackle, pop! I've gone from 'just watching' to 'having a definate opinion' on everything. I'm going through a cosmic version of the 'terrible twos'. Suddenly I'm saying "No" and "I won't to that" all over the place.

My "guru-ette" would probably see this as a step backwards. Having instant opinions is being "attached" and being "attached" leads to pain and unhappiness.

But I'm not seeing it that way. I see it as a "Oh HELL NO!" moment.

After suffering the onslaught of caring for an Alzheimer's patient, repeated car accidents, office politics, and the mental illness of those around me; I'm finally able to say "Back Off! I'm not putting up with anything else." What's more surprising is that I'm speaking up on things I truly can change.

Something has snapped. I feel a sea change. Just the change I needed most. It's hard to pin down but I do feel differently inside and out.

My reader "R" has suggested that I have outgrown the esteemed Mr. May. But today I feel more like he's outgrown me. Everytime he's photographed or interviewed he's got a grimmace and a turned up nose. He goes on about how he hates being a public figure and thinks his afficianados are insane. He laments that if he had it all to do over again he would remain anonymous. I think he's a big fat fibber, at least on some level, because he'd sure as sugar miss the money and the oppotunities his public career has given him. On another level, if he's going to be disdainful of those who read his books and watch his programs then the Daleks take him.

Shut your pie hole!
Shut your cake hole! This is how Daleks roll!

I'm working up a selection of stuff to put on Ebay and my Top Gear stuff is going in the pile. The Jeremy Clarkson books are staying though, I love the way he writes!

I've also got quite a selection of Sci Fi books. I've tried joining a "book swap" group but haven't found one that has the types of books I want to read. Sci Fi is harder to find, that's why I wind up buying the books in the first place.

The long holiday weekend saw more boxes unpacked into the office. The tools and supplies are lining up nicely on the shelves. Another few evenings of work and I'll be able to start working in there again. Last night I unpacked a slew of projects from classes I've taken. They're lined up on the mantlepiece. The room is very much looking like I inhabit it now.

I'm getting excited about being able to go out and work in my chap books every evening. I know art notebooks aren't technically "chap books". If I say "journal" that makes it sound like more writing. "Sketchbook" would imply I sketch and I don't. I do mixed media, ink & paint, collage, rubber stamping, altered images, and altered books. I've also made dolls, done ceramics, bound books, dabbled in polymer clay. All those tools and supplies are lined up and waiting for me to get back to dabbling. I'm looking forward to it. (I don't do scrap booking. My life's been a f**king nightmare, i don't want to sit around making memory pages about it!)

Last night a friend of mine compared the tone of my work with Edward Gorey. I was pleased. Gorey is a favorite. So is Nick Bantock. Nick Bantock has had his own line of stamps and ink for a while now.

I'm even signed up for more classes with Tim Holtz. He is a fabulous and fun teacher. I like the "grunge" and "tatter" techniques he teaches. Granted he's got his own line of supplies, but you can apply the techniques with what supplies you have.

I hope to start posting images of my work here in the future.

Maybe I'll even sit down one night this week and put the original "Tuxedo Inn" format back on the web pages. :)
Thursday, July 02, 2009
James May on the Moon
This afternoon I received an email from Amazon advertising "James May on the Mood". It also mentioned several other James May DVD's. I looked at James' photo in my email and the first thought that came to mind was, "Oh go away."

James May has picked up with Rodney Dangerfield left off. He bashes through the world working the eccentric nerd vibe and "getting no respect". Everytime "W" sees him on television he says, "You know he has to sit around and cultivate that look." No grown man is going out in those clothes without knowing what he looks like.

"W" is always immaculately turned out, even when he does yard work. One of the hazards of cohabitating was I spent a lot of mornings doing my hair and make up looking at my reflection on the toaster in the kitchen.

But this isn't about "W"'s theories that James May is a characture of himself. This about my thoughts on Mr. May. I'm feeling silly, sheepish, and terribly old today. It's far past my time for pinup boys. (I'm not giving up car porn until the end of time. A Ferrari is still an object of beauty forever!)

As for James. The time has come to stop being envious. The time has come to stop paying attention to him at all. For heaven's sake he's married. Burbling on about somebody else's husband is just farther than I want to go. Even for writing prompts. I deleted Amazon's sale email and took my Top Gear Wallpapers off the computer.

James can go to "Space Camp", get liquored up and crash a camper, or he could tap dance naked in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge; I'm not looking anymore.

Look for changes in the blog this weekend. When I first created the "Tuxedo Inn" website I created a logo, a color scheme, and some other graphics. Hopefully I'll be able to hook them into the blog template and return the "Inn" to its regularly scheduled programming.

Tap Shoes?
Dance till you chafe, I'm not looking.
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Mystery Train Wreck?
Bengies Drive In has lined up another string of disappointments for this weekend. I'm bummed that they don't show anything I want to see after the first few weeks in spring.

I'm having house guests for the weekend and now there's a push on for a "relaxing barbecue". Those two words don't belong anywhere next to each other. Runaway fire, burned food, bugs, burns, and general snarkiness are all nice modifiers for the word "barbecue" but "relaxing" isn't.

Of course going to the NGA is out of the question. Between the manic rush to stake out a spot for the fireworks display and the knowledge that the "Metro" is running on lethal rolling stock, I don't want anything to do with DC this weekend.

Some loose canon at work has been running around screaming all day that our team is behind schedule on a concurrent project. He can't tell us what we are "late with" and what constitutes "late" since we are on target for completion dates for everything in flight. He has, however, run to the Chief Muka Muka and insisted that all the projects be juggled between employees.

This, I suspect, may put me on the firing line. I may have to find a way to muzzle this moron. For the time being I am sitting quietly and listening to the bulls**t shake he is brewing up.

Karl Malden passed away today. Granted he was 97 years old. But it's still been a tough few weeks for celebrities.

The U.S. just started a new military campaign in Afghanistan and they're doing it under the cover of the distraction created by the Michael Jackson Funeral Fiasco. The sad joke is that the enemy doesn't need reconnaissance as long as they have CNN. Troops are taking advantage of the news wonk-fest to do their business off camera. CNN, despite valiant efforts to remain balanced has it's forces concentrated in California.

Larry King Live is supposed to be broadcasting from Neverland Ranch tonight. The Today Show broadcast from the ranch today. Public announcements say that there will be no viewing or funeral at the ranch. People are still camped outside. Trucks are going in and out of the "abandoned" property. Gardeners are in a flurry tending the 'deserted landscape'. Matt Lauer even said that the contents of the mansion were on their way back from storage. That doesn't sound like talk about a house that is going to be razed and redeveloped. Meanwhile the locals are having a henny-fit over the crowds and saying they like the "quiet". How quiet could it have been when a full scale amusement park was in full swing? Somebody needs to hire Disney Corporation to do some crowd control and event scheduling. Disney has crowd handling perfected.

As for the neighbors. If you move in next to a circus training school you can't complain when the clowns escape. It may be frustrating now, but have some patience, there is a tragedy going on and it will work itself out.

Instead of watching the media train wreck going on, I feel like I should be refreshing my memory on DB2 declared temporary tables. What I'd truly like to do instead is go home and sequester myself for a nice nap. Maybe when I wake up CNN will let me know that Michael Jackson isn't dead, I'm still 23 years old, and I'm really a novelist instead of a computer jockey.

A girl can dream can't she?