Thursday, December 29, 2005

Happy New Zzzzz...

Well, I'm back from the ATL (or the boring suburbs thereof). It took me most of the stay to get over my cold, but it's not like I had to go anywhere or do anything strenous. The only real duties I had were present wrapping, filling and emptying the dishwasher and making the occasional breakfast for Nannie. (M's family spell it "Nana," due to some cute spelling error in M's youth, but I have a hard time writing it that way, since my own grandmother was called Nana with the usual pronunciation.)

Although I had a great visit with the others, particularly M's mom, we mainly went there to spend time with Nannie, who is 92. Until Poppie died, more than a year ago, she was doing quite well for someone of that age - especially since she had been ill on and off for much of her earlier life. Now, as often is the case when one partner goes, she's beginning to dteriorate. Her lungs need treatment several times a day, her hearing and vision are going and she's starting to forget things. She's still fun to talk with though, and will come up with smart answers and memories often - they just get mixed in with the "off" ones.

I can't imagine what it must be like to lose a partner of so many years and keep on living. M says that she feels that when Nannie is fully ready to go, she will. Not too long ago I would have said the same thing, but since my herniation and operation I seem to have taken an agnostic turn, and have fears that whatever hardships we endure are all random. My spiritual outlook is staring to improve recently, but I can't help but feel sad for Nannie. I truly do hope she enjoys her life somewhat, still - and I hope that death comes when we are ready for it.

On that gloomy note, I have no particular plans for New Year's Eve, yet. This is because I am now both Old and a Curmudgeon (the two go together so naturally, you see). M's been tired a lot, too, but at least she has a recently discovered thyroid imbalance to blame - I'm just boring and cranky. If someone suggests something I may be up for it, but if we stay home and drink sparkling apple juice before falling asleep at 11:35, so be it. I haven't heard of anything going on, so that's what I suspect will happen.

As for greeting the new year, I don't do resolutions (I always figure if you're really going to do something, why wait until the arbitrary date of January 1 to do it?), but we are planning to join a local gym in the coming month. We figure they will probably be having specials then, so that's the time to do it. I'm hoping to get a little more active in 2006, but we shall see.

In the meantime, I can exercise my thumbs on my new Madden 2006 game (which is frustratingly more difficult than the 2005 edition) and my Christmas iPod, when it finally arrives. I may be flabby, but my grip must be getting more and more impressive.

Whatever your plans for the holiday, have a good one, and an awesome New Year. Here's a toast to limited curmudgeonliness...

Can't... take... the cuteness!

Baby hippo + elderly turtle = Awwwww!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Fa La La La La...


Well, I'm off to The Dirty South for the holidays, sniffling with a bad cold all the way. Let's hope it doesn't get worse, or I don't give my 92-year-old grandmother-in-law pneumonia for Christmas.

In the meantime, play some Santa Balls...take a break, eat a cookie.

Senate Blocks Arctic Drilling and Approves Budget Cuts


Of course, they're still trying to cut the budget willy-nilly, but thank goodness for small miracles.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

O, Canada - part one million

Great. So now is it not only obvious that the Bush administration is spying on Americans and using 9/11 as an excuse/smokescreen, AND that Shrub has been lying about it, but who is the Pentagon spying on? Why, the scariest terrorists of all, of course: gay student groups!

I can't believe this guy isn't impeached, yet. I guess it's just 'cause nobody wants to give him a blowjob.

Animal News of The Day

1. I hate people.

2. Okay, people aren't so bad (I guess that petition I signed really worked).

Subway Schmubway

It took me way less time to get into work today than when there isn't a strike. Go figure. I got got a carpool ride in with a co-worker who lives in Staten Island. He said the only place he encountered any real traffic was on Fourth Avenue near my building. Everything else was smooth sailing. It seems like people decided to stay the heck away, if they could (or had no choice).

Not that the strike isn't a terrible thing for a lot of people. It will surely affect the city's economy on the macro scale, and a lot of folks who cannot get into work and can't work from home are majorly screwed. Even the transit workers themselves have it tough, not knowing what the resolution will be an not having any pay for at least as long as the strike continues. Sadly, it is generally those who can least afford to miss a paycheck that get the worst of such a situation.

And I do stand behind Local 100. Those workers have tough jobs, and they not only deserve to get decent wages, pensions and health care, but to be able to assure future workers that they won't get the short end of the stick. You can't really say the MTA was bargaining in good faith, considering they spent their considerable surplus on almost everything but wages just before the contract talks began. They even wanted to give riders some kind of "free rides" break around the holidays, meanwhile not even meeting the cost-of-living increases in salaries and trying to enforce later retirement! Well, how's this for special holiday treatment - no rides at all. Thanks a lot, Pataki and the MTA jackasses. Everybody knows you mismanage the whole thing. Crying that the unions are violating some ridiculous laws and acting in bad faith sounds stupid when you give them no other choice.

And that's the thing here: what other choice did the workers have? The MTA and government were bullying and acting cocky, filing lawsuits and making threats, basically saying they couldn't strike or they'd be punished. But that's the very reason they had to strike - it was the only weapon in their defense that they had left. If they couldn't walk off the job, what else could they use to bargain in this game of hardball? Pouts? And don't even talk to me about slow-downs - you know the MTA would be calling workers everything short of Satan if they did that, too.

So, a tough situation, all around. But I'm fortunate. I've got a cushy ride to and from work (in a giant leather-trimmed SUV, no less), however much I wanted to avoid coming in, and a resulting paycheck. M has to carpool in and out today, but she's taken off tomorrow and we're off for the dirty south early Thursday morning, so the only thing we really have to worry about if this goes on is making sure we get a firm reservation from a car service to and from Laguardia.

Nevertheless, I'll be glad when I can get on the old R train, again. The subways and buses are this city's lifeblood. New Yorkers will pull together and work things out like we've done in so many tough situations- but we want our arteries flowing again.

My grandpappy t'weren't no monkey!

Or maybe he was...

Hooray for science!

Monday, December 19, 2005

ARGH! Parts I & II

Part I: The rethuglicans are at it again. They finally passed their treasured bill to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. I hope their fates in Hell involve being trampled by large extinct species for eternity.

Part II: It looks like there may very well be a transit strike tomorrow. Even though it could take me hours to commute by carpool back and forth and I could get pretty much all of my work besides answering her phone done at home, my boss wants me to come in. Even the mayor said not to!


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Eric, Enemy of Trains

Children are the ultimate Surrealists. Check here and here for examples, and a few (puzzled) laughs.

Shouldn't you be working right now?

Why is this site like crack? It contains white crystals and it's addictive enough to make you starve your baby.
(Feel free to search for "Da Nator" to see all the ones I've made.)

Thar She Blows!

I remember as a kid being entirely fascinated with narwhals. I'm not sure where I first heard about them - probably in some old sea yarn (I had an odd preference for adventure stories set way before my time) - but I do know that, until even recently, I wasn't even entirely sure they existed. Part whale, part unicorn - were they like the jackalope or the monopode - a mythical creature born of ignorance, imagination or purely for entertainment? They seemed too weird to be true.

Well, they are true, and some fascinating new things have been discovered about them. NPR had an interview with a scientist named Dr. Martin Nweeia, who has found that, contrary to popular belief, narwhals don't use their "horns" (actually teeth) to battle or poke holes in the ice so much as to sense minute changes in their surroundings. Then, the NY Times had a great article that further explored these new and amazing findings. There's even a web site on the research called, appropriately enough,

Truth can be stranger than fiction. Nature is amazing. This may be even cooler than the giant squid!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Quote of the Day

"One cat in a house is a sign of loneliness, two of barrenness, and three of sodomy."
- Edward Dahlberg

Monday, November 07, 2005

Bossie is Safe!

Moo! Well, someone finally did it: a scientific study on cow tipping. And it turns out it's not so easy to do.

I, for one, am breathing a sigh of relief.

Ow - My Uterus!

... and my arm.

Went down to visit my sister, brother-in-law and the niece and nephew this past weekend. Those two kids are super cute and smart. My nephew became a little obsessed with the Star Wars lightsaber game I got him - which I hope won't drive his parents too crazy (still, score one for the cool auntie!). And my niece, at just two, is talking up a storm and clever and outgoing as can be. She even got me thinking about having kids, which M is now doing the Victory Dance over (don't sprain anything, hon).

The only sorry side effect is that after playing the light saber game with the nephew for a while, my arm went all wobbly and crampy. It hasn't done that as badly since the surgery, but then I haven't really pushed it since then, either. It was a bit disturbing, but I hope to start PT at the end of this week, so I'm trying not to freak out about it and just tell myself that it will build up strength over time.

There's also nothing like a long drive together to learn some more fascinating family background. I got my Mom talking about her youth and family, and it was really meaningful to learn more about them. I guess some parents always think their children somehow know all these things by osmosis, and are surprised when some old memory is novel and intriguing for their kids. I'm always interested in learning more about and from my folks, so this was, while emotional at times, really great.

BTW - the fall foliage down there was great! A nice side benefit, since I was afraid I'd miss getting to see many turning leaves this year.

That's my exciting weekend report. How was yours?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Steve, Don't Eat It!

In case you haven't seen it yet, I advise you to go check out It will crack your shit up, yo.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

CIA: Note to Self

What should we do with our detainees?

Let's see, we could just kill them. Wait...
"...many CIA officers believed that the al Qaeda leaders would be worth keeping alive to interrogate about their network and other plots. Some officers worried that the CIA would not be very adept at assassination.
'We'd probably shoot ourselves," another former senior CIA official said.'"

OK, let's ship 'em off to other governments who will torture them. Check.

Oh, wait - we're getting flak over that? Alright, let's just set up some secret dungeons of our own in, I don't know... Eastern Europe?


Thursday, October 27, 2005

Son of The Definitive Halloween Candy List

Well, Halloween approacheth. While I have been too pooped out from my recent surgery (not in pain, thank goodness, just low on energy) to cook up any particularly festive goodness - not even a lame-o costume - I do still count it as one of my favourite nostaligic celebrations. So, while I could spend my limited time not working or napping complaining that I'm tired, broke and can't find one measly box of freakin' Count Chocula anywhere 'round these parts, I will instead resurrect my comprehensive list of candy treats for the trickiest of holidays. Now remember, these were things I could find in my bag in the 70s and 80s, so your current or older mileage may vary. For a look at more recent ghoulish confections, check out this X-E article. And while you're at it, check out the paintable pumpkin peeps (and say that 5 times fast). If you happen to find some, I'd be happy to share an evening frosting marshmallows with you. That is not a euphemism.

$100,000 Bar Chewy caramel, milk chocolate and crispy crunchies. Later changed to "100 Grand," which annoyed me, 'cause I liked the old jingle.
3 Musketeers
Puffy nougat covered in milk chocolate. Light and sweet. The major appeal for me was the cool Musketeers emblem. I always wanted to be a Musketeer.
5th Avenue Probably my favourite of the crunchy peanut stuff in chocolate variety, just because of the swank name and wrapper design.
Almond Joy & Mounds Because sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't!
Have I mentioned I really dig coconut?
Apple Watch out for razor baldes!
Astro Pops I know a kid on Gun Hill Road who got his eye put out by one of those things!
Atomic Fire Balls The classic hot cinnamon ball of the time. Only a quick burn before you got to the sweet part.
Bar None bar A brief-lived chocolate, wafer and nut bar. Pretty good.
Baby Ruth Nuts, caramel and chocolate, in a fetching red-white-and-blue wrapper. The most interesting thing about this candy bar is the controversy over its name.
Bazooka gum
Rock hard and covered in powder, an American classic. Came with cartoon strips that were never funny, and offers for items in exchange for 7 bajillion wrappers. Did anyone ever send in for those things?
BB Bat Hard taffy on a stick, like a fruity Sugar Daddy. Acceptable.
Beeman's gum (Blackjack, Clove & regular) VERY rare in my era of Trick-or-Treating but classic. Either you love 'em or you hate 'em. I fall on the loving side.
Big League Chew "The Original Tobacco style Bubble Gum!" Shredded gum in a pouch originally invented to turn ballplayers off from tobacco, but actually a great way to train your kids for the weed and the throat cancer. The best part of this was the ad campaign of ball players playing ball and blowing huge bubbles, and the drawings on the pouches that looked like they were by one of the Mad magazine illustrators.
Bit O Honey Almond bits blended into a honey flavored taffy. A danger to your fillings but sooooo addictive! If you were lucky enough to get a whole bar of these divided by the distinctive interwoven wax paper, you might try to save some for later - but always fail.
Blow Pops The classic sugary bubble gum inside a lollipop. A bit sweet for me, but fondly remembered.
Bonkers Your basic extremely artificial "fruit chew". Like Starbursts, but cheaper and waxier.
Boston Baked Beans Mere candy coated peanuts, yet somehow better than the sum of their parts. The colonial brick-style packaging whispered of patriotism in the bicentennial era. Seriously awesome.
Bottle Caps Sugar candy shaped like bottle caps. Some people loved 'em. To me? No big whoop.
Bubble Gum Cigars Another training device for smokers, these were generally made of low-class gum, although the banana variety was intriguing. Chocolate cigars also existed, but were rarer in Trick-or-Treat bags.
Bubble Yum One of the many of the multi-variety gums that came out during the 80s bubble-blowing-contest craze. Innocent times, man. Probably my favourite of the type.
Bubblicious Another of the big bubble gums.
Butterfinger A version of the crunchy peanut bar covered in chocolate. A bit crisper and sweeter than some of the others. Maybe too much so for me.
Butterscotch An olde-timey favourite, whether in disks, rectangles, balls or squares.
Candy Buttons Dots Oh, yeeaaahhh! Suckin' the nasty cardboard-y sugar from the soggy paper! Rock the f**k ON!
Candy & Bubble Gum Cigarettes Came in all different kinds of packaging designed to look like popular deathstick brands. Tasted like crap, but they made you look too cool and grown-up to resist.
Candy Corn
Dare I say it? THE ULTIMATE HALLOWEEN CANDY. Brach's is the hands-down favourite version, made softer and richer with a touch of honey. "Indian" candy corn and even pumpkin and other novelty shapes are acceptable for kitsch value, but the standard orange, yellow and white type is still number one.Which section of each kernel do you eat first?
Candy Necklaces and Bracelets The number one way to be stylin' AND chip-toothed.
Charleston Chew Sort of a taffy-ish nougat in vanilla, chocolate or strawberry, covered in chocolate. They were a favourite with my older siblings, especially frozen into cement-like blocks. Not high on my list back then, but bring some nostalgia.
Charms Square hard fruit candies. Whatever. Good name, though.
Cherry Clan
Ooh, me so racist! Later renamed to "Cherryheads" to go with the other varieties in the Lemonhead family, but who can forget the slanty eyed-little buggers in straw coolie hats? I think I was horrified even then.
Chiclets The name and advertising made them seem so fun, but really? Just little rectangles of hard gum. What a disappointment.
Chick-O-Sticks Apparently, these were quite popular with some people. I don't know if I ever ate one, as the once or twice I got one I mistakenly took it for a cylindrical form of Chicken-in-a-Biskit and traded them off.
Chocodiles Yes, one did occasionally get snack cakes in one's treat bag (or jack-o-lantern shaped plastic bucket, as the case may be), and if one did, it was most likely these, due to their popularity and the fact that they came in single packets. Basically a Twinkie covered in chocolate, but definitely a product kids of my generation were screaming for after seeing the lovable cartoon crocodile mascot, "Chauncey."
Choward's Violet gum and candies Not common in trick-or-treat sacks but a classic nonetheless. Taste like that perfume you were given as a kid. No, not the Love's Baby Soft, the Violet! Duh.
Chuckles Your standard sugar coated jelly-gum drops. Bleah.
Chunky Ah, yes. Your basic huge block of chocolate. My favourite was the raisin and nut variety. Open Wide For Chunky!
Circus Peanuts Evil. EEEEE-VIIIILLLLL!!!
Clark Bar Another one in the vein of 5th Avenue and Butterfinger. I believe this is the earliest version, though. Nice wrapper.
Cow Tails I didn't get many of these, but they are basically a long version of the Goetze's Caramel Creams. I never was sure whether I found the name attractive or off-putting.
Cracker Jack Not usually found in treat bags as the boxes were pretty big, but OH BOY if you got one! Slightly over-caramelized sugar on popcorn with peanuts, AND a surprise treat with a joke or riddle. Too bad the surprises have been getting lamer and lamer as time goes by.
Dentyne What the…? You've been given adult cinnamon gum! KAAAAHHHHHNNN!!!
Dots Another gum drop incarnation of the slightly firmer type. Meh.
Dubble Bubble Remember when you used to, like, blow a big bubble? And then, no wait, you would, like, blow ANOTHER big bubble INSIDE of that one? Yeah. You could do it with any other bubble gum, too.
Dum Dum Pops Does it get any more iconic? Root Beer and cream soda flavours were high on my list, but who could resist the mysterious ? flavour?
Freshen Up A gum with a syrupy liquid inside. The commercials made it look like a huge burst of flavour. Not so much.
Fruit Stripe Gum Yipes, stripes! It's Fruit Stripe gum!! SOOOO awesome. That zebra! Those stripes! That strikingly tart-sweet fake fruit flavour that fades in seconds! And later on it came with temporary tattoos?! Bow before their majesty.
Garbage Pail Candy Hard, sour candy shaped like various pieces of garbage that came in a small replica of a garbage can. Dig it.Not to be confused with…
Garbage Pail Kids Candy A chewy candy that came with a card featuring one of the popular 80s gross-out cartoon characters, the Garbage Pail Kids. These kids were a phenomenon born from an unholy union of Rat Fink and Cabbage Patch Dolls. Not my cup of tea, but very popular.
Note: and yes, there was a Garbage Pail Kids movie.
GatorGum Gum made to taste like Gatorade. Hmm. Do I hate it, or do I love it? Well, I'll keep trying it to make up my mind.
Gobstopper Otherwise known as the Everlasting Gobstopper. Balls made up of layers of candy that change colours AND flavours as you suck them away. Pure genius!
Goetze's Caramel Creams Now this is old school, son. A little carboard-y, a lot sweet, 100% memory lane.
Goldenberg's Peanut Chews
I think I just had an orgasm. Again, like the caramel creams, a bit oddly carboard-y, but rich and addictive. Slightly bitter dark chocolate surrounding a fudgy chopped peanut filling. And who else has the guts to include a name like "Goldenberg" in their candy's moniker?
NB: Since the original writing of this list it has come to my attention that the Goldenberg company has changed the old, familiar packaging to a new, "playful" version. I am not amused. What's next, "New" Coke? Oh, wait a minute...
Goobers Chocolate covered peanuts. Better known as movie snacks. 'nuff said.
Good & Fruity Cylindrical fruit gummi chews with a resistant coating. See Mike & Ikes. Meh.
Good & Plenty Charlie says: Love my Good & Plenty! The much loved licorice in snazzy white and pink candy coating. Not the most decadent of candies, but very classy.
Gummi Bears The first of the multi-flavour gummi incarnations. At one time, they were positively ubiquitous.
Gummi Worms A later gummi item. Softer and more popular amongst some kids due to the gross-out factor. Gummi continued to spawn umpteenthousand varities, with no doubt some gummi gonads in there somewhere.
Heath Bar A nut toffee bar with a slightly burnt taste, covered in chocolate. A more adult item, which made one feel classy because it contained the word "English" in the description.
Hershey's varieties (milk chocolate, dark chocolate, Mr. Goodbar, Krackel & various Kisses) Do I really need to elaborate, here? Standard fare. Big points for the special dark and Mr. Goodbars, especially since your friend at school told you that Mr. Goodbar was named after a dirty movie.
Hot Tamales Hot cinnamon version of Ike & Mikes… or is that Good & Fruity?
Hubba Bubba Another big-bubble gum, this time with cowboys in the commercials. I do think this one had the most flavours, though.
Ice Cubes Basically a cube of smooth, decent chocolate. Hmm.
Jaw Breakers Ow! OwOwOW! I bit through it!
Jelly Bellies jelly beans
A bit more of an Easter snack, but well loved for its many varieties, despite the fact that it got tied in with Ronald Reagan, somehow.
Jelly Rings Ew.
Jolly Ranchers You know you traded them at school. What beats watermelon? Sour apple, my friend. Sour apple.
Junior Mints More movie oriented, but enjoyed in your treat box.(Did that just sound dirty?)
Jujubes A firm fruit gum drop.
Jujyfruits <Coach Z voice> Jeeorrgyfruits! </Coach Z voice> A firm fruit gum drop, but I think shaped like fruits. I don't know, I always traded 'em.
Kit Kat Gimme a break! Wafers and milk chocolate. Not high up there, but the chocolate was deceptively good.
Kits Taffy Weird little low-quality taffy bits. Why did we love them so?
Laffy Taffy Kicks Kits' butt, if just for the name alone. Not to mention the greater size.
Lemonheads (+Grapeheads and Appleheads) A series of slightly sour hard sucker candies. Lemonheads was the first and most popular.
Lifesavers Oh, you know. The only cool part was when you got something like Wint-O-Green so you could try to make sparks in your mouth or Butter Rum so you could think "Oooh, I'm eating RUM and my parents don't know it!"
Lifesaver Lollipops Do they still make these? Remember when they came in swirled flavours? Good times. The Crème Savers are just not the same. Bring them back. And while you're at it, where the hell are the Pudding Pops?!
Lik-M-Aid Wait, you get a stick of sugar, and you get to cover it in spit and then dunk into different varieties of sweet-sour powder? I am SO THERE.
M&Ms (plain and peanut) Old faithful. You know 'em. But remember when they were tan and not red?
Mallow Cup Truly seems like a candy Homer Simpson would have invented.
Marathon 1 inch by 8 inches of braided caramel covered with milk chocolate. Delicious, but discontinued. Now available as the "Curly Wurly." Who thought that one up?
Mars Bars Kind of like a milky way with almonds. Originally more often found in the UK.
Mary Janes Most people hated them, but I loved them. That peanutty taffy goodness! That coy, come-hither look on the little girl's face! Definitely a treat for a developing lesbian.
Melster Peanut Butter Kisses Much like Mary Janes, but with no name on 'em. Oh, come on, you remember them. They came in orange waxy twisted wrappers. Yes, they had a name. Yes, usually old people gave them out. Remember now?
Mike & Ike See Good & Fruity.
Milk Duds Chocolate sacs filled with milky caramel goodness! What's not to love?
(Shut up, Bunche.)
Milky Way You got your nougat, your caramel and your chocolate. Next.
Necco Wafers Why? Why on God's green Earth are these so beloved? I would have used them as poker chips, if they didn't all break in the bottom of my bag.
Neopolitan Coconut candies I know, ew. But, kinda yum, too.
Nerds A box with two separated flavours and some cute little cartoons really sold this one. Admit it - you loved 'em.
Nestlé Crunch (Yawn.) Moving along…
Now and Laters Eat some now and save some for later? Yeah, right. These rocked with a severe righteousness. Also, you could build up a little business of selling off the singles from the packs at a ridiculous markup to desperate kids in the cafeteria. What? No, I didn't end up a Wall Street trader…
Oh, Henry! Kind of like a Goldenberg's Peanut Chew, but bigger, sweeter and softer. Another one that's had some controversy over it's name.
Palmer's Chocolates You know the ones. Those little balls or discs covered in brightly decorated seasonal foil wrappers. You open them up and… the chocolate is seriously foul. They also made those chocolate footballs - you know, the ones that always ended up at the bottom of the bag as the dregs? I hear Palmer's has improved a lot since back then, but for now all ridiculously bad and disappointing off-brand chocolates will retain the name "Palmer's" in my mind.
Pay Day Gotta love me some peanuts. Of course, you can simulate these with a bowl of candy corn mixed with Planter's.
Planter's Peanut Bar Your basic very peanutty brittle thingy. Satisfying.
Pop Rocks
Yes, they rocked. No, Mikey didn't die by eating them with Coke. Haven't you watched VH1?
Push Pops I don't know. These seem dangerous, somehow.
Rain-Blo Gum Er. Kinda lame hollow gumballs. Okay.
Raisinets Oh, you know.
Raisins Just... no.
Razzles "…first it's a candy and then it's a gum!" Unfortunately, the whole time it sucks.
Red Vines/Switzer's/Twizzlers Everybody has their favourite version of these, but they're basically red fruity "licorice". Only good in a pinch, as far as I'm concerned.
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups ALL HAIL THE REESE'S PEANUT BUTTER CUP!!! So simple yet so perfect in it's salty sweet-ness, this was the number one sought-after item in my treat bucket. WOE BE TO THE MAN WHO EATS MY PEANUT BUTTER CUPS! I HAVE SPOKEN!
Reese's Pieces E.T…. phone home…
I'm sure Mars, Inc is still kicking themselves.
Reggie Bar Only memorable for having been named for Reggie Jackson.
Ring Pops Candy Bling!
Rolo You can roll a Rolo to your pal… but why would you? Save them all for yourself.
Root Beer Barrels Me and pappy used to suck 'em on th' porch at th' gen'ral store. Pappy liked 'em cause he didn't have no teeth.
Runts What was so good about pressed candy shaped like fruits? I don't know, but didn't you always save your favourite fruits for last?
Sixlets Gum Kind of like Rain-Blo but a bit better, and more attractively packaged, 'cause… there were six.
Skor Bar Another classy toffee bar variety, but this time with a harder butter toffee. And yes, I did know a girl who went on a Skor Bar diet in High School.
Sky Bar This candy bar is divided into four sections with four different centers... caramel, vanilla, peanut and fudge covered in milk chocolate. Pretty awesome, but it would be better if the candy itself were of higher quality.
Little rolls of pill-like sugar candies. A bit overrated, in my book, but much reminisced over in pop culture.
Smith Bros. Cough Drops What, you never got these as a treat from some cheap-ass jokester? Hey, they were really candy, anyway…
Snickers A Milky Way with peanuts. What will they think of next?
Snowcaps Nonpareils, mon ami. But of course.
Sour Patch Kids One of the first seriously sour candies. Frightening, yet compelling.
Squirrel Nut Zippers Another peanutty taffy thingy. Very popular in the South. Got a band named after 'em.
Squirt Like Freshen Up, but more hyped.
Starburst Probably the best known of the fruit taffy chews. Remember when they only came in the yellow wrapper variety?
Starlight peppermints Okay, whose freakin' grandma put these in here? No, I do not want fresh breath, it's HALLOWEEN for f**k's sake!
Sugar Babies Mini, even sugary-er Sugar Daddies. Wow. That's a lot of sugar.
Sugar Daddy A caramelly thing on a stick. You know.
Sugar Mama A caramelly thing on a stick. Covered in chocolate.
That's one sweet chocolate mama!
Swedish Fish Originally only in red, probably the first popular gummi animal. How… Nordic.
SweeTarts Like they say, sweet…and tart.
Tangy Taffy Another taffy, this time from Wonka.
Teaberry gum What the hell is a teaberry? I don't know. But I feel very sophisticated chewing this gum.
Tidal Wave Bubble Gum See Squirt and Freshen Up. Enough, already!
Toffifay Marketed as a premium chocolate, this one captured my snobby little heart with it's "European" flavoured advertisements. A nougat enrobed hazelnut topped with a dollop of chocolate and placed in a caramel cup, it even came in a gold plastic tart-pan setting. Niiiiiiiice.
Tootsie Flavor Rolls Tootsie rolls in different flavours?! Let me try that…
Tootsie Pop Mr. Turtle, how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?
I never made it without biting, ask Mr. Owl.
Mr. Owl, how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?
Let's find out. One… Two-whoooo… Three. CRUNCH! Three.
How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop? CRUNCH!
The world may never know.
P.S.: My favourite flavours are orange and chocolate.
Tootsie Roll "The world looks mighty good to me, 'cause tootsie rolls are all I see..."
Trident Gum What the hell are you, a dentist?! See Dentyne.
Twix & Peanut Butter Twix I just love me some Twix. They came a little late for my trick-or-treating, but I've gotta include them. A cookie covered by caramel and chocolate? Right on. The peanut butter version? Equally good. I tip my hat to you, Mars, Inc.
Wax Bottles, Lips, Fangs, Mustaches, Harmonicas, etc. Fangs for the memories...
Ok, seriously, can there be any doubt that the wax fangs were the best? Oh, sure the bottles had liquid in them and the harmonica could be played, but WAX FANGS? Ruled.
Werther’s candies Relatively high-quality butterscotches, toffees, and the much coveted Reisen chew. How European!
Whatchamacallit Another great marketing campaign for this one, a crunchy peanut crisp wafer with caramel and chocolate. I was very much into them for a while.
Whistle Pops Okay, sugar that makes a piercing noise, and you give it to children. There is a Satan.
Whoppers I loves me some malted milk. I just do.
Wrigley's gum (Juicy Fruit, Spearmint, Doublemint, Big Red) Juicy Fruit was the bigger winner in my book, even though it lost its flavour pretty fast. Big Red, however, was popular and benefitted from some good marketing, as did Doublemint. Who knew there were so many blandly attractive twins in the world?
York Peppermint Patties When I bite into a York Peppermint Patty, I get the sensation that my teeth are rotting out… but I like it!
Zagnut See Clark, 5th Avenue, Butterfinger, etc. This one did benefit from a cool name, though.
Zero Bar Caramel, peanut butter, almond nougat bar covered with white fudge. Honestly, I rarely saw these things, but they do strike me as a bit weird. Um, okay.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Giant Squid Caught On Videotape!

This is actually a huge deal - these creatures have never been observed alive before.

I am saddened, however, that the scientists set up a trap that hurt the squid they were trying to study. I hope the video is somewhat worth it.

A Real Pain In The Neck

Well, my surgery is set. I'm still having a weird disconnect about it, mainly because I am literally feeling better than I have in months. I don't know if it is due to the cooler weather, rest or what, but I have almost no pain, must better freedom of movement and only occasional tingles in my arm and finger.

Why, might you ask, am I going to let the surgeons cut into my throat and move stuff around when I am no longer in pain? Well, I tried to get out of it, but it turns out that, with testing, it was determined that my arm is still just as weak as ever. That means the nerve is still impinged and the weakness could become permanent. Seeing as that causes spasms after doing something so simple as washing some dishes, much less carrying groceries or laundry, and it's my dominant arm, I still have to have the operation. Three out of three doctors agreed - even my osteopath, who is generally very pro-alternative treatments. From what they told me, it is rare and lucky that my pain has disappeared - this happens only in 10% or less of cases with a disc herniation like mine. But it's still sort of a ticking time bomb until it gets fixed, just waiting to cause permanent damage or more pain or numbness. So, despite feeling rather spry, I'm off to the hospital on Monday.

I suppose I should count myself lucky, as at least I'm not uncomfortable now. The ironic thing is that I will actually have to go through pain to fix a condition that's causing me no pain now. Of course, many operations are for things you can't feel that much. But it's still somehow hard to wrap my head around.

Anyway, I'm all set. M will be home with me for up to Columbus Day, if necessary, although she is feeling horrible at home with a killer cold right now, so I hope she improves soon. My mom will be coming up the day before, stay a couple days and come back later if needed, and I even got an unexpected call from my dad saying he's going to try to get here to visit within a few days of the surgery. That really tickled me, because I rarely get to see him, so this whole getting sawed into thing is having a bit of a silver lining.

Wish me luck and Pudding Pops (I'll need them for the post-op sore throat).

Cats and Rabbits Living Together...

Mass hysteria! OK, maybe not that, but whoever is doing the Hoops & Yoyo site for Hallmark has got very good "clean humour" timing. Check it out - especially "The Runaway Marshmallow" parts 1 - 3.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Think of Laura - Part II

The "first lady" is up to it again, and even I can't believe such blatant image-fixing media-whoring is going on.

Just check this out to see what I mean.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Something's Happening Here

It's six in the morning and I've barely had any sleep. I probably had too much caffeine and sugar yesterday, but that doesn't entirely explain it. I'm having some weird kind of adrenaline rush, unable to sleep, tossing and turning. Finally decided to get up and eat something to settle my stomach, do something to occupy my mind.

But not before I did some girly push-ups in bed.

Why was I doing girly push-ups in the dark next to my sick girlfriend who sorely needs her sleep? I didn't wake her - she's truly out, but here's the reason: I didn't feel anything wrong. I was sleeping with my head turned to the right, woke up and I could feel my entire arm, right down to the tip of my forefinger. And it didn't hurt or tingle. It felt - almost normal.

Maybe not such a big deal, but it was a revelation in the pre-dawn haze for me. I haven't been able to turn my head to the right without experiencing pain or uncomfortable tingling for months. Over just the last two days or so I've been suddenly realizing now and then that I have complete sensation in my fingers. It took a while to sink in, because I've grown so used to numbness that it became normal, second nature. I expected to burn myself on the stove or iron because I couldn't feel it was hot.

So, what's going on here? My surgery is scheduled in less than a week and I am on high alert. All kinds of feelings from relief to resignation to abject fear are going through my mind as I get ready for the barrage of pre-op tests that start later this morning. Is my semi-panic leading to some kind of adrenalized, heightened sensation? Or am I truly, finally getting better? Will I need this surgery after all?

I feel a little foolish to hope I won't need it - afraid to be disappointed - but I can't shake this feeling that there has been marked improvement in my condition over the last few weeks. As I write this, my arm is starting to protest slightly - cramp up in the shoulder and elbow, tingle a touch in the finger. It hasn't been subjected to push-ups in... well, years, for real ones, but even girlie ones for some time because I've been babying it, and certainly wasn't capable most of the time, as it was weakened or throbbing due to nerve impingement. I've scheduled one last appointment to evaluate it with my orthopoedic surgeon and I don't know what to do with myself. How am I going to make it until that time? I am freaking out.

See, it's not just fear of the surgery. It's fear of not having it. For six months I've been dealing with this condition - not to mention the previous years of chronic lumbar episodes. The surgery is/was going to relieve me of it - the pain, the weakness, the tingling. It was going to let me be comfortable again, sleep again, be active again. Moreover,it was going to give me a break - a week or two being forced to rest my body and mind away from the daily grind to re-evaluate my situation, my life. Or just be really high on prescription drugs. It's become more to me psychologically, somehow, than just fixing a misplaced disc in my neck. It's become fixing something deeper - something inherently wrong with me that's been there for some time - the thing that makes me fat, makes me sick, makes me defective. It's become a fundamental change of me - not just from someone who's never been operated on to someone who's been cut and healed, but someone who has purged something and can start anew. It's taken on a whole new emotional symbolism that can't be boiled down to a two-inch scar and a titanium plate in the neck.

It seems like it should be a simple equation. If the doctors tell me I need surgery, I'll just have to get it. Suck it up and move on - nobody likes being cut, bruised and invaded. If they tell me I don't, I dodged a bullet, or maybe a pellet gun. I'm lucky and happy for a few days, and then, again, I go on with my life. But that's just not the way my brain works. For some reason, I've always been more... dramatic. Even if the results - back to the daily grind - are the same.

Well, I'll know in a few short hours - or a few long ones. Right now my shoulder is tightening up in a way that's making my stomach drop a little bit - "don't start dancing, just yet - you may have pushed yourself too hard and it just wasn't hurting you for a while 'cause you babyed it. The flaw is still there." We shall see. I don't know what to expect, am not sure if I should be hoping. But I do know that if I don't need the surgery, I'm going to have to figure out my next steps without the forced detour, the prescribed rest. I may have to take some time off and figure out what it means to suddenly be well and what I want to do with it. And I may have to take a few days off and party or collapse.

I'm scared and nervous, either way.

I definitely had too much sugar and caffeine yesterday.

Friday, September 23, 2005

The Power of Christ Compels You

Freaky Friday Edition

Did Katrina leave some angry spirits behind? I've had my paranormal experiences in the past, but I don't think I'd want them attended to by the national guardsman who thinks New Orleans is a center of cannibalism and soldiers spread the light of God wherever they go...

Check it out.


Take a look at this shout-fest between Phil Donahue and Bill O'Reilly.

Can't we all just get along?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Words Fail

Think that the shameful aftermath of Katrina has finally spurred our government to take practical action for the people in need? Think again. And again.

At least local evacuation orders seem to be being taken seriously for Rita.

Back to You, Snoop Dogg

Note to reporters: if you are filing a story on burning piles of confiscated marijuana, stand upwind.

Alive in Truth

"The hardest part for me, the part that I can’t stand – I’m a taxpayer, I pay taxes. And you’re calling me a refugee. That hurts. Like hell."
Read this and other oral histories of Katrina victims at

Think of Laura

Laura Bush is trying to smooth things over for Shrub. Does anyone really listen to that woman or take her seriously?

I just couldn't believe what she said, so I wrote a rant in my underused dkos diary. You can read it here.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

It's The Best Thing EVERRRR!!!

OK, maybe not, but I was surprised and delighted to learn from the NY Times this morning that there is a Russian cat circus in town. That's right. CAT. CIRCUS. I am so there that I think I left a little poof! of dust and hairpins behind me.

Alright, so Russians kind of scare me (hey, I work with Russian artists now and then at my day job, and Russian + dancer or singer = a whole new kid of drama). And clowns? I could do without 'em. But check out the site for the Moscow Cats Theatre. If you were a crazy cat lady with a taste for camp, how could you resist?

We can't really afford the tickets, but I'm dragging M to see it. Even if it's cheesy, it should be fun. Besides, I might pick up some tricks for my all-coati circus idea I got in Costa Rica.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Bloggin' Fool - or - Once Again, Your Tax Dollars At Work!

Yes, it appears I'm back to my old multi-posting ways. Hey, it's been a slow week at work. Really slow.

It boggles the mind - but does not shock, alas - that someone in the federal government seems to be trying to find ways to blame environmentalists for the flooding after Katrina. What, you mean the environmentalists were warning that the degradation of the wetlands due to oil drilling, channel cutting and water diversion could lead to flooding? It must have been a smoke screen for some big, liberal... scientist... terrorist... uh, let's not play the blame game!

Here's a link to the news that the feds are trying to drum up some (nonexistent) connection there.

And here's a link to an excellent story American Public Media did in conjunction with NOW with Bill Moyers on the high likelihood that a hurricane would take out New Orleans due to destruction of the wetlands (among other things) - circa 2002.

Meanwhile, back in the present, folks in New Orleans are thrilled to find their power turned on 30 minutes before W's motorcade rolls through. Only to have it turned off again as soon as he leaves.

Let's not let a little thing like reality get to him, shall we?

Finally, Hunter from DKos does it again. There is laughter inside my tears...

Friday Cat (and Turtle) Blog

Have I mentioned lately that Maurice is just one awesome specimen of ideal felinity? Our poor putty man clearly had a recurrence of the old cystitis yesterday morning, and you didn't have to be an animal communicator to figure that one out. He was running like a madcat hither and yon, jumping in and out of each of the three litter boxes and howling. Finally, he bolted up onto the bed directly in front of me, spread his legs, licked his groin area furiously, then stared up and me and yowled "Mommy! Help me! It buuurrrrns!" Okay, maybe not in so many English words, but the meaning was clear. So, last night it was To The Vet with our kitty buddy.

Point being, on his visit he was The Best Kitty Ever. For while he clearly Did Not Like It, he gave nary a peep, and whereas his tail was expanded in the Puffy Display of Extreme Anxiety, he allowed himself to be poked, prodded, jabbed with needles and even anally probed with meek, cooperative acceptance. In fact, not only did the vet and tech love him, but they commented multiple times on how they could not believe he is eight years old, with his handsome, athletic build and silky fur. "He has the teeth of a two-year-old!" they kept exclaiming. Awww.

Anyway, he's on medication now, and here's an old animation I did of him to bug M one time:

Meanwhile, trouble in turtleland, as I found Edamame biting chunks out of Aubergine's shell again and had to separate them. I'm really worried about him - he seems lethargic, traumatized and possibly sick now. And I don't know what to do about her - she just has been so intractably aggressive. I hate to think we may have to permanently separate them or give one or both to a sanctuary, but that's starting to look like a very real possibility. Cross your fingers for us - I love my turtles and would miss them dearly (not to mention we still haven't paid off the ginourmous tank taking up most of our living room, yet).


It's The End of The World As We Know It

And Hunter over at DKos does not feel fine.

Funny stuff. Maddening - but funny.

Meanwhile, Bill's Cheers and Jeers for today is just awesome, from start to finish. Check it out.

Have you been wondering what those "nutria" are that search-and-rescue teams say have been taking over New Orleans? Well, here you go. They might give NYC rats a run for their money, but I have a feeling they'd do a better job protecting NO than the Feds.

Finally, I'm sure most of you have donated what you can to the human victims of Katrina. Please also consider donating to the ASPCA or the HSUS. They are both doing amazing work saving thousands of animals left sick and homeless by the events in the gulf, and they could use all the help they can get.

Peace out.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Why Blog Why You Can Get Someone To Do It For You?

Esepecially if 1.) you're lazy and 2.) nobody reads your blog, anyway. Unless somebody does. Anyone...? Bueller?

Anyway, Matt over at X-Entertainment has started his excellent annual Halloween countdown. If that's not awesome enough, he's added an article with some personal reflections on Castle Dracula, the old dark ride/horror house in Wildwood, NJ.

Castle Dracula was a monster-sized (heh) haunted house built in the mid-70s, after the owners of Nickels' pier realized just how much money the folks who built the infamous Brigantine Castle were making (said folks probably having based their creation on the horror craze of the time sparked by The Exorcism, The Omen, etc.). Lots of Matt's recollections are similar to mine, although I was always too chicken to go into the walk-through part of the Castle. Even in my tender single-digit years, I harboured the strange combination of an obsessive fascination with The Count and a mind-blowing terror at the thought of even going near a "scary movie" or "haunted house". The pain/pleasure adrenaline rush of even being on the same boardwalk as this place could get me higher than the sugar from a funnel cake, neapolitan waffle sandwich and cotton candy combined, with a side of salt water taffy thrown in. Even after finally braving the boat portion and mocking it mercilessly the whole way through with my stepbrothers, Castle Dracula still seemed to retain some of its bloody and fascinating cachet in my mind until it burned to the ground, as most boardwalk attractions do, in 2002.

Although Castle Dracula will always remain third in my heart behind The Golden Nugget and the Pirate Ship Skua, this article really takes me back to the days when some plastic monsters and teenagers in make-up were about the scariest things I could imagine. Good times.

Whaddaya know? I got kinda a blog post out of that, after all...

An Illustrated Guide to Spinal Fusion

In case anyone missed my handy-dandy guide to the surgery I have coming up, you can see it here.

In other news, I said I'd be blogging more, particularly about the Costa Rica trip, but apparently I lied. Just another check on the list of duties shirked and promises unkept.

More later...?

Friday, August 19, 2005

Baby Blake is Here!

Got Milk?Congratualtions to S & J'A on the birth of Blake Davis, or as I like to call him, Mr. Blakeypants. As you can see from his picture, he has already adopted his Brooklyn attitude. I believe his first words will be "What are you lookin' at ?"

Despite the early arrival, baby and moms are all doing fine, although the moms are, naturally, exhausted. They hope to go home sometime on Saturday, where Mr. Blakeypants can meet his furry brother Mingo, who will probably outweigh him for some time.

In related news, lesbian uterae across the tri-state area are said to be vibrating upon viewing photos of the tyke. "It feels as though some kind of alarm is ringing," one sapphist reported, "and I have the urge to buy tiny clothes and a minivan." Officials are investigating.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Costa Rica Dreamin'

We're baaaa-aaack - and full of stories from Costa Rica. It was a wonderful, terrifying, breathtaking, aggravating and delightful trip, and I'm still processing it (and catching up on sleep). I will probably try to convert some of my journal entries to blog bits within the next few weeks, as well as put up a number of photos. In the meantime, it's good to be home.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Monday, July 25, 2005

A Pond in Our Living Room

Yesterday we finally got a huge new tank for our turtles. Red-Eared Sliders can get aggressive when they don't have enough space, and Edamame had been pursuing and nipping at Aubergine for weeks. We began to get worried when we noticed her sharklike focus on stalking him, and that he'd taken to swimming with only his front legs, tucking his rear ones and his tail into his shell so they wouldn't get bitten. Finally, M saw one day that Eddy had taken a piece out of the back of Aubie's shell, and he was bleeding. "That's it - I don't care what we pay, I'll put it on my credit card. We have to get these two a bigger tank!"

So, for a week our poor chelonian friends had to hang out in about 10 gallons of water each in the little tank, separated by a divider. Eddy was clearly frustrated in the tiny space, and Aubie was depressed. He was skittish after being hauled out and dry docked for a while as part of his wound treatment, and then he was separated from his beloved Aubergine. He'd spend hours just looking at her through the divider, pining and pathetically trying to do the mating dance at her. Of course, she was on the other side, trying to bite him through the divider. Call it the call of the wild or sheer teenage male persistence, Aubie never seems to stop pursuing her, even when she's had enough of his harassing her and takes a bite out of his hide. Sigh.

Anyway, after more than a week of figuring out what we needed, if it would fit in the apartment, how to set it up and how the heck to get it here before we go on vacation, I happened to ask the local Petland Discounts if they had any aquariums in stock - hoping just to get another small one for the interim - and was taken to the basement, to find a complete 90 gallon tank and stand right there! We had been told that we'd have to order a tank through them, it might take a week or two to arrive and it would be delivered to us from the warehouse on a Thursday only, with just the driver there to help us out if he was feeling nice. Now I figured that if I could find a good, cheap local moving company or men-with-a-van, our turts could have their new digs within the weekend!

And so it went. M paid for the tank (and a number of accoutrements) and I bought the filter, which is due on Monday or Tuesday. We found some terrific moving guys - JB moving - through a site I found called I was thrilled to find this site, where you not only can read reviews of local movers, but describe your move and get them to bid against each other on it. Jonathan from JB was a real sweetheart, and they only charged us $95 (plus a good tip) to move about 300 lbs worth of unwieldy, fragile glass tank and stand up through narrow, curving stairs to the fourth floor. Not only that, but they set it up and took the time to adjust it so it was perfectly level for us (an important factor in protecting both the floors and the structural integrity of the tank). I could not be more pleased with these guys, and if you are considering moving, I heartily suggest you check out citimove and consider hiring them for your job.

So, now our little lovelies have a huge space to do their turtley things in. I cannot believe how huge this thing is - it's nearly as tall as I am and equally as wide, weighing in, when filled, at about 1000-1500 pounds (and yes, we did research on how to place it so our 100+ year old floors could support it, so it shouldn't kill the downstairs neighbours). It really is like having a full pond in our living room, and very entertaining to watch the turtles swim around, climb on the tiki head ornament and try to eat the plastic plants and flowers (did I mention they have tiny, tiny brains?). We'll probably be watching much less t.v. with this thing around.

The bad news is, Eddy started stalking Aubie a bit again last night. They were so excited to explore their new territory (and, on Aubie's part, to be together again) that they seemed happy to be close, but now she is nipping again. I can't entirely blame her - despite the grreater space, Aubie hangs on her like a lamprey, constantly flirting with and irritating her like some kind of miniature, green Mars Blackmon. Now she's got that sharky, dead focus in her eyes again, so much so that I remarked to M "they're gonna have to change the expression 'doggedness' to "turtleness."

We'll see how it goes. We can't possibly get a bigger tank in this apartment, and we'd hate to have to separate them, or adopt one out. It may help when we install a bigger basking area with dirt to dig in, which we intend to do when we get back. As for now, M is needling me to keep trying to talk Eddy out of attack mode. It's not always easy talking with one's own animals, even if one is a professional animal communicator. Emotions get in the way, and the fact is that Eddy has always been a tough cookie, barely tolerating us, while Aubie is much more outgoing. I thought I was going to fall out when I got a simple message from her after exploring the new tank: "thank you." So, there's a bit of pressure involved in trying to actually get some behaviour modification out of her through A.C. Being nervous is not conducive to the task, so I hope M will be understanding. Can't we all just get along?

Anyway, that's the story for now. More later, and I will try to get some photos up soon.


- The Turtle Whisperer(?)

Monday, July 11, 2005

Pissy Day

I am in in mood today, chilluns. Not only is my bleeding back, but I tweaked my neck again somehow last night - while just lying down - so my neck and shoulder are back to killing me again. This would be annoying enough, but I was trying to reach someone who could give me advice at my new doctor's office for most of last week with no success, as he was out of town. I tried to do the traction early in the week, but that's what first brought the pain back a bit, so I stopped. So, after ditching a doctor who I couldn't reach in a bad situation he caused, I go to a new doctor... only to find him unreachable!

So, now I've had to do all kinds of re-scheduling with my dentist and my gyno's office because my last blood test came out wonky, and I've set an appointment to see an expensive endocrinologist based on my new theory of what may be causing a lot of my health issues (M has seen all the evidence, and also thinks this diagnosis is highly possible), but I still don't have any information or appointments to get my neck in better shape before my vacation. And, if it doesn't improve soon, I may have to cancel that vacation, which has me very, very upset, let me tell you.

Anyway, just had to vent. The doctor is supposedly going to call me back tomorrow, and M will be coming for emotional support to the endo visit (therefore, oh so regrettably, having to cut her office outing to Rye Playland short). In the meantime I am stewing, avoiding the formidable heat outside and trying to keep some positivity goin' up in here. It's a good thing I have a Reiki appointment this coming weekend.

I am sure I will have more to report on my new theoretical disease later, but in the meantime, I'm just going to try to stay cool, listen to some music and reeeelaaaax...

New Term of the Day

Poltergays: When you come home and your furniture hasn't been thrown around, but artfully redecorated.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Ground Control To Major Tom

How freakin' cool is this: NASA has a Quicktime movie taken by the impactor that was sent to crash into the comet Temple 1 as it was crashing into the comet. Actually, the comet was crashing into the impactor, but let's not quibble. What we have here is a real movie of an object smacking into a comet - not some sci-fi movie CGI. We may forget in this era of Star Wars, Episode Bajillion that this kind of thing was absolutely unimaginable not long ago. We may not take a moment to really think about the precise science and vast speeds and distances involved because it makes our brains hurt. But check this out and see if it doesn't make you a little bit more impressed with human beigns, despite all our aggravating faults.

Here's the movie.
Here's the NASA site for more info on the mission.

Friday, July 01, 2005

New Terms

I have a couple new terms I have invented.

1. Head Cheese
This is spam or mistaken email that is so strange it really stands out. For example, here's a recent one I received:

Date: 6/14/2005 19:45:40 -0700
From: "Wended V. Awakenings"
To: Gk
Subject: Greetings, white man! :)

Evening, landlord :)

- Veloma


Date: 6/27/2005 07:41:10 -0700
From: Andres
To: Fo

Subject: Of whom do I have the honour? :)

We haven't been introduced... :)

I wanted so badly to study ballet, but it was really all about wearing the tutu. [On the subject of her early aspirations]

Nah isawa tah

I mean... the hell?

1. Queermudgeon
This is my new term for myself, which I used to explain to M that although I was progressive enough back in the days when "queer" became the new moniker for a range of non-heterosexual types, I am rapidly reaching that age where those nearly-naked kids in the Pride Parade annoy me and I don't understand what the latest gender/sexuality/politcal/academic "discourse" is all about. "And fram damn it - why is it always so damn HOT on Pride Weekend? I'm staying inside and taking a nap, like a sane person!"
Can easily be applied in a number of situations.

Feel free to spice the boulliabase of your regular conversation with these fun and easy-to-use new words!

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Whacky News Items of The Day

1. Lightning Awareness Week. Would you believe one exists and this is it? Yes, read this article and you, too, may start constructing a grounded, rubber lightning shelter in your backyard.

2. Grizzly Bear-Size Catfish Caught in Thailand. Yes, weighing in at 646 lbs, it is possibly the largest fresh water fish ever caught. The bad news is, it's endangered and they killed it. The good news is, it supposedly brought good luck to a lot of villagers.

3. Alan Cumming has a perfume named after him. Yes, the guy who played the MC in Cabaret. Want to know what it smells like?

You may now return to your daily lives just a little bit more well-informed.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Book of Jobina

OK, I’m exaggerating, but what the heck is going on here? After my latest post, in which a session of Reiki left me feeling better than I had in months, I went in the next afternoon for my steroid epidural. The night after that, I began to experience what can only be described as a five-day-solid agonizing migraine headache, complete with light and noise sensitivity, nausea, sweats and dizziness. In getting the shots done on Thursday, I’d hoped to make sure I was comfortable for our extended visit with M’s family, including her 90+ year old grandmother, who I dearly love and don’t know how many times, if at all, I’ll get to see again. Instead, it turns out that I experienced a rare, but possible, reaction to the shots – either a bodily rejection of the steroids or the result of a pinprick leak in my cervical spinal column, causing pressure changes in my neck and skull that left me feeling like I’d been tossed in a sack of hammers and rolled down a hill. For five days.

Is there some higher message or meaning in here? Why do I keep experiencing these debilitating injuries and illnesses? Am I supposed to pack it all up and go live in a cave somewhere, communing with the animals and existing on shoots and berries? Or, conversely, am I supposed to be counting my lucky stars that I live in an industrialized, “first-world” nation, with a job that, even though it’s not exactly my soul’s calling, furnishes me with the medical insurance to treat all these issues and at least not worry where my next meal might come from if I have to spend a week doped into hallucinations with multiple pills?

I am truly thankful for my family and especially for M, who has been the most wonderful, supportive angel of a partner through all this I could ask for – despite the fact that my illness put even more stress on what was an already emotion-fraught trip for her. I am going to make an appointment for another session with my Reiki master as soon as possible, too, to see if that can help clear up the aftereffects of this latest problem. The ache in my head is very dull now, but I still feel – physically and emotionally – hung-over. The loving ministrations of my cats (I swear having them wrapped around my head purring all night put the last whammy on that headache) and going into the place of peace and no pain I experienced during that last Reiki session truly helped me get through this without completely losing my marbles.

I don’t know how to be clever just now, but I’m easing back in. Further bulletins soon…

Thursday, June 09, 2005

This Shit Really Works!

Shake, Rattle n’ Roll, Baby…

So – long time no post. Last I left off here, I was just getting over my bout with vertigo, which was bad enough but just the tip of the iceberg, I soon found out. Since then I’ve been afflicted with two – count ‘em - two herniated discs in my neck, a killer stomach virus, a few panic attacks and The Return of The Constant Menstruation. Sounds fun, no? Trust me, it’s been a blast. Between the bleeding, the searing pain, the reduced use of my dominant arm and hand, the parade of drugs and the projectile spewing, I’ve truly been the life of any party. I’ve missed a lot of work at my day job, had to stop doing the work I love most – animal communication – and generally been confined to resting and moping, with a side of weight gain. It’s been a rough few months, here, is what I’m trying to say.

But… last night I finally did something I should have done weeks ago. I went to see my Reiki master. See, I’ve been taking drugs, seeing doctors both medical and pshrinky, and getting steroids shot into my spine, and it all helped, but I’ve still been feeling lousy. Not just physically but, as you may imagine, spiritually. Guilty and sad that I haven’t been able to do my animal work just when my business was really taking off. Depressed over feeling sick and in pain all the time. Tired and defeated and right on the edge of hopeless. I tried to do Reiki on myself and meditate, but I was too distracted or in pain to get it flowing. Not only that, but I began to doubt that those things could help me. I began to fall back on the ol’ inner skeptic society built in me, telling myself that all that New Age mumbo-jumbo was a scam, and even my beloved animal communication must be a comforting delusion – dismissing all the amazing results I’ve seen and the information I’ve gotten that I just could not possibly have known without it being real.

So, enter my Reiki master, Linda Gnat-Mullin. Although I’d been attuned to level I by her (I did level II long-distance with someone else, mostly due to curiosity and financial considerations) and afterwards had some very intense psychic experiences with her, I’d never actually gotten a full Reiki treatment. Well, little did I know that the work she does involved not only Reiki, but shamanic work and other spiritual/energetic methods. That’s right, sage was burned, spirits and the divine feminine were invoked, crystals were placed and even a rattle was shaken above me. It was all enough that definitely, at times, I had to internally roll my eyes and think “oh, jeez, is all this New Age, white-lady-fixated-with-aboriginal-spiritualism frou-frou-rah really necessary? And does it do any good besides giving one the psychological/placebo effect that one is better?” Well, I’m here to tell you – it works!

After two hours of communing with animal spirits, crying over childhood issues and being spritzed with lavender, not only did I feel emotionally “cleansed”, more vibrant and happy, but the pain from my herniated discs went away. For the first time in weeks I was able to sleep through the whole night, and woke up with no pain at all. None.

Moreover, there’s a spring in my step I haven’t felt in months. I feel… positive. Like I don’t have to carry a big weight anymore. How about that?

Sure, I’m still looking forward to getting my latest epidural this afternoon – those steroids in the neck can make one pretty grumpy, but they do take the pain and weakness down a few notches. But I am now thoroughly convinced that this Reiki session did me every bit as much good as any allopathic medical treatment I’ve ever had. So, I’ll be going back soon, and recommending it to all my friends – even if it does seem a little woo-woo to some. I may fall back into doubtfulness, but I now feel that a treatment like this – even just a tune-up – is worth every penny and just as important in taking care of myself as making sure I eat my vegetables or get my spine adjusted at the chiropractor. After all, I’m trying to go into a line of work where I will be helping to take care of many others – human and of different species. How can I do that if I am stuck and ill, myself?

So, back on track. I hope within a week or two to being doing consultations again. Until then, I will be taking good care of myself, looking forward to my next treatment and planning our vacation in Costa Rica. I have work, financial and family issues to take care of, but I feel as though it’s much more manageable. Wish you could get and outlook adjustment, too? Drop me a line and I’ll give you Linda’s number. It’s worth it!

Monday, March 28, 2005

These Dreams...

... go on when I close my eyes. I'm not talking about the Wilson sisters (although M did get a Heart Greatest Hits album recently). I'm talking about one way I know animal communication is what I really want to be doing with my life. I've been having these dreams lately. In each one, I have to save Maya, our cantankerous and deaf cat, from some impending doom. This has ranged from a fire drill to an actual fire, from being forced to move out of our place due to some financial ruin to rescuing her from a building next to one that has been blown up by terrorists. Maya is pretty good as I cradle her in my arms and run for safety amidst the confusion, at first. But I know the minutes are numbered before she starts to struggle, and I may lose her completely in the chaos as she becomes irritable or scared by the situation and wriggles free. I feel mounting alarm as I worry that I will lose her and may not know if she is safe. I will both miss her terribly and feel as though I have failed.

Once again, my subconcious? With the subtlety? Not so much. Clearly not only have I been feeling guilty that I've been behind on Ms. Maya's columns since I got sick (I swear she has been put out at me lately, and looking somewhat unhealthy), but I am worried about all my animal and human clients who I have been powerless to assist while lost in vertigo-induced la-la land. Every day I get a couple more messages from clients anxious about a lost cat, a dog with cancer, or an animal friend who has recently died. I want to help them so much! But then I look at the backlog of clients I am still trying to catch up on, and it overwhelms me. I know being sick for a month is no 9/11 terrorist attack, but my subconcious is obviously using some exaggerated metaphors to let me know that I am waaay anxious about this. And did I mention I am still in the middle of re-organizing my files and doing my taxes?

I know I will catch up, somehow, and I know I still need to take time for myself to relax, meditate and continue to get better, or I'll be no good to anyone. But I tend to spiral into these fear-of-impotency panics... "all the animals in the world are going to suffer if I don't help them right now, and it's my fault!"... even though, realistically, I know that my clients always have the option to take up my offer for a referral and I am Just. One. Person.

The good news is that I have other reasons for believing this really is my calling - the top of the list being just how damn delightful I find a good chat with most animals and their people, and how incredibly good I feel when I get something I never would have imagined exactly right, or actually help to facilitate an understanding between beings that haven't been getting along, or even help an animal or person feel or behave better. But, being the person that I am, I suppose the freaky dreams and bouts of anxiety are bound to go along with the territory when I feel all that goodness in my life is somehow threatened. That and the fact that I'm no longer passed out on Trazadone every night. Ever try to kick a sleeping aid?

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


No, not the movie - although it's one of my favourite films. And not the comic line, either. If you thought of that first, you are an even bigger geek than I am.

No, I mean the actual symptom, i.e. " a false illusion of motion with a distinct sensation of rotation." This was the major symptom I was experencing as I was sick over the last three weeks, and it's more of a pain in the ass than you might imagine. I mean, I thought it was bad when I had the symptoms of a throat infection and possible stomach flu the week before. But, it turned out it could get worse, because I didn't go to the doctor and it progressed to a combined sinus and ear infection that gave me... well, you guessed it.

Just how much of a pain in the ass is vertigo? Well, strike one: if you have vertigo, nobody can tell you have it. You look perfectly fine, until you find yourself putting your head between your knees or clinging to nearby wall or lamp-post to remain upright. I have a feeling that I was probably doing weird squinty and popping things with my eyeballs, too, and making pissy faces, but just enough that the casual observer probably thought I was either crazy or had a minor case of Tourette's, not so much that it would be clear I was ill and thus garner some pardon or sympathy. In any case, I found myself feeling defensive while I was sick in a way I wouldn't have if, say, I had a rattling cough or a blood-soaked bandage on my head. "I may look fine," I'd silently mind-thrust at those around me, "but I feel like I've been tossed in a sack and hammered - wanna make somethin' out of it?"

Strike two: it is remarkably incapacitating. Even if you otherwise feel fine (which is unlikely, because headaches, fatigue and nausea tend to tag along with their friend vertigo, but I'm just saying), try doing almost anything when the little steadycam in your brain that keeps your every waking moment from looking like the chase scene in a COPS video is not working and you will pretty soon start wishing for temporary blindness. Work on the computer? No. Watch TV? Not for more than a few minutes, if you don't want to revisit your breakfast. Read a good book? Try a page or two, at most. When I did have to move around, I found myself navigating through many familiar spaces - and some unfamiliar ones - with my eyes closed. I'd sometimes catch myself doing this walking down the hallway at work or, say, Fifth Avenue in Brooklyn on the way to the pharmacy. I'd have to stop and force myself to pry my lids open and walk slowly, to lessen the chance of blundering into other pedestrians, obstacles or passing vehicles. To be fair to myself, I submit that even when I was blinded and dizzy, I was at least as careful and safe as most of the drivers on that familiar roadway ("bike lane? What bike lane? I think I'll make a U-Turn at 35 miles per hour with this Salvation Army couch plopped on my car roof and the 5 kids sliding around in the back, between the blown-out, blaring gajillion-watt speakers.").

Finally, strike three: there's just not a heck of a lot you can do for vertigo. The strongest thing my doctor threw at me was a version of your basic Dramamine, which did almost nothing for me (except make me even more sleepy, which I did not expect was possible). So, I basically had to wait until it went away, not knowing when or if it would. I knew I was supposed to be on antibiotics for at least a week, but as that stretched into ten days and on to nearly two weeks with little improvement, I began to worry. What if the infection was gone, but I had some weird condition or damage in my brain, which meant I'd be doomed, dooooooomed, to feeling like I'd just spent three hours on the Goodship Gutspew for the rest of my life? All things told, this one symptom, which, on the surface, would not seem like something that would put one out of commission, did. Put me out. And I was mad about it, too!

I mean, not only did I have to use up most of my sick days, but I had to spend them staring at... nothing, or reading for five minutes and then sleeping for fifteen. And I'd find myself raging at myself, too, as in "you pussy! You're just a little woozy! It's not even a flesh wound!" But it didn't help. And it was depressing, because I also couldn't enjoy eating, or talking with anyone for very long, much less keep up my AC practice, which was probably the most disheartening. I mean, it's one thing to feel just generally useless, but another entirely when someone calls you weeping that their innocent little animal is dying or lost somewhere, and you have to say "sorry, got a bit of the spins, can't help you." Well, I could refer them elsewhere, but still. I ended up having to do quite a bit of soul-searching and telling myself that just because I couldn't be "useful" in the way I'd like to be at that time, I was still an okay person. I'm still mulling over that one, but I guess it was an important "life lesson." Or whatever. Bleah.

Anyway, I'm back again (somewhat) and starting to catch up, so I hope to be writing more. I'm sure millions have been waiting with breath a-baited. Stay tuned for what one hopes will be less hostile, if probably equally self-involved, updates.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

International Lovah - part Ni

My global fame grows apace. Or, at least, the opportunity to be an international famewhore. Today I got an invitation to teach a workshop in San Francisco (possibly good - can't beat a tax-deductible trip to the city by the bay) and the following request which was... just strange.

In an email from a producer in LA, I was asked to appear on a show called "Genius! Mr. Shimura's Animal Land" on Nippon TV network. That's right - the foreign, sometimes delightful and sometimes horrifying world of Japanese TV. It seems that Mr. Shimura is a well-known actor/comedian in Japan. His house was robbed while he was away last month, and he would like me to communicate with his golden retriever and miniature dachshund to get information on the suspect and details of the robbery. Not only did the producer want to interview me in the US, but to bring me to Japan and - this is the kicker - air a dramatic re-enactment with an actor playing me. Yeah.

If that's not enough to make one bubble up with nervous laughter, I don't know what is. Not that I don't think the dogs might have some good input on the situation. It's that a) good luck on finding a professional animal communicator of some worth who is willing to get themselves into a situation where they can so easily be made to look like a big ass and b) it just doesn't work that way. Even on the off chance that I could get beyond the dogs' reactions of fear and what they most likely saw of the invader (shoes and legs), it's unlikely I'll get a clear enough facial description to go on. Plus, I don't know about Japanese courts, but the odds are close to none that such evidence in a US investigation would ever be considered. Then again, their culture is very different. Who knows?

Fortunately, I was spared the decision by their desire to find someone who had already solved at least one criminal case this way, which took me out of the running. I sent a nice letter back but, although visions of a possible expenses-paid trip to Tokyo danced in my head, I can't say I was sorry to say no. I'll leave it to some other animal communicator with greater confidence or worse judgment to field this one. I have to say, however, that I'm curious to see the results, if it gets filmed.

Anyone out there ever seen that show?