Sunday, November 30, 2003

Mother crazy. Okay, so my mother is driving me crazy at this very moment. She is reading through some family history material and pointing out errors. Except that the errors are either not errors (she's wrong) or they are the result of the person I gave the information to typing things in incorrectly. I explained to her that it wasn't my book, but she kept calling out, "Here's another mistake." Finally I snap and say rather meanly, "It's not my book, those aren't my mistakes." She gets the hint.

I have never liked criticism. I had enough of it when I was a teenager from my father. In grad school I would get A s on my papers, but could never read the comments the professors wrote on them. At work I have to make corrections to things that I write, but at least I rarely mess up on factual matters, so I'm not really "wrong." Still, my mother pointing out things brings back uneasy feelings and I grit my teeth and get quite angry. I guess your childhood never really goes away.

Saturday, November 29, 2003

Moving time. I'm getting a Christmas tree today and had to move furniture around. My cats hate it when this happens. They all ran and hid. My mother also got a little antsy.

My mother has always been a loner, more interested in reading a book than having a conversation. She likes steadiness, prefers things to remain where they are. As I moved furniture I could tell she was feeling a little anxious, pacing about, looking into the closet as I pulled out the boxes of ornaments. Finally I said to her "You are making me nervous." She went out onto the front porch to read a book while I finished. She does the same thing when I sweep or wash dishes, hovers in the background, not sure if she should be offering to help (no thanks) or tell me that my floors don't need to be swept (they do).

Grandma did similar things, developed similar eccentricities as she aged. Some of them my mother exhibits- I point them out ruthlessly, just as my mother pointed them out to grandma. Not that it does any good or makes any measurable difference. My mother will continue on, and in thirty years my friends will say the same things about me.

Friday, November 28, 2003

Streaming thoughts. At 7:30 I make a pot of 8 o'clock brand coffee for my mother. The tiny coffee maker chugs, chugs, chugs and I sit at the table and have a slice of cheesecake for breakfast while reading the newspaper. Bush visits Iraq. Maudlin adoption story. Ferry accident. Joey hovers nearby, she wants a taste of cheesecake. When I put the bowl on the counter, next to the pile of yesterday dishes, she hops up, eager to lick.

It's cool but not cold now. My head could use a hat at this moment. Last night a photo shocked me, am I really that bald on top? Everyone praised the cheesecake, even the baker, so I was happy. I finished reading through 4,000 footnotes. Mummy is enjoying herself. I had a stomach ache this morning. I need to clean the litter boxes. Lots of little things, little facts, that when they are all added up make a life. There are some facts I wouldn't mind being added. I lay in bed this morning, patting Mama Cat's head, and thought of a few.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Homer Stewart. The lemon cheesecake is in the oven. It smells yummy and looks pretty nice. After lunch I'll be sauteeing (spelling?) onions, parsnips, and carrots and making some fancy-dancy enchiladas.

Lemon cheesecake, still in the springform pan.

Otherwise a quiet morning. Mummy is reading a mystery book, the cats are lounging about. Puff is perched on top of the monitor in front of me. Joey is on her pillow to my left, under the lamp.

A year ago I was a wreck. This year I am not even a minor fender bender. Life has improved and that is another thing I am thankful for.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Old Things. This morning I took my mother to see the site my company is digging, a few miles south of my house. The site is about 1,000 years old and was occupied by the Hohokam, a name given to Native Americans who lived in the Sonoran Desert from about AD 600 to AD 1450. The portion of the site being examined is immediately to the south of several other previously excavated areas and contains a number of pithouses, some food roasting areas, and a large area where trash was discarded.

The Hohokam lived in pithouses, which were dug slightly into the ground, had posts that held up the roof and walls, which were made from brush and mud. An entranceway protrudes from one side of the house, and often the entrances of neighboring houses point toward a common courtyard area. Floors and lower walls were plastered and a hearth is usually present just inside the entrance. Sometimes you find artifacts lying on the floor of houses, items left behind when the house was abandoned or accidently burned down. The houses at the site have yielded broken pottery, stones used to grind corn into meal, pottery making tools, and even a pile of burned beans.

Hohokam pithouse, the entrance is on the right side.

The residents of this site were well known for making beautifully decorated pottery. I've photographed a few examples:

Now I'm at work trying to be productive. Sigh. Not very successful. It is that end of the year when working is about the last thing I feel like doing. Tomorrow Mummy and I are going to Dena's for supper. I'm making a lemon cheesecake and parsnip, carrot, and cheese enchiladas.

Hey to Kelly in DC and John G. in Phoenix. I've been lucky to make some great friends this year, which is the what I give the most thanks for in 2003.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Mum's the Word. My mother arrived safely this afternoon. She's in the living room reading Martha Stewart Living while Dan Rather blathers on the television. I can hear her calling to Joey- "Come on, come get up here." Joey and Puff are the friendliest, so they circle around her, curious. Mama Cat has come and climbed on my lap. Princess and Bear are hiding, they are shy cats.

Both Tucson newspapers had anti-gay marriage editorials written by out-of-state columnists. I sent scathing letters to each, pointing out the idiocy of their arguments, both of which were Biblical in origin. An example written to Peter Bronson:

I felt obliged to comment on your idiotic editorial. People like you need to be demonized. You link gay marriage- an action between two consenting adults- with the suffering of children, divorce, co-habitation, etc. Bullshit. What are conservatives really afraid of? If gays and lesbians have the chance to get married they will have lower divorce rates than heterosexuals? That gays and lesbians will become so boring that conservatives will have to find some other group to hate? There is no rational, non-religious reason to prohibit homosexuals from marrying. There are plenty of irrational reasons, which you have kindly summarized.

I pay thousands of dollars in taxes and don't have the same rights as a heterosexual couple that meets and gets married on some stupid one hour reality television show. If heterosexuals are alarmed at their high divorce rate, don't look at gays and lesbians as the cause. I can assure you that I have not caused a single divorce.

One responded:

Hey, Homer:

You may have a good argument to make, but nobody will get past all the name-calling and insults to find it.

Best wishes,

Peter Bronson

Blah, blah, name calling blah, blah.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Flake. Today's Arizona Daily Star reveals that an Arizona congressman, Jeff Flake, is pushing an anti-gay marriage bill in the US House of Representatives. "As the speaker, I don't like to sponsor a lot of bills, but I feel very strongly about this," said Flake, who serves as House speaker. "We hope to be the first state to get this to Congress."

Flake represents Mesa, a heavily Mormon community. I called his Washington, DC office (202) 225-2635 and spoke to a staff member. I was pretty mad. And I did something I never, ever do. When I hung up I slammed the phone down as hard as I could. I was nicer when I called his Arizona office- (480) 833-0092 and spoke to the woman there.

If even one person who reads this picks up their phone and calls their congressperson and tells them that they do not support anti-gay marriage legislation, that would make my day better.

Later. After my talk at the Art Museum I ran home to grab lunch. A cute girl was raising money for HIV/AIDs on a street corner by having a one-woman bake sale. What a sweet thing. It makes up for some stupidity discussed above.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Cleaning frenzy. Mummy is coming on Tuesday so I spent hours this morning on a big clean. My fingertips actually hurt as I type this. And I am not even finished- still have to clean my bedroom and bathroom and do some yardwork. Not that she will even notice, but I am having a party in two weeks and it is easier to clean now than when she is here. Cleaning makes her "nervous." I think that is because she basically hates housework (except for some strange reason she likes doing laundry).

The cats hate housecleaning time also. The movement of furniture, water splashing about, strange smells like Murphy's Oil Soap, and of course all of the old familiar smells ruined by that damn human. Well, I guess I could care less, since it became pretty obvious that they were the main reason for the mess. Cat hair everywhere. And several unseen puddles of cat vomit with complimentary hair balls. Kitty litter tracked in unlikely spots.

My fingers hurt too much to continue whining...

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Smoke. At Stewart's party several people make passes at me. They are not interesting. Gavin and Kevin are cute together. Stewart knows his food and beverages. I talk with Kent for a while and I think he is very interesting. I also talk with a pair of cute straight and the three women who are after them.

Later at IBTS the crowd flows past me. I run into Eric, who has a beautiful smile, and we hang out with Kent. We watch the the guys from the back, parked next to the fence. Gavin and Kevin are there for awhile, but leave early. They are so cute together. A bride-to-be asks to see my chest. They like it and Eric is asked to show his. We are both 40, but he is a tight, lean 40.

At home I feel lonely. Outside Kitty is meowing, wanting his breakfast. I wonder if he is lonely too?

Gavin at Stewart's party.

Kevin at Stewart's party.

Outside Kitty, backyard.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Later. Cooling down, high winds tomorrow. The streets are crowded with cyclists practicing for the Tour de Tucson tomorrow. Hope they don't have to bike against the wind.

At home. The wildflowers I planted are sprouting. My new mixed CD I made during the waning half hour of work is playing, rotating amid another mixed CD and Linkin Park's latest. At the moment Cher is singing "Taxi, taxi," which is a pretty silly song.

Bear and Puff sit under the light on my desk, Princess is draped over the monitor, absorbing the heat. If I ever get a flat screen they will be pretty pissed. Joey sits on her pillow in front of the little electric floor heater. Mama is off somewhere- I bet the living room. Yep, sitting on the top of the couch.

Too quiet. The phone rang a while ago and as I was saying "Hello?" there was a strange set of sounds and someone cursed. The phone call ended. What the fuck? And in a while the phone rang again. Mark A. had been driving in very slow traffic, decided to call me, and ended up rear-ending the vehicle in front of him. I guess Mark's bumper got pretty thrashed. That was a first.

Need a picture to complete this entry.

Puppy, Humane Society, November 2003. Hope he found a home.

Second attempt.

Went to Woody's and ran into Derek. It was nice to see him and we chatted for an hour.

Then to Michaels where I bought craft supplies for my upcoming party.

Slept poorly but at least I didn't have insomnia, which has been bothering me.

Read the newspaper- depressing. Do you feel safer knowing that Bush and his cohorts are running the show?

Cats need to have their claws trimmed before Mummy arrives on Tuesday. Christ, that is going to be too much fun. They cry and fuss and act like I am killing them. As I type this, Bear just fell off the window sill and spooked everybody. They all ran for cover. Made me laugh. My cats are a pain in the ass but they are also lovely little brats.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Listening. I love the Moulin Rouge soundtrack. Love, love, love it. It makes me happy to listen to it. A mixture of all sorts of sounds and Nicole and Ewan are pretty fine singers. It makes time fly as I write about Tucson's history. It is the closest to me being a soundtrack/musical queer as I have ever been.

Other music in heavy Homer rotation- Madonna's American Life, Live's Birds of Prey and Throwing Copper, Dirty Vegas' Dirty Vegas, and Linkin Park's Meteora. I actually like Michael's Thriller album, but don't own a copy. I wonder if he has ever done a children's album? Suggestions for a future title for such an album?

Child Catcher. Michael, Michael, Michael. Now what kind of parent would send Billy or Susie off to Neverland for sleepovers with Michael. Perhaps those with dreams of future lawsuits swirling around their little heads?

Childcatcher, from the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 1968.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Happy Anniversary. Today would be my parent's 51st anniversary. I wonder if my father would understand how I feel about him. He has been dead for seven years. And although this may sound cruel, I’m basically glad he is not around. Partly that is because he was very sick for the last five years of his life, a partial cripple, overly dependent and controlling of my mother. But it is also because he was not a nice person to his family.

Everyone on the outside thought my father was the greatest guy. Always ready to pitch in and help when help was needed. Generous, a great guy. Funny and entertaining. A wonderful guy. Within his family he was a different person. Irresponsible, a teaser, when angry an accuser. Verbally abusive. Belittling. I don’t know how many times I was told as a teenager that I didn’t do any work on the farm- when my brother and I were doing most of the work because my father was sick from diabetes. And occasionally there were the darker moments.

In the fall of 1973 we moved from Traverse City to a farm near Buckley. My father was trying to finally escape from his curse, his evil mother. If there was a hell that bitch would be writhing in flames at this moment. Inside the old farmhouse my father was upset about something- I never knew what it was. We were moving the big dining room table which would seat 14 at Thanksgiving. And suddenly my father started yelling at me. I was chased into the back room and pushed down onto the concrete floor between the wringer washing machine and the boot rack. I remember lying there trying to shield my legs and butt as he hit me. One of my sisters says it was with a piece of two-by-four. I don’t know, all I do remember is wondering “What did I do?” My mother also doesn’t remember- she was good at blanking those sort of things out.

As far as I know that was the only time he beat me. The rest of the time it was verbal. “You are no good,” “You’ll never amount to anything.” That sort of crap. It continued until I was seventeen and finally fought back, refusing to speak to him until he apologized. Goddamit, it makes me physically sick to think of his tormenting teasing. Or the little cruelties- the admission that he burned my security blanket when I was three, the times he let my blind cat outside knowing that she would eventually get run over by a car or tractor. The attempts to get me to force me to drop out of college because he hated education so much. The time I called to tell them I had passed my MA exam and he said, ‘Well now you can come home and work at the pie factory.”

My father was not self-aware. In his mind he was perfect and unfailing. It was a flaw that had cursed his half-brother, their mother, and her mother also, but has luckily been broken. My brother and sisters have escaped, and I think my cousins as well. We all know very well that the nuclear family of our father, his sister, and his half-brother was no tv sitcom family. Instead it was fatally flawed, warped by a grandmother who viewed herself as perfect in every way. Nobody is perfect.

And I sometimes wonder about my father. Today would have been his 51st wedding anniversary- not that he ever remembered that day or was any nicer to my mother when reminded. I wonder if he ever regretted the things he did or wished he had made better choices in his life. After his stroke I suspect there was some dwelling on the past, but by then it was too late.

And so I’m glad he is gone. It makes my life easier. My siblings feel the same. It is very sad. I wish I had had a nicer father, someone I could have respected. But wishes are usually pretty pieces of fluff that just blow away.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Fudge. At work. Annoyed. Just found out that I used 20 too many vacation hours this year. Very annoyed. So I have to "pay" it fudging back. Where did all of this fudging vacation go? Because I work for a small company I get 15 fudging vacation days a year after working here for 11 years. Sigh. If I worked for a big, cushy company or the fudging government I would probably have a lot more. I need some chocolate right about now. Now! Dammit!

Getting cooler. I'm tempted to lie in bed with the electric blanket on, Mama Cat next to me purring with pleasure. She loves the electric blanket, for her its like an enormous cat to snuggle up next to. Instead I got up and sat in front of the computer to work on my book. I'm in the process of reading through the 4,000+ footnotes, standardizing formatting issues. Tedious. Joey sits on one end of the desk as far as possible from her arch-nemisis Princess, who ignores her as she squats underneath a lamp, soaking up 60 watts of heat. All of us have thin blood, have grown used to the hot summers. When it cools off a little we panic and search for warmth to replace the sun, which rises a little later and sets a little sooner each day.

A quick hello to Patch and Eric and Mighty. And to Richard, who overcame adversity and sang at karaoke. That was brave.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Holidays. The end-of-the-year holidays are sneaking up on me. My mummy is coming from Michigan a week from tomorrow- spending two weeks with me. She is easy to get along with and entertain. Not sure what we will be doing for Thanksgiving. I've got to ask around and see if there are any orphans needing a place to go to. I never cared much for Thanksgiving- the dead-turkey-consumption aspects of it do little for a vegetarian of almost 21 years. I do love mashed potatoes and pie. Lovely pumpkin pie with lots of whipped cream.

My annual Cookie Decorating and Craft party is on December 7th. This will be the fourth year. A little stressful making dozens (one year 20 dozen) rolled and cut cookies, but everyone has an excellent time. Last year I put up my Xmas tree in the bedroom and left the lights on at night. I don't see well without my glasses, so the lights were all nice and blurry and or-so-pretty. It was a really bad time for me. I was awful lonely and depressed, and the little lights made me feel a small bit better.

Christmas follows. My family always went overboard getting presents. It is a little more relaxed nowadays, with my father gone and my brother a member of the Amish church, who don't celebrate holidays. People tell me I am difficult to buy for. And no one asks me what I want or need. Last year my favorite present was a set of 1950s-style dish towels with bold fruit prints. Now how pathetic is that- dish towels were my FAVORITE present??? Maybe it was because everyone else gave me cat presents. I hope those damn cats don't get anything this year.

A few things Santa could bring me:

A vintage 1950s tablecloth with a bright fruit pattern.
A complete set of the Borrower's books by Mary Norton.
An elephant or a giraffe cookie cutter.
A double boiler.
"Plether" shoes, size 10.5 or 11.
Boonton divided serving bowls or serving trays.
Texas ware mixing bowls.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Sunday afternoon actions. Just back from going on the art tour with Jeffrey S. Joey is sitting on my lap, reaching out with her paw to alert me that she needs a little petting as I load photos and work on them. We went to about a dozen studios. Unfortunately the St. Theresa tile works was closed- I really wanted to see that place. But the other studios were filled with wonderful (and some awful) pieces of art. A sample of the some of the sights below.

Kathleen's poppie wreath mounted on an old bedstead.

Mexican menu.

Shed wall made from old bottles.

Janet's north African tour drawing.

Beginning of a portrait.

Feeling a little artistic myself, I played briefly with a floral picture, distorting it with Adobe Photoshop. I think it came out interesting.

Flowers on crack.

In a few minutes it will be time to explore the wonders of carrot fritters and bearnaise sauce for tonight's monthly dinner party. Having never made either, not sure if the results will be edible. Joey doesn't really care, she just wants more pets

Sunday morning goals.

I will not look at advertisements for new computers.

I will find an interesting carrot recipe.

I will balance my checkbook.

I will not be happy with the resulting number.

I will fantasize about winning the lottery.

I will not win said lottery, since I hardly ever buy tickets.

I will look with amazement at the new foods in the coupon section of the paper: "Mini-Pancakes with Dippin' Cups," "SnackWiches," "Fruit2O," and "CarbSmart ice cream and fudge bars."

I will refrain from purchasing any of these.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Art walk. My friend Gloria is having an open house at her studio, which is two blocks north of me. I could have driven, if I was really lazy, because driving is what people in Arizona do best. Instead I walked up Palomas, waited at Congress until the crazy traffic had cleared, and then continued on Palomas to Alameda. On the way there I noticed little things. One neighbor has a grapefruit tree heavy with fruit. I live in a Mexican neighborhood so several houses have small shrines with Madonnas and saints, tall cylindrical votive candles.

Gloria and her hand x-ray prints.

Gloria's studio is in her backyard in a corrugated metal and glass window shed. She had experimented with a variety of art forms since retiring as an English teacher. Right now she is working on engraving copper plates, brushing ink across them, wiping the excess ink off, and then pressing the plates onto paper to transfer the image.

Thistle print.

She showed me some great prints stashed away- and until recently I didn't know she was an artist.

On the way home I walked down the west side of Palomas. I paused at Congress, again as the traffic whizzed by, and shot this image of Sentinel Peak (often called "A" Mountain due to a large, ugly A placed on it by the University in 1913). I've played with the image a little, unfortunately the digicam I have takes dark pictures, so I'm constantly having to play with them.

Skyscape, November 2003.

All of my neighbors on my side of the block have dogs and they all barked at me on the way home. A brown long-haired retriever, a brown pitbull, a tiny chihuahua, a bassett hound, a white and brown pitbull. Actually, the dogs at the house directly north of me didn't bother barking. I've bribed them with doggie biscuits enough so they actually like me.

I like my neighborhood. Sure there are the occasional gunshots. And sometimes I am exasperated by the amount of trash that blows into my yard. But I have a cute house and a plain, small front yard. This morning I found a prehistoric pottery sherd washed out by the recent rain. The poppie seeds I planted have sprouted. My orange tree has lots of orange. It just feels nice to know I have this place to come home to.

Food for thought. Last night Stewart and I went to India Oven. Lovely Saag Paneer, naan bread, samosas, an okra dish- total pig out.

I like to eat. I ought to be really obese instead of about five pounds over my target weight. I suppose it is because I grew up in the Midwest where the food was so bland. There was this mysterious stuff that some people put in their food, "spices," that supposedly made things taste better. But we didn't practice that religion. And boiling was THE preferred cooking technique. My mother, blessed-thou-art, is a horrible cook. The WORST meal she would make, a favorite of my father, was "Goulash." Oh-mi-god. Macaroni noodles, stewed tomatoes, and crumbled hamburger. Mixed together. Soggy. Vile. Inedible. Just thinking about it makes me cringe.

And so when I grew up and came home to visit I took over the cooking while I was there. One time I made this bizarre stuff, "garlic bread," and my father said, 'Why do you have to put that on the bread?" He also liked to say, "This would taste okay if it only had some meat in it." Well his favorite diet- fried eggs, bologna, and other assorted meats- ended up giving him a stroke at age 60 and a fatal heart attack at 65, so maybe he should have said, "This would kill me a little faster if it only had some meat in it."

So I ended up liking anti-Midwest foods- real Italian, Greek, Ethiopian, Mexican, Guatamalan, Middle Eastern, etc. And once in a great while I return to my past by boiling up some potatoes and having a grilled cheese.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Comments please. Thanks to BlogSpeak I now have a comment function in place. Who will be the first to respond??? Answer: Mighty Maloney. Not sure what he wins.

Testing, testing. Big scare for me, for a little while. I was attempting to add a comment section to the blog and after I saved- zip, zero, nada. Everything was gone. I suddenly realized how attached to this silly mess of writing and photos I have become. Luckily I was able to run home, retrieve the needed html code and everything is better. Still working on a comment section.

Funny dream. I am at Shane's house and he has a number of small dogs, all dressed in silly outfits.

Dreams are strange. I already have a pretty acute imagination. Sometimes when I can't sleep at night I make up stories in my head. But my dreams are often so much wilder than any story I have dreamt up. If only we could record dreams and play them back later in the day, I think that would give us a lot of insight on our inner psychological makeup.

And on page two- still foggy this morning. Poor Curtis has photographers from Travel and Leisure chomping to go out and photo Tucson. I hope the fog burns off and they can get some clear skies before they leave on Sunday.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

A few little things.

I am feeling very burnt out at work.

I planted wildflower seeds in my front yard. In March I will probably be very happy.

My car needs cleaning baaaaad.

Me on the way home from "work" today:

Joey likes sitting on my lap when I am at the computer.

Tonight is my one hour of television. I cheated though, and watched Angel last night and the Antiques Road Show on Sunday.

I like this photo:

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

It was a dark and rainy night. Well, late afternoon. I came home to a huge pile of dishes, courtesy of the sliced thumb, and then discovered one of the cats had puked on the desk. Luckily none of the important papers were vomited upon. Very irritating. Why is it that cats insist on puking on fabric or paper? Never in the bathtub or sink, which are much easier to clean.

Oh, and it is raining outside. A steady shower, starts for a while, slows, stops. Restarts. And so on. Since I had the house and guesthouse reroofed in June I don't mind the rain. Before it was awful, I felt like some po' white trash ho' as the water came through my bedroom ceiling and plop-plop-plopped into a pot. And the cats thought that was the most exciting thing since canned cat food.

Going over to hang out with Gavin in a while. Taking some jalapeno cheddar cornbread that is cookin' up in the stove.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Veteran's Day. King George II, that miserable piece of shit, plays the part of the saddened president, mourning the deaths of men and women, the soldiers he sent out for his own nefarious reasons. The war in Iraq grows increasingly dangerous as the people who were supposed to cheer our arrival are instead angry at their loss-of-face and the presence of non-muslim invaders. How do we speed our withdrawal? How about sending over the relatives of the neo-cons. I bet it would take only a few weeks for us to clear out if Mrs. Bush and the bimbettes, Mrs. Cheney and her two daughters, and various other Republicans were esconced in some slightly unsafe Baghdad hotel, awaiting the next mortar.

I can't think of a single decision made by President Bonehead and his legion of dorkwads that I agree with. I mean, he's anti-environment, anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-everything that makes our country great. And supposedly he is going to spend $200 million in an attempt to get re-elected. Ohmigod. Just put me out of misery.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Baby Joey. Patti developed some old rolls of film and found this cute-as-hell picture of Joey back in May 2000, long before she developed her annoying mental problems. She was one good looking cat back then. Always the adventurer, she was the first out of her nest, the first to eat solid food, the first to climb up the blankets onto the bed. And now the first to have a severe urination problem that sometimes ruins my day. How can such evil come from such a sweet, innocent face?

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Dangers in the Night. Pow, [pause], pow, pow! I wake minutes ago to a trio of gunshots somewhere nearby. I listen, trying to judge the direction and nearness, but because of the mountains I can't tell. I get up and peer out the window. It is a full moon and almost bright as day. A few moments later, as I type this, the drone of the police copter, which will shine its light down on the neighborhood in a futile attempt to find the person. A dog barks, my cats dart about, Michele's screendoor slams- she was slipping the rent check under my door at the exact moment and ran back to her house, probably frightened badly.

There have been a lot of gunshots lately. Most are the result of a paroled man who lives two blocks to the north of me. Three drive bys in the last two months, scores meant to be settled. Too bad he slapped that woman. I hope no one else gets hurt. I hope my heart stops pounding and I can go back to sleep.

I've been doing family history for over 20 years, pushed into the hobby after reading Alex Haley's Roots. At that time I was a teenager and my grandmother provided me with information. Later I learned to write away for copies of documents. Lately I have been able to sit at home and look at census records, newspapers, and other documents online. Or go to the local LDS Family History Library and order microfilm from around the world.

Two reasons for this interest. One is the process, the detective skills, the problem solving. How do I prove so-and-so is related to the so's-and-so's? The second is the urge to reconstruct the lives of forgotten people, to piece together random fragments and make a life reappear. As an example, when I started the lives of Ebenezer and Harriet, a pair of my great-great-great grandparents, had been reduced to a small handful of stories- he was a Civil War soldier, she had slept for a week on the grave of her youngest son after he had died in an accident. Through my research I have found the tragic letter Ebenezer wrote about this son's death, "He was the light of my life." Harriet's improbable story proved to be true, as told by another relative in an audiotape from the early 1970s. Some of the uncovered truths do not show the couple in the best light. But then nobody is perfect, something I well understand.

In other news, cut my thumb badly while slicing an onion. So couldn't do much today- no dishes or chores. It doesn't hurt much but looks pretty gross.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

I'm not a fan of fundamentalist religions. I believe they cause as much misery as they may bring in comfort. Two incidents today brought this to mind. First a letter to the Tucson Citizen in which the writers again provided Biblical quotes to support their anti-gay marriage viewpoints(specifically, Leviticus 18:22). I'm sorry, if this is your method of denying other people civil rights, then you should follow all rules laid out in the Bible, no exceptions permitted. Some examples:

1). No pork, ever (Leviticus 11:7).
2). No shrimp, oysters, scallops, crabs or other non-finned seafood, ever (Leviticus 11:12).
3). After giving birth and following the days of purification, a woman must bring a lamb for a burnt offering and a pigeon or turledove for a sin offering to her priest (Leviticus 12:7).
4). People who break a commandment must bring an unblemished bullock to the church to be killed and the blood from the bullock must be sprinkled by the priest in the tabernacle (Leviticus 4:3-7).
5). Disabled or deformed people must not be allowed in a church (Leviticus 18:17-23).

And so on. The list includes lots of other rules, most of which are conveniently forgotten by the people who drag out the homosexual abomination business.

Secondly, as I was driving to Circuit City to purchase a new keyboard, I passed a cheerful group holding up signs "Bring God back to the Classroom!" I rolled my window down and yelled "No way!" One of my concerns is "Which God?" What if Tucson High brought the born-again Christian god back, while Amphitheater High School brought back Buddha? Can you imagine the hijinks that would ensue. The cheerleaders from Tucson High would shout, "2, 4, 6, 8, the Christian God is Great!" while Brophy Catholic High would cheer "Who do love the most, the Jesus, Madonna, and the Holy Ghost!" You can see the problem. And one of the schools, probably one of the charters, would have to be devoted to Satan worship.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Perfect evening. Drinks at the Arizona Inn with Panchesco. Ok, so the drinks were not that great. My gin and tonics were watered down pretty thoroughly. Richard's martinis did not meet the mid-level standards of Tucson. But the conversation was what counted and we chatted and chatted about our lives. I learned a little more about him, he learned some about me. It was simply nice.

Panchesco, Arizona Inn, November 203.

Afterwards stopped off at Bookman's. Tortilla and tamale lady was at the door. I've never bought any from her, but for some reason I stopped to say hello and she offered me green corn tamales and I bought six for $4.00. Inside the store I found a book to give to the Historical Society and one for the local genealogy library. Chatted briefly via cell-phonage with Gavin. Arrived safely at home and the green corn tamales proved to be melt in your mouth good. Oh my, what a perfect evening.

26 Things. I'm working on my photos for the 26 Things photograph scavenger hunt. So I've been to a couple of odd places- the Humane Society and Holy Hope Cemetery. The Humane Society had a lot of adult cats and even more dogs. The puppies all seemed to be chow mixes- cute little puppies, but too big as adults. It was rather heart-breaking to not be able to save any of them.

Also heart-breaking was the section of Holy Hope devoted to small children. For the Day of the Dead many families have elaborately decorated graves with flowers, small figurines, toys, candies, jugs of water, and cards. What was remarkable was the sheer number of children- how are they dying? And speaking of which, my keyboard on my home computer is dying- I'm going to have to replace it this weekend.

Child's grave, Holy Hope, 7 November 2003.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Spam, spam, spam.... Even though we have a really good spam filter at work, we have still been getting a lot of irritating penis enlargement, porn, and African get-rich-quick spam mails lately. This morning I had this linguistically-challenged example:

Internet's most erotic teen are waiting for you here.
Real teen girls sent tons of their from the rest of the world.
We Love young asses, busty teen, and especially free nude teen picture
You thought that yours neighbors teen daughter is a teen angel?
They all love to take off their teen tops and become so horny, like a whores, when need not for a teen fist before
And it's cool to have teen sex picture, at site, who updates it everyweek, don't you agree?
All those cute teens, blonde teens, showing their teen sexuality, as if they are in amateur teen kingdom

What the ????? I am so glad I'm gay.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

My dinner with Reggie. Reggie is in town from Orange County so of course we had to go out and eat somewhere. I decided the Grill would be appropriate. It is a funky diner downtown. Peeling unicorn mural and slightly eccentric staff. I had Spinach ravioli in herbed sauce. Yummy! Reggie enjoyed a tuna melt sandwich. We chatted, discussed our mutual dislike of all things Bush-like, and generally had a relaxing, though fattening, meal.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Panchesco's imaginatory. Richard has the most exciting imagination of anyone I have met. When the spirit moves him and he publishes his prose I squirm in my seat. My heart beats a little faster. It is better than drugs. Today's offering was stunning. How does he do that?

Read Richard's story . It made me want to write a response. Perhaps I captured a small bit of his creativity, I don't really know.

At the observation window, I watch as the patient squirms, shrieks, thrusts his hands over his eyes to ward off the imagined venom. I turn to Dr. Vidal and watch her reaction.

“Fascinating,” she murmurs, “Does he always do this in the morning?”

‘Yes, from about eight to eight fifteen, then he abruptly stops, sobs for a few minutes with his hands held close to his eyes. Then, in a short while, he pretends to be drawing. That occupies several hours.”

"And this happens every day?”

“Yes, it has been continuous for three months.”

“Fascinating.” Vidal cocks her head to one side. The patient has begun to “draw,” one
hand balancing a “tablet,” the other a “stylus.” “How closely are you recording the movement of his hand?”

“We are not particularly focused on that. It’s just part of his overall hallucination.” She
frowns and tilts her head forward, the scarf covering her hairless scalp rubbing against the one-way glass.

“Technician?” she calls out. From behind us a white-clad psychology graduate student
appears, eager to be of use. “Focus the camera on the patient’s right hand. I want a computer analysis of the movement in real time. Let’s see what he is drawing.”

A few long, dull minutes pass as the technician feeds instructions into the mainframe. The first attempt fails, the computer following a spot to high. The third attempt meets with success, and on a white, blank computer screen lines begin to form. The image is unintelligible, a result of our catching him halfway through the process. The next drawing is fearful in its intensity, its horror, a blindingly evil scene. I gasp.

The sketch, the masterpiece- a dozen contorted worms writhing in ecstasy, holding tubular instruments from which delicately veined leaves cascaded. In the background loomed tall, jagged-toothed mountains. A bridge-like structure, from which a dozen chrysalises hang in pairs, is visible on the left. On the right is a nightmarish scrawl, the text of the patient’s hallucination. The following drawing is no better, in fact I would rank it as fouler if it was possible to quantify such a thing.

“Amazing,” Vidal says. She glances at me, amused at how pale I’ve grown. “So how is he doing that?” she asked.

"Doing what?” I feel like retching as the new drawing materializes, a chrysalis blooming
with a creature that was all openings and closings.

“He has no paper, no pen, and yet the movements of his hands and the corresponding
image that is created is perfect. Those sketches are so detailed, so intricate.” She motions toward a portion of the screen. ‘Notice how he returns to shade some portions long after he worked in that area. It’s impossible.”

“It is impossible.” I say. A deep-seated fear gnawed at me, something that had always
troubled me from the moment I met the patient.

“Or, it is not impossible, it is entirely plausible.” She looked back at the patient, who was
beginning another drawing, this one a landscape of arched rock formations upon which tall, cylindrical hives formed. The picture was brief, the written section dominating much of the space, a description of a scene found on some other world. “He’s here, and yet he thinks he is there. I’ve seen it before. Mental transportation, mental kidnapping. Handless entities- how they covet our fingers.”

“You think it is real? He’s not crazy?”

“Oh, he’s crazy all right. That’s how they get in to a mind. Sometimes you can save them, if you get into their heads in time and sever the switch. But this one has gone on to long. And now he’s ruined. A few more months of this, the cerebellum turns to mush, the eyes degrade, the voice is lost. He’ll be an interesting autopsy.” Her scarf slid back, revealing a long, sinuous scar, faint crosshatching from expertly arranged stitches.

“Any other interesting cases?”

Election Day. I voted early to avoid the crowds. Wait, this is the United States where most people don't vote. As a result, special interest groups, like "Born Again Rectal-Openings" have gained much more power than their numbers deserve.

Here in Tucson the election is for mayor, three city councilpersons, two transportation initiatives, and an initiative to raise the salaries of the mayor and council. I voted yes on the last three- you get what you pay for, so the more money you pay politicians the more likely you will have someone with brains instead of the idiots who can afford to run because of family money or because they are retired.

Tom Volgy is the Democratic candidate for mayor. I had a meet and greet party for him at my house in May. He got my votes. As did the Democratic candidates for City Council. The Republican mayoral candidate is not a bad guy, but hasn't really done a whole lot. He's great at shaking hands.

The Republicans have also done some underhanded campaigning, getting around funding limits by having "independent" committees. One of the big backers of these committees is the biggest closet case car dealer in town. He funnels a great deal of money to Republican causes, while maintaining a heterosexual appearance. And a second house with his boyfriend. I don't get rich closet case Republicans. Tucson apparently has a whole bunch of them. Do they have themselves so much that they want to drag the rest of us down????

Go vote, it is almost as much fun as having a drink at IBTs during karoake.

Monday, November 03, 2003

Buffy dream. Woke up with my heart pounding. Another Buffy dream. I was inside a house surrounded by vampires. My task- distract them with Xander while Buffy did something else. So Xander opens the door and we take turns staking vamps. The stake slides in rather easily, but sometimes you miss the heart and have to wiggle it to nick it. And then the vampires dissolve and the weight of their body lists off of the stake. Trippy. And the dream ends after I escape through a tunnel and we blow the house up loaded with vampires.

This year no Buffy and the two episodes of Angel that I have were dull. The new time is also inconvenient, so I will most likely be skipping that show unless I really have nothing better to do. And one goal of having a blog is to find better things, so maybe the plan of one hour of television a week will be followed through.

Hummus for dinner. I've got major garlic breath hours later.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Saguaro. Stewart came over around 3:30 and we drove over is his red Bronco to Saguaro Park West, which is located about 5 miles from my front door.

Saguaro forest.

We did a relatively short hike up a steep, switchback trail. At the top were a bunch of huge boulders casually stacked on top of each other. Stewart and I sat and talked. He had brought a thermos of hot tea, and we sipped tea from classy white porcelain cups.

Stewart, November 2003.

As we left it was getting dark, it is only early November and yet by 6:00 you need to use your headlights. It is still warm enough to wear shorts. That is one of the nice things about Arizona.

Sunset, Saguaro Park.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Day of the Dead. In Mexico people generally go to cemeteries to clean and decorate graves, light candles, leave favorite foods and beverages, and have a picnic. Here in Tucson, Mexican families go out to Holy Hope Cemetery and do this. Many other people gather downtown for am elaborate and unusual procession through town.

Gavin and Kent held a party, with Kent erecting an altar and serving Mexican pastries, horchata, grapes, and chips and dip. I arrived at 3:30 and hung out with Kevin for a while as he melted chocolate and poured it into small skull molds.

Kevin and the chocolate skulls.

Shane arrived and headed to the bathroom to apply scary makeup. Curtis, Eric, Ian, Vince, and Brian were also there.

Shane as a demon.

I wandered over to the parade with Kyle, Jim, and Stewart. Now Stewart is someone I haven't met before. A smart, witty, charming, sexy man. He is interested in Islamic landscapes and architecture.


The parade was cool, some of the costumes were stunning as were some of the contraptions people had invented. A group of people mocking the Bush administration were very amusing. There was a stage set up at the end of the route where people did various things with torches and baskets of fire.

The Day of the Dead parade passes by.

Afterwards Stewart and I went and had Chinese food and spent some time talking. We wandered back to Kent's place and took up a lot of space on his couch. Stewart's getting a call from me today (it's after midnight at the moment).

Well Hungover. I ought to be sick, sick, sick after consuming a six pack of beer at Ray's party. And a slight headache and queasiness pervades my body. The liberal application of aspirin and a lot of water have apparently prevented post-bachanal syndrome.

Ray's party was fun, fun, fun. After handing out all of my candy in record time I hopped in the car and drove over to Jeffrey S's. We put on our costumes, Tuarag villager and Wog the Homo erectus, and went over to collect Jeffrey T., biker stud. Up to the foothills to Ray's elaborately decorated house. I don't know where he stores all of the Halloween stuff. A fair crowd with quite a few friends: Matt (cowboy), John P. (airman), Mark (himself), Rich (cake sniffer), Mark A. (Monty Python-esque lumberjack), Mike (himself) and so on. As the evening progressed I drank some beers, met some cute guys, kissed a sailor and a fireman, gave my number to a couple of people. My loincloth was slowly sliding down, but luckily I did not over-expose myself. Those people who commented all said I looked good. TJ drove me home and now six hours later I am a little tired and as I type this feeling just a tad nauseous.

Outside Cat is meowing "Where's breakfast?" so I need to start the day. My indoor cats had a vomit-a-thon last night while I was out and I've got to do some scrubbing to make the place look less like a horror house. I'll post some pics when they are sent to me.


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