Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The New PC

Jack spent a good twenty minutes explaining the difference between RAM and hard drive storage space to me. It was an excellent presentation, involving a variety of impromptu visual aides, and eventually, it all made sense.

"Hey, you know what I'm going to do?" I said. "I'm going to go find a little stuffed toy ram and put it on top of my desk, so that I can have more RAM on my desktop."

And then I laughed my ass off. Jack stalked out of the room.

"No, wait!" I yelled, running after him. "I'm going to invent an external hard drive that's shaped like a ram. Oooh, that's good! We need a patent!"

"You're crazy," Jack muttered.

"I'm not crazy!" I shouted.

[Ed. note: the easiest way to convince someone that you are, in fact, a barking lunatic is to shout "I'm not crazy!"]

"No, really," Jack said. "You're nuts."

"No, I'm not," I replied. "I'm... differently sane."

I offered up a winning smile. Jack offered up a blank stare. We called it even.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Quote 'o the Moment - Sucking the Sweat

Just finished watching the venerable James Lipton interview Daniel Radcliffe on Inside the Actors Studio. They discussed Radcliffe's performances in the West End and Broadway revivals of Equus, which got me thinking about my favorite moment of that show.

In this scene, Dr. Martin Dysart confesses that he's secretly jealous of his patient, Alan Strang, a teenage boy who (and this is an extreme oversimplification of the plot, so please forgive me) literally worships horses:

I tell everyone Margaret is the puritan, I'm the pagan. Some pagan. Such wild returns I make to the womb of civilization.

Three weeks a year in the Mediterranean. Beds booked in advance, meals paid with vouchers, cautious jaunts in hired cars, suitcase crammed with Kaopectate. What a fantastic surrender to the primitive.

The ‘primitive.’ I use that word endlessly.

’The primitive world,’ I say, ‘What instinctual truths were lost with it.’

While I sit baiting that poor, unimaginative woman with the word, that freaky boy is trying to conjure the reality. I look at pages of centaurs trampling the soil of Argos. Outside my window, that boy is trying to become one in a Hampshire field.

Every night I watch that woman knitting, a woman I haven't kissed in six years. And he stands for an hour in the dark, sucking the sweat off his god's hairy cheek.

In the morning, I put away my books on the cultural shelf, close up my Kodachrome snaps of Mount Olympus, touch my reproduction statue of Dionysus for luck...

And go off to the hospital to treat him for insanity.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Get Your Kicks

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular is coming to Houston next week. TV commercials have been running pretty much around the clock, featuring the world-famous Rockettes standing in a line and doing high kicks in their various costumes: toy soldiers, candy canes, sugar plum fairies and/or chandeliers, etc.

Now, I've never had the chance to see the Rockettes in person, so I have to ask... do they do anything other than high kicks? Do they act? Sing? Cartwheel? And if they don't do anything else, is the audience supposed to applaud every time they start high-kicking? I mean, I know it's their signature move and all, but doesn't it get kind of redundant after awhile?

I think the show would be edgier if the Rockettes had to high-kick through stuff, like in a martial arts exhibition--cinderblocks, say, or big chunks of ice. Or maybe, they could put two Rockettes on opposite ends of the stage, and they would high-kick menacingly towards each other, and whichever one doesn't take a foot to the face wins. They could keep repeating this until only one Rockette is left standing, who would then be crowned the Alpha Rockette. Or possibly Rockette Prime.

Or (and this would be cool), they could change the theme of the show to "The Lil'est Rockette," which would be about a young, upstart Rockette who doesn't want to high-kick. So the other Rockettes are total bitches to her, but through the magic of Christmas, she teaches them all Capoeira and saves the day.

I would so pay money to see that. The Rockettes have got to start exploring their potential.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Come back soon, my favorite Catwoman

This has been floating around the Internet for ages, but it makes a nice tribute:



We'll miss you, Eartha Mae.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sometimes my voice carries

It was just a joke, people.

Practicing Witchcraft has not strengthened my personal relationship with Jesus.

So stop looking at me like that.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Another Successful Yule

Yay, the Sun came back! Always cause for celebration:



The lyrics, in case you'd like to sing along:

Now is the solstice of the year.
Winter is the glad song that you hear.
Seven maids move in seven time.
Have the lads up ready in a line.

Ring out these bells.
Ring out, ring solstice bells.
Ring solstice bells.

Join together 'neath the mistletoe,
by the holy oak whereon it grows.
Seven druids dance in seven time.
Sing the song the bells call, loudly chiming.

Ring out these bells.
Ring out, ring solstice bells.
Ring solstice bells.

Praise be to the distant sister sun,
joyful as the silver planets run.
Seven maids move in seven time.
Sing the song the bells call, loudly chiming.

Ring out these bells.
Ring out, ring solstice bells.
Ring solstice bells.
Ring on, ring out.
Ring on, ring out.


And the lip-synched TV appearance, for those (like me) who think Ian Anderson was kind of sexy back in the day:



Happy Yule, Strifemongers. And a special thank you to Jethro Tull.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

All queued up and nowhere to go

I dropped into Best Buy this morning, determined to find the one thing Jack wants for Christmas. They were sold out, of course, and wouldn't be receiving another shipment until the year 3027, by which time there will be special helmets that let people play World of Warcraft telepathically, but Best Buy will be sold out of those, too.* So instead, I headed over to the DVD section and picked out a couple of horror movies for myself, because that's what Christmas means to me.

The checkout line stretched across the front of the store but was moving at a brisk pace, retail workers being able to shift into a trance-like speed zone during the holidays. I fell in line behind a little old lady, holding a video game and doing her best to drive the shoppers around her insane.

"Boy, this line sure is long," she said. We all agreed that yes, it certainly was long. "I only came in for one little thing!" she laughed. "They should have an express lane for people like me."

The rest of us nodded, no one having the wherewithal to explain that everybody in line had, at the very most, three items. For all practical purposes, we were already in the express lane.

It took less than five minutes for our little consumer group to reach the checkout counters, which is a veritable eternity when the personification of passive aggression is standing next to you, jabbering on about what a wonderful show of holiday spirit it would be if everyone just got out of the way and let her go first. However, when she realized we was at the front of the line, she turned around and exclaimed, "Look where we are! I should auction off my spot to the highest bidder!"

We all pretended to be engrossed in the rack of CDs next to us, but the collective thought bubble floating over our heads was impossible to miss: "Ma'am, even if you did somehow manage to sell your place, you'd have to return to the end of the line, which would prompt you to start complaining all over again."

Although in retrospect, I'm willing to bet that's exactly what she wanted.

*Jack, this does not mean go find it yourself. I'll figure something out. Keep hope alive.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Technology is not my friend

"Look, Evn! I hooked up a new DVD player for you!"

"Wow! Thank you, Jack!"

[Evn fiddles with the remote.]

"Um, does the little red light mean it's on or off?"

"It's on standby."

"Okay... does that mean it's on or off?"

"There is no on/off anymore. Appliances stay on standby until you're ready to use them!"

"That makes me uncomfortable."

"Just please don't break this one."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I'm only stupid when I'm angry

Several years ago, Jack and I were both employed by a Houston-based GLBT publication: he was a sales executive, and I was a contributing writer. We had remarkably different experiences working for this magazine, mainly because of our respective supervisors. Mine, the editor-in-chief, was a very nice guy who thought I was funny and liked my writing style, whereas Jack's, the business manager, was an evil troglodyte.

Back in 2006, on what amounted to a delusional whim, the business manager fired his entire sales staff (Jack included), which, as a couple, financially crippled us. Not surprisingly, I did not handle this well, and ever since that day, the barest whisper of his name sends me into fits of blind rage. He's become the Full Moon to my inner werewolf.

On the other hand... and I'll never understand this... Jack still hangs out with him. They're friends. They do lunch.

Jack doesn't hold grudges. Resentment, heartache, betrayal, these are things to process and lay to rest. So when the troglodyte called this afternoon to invite us to the magazine's annual Christmas party, Jack happily accepted.

Understandably, I declined the invitation, asking Jack to give my regards to everyone... except him. Jack tentatively agreed, and, noting that I wasn't spitting or smashing things, decided it was probably safe to leave me home by myself. He gave me a quick hug and headed off to the festivities, while I grabbed the phone and called Sarah. She's about as fond of him as I am, so I figured she'd provide a sympathetic ear.

Now, I don't know whether to blame the weather (it's snowing), or that emotion-fueled, psychokinetic thing I do around electronics, but the line broke up every time I tried to explain the situation to her.

"Just e-mail me," she said, before disconnecting for the third time. So I sat down at my computer, only to discover that my Internet was down.

I'm sure it was just the weather.

Left to my thoughts, and free from contact with the outside world, I spent the rest of the evening envisioning elaborate revenge fantasies. Suppose, after downing a few Cape Cods or Mint Juleps or pints of heroin or whatever, he decided to borrow Jack's cell phone, give me a call and attempt to bury the hatchet once and for all:

"I'm so sorry you're not here!" he'd say.

"And I'm so sorry you were born, so I guess we're even," I'd reply.

Yeah, that would have been cool. But then I realized that I could have gone to the party with Jack and said something similar right to his face. A missed opportunity, I thought.

A missed opportunity. The words resonated uncomfortably in my head.

During the time I wrote for this magazine, a vast number of doors opened up for me. I had the chance to interview one of my literary idols; a local radio station brought me in as a guest speaker on two separate occasions, allowing me to promote myself as an up-and-coming spokenword poet; other regional publications, subsidiaries of national companies, liked what I was doing and started asking if I would write for them, too.

And I tossed it all away. Because one sad, spiteful little man made an ignorant decision--a decision which adversely affected my partner, whose happiness means far more to me than my own. With that in mind, I simply could not live with him in my immediate circle of colleagues.

Which is why it hurts on the molecular level when he and Jack do lunch.

My clenched, pent-up anger is a torch lit from a bonfire: Anyone who stands against it can either see the light or get burned. But sometimes, especially on a night like tonight, when Jack's out having fun and I'm alone, wrapped tightly in warm and familiar moral superiority, I wonder what could have happened. I wonder what could have happened if I'd held onto my contacts instead of my righteous indignation. I wonder what could have happened if I'd followed Jack down the professional high road. I wonder what could have happened if I'd not let one irrelevant, ugly individual dictate the course of my career.

Missed opportunities. Fun to ponder when your Internet's out and it's snowing.

Oh, and lest anyone think I'm having some kind of breakthrough, please understand that I still hate him with every fiber of my being, and will continue to do so until there's only one of us left on this planet. But I think, from now on, I'll pull a Hecate and carry two torches. One so that I can always keep an eye on those who belong behind and beneath me; but another to ensure that I keep to my path, and to prevent me from overlooking the opportunities in my future.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Quote o' the Moment - Trout Season

"The water of the sacred well must never be used for household purposes--cooking, washing, or the like. But after the well was cursed by the priest, and the tents were struck, and no pattern was held there any longer, it lost all its sanctity, and was no longer held sacred by the people, who began to fill their pails, and carry the water away from home for cooking and household use; while also they all washed their clothes down at the well, just as if no sanctity had ever been in the water.

"However, one day a woman having put down a pot of water to boil, found that no amount of fire would heat it. Still it remained ice-cold, as if just drawn from the well. So she looked carefully into the pot, and there beheld the Sacred Speckled Trout sailing round and round quite contented and happy. On seeing this, she knew that the curse was lifted from the well, and she ran and told the priest.

"His reverence having seen the Sacred Trout with his own eyes, ordered it to be carried back to the well, the water of which at once regained all its sacred powers by the blessing of the priest; and he gave the people leave thenceforth to hold their pattern there, so as they have behaved themselves like decent, God-fearing Christians for the future. But the water was not allowed to be carried away any more to their houses for household purposes; the desecration of the holy water of a sacred well being strictly forbidden as dangerous and unlucky."

-Lady Wilde
(Oscar's Mom)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I don't even watch the damned show

In the process of posting terribly witty comments on Bo's blog, I casually mentioned Klingon Wicca. And Bo was like, "Please tell me such a thing doesn't exist," and my initial reaction was, Hey, I know something Bo doesn't! Cool! Because he's way more intelligent than I am. Small victories and all that.

But then I started thinking that maybe knowing about Klingon Wicca was not such a big boost to my academic credibility, so I got all, "But I'm not into it! Honest! Ha ha!"

And then, for reasons known only to the Gods, I spent an hour trying to figure out how to say "stuck my foot in my mouth" in Klingon.

Don't judge me.