Apr 30, 2008

Two Points Of Interest

First being, Blogger seems to have erased the last set of comments I made on here. If you've read for more than a week you know I'm a big comment maker. I like to set up at least a short interaction with the folks who are willing to comment, but Blogger had something else in mind. So, I've re-commented on the past few posts, back to the last Poetry Friday Challenge. Grrrr. Dang ole Google.

Secondly.

Remember in grade school when you were learning all those strange tricks of carrying decimal places and multiplying quarts to yards and trying to figure out how soon that train would arrive in Chicago after leaving New York? Remember how our teachers drilled in our heads that we'd better learn this toot-sweet because we'd for certain be using it in our adult lives?

Remember getting out of high school or college or Vo-Tech and suddenly realising... sweet gold plated Jeebux, they lied! I'll never need to factor a series of unrelated fractions down, never need to remember how to calculate the area of an isoceles triangle and I'd certainly never care to plot points on a giraffe* ever again.

Well, we were all wrong.

You see, I had my by-gum last ass-chewing today. The last. I complain to the chain of command about the marked double and triple standard and I get my ass chewed for not being a team player. Fuck that. I'm not going to sit in my semi-comfortable Hon office chair and keep my mouth shut while the boss's golden child talks for an hour on her cellular about her child who has MRSA to everyone within earshot of her over-loud voice. I'm not going to bust my ass 8 or more hours a day all week only to keep falling behind because the golden child doesn't do anything but the schedule and has ample time to drive around on the clock doing errands for everyone and then waltz out early to go and have her 300+ pound frame greased up and shoved into a tanning booth because HER JOB IS DONE. I know full well that nothing, NOTHING I say or do will change matters in that office, so I'm doing the only thing left to me.

I'm leaving.

I skipped out early today on a flimsy excuse to go to the local Job Placement Service with a Goal In Mind. The local power generating station is building a new plant beside the old one, a plant that is going to burn for fuel the waste material of coal-fired plants. They've built this massive fortress of a plant and now they're starting to staff it, and I am going to be one of those staff members. They're paying new-hire Utility Workers (read: janitors) what I'm being paid right now after three years of toil, and I promise you that with two college degrees and my motivation (equivalent to the output of an Amish man building his marriage bed) I won't stay a lowly Technician Class 1 for long.

No, kids, it's time for Irrelephant to get the flock outta Dodge and go elsewhere.

The thing being, I have to take a math aptitude test at the Job Service place Friday morning before they'll even begin to suggest me to the power plant folks, even though the counselor said it'd be no problem to get me hired. Basic stuff--addition, subtraction, fractions, percentages, angles, multiplying and dividing fractional integers, algebra, calculus, stellar cartography, a dash of particle physics, a smattering of gravitational mechanics and figuring transit timetables for AmTrak. In Esperanto.

Holy shite! I don't remember all that! I scoffed when I was told I'd need it later! I swore I'd never go anywhere without a calculator! Why does anyone in their right mind need to know the degree of a vector? Why would I want to factor complex equations, all I want to do is watch some dials, perhaps do a little sweeping up!

Ye gods, I'VE FORGOTTEN ALL THAT GUFF!

___________________
* Plotting positive coordinates on the y axis of a giraffe was always the tricky bit for me.

Apr 28, 2008

Sometimes I Sits And Thinks,

and sometimes I just sits.



Sometimes I feel like I've lain too long in the forest.

Sometimes the ribbon of echo that unfurls from my core threatens to eradicate me.

Sometimes the tenebrous beauty of a flower makes me faint.

Sometimes I wish for the skin of an elephant, so that I might furl it about my shoulders and charge blindly through the world, staining the cobbles with my soles.

Sometimes I wish for the skin of the air, so that I might pass from this place and be untouched by it.

Sometimes the noise is too much, and I wish I could drive thoughts from my skull like a little boy startling geese on a lake with a single bright shout.

Sometimes the pressure from outside matches the pressure from within, and I inhale...thus.

Sometimes I feel the ponderous weight of my own self-absorbed importance like a mountain carefully balanced upon a bird.

Sometimes I ache for release, like a balloon whose string has slipped from a raven's beak.

Sometimes I feel I have rocked back in my chair until the precise moment that I am about to fall, and that if only I could be distracted for an eyeblink I could swiftly look over my shoulder and see them carefully building the next moment, and the next, and the next, stacking them before me like a deck of playing cards.

How it inflames me. How I wish I could scatter those cards like wheat before a scythe, and in doing so release myself from this prison of blood and gristle and carefully placed footsteps.


Breton was a fool.

Apr 27, 2008

When BRT Shows Attack

The All Bar Joke Extravaganza Episode. Wow. "The all Train Wreck Episode, more like! My regulars disappeared on me, meno called in to help save my ragged soul and gave up. I got crucified on my own bar, and then an unwarranted attack from another BRT show! A miserable memorable one hour, that's for sure.

While I go smoke a cigar and try to settle my jangle nerves you can watch this.





At least IT'S short. *G*

Only Five Hours To GO!

The Super-Giganto Bar Joke episode is coming up this evening at 6pm CST! Be sure and join us with your best bar joke!

Apr 24, 2008

Poetry Friday: Crotch Rocket

Like I said, sometimes Mona smiles down at me from whatever place it is she lives and she tosses me a bone. Not one of those skinny, anemic bones but a bone with a lot of meat still clinging to it, a bone thick with marrow and lots to chew on.

Crotch Rocket.

Motorcycles are funny things. Not funny "haha" but funny "emotional triggers." Motorcycles are the very epitome of The Endless Waltz.

The Endless Waltz is the way I've always thought about riding. When you ride it's like being a tiny fast mammal in a world of huge, slow, stupid dinosaurs. You move and you weave and you dart in and out in these elegant curves and parabolas, the engine whining high notes and the vacuous stares of the cage-bound passing in your peripheral vision.

There's even different sorts of mammals out there.

There's standards, which are few and far between anymore, and are mostly the 70's and earlier bikes. They're basically flat from stem to stern, and riding one is rather like riding a sawhorse only without all the strange looks. You sit on top of a standard, and put your feet wherever is handy. You're more or less an extra, hanging about for the scenery.

There's cruisers, on which you sit IN. Most cruisers are built around a Vee shape, with the seat at the low point. Handlebars are high and wide, the tank is way up in front and tilted sharply, and if you're on a chopper then the rear tire is bigger than the ones that came stock on a 1978 Trans Am. Pipes, loud. Chrome, bright. You, yards and yards of black leather and a bug-spattered scowl that you copied from Peter Fonda.

Then there's crotch rockets.



Crotch rockets are sensual things, all bright bodywork and naked aluminum frames with massive, elegant engines shoehorned in. They are spare and sparse and for real; they're made to be fast and sexy and violent. On a crotch rocket you don't wear a jacket and boots, you have SWAG. You've got colour-matched leathers right down to your gloves, and it fits you tightly, like a second heavy skin all patterned in bright colours. It's tight so if you come off it doesn't move, doesn't tear off as you slide along the pavement, but all you know is that you look damn good zipped into it.

When you swing your leg over the little seat pad, click it into first and roll off, lifting your feet to the pegs you know you're in for a time. Your feet are tipped back under you, your knees are forward, and they're all tucked up against the bodywork, touching from ankle to groin. Your hands are very close together on the clip-ons, your butt is way back on the thin, wasp-waisted seat pad and your shoulders are low. You are very, very close to touching the machine all over. The tires are short and wide and thick, the shocks tight and unforgiving, and those mechanisms telegraph every bump and waver in the road to the base of your spine. You feel connected, as though you had some extra sensory organ rooted to you like an invisible tail that can feel the road. It is a feeling of power, of confidence and of agility. It is how a cheetah feels when it's running down an impala, and it is the sensation of a falcon diving in the crisp air.

When you're flying down the road and click down two gears, when you whack the throttle open and the front tire wants to point at the sky you tuck in, and suddenly you see why the bodywork is so sharp and formed, why the tank is so curved and high--it fits up against your stomach and ribcage and thighs and elbows like a lover's embrace, all warm and smooth and welcoming. You lower your head behind the windscreen, pull your elbows in close against your chest and suddenly you and the bike are one thing. You are a cyborg, part steel and oil and rubber and part skin and blood and gristle. And you are fast. Terribly, ruthlessly fast.

You take your crotch rocket out to a quite country road, or perhaps the rocket belongs to a friend. Doesn't matter. The engine is whining between your knees and under your hips with a sound like canvas ripping. The heat drifts up to you when you stop, but you're rolling, fast. Very fast. No stopping now. The night envelops you and you follow the bright spot of light from the headlight while the blue glow of the few instruments reflects tiny starshine off your visor. You twist the throttle, accelerate, and you tuck in tight. You embrace your lover, and you push. Hard.

When you're tucked in good, when the chin of your helmet is pressed hard against the low spot in the top of the tank made for it your tail knows you're moving fast. When you can't hear the exhaust anymore because the wind is a steady keen outside your helmet, when the landscape is a blue-black blur, when the dotted lines on the road are one single white band you know you're moving fiercely fast. The six gears seem impossibly far apart, the tachometer reaches easily for that redline. You leave one eye on the black ribbon in front of you and shift the other eye from the tachometer to the speedometer and you see that you're going faster than you've ever traveled before. You're doing one hundred seventy four miles an hour, clinging to a machine that doesn't even weight four hundred pounds.

You're going one hundred and fifty miles an hour. Over twice the interstate speed limit and the bike has more to give you, it WANTS to run, to stretch it's legs but your wrist has bent back so far you feel like you can't move it anymore and it's okay. If you crash now, if you panic or lose control you will be pulverized. You will simply cease to exist, but it's okay, you're not going to panic. The bike is steering itself now, the engine pouring out power. The muscle forces needed to budge the bike from that straight line is far more than your body could possibly generate. Steering is no more, there is simply aiming. You and the bike are a juggernaut, a rocket with only one destination: straight ahead.

It's okay but it's also terrifying because you can feel that the wind screaming over your back is pulling you, plucking at you like a huge insistent soft hand. It feels like thick fingers trying to pluck a bug off a twig, it's trying to slip into a crack between you and the steel tank, between you and the seat, to find any small place to separate you but you won't let go. It wants you to let go, it wants you to float in the still night air like a moth in bright-coloured leathers but you hold on, you clench your thighs around her waist and you tighten your grip and open the throttle more. You push yourself to the point that you feel the primate scream echoing around the base of your skull and you glance down for just a moment.

The needle is pointing at three numbers: 174.

You hang on and the road that seemed so very long just a few minutes ago is suddenly incredibly short, and you're downshifting, pulling the front brake lever and pressing hard with your right boot on the rear brake pedal but the speedometer is moving down so slowly, your speed still terrifyingly fast. When you scrub your speed down past one hundred and into the double-digits you know you've still got a very long way to go. You're still going dazzlingly fast and the cheetah wants so desperately to run, to speed up again. You feel the tightness in your jaw and your cheeks and you know you've got your teeth bared in a silent scream mixed of equal parts exaltation and terror. Before the bright red octagon gets too much closer you're only rolling again, no sign of the struggle, no roar of wind pulling at you. You coast to single digit speed and gently twist her head until she rolls around in a circle. You point her back the way you came and ease on the gas.

It's a lot longer going back. It seems to take seven forevers.

When you finally drive it back into the circle of men and women at a sedate fifteen miles an hour they can see it in your eyes. When a trembling leg kicks the stand down and you slip the other leg over the saddle and slide the gloves off they see it in the white strain of the muscles of your knuckles and your jawline. They don't laugh, they only smile knowingly. They've felt the beast pull at them, they've felt the cheetah in their muscles, felt the blood pounding in their skulls. They know, because they've been that way too.

Empowered. Dangerously close, dangerously aroused.

______________________
Post scriptum: I sold my VFR, The Strawberry Bitch II (pictured above) a year or so ago. It wasn't with her that I went to that unholy speed but I did take her up to 155 once, just to see what I could do. I decided it was time to sell her when I was taking the 45mph curve on the way home at 100mph every day just because it was So Damned Easy. So very addictive.

Apr 22, 2008

Star Light, Star Bright

I thought for just a moment tonight that I was hallucinating.

I've been a bachelor now for eleven days. Not permanently, just while Mrs. I took Belle (and Penny, the donkey to our racehorse) to the Borzoi Nationals in Sacramento, CA. I've not had a real meal since she left, have been working far too hard and in general have probably let myself slip pretty badly. In other words, it's been fun.

While she was gone I took on the chicken-keeping duties: mornings I trudge out at dawn, Umquayquay trotting gamely along with me to open the little chicken door within the big people door. I check food and water levels, and when necessary I swap the side of the yard they'll spend the day in. I open up the three big shutters so the fresh air can blow through, and I tromp back to the house for breakfast, Quay following happily along, or roaming ahead of me cheerfully, her whip-thin tail swinging wildly.

In the evenings after I've been home for a little bit I go back out, telling Quay "Come on, let's go do Chickens." She gets excited and we go walking back to the coop. I open the big door, let myself in to carefully gather the eggs, and gather up and toss the broody hen outside so she'll eat something and drink a little. On the way back home I stop at the place where the two extension cords meet and I plug them back together, turning on the little coop light so they can find their way back to the roost, and I head back home with the day's bounty in a tan wicker basket. Some are still warm from lying under feathered breasts, and they're all speckled and different shades of tan.

When darkness has fallen good I go back out for the last time, to close up and latch the shutters and to secure the little door in the big door. I resecure the gate behind me, take one more glance at the feeder and the big water dispenser, and I head back for bed.

Tonight was a little different. Darkness fell fast tonight, the almost-full moon obscured by thick clouds. Light from the airport coloured the cloud bottoms soft pinks and greens, and the moonlight filtered through, giving everything a milky wash. The warm south wind was still blowing softly, promising the heat of summer in just a little while, but not just yet. I could hear the soft cooing and clucking of the birds settling in, and the rustles and clucks as they heard me approach, unlatch the gate, secure their little door and close the gate behind me again. I lowered the shutters, talking to them softly like I always do. "Goodnight, ladies." I don't know why I say it, I just do. Perhaps it calms them, perhaps it calms me. Quay was underfoot as always, trotting around, making sure no raccoon had sidled past her in the dusk.

I'd turned to head back when a tiny flash in the corner of my eye stopped me. I twisted around, looked out across the dark field and the darker treeline on the bayou and saw nothing but light pollution from the airport and the distant lights of porches and garages from the few houses back on the bayou. Then I saw it again. A tiny, fast-moving golden flash, a short Morse Code dash in the dark, then nothing. A lightning bug, blown here by the winds from some other place.

The insecticide the farmers use around here doesn't discriminate, it kills everything small and many-legged, an equal-opportunity slayer. Dragonflies, moths, pests and non-pests alike fall to it's vapors. The lightning bugs seem most susceptible to it's effects, some horrible trick of their genetics. I can't ever remember seeing many around, and as the years have progressed away from my childhood they seem rarer and rarer.

When I was very little I can remember July nights at my grandparent's house in Mississippi, running in the big open side yard, leaping and laughing and catching at what seemed like thousands of them. The light from their numbers was so bright it filled the air with a lambent golden glow, as though someone were holding a sparkler far above our heads and letting the tiny embers fall upon our upturned faces. They poured out of the forest that surrounded the house like elves come to steal away our infant children, their tiny torches blinking and flickering in the darkness. No matter where you looked there were points and dashes and lines of gold light moving, dancing, a faerie ring in the air, a mandala whose shape never held still, whose patterns changed like water. I was always let down to return home to our own dark skies, untouched as it was by the infinitesimal will-o'-the-wisps.

Tonight I saw that tiny flash once, twice, then nothing. Darkness, a soft white haze of moonlight on dark fields and quiet trees then. Warm breeze stirring, and the soft noises of the hens settling in. Quay didn't understand why I was standing there, stock still and not heading back toward the house: I was breaking the routine, this wasn't right. There I stood, like a child who has lost their red balloon, their hand suddenly empty of the thin white string. Heat lightning flickered far away in the clouds, drawing my eye, but no bug could make fire like that. A far-off airplane droned it's winking way across the heavens, making me think for a moment that perhaps it was the firefly, but no, it was mechanically uniform, flashing it's hundred thousand candlepower beam out across the miles between us.

I turned and followed Quay back to the house, wondering if I'd really seen it.

Apr 20, 2008

The Irrelephant Show: Two Guys And One Girl, Talking. No Cup.

Another fine show down the internet tubes! Canadian beavers, sex trains and Yankees, you simply can't pay for entertainment this good. Unless you call 1-900-Vulgarwizard, according to Stucco.

For those of you who may have missed the time change, the show is now running Sunday evenings at 6pm Central time, which makes it, I'm told, 4 pm way over yonder on the west coast, so meno, no excuses! *g*

I say that, and I'm sure that flying to Japan and back would jet lag me so much I'd simply die en route.

So, without further ado, the Maggie-free, Nancy-free, Cone Report-free

IRRELEPHANT SHOW LIST!*


  • fandamntastic
  • just a tetch
  • IBM testiclectric
  • They had to go insert more butter.
  • Santa Claus!?!?!?!?!?
  • wank
  • Go ahead and grab it!
  • My dude is Ethiopian.
  • That's Yankee country.
  • I used to pee on trains from overpasses.
  • Seattle is a city.
  • She has mom issues.
  • I am back from stimulating the economy.
  • They didn't check our load.
  • Napanee Beaver
  • vanilla wafer person
  • Amtrack has the Black Plague.
  • dog show l33t speak
  • two guys, one girl, and a cup, talking on the radio
  • RAPE THE SHOW!!!!
  • Hook it up to a wind turbine.
  • The Ecoporn Movement
  • It's tubes.
  • Kacynski of porn
  • 1-900-VulgarWizard
  • Canadians have weird porn laws.



____________________
* No warranty implied or granted. As compiled by an outside source.

Non-Consensual Interviewing

Okay, so look. I run this radio show, right? See the blue box on the left there? My show. But you see, my show has a problem, and it's not ED.

The problem is, it's mostly Stucco, Vulgar Wizard and I talking, and occasionally we're relieved by some fresh new poetry by Maggie, by some adults-only, "parent's trying to have a normal sex life" Cone Report by Schmoopie and by the ever-dancing Nancy Dancehall who has been forced to bail the last TWO shows now but who ordinarily helps us to expand our minds with the Word Of The Week. What I need to do is branch out, grow in a new direction. Get some fresh blood flowing in the old veins. Grow, expand, widen the scope. Be self-aggrandizing. Sell some of my paintings that are cluttering up the back room

So.

I'm asking you. I'm begging you (see, I'm down on my wrinkly grey knees.) If you've ever wanted to promote your blog, your point of view, or your own particular brand of sexual kink, contact me via the comments or email and let me know what's going on. And if I select your video, I'll be showing up to help you do your dirty jo...no wait, that's Mike Rowe.

Because you see, if I don't get any volunteers, I'm gonna start coming after ya, and we don't want that, now do we?*


__________________
* Fair warning: I'm gonna start with the bloggers I'm most friendly with/I've read the longest, so meno and Mona, you're tops on the list, and Micks you're next**. After that I'm gonna start going down my blogroll. My suggestion? Go ahead and volunteer now and get the pain over with. I promise I'll be gentle. Heh.

** And what is it with my sudden fascination with bloggers whose user name beings with the letter "M"? Can anyone say "Peter Lorre?"***

*** Extra points to anyone who gets that somewhat obscure reference. VW, you don't count.

Apr 16, 2008

The List Must Go On!

Having killed my radio show yet again (this time by moving it to a new time) I've still carried on, dragging Vulgar Wizard and Stucco along for the ride, and even Gordo, in fits and starts.

Don't forget this Sunday at 6pm CST to tune in for The Topicless Show (which is like a Topless Show only we'll be dressed.) Plus, the week after that will be the Bar Joke Extravaganza, a true Can't Be Missed Event!

Until then, let The List tide you over. It's chock full of Vitamin Q!

The List!

  • stroke tree
  • bark humpin'
  • the box
  • lovebar support
  • best bitch
  • What-what In the Butt
  • sort of fragile
  • a happy and hilarious anthology
  • tales of gaiety and nonsense
  • Oh, noooooooooooooo!
  • "naked boy, naked boy!"
  • moleskine book
  • Pop Rocks
  • Trunkful Tuesdays
  • Boomtown would be the place to launch the dildo of the future.
  • I buy from Russians.
  • Russian waitress in a Chinese restaurant
  • Vespa (it's Italian for "wasp!"


You know you want some.

Apr 14, 2008

What's YOUR Beef?

It's been a week already, and it's only Monday. My ass is dragging so far behind me that I swear when I drove back to the office after lunch I passed my ass on the road. It was just now headed to the house.

It's Inventory time, my quarterly slice of hell. I say that not because I hate counting catheters and dressings but because I have to do three more hours of work a day in addition to my day that's already so full I'm falling behind faster than a third grader in college-level Advanced Calculus. Needless to say I'm falling farther behind. I've given up seeing my ass for the next two weeks.

See how tired I am? Even my lame jokes are lamer than usual.

One more week of this, and it's over. For another quarter. Maybe then I can get back to reading the blogs of my friends, perhaps even leave some witty comments. If I can get my wits back. At this point I'm really starting to wonder.

Spring is beating a hasty retreat again. The fierce winter storms that are gripping the middle of the country are sending us solid days of nothing but fast north winds, pushing the temps back into freezing, which means another delay to putting my garden in and a bathroom full of seedlings (cucumber, squash and bell peppers, if you're curious.) Umquayquay got into the trash this evening and I fussed at her pretty extensively. Seeing my fairly clean garage filled with two bags of shredded trash does that to me after a very exhausting day. She, remembering past abuse and abandonment took it VERY personally and has decided to stay at a good distance from me, wouldn't even go to the chicken coop with me which has become her favourite ritual. Even when I brought out her little all-night heater (a plastic disk that, when microwaved for 5 minutes gives nice heat for 12 hours) and put it in her bed wrapped in an old blanket for her she wouldn't enter the garage, wouldn't think about approaching her big pile of hay and warm blanket. She'll likely sleep under my Mom's house, safe but very cold. It's killing me. It's parenting all over, but this time I can't even talk to her about it. Ground that I took careful pains to gain has been lost, to be regained only slowly again.

I couldn't even get a good picture of the cows on the corner pasture coming home. When I drove by after work they were all in the field, scattered widely, each faced into the wind, grazing with bovine contentment. It was the neatest thing--all these big dark shapes turned into the wind like some sort of biological wind farm, immense-bodied weather vanes. I parked the bike, they were uncaring. I got off the bike and took off helmet, gloves and balaclava. They were unconcerned. I unpacked the camera, turned it on, set it, uncapped the lens cap, they were unmoved. Hadn't even looked up at me. I stepped across the ditch to get up against their fence so I wouldn't get five feet of barbed wire in the shot and they, as one, turned and ran, regrouped into a solid mass of angry dark faces staring back at me. I hung around long enough for them to break apart at least a LITTLE bit, but it wasn't nearly the same.



Thursday evening is the last bit of Inventory, the day it all returns to normal. I've taken off Friday for a Mental Health day and to take the bike to the bike shop up the road about an hour to get a new tire put on the back before it blows out, and the weather is promising overcast skies and a good chance of rain.

Wake me when it's Summer?

Apr 13, 2008

Blast And Confusticate! The Irrelephant Show Must Go On!

In yet another massive failure to self-promote (I've never learned how to glad-hand, kiss babies or perform adequately at a grin-n-grab) I've failed for the entirety of this week to remind you:

The Irrelephant Show has moved! (Yes, yet again. Hopefully this time it'll stay put.) 6pm CST, same address, same host, same co-hosts sans Maggie who has a Real Life interaction planned, and sans Schmoopie who didn't give me any sort of good excuse. Sort of like my college dating career.

SO! Join what may well be just me for the Irrelephant Show: TBA Episode! I'll be ever so grateful, and won't even honk my own horn.

Apr 11, 2008

Poetry Friday: Negative, or, Never Give A Mouse A Cookie

And don't ever give Stucco your physical address.

Everyone's seen a photographic negative. I say that, knowing full well that in a few decades children won't know that photographs used to start out on a tiny bung of celluloid and had weird, iodine-red images on them in which you could sometimes see greenish bits, all of which when ran through a certain machine would turn into gloriously coloured Kodachrome prints. To them negatives will be "nuh-uh" and "nah," not a way to make film.

I digress.

Stucco, I've decided, is the sort of Evil-Kirk negative to a guy who might send you a book and maybe a little extra something nice, a little lagniappe as it were. This fellow might send you a hardbound P. D. Wodehouse book with a friendly little inscription in the flyleaf, and perhaps a bundle of some exceptional cigars he picked up while he was in the West Indes. Perhaps a note written on a sheet of ivory stationary, signed with "Your Chum" and a little flourish of an initial.

Well, Stucco is his negative.

I got A Box, you see. From Himself. It was waiting innocently at my back door yesterday, plain and brown, with a Priority sticker on the front and the carefully written legend "Sort of fragile" at the bottom left.

I knew I was doomed.

I was expecting the Wodehouse. I was pretty much expecting the whistle that he tried to send Vulgar Wizard a while back but had stolen from him by some tin-fetishist Postal employee. What I wasn't expecting was...er...the rest.

Now, I'm not certain, but what I think happened is this: he obtained a box. He secured the bottom with tape and made a pass through his kid's rooms, tossing in anything that was small enough to fit and needed to be tossed in the trash but hadn't, yet. There's a Mister Bill doll in there. VW's whistle. A piece of chalk, now broken (must have been the "sort of" in "fragile.") A small blank notebook suitable for jotting notes in. A wax candle in the shape of the number 1. Oh, and it's all covered in small white chalk marks. All of it.

Then it got weird. I think he must have run out of things from the kid's room to toss in there, so he positioned the box at the end of his desk and sort of swept his arm across it, and whatever fell inside the box got sent along also. Three flash drives (which I'm terrified to plug in, for fear I'll find midget amputee porn or something,) a home-burned DVD-R cryptically marked "THE IT CROWD." A foam nose the size of my fist which for one terrifying moment I thought was a miniature The Cone but wasn't. A huge blue specimen container. A tangled curl of ribbon that looks like it came off a gift box to a blind person. A wine bottle cork. A Bic Stik pen (black.) And in place of the ivory-paper note? A Post-It with "Irr- Enjoy! - Stucco" writ large with a Sharpie marker.

To make it a real hoot he then carefully packed the extra space with those clear plastic inflated packing balloons, so that the contents wouldn't shift much in transit. But the topper? The salt in the wound? The kick in the kidneys?

The Mardi-Gras beads.

What sort of world do we live in when a guy who lives in SEATTLE, the very seat of Yankeedom can send a guy who lives four hours north of New Orleans, the very seat of all things Dixie (cotton, humidity and drinking heavily at all hours of the day) a string of MARDI GRAS BEADS? IN A BOX!

You're supposed to THROW those to me, you jerk.

Apr 7, 2008

The Irrelephant Show - The Passion Episode

Oh the humanity!

So much passion, so many f-ups with the switchboard controls by yours truly! And BTR people lurking about in the chatroom trying to be helpful. Pfui!

Anyway, we're moving. Yes, again. Same day, later hour. Join us (please and thank you?) on Sunday evenings at 6pm Central Standard Time. And yes that puts me up against the one and only Mr. Fabulous, darling of the BTR, but hey, his audience doesn't come see me, so it's going to work out nicely. *s* So. See? Saw.

Without further ado, the Passion List, as carefully complied by Vulgar Wizard:


  • monkey wearing a headset
  • I don't pee on electronics.
  • holding a warm plastic block in my hand
  • Turning Wrath Into Passion
  • smells like limburger
  • Irripple
  • crap-ass wine
  • Dismal Cone Report
  • The word for the week is "tingo" - rough translation, "all your shit is belong to me!"
  • Our dogs would love to swallow the postman's sock.
  • Stucco Squarepants
  • Cialis Smoothies


We now return you to your regularly scheduled blogger. Thank you, and goodnight.

Apr 6, 2008

It's A Mistake!

It's gotta be. There's no two ways around it. Somehow I've managed to grow grapes.



The internets can be damned helpful, and damned annoying at times. I've searched for about half an hour now for information specific to growing Thompson Seedless, which is what this plant is. Specifically, how to keep the right combination of leaves, canes and clusters.

Okay. Let's back up.

Three years ago I was in Lowe's and saw grape seedlings for sale. I remembered my father growing Concorde grapes when I was a kid, and how incredibly sweet and good they were, so I got a wild hair. I bought four different types, got home and now I realise I got lucky in finding some good, clear information on how to build arbors for grapes on the internet, which I've long since lost. I built the arbors and settled back to wait.

You see, the trick with grapes is that they're SLOW. They're the bonsai of gardening, involving a lot of careful pruning, shaping and training. Everything I read says not to expect any fruit until the fourth year, at which time you'll have trained up a single central cane with four runners: two to a side, two about two feet off the ground and two about five feet off the ground. That's where the similarities stop, though. Everyone else seems to start branching off at this point (hah! pun!) and going in many different directions. One site tells you to do this, one site says never to do that, do THIS instead. Still another wants to tell you about his massive, sprawling, wildly successful grape farm in South Africa and sets you up to buy his book on How To Grow Your Own Ginormous Grapes In South Africa! Worse, my carefully-saved printout on how to build arbors and train grapes, I noticed last year says way at the bottom "Caution: this doesn't apply to Thompson Seedless grape vines after the first two years." And then goes on to NOT tell me how to find information on how to grow them, here at Year Three, when I'm showing grapes a whole year early.

GAH!

I seem to be a year ahead of schedule, and one cane shy. My plant refused to grow a good cane on the lower right side, so I've got three canes and a five-inch long growth spurt on that side that I'm hoping I can train into a nice cane. Last week I glanced over at the little hillside that the Irrelephant Vineyard is growing on (I lost one the first year so it's three vines now, of three different varietals) and saw nothing but dark brown canes. This morning I've got a Thompson Seedless that has taken matters into it's own canes and is covered in huge green leaves, new canes everywhere, and clusters of grapes so tiny they look like fat green angels dancing on the points of pencils.

And I don't know what to do!

Do I need to carefully count the clusters and pull off anything over X number? Do I need to stop trimming canes? Start trimming more? Do I need to sing to it? Fertilize it? NOT fertilize it? Maddening! I'm so cornfused.

I think I might just do what my father did--let it grow however the hell it wants to. When my brother finally got into the remains of my father's garden to clean it up years after the Alzheimer's had rendered him incapable, my brother found Concorde grape vines with trunks like small oak trees and vines that carefully wended and wormed their way some twenty five or so feet in all directions. The roots, I'm sure, reached all the way down into Hell and were stealing water from the sinner's mouths. He said everywhere you looked there were thick clusters of lush purple-black fruit hanging down, like a vintner's wet dream. He then pulled, dug, and burned them all down, turning the plot into a place to put his mobile home while he built his house.

I'm safe, though. There's no room to park a trailer on the little hillock that is Irrelephant Vineyards.

Apr 3, 2008

Poetry Friday, or, Oh Gods Is He Bitching About Work Again?

And yes, I am. *wink*

I've noticed that my posts here of late have been gravitating toward an "I hate work" trend. I'm trying to keep it to a minimum, I promise. Things just keep happening that make me want to explode into a million gibbering bits that all hate being at that office.

When I was in college I'd sit tailor-fashion in the hallways between classes. I'd have my old battered drug-store fountain pen in hand and my notebook on my knees and I'd be doodling or writing some sort of wandering prose in the big blank spots. My notebooks always had those--empty places where I'd fallen asleep in class, or where the professor had gotten off on a diatribe about "Man's Place In The Twentieth Century And Where The Hell Has God Gotten Off To?" and I'd gotten to thinking about how I'd much rather be outside working in the sun, or lying somewhere with that pretty girl two rows over, three seats up, the one with the really nice legs.

When I wrote those prose bits I'd always try to use spacing and clever word placement to give them the rhythm I wanted, the cadences I could hear in my head. This is much harder to do with HTML, so I've given it my bestest and perhaps you can feel it.



Away.

I want to be away.
Away from all this.
I want quiet

  • the sort of quiet you get just after dawn in the deep woods
  • that is to say the quiet of animals waking up and insects stirring
  • and the quiet hoot of an owl returning home.


I want to be away.
Away from retraints.
I want to be alone

  • the sort of alone that comes of not having to help people
  • people who don't NEED help, they just want to be helpless
  • and the telephone. I'm sick of Bell and his marvelous tool.


I want to be away.
Away from noise.
I want solitude

  • the sort of solitude in which you can work for hours
  • the only sound you hear being your own heartbeat
  • and the rush of your breath as your muscles warm in the sun.


I want to be away.
Away from people.
I want isolation

  • the sort of isolation that forces you to take a long, hard look
  • makes you drag out your soul, dust it off, and examine it for dents
  • because you're the only thing that matters out here.

Late But Not Forgotten

Vulgar Wizard sent me The List from last Sunday's Irrelephant Show, foreshortened by grilled bass, the bitch, and I simply never got off my arse to post it.

So, without further ado, and to sort of give me a little more breathing room before I start in on Mona's Poetry Friday Challenge, I present

The List!


Use these words and phrases! Appear erudite. Look silly!

  • orangutan
  • eating muppets
  • BRILLIANT!
  • flatulence
  • fish 'n' chips
  • anal seepage
  • rice cakes
  • coke donkey
  • flavor curves
  • Word of the Week = FURVERT (Dubya hugs the Easter Bunny)
  • Cone Report = Reach for the cone to soothe all wet dream urges.
  • The Drawer of Dreams
  • chainsaw with tongues in place of teeth
  • Furvert you, you goddamned cleemon!


Don't forget to tune in next Sunday at noon CST for the Passion episode--come tell us what you're passionate about!

Apr 2, 2008

A Snippet

It took me a long time to figure out how to spell "azalea," but I've lived around them all my life.



My mom planted them everywhere when my father and she first built this house, and she tended them with the sort of careful zeal that is a hallmark of an old southern woman. Now, some 36 years later they're huge. Ten to twelve feet tall and at least that wide, grown together in huge mounds of green foliage. When spring comes around the riot of colours happens. The plants literally cover themselves with flowers, looking for all the world like spun sugar mounds, not a speck of green visible.

There's several growing along the back wall of the house, at the corner where the master bedroom is. Careful inattention to pruning them last year on my behalf resulted in this year's plants growing tall enough to not only block the windows but to grow tall enough to reach the roofline. I've been waiting for the narrow window between flowers falling off and new leaves appearing to prune them this year, but I think I might leave those around the back windows alone.

(That's the pair of windows in the master bedroom, the one just below the dish and the one closest the corner. This was taken two years ago, so you can imagine how big they are now.)

This weekend past I was futzing around hanging clean laundry up and wandered into the bedroom to hang up slacks and polo shirts. The early morning light was shining through the thicket of azalea that blocks the window, and the room was filled with the most delicate rose-coloured light, washing through the window and the masses of flowers, tinting everything with a soft pink wash. Now, pink isn't necessarily my colour but the soft gleam that filled the bedroom made me simply stop and stare.

It didn't last long, the sun worked it's way up into the sky and behind the big spreading crepe myrtle tree in the back yard, and the pink changed to the uniform butter yellow glow of a spring morning, but for that one moment...