Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Holiday Evening and Middle Eastern news coverage.

I can't tell you how nice it is to be sitting here. The Christmas tree is covered in vintage bubble lights, glinting away. My sooper seekrit creamy spaghetti sauce is simmering in the 1970's era electric skillet (I still don't really have a working kitchen, but I'm dealing) and Peter Gabriel is playing on the radio.

I'm completely alone, and like it that way. As much as I adore the BF, I need these little moments. I've spent much of the evening reading Al Jazeera, in lieu of there being an English language newspaper out of Cairo or Amman. And I have to say, I am a total fan of Al Jazeera. I know that that particular news agency got a bad rap during the dreadful Daniel Pearl days, but they seem to truly be a non-agenda news reporting agency. And just damn! Talk about some stories that aren't even touched on here. I learned a long time ago that western news agencies (ala the AP, Reuters) don't tell you shit about things that don't directly affect the western world. I am now adding Al Jazeera to my daily reads, along with CNN, VOA, The Christian Science Monitor, Fox News, and the AJC (and don't rile me about Fox. The occasionally cover stories that others don't).

By the way, if you haven't downloaded the newest updates for Google Earth, do it now. I spent a few hours earlier just peeping at the places I'm going this summer. Super Cool!

Peace out, bitches!

Friday, December 4, 2009


I am a little hesitant to blog tonight because I'm in the mood to let my panties hang out on the internet and I know how that can be a bad thing. So I will just keep it to a brief update.

Google Chrome rocks my world. What more can I say? A totally low calorie browser that gets it done. I do heart Google. Chrome, combined with Wave, Blogger, and Gmail is certainly a formidable force.

I have been incredibly fiscally irresponsible in the past few months, and it's really not like me. I'm not sure where the disconnect happened, but it seems to have been somewhere around the second week of November. Now I am paying for it. Literally. And it's really not a good time to be broke. This kind of thing hasn't happened in my life for probably close to 15 years, and I am not happy about it. But I am taking steps to stop leaking money. A quick call to Verizon cut my Blackberry bill in half, thus proving that the problem is that I am just lazy. And I hate myself for it. Get it together, grrl, is all I can keep saying to myself. In every aspect of my life, not just financial. Lately, I've been of the mindset "if I don't see it, it's not happening". Well, as Eudora Welty so eloquently put it, "An inability to deal with the truth does not negate it's existence". Yeah, I need to process that a little more.

So the truth is, I need to hit the rack. It's much later than I had intended to stay up, but I needed to not neglect poor Donutorama. Just because I feel neglected and have neglected myself, the poor little home of round food should not suffer.

Love, good moods, and round foods to you all.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Election run off, drunk patrons, World AIDS day, furnace repair, and holiday decorating.

It's election run off night here in the Dirty Dirty. It appears to be a tight race between Mary Norwood (my candidate, I'll represent here) and Kasim Reed, with Reed checking in at 51% and Norwood clocking a none too shabby 49%. But we probably won't know until the morning. To be perfectly honest, while I've been a hardcore Norwood supporter (she was the at-large council member who actually got Westview speed humps and and cross walks) either would be a competent mayor. Both has extensive experience in the political theater, with roots that sit deep in the city. I would be proud to have either represent our us.

On the job front, we had an interesting evening at the Big A with Second City. It seems that a cadre of drunken jackasses sat themselves right down at a down front cocktail table and proceeded to chat (read: loudly) amongst themselves. Not cute. Distracting. So much so, that our company called them out, embarrassingly so. When a cast member walks up to you and tells you to "Shut the fuck up or go the fuck home", you are probably only embarrassing yourself and being disruptive to the rest of the audience. You are also being disrespectful and distracting to the cast. The three of them left, tails between their legs, causing yet another disruption as they made their getaway during the "Sugar Plumb Fairy" scene. Thankfully before the 40ish wanna be cougar in their group puked or passed out. Yeah y'all. Y'all are real cool. You had already been warned by house management, then by stage management, so don't get pissed off when an improv group calls you out for being a bunch of assholes.

World AIDS day, what a misnomer. It sounds like we should celebrate AIDS. How about we call it "Let's Find a Cure for this Wretched Disease that has Taken So Many of My Loved Ones". While it is an issue that is ALWAYS at the forefront of my mind, I have to say I spent much time today remembering so many friends and some family that have been lost to this dreadful disease, not the least of which is my sweet, sweet Daddy. In fact, in the past few weeks, my mind has wandered about him. What would he be like today? Would he be proud of me? Would he like my house, my job, my cats? How I regret that he can't sit and visit with me around my kitchen table with a cup of coffee and his always present Kool Milds. Personally, I think that brand of cigarettes stink, but what I wouldn't give to have him here with me, stinking up my kitchen with his ghetto-ass cigarettes. He'd be no help whatsoever in any repairs I needed (he wasn't that kind of guy), but he'd damn sure help me decorate my Christmas tree, and chide me all the way for having a silk tree and not a real one. He could make a kick ass cafe au lait, killer meatloaf, and show you how to clean your shotgun all in one day. And then shame you for not knowing enough about Middle Eastern politics, Southern literature, and obscure playwrights. In the summers, he often sported a seersucker suit with a bow tie (that he tied himself, not one of those pre-fab thingies) and in the winter it was Levi's, cowboy boots and a lambskin jacket that he'd owned for twenty years. I still have that jacket, and sometimes wear it. It's quite warm. He loved to travel, so I think he would be happy that I've bounced all over Europe, spent three weeks in the Turkish Republic, and am headed to Egypt and Jordan next summer. I always have thought about him when I traveled, and am sure that I will this summer. A true Renaissance man, he is sorely missed.

But he would have been no help whatsoever yesterday. Since I am still existing upon the kindness of space heaters, I decided to spend yesterday morning with the BF in my basement, checking out my furnace. I really want to make sure that my furnace itself is in good working order before I call Atlanta Gas Light to hook my gas, so that I don't have a massive explosion when I attempt to light my furnace for the first time. Lesson number one: It's freaking cold in my basement. With a lot of weird shit that's been discarded down there. I did, however, find a lovely milk glass vase that I will keep. Not so much with the discarded cookware. Who the hell throws pots and pans away in a basement? Lesson number two: Furnaces aren't really that complicated once you figure out how they work. We got the central fan working again and discovered that the intake duct for the unit had become detached. I reattached it (fairly easy) and then we explored the rest of the duct work. Fortunately, I'm blessed with crawlspaces that are tall enough that grown men can stand up in them, so this was not an uncomfortable task. The only discrepancy we found was a rather large piece of ductwork that had become detached from the floor vent in the back bedroom, probably when the copper theives stole my service lines from the AC. Not too hard to repair. Some duct tape and a hose clamp next Monday and I'll be on my way to living in a fully heated home.

I am a sucker for the holidays. While I didn't do too much for Thanksgiving (the BF and I grilled some steaks), I do love holiday decorations. My name is Holly and I was supposed to be born on December 24, so I guess it only follows. I also own 2.4 million dollars worth of Christmas decorations that I've never been able to use all at once, due to the fact that I've always inhabited small apartments. Not so anymore! I have a huge mantle that is now draped with garland, the Christmas tree is up (undecorated yet) in the dining room, and various and sundry wreaths and appointments are distributed proudly. I have to say, this is a home that lends itself to the Holidays. I'm hoping to have a holiday cocktails get together a week from Monday, provided that I can whip this place into habitable shape.

Hope to see you at the cocktail party.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The first step is to admit that you have a problem.

Is there a 12 step program or even a methadone solution for social networking sites? I can't seem to tear myself away from them. I get Facebook alerts on my Blackberry, there are numerous pop ups on my laptop, not to mention the obligatory email notifications. I can't step away. Thank you Facebook, for letting me know that about one third of my friends are fanatical Twilight fans, several folks are bored at work, a handful are for healthcare reform, and two of them chose to jump out of an airplane.

Why do I feel that I need this information? My life is not complete unless I status update about how I feel about vampires, tweet about what I had for lunch (I didn't today, but have been guilty of it), and blog about how I can't tear myself away from all of it. And don't say "Oh! The irony". There is no irony in it all. It's actually predictable.

There is something anachronistic about the fact that my laptop has become a permanent fixture on a 100 year old farmhouse kitchen table. It just doesn't look right to me. But it feels right, feels current.

It is fairly amazing how the interweaves (thank you once again, T-baby, for that one) have come to rule my life. I pay all my bills online. I check my bank account balance online. My friends and I have the equivalent of party line discussions (remember those?) via Facebook comments and twitter directives. I met my current squeeze online dating. Hell, my boss even sends me work related notes via Facebook. And if I lost all my email, an international incident would ensue. Netflix cue updates? I got it. Hell, I got my entire divorce via email, attachments, and faxes. I never laid eyes upon my attorney.

There seems to be certain level of privacy that we have given up with the World Wide Web. I have seen so many examples of "big internet, small world" that I can't even comment on it.

I am hoping that in the future I will be more private, more mysterious upon the planet of the Innertubes.

I feel so post-modern.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Vampires and other irritating things.

Okay, okay, I get it. The new Twilight movie opens tonight. So what? It's a vampire movie, not really a novel, new idea. Granted, there's a love story in there (I think) and some young, hunky, emo-looking actors that make the hearts of preteen girls go pitter pat, but it's still a vampire movie. And not even Lon Cheney or Bela Lugosi there (Bela Lugosi's dead, in case you didn't know). Hell, not even Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt.

While I guess I can understand why the tween and teen set might be enamored by the series, I really don't understand grown-ass women who are obsessed with it. In fact, there was an article in the AJC recently about how "real life vampires are looking for acceptance". Huh? WTF? Real life vampires? You have got to be kidding me. Vampires are not real. Just because your life is boring and mundane, filled with things like laundry, dirty dishes, and slow moving traffic on 285, you do not get a free pass to be a weirdo. I realize you believe that you are entitled to a more glamorous life, but perhaps you could give the rest of us a break. The banality of your life is probably related to poor choices you've made in your past, such as dropping out of community college, choosing to eat an entire bag of hostess donuts once a week for 10 years, or getting married at the ripe old age of 17. That's not blood lust you feel. That's diabetes. Or high blood pressure. You choose. You are not immortal. In fact, you are probably going to die very soon, either from heart disease or me murdering you for being a grown-ass freak.

So parents, take your kids to the midnight showing of New Moon. Allow your 13 year old daughters to read the entire series. I suppose it's kind of like porn for pre-pubescent girls. But if you are over the age of 15, just stop it. You are obsessed with vampires in love. Teenage vampires at that, and that should be illegal. Kind of like that movie Dirty Dancing. (Thanks to T-baby for bringing that to my attention). In fact, if you keep up with your freaky obsession, I will openly mock you, as I am now. Just next time, it will be to your face.

How we find friends.

Let me just start out with stating the obvious. It is fucking cold here tonight at Grey Gardens. There's not a whole lot I can do about it. I have a radiator style heater next to me here in the farmhouse kitchen and a ceramic one warming up the boudoir. Uber important, since I will be occupying it alone. But I've closed off all the doors to unnecessary rooms, reducing my 2200 sq. ft. bungalow to a kitchen, hallway, bathroom, and bedroom. Such are the travails with a 90 year old home (that I still LOVE, despite my tribulations).

On to my subject title...I've been thinking a lot about a certain friend of mine. Specifically, how our friendship started, how unconventional it was, and ultimately impossible before the days of teh intarwebs and teh emailz. She is such a lovely woman whom I have never met, but I adore her cyber support and communications. I won't disclose her information here, because I have too much respect for her and know how she values her privacy. Suffice it to say, she is awesome.

A little over a year ago, I received a random email from an address I didn't recognize. My gmail address is pretty private and has great filters, so I was fairly certain that it wasn't spam and it just might be something I needed to view. Did I ever. Apparently, another woman named Holly Blakely had gotten tangled up with my emailer. But instead of the typical vitriol, I found an eloquent grrl who was simply letting the other gal onto his tricks.

Most people would discard such an email. It wasn't intended for me, I had no interest in the matter.

I couldn't do it. I had been in such a similar emotional state so recently, I felt like I was reading something I had written. It brought back so many feelings of insecurity, doubt, frustration, anger, betrayal, you name it. This grrl was in pain. Doubling over at the gut pain. I got it. In fact, parts of me were still there. So I responded to her, letting her know that I wasn't the "Holly Blakely" she was looking for (insert R2D2 reference), but I knew how she was feeling, she was better off without this scumbag (and trust me...never was a greater ex doesn't even come close) and she didn't need that crap. Signed, someone you've never met, but has your best interest at heart.

Thus began a year long series of emails. Some involved our romantic trevails, some involved our mundane life. We are Facebook friends, and she is prettier than I ever imagined, a Texas gal, through and through. We have each had encouraging words for each other that one may or may not get from a "real life" friend. Who knows. She knows that she has a resting place here in the ATL, and has let me know that I have a haven in San Antonio (do love that city, by the way).

There seems to be a "weirdness" about relationships that are born online. However, I am so amazed at how a grrl/grrl friendship can flourish online. No pretention. No agenda.

Melissa, I'm glad I've gotten to know you. You have helped me more than you know.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Epic yard work fail

It always seems that no matter what I try to accomplish around my house (or in my life in general), the project turns out to be larger than me and never ends the way I'd like. On Monday, my day off, I decided to take advantage of the perfect autumn weather and attempt to FINALLY finish up the perennial beds I laid out in my front yard this past summer. The goal is that I diminish the amount of grass that needs constant attention during the warmer months and give my little cottage an updated look in the landscaping department. So I made the trek over to Lowe's to purchase landscaping fabric and more mulch. (On a side note: Why does it seem like everyone I know is able to obtain mulch for free except me?) I purchased a large roll of landscaping fabric and three bags of Preen mulch. Yeah, that stuff never goes as far as you think it will. I wasn't even able to finish one section of the bed. Now I realize that I've laid out rather large beds, but damn. It looks like the weather might clear up a bit tomorrow, so perhaps I will carry myself back over there and purchase enough mulch to at least finish a section. I need some closure on this, people.

I did, however, have a bit more success on new winter plants for either side of my entry way and lovely planters for them. I found very pretty chocolate brown planters on sale for $14 a piece (!) and Pacific Spruces on sale for $10. Now my porch is sporting a pair of lovely evergreens that I can decorate with lights for the holidays, still be appropriate after New Year's, and then get put away in a shady place during the warmer months while they await their re-appearance next holiday season. That part was epic win.

On other fronts, I think I'm going to need to take a break from Facebook for a minute. It's getting a little creepy for me, the way it "connects" people. This evening, I came across pictures of my ex-husband on a "romantic weekend" with his current squeeze. Now normally this wouldn't be a problem, except that this current "girlfriend" is the one I caught him in bed with and who he denied any further relationship with. I really don't need to run across and album titled "Best 48 hours ever!" Trust me honey. I'm sure it wasn't. I've slept with him. It ain't that great. But because I find these little tidbits insinuated into my feeds, I think that I might need to back away, slowly. And perhaps "un-friend" some people. And be a little more selective about my online life.

Change of subject. Everyone. And yes, I mean YOU, the one sitting there that never leaves their apartment, needs to come see "Second City: Peach Drop, Stop, and Roll" on the Hertz stage at the Alliance. I know some of you saw it last year and were underwhelmed. The writing this year is greatly improved, knowing their audience much better. Be warned, on Tuesdays through Fridays, there is a "secret third act" of improv that lasts about an extra 20 minutes. So if you're not down with sitting through and additional 20 minutes, book your seats for a weekend show. But come see it. You won't be disappointed. It's a great alternative to the usual holiday shows. But certainly not appropriate for kids under 16 and in no way suitable for work.

Now that my unabashed plug is out of the way, I'm going to retire to the boudoir for some "Law and Order" re-runs and maybe a little one on one with Anderson Cooper and Larry King. I'm going to steal an idea from Jeff Kay at The West Virginia Surf Report and leave you with a question.

What has been the most "distressing" thing you have ever come across on a social networking site?

So to all a good night, and don't let the STD's bite.