Saturday, November 12, 2005

A little too bright

After a rough night of wailing winds ripping fragile yellowed leaves from their precarious perches, the sun is a bright ball of light hammering down from a achingly blue sky. The folds in the mountain face are deep irregular slashes of darkness besides brightly lit shades of green and highlighted gold through the twiggy fingers of the bald scarecrow trees on this silent Saturday morning. Birds play tug of war with insects diving into the craggy bark of two-fingered tree outside my window and sere brown leaves cling with tenacious skeletal grips to the precarious attachments here and there. Gone are the Farmer's Market crowds cruising the street looking for a parking place close to Bancroft Park and striding purposefully down 24th like early birds soaring and dipping on the winds determined to get to the fattest and juiciest worms first.

Silver smokestacks rise above green and gray and brown shingled roofs flashing fire that sears my sleep addled eyes. There are chores to do: floors to sweep and mop, dishes waiting in the sink, laundry to be sorted and washed, a bathroom to be cleaned, and the urge to crawl back into the warm shadowed sheets and shade my eyes from the argos-eyed sun, read a book, and wake when the day is not so blinding. I am drunk from broken sleep. So much to do and breakfast is waiting to fill the aching void inside.

I could flip a coin, calling best two out of three, playing the waiting game until big white clouds stray across the horizon and hide that furious blazing search light enough so I can face the day, but it is a stop gap, a bargain struck with a wisp of smoke, and I would still need to keep my date with my chores. It is far too easy to give in to this urge to climb back into the cocoon before my wings fill and dry, but I know I would emerge later, wings stunted and wrinkled, unable to fly.

Breakfast is calling and my stomach rumbles in answer. Time to go.

Friday, November 11, 2005

eBay stories

Once upon a time not long ago I bought some things from eBay. Notably some candle making supplies that cost more to send than their selling price and a couple of hand carved wooden combs, one from China and the other from the Ukraine. I have since found out I could get them cheaper and faster through a website that deals in what I was working with -- essential oils.

Anyway, the Evil One sent me a really hilarious link to an eBay seller who put his past romantic life and his goods on display in full color. Don't forget to read all 21 questions & answers.

Make sure you don't have anything in your mouth when you're reading as I will not be responsible for liquids spewed across monitor screens. Got that, Maryann?

The picture and the story"

Image hosted by

Q: Are these boot cut pants and if not what is the width measurement of the bottom of the pant leg? Sep-17-05
A: I do not know what a boot cut is, but the pants are 8.25 inches wide at the bottom.

Q: Seen your ad on you gay? LOL Just kidding!! I would claim these on VBMX!! Now all the guys are gonna think of you as a sissy!! LOL!!! Good luck bro!! Sep-18-05
A: Thanks. That's a lot of exclamation points.

Q: Hi, Sorry I don't want the leather pants but just had to write and say I really had a good laugh at your description!! I really hope you sell them .... and not to a guy! Good luck! Jeannette Sep-18-05
A: If you change your mind and want the pants, I'll be waiting patiently by the keyboard.

Q: For Mr. VBMX: If he were gay, he would know what boot cut means. What does VBMX mean? Sep-19-05
A: I'm not sure. It sounds like a missile.

Q: Well, it looks like you're going to sell them. They're too big for me anyway and I'm female. You're a great writer -- so natural, so funny. I think you should be in standup. Thank you so much for making my day. Sep-19-05
A: Thank you for the kind words. In lieu of standup I post things on The hours are better and there's no drink minimum.

Q: Bsack, I'm an editor for Poor Mojo's Almanac(k) (http://, a weekly online magazine now entering its sixth year of publication. We'd like to run the text of your posting, with the image of the glorious pants, as a rant on our site. May we do so? Our submission guidlines can be found here: (Long story short: we owe you a beer for one piece--provided you came to Ann Arbor or SF, CA to pick it up--or will reward you with a PMjA t-shirt after we've published 5 of your pieces.) Interested? Best, Dave . . . Editor and Technologist PMjA Sep-20-05
A: Sure, if you don't mind that it's already on

Q: I am in a band, but do not wear leather pants. However, if I DID wear leather pants, your pants are the ones I would buy because your description is...eloquent and touching in a leatherish sort of way. May we post your ad on our site? Sep-20-05
A: I think I answered this already, but eBay is asking it again for some reason. Thank you for being polite and seeking permission. Sure, you can post it. After all, I'm trying to sell pants.

Q: you enjoy stereotyping people that wear leather dont ya, you think owning leather is gay, let me tell you something i am not gay, i am not famous, dont ride a bike, and unlike i aint a coward. i do own 2 pairs of them, to me they are more comfy than blue jeans ever will be, i where them anywhere i want including church, no ones ever said nothing about them. Sep-20-05
A: More important: Do you need a pair of 34x34 leather pants?

Q: You express yourself exactly like my ex-fiancee. I had to check if you lived in Boulder, CO just to see if you were him. I really didn't think anyone else had his matter of fact mixed with twisted humor personality. Ten years ago I was just ending our relationship so I was going thinking that possibly he bought these pants to try and woo a little waitress vixen with an IQ half that of her bust size. By the way, the last person that claimed that you were stereotyping, did you for some reason envision Dueling Banjos playing in the background with a man sporting a greased back mullet and a makeshift spittoon, and, of course, comfy leather pants, or was that just me? Sep-21-05
A: Yes, the grammar and tone said 'Deliverance' but the leather pants in church said 'Wham UK'. So I'm confused.

Q: I don't actually need the pants... and they wouldn't fit my less than womanly curves even if I could pull them off- but I could not resist telling you what a fabulous ad this is. While reason prevailed in the end, I was almost convinced to buy the pants if for no other reason than to see if I could be coy enough to get a man to wear them in hopes of a relationship with me... fabulous ad, just fabulous. Sep-21-05
A: Sadly I lack the ability to sell people things they don't need - unlike Ron Popeil and The Sharper Image.

Q: No question, just wanted to tell you this is the best listing i've ever read. I'm sorry it didn't work out with the short girl, but am so proud of you for never wearing these. :) Good luck with your sale! Sep-21-05
A: Thank you. I'll be free of them in less than two days, and at least $76 closer to owning a yacht.

Q: If they did still fit.. and I wasn't married, would you wear them for me? LOL.. best of luck! Sep-21-05
A: Yes, but only if I was wearing a pink tank top and re-enacting Billy Squier's regrettable 'Rock me tonight' video.

Q: I would like to be tough, gay or a rock star. Do you think purchasing and subsequently donning these trousers will help? Sep-22-05
A: Probably not if you call them 'trousers.' A true rockstar would say 'pants' or 'duds' or something more rock-star-y, like 'ladykillers.'

Q: FUNNY!! I too have a pair of leather pants to sell and for very similar reasons. Mine also have severe case of closet shrinkage. Thanks for the laugh and happy selling. tom Sep-22-05
A: Hmm. Maybe we know the same girl.

Q: Thank you for the inspiration. I am now thinking of ebaying every little thing....and I do mean little thing that I ever wore to be a man pleaser/enticer. That would have to include stiletto heels, leather bustiers, gstrings and the like.....hmmm, wait a that I think about it....I might have to bid on those pants and create an ensemble....for myself. Did I mention that I am 5'2? Sep-22-05
A: Hello Senator Clinton.

Q: I just wanted to tell you that you made me laugh aloud! First, when my husband was in high school he apparently bought a white satin Michael Jacksonesque multi-zippered jacket from The Chess King under strikingly similar circumstances. I wonder if it is the same chick . . . Second, my husband and I recently hosted a white trash party, Trailerpalooza. We had been to a 38 Special concert and decided to knock off thier look. So we each bought pleather pants (though these beauties would have been perfect!) and I then sewed flame fabric to the bottoms, as if it was lapping up the legs. We also got leather jackets which we adorned with a bit of flame fabric. Well, somehow, I came out looking like a badass, but my poor husband looked like a homo. In fact someone actually said, -It's amazing how pleather makes Shari look so bad, and Rick so gay.- I wish I had a picture on my computer, because I think it would make you laugh! Anyway, good luck with the sale of your magic pants! Sep-22-05
A: When I was a busboy at El Torito I remember a waiter who saved up hundreds for a replica Michael Jackson 'Beat It' jacket. Zippers everywhere. At the time I thought he was a god. Now I think he's probably buried in someone's tomato garden.

Q: Are these pants worthy of cruising for transvestites while in my Maserati? I just got one and need an outfit that would go with my new car. Sep-22-05
A: I think leather pants would accent that mid-life crisis quite nicely.

Q: Love the pants but . . . I wonder, how many thongs do you think could be made from them? Fruitcreek. Sep-23-05
A: For Americans? 15. French? 45.

Q: LOL. I once knew a guy who actually wore leather pants, loved them, and was very popular with them. That was 15 years ago...he was Italian...and my uncle's boyfriend. Enough said. Sep-23-05
A: Italy shares France's reputation for adultery, leather pants, and aggressiveness to women. Except for your uncle's boyfriend, of course.

Q: I have a friend that emails these types of auctions to me for a good laugh and I must admit, yours is the best I have seen in a long time. Your wording and demeanor are perfect. If I had the cake to spend on something I would never wear right now, I would buy them just for the simple fact you made me laugh that hard. I wish you made commercials on TV so I wouldn't be forced to channel surf when they came on. Kudos to you. Are all your descriptions this funny or is this a fluke? Your replies are excellent and this auction should be on Letterman or something. Good luck and thanks for the laugh. Sep-23-05
A: I used to write commercials, but they're hard to make funny because the people who make the final decisions are idiots. But maybe you'll like Banterist or Sixtysecond.

Q: I'm confused, is Donna Karan a rock star or a transvestite? Sep-23-05
A: It's a very fine line, really.

That is all. Disperse.

Just another day

After working like a dog all day, minus the 90 minutes I took to get a late breakfast, pick up my new contacts (hopefully these will not end up inside someone's cat), go to the grocery co-op to pick up some food, drop off some mail, buy a stamp, pick up a book at the library, and return reluctantly home, I fixed a fresh tuna salad with lots of vegetables, an avocado, a handful of almonds, and ginger-sesame dressing and sat down to watch The Village with William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver, and Joaquin Phoenix, among others.

At first it was difficult becoming engaged in the story. Hard to lose myself in the images because they didn't really make sense. I couldn't understand why two girls would uproot and bury a beautiful red flower. I didn't understand why a young man laughed at the fearsome roaring coming from the surrounding woods or why the people in the little valley existed.

The story unfolded very slowly and was a bit obtuse. It meandered here and there: a girl declaring her love for a young man to her father who suggested she talk to the young man first before telling anyone else. A silent young man who slowly and methodically read his reasons for going to the towns. The heavy religious overtones of the ruling elders and the mixture of laughter, happiness, fear, and silence that dotted their lives like a slow growing mold.

And then it happened.

The story unfolded with a rapid shift of sensibility and consciousness, barreling away at speeds that left me breathless and stunned, coming to a screeching halt as the light dawned slowly and clearly in its most awful colors and configurations. Lies. Deception. Fantasy. Isolation. Loss of innocence. Return to Hope.

The Village is not an easy movie to like or to understand. It's impact is sudden and shocking. The trip through the molasses thick morass of emotions and lives is tedious at times and very deceptive. I will definitely watch it again this weekend because it deserves a second viewing. One thing is certain, M. Night Shyamalan has lost none of his shock value and it is doubtful if he continues to produce movies like The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, as well as Signs and Wide Awake that he will ever be easy to understand. That is part of the charm and the mystery of his movies.

The Village seems heavy with religious over- and undertones, as are all of Shyamalan's movies, but there is a central truth that makes you stop and take another look, to re-evaluate your perceptions and your beliefs.

And now back to your regularly scheduled lives.

That is all. Disperse.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Surprises and it isn't even my birthday

I trawl over to LJ to post and find that LJ has changed since yesterday. More links, more userpics, and more information than I ever could have wanted. I'll have to check it all out, but not today. Today the sun is a weak ball of fuzzy light peering through the clouds with just enough force to make me squint, but not enough that I can't look directly into it. Then I remember what my optometrist told me about wearing sunglasses whenever the sun is out, even if it's behind the clouds. However, it seems a little strange to go Ray Charles when I'm working inside at my desk. Then again, the sun does shine brightly in here without window coverings and I have to change positions frequently to even be able to read what's on my screen. Good thing I don't watch what I type, huh?

The sun is a watery yellow-white in a grey-white sky from horizon to infinity. The mountains outside my windows are a deep purple smudge and I can see them clearly now that the landlady had vandals come and chainsaw one of the arms off because it was touching the roof. The crotch where the squirrels perform their pornographic shows is still partially there, but their back drop is gone and that severely hampers their Dorothy Lamour long line stretches. Or at least I can't see them since they chose to use the other upright arms and the trunk blocks my view. Now the tree looks like an upraised fist in a two-fingered salute. At least I can see more of the mountains and the gold-studded hills at the base of the midnight folded line of peaks.

The new house across the street has been spray painted a golden tan with white trim and a red door and all the hammering, nailing, and noise is on the inside. They haul in sheet rock and disappear into the depths, coming out again when the sun paints a bloody swath across the horizon and fades into dusk.

Despite all the cars rumbling by, the streets are empty and silent. The street sweepers swish by, lights flashing and rotary brooms bristling away the dirt and rocks and leafy debris. Except for the few cars parked here and there and obscured by trees, the neighborhood is ghostly in its silence and calm, as if waiting for life and sound and activity, a blank sound stage between filmings.

And I have to work. All I want to do is throw on some clothes, don my sunglasses and get lost in the car breathing the smoky autumn air and following the scents of cooking and people and life. I feel as though I've been chained to this desk for ages. I need to get out and breathe and do something other than work for a few hours. I need to brush against humanity and rub shoulders with other seekers before I return to responsibility and schedules and dictations and work.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Word of the day

Every morning as part of my daily ritual, I check my email and then go to Merriam Webster to read the word of the day and to play the daily word game. Today's word struck me as funny.

yahoo • \YAH-hoo\ • noun
: a boorish, crass, or stupid person

Example sentence:
The local teenagers' reputation as a bunch of yahoos was belied by their courteous treatment of the stranded motorists.

Did you know?
We know exactly how old "yahoo" is because its debut in print also marked its entrance into the English language as a whole. "Yahoo" began life as a made-up word invented by Jonathan Swift in his book Gulliver's Travels, which was published in 1726. The Yahoos were a race of brutes, with the form and vices of humans, encountered by Gulliver in his fourth and final voyage. They represented Swift's view of mankind at its lowest. It is not surprising, then, that "yahoo" came to be applied to any actual human who was particularly unpleasant or unintelligent. Yahoos were controlled by the intelligent and virtuous Houyhnhnms, a word which apparently did not catch people's fancy as "yahoo" did.

Kind of makes you wonder why Yahoo! would choose that particular name. Boorish, crass, stupid -- and in my definition, loud. Maybe that's why people have taken to calling them Yahell.

That is all. Disperse.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Can't sleep now...

I received Tim Lebbon's new book, Berserk. One of the great things about being a book reviewer is that I get to see books before they're even on the shelves.

I usually read books in bed right before I go to sleep. It is my answer to Halcyon and every other kind of drug, chemical, herbal tea or concoction to help you sleep. It didn't work last night. Big mistake reading Lebbon's latest at night in bed and even expecting anything resembling peaceful sleep.

I have not even finished with the first chapter yet and already I know this is going to be a frightening book that will keep me awake for nights to come. I read. I fell asleep. I had nightmares that woke me in a sweaty panic. Best to read this one in the light with candles burning and amulets all around so the ghosties and ghoulies do not get close enough to hear the faltering trembling of my overtaxed heart. Talk about meat for the beast.

That is all. Disperse.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Saturday snows

I left here in plenty of time to get to Woodland Park yesterday -- or so I believed.

When I got outside it was snowing, a light granular sifting of starred crystals that looked dull and gray beneath the dark overcast sky. I couldn't see the mountains for the clouds and even though it was near 8:00 the sun was a weak kitten drunk on whiskey. Once I got to Route 24, the white hammer descended like a wrecking ball.

At first the going was fairly easy because the roads were too warm for the snow to stick, but that didn't last long as uncounted worlds of snow overwhelmed the roads and any remaining sense the drivers might have had. Four wheel drive trucks stuck in two-wheel drive were fishtailing all over the roads, slipping and sliding backwards towards the ditches. I put on the electronic traction control, dropped into third gear and drove past them, hugging the right berm in case they slid into me. Semis labored up the hill, groaning and roaring as dropped into lower gear. Four-wheel drive trucks and jeeps slowed to a crawl like turtles wearing ice skates for the first time. I maneuvered into the passing lane, careful to keep my wheels straight and my moves subtle so as not to hit the building slushy, ice coating the roads the wrong way and send me careening into the ditch or sideways into the traffic. It was like driving on a Dodge-Em car track with everyone intent on playing demolition derby. Even police cars were stuck in places and one police car slid into the side of the mountain and stayed there, steaming and fuming in the near darkness.

After a somewhat harrowing drive and a couple of near misses where I turned too sharply to avoid being hit, feathering my brakes and turning into the slide, I found the Hungry Bear Restaurant where my fellow MARC VEs were still waiting for breakfast. I was 25 minutes late, but I was there.

We talked about how the ARRL were proposing dumbing down the ham radio license requirements and taking out the Morse code requirement, something none of us want to see, and joked and talked and laughed until time to go to the library and set up for the exams. By the time we left the restaurant (the food was very good and I had a veggie omelet, bacon and a cup of fresh fruit) the sun was busy turning the slushy iced roads to wet shining strips of graveled black. My trip back across the highway was a lot less tentative than when I arrived and I made it to my car without even the possibility of a slip and fall.

We had five candidates for exams, two of them twin boys of about 16 or 17, all but one of whom passed their exams and will have licenses by Tuesday afternoon. A father and son came from Leadville in a blizzard to take the exams. (Good thing the VEs betting they wouldn't make it didn't put down cold hard cash or I would have gone home considerably richer.) The father aced his exam and his son failed. There's always next time.

One of the candidates took the code test and passed. The best part of it is that he was one of the candidates who took and passed the Technician exam when I did my very first VE exam at the hamfest in Monument in June. I was tickled to see him again and to know he passed code. I'm sure I'll see him again when he passes General and Extra, too.

As we whispered quietly at the VE table, I found out that Paul had been voted in as president of MARC (he showed me a copy of the minutes) and that the PPRAA held a board meeting where they decided that I would take over as the new Zero-Beat newsletter editor. They still haven't told me about it yet, but at least they talked about it behind my back. (very big grin)

When all the grading, signing and congratulating/commiserating was over, we took down the tables and put up the chairs and Steve and Wes surprised me by telling me that I was required to attend Hamcon in Estes Park because the MARC VE team does all the exams during the eight-day event. I've long been wanting to see Estes Park and take the tour of the Stanley Hotel where Stephen King's The Shining was filmed and on which he based his overlook Hotel and it looks like I'll get my chance. I will also have vacation time since I'll have been working for Silent Type, Inc. for over one year, so I will be there with bells on.

Oh, there is one other thing. I became a member of MARC yesterday and that makes me a MARC VE, although I was told I was already considered one since I have done five VE exams there since I was accredited. I guess now that I'm going to edit their newsletter, I'll have to join PPRAA and take my assigned seat on the board there. You'd think I was actually getting involved in the community here or something. Add all this to my widening base of close friends and chosen family and it looks like I'm putting down roots for the first time in my life.

The ride down the mountain was a wet, sun shining, melting ice glittering breeze. I went to the movies and ended up sitting cheek by jowl with a room of laughing, screaming, giggling, howling kids. Chicken Little was a sweet and funny movie, but what was really funny was the anonymity and cover that a theater filled with delighted children gives usually staid and fussy adults. They can laugh and giggle to their hearts' content and no one needs to know they enjoyed themselves under cover of the children. Camouflage at its best.

After the movie, I went to Home Depot to get a new handle for my toilet -- one that isn't plastic and won't break again quite so easily -- and became very excited when the clerk took me to the tool corral. There is a set of soldering irons I will just have to go back and get when I get paid tomorrow. One is a needle fine soldering iron perfect for home brewing ham radio projects and the other a shiny new regular tipped soldering iron. I have one that the Luddite bought for me, but since they come in a packaged set I don't want to separate them -- and I'll have a backup. Backups are good.

The clerk, after asking me if I knew where the tool corral was located, welcomed me to the store when he found out it was my first time. He smiled at me and knowingly winked, saying he knew I'd certainly be back. He is right. I will be back -- and it won't take decades for it to happen. Got that MacArthur?

I got back into the car, motored over to Sage Woman Herbs to talk to the owner, Valerie, about iridology, got some information, left, avoided the urge to stop in at Arby's and get a huge roast beef sandwich on a sesame seed mountain of a bun and a chocolate-strawberry milkshake, and drove home to install my new toilet handle (which took all of one minute) and ended my day on a very dramatic note.

Le sigh.