Thursday, September 20, 2012

I want . . . something?

I wantWhen I think of wanting something, it's a vague sort of feeling. I wanted a piece of lemon meringue pie when my Aunt Anne told me she was having one for her bedtime snack. I didn't want the coffee she would have with it. Water will do just fine. I want a house of my own, but not with that burning, all consuming desire that I would give up everything just to have a house.

Now that I think about it, I wonder if there has ever been anything I've wanted with all the fervor and passion of my soul, something I wanted so much I would give up everything to possess, something that consumed my every waking moment, something I planned for and dreamed about and couldn't live without. Surprisingly, the answer is . . . not really. I am a product of Gram's teaching. She told me my wants wouldn't hurt me, and they haven't, not so much that it consumed me.

I think that's sad in a way, not to want something with every fiber of my being. I've had plenty of what I don't want over the decades of my life (far too much for my liking), but like knowledge and jobs (mostly) and being able to survive through quite a few difficult, and sometimes life or death, situations, I have led a charmed life.

Don't get me wrong. I've been down and out -- as down and out as you can get without dying. I've been homeless. I've had lots of money and no money. I've been stepped on, lied to, stabbed in the heart (more times than I can count), and treated like dirt (and not just by my family), but I've still managed to come out of whatever pile of poo I've been tossed into intact. What do I know from desire that leaves me panting with rage or excitement or even hunger that gnaws at the soul until there's nothing left but a burned out husk and ashes? Nothing. I feel a bit like the Jews. There's always tomorrow. I'll get through or I won't. Pfft!

There have been moments when I thought I wanted something so much I'd die if I didn't get it. I was 5 and 12 and 15 and 22. There are lots of those dramatic moments when you're young and full of passions and unrequited desires. I got over them. I didn't die, although there were times I was so low I had decided to cut off this mortal coil and move on to the next incarnation, but I'm still here. Something always kept me going, messed up my carefully laid plans, and left me stranded on this rocky shore.

I've wept heart sick over broken love affairs. I've raged against my family's inhumanity and casual disregard for me. I've been limp with exhaustion from storms of tears and barely able to drag myself through another pointless day, and yet I still don't think I've ever been utterly consumed so that I'd do anything, say anything, give anything to have my heart's desire, and I wonder if I'm blessed or if I've missed the emotional desire streetcar because I've been unsullied by life.

That is not to say I don't have my scars and my heartaches, but I survived, so how deep could they be? Nothing has killed me yet, although sometimes I wonder if my desire, my need to want something has been irreparably damaged. I want things, but nothing so much that I'm not willing to wait and work and save to get whatever it is I want.

I want a home of my own, some little cabin in the mountains where all I see is trees, the shimmer of sunlight or moonlight on the lake down the path, and land as far as I can see. I won't kill to get it. I'll save and look and plan and it will come. Whatever I want, no matter how long it takes, I manage to get it -- if I don't lose the desire for it along the way or the desire is replaced with something else I'd rather have. That's what I mean about not wanting anything enough.

Maybe I'm looking at this from the wrong angle. Maybe I have been that passionately desirous of things but age and time have worn down the sharp edges and taught me that if it's possible I'll have whatever I want with hard work and giving up the little wants. My desires are quiet things without ardent fervor and the sense of immediacy I felt as a child and a youth. I have been tempered by my experiences and taught that time can be friend as well as enemy. My sharp edges have been smoothed by the waters of life so that I no longer gash anyone who comes near. I guess it comes with age, that slow burning fire of desire and want, so that want is a gnawing hunger inside that will be soothed eventually, secure in the knowledge that the hunger will be assuaged and the want fulfilled -- eventually. I can wait. I've waited for so much and received what I wanted. This, too, will be added in the fullness of time.

Or it won't.

Life's a gamble, but the trail through the dangerous hinterlands is always interesting.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bounced checks

When a writer begins a story, play, teleplay, book, or series, the writer writes a check, a promissory note, that will be paid in full during the course of the work. I remember hearing that if a lead pipe (or other prop) appeared in Act 1 Scene 1, it had better be used by Act 3. The same is true for books and stories. If a writer introduces a character or a other plot point, the writer had better make it good, sooner rather than later.

I finally finished A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin a couple weeks ago. I really like George's writing and enjoyed the journey but felt, as many other readers have, that there was no forward movement. I even discussed this with one of my like-minded best friends the other night, and she said that George had written more checks than he had cashed throughout the series. Now I hear that George is writing a sidebar about the first Targaryeans to hit the shores of the Seven Kingdoms. While all that is well and good, where is the end to the currently 5-book and counting series of The Song of Ice and Fire?

One of the biggest checks George wrote was the white walkers. Although there have been glimpses of them and talk about them, how many of you have read anything about the white walkers -- or the coming of winter, outside of the numerous references to the cold? The white walkers are supposed to be dangerous, to be the reason the Wall was built and manned, and the whole point of the Starks' words of "Winter is coming." There have been references to long winters in the past and the current crop of children and some adults are referred to as the children of summer, but where are the white walkers and why has George gone through five very large and wordy tomes without showing them?

The wildlings are running scared from them, scared enough to assault the wall in an attempt to get on the other side of it. They're not after plunder. They are running terrified. The dead walk but no white walkers have been seen clear and in focus or in force and there is no hint of when or where they will be appearing. That's a major bounced check.

And there are others, the biggest of which is why is Danaerys still fooling around in playing mother to slaves when she should have marched north and taken sail for the Seven Kingdoms, her rightful domain? She was all hot for it when she was married to Kal Drogo and pregnant with the Stallion that Mounts the World, but now she's wandering in the desert and there is no talk of heading north. I had thought by book 5 there would be some movement toward the ports to buy ships and head north with her slaves and dragons, but . . . nothing. Another bounced check.

I can understand why so many fans have been outraged and giving Dance poor marks. It's not the writing because that is as good as George gets. It's the lack of forward movement. It is what the negative comments have made issue over: "Nothing happens." That's not quite true. A lot happens, but none of it advances the story or hints at a light at the end of this really long and action packed tunnel. No forward movement is what they really mean and it is another bounced check.

As an editor, I'd have to say that A Dance with Dragons needed to be pruned and a whole lot of wasted space thrown out. We don't need to know about every time someone went to the bathroom or what they wore. We need to know when the white walkers are more than a myth or scary fairy tale to make children hunker down under the furs and when this battle will be enjoined between dragons and the coming of the winter with no end where the white walkers will walk in truth instead of in hearsay.

For all I know, Dany is waiting for a ride. But, wait, she already got one. It burned her clothes and skin and all her hair off, but she has a ride. She needs to stop playing waiting woman and be action woman with dragon and get the hell out of harpy territory with her forces intact and move north to the Seven Kingdoms, which are currently being torn apart by Lannister & Company.

For all of George's brilliant scenes and good writing, there needs to be some money in the bank to pay off all those bounced checks. I don't think readers will wait impatiently for another ponderous tome with no forward movement and no sign of pay off. I stopped a little past midpoint in Dance because I was a bit disgusted with the endless minutiae. Even the best written story has to have a point and I think George has lost sight of his point -- or points. A sidebar about the first Targaryeans could wait until after we have achieved the goal promised in the first book, A Game of Thrones. How about it, George? Is there an end in sight or should we write off those bounced checks?

Cassandra Speaks

"Smiling Faces Sometimes" 
Smiling faces sometimes pretend to be your friend
Smiling faces show no traces of the evil that lurks within
Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes
They don't tell the truth uh
Smiling faces, smiling faces
Tell lies and I got proof
The truth is in the eyes
Cause the eyes don't lie, amen
Remember a smile is just
A frown turned upside down
My friend let me tell you
Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes
They don't tell the truth, uh
Smiling faces, smiling faces
Tell lies and I got proof
Beware, beware of the handshake
That hides the snake
I'm telling you beware
Beware of the pat on the back
It just might hold you back
Jealousy (jealousy)
Misery (misery)
Envy I tell you, you can't see behind smiling faces
Smiling faces sometimes they don't tell the truth
Smiling faces, smiling faces
Tell lies and I got proof
Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes
They don't tell the truth
Smiling faces, smiling faces
Tell lies and I got proof
(Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes)
(Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes)
I'm telling you beware, beware of the handshake
That hides the snake
Listen to me now, beware
Beware of that pat on the back
It just might hold you back
Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes
They don't tell the truth
Smiling faces, smiling faces
Tell lies and I got proof
Your enemy won't do you no harm
Cause you'll know where he's coming from
Don't let the handshake and the smile fool ya
Take my advice I'm only try' to school ya

I'm almost hesitant to write anything political right now, and not because I'm afraid of repercussions. I feel like Cassandra who had the gift of sight but was doomed to be ignored, which in turn doomed Troy to be doomed.

I often talk politics with one of the drivers that delivers my groceries from King Soopers. He is an intelligent young man and we seem to be on the same centrist page most of the time. When I saw him Sunday he had just finished Dreams from my Father by Obama and he said that we have a president that is making his father's dreams come true. I couldn't agree more even though it seems like he is doing a good job, he is slowly crumbling the solid bedrock upon which this country stands.

I know. You're going to say that I'm racist and prejudiced and that I am a Republican, but all three would be wrong. Obama and Michelle Obama are racist and have proven it in what they write, she in her Master's dissertation and Obama in his actions. He courts the "people" but he is full of rage towards the United States, just like his father before him, an African tribesman who believed the U.S. had too much importance, too much money, and too much arrogance and needed to be brought to its knees to be just like any other country, preferably any other third world country.

Have you ever wondered why Obama has been on his near constant apology tour? Didn't it cross your mind to question why, during the talks with North Korea, Obama came away with nothing more than an agreement that the U.S. and Russia would get rid of 20% of their nuclear weapons (Russia has been selling theirs to the highest bidder since their communist government failed)? Didn't it occur to ask why Obama has no real foreign policy and why he is happy to let Iran have nukes?

I know that everyone reaches for the Nazis and Hitler whenever a discussion goes on too long, but the parallels are there, just in reverse. France and Britain stood by and pooh-poohed Germany's aggressive takeover of other country's territories, saying that Germany was just taking back what was once theirs. The blitzkriegs were swift and not a shot was fired so no one was hurt and Britain and France were content not to stir the angry ant hill. We are in the same situation.

Where is the outrage for Obama's apology when the American embassy in Egypt was attacked? We were attacked and the President of the United States apologized. What's up with that?  Where is the shock and dismay as Obama continues to apologize for the U.S. abroad when there is nothing to apologize for? Why has Obama given false dates for withdrawal from Iran and Afghanistan and continued aggression? Some say his actions in Afghanistan with the push are what we should have done in Vietnam.

There is this false bonhomie that Obama puts on but he chills my blood. It's one of those rare instances when I took an instant dislike to him as if some part of my brain recognized danger and my inner Robby the robot was waving his arms and screaming, "Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!" What I've seen since then scares me even more. The last time I got the Robby the robot warning was with smiling with all his teeth Carter and I was right about him, too, as has been proved by his actions in the Middle East and his red-faced rhetoric. What I continue to learn about Obama has turned my hair silver. Okay, that was already happening, but you get the picture.

Read Dinesh D'Souza's The Roots of Obama's Rage and read Obama's own words in Dreams from my Father. It will all become clear.

Call me Chicken Little. Call me racist. Call me anything you like, but take the time to read some of what I've read. Obama is out to destroy the United States and pluck her from her pre-eminent position. It infuriated his father and infuriates Obama that the U.S. produces about 2-3% of the world's oil and uses 23% of the natural resource. He considers that evil. What better way to take down this evil nation with too much of everything than to destroy us economically, financially, and personally. Even though the multi-trillion dollar bump in the deficit was due to Obama's stimulus package, because it was still part of Bush's fiscal year, Bush got the blame and the numbers. That is why it was so important to push that package of over larded pork through as quickly as possible so that Bush would get the blame. It's like Clinton's phantom surplus and balanced budget, all smoke and mirrors. Look at Obama with fresh eyes and see him for what he is. Forget about his young family and smiles, ignore his fancy speech making and take a good hard look at him when there is no prepared speech or teleprompter available. Stop making excuses for his mistakes and see them in a bright, hard light. This man needs to go before he can do the rest of the damage he has prepared, and he needs to go at the end of this election. Thwart his nefarious plans and put him out of the White House before we are a third world country and the world's economy is trashed by our fall or worse, that the world is in chaos as our enemies scramble to fill the vacuum that the United States' fall will create.

I sound like Cassandra, but be wiser than the leaders of Troy. Listen, read, pay attention, and do something about it or we will follow Troy. Remember, the book is called Dreams from my Father and not Dreams of my Father. Obama is making his father's dreams come true. Find out what they are and check your reality.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Friendly links and videos

Found this on fitfool's LiveJournal and it's a hoot. Check out her video links post, but start with this one.

Pachelbel, one hit wonder, is everywhere. It's like Harper Lee, why write more when your first hit lasts forever.

Review: Harry Lipkin, Private Eye by Barry Fantoni

To think that I could be taken in by an 87-year-old Jewish private investigator from page 1 is possible, but hasn't happened before. It might happen again if Barry Fantoni writes more of Harry Lipkin's adventures, and I sure hope he does.

Harry Lipkin, Private Eye is a gumshoe novel (and Harry wears real gumshoes; it's necessary. He doesn't want to break a hip) in a class by itself. Harry doesn't keep working, and not for $50 a day plus expenses in this economy, for the money and he doesn't work because he has to since he has no wife and no children. Harry keeps working because he can. He's an old fire horse still racing to the fire, although much slower these days, even though he was put out to pasture a long time ago.

Harry takes the cases the police never see. People don't run to the police for piddling thefts or any of the piddling issues that plague every-day life. People turn to investigators like Harry, which is what Mrs. Norma Weinberger does when a few of her small private possessions come up missing. She employs five people: a chauffeur, maid, cook, butler, and gardener. One of those five must be the culprit and Harry is the man to find out which one did it. The decapitated thug on Harry's front lawn he will thrown in for free.

Barry Fantoni has created a likeable character in Harry Lipkin. Harry still drives his own car, even though it is 60 years old, and still gets around like he always did, albeit a bit slower. Harry has reflux, can't sleep most nights, and shuffles when he walks, but he gets the job done and provides a bit of history and a few memories to keep things interesting.

Harry is a mensch, the kind of friend you'd look forward to eating a little something with in a deli or sipping lemon tea with on a hot day. Harry isn't much on repairs since climbing up the Matterhorn of his roof to replace some heavy gray slate tiles on the highly peaked roof above his one story home is a bit beyond his capabilities these days, but he's nearing a century of life and experience, and something has to give.

Fantoni isn't a stylistic writer and he won't win any literary awards, but for sheer story telling power and creating memorable characters, Fantoni is the writer you want to spend an evening or a weekend getting to know. I hope Harry Lipkin, Private Eye is the beginning of a beautiful new friendship and that we will be seeing each other a lot more.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pictures from Texas

I received an envelope of pictures of my granddaughters I thought I'd share. No note, just pictures.

Sierra & Alanna with Belle at Disney World 2012

With Cinderella at Disney World 2012

Sierra 05/19/12

Alanna 05/19/12

Last, but not least, Alanna's 1st dance recital July 2012

Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words. I have a feeling all I'll get from Texas will be pictures. I can handle that.

That is all.  Disperse.

Gruesome v. Nice

Jumping through hoops this morning with the post office (nothing new there, and, no, they didn't reroute my mail again), trying to get a little sustenance after a broken night's sleep, and it's Monday again. Why is it Monday? Oh, right, because I worked Saturday and it feels like I had no weekend at all.

At least I discovered Barry Fantoni's Harry Lipkin, Private Eye, and that was fun, so much fun I read when I woke up at 2:30 a.m. I'll write about Harry later, but suffice it to say I want to be like him, without the arthritis, reflux, and shuffling. I also read The Age of Desire about Edith Wharton's affair with a journalist when she was in her middle years and married, and her enduring friendship with Anna. Hot sex, literary lights, and Wharton. Jennie Fields can write. (She's the author.)

There was another discovery as I went through the cross stitch magazines I got Saturday and had some time to peruse since sleep was playing a very effective round of hide and seek. Overdyed/hand dyed floss with it's variations of shades need to be stitch one full cross at a time. I didn't know that. It changes everything, especially with a project I've been busily stitching with Weeks Dye Works floss. It's a Halloween sampler and I do love the colors, but changing how I stitch with them changed everything. I'm not going to tear out the almost two-thirds of what I've already done, but it does make a difference in how it ends. So much to learn and absorb and use.

There were also pictures of my granddaughter Sierra in the mail, along with her half-sister Alanna, at Disney World. They were posed with Cinderella and Belle (not the cartoons, the reasonable facsimiles thereof) dressed as princesses. I think my idea for Halloween costumes (the corpse bride and glittery witch) may end up going by the wayside. I would prefer something more Halloweeny, but Karla, Sierra and Alanna's other grandmother, may have more Disney ideas about costumes. I briefly flirted with Tinkerbell, but wanted something more in a Halloween vein, like Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas, which I've also looked at and cannot find in a toddler size 4 or 5.  I want grisly and Karla probably wants magical and girly. I think grisly should be the order of the day and she can have girly for the girls' ballet recital in December. We'll have to duke it out for the choices. At least there I'll have the edge. I'm taller, bigger, and don't drink too much alcohol when the clock strikes 5. I can't remember when I last had an alcoholic drink. Must be a couple, or even three, years ago.

We do have to work these things out, these little in-law issues. I really have never gotten the kinds of in-laws I deserve. Well, there was that once when my husband's mother was dead. That was good. No in-law issues. I adored his father, just not my husband. I even liked his gay brother Larry more than I did my husband, but at least Mom liked him. Did I ever mention how much my mother's taste and mine differed? There's a good example. She thought because Nick was good looking that he was the perfect mate. Just because she got lucky (Dad didn't) meant that I would, except we were night and day. For once, I was sunny and bright day and she was the hour of the wolf on a dark and stormy night. I have a feeling Karla and Mom have more in common than I'd like. Dawn's gonna come early this time and shine like a thousand suns into her cold, dark, and stormy hour of the wolf if she thinks she can mess with me and get away with it. I don't get to see my granddaughter that often, so I win. If not, I'll knock her scrawny ass down and sit on her while holding a pitcher of martinis just out of reach and see if we can come to a more I win kind of agreement. Sometimes it pays to be fat. This is one of those times.

So, with a truncated weekend and a long climb to payday at the beginning of another fun-filled, busy week of wage slavery, I bid you good morning. At least I saw it from the half side of 9 instead of at the hour of the wolf when I finally managed to get back to sleep.

Oh, and happy birthday to Dr. Jeff. He's a newlywed married to the woman of his dreams and having the time of his life. I just know he'll blow out all the candles (potential fire hazard though they will be) and all his wishes will come true.

That is all. Disperse.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Time for a change


What is it about bald women that makes some men go wild and some men cringe in fear? Sigourney, Demi, Sinead, and Natalie all went bald, or as close as one can get without shaving, and they looked beautiful and hot. I guess when a woman is already beautiful and hot, going bald doesn't change anything, which says a lot for the Sun King, Louis XIV, finding his wife, Maria Theresa, who was bald from alopecia (loss of hair) ugly and disgusting. He probably found her to be ugly and disgusting when she had hair. Arranged marriages are like that, especially among royalty, which is why so many of them had mistresses.

This morning while looking at myself in the mirror, I decided I needed a change, so I cut my hair. No, I didn't shave it, just cut it a bit below the ears. No, my ears are not that long. You're thinking about my breasts, and they're not that long either, especially not with all the fat on them. Don't tell me you didn't know that breasts are mostly fat. Men are enamored, besotted, intrigued, and desirous of breasts, fatty tissue that also produces milk. I don't know why some men find fat anywhere else so disgusting and wilting when the one feature on a woman they crave and lust for are all about the fat. I guess it all comes down to perspective. Doesn't it always?

So, I decided to cut my hair. It was getting long and I thought it would help slow down the natural hair loss that comes with age and the weight of long hair. When I was done I had more than a pound of hair. That's a lot of hair.

As I suspected, it was mostly brown with streaks of silver, which proved (to me at least) that my hair is actually going back to brown instead of marching onward toward full silver. I'm a little unhappy about it since I was happy with the progress towards total silver, but nature will have Her way and my feelings be damned. I'll get there eventually.

I go through this hair cutting ritual about once every year or so and it had been a while since I last chopped it off. This is the shortest I've gone for a while, but it will grow on me, I'm sure. A few months and I won't be able to tell I cut it. It will make showering nicer since I won't be pulling great long strands of hair out of folds and off my body, and it won't be hanging down the back of my tops like the wispy end of a mullet. I'll hav eless hair to clean up and get rid of, too. That has to be a plus.

I probably should have done this hair cutting routine at the beginning of spring so my neck won't be cold most of the winter, but that's the thing about impulses and a sharp pair of Gingher shears. Something's going to get cut. This time it was my hair.  Next time?

Who knows?

That is all disperse.