Buffy Meets The WHoReS.

Posted by DmentD | Friends,Rambling | Friday 17 April 2009 1:25 pm

Mensa: I had a dream last night that we were at your old house for a party, but we knew there was going to be this invasion of monsters and demons, so we were all armed.

Mensa: I brought a few shotguns, but I couldn’t find them when it first started going down, so I had to take some out the old-fashioned way.

DmentD: Awesome dream!

Mensa: There was more, but that was the highlight for you there.  :-)

DmentD: I think… I think I need to post that.

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Shameless Plugging Of Much Coolness.

Posted by DmentD | Coolness,Links,Rambling | Friday 17 April 2009 10:11 am

I stumbled across Martin Whitmore‘s site quite by accident… but isn’t that how the internet works most of the time?  Once there I was hooked, and determined to throw money at him (he does one hell of a pole-dance).

What does he do?  He’s an illustrator who has recently abandoned his day job in order to pursue making a living from his jeebus given talents alone — and those talents are abundant.  I can support that.

He’s in Austin, so that makes him a local artist, and moves him further up my list when I’m choosing things to buy to put on the wall or on me.  I can support that.

He’s got a dark sense of humor, and isn’t afraid to laugh at himself.  I can support that.

He’s got a zombie, and zombie-huntress pinup fetish.  I will support that.

I’ve already picked up the Cephalopocalypse t-shirt (seen worn at Christmas), the Chaos & Order Fairies prints (soon to be coming to a wall near me) and the Cephalopocalypse sticker (soon to be appearing all over town… on the back of my truck).

Go.  Buy his wares, commission original work from him, shower him with moolah.  Not just because he’s trying to make good by supporting himself with his talents, but because his stuff is fucking cool.  Do it now, or I will withhold crawfish from you unwashed heathens… I’ll do it, I swear to Bob!

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Please, Make My Head Stop Hurting.

Posted by DmentD | Rambling,Stress | Thursday 16 April 2009 2:50 pm

This week started with a crushing amount of stress.  Familial… difficulties that I’m unfortunately not at liberty to expand on out of long-standing wishes, etched in stone and enforced with stern will.  Suffice to say, my world was fifteen minutes from changing irrevocably, and even as I write this, the needle has swung from “less dire” to “dire again” a number of times.  This see-saw is going to break me yet.

Upon receiving strong news, my brain goes into a survival mode.  This is something that took me a long time to identify and learn how to harness to keep myself from going overboard (can you say “bye-bye childhood memories”?).  I distract myself thoroughly and allow my subconscious (I call it my “hind brain”, like in a dinosaur tail) to sort out and absorb the information, figure out what best to do with this info, and keep me from losing my shit.  I always said that if I had to name a singular talent, it is my capacity to take things apart — myself included — figure out how it works, and how to put it back together better.  This is a side-specialty of that.

I’ve thrown myself into some home projects that I’ve been working on… measuring, cutting, sanding and painting are fantastic for occupying one’s thoughts thoroughly.  I’ve gone practically obsessive, bordering on manic, and while that’s fine for things that only involve my immediate surrounding, it’s not so good when it involves others in the world.  I suspect I may have done some damage to some possible new friendships by coming off all “Cable Guy”, and being a little more boisterous than normal (hey, I like making new friends… and these folks are cool as hell).  I may be projecting that, though… but I worry about these things sometimes, and until I get to know folks better, I try not to tread on toes — and fail spectacularly on occasion.  Apparently I still have some work to do on my survival mode tactics.

I have mostly kept everyone at arm’s length, because I was already feeling like I had a wet towel wrapped tightly around my head, and the last thing I needed was to feel like I was smothering any more.  I love my friends dearly, and I do support and accept their support freely, but I needed — absolutely required — time to myself to digest what I knew first, without having to recount the tale repeatedly.  I needed to be locked in my own head for a while, without being drawn out.  Trust me… I’m not staying in there, and I know when to open the door again.

What a fucking week.

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To Do.

Posted by DmentD | Domestica,House,Rambling | Monday 13 April 2009 12:49 pm

In addition to the day-to-day work, gym, and retrieving Sweets from school, I have set myself to the task of a few extra activities this week (if possible in the time allotted):

  • Install the newly finished drawer fronts in the kitchen.  They are stained, sealed and have the flush-mount ring pulls installed, all they need is to be mounted.  Carefully.  As only an OC person can.
  • Cut, sand, prime and paint the solid panels for the new lower kitchen cabinet doors.  Measurements have been taken, material has been bought.  Just gotta hope I have enough daylight after the gym tonight to chop it all down to size.
  • Install the above solid panels into the cabinet doors.  The doors are stained, sealed and ready to receive them.
  • Install the above doors/panels onto the cabinets.  Carefully.  As only an OC person can.  Gots the hinges, handles and everything ready to go.
  • Clean, clean, clean the house.  We keep it tidy, but dust builds, floors accumulate little bits of detritus, and courtesy of many trips in and out of the back yard for recreation and gardening, more and more bits and pieces get tracked in than ever.
  • The carpets need a good steam-cleaning after a year of guests, guest-puppies, living and general use.  It’s actually starting to get to me a bit.  I KNOW that carpet has just been vacuumed, but the little stains call me a liar to my very face.  Time to rent one and spend a few hours making good on my silent promises and pleas for forgiveness from the floor.
  • Decorate a cake.  Making one for my niece-in-spirit that lives in Houston.  Sweets is baking and prepping icing and modeling chocolate, and it is being transported by Pandora (as Sweets and I are going to see Avenue Q on Saturday — yay for puppet sex!).  This was by special request, and who am I to refuse a little girl that calls me “Uncle Stuff”?

*crosses fingers*

Hope I can get all this done.  Would be nice since I basically took the weekend off to relax a bit, and help Sweets where possible with her scholarship project (mainly as a dishwasher… but behind every good Chef, is an efficient dishwasher *grins*).

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Readings.

Posted by DmentD | Entertainment,Links,Rambling | Thursday 9 April 2009 2:08 pm

In a William Gibson mood these days… getting back to the father of cyberpunk’s roots.  Finished re-reading Burning Chrome and Neuromancer.  I have a huge literacrush on Molly Millions.

Sadly, I devoured the latest Discworld book, Making Money far too quickly.  I dig Terry Pratchett, and the entirety of the Discworld… world.  His characters are so flesh and blood real, and his writing just keeps getting better.  He’s not afraid to tackle serious topics, and his humor is both light and dark, and that suits me just fine.  Also read Nation, his latest non-Discworld book, and ripped through the Bromeliad trilogy, both of which are billed as “young adult” literature, but addresses some very adult topics (just like Pixar makes “kiddie” animated features… yeah, right).

Currently in the middle of re-reading David SedarisWhen You Are Engulfed In Flames.  Such acid wit, razor sharp and wilting… especially when he turns the beam on himself.  I think when I finish this I’ll be in the right frame of mind for…

Kurt Vonnegut.  What a fantastic writer, but so dark and sorrowful.  I have to be in the right frame of mind to read Vonnegut, I have to brace myself mentally before diving in to keep from being drug down with him.

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Where Them Wild Things Be.

Posted by DmentD | Entertainment,Links,Rambling | Thursday 26 March 2009 12:06 pm

You know, I never entertained the thought that the book Where the Wild Things Are would ever be anything other than the book it is.  Not that I disbelieved it could be translated to another medium (and it has already, frankly, in animated form — but it never took hold in the imaginations of the kids who loved the book), or that it was sacred or anything, but just… well… I dunno.

It’s always been that book I loved as a kid (along with the little known, but utterly fantastic How to Care for Your Monster), and that I still really adore to this day.  The monsters are beautifully drawn, and I have always had an affinity for Moishe (and he is, incidentally, hanging upside down in my office at work creating mischief… and reminding me to do the same), who I am just noticing I bear a resemblance to.

Well, they’ve been working on a movie adaptation of it for a little while now, and there is now a trailer out.  It’s still too early to tell, even from the sketchy trailer, if it has potential to be entertaining.  I’m holding on to guarded optimism.

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When Did I Become Such A Hippie?

Posted by DmentD | Coolness,Domestica,House,Rambling,Reflection | Friday 20 March 2009 9:00 am

I have two rainbarrels.  I have a compost bin.  I take full advantage of Austin’s new bulk recycling services.  I’m going to be growing herbs, and I have seeds germinating for a vegetable garden.  At this rate it won’t be long before I’m half-baked, listening to the Grateful Dead and Phish, and eating an earth shoe while twisting my hair and beard into matted dreadlocks.

Seriously, I never thought I’d be this into this sort of thing.  For years I’ve wanted to grow an herb garden, but never got the momentum up to do it.  Enter Sweets, who comes from a society and culture, and specifically a family that have maintained a garden and have been growing part of their own groceries for many generations.  Almost every home has a garden space, and yards — even tiny ones — are commonly converted into vegetable gardens.  It’s a sensibility and value that’s passed down through the generations.

The big push for this sort of thing came during World War II, when England was not only diverting all its resources toward the war effort, but also reducing its dependency on outside supplies as supply vessels can easily be (and frequently were) sunk by enemy craft.  We here in the States, while being severely limited by rationing, were never crippled by the imminent threat to our very borders.  Growing vegetable gardens did become a means to supplement our personal food supply, but it wasn’t strictly a necessity — tightening a belt isn’t the same as not being able to get supplies at all.  Come the end of the war, we weren’t picking up the pieces after the Blitz and trying to get our country in order, and the need to grow food rapidly dwindled as the US got back up to speed and entered a new era of prosperity.

Even as the need diminished in the UK, the desire remained.  That sense of accomplishment and self reliance became a part of the DNA of the country as a whole, and gardening is a skill taught from parents and grandparents to children.

Nowadays, there is a renewed movement in the US starting to growing edibles again, and it’s in a small way influenced by a shrinking economy, but mostly it’s the sensibilities of the modern hippies/new-agers/tree-huggers/etc.  A new generation of folks are more environmentally conscious, and they’re making that thoughtfulness into a viable industry – the happy balance between good intentions and profitability, and that’s how you get the most people on board.  Recycling is gaining momentum in a lot of municipalities, folks are repurposing a lot of second-hand items and junk these days and there is a big, big push to take care of one’s own piece of the environment, and that includes growing a garden.

Sweets, interested in starting with an herb garden, suggested that we do so, and it snowballed into moving forward on a small vegetable garden.  We’re going to be growing the herbs in pots, in order to make them movable and reconfigurable.  We have a good spot for the garden proper, but we’re going to start small this year and expand as necessary in the seasons to come.  We’re looking at spring and fall plantings, and Austin climate being what it is, we ought to be able to keep fresh veggies of one sort or another in the house for the better part of the year.

Frankly, once the initial setup is done, there is minimal expense involved in maintaining and carrying on from year to year.  You can put as little or as much into as you please — from simple planters on an apartment patio, to serious composting and rain harvesting — or you can take the middle ground like we have.  The City of Austin has an excellent water conservation plan (can you say “drought zone”?), and they are offering rainbarrels at a serious discount.  You place them under your gutter downspouts, and use the collected water for your garden and other non-potable uses (and both of ours filled up after one evening of rain).  Simple and easy, it saves a bit on our water bill, and it means I’m not using treated water for my garden.  We also bought a small compost bin that will let us use yard trimmings, fall leaves and certain kitchen waste to fertilize our garden as well, reducing the expense of fancy fertilizes, and saving our water table from the same.  Frankly, I’m two parts stingy to one part environmentally conscious… you find your motivation where you can.

In the past recycling was never anything I was very vigilant about.  If it was convenient, I did it, if it wasn’t… well, I have never argued that I wasn’t lazy.  In NOLA, we did aluminum cans, and that was about it.  I wasn’t sorting my recyclables, and I didn’t much feel like having to determine what could and couldn’t go in the bin from a very selective list.  Austin started out that way, but about three months back they replaced all the tiny curbside bins with gigantic 90 gallon wheeled cans, and they pretty much take anything, and there is no sorting involved.  That caters to even lazy old me… make it easy, and more people will get on board.

The bottom line is this: gardening is frankly a bit of fun, even at this early stage in the game.  It’s fascinating to take the seeds and watch them sprout — it’s like a magic trick.  The work involved leads to a tremendous sense of satisfaction, and you want to shout “Look what I did!  Me!  The guy who killed a Chiapet in elementary school!”  And then at the end of it all, you have tasty things to enjoy.

Now excuse me, I have a shirt to go tie-dye.

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Mardi Gras Revisited.

Posted by DmentD | Friends,Pictures,Rambling,Travel | Tuesday 17 March 2009 6:33 pm

Better late than never, I am here to report that the trip back to the motherland was a whirlwind success.  Five of us (including three Mardi Gras virgins) left Austin on Friday at near midnight is a slightly cramped, but fuel efficient rental car, and landed in NOLA at 8am.  The drive was uneventful, thankfully, and I am always amused and moved by the site of the swampland as the sun rises over the Atchafalaya Basin.

We unloaded the car, and with the exception of Sweets (ever the smart and practical one) we sat around talking for a few hours rather than catching a nap before continuing with the days adventures.  Having literally about 36 hours in town, we were not going to have much time to lounge around and still do what we wanted.

We headed into “god’s country” — St. Bernard Parish — to that ever-present bastion of old world family dining, Rocky & Carlos.  Now, if you’ve never been, Rocky’s is a little dive of a restaurant that has been around since Jesus was still dining from Mary’s tit.  Italian family-style dining (and I mean both “family” and “Family”, knowhatimsayin’?   Fuhgettaboutit.), and before the flood (which was the best cleaning that place ever had), the atmosphere at Rocky’s was so special and unique that you could scrape it off the walls with a cracker.  I miss the old microwave that used to be on top of the broiler… it had a hole melted in the door from the heat, and the staff used to just reach through it, rather than open it.

Afterwards, we joined some folks for the Endymion parade.  We were right at the beginning where the bands, flambeaux and horseback riders were inserted into the parade.  It wasn’t as visceral an experience as being in the crowds downtown, but it was still a good time.  I think I take more joy from the company I’m with at parades, than the actual parades themselves… and to have three newcomers (one of which was my sweetie), and to share their joy at the strangeness of it all was worth every second on the road driving there and back.

After Endymion, we had dinner at Crescent City Brewhouse with the intention of a foray into the French Quarter, just for the sake of the thing.  Once we neared the end of the meal, the travel exhaustion caught up with us, and the adrenaline from the parade wore off, and we decided to head bedward.  Needless to say, we all slept like the dead.

The next morning we woke, nibbled on some breakfast and chatted for a bit, then headed out for some lunch at R&O’s in Bucktown.  After starting life as a pizza joint, they eventually blossomed into a fully fledged Italian restaurant, then expanded into poboys, seafood, and other local staples.  R&O’s is by far my favorite seafood/sammich shop in NOLA, with a consistently yummy seafood gumbo — and true to their eclectic form — dynamite tamales.

After lunch, we did a little shopping for local supplies not easily obtained in Austin: tasso (nobody’s even heard of it here), andouille (a nice hot, but not so hot you can’t taste anything else variety — a concept that seems to escape andouille makers everywhere but in Louisiana), Crystal hot sauce, and honest to goodness King Cakes (12 in all).  After stowing it all back with our gear at the house, we left to attend Bacchus.

Surprisingly, we managed to park about 6 blocks away from Napoleon Ave., and we hoofed it down to meet Lisa, Slinky and relations.  We were met there by Scarlett and Nightshade, and Sancho joined in as well.  A good time was had by all.  Bacchus is still my favorite downtown parade.

We retreated to our car after the parade, and made a beeline for Lola’s in hopes that they were still open for dinner.  Lola’s is a mix of Spanish/Creole cooking, and they have the best paella dishes EVAR!  If you avoid garlic, avoid Lola’s at all costs.  It’s a small place, but the food is always consistently wonderful, and any wait to be seated is well worth it.

After dinner, we gathered up our gear, groceries and selves, and got on the road back to Austin.  Again, we had a mercifully uneventful drive home.  Dropped off the rental car and we all crashed like coma victims in our respective beds.

All in all, it was a good, if short trip, and it scratched the Mardi Gras itch for another year.  Until then, I leave you with this gem.

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Carnival Starvation.

Posted by DmentD | Links,Rambling,Reflection | Monday 9 February 2009 9:27 pm

It’s starting.   Can you feel it?

That jittery flutter in my brain has been making my skull itch for about a week now.  It’s carnival season, and I can feel the pull in my very bones.  It’s something I’ve taken for granted my entire life — sometimes loving it for the joy of the sensation of community and being with my friends acting like a fool, sometimes loathing it for its intrusion into my life, sometimes avoiding it like the plague for fear of going homicidal on the the mass idiot crowds — but it has always been there.

I miss it.  And I never realized how much I would until it was no longer a part of the background noise of my life.  I’ve been away from NOLA long enough now for that sensation of something… missing, right around the beginning of the year, to become prominent.  The colors are duller around Austin, the air is missing the tinkle of the familiar old carnival classics — the ones we’ve been playing for well over 40 years now, and nobody ever questions why that tired old music from 50’s, 60’s and 70’s is still the signature music of the season… it just is.  It’s part of the DNA of the city.

Rifling through my music collection, I was heartbroken to find that none of my Mardi Gras music survived the flood, and I had never converted any to digital.  I have been asked no less than four times in the last few weeks if I had any to play… and I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t.  I just got the faithful old classic, Mardi Gras In New Orleans, and have been listening to it and smiling so broadly, I swear my grin is going to meet in the back, and pop the top of my head clean off.  I’m putting out a call for anyone with more of the same to help me bulk up my collection, pleaseandthankyou.

The itch is scratched, but it’s not gone.  It’s gonna take being shoulder to shoulder with a rowdy rabble of the unwashed masses, watching the lights, smelling the diesel, screaming my throat raw, and reaching higher to grab the useless — and ultimately worthless except to my starving soul — trinkets that symbolize not just a season, but a part of my life that won’t ever fade.

“Every year, at carnival time, we get a new zoot!
– The Wild Magnolias

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Goblins In The Night.

Posted by DmentD | Domestica,House,Rambling | Tuesday 30 December 2008 11:01 pm

So, there we are, Sweets and I snuggled together in bed — she, sound asleep, and me just slipping past the stage of dozing lightly and into a sound slumber.  My arm and leg are draped over her, we’re all cozy and warm.

Suddenly, Sweets sits bolt upright, sloughing me off to the side, and turns her head toward the big window behind our bed, a look of concern on her face.  I’m instantly awake — my heart is beating fiercely in my chest, my adrenaline glands go from zero to full production in a split second.  I’m ready for action.

“What?  You ok?  What is it?” I ask.

“Oh.  Nothing.” she replies, and promptly lay back down and instantly falls back to sleep, snoring softly.

For the next forty-five minutes I toss and turn, straining my ears to hear even the faintest footfall outside the window.  Listening to the sounds of the sleeping house trying to detect something amiss.  Checking, double checking, and checking again that the red light on the alarm control panel was lit, signifying that the sensors were on and waiting for some intruder.

She remembers nothing of it.  Has a good laugh when I tell her.  Me too, to be honest.  It was pretty funny, now that I’m an evening and a few hours of sleep away from it.  Better to chase goblins, than to miss their presence when they arrive.

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