Thursday, January 26, 2006

To Semi-Accurately Quote My Father: "Why should 'nuisance of cats' be plural? It only takes one."

Last night was my first night house-sitting in the Land of Wind and Snow. After lugging all my stuff inside, through the aforementioned wind and snow, I went to get the mail. Discovered the snow plow had come by. Evidence: mailbox looked like it had been hit by a mean right hook. It was off-kilter, dented, slack-jawed and appeared to be wincing. It reminded me of the flower in Catullus 11. But mostly it was funny.

I passed a reasonably pleasant evening locating things in the kitchen, unpacking my stuff, and making the acquaintance of all three cats--one brain-damaged, one feral and one which seems fairly normal but may be possessed of some hidden madness. I also re-learned how to use the kind of television that doesn't have a remote control. It's been a decade since I heard the term "UHF." Amazingly, I did not miss it.

Upon retiring to bed, I quickly discovered that the cats, all of them, expect to sleep in the master bedroom. With me. Sitting on me, creeping over me, meowing at me, doing everything but actually sleeping. As a result I have been wide awake since 5am. This in combination with the opera that is playing right now at work, and by playing I mean terrorizing my ears, may prove to be terminal, which is why I am blogging at work. I will die before they have a chance to fire me. And my cause of death will be "surfeit of cats."

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Yes, I did just photograph my chest and post it on the Internet.

This post is going to be about things I forgot to mention at the time. For instance, for my birthday, I got a truly amazing sweatshirt from Ivan, specially embroidered with that timeless exclamation, "Nargh!"

Viking loungewear

While I thrust my narghy chest in everyone's face for a month afterward, saying "DON'T YOU WISH THIS WAS YOURS? WELL YOU CAN'T GET ONE! IT'S ONE OF A KIND!", I never posted about it. It came with Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and smelled like chocolate for weeks. It baffles my coworkers. I guess they don't realize that Vikings are intrinsically funny. Some people are weird. Anyway, I've been thinking of other things that would be great on a sweatshirt and although many of them are Latin obscenities I think also a large HWAET! would be enjoyable as well. But only for me and the two other people who have read Beowulf.

For Christmas, I got something I should have taken a picture of and posted immediately. My grandmother, the one who met President Bush and said later she almost bit him, saw this in a catalogue and apparently thought of me.


As far as I know, Simon and Ivan are strangers to her, and so it is rather a startling coincidence, really. It is named Patchogue, after a town on Long Island near where my grandparents live. You can't tell from the rather yellow quality of this picture, but Patchogue is olive green, patterned, and in every way splendid. You should have seen him with his wig. Also splendid.

Also concerning my grandmother: she learned that I needed a hat and after Christmas, I got one in the mail. It was grape purple, thick, and . . . splendid. About a week later, I got another, modeled here by Patchogue.


The note said "For your more fantastical occasions." Indeed! My grandmother descends from ministers and educators practically as far back as Plymouth Rock. When I was little there seemed to me no explanation for the strange ways of my family other than that all these forefathers were Puritans, whose hellfire-and-brimstone work ethic had been passed down to us later generations mainly in the form of an unbelievable consistency in preparing meals with all the food groups, going to bed before ten, and using the television solely to watch the McNeil-Lehrer News Hour. But I guess the truth is that my grandmother is a sort of New Puritan, the kind that buys a sinfully gaudy hedgehog doorstop, knits a jester hat really just for the hell of it, and would happily bite the leader of the free world as revenge for him being a total idiot. And even if New Puritanism involves eating a lot more vegetables than a rational person would ever want, I think I could really get behind that lifestyle. Unless it forbade me to take pictures of my chest and post them on the Internet. That right I will never surrender.

In other news, and I don't have a picture for this, I am no longer Simon, Girl Reporter. I gave up my job at the local paper because I was very bad at it. Also I hated it. Also I had one of those moments of clarity when you realize you are wasting valuable time doing something that brings you no joy (except for the rare occasion when somebody says something SO outrageous it's funny, like "Why can't we close the parks on Sunday mornings so kids don't have to choose between sports and church?" Answer: "Because of the Constitution.") and you might as well use that time doing something that brings you monstrous levels of frustration, irritation, and anger, such as writing. If I did have a picture of this moment of clarity, it would be of me at my computer surrounded by Greek muses cooperatively engaged in throwing thousands and thousands of hardcover copies of the Riverside Shakespeare at my head. Parts of me would be bleeding, but the general feel of the composition, I believe, would be happiness. Because while procrastinating I would be posting pictures of my chest on the Internet and blogging about it.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

that darn cat

Maude moved in last week. She's a rather intimidating spider, but she curled up in the corner such a sweet, non-threatening, "i'm going to die in four or five minutes so don't worry about me" way, that I let her stay. We fell into a routine, a rather elaborate ritual where I would blow on her to see of she was alive and then yell "What are you doing wasting your life in a corner! What did he do to you! No one puts Maude in the corner! Pull yourself together, Maude!" and she would extend one leg, as if trying to pull herself from the depths of despair, and then crumple into a shape that only a severely depressed spider can achieve.

That was life with Maude- until I let the Cloudy in. The cat has taken to mewing for thirty or forty minutes outside my room in a manner I can only equate with Chinese water torture and I was so close to digging my eyes out with a fork I opened the door. Cat made a beeline for Maude and knocked her cruelly, brutally, from her corner. She curled up and took the beating until I pulled the cat off and threw it back into the living room. "Maude!" I cried. But she was motionless. Goodbye Maude. It crossed my mind she might be faking, that she might just be wounded, playing dead to fool the cat and that she might be angry I didn't intervene earlier.

Naaahhhhh. Maude's dead. I went back to watching TV but for some reason i felt the need to look at the wall RIGHT next to my head, AND THERE WAS MAUDE.

AND SHE LOOKED ANGRY. Now she's stalking me. I swear to god wherever I move in the room she follows. She's no longer depressed, she has a PURPOSE in life. So in light of Maude the killer spider, I'm letting Cloudy hang out. He seems pretty hell bent on eating her and I have to say, I whole-heartedly support his efforts.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Missing

The pasta strainer went missing just after the new year. I was annoyed for six or seven days but I got over it and started using a slotted spoon. And then the pasta strainer magically reappeared and I find myself wondering what exactly one of the roommates was doing with a pasta strainer, in their room, for sixteen days. For all I know they've been using it to strain stray hairs out of their bathtub or as a planter for whatever strange fungi grows on their side of the apartment. A pasta strainer should never leave the kitchen. It serves no purpose other than to drain water off your soggy noodles... Either way, not knowing where it's been makes me never ever want to use it again. I've been thinking about building a cage since it's now unfit to drain food. I will rig the pasta strainer so every time that stupid cat comes near my room it will drop Mouse Trap style and teach the damn thing a lesson. Yes. That is what I must do.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


it's windy here in january. no one really cares about a breeze when it's 75 and sunny, but since it's the only climate related abnormality we have, it's officially a conversation piece. so it was inevitable on the walk to seven-eleven that someone would say "it's windy out here," and it just made my day when dylan pointed to the man with the leaf blower and said "yeah, those things sure are powerful."

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


This is my car. It suffered four months without a name. But it suffers no longer. Now I suffer, having discovered the mischevious spirit that lurks within its innocent, shiny white exterior. This car longs for one thing and one thing only. Mud. Not the fine coating of grit that every car develops in the winter, as if it hasn't shaved for three days. This car wants to wallow. It wants to sit in a mudhole and flap. It wants to dig with its snout in the saturated earth, and it wants to roll over, and it wants to wiggle its wheels in the air as it coats itself in mud. And it takes every opportunity it sees to do this. I could have named it Questionable Turning Radius, or Needs Better Treads on Wheels, or Thank Goodness Its Small Enough to Push Out of Holes, but those are obviously too cumbersome to shout when its back tires start gleefully spinning mud up, over, and onto the windshield. And they do not do enough to implicitly absolve me of any part I may have had in the escapades to which I refer. So I name it, with affection, Pig, and please forgive me if instead of breaking champagne I pour a bottle of Mr Clean over its hood.


I was pretty happy to put 3,000 miles between me and my family (glad none of you are talking, good way to keep the verbal abuse down) and I have to say, I was in a decent mood when I got to my apartment Sunday afternoon. It was a nice day of unpacking, watching tv, flipping through the mail... flipping through the mail! wait! a letter from the Traffic Violations Bureau. what?! I have no violations! I am an excellent driver! (no comments, please). I opened the letter and found pictures of me in the process of what the state of California calls a "Fail to Stop Red Signal" and what I call "Making it Through the Intersection in a Timely Fashion". For my convenience they provided two candids of my crime, enlarging the second to reveal the driver of my vehicle. In this case it was in fact me screaming "FUCK" and making faces at the person in front of me because they STOPPED in the middle of the intersection and that is why I didn't make it through. The ticket was issued by Deputy Zenon Porche. Zenon Porche, closely related to Ford Prefect, reviewed my photo and decided the best way to deal with me, the menace to society that i am, was with a $350 fine. $350 for a traffic violation he did not witness! Zenon Porche, had you actually been sitting on the corner of La Brea and Santa Monica instead of at your desk, eating doughnuts and looking at pictures of people who committed NO REAL CRIME, I would have some respect for you. Alas, I think you're a raging ARSE. I googled you and found you'd given over 5,000 tickets in the West Hollywood area. JERK. So, let this be a warning to all those visiting southern california: Big Brother is Watching and he thinks you're a terrible driver.