Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

                                          Picture from google images, not my own work. Many thanks to the original source.

No review this week, just a couple of stories from my past for your amusement.

I am a classic chicken. Not that most people ever guess that from my bad-ass, take no prisoners attitude. But put a horror movie on and watch me lose my shit faster than a goose that's been given ex-lax.

Many of my friends love horror movies. I actually like the idea of them, it's the sounds & some of the over the top gory visuals that I have a problem with. I usually wind up watching them, giving my friends a good laugh at my reactions, and then having nightmares for the next 3 days that often result in me prowling through the house with my sword (What? Doesn't everybody have a sword for defense? Kept right beside the bed? No? Moving on...) and swinging at shadows.

So, going back a number of years, here are 2 stories featuring my former BFF Susan, from the Garth Brooks concert story.

1.  As I mentioned in Concert Tales 1, our birthdays were only a few days apart. One year, there was a new Friday the 13th movie (Jason Goes to Hell) out right around then. We were on the road with our wrestling buddies and in Charlotte NC. Sue really wanted to go see the movie, so we got a group together and went. Now Sue LOVED horror movies, and almost nothing fazed her. She was one of those people who could happily drink cherry soda and eat anything while watching the most gruesome of scenes.

I, on the other hand, cannot. We used to do weekend movie marathons at her house with her Mom, sister, and whatever friends/cousins were about. We usually started off with comedies or action flicks, but everyone knew what to do when it was time for the horror flicks. Move all drinks away from me, put the popcorn somewhere I couldn't knock it over, and hand me the cushion known as "Mickey's scream pillow." During the worst scenes, I'd bury my face in the pillow and have my fingers in my ears. Hearing the gross sound effects is actually worse for me than seeing heads go flying. The sounds linger in my imagination and then I start imagining things way worse than what was actually onscreen. This practice works well at home, not so good in public.

Anyway, we were at the theater and the guys had been warned that I would most likely wind up burrowing into someone's shoulder and shrieking like a loon. The movie (for those who may not have seen it) started with Jason being blown into a zillion pieces. Then, during the autopsy of the remains, his heart starts beating...the entranced doctor doctor picks it up...I realize what is about to happen and slide off my seat onto the floor. Around me, a theater full of people are shrieking/gagging "He ate the heart!" I look to my left and what do I see but SUSAN crouched on the floor beside me. We finally found something that was too gross even for her. I was less than sympathetic. "YOU wanted to see this movie, bitch, now get back up there and watch it!" I don't remember much after that. I do know that the guys ribbed us about that for months.

2. Weekend movie marathon at Sue's. (Her mom had cable & a VCR- Yes, I'm old- at the time & I didn't, which is why we always did these at their house. But I would cook for whoever was there and always brought snacks/drinks/desserts, and helped clean up afterward, so her mom was totally fine with it) One weekend it wound up just being the 2 of us. Her mom, little sister, and the gaggle of gigglers were going to a dance at the Community Center. My BF at the time said he might drop by later after he got off from work.

Well, this was the perfect night for anyone but me to watch horror movies. It was dark & stormy, and spooky as hell. Their place was at the end of a row with a slightly overgrown wooded area to the side & rear, so the branches of trees & bushes would sometimes scrape the house when the wind gusted. Sue, knowing that my nerves were on edge, took pity on me and we watched comedies most of the evening, until it was time for Tales From The Crypt. She was dying (heh) to see this episode for some reason because Morton Downey Jr  (bonus points if you remember him) was in it. If I remember correctly, he was a skeptical journalist investigating a haunted house. It was more suspenseful than gory, and even got me interested. As we neared the end of the show, the real life storm started getting REALLY bad, and just as all hell broke loose on the tv show, it broke loose at the house. There was a terrific flash of lightning (we found out later it had hit the transformer half a block down from us) and a horrendous clap of thunder and everything went black.

Naturally, we were a bit taken aback by this. Ok, really, we freaked the fuck out. We're both shrieking and then hear a pounding on the door. We are beyond rational thought at this point. Sue screamed something to the effect of "Oh shit, something's trying to get us, RUN!" And we did. Now it's too bad that nobody had a night vision camera there to film what happened next, because I'm sure it was comedy gold.

Still screaming, flailing around in the dark, we both tried to run for the back door. In the dark, in a small living room crowded with furniture. After falling over things several times, still screaming, with the pounding continuing, we made it to the hall by the kitchen, leading to the back door. With my usual grace, I tripped over an air molecule and went SPLAT, face down. Sue trampled me, still trying to get out. The problem here was that the backdoor had a deadbolt lock...and we didn't have the key.

The front door flew open with a resounding BANG. Sue screamed "Kill her first!" and began alternately throwing her weight against the back door and kicking/pushing me toward the hooded figures in the front door.

Any guesses? Yep. My boyfriend & her mom. Her little sister got sent back to the car when we started screaming, just in case something was going down. (other than me) Chris had gotten there just as the power blew- that was the first pounding we'd heard. Mama C joined him at the door, heard our screams, dropped the keys, and that's why he kept pounding. He was trying to alert the fictitious killer that help was at hand. They finally got the door open, pointed Chris's flashlight in, and once they realized we weren't actually being murdered, laughed their asses off at us. The laughter stopped for a minute or two when I went for Sue's throat for trying to sacrifice me to the potential killers, but they pulled us apart and it was pretty funny once everyone calmed down.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Fashion Industry is NUTS

So, thanks to health issues and my back & knee problems, my doctor has been really getting after me to lose weight. While I haven't lost as much as he'd like, I HAVE managed to lose 47 lbs in the last year. I'm still a big old heifer, but I'm working on it. Most of my weight loss is due to changes in diet- I don't like exercising, especially when I'm in chronic pain. I think it's a mental block, remembering how mean the other kids were in gym classes back in my younger schooldays, but I digress.

I had established a clothing moratorium for the year a few months ago, when I was trying to start decluttering and realized that most of the clothing piled up in the laundry room & spare room was stuff I either stopped wearing because I had gotten too fat for it, or was stuff I had simply forgotten I owned. There were also a lot of things that were basically duplicates- how many versions of black & purple t-shirts are there, and did I really need to hang on to ALL of them? So a LOT of stuff went to goodwill.

Just for giggles, I tried on a few of the things I had outgrown. Holy cow, they fit again!  Some of them even better than before! I still gave a fair chunk away (mostly things I wore when I worked in retail and/or used for LARP costumes), but kept some of the things I'm still likely to wear.

My current job is techincally clerical, but it's in kind of a warehouse environment. We can, and often do, handle large/dirty items, so jeans are the best clothing choice. Here's where things start getting a little tricky. Because I'm so tall AND fat, appropriately fitting pants of any style are hard to come by. And due to the occasional roughness of my job, I've had to throw away some damaged pairs. Even worse are the pairs I had to toss after my weight gain caused them to explode in ways that could not be repaired. I managed to find some replacements in the larger size- even though I was working on weight loss, I still had to wear something to work.

Well, now I've lost this weight, and my 'fat' jeans are WAAAAAAAAY too big. The pairs of jeans I had outgrown are all either about to fall apart from forcing myself into them even when I was too fat, or are actually slightly too big. *happy dance* So, since a nearby store that carried plus sizes appears to be having a going out of business sale, I thought I'd treat myself to a couple of new pairs of jeans. Not buying anything but jeans- the moratorium on everything else stands until I lose more weight & keep it off.  (Well, maybe a tie-dyed t-shirt or two. I've worn most of mine to bits)

So I went to this store- let's call them Mashin' Mug instead of giving them a plug- and hoped for the best. I've found good things there in the past, but there's also a lot of drek, and their sizes are fairly inconsistent. Also, WHO decides what is stylish? Weird colorblock combinations might pass for ok on a skinny girl, but don't work as well on Ample Annie. Not all fat girls want to wear clothes with sequins & beads, in eye-popping prints/colors that call attention to our figure flaws. NOBODY looks good in Capri pants and I'd give thanks daily if that look went away forever.  AND booty shorts- you know the ones that are so short & tight that they're basically glorified underwear- need to go away. Preferably for everyone, but especially plus sized versions. Just because you CAN make something, doesn't mean you SHOULD. Ditto for wearing it. Remember the eye trauma caused by biker shorts in the 90's? Same thing.

Where was I? Oh yeah, jeans. Nobody makes plain simple jeans any more either. You have to decide between skinny, boot leg, low waisted, wide legged, studded, embroidered, beaded, straight legged (as rare as intelligible lyrics in most rap ditties), acid wash, indigo, stonewashed, button-fly,  decaf, mocha, and whoops, I just took us to $tarbuck$. There are too many choices. Unless you're built like me, in which case you pretty much are stuck choosing whatever goes over your butt and can be zipped over your gut. Bonus points if they're miraculously the right length and/or you can bend over without mooning anyone, the pants exploding, or having a permanent zipper indentation on your stomach.

So, knowing the store's tendency to have erratic sizing, I found several styles of jeans to try on, and managed to get most of them in 3 sizes. My former fat size, the size I'm currently in which is a little loose, and a size down in a rush of optimism. I even managed to score a couple of pairs of Tall plus sizes which is as rare as a drama free day in the life of Lindsay Lohan. The lethargic dressing room attendant looked at the 12-15 pairs of jeans I was lugging and waved me in. So much for 5 items or less.

Anybody want to guess what happened next? No? Well, I'll tell you- NOTHING fit. Not one single frigging pair, not even in a 'not quite right, but I can make do' kind of way. The size down were WAY too small. The size up- aka fat me- were WAY too big. The size I currently wear were either too big or too small depending on the style of the jeans.

Do I need to explain how demoralizing that is? I walked into the store feeling good about myself for having lost 47 GADDAMNED POUNDS, and walked out feeling like a circus fat lady. Seriously, I was almost in tears. And the urge to go eat my way through a buffet and then a bakery was strong. Sanity, and sympathy from my mommy prevailed. I did have a bowl of ice cream, but just one, not the size of a soup tureen, and with no garnishes of any sort. 

Then I started thinking about the issue. I am NOT the problem. (not entirely) The fashion industry, who consider anything over a size 4 to be obese, is the problem. So I mentally composed this letter to Mashin Mug:

Dear Jackholes,

Sorry to hear you're going out of business. Actually, I'm not surprised. Your sizes have always been off, no matter what you claim, and you never stocked enough of the larger sizes to make it worth coming in and trying things on. Your failed experiment of mixing the plus sized items in with the juniors a few years ago did nothing to help. In fact, it made me homicidal to see a cute top in a size 2, only to discover the largest size you had in was a 16. It appeared to have that effect on a LOT of women, because that project didn't even last 4 months, did it?

I went in to your store hoping to spend a fair amount of money on some new jeans. What a shame that the same pair of jeans in 3 different sizes didn't fit. None of them were close enough to buy, even with your advertised 30-60% off sale. Oh, and one rack of t-shirts from the 70's marked 60% off isn't fooling anyone.  May I suggest a sign that says "These are crap, but they're cheap, so you know you'll buy some?"

I'm sure I'll run into simliar problems in other stores. But at least I have the satisfaction of knowing I'll never have to deal with YOU again.

Enraged, and decidedly not cordially yours,

The Amazonian Liongoddess 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Two Lumps strike again...

I know I reviewed their books a few weeks ago, but this strip had to be shared. Go check out for more of the madness, and I hope James & Mel will forgive me for reposting this:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My DVD addiction is in full swing

No review this week. Instead, here's a look at 5 sets I've got waiting to be watched:

Grimm: Season One

Once Upon a Time: The Complete First Season

Ok, these 2 aren't a shock to anyone familiar with my fairy tale obsession.

Castle: The Complete Fourth SeasonMMMM, Castle. I want Nathan Fillion for Christmas, FYI.

Demons - Season One - 2-DVD Set ( Demons - Season 1 ) ( The Last Van Helsing ) [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.2 Import - United Kingdom ]Ok, so this veers close to fairy tale territory...

QI - Series One - 2-DVD Set ( QI - Entire Series 1 ) ( QI XL ) [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.2.4 Import - United Kingdom ]I've heard that this is the best quiz show ever. The clips I've seen on YouTube are terrific. Plus it stars 2 of my favorite Brits, Alan Davies & Stephen Fry, with guest appearances by many other favorites. Can't wait to watch it!

Whites - Season 1 ( Whites - Season One ) [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.2 Import - United Kingdom ]

So, I lied. One mini review. Alan Davies as a chef?!? Ok. Sadly, only one season was made of this one. Alan is a narcissistic chef in a country hotel restaurant. Think watered down Gordon Ramsay meets watered down Anthony Bourdain meets Jamie Oliver on the skids. The supporting cast are what make this so interesting- and the talent show episode is a hoot.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I want a new life. Really.

Last week, we found out that my uncle was in the hospital after a series of strokes. We dropped everything and went as soon as we could, so here is a look at seriously edited "highlights" of the latest road trip with my parents:

The overcast day turned into full fledged biblical proportion rainfall about the time we hit West Virginia. Then it turned into a massive hail storm as we went through Charleston. Ever driven on an interstate in a hail storm? I don't recommend it.

The last stretch of the trip down to Jacksonville- following our directions, we got off I-40 onto Back Road X and drove 15 or so miles before being routed onto another stretch. My mother cheerfully piped up “Oh, this must be the new highway they were working on!” Having been watching the signs, I dourly informed her that we’d just done a 15 mile side trip to be dumped back onto I-40 approximately 3 miles from where we left it in the first place.

We found our hotel and my father went straight into the room and claimed the bed closest to the TV…leaving US to unload the car. He did finally get up and grudgingly hold the room door open so we could lug in all the bags. As usual, my parents packed more luggage than the circus. They claimed every bit of storage space in the room except the little drawer that held the Gideon bible and yellow pages. I spent the weekend getting dressed out of my suitcase, which I had to haul up and down off the top of the wardrobe cabinet.

Tommy agreed to check the house and collect the mail for me since I forgot to ask a neighbor to do it. He then spent the weekend sending me texts about the stray cat in my yard (Are you sure it’s not yours? She keeps acting like I should feed her) and telling me that my neighbors came out to gawk every time he pulled up to the house.

My parents kept fighting for the larger share of the bed and blankets. Daddy finally said to Mom, “Why don’t you go sleep with your daughter?” (mind you, I was all of 3 feet away from them) Mom said “Are you crazy? Look at her!” Apparently I was stretched diagonally across the bed and spinning like a top. Daddy said later that I tossed and turned so much he thought I looked like an old fashioned egg beater. All I can say is thank heaven for my ear plugs & sleep mask. Somebody would have died without them.

Sunday, I took my dad to the Piggly Wiggly to look for his favorite country bacon & sausage. Some old church lady was there giving him the evil eye and glaring at me. I finally got tired of it, so I said “hey Dad, I’m going to look at the coffee aisle.” Turns out she thought he was a lecherous old coot and I was his younger bit of fluff. When I got back, she was flirting with him and told me how cute my daddy was. I said “my mom thinks so” and dragged ‘cutie pie’ off.

Aunt Myrt & their pastor tried to play matchmaker for me, telling me about some ‘boy’ in their congregation that I should get to know. Uncle John lifted his head and yelled “That boy is 46 years old, never kept a job, and still lives with his momma! Baby girl can do WAY better than that!”

I think there were a few more moments worth sharing, but I’m going blank right now. Anyway, Uncle John is holding on. We wanted to stay longer, but I had to come back to work, and he didn't want us to see him like that. Then, on the way out of town, my sister called to say her husband had suffered another heart attack. We detoured to Wilmington to see them, and then made the long drive home. I got home at about 4 this morning. I fell asleep around 8. Had to be at work at 2:30, so you can imagine my delight when the alarm went off....

Monday, October 22, 2012

Concert tales 4: Saliva

I like the band Saliva, despite their name. They're a good, hard rocking bunch, and I've seen them in concert several times. The most memorable was the year they played the KY State Fair with Z Z Top. I had debated going to the show- I didn't have anyone to go with, it wasn't one of the 'free' shows, and as I've mentioned before, crowds are not a good place for me to be. Fair traffic sucks, so I'd have my driving induced Tourette's syndrome to cope with as well. But then I realized it might be my last chance to see Z Z Top- let's face it, those dudes weren't/aren't getting any younger- and when I heard that Saliva (really? not what I would have expected but, ok) was the opening act, I was in. Bought a ticket for the nosebleed seats and went, hoping for the best.

The section I wound up in wasn't densely seated. I was glad I hadn't sprung for a floor seat- they were packed in like sardines. It was me and a few older, half drunk rednecks. Like the Garth show, I got some strange looks, but was left alone. Unlike the Garth show, no drunk Bubba decided to razz me.

Saliva came on and a handful of the younger crowd on the floor tried to rock out with them. The problem was, most of them were so far back, and there were so few of them, that the band couldn't tell they were there. The older fans who were there for the Top were just staring blankly at this rowdy metal-esque band on stage and wondering WHO they were and WHY THE HELL they were onstage. This included most of the people near me, who had gone from sideways looks to outright staring as I became a one woman mosh pit in my seat.

Midway through the show, as Josey Scott (the lead singer) tried to engage the crowd, there was a lighting malfunction. All the lights came up and the band could clearly see the less than thrilled crowd before them. The lights were hastily dimmed again, except for one area up in the nosebleed seats. Guess who basically had a spotlight? Yep.

What did I do? Lost my mind, stood up, and started dancing along with the song they segued into. The song ended, and Josey said, "Well, at least we've got one fan out there!" before pointing up at me. I blew him a kiss and then the lone dancing fool sat down. 

I was telling that story at work the next day. One of the beer deliverymen (I was working in a liquor store then) stopped in his tracks. "THAT WAS YOU?" He said his buddy had seen me dancing and pointed me out to him, but I was far enough away that he couldn't see my face. His friend was amazed that the one non-caucasian person they'd seen at the show was head banging. I don't know why, music is supposed to be universal, right?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I Could Pee on This and other poems by cats- Francesco Marciuliano

I Could Pee on This: And Other Poems by Cats


That was me laughing so hard I fell out of my chair. The poems in this small collection aren't epic works, or highbrow enlightenment. What they are is almost exactly what I would expect a cat to say if it could write poetry. The following two exceprts are from the book and not by any means my own work. I suspect, however, that my cats had a hand in writing them.

Kubla Kat

“On the edge of a laughing teacup

Did Kubla Kat decree

The the corn fritter festooned with medals

Shall make the brownies free

And so the walls turned to water

To let our sorrows drown

As the chairs burned themselves for warmth

So they need not face the clown

Then the spoons burst into song

And all the forks they understood

As I stared at my talking claws

Becasue this catnip is just that good”       and   Busy, Busy   “It's 8a.m. and time to rest

It's 10a.m. and time to relax

It's noon and time for repose

It's 3p.m. and time for shut-eye

It's 6p.m. and time for siesta

It's 9p.m. and time to slumber

It's midnight and time to snooze

It's 4a.m. and time to hang upside down from your bedroom ceiling, screaming.”

Monday, October 15, 2012

Concert tales, part 3: Duran Duran

Christmas 2004- My mother bought me one of the best Christmas presents ever. Duran Duran announced the tour for their Astronaut album and they were coming to Louisville in 2005! Mom got me a 3rd row seat!


Oh, was I ready for this! 20+ years of fandom and I was FINALLY getting to see Simon Le Bon live and in person. 3rd Row? Whooohooooo!

Looking around the auditorium, I realized I was the only woman in the Old Queens with Young Boyfriends section. Not a problem. It might get me noticed. (it did- explanation coming up in a minute) I started chatting with some of my seatmates during the opening act and it was like we were all old friends by the time Simon & the boys hit the stage.

I shrieked, I danced, I sang, I hugged every gay man in Louisville. Then the band launched into "Save A Prayer." Simon said that in the old days, he used to look out and see a sea of cigarette lighters burning in the crowd when they did that song. "But since nobody smokes anymore, RIGHT? Just hold up your cell phones or whatever you've got that lights up." *I* was prepared & had a lighter.

The song ended and Simon was cracking up. "I saw real lighters! Not many, but there were some! Turn the lights on, I want to see the brave souls who had them!" OMG. The boys around me all screamed "Get that thing up in the air, girl!" and helped me stand on my seat so Simon would see me/us. And he did, after he'd pointed out a few on the other side and in the balcony. "BLOODY HELL, Love, are you THEIR date?!?" (seriously, I had six gay men holding me up)

Catch me lest I faint. SIMON BLOODY LeBON IS TALKING TO ME!!! The paralysis that hit when I met Rick Springfield was on vacation that night. I screamed back, "No, but I can be YOURS!" John Taylor started laughing. "Don't encourage him!" "WHY NOT?!?"

Sadly, I didn't get backstage after that show, and that was the last I got to speak to him, but that memory will live with me forever!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

DVD- Lenny Henry Live: So Much Things To Say

Lenny Henry - So Much Things To Say Live [DVD]

I love Lenny Henry. One of my favorite Brits ever, I first found him in a PBS catalog that had his series Chef! Since I was about to start culinary school at the time, and I love British comedy, I thought I'd like it. I was right. (usually am, LOL) When I find an actor/actress I like, I tend to become uber-fan and search out anything they've done that I can get my hands on.

The problem with loving British programs is that most of them are not available on a format compatible with US DVD players. However, thanks to my darling mother buying me a region free DVD player for my birthday this year, I can now go even crazier. This was one of my first purchases.

It starts out as one of Lenny's typical stand-up acts. But then he goes into new (to me, anyway) territory and throws in some character sketches. Then you're shown that the audience has a brief intermission. Now my attention has been piqued, because this is NOT typical of a comdey show. The second half of the show is where it really comes alive. Lenny fleshes out the characters you see him do bits of at the beginning. There's a shopkeeper, a soldier, an old man in a nursing home, and a lady. He switches from character to character seamlessly, and as the show progresses, you realize how they all connect and the ending will take your breath away. Not to mention, it's funny as hell to see Lenny Henry argue with figments of his own imagination.

If you have access to a region free player, this is well worth hunting down. If not, hope it airs on BBC America someday, or is released in a format compatible with your region. You really should see this.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fat people & canoes

My mother is constantly coming up with things she'd like for us to do. My father & I are a little less-than-thrilled with most of these ideas, but every now & then I/we give in and go on an adventure. Such was the case last Saturday.

Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures was doing free canoe trips on the Ohio River. Mom saw a story about it in the paper and decided this was exactly what we needed. Uh, right. Dad just laughed, but I agreed to go, thinking she'd lose interest or forget about it. Imagine my surprise when she emailed me the confirmation & list of suggested supplies for the trip. (sunscreen, lip balm, etc) Imagine my delight when I saw the forecast for the weekend was cold & rainy. The trips were only being put off in the event of storms, not simple rain. Ugh.

Saturday rolled around and the first miracle happened. The day started out fairly chilly, but the sun was out and not a cloud in sight. We were scheduled for the 12:45 trip and it had warmed up a good bit by the time we set out. Mom picked me up early and we went to Panera for lunch beforehand. Despite the urge to eat sweets from the bakery side, we were good and had protein packed sandwiches, thinking we might need the energy for the trip.

Second miracle- we found the park that the trip was starting from with no trouble. Anyone who remembers my descriptions of previous trips ANYWHERE with my mother will understand why I regarded this as a miracle. We had some time to kill before the trip, and decided it would be a good idea to hit the loo before going out in a small boat for who-knows-how-long.

The park bathrooms were in a little structure designed to look like it was going to fall over at any second. The door locks didn't work, the lights weren't working, and the toilets were METAL. COLD METAL- it hadn't warmed up THAT much. Nobody got stuck or walked in on, thankfully.

We made our way down the hill to the launch area. I was kind of expecting our fellow travelers to be a pack of  rich snots from the snooty areas of town. Instead, we had a fairly diverse group, mostly black & Hispanic, and quite a few kids. One little guy, about 3 years old, looked quite dubious about the whole thing, but when I saw him later, on the river, he seemed to be having a blast.

We were fitted for life jackets & paddles and given a briefing on what to do if someone falls into the river (nobody did) and on how to paddle. Then it was time to load up and hit the water. Each canoe held 9 adult sized guests & 1 tour guide. (our boat had 9. the other two had the kids divided up and had 10-12 people plus a guide) Mom & I asked to sit in the middle. We figured we were probably the heaviest on the boat so it made more sense to have us there to keep the weight balanced, plus the seats were wide enough for us to sit together. Getting in wasn't so bad. There was even enough room for my long legs!

Quick note on the canoes- they weren't the traditional canoes with sloping bottoms where you sat single file. These were custom built for groups, so passengers could sit 2-3 abreast, and had flat bottoms. Our guide told us that they were individually hand-crafted from reclaimed wood for their company and cost $4-6K each. Dillon, our guide, turned out to be from North Dakota so my ND-born mother was thrilled to chat with him about "home."

We started off paddling upstream, against the current. It was much easier than expected, especially once we worked out a rhythm to keep everyone paddling in sync. Well, mostly in sync. I always thought of the Ohio River as being fairly dirty & polluted, but the area we were in was quite clean & pleasant. The highlight of the ride was seeing several blue herons in flight. They skimmed over the water to sit on the shore and watch us.

I managed to paddle most of the way out & back. My back started spasming about halfway out, and my knees ached in sympathy. But I held on and was rather proud of myself for doing it. The trip back downstream was much easier, since we were going with the current. Then came the tricky part- Getting OUT of the canoe. It wasn't pretty or graceful, but I managed to finally lever myself up & out without hurting the guides who were trying to help me, tipping the canoe, or knocking Mom overboard. We limped back up the hill to turn in our paddles & life jackets and chatted with the city councilman & park representative whose offices sponsored the event. Mom exchanged contact info with 2 ladies from our canoe who worked for a non-profit organziation and were looking for volunteers. 

The third and greatest miracle? I was in a good bit of pain by the time I got home. Mom & I went shopping & had dinner at one of our favorite Chinese restaurants before she dropped me off. I took some aspirin (since my doctor refuses to give me REAL pain medication for my back) and a long nap. I woke up and staggered out to the living room...and then realized that I wasn't in nearly as much pain as I thought I would be. Then I thought, "oh, it'll hit me tomorrow." It didn't. I was fine! Well, as fine as I get.

So, despite the fact that fat people with bad backs & knees should probably NOT go canoeing, I had a really good time. They said they were coming back next year. We're going to keep our eyes out for that and go again!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Concert Tales, part 2: Rick Springfield

As big a Rick Springfield fan as I am, I didn't get to see the man in concert until I was in my 30's. I found out he was coming to play at the casino close to my house, and I knew I was going one way or another. I got my ticket late, but I got one. I was in Row L, which turned out to be about halfway back in the ballroom where the show was staged, and I had a pretty good view.

I had suffered a rather serious knee injury a few months before the concert. (first of many) It was much better, but I wasn't going to be rushing the stage or anything like that. I still had a bit of a limp, and I decided that it might be a good idea to wear my knee brace. (yep)

Well, Rick hit the stage and the place exploded. I had worried that age might have slowed him down and the show might not be that exciting....and my worries were in vain. He bounced around that stage like a teenager on Red Bull, and put on a kick ass show...and like several other performers I've seen, he likes to interact with his fans. Teasing from the stage, inviting fans onstage, and jumping out into the audience...and wading through.

Yep. He made it back to Row K, in the middle, directly in front of me. And I froze. The man I had lusted after since I was 12 years old was less than 6 inches from me and I couldn't even reach out to touch him, I was in so much shock. The crowd was pressing in, and I felt my knee start to give, so I sat down and just gazed up at Rick...who suddenly looked down at me and smiled, before heading back toward the stage.

I thought that was the high point of my life. Not yet, it wasn't. The concert ended, and while a few people lingered in the hopes of an encore, or at least a final Rick sighting, most of the crowd rushed for the doors. I wan't in a hurry, and my knee hurt, so I stayed in my seat to let things thin out. Then I heard a voice say "Miss, are you ok?"

No, it wasn't Rick. It was a security guard. I explained about my knee and that I was waiting for the crowd to thin out and he said, "Oh, that makes sense. Come with me and I'll take you out the back way. No crowd at all." Before I knew what was happening, I was being escorted BACKSTAGE. I saw several members of the band milling about and then I heard "Oh, good, you found her!"

THAT was Rick. He told me he got a little worried when he saw me sit down so suddenly (HE NOTICED ME?!?), so when someone mentioned a girl sitting alone in the middle of the theater, he asked them to go check on me. I think I managed to carry on a reasonably intelligent conversation with him for the minute or two that I got with him. Once he knew I was ok, he had to rush off, but I got a hug and kiss before he left.

I've seen him several times since then. I've always managed to get in sections where he comes into the crowd, only now I reach out like all the rest. And he almost always grabs my hand, grins at me & says hi. He played at the KY State Fair and one of my officer friends got me backstage long enough for a hug and a hi.

Up other long term crush!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Stand by for my next meltdown

3 officers from the Stupid Squad just paid us a visit. Why it took 3 of them to bring in the evidence is beyond me, but I just work here.

I asked Officer 1 what he was putting in. He launched into a convoluted story about how it was obtained from a traffic stop that led to a search warrant and some of it went with one report number and some went on something else, and......STOP THERE.

I told him to separate out whatever went on the first report number. All that went on it was 1 bag of weed. Fine. Do you have the report number? "Yes" *crickets chirp* Would you like to tell me what it is or should I attempt to pull it out of your skull via telepathy? He finally managed to give me a number which of course did not bring anything up. We can force it in when that happens, but the officer will have to tell us where they made the stop so we can enter it. I asked where he got it and he looked confused for a minute before responding, brightly, "Dispatch gave me the number!"

Cue my coworkers howling with laughter. No, dummy, where did you seize the evidence? "Ohhhhhh. It was 12 something Wit-something Rd." Well, let me just punch that in and see if it validates...NOT. One of the other stooges managed to come up with the actual address. Got that knocked out, and asked for the information to enter the rest of the stuff they'd dragged in.

"That goes on a separate report number." I understand that, and I'm ready for the next number. "It's a different number." I GET THAT, NOW GIVE ME THE NEXT NUMBER. "It's got a different suspect too."

I finally get the new number and new suspect from Officer 2. He is beginning to suspect that I'm slightly peeved. Got the case entered, but because they have grow equipment, and because there are generators that I can't lift with my bad back, I now have to take 2 of the 3 stooges down to the basement with me. 2 & 3 are elected to 'help' me.

Note- Officer 3 has been keeping quietly out of the way. He remembers the royal ass-chewing he got a few weeks ago when he called down here screaming that we made a mistake on something his partner (Officer 2, in fact) put in and wisely decided not to push his luck. (For the record, it turned out that we did not make a mistake and his Sgt made him apologize for being an ass) However, his luck ran out when we were ready to go downstairs. 2 & I are at the back of the cart. He is standing in front of the door. I said, "We're going out the door to the lobby elevator." He just stood there. I repeated myself. He continued to just stand there, blankly.

I had to squeeze between the cart and the door, push him out of the way and open the door. "Oh, you meant now?"

I warned my colleagues to call dispatch and report a double murder in the basement if I wasn't back upstairs in 10 minutes. I walked back into the office and they cheerfully announced I'd been gone for 4 minutes and 13 seconds. Yes, they actually timed it.

The final straw? There was a box of assorted paraphernalia among their evidence. It didn't need to go downstairs. I took it to the back and put it on a shelf slightly above my head...which is when I discovered that the Idiot Brigade hadn't dumped the water out of a bong before taping the box shut.

I smell just lovely now, so I won't be stopping at the grocery store on my way home. The last time this happened (and it happens at least twice a year, sadly) and I did that, I was followed around Kroger by a loudly sniffing member of store security.

I love my job. Really.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

God Save The Queen- Kate Locke

God Save the Queen (The Immortal Empire)

God Save the Queen, and lord help everybody else. This was a thumping good mashup of alternative history with a dollop of steampunk and a lot of supernaturals. Xandy, the heroine, is a half-vampire daughter of a vampire aristocrat, and a member of the Royal Guard serving the undead Queen Victoria. She's just been told by the Goblin Prince that her younger sister has been committed to Bedlam. Her other siblings relctantly confess that they knew, and as they plan to go visit, they're told that their sister has committed suicide in her cell. Xandy refuses to believe it and digs into the circumstances. What she finds shakes her world to the core.

Did I mention that her mentor/would-be lover is Churchill? Yes, THAT Churchill, only he's a vampire. And the Scottish Alpha werewolf (who has a mutual hate on with Church) has taken to courting her? And the goblins are fascinated with her, for reasons that only become clear at the end of the story? Heh.

Fans of Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series will probably enjoy this one as well. It's a bit grittier, but still a good read. Can't wait for the remainder of the trilogy to come out!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Freaking out the librarians

Most of the regular staff at my library branch know that I work for the police. On the weekends, the library is usually staffed by part timers and/or people from other branches. Sunday was one of those occasions.

I noticed 2 squad cars out front when I pulled up to get my books yesterday. Went inside and didn’t see anyone, so I didn’t think anything else of it. I needed to use a computer, so I went upstairs, headed for the first free one I saw, and didn’t pay attention to anything else until it was time for me to check out.

As I walked up to the circulation desk, I heard a voice behind me. “Let me know if this one gives you any problems. She’s a known trouble maker.”

I grinned, recognizing the voice. “Push off, pig!”

The kid working at the desk looked ready to faint. Officer E & I continued to banter for a minute before we realized that he thought the cop was serious & I was smarting off to him. E finally explained that we work together and he was just giving me grief. You could see the clerk visibly relax at that point.

E told me that they were there because someone reported an internet predator was there. They got the guy, and the detectives were upstairs examining the computer the scum had been using. “We all saw you come in.” Somehow I missed 4 uniformed officers and 3 detectives (all of whom I know VERY well) because I was so focused on getting online and getting done. Ooops. Although I wouldn’t have gone over and said anything if they were clearly working on something- I know better than to do that. But it apparently gave them all a good laugh that I was so oblivious.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Concert tales, part 1: Garth Brooks & Michael Bolton

So, back in the early 90's, my then-best friend (who for the remainder of the story will be referred to as Susan) &; I spent a lot of time hanging out on the pro-wrestling circuit. (more on that another time)At the time, most shows were sponsored by the country radio stations in whatever city the guys were performing in, so of course country is what got played before shows & during intermission. I hated country music....well most of it. But then they started playing this song that never failed to crack us up when we heard it.

"Blame it all on my roots, I showed up in boots...."

Oh yeah. it didn't take us long to learn the words, and we never failed to sing along (loudly and usually off-key) whenver we heard it. In fact, we made a point of finding out who the singer was (Garth Brooks and if you didn't guess that between the lyrics and the title of this post, shame on you)  and buying his cassette tape. (like said, this was back in the Dark Ages- LOL) At first we only listened to that song, over and over. Then we got curious and listened to the rest of the album. And then we bought his next album.

Then, oh glory be, he released his concert schedule...we lived in Chapel Hill NC at the time, and lo & behold....he was coming to our town! We HAD to go, right? Right. Bought our tickets, told everyone we knew that we were going, and couldn't contain our excitement as the date drew nearer. Others did not share our euphoria. As you may be aware, (or possibly not, I'm not sure if it's come up in blog posts before) I am 6 ft of robustly curvy auburn haired biracial Amazonian goodness. While I get mistaken for Hispanic, Samoan, and other ethnicities, I can in no way be mistaken for white. Susan was an about 5'8, even more robustly curvy, darker skinned black girl. Her mother & extended family thought we were nuts. My family, when told our plans, just said "That's nice." Her family thought we were going into redneck hell and about to be lynched. (they should have seen some of the wrestling ahows we went to- we were in more danger there)

Off we went to the concert. I'm bouncing up and down in glee. Susan, whose mother had sent us off with an earful of dire predictions, was looking around the crowd, nervously. "Mickey," she finally whispered, "I think we're the only niggers here."


"Maybe this wasn't a good idea. I think we should go home."

"We paid a lot of money for these tickets. I AM NOT GOING ANYWHERE. I won't bother anyone as long as they don't bother me." (One of my life rules, as grammatically incorrect as it may be is "Don't start none, won't be none.")

She reluctantly agreed we should stay, and I promised we'd go if any trouble started. We got some odd looks from other concert goers, but nobody was first. After the opening act (Martina McBride on her first tour) ended, a drunk guy about 2 rows up turned around for some reason, saw us, and commenced to talking a whole pile of crap about "what niggers are doing here" and so on. Susan, who knew my temper, grabbed my arm and said "Ok, you promised, let's go."

Before I could say a word, the VERY large man behind us stood up. This guy was probably about 6'6, built like a linebacker, wearing a confedrate flag shirt, and even I was a little nervous when he first came in. He reached down, snatched the mouthy drunk out of his seat, lifted him to his eye level and growled "Those girls ain't bothering nobody. Now siddown and SHUT UP before I send you to the front row the hard way." (We were just below the nosebleed section) Not another peep was heard the rest of the show. I offered to buy the nice man a drink and he laughingly declined but bought US drinks and said if we were cool enough to be there, he was glad to meet us. He also walked us out at the end of the night just in case Drunk Boy loitered with intent. (He didn't)

The concert was great, BTW. Garth puts on a hell of a show. I've seen him several times since then.

The other concert Susan talked me into was Michael Bolton. I know I've mentioned my eclectic musical tastes. Susan didn't listen to quite the same range, but had some varied taste. Our birthdays were only a few days apart, and MB was playing in Raleigh the week before them. My mother bought the tickets for us as a present. Now, it may not be cool to be a Bolton fan, but I have to admit I like some of his early work. This was the Time, Love, & Tenderness tour.

So we went and were probably the youngest women in the section we had seats in. The place was a sea of estrogen. Bolton came on and put on a very entertaining show. then there was an intermission. as the break ended, music started and Michael could be heard singing...but wasn't onstage. Then all hell broke loose. He had a cordless mike and was walking through the crowd. The audience finally figured it out...right about the time he got to our section. 5 million middle aged women lost their minds and tried to cram themselves collectively into 3 rows of seats. MB realized he wasn't going anywhere anytime soon and climbed up on a chair to finish the song. "Georgia on my Mind", if you were wondering. The man was about 6 inches away from us. Sue was swooning.

I, on the other hand, was getting punchy becasue of the crowd pressing in on us. Throwing my hands in the air, I screamed at my friend "WHY did I let you talk me into this?!?" Wouldn't you know, Michael Bolton thought I was reaching out to him, so he grabbed my hand and held it through the rest of the song. Arrgh. Sue was pissed that it was me and not her.

What I didn't know was that a photograhper from the local paper was there and captured that stunning moment on film. I found that out the next day when several of my 'hipster' friends called me in hysterics, laughing because I was on the front page of the entertainment section holding hands with Michael Bolton. My mother called later to tell me that not only had she & Dad seen it, one of Dad's coworkers came up to him with a copy of the article and said " Is that your daughter?" My dear old Dad, without batting an eye, said "Does she have clothes on?" (another story to be explained later)

You can't take me anywhere.....