• Kitty and the Real Girl (Warning: Adult Content and Mild Doll Nudity)

    Feeding the seagull is exhausting business.  I feel like it’s a distraction, but to say so would be impolite.  Every time freakin’ Cap’n Jack is even the slightest bit hungry, he knocks on the damn window.  Last Friday I was given the task of putting on latex gloves and feeding him thawed out smelts.  It sounds kinkier and far more fun than it really was.  Some stinky fish juice landed on my foot.  And now I have to fend off the other jerky two-footed gulls that try to eat Jack’s food.   Yesterday there was even a crow.  And two pigeons.  We have slowly managed to make ourselves a working aviary right down the road from City Hall.  And I have unwittingly become the new Bird Girl of the Tenderloin.  Here is my pet: 

     

    This past weekend, my pop needed help with a self-portrait project for some photo class he’s taking.  He asked me to help him with a death mask.  There’s something very strange about slathering Vaseline and then plaster on your dad’s face.  At one point one of the little straws I stuck in his nose fell out and I tried as gently as possible to shove it back in.  I just ended up hurting him—I think—because all I could see was his body jerk around like a flapping fish.  I’ve mentioned fish twice so far.  I wonder if I can manage to somehow sneak one more fish-related story in somewhere.

     

    I think I know how.  Last night I was up late watching BBC America.  On came a show I’d been meaning to catch since the preview—Love Me, Love My Doll.  It was a documentary all about men who have formed “meaningful” and “loving” relationships with their Real Dolls.  These dolls are really amazing and if I was lonely, rich, and sans any semblance of hope for a relationship with a real woman, I’d go out and buy me one of my own.  They are fully customizable and supposedly feel like real women.  They interviewed a woman who worked at the Real Doll factory and she said she’d had some interesting special requests:  pregnant dolls, a doll that looked like an 80-year-old woman, and a doll with an over-abundance of pubic hair.  I guess they ended up just sending the guy packets of additional hair so he could go as hella hair-happy as he liked.

     

    The guys they interviewed were, as you can well imagine, characters.  One of them was black guy named Davecat with emo bangs over one eye.  His was an Asian doll—a pretty one with hooker hair and heavy eye make-up.  They showed him lying in bed with her, rubbing her stocking feet.  When she first arrived, he said, “…it was just sex, sex, sex.  But now we use words.”  He lives at home with his parents who just don’t understand.  He feels tortured by his love for this doll.  He still tries to date “organic” women sometimes but they end up just letting him down.  I feel you brother.

     

    Another guy was called Gordon and he was from Virginia.  He had two dolls who were dressed in Wal-Mart attire.  I don’t know how a factory worker can afford these dolls.  Maybe there’s some kind of low-income, needs-based award offered.  He admitted that the reason he did not have human female companionship was because he was very ugly.  His words.  He also said that before he got Ginger and Kelly, he was a doormat and that now that they’re in his life, he feels a sense of empowerment which I find refreshing.  Disturbing…but whatever.  Gordon also collects weapons like swords and semi-automatic guns—so his life, he feels, is full.

     

    And these men cannot wait to get home to their dolls.  They feel like they can go out into the world where real women exist and if they get rejected, man, it’s cool…I got me a hottie just waiting for me back home.  And she never says no.  One man took a lot of posed pictures with his dolls.  He called them “family photos.”  The dolls were doing things like reading books and sitting in lawn chairs in the garden.  Gordon films himself with the two dolls.  I took copious notes so as not to forget anything.  I was apparently very impressed by this show.  In one of the last scenes, Davecat sends his poor beloved on a two-week journey across the country for a tune-up.  The repairman had dolls crammed in all over the place.  He admits to having “tested out” a couple extremely attractive dolls which seems slightly unethical…not to mention a little gross.  He tightened up Davecat’s doll’s limbs and cleaned her up because she was beginning to smell a little fishy.  And there you have it—three fish references.  And I’m only a little grossed out.  If you’re interested in learning more:

     

  • Rat Chatter, Nice Nature

    Oooooooeeee!!! How I love the end of Daylight Savings…idiot farmers. We get back an hour in the Fall and I love it. I take it back, farmers are not idiots. I have farmer ancestors. They’re good folk. I digress. It felt good to lie in bed and know I could sleep in longer. I could have laid there all day but I had to git up and make myself my week’s worth of meals. Yep, it’s come to this.
    At first it’s not so bad. I make what I like. But after the second day, things get a little…I don’t know…predictable? Boring even. I try to make things exciting with sauces or variations or side salads. By Thursday I’m pretty much done for and cannot imagine ever eating this thing I’ve been eating like ever again. This week it’s chicken mole. I suppose it could be worse and I could be bitching about eating ramen and ingesting all that sodium. I even wrote a poem for class about ramen:
    Dinner guest

    Im tired and cranky and Im sitting and eating my lonely
    pathetic
    ramen
    with egg
    a mouse squeeeeeaks
    Im alone no longer

    This happened. I was confused because right when the mouse squeaked I moved in my chair so I thought it was me. And then I heard it again. So unappetizing!

    It wasn’t as bad as the time my brother and I heard the rats in the movie theater. I think we were watching Lost in Translation. Before the movie started we heard them start their rat chatter and, for whatever reason, I am always in disbelief. Like that just cannot be what I think it is. There’s no way! But yes, rats exist and we apparently go to the same places. Well, you hear a rat…that’s one thing. Once the movie started we saw those jerks run back and forth behind the dang screen. They seemed larger than need be—a total visual effect I think.

    Before summer started I woke up one night to a horrifying series of shrieks. It was ungodly. And puzzling. I leapt out of bed and ran to the window and tried to see something. My iPhone flashlight isn’t worth a damn. After about an hour of this screech, I went outside and looked up into the pine tree and saw three raccoons mating. Oh very nice. These bright animals mate in the trees. As such, the male raccoon has something of a barbed penis and this barb does not release the female until—I guess until he’s had his own release. We tried to hose the suckers down but they just climbed higher. We turned toward benign projectiles—it was getting desperate after all. They gave up and we did too. Ickiness abounds. I’m sure their sweet little babies are around terrorizing cats and eating garbage. Nature is just so neat.

  • The Evil Eye and Wanderings

    Yeah, yeah, yeah.  People always tell you how great it is for you to move outside your comfort zone.  They tell you something like “it will really make you grow” to do things that make you oh-so-uncomfy.  While I get it intellectually, I think it just plain sucks.  I think I heard we humans are always neglecting our true gut feelings—instincts—if you will.  Because we are idiotic.  Anyhow, I’m done with my complaining for the day.  Moving was a lot for me to take.  Yeah, I get it, it’s fully something I should have done many years ago, but that’s an irrelevant argument.  I’m me living now and dealing with my NOW-FEELINGS.  And my now-feelings are, for the most part, manageable.  Every now and then I do get a pang of homesickness.  I miss lying in bed with my boyfriend and my dog.  It’s such a simple joy to have a dog rest his little soft gullet on your ankle.

    So, left to my own devices, I do one of two things:  wander around aimlessly or set up in my room and watch Netflix.  The Office is amazingly soothing…even though I’ve seen every episode at least twice.  Maybe…maybe even thrice.  But back to my wanderings.  They were, of course, waylaid by the HURRICANE (wtf…an earthquake and a hurricane in the same week?) but I have managed to get out and see stuff.  I stopped at the Magic Gardens—a public mosaic installation.  That’s how they describe it on the website anyhow.  It is one of those very rare trippy and magical places where you feel all tickled from the inside out.  I am not even being facetious—it makes you feel good.  There is an outdoor sort of labyrinth full of wacko doll heads, mirrors, tiles and mermaids.  There is also gallery space—and an outsider art show.  My favorite artist bio read as follows:

    “Renee (pronounced Reenie) Leshner attended Fleisher Art Memorial as a young woman, but stopped when she began to have visions of an ‘evil eye’ following her and threatening her.  She continued to be plagued by visions of other-worldly beings throughout her many years working as a bookkeeper in Philadelphia.  Gradually, her interest in drawing became her refuge, as her artwork evolved into an important method of expression – even a kind of ‘defense mechanism’ – against her supernatural visions.”

    Jeez.  I mean, after I got over my knee-jerk reaction—holy cow I love how bizarre this is (of course)—I began to feel a little freaked out.  Because sometimes these scary feelings just come over people and then they have to exorcise their demons.  I get that.  Art as defense.

    I flew over from San Francisco sitting right next to the Bay Area sculptor who was responsible for fabricating a HUGE paintbrush (complete with paint glob) created by Claes Oldenburg.  HUGE sculptures of common everyday objects can be kind of fun, but…I don’t know.  Somehow it’s a bit overdone.  Know what’s cool?  Anything big.  Hmmmm, that’s what she said?

  • It’s Always Sunny

    Big changes afoot. I moved out of my comfy family home where I lived happily with my pop, brother, boyfriend, two dogs, and a perverted cat. It was surely not always a harmonious situation, but it did me fine–and I enjoyed a pretty mellow existence. But, now and then in some gals’ lives, there comes this feeling of discontent. Not with my choices, not with my relationships, but sort of with the path I was moving down. Skipping down. I could have continued on as a criminal law paralegal–and, in fact, this last job is one I loved–but that would not feel quite right. I began to feel like I owed it to myself to live a passionate life.

    I’m attending an MFA program in book arts (paper making, printing, printmaking, binding, etc.). We are indeed kickin’ it old school. I think it’s slightly misunderstood–book arts. What’s more is my description might just describe book arts in the most traditional sense. I just might go crack crazy and make paper sculptures or installations. You just never know.

    So…I’m in the City of Brotherly Love. That’s right, this die-hard San Franciscan has headed east. It’s the land of cheesesteaks, and Ben Franklin, and Rocky. I think that might just be what most (not-in-the-know) people associate with Philadelphia. I don’t know what to expect. So far, I’ve moved in to a very nice, big room in a very nice, large turn-of-the-century house in South Philly. My roommates/landlords are a very nice married couple who are my age. A ceramicist lives here as well. They were kind enough to pick me up from the airport (sans bags–a long story) and have done so much to make me feel comfy and welcome. I feel way too lucky!

    The first thing that strikes me…it’s really freakin’ warm and humid. Like stewing in your juices kind of humidity. Then there are thunderstorms and I am at a loss as to what to wear. So, I wore flip flops to the store last night. Was a weird choice. But feet do dry.

    It honestly feels like a smaller and less crazy-buzzy New York. Lotta brick. A guy actually said “fuhgettaboutit” to me at the sandwich shop. People are nice here. They might run you over dead in the street, but they are pretty nice. And the food might kill me. I’m already heavier than usual due to a few weeks of stress eating. Will need to walk it off. Next week is my last week to relax before the hard work begins! Oh vey…stay tuned as I document this trip.

  • Letting Letters Lay Fallow

    Well dang.  This certainly sucks.  I haven’t been to update this blog of mine.  I believe this has much to do with my belief (true or not) that I had nothing to say.  I guess I know on some level that isn’t really true.  I’ve become a sort of different person even.  I feel leaps and bounds and miles and far and wide away from the earlier blogs of mine but I wonder…did I lose my voice?  Because, shooooot, that would be kind of terrible.  It took some doing, but I did kind of develop some sort of voice.  Whiny though it may be.

    At any rate.  Some things do not change.  Weird things still happen to me.  Uncomfortable situations still do find me everywhere.

    I was in a stinky bar in New York not so long ago and I had (just HAD) to visit the even stinkier bathroom in the dark and unsafe basement.  I tried to imagine what I’d do if I got mugged.  I went to open a stall but walked in on a drunk blond girl sort of hanging off the seat in some inebriated contortion.  I didn’t see her face because I was confused by what she was doing, but I apologized and shut the door (which, she should have locked anyhow) and she said over and over again “I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry…”  I do not know why she was apologizing to me.  I found my way to the other stall and hovered and held the door shut since the lock was broken.  Drunkie finished her wee and exited her stall only to come over to mine to try to pull the door open, managing to super-smash my fingers in the process.  “I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry…”  I think the worst part of that story was that it made me scream the word “O-U-C-H!!”  I felt dumb about that.  Passive aggressive drunks are awful jerks.

    Aggressive people in general are jerks I guess.  Hey yeah–I got cyber-bullied earlier this summer (well, sorta).  I was away at a two-week letterpress intensive workshop in the Smokey Mountains of North Carolina (rocking my ass on the porch drinking beer and watching fireflies) and I got a strange email from some lame lying cyber-bully.  It read:

    Katherine
    I just read your bio on friendster and I must say I am shocked!
    I wonder if John, who happens to be a friend of mine, knows you consider his law office a “weak-ass law firm” and you are “really bored working in this horrible office”, quotes taken directly from your page.
    I happen to be looking for a job and I am thinking of sending a copy of your friendster page to John in hopes that he may replace a seemingly ungrateful employee with someone who would really benefit him, his office, and his cause.
    By the way, when will you generation X kids realize that you are not the only group capable of navigating the world wide web in search of dirt!
    Hope you have a GREAT day.

    This a-hole was clearly confused.  Rude, even.  Not to sound like a brat but who is even ON Friendster anymore?  That was a profile I hadn’t updated since…2004?  When my job DID kind of suck.  Oh yeah, I’m not really a Gen X “kid” either–I think I might be a Y-er, but that’s besides the point.  I had to write to my boss and clear the air and he told me he had no idea who this person could be.  So, some random person who has half a brain cell, a computer, and is need of a job.  I tried to Geek Tools the IP address to prove how truly capable I am of navigating the world wide web in search of dirt, but no freakin dice.  I actually wrote a super decent email back politely telling that person to piss up a rope.  And that ended the bullying.  Knock on wood.  I could go back to rocking in that rocking chair and killing country roaches.

    North Carolina was very beautiful.  It’s actually very jungly which I was not expecting.  Lush.  Snakes.  Bunnies.  Bugs.  I felt good and clean even if I was always filthy and nothing was ever quite dry.  Back in San Francisco I had to adjust.  I realized how much I hate the neighborhood I work in.  Wading through jerky city folk and yelling derelicts and navigating ’round random people’s bodily fluids is no hobby of mine.  The earthy simplicity I experienced for two weeks totally ruined me in the right way.  I resensitized.  So, I found my “center” again and maybe the writing will pick up and maybe all the weirdo stories I sling might at least amuse.  We’ll see.
  • Fungus Among Us and Halloween Hijinx

    Sadly, I sometimes find that being friendly and nice isn’t always wise.  I say this because I often suddenly find myself in the midst of someone’s insane elevator sales pitch.  People either want to sell me Jesus or Amway.  In either case I must have a lost and desperate look in my eye.  One time I was waiting in the bathroom line at Chevy’s.  Some homely talkative girl struck up a conversation about what I like to do for fun and I think at that point I might have known better.  She asked me if I liked to play volleyball.  Well, surely.  Oh…great!  Her church was having a barbeque and she’d love if I came with her and played volleyball and then we could talk some about the Lord.  No thanky.  I think she tried to give me her number.  I have a near constant stream of gypsies trying to read my fortune.  The Jehovah’s, however, might finally have gotten the picture after my brother answered the door topless and scratched the hair on his chest.

    This morning I was walking Nacho in the park and came across this gal with her annoyingly yappy dog.  I’ve seen her before.  She doesn’t want to violate the “dogs must be on leashes” law so she lets her dog run around hooked up to his leash, only the clip part bashes into people’s legs and today the stupid leash rolled over Nacho’s poo.  After some B.S. dog-related chit-chat, she paused and then burst out with, “hey, I have a business opportunity.”  This is never a good way to begin a sentence.  It reeks of desperation.  She then went on to explain that she works with this company that is “similar to Amazon” and allows you to buy things you buy anyway (“like toilet paper”) at wholesale and then you get a check.  Wait, wait.  That is too good to be true.  Anyhow, she then told me it was called Amway and that she was having a product party Monday if I wanted to come over.

    This disturbed me.  I thought we were having a nice time.  She reminds me of someone I would have been friends with when I was a sweet lil kid.  And she tried to RECRUIT me.  I felt so used.

    Halloween has sadly come and gone.  I hate that about holidays.  There is so much build up and then they happen and then it’s over.  And you have to wait through the drought of spring and summer for the good ones to come up again.  Labor Day?  Bah.  I had a bigger night than I had expected.  This is always a good thing.  The next day, not so much, but you sure do enjoy it when it’s happening.  I was a very unsuccessful cupcake.  The only recognizable thing was a big sparkly cherry I pinned to my wig.  It was sort of embarrassing but way less so than wearing some lame “Sexy Fill-in-the-Blank” costume.  At the first party I attended all the girls were sexy.  Sexy gangster, sexy Red Riding Hood, sexy Greek goddess, sexy Egyptian, sexy border patrol agent.  The border patrol agent was actually with me, so she might not count. And all the guys had weapons: guns, swords, toilet plungers.  I was an unsexy and pacifistic cupcake.

    My boyfriend’s friend played beer pong at some bar and was trying to talk to some group of girls when he found that he was puking in his Optimus Prime mask.  The mask had a little breathing hole and some puke started oozing out.  I think I might have run away.

    My friend Esteban went to a pumpkin carving costume party and someone there had a complete psychotic episode while scooping the slimy guts out of a pumpkin.  I’m really only guessing it was that that set him off.  I hate those guts myself and I almost want to pitch a serious fit when I have to deal with that muck.  They had to call an ambulance and hide the carving knives and Esteban had to have a very serious conversation with an EMT while dressed as some freaky weirdo with a skull strapped to his head and blood seeping out of his eyes.

    I was listening to Fresh Air the other day and good old Terry was interviewing a woman who worked at Bellevue Hospital in New York.  Her job as the emergency room doctor was to determine whether patients were at risk to themselves or others.  She wrote about how sometimes the smells she encountered were awful.  She had taught herself to self-hypnotize and would convince herself “the smell of urine is not offensive to me.”  She did say, however, that it’s really the smell of fungus that is the worst.  For some reason the hypnosis didn’t work on the fungus.   Ahhh, the fungus among us.

  • Gluttony Does Have Its Benefits and Doing Crazy Right

    Today my brother was asked to create a sign that read:  “PLEASE DO NOT SIT DOWN IF YOU ARE WET.”  This was to be posted in the placement agency waiting area.

    I’m glad to see his many talents are being fully utilized.  It’s kind of incredible to me that one spends years of one’s life studying and writing papers and conducting research only to end up making such signs.  At least he got to be creative picking that font.

    So, alas and alack I have been very neglectful of my poor blog.  I blame Facebook and the stupid feature that is the status update.  It is just too easy.  It’s a trap, I tell you.  You fall into this pit of self-indulgent and self-important blather.  People I know have invented half-truths to make themselves seem cool.  Or, what’s worse…they fish for comments with statuses that read “I’m sad” or “I’ve had it” or “Why are people so mean?” or “Phew, that was a close call.”  Just SAY what it is you want to say already.  I cannot say that I haven’t been slightly guilty of the aforementioned annoyances.  I’ll let you know what I’ve been doing for the past (god knows how many) months I’ve neglected my blog.

    Kitty Pulido is:

    – just bought my glue-on nails for the Jersey Party…next up, sun-tanned colored pantyhose and Aqua Net.
    – woke up this morning thinking it was Friday…weak!
    – is trying to channel her inner Julia Child…and am failing terribly. Maybe should have hit the sherry a little harder.
    – tried the Tonga Room but turned right around when we saw the 13-year-old beauty pageant queens dancing to I’m Still Standing. Now wading through a sea of big girls in booty shorts in North Beach. I heart SF.
    – the ladies next door are going gaga for the new photos of Vladamir Putin…I think I even heard the phrase “Russian Fabio.” Yikes.
    – might have to shake someone today. Hide people!
    – it’s a little disturbing how many hits a search for “baby gangsta clothes” yields
    – just passed a guy in a motorized wheelchair with a “bumper sticker” that read “Muff Diver.” Sheesh–I need a camera.
    – “I didn’t recognize you…you look good today.” Compliment? Unsure.
    – I may have to make a special trip to Memphis–the attorney just told me about a store that advertises “Clothes and Peanuts.” Yes, peanuts in a barrel (salted and not) and mauve stripper clothes…
    – at the pig races!
    – stealthily averted a skunking last night by the docks. That’ll teach me to walk and text at the same time.
    – ok so…who steals a door stop from a bar? Sasha. That’s who.
    – Overheard at dinner: “when I was a kid I thought wolves were the same as cats.”
    – if being excited about a longstitch bookbinding is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
    – is wondering why “Cankles and What to Do About Them” is listed as an MSN A-List Topic…sheesh.
    – At the vet…animals always look so sad when getting their temperatures taken!
    – listening to a lecture on dopamine depletion…fabulous!
    – Reading a pretty bad script right now. My favorite line so far: “You’d kiss a deviant with cigarette breath?” I hope today flies by.
    – Just heard a woman tell her little daughter to quit calling her “mommy” because she hates that word. Geez man, that’s cold!
    – is an unintentional eavesdropper. I just overheard a gal in uncomfy heels say she wished she could take her shoes off, but she’s afraid they’d smell.
    – I may have reached a new low. Romeo & Juliet: Sealed with a Kiss. It’s an animated movie starring….seals. I wonder how it’s going to end.
    – Seriously…the last thing I need is some hawk swooping down and stealing/mauling/basically killing poor little Nacho. And I saw one stalking us this morning. Why you eyeing me son?!
    – Kristin just told me she is going to be wearing a pearl necklace of burger juice this evening and I just don’t know how to feel about that. I miss that gal.
    – I got water on the brain.

    I think I might need to get more of a life.  Plus status updates are lazy.  For a person used to writing full-length blogs, anyhow.

    I got kicked out of therapy for being too normal.  I had sought it out after my mom passed away.  I’ve been told by two separate counselors (counselors and not full-fledged therapists because I am not crazy enough) that I just need to be more communicative.  I need to come out and talk about my feelings because I am too…reserved?  I guess that’s why for the longest time people were weirded out by my response to my mom.  I didn’t write about it much in my blog because I feel that some things are too private.  I’d much rather read entertaining stuff than sad stuff and I imagine I’m not the only one.  But then I guess I wonder if my blog writing was sort of becoming the way I conducted myself in life–only revealing glimpses, never discussing anything of real depth or importance.  Is entertainment for entertainment’s sake so bad?  I kind of don’t think so.  Not only that…but I think that I am secretly revolting against the expose-all trend promoted by Facebook and Twitter.  I really hate that crap.

    Oh wait–I got off-topic.  Do you know how weird it is to get kicked out of therapy?  Talk about feeling like a failure–I can’t even do crazy right.  The last counselor looked me straight in the eye and said, “Katherine, you’re fine.  You’re cool–you’ve got a lot going for you and I think you’ve made a lot of progress.  Make room for the real crazies.”  And then he ushered me into the dimly lit waiting room and called the next patient.  This is all before I had a chance to realize what was happening.  At first I felt pleased–like cool, I hate this place anyhow.  But then, I began to feel a little cheated.  We hadn’t really had a chance to tidy up the many loose ends we had.  And I had heard that Kaiser likes to do this to people–offer them 3 sessions then move on to the certifiably crazy.  Which is all well and good–I get it–but what if I’m not done yet.

    Oh whatever.  All this talk of feelings just makes me hungry anyhow.

    I met with my financial planner yesterday.  I actually have one, yes.  After we got the business portion of the meeting out of the way, it turned to a lengthy discussion about cats.  I guess his wife and her dad are ga-ga over cats.  Her dad paid to have Buffy the cat undergo laser surgery to clear up her sinus problems.  When all was said and done, the poor cat had perfectly round nostrils and a perpetual case of the sniffles.

    The father-in-law had another cat called Mr. Timmons.  Mr. Timmons was large and didn’t give a fig.  He’d sit in traffic.  He used to stand up on his hind legs, grab a hold, and pee on car tires.  This was the only way he liked to pee.  When picking Mr. Timmons out of the litter (Note:  Timmons’ father was some fancy and enormous stud – the breeder would have to rescue the females before he killed them while mating) my financial advisor watched as the breeder laid out a plate of raw meat for the kittens.  Suddenly one gigantic kitten climbed over—literally WALKED OVER—the others to get to the meat and then ate it “prison style” with his elbows up.  That won him a home instantly.  Gluttony does have its benefits, I suppose.

  • San Francisco: A Town Without Pity, A Town for Penguin Love Triangles

    I have been reading all about this panhandling 4-year-old and his mother and had the crummy fortune of seeing them on my way to BART.  I hate being enraged (it’s bad for wrinkles) and there I was, spitting mad that this woman had her 4-year-old out there tugging at our heartstrings, emotionally manipulating even the hardest of us by panhandling.  Don’t do that.  And the trouble is apparently, there is nothing anyone can do to stop this.  People have tried.  The authorities have been contacted but they say they cannot remove a child from a parent unless it can be proven that they are being abused and/or neglected.  And the kid does look clean and healthy.  His mother is clean, healthy and fairly well-dressed for a lady hobo.  I guess making a 4-year-old beg for loose change isn’t considered abuse or something.  I read a follow-up story about some Good Samaritans who took up a collection to buy plane tickets for the family to move back east this past winter.  By April, they were back to begging in San Francisco.  I know that kids think the weirdest things are fun, but this seems to push it a bit too far.  And to think, we were just ranked one of the meanest cities when it comes our handling of the homeless.

    Recently, my grandfather’s brother had to have some kind of emergency surgery.  My grandfather is one of four brothers.  He’s the oldest, and the healthiest.  The other three are always almost dying.  I’m glad I got some kind of tough genes because these tough, grumpy old kooks have been holding on for years.  My dad asked my grandfather why his uncle was in the hospital this time.  “His iris fell out.”  This boggles the mind.  “What do you mean his iris…that’s impossible.  You mean his cornea got detached?”  “No, like I said, his iris fell out.”  On top of having tough genes, evidently, I also come from a long line of freakshows.

    In case you’ve missed the tragic love triangle that’s been playing out at the San Francisco Zoo…I shall regale you with a tale of deception and intrigue.  So, of course, San Francisco has a pair of gay penguins called Harry and Pepper.  Some years back, they just hunkered down and decided to give it a go and make a life for themselves.  They nested together.  Sulky Pepper finally had a companion.  The two were given an egg to care for and apparently were very good and vigilant egg-sitters.  When their chicky was born, the zookeepers said the two were the best dads ever.  Well, fast-forward SIX years.  Their neighbor, a male named Fig, died and left behind a poor floozy widow named Linda.  Linda, suddenly alone and in need of male attention, turned to Harry.  You can imagine how this ends.  Not well for our friend Pepper.  This sudden split caused a lot of drama and heartache and Pepper had to be sent away for a little while.  I realize that humanizing these animals is just plain babyish, weird and maybe just a little lame, but it is pretty amazing too.

    Also amazing:

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUJ4es4cYIU]

  • Lone Wolf

    My dad walked past a heap of junk on the street the other day and stopped to check it out.  I guess it looked like it could have been good junk.  Never mind the Ab Roller, the old 45s, or the old Levis, nah…he went straight for a CD called “Relax with…Sounds of the Wolves – Enhanced with Music.”  What the what?  The description on the back reads:

    Imagine yourself walking in the serene and unspoiled

    beauty of the Woods and listening to the sounds of the

    Wolves after a stressful day.  Listen to the symphony of

    nature while you relax and escape into a world of natural

    beauty.  Sounds of the Wolves in enhanced with Strings,

    Bells, Horn Choir, Harp, Woodwind Choir, Piano, Oboe,

    Accordion, Brass Choir, and Flute.

    There is also a note that this is “not subliminal.”  Do we really think that someone might embed some scary subliminal messages in the Wolf songs…something like: “Shoot them all—go on a murderous rampage” or “Shopping at Walmart makes you sexy”?  I just don’t know.  I’m not really sure how brainwashing works, but shoot, if it’s not painful, I might try it to test my mental and emotional fortitude.

    Yesterday I was asked to help feed a baby raccoon and I happily agreed.  “Pick ‘em up by the scruff of his neck – that’s what their mothers do” is what my co-worker told me.  So I did.  And the raccoon let out this ungodly HOWL that froze my dang blood.  Then he went into a seizure which resulted in foaming at the mouth.  In my head I believe I was screaming “RABIES!!!”  My co-worker assured me I had done nothing wrong but we both watched with serious concern as the raccoon gasped for air.  I hadn’t even had a cup of coffee yet so this was especially traumatizing.  His breathing eventually evened out and she shoved him back onto my lap and I bottle-fed him.  I fought back tears and then burped the sucker.  This animal charming business ain’t as easy as it looks.

    I recently bought my first-ever item on eBay.  I know right—like welcome to 2003.  But seriously, things like auctions and bidding always kind of wig me out.  I lost my first two book presses (my newest endeavor) to sneaky jerk-ass last-minute bidders, but as they are not necessarily the most in-demand items on the market, I was able to find a handcrafted press fairly easily.  I even set up my own PayPal account.  I told my boyfriend I linked it to my credit card and he told me I’d better just be careful.  A friend of his got really drunk one night and woke up face-down on his computer’s keyboard.  A couple weeks later a large package arrived unexpectedly.  It was full to the brim with every single doll from the movie the Puppet Master.  He’d apparently bought them directly from the creator for a cool $3k.  I like people who make me feel normal.

    I had a phone call yesterday with a union rep who wanted to talk to my boss about maybe representing people in California unions.  He was a chatty-type and since I rarely get to talk to strangers on the phone, and since it was a slow day, we ended up having a very long conversation.  I suspected it might go down an unusual path when he said, “you know, it’s not often that I get to speak to nice young girls…I can’t even get them to look at me.”  Uh-oh.  “Not after my body got crushed.”  Uh-oh.  I laughed sort of uncomfortably and tried to deflect by saying, “Oh, I’m sure you’re exaggerating.”  I know, I know—LAME.  “But, you know what?  I’m glad I did it—I did it for the right reason.”  He was working as a semi truck driver out in Ohio.  It was a rainy day and a woman two cars ahead got spooked and slammed on her brakes.  The busload of school children behind her crashed into her little car and decapitated her.  He swerved to avoid hitting the kids and smashed into a ditch.  The trailer came through his cab and crushed his body to smithereens.  “Hold out your left hand,” he said.  I did.  “Now, hold up just your index finger.”  I did that too.  “That is the one bone in my body that wasn’t broken.”  He lost his wife and his family during the two years it took for him to heal in the hospital.  Still, he had an amazingly upbeat attitude and told me he didn’t want to feel sorry for himself.  I truly admire that, and wish I got to talk to more strangers.

  • Motorcycle Diaries and Mortal Sins

    “I saw something I never saw before,” said Michelle, my friend, the autopsy technician.  When someone with a steel constitution who works on and around dead bodies says these words to you, you know you’re in for some real nastiness.

    Late the other night some poor reckless guy was doing about 90 mph on a pretty dangerous stretch of freeway just south of San Francisco.  He unfortunately rear ended the guy ahead of him and flew up over the car.  His helmet came off, and his head was run over at least twice.  “Is that what killed him?” I asked.  “Hard to tell…his left leg was almost severed clear off.”  Looking at Michelle, you wouldn’t think she’d be doing this kind of work.  She’s very big eyed and innocent looking.  She loves karaoke and cute stuff and Bath & Body Works lotions and so to hear her talk about this so matter-of-factly is just plain weird.  “And the weird thing was his kidney popped out on to the road.”  Wow.  “That is crazy.”  “But that’s not the crazy part.  I haven’t gotten to it yet.”  Apparently in gnarly-ass accidents like this one, the body’s muscles will suddenly and very powerfully contract.  “Okay, so the Dr. looks at me and says, ‘Michelle, do you see a penis?’”  Nu-uh.  Okay, the guy’s penis was missing.  MISSING!  It wasn’t severed; it had been pulled clean into his body.  She finally located what she said looked like a second belly button.  “I tried to pull it out but it wasn’t budging.”  Wow.  Sick.  I am still so disturbed by this charming after-dinner conversation.

    The other day Steven and I were comparing early childhood traumas suffered at the hands of religious organizations.  I was telling him about how the nuns told me my mom probably wouldn’t be going to the same heaven as me since she was a Buddhist.  He told me about being forced to watch films on the diseases of Africa in Lutheran sleep away camp.  This is apparently where he first laid eyes on a man with elephantiasis.  That just ain’t right.  I think I bested him though with my tales of watching raw Nazi death camp footage in the 3rd grade.

    We then got onto the topic of different kinds of sins.  I am not very handy with my sin trivia, so I looked up “mortal sins.”  I think these are basically sins that you have to confess and be absolved of, or you go straight to HELL.  They are called “mortal” sins because they essentially kill your soul.  I had to look up these definitions so I could seem somewhat smart.  So, check it.  Following is a list (courtesy of churchdoors.com) of what is considered to be a mortal sin:

    • Abortion
    • Anger
    • Adulterers
    • Amending the words of the Holy Bible
    • Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, (Eternal sin)
    • Carousing
    • Cowards
    • Defrauders
    • Dissensions
    • Disrespect towards parents
    • Drunkenness
    • Enmities
    • Envy
    • Factions
    • Faithless
    • False witness (liars)
    • Fornicators
    • Greed
    • Holy communion while received in a state of mortal sin
    • Idolatry
    • Impurity
    • Jealousy
    • Licentiousness
    • Love and practice falsehoods
    • Male prostitution
    • Murderers
    • Polluted
    • Quarrelling
    • Sodomites
    • Sorcery
    • Strife
    • Thieves (steal/robbers)

    That is actually a verbatim list.  I don’t fully get this list.  And it is not only because of the strange way some of the things listed are nouns while others are verbs.  I know what thieves are, so to clarify by writing “steal/robbers” next to thieves seems silly.  “Love and practice falsehoods” also seems strange.  Does that mean you have to love lying?  Because a lot of people just lie without loving it.  And “male prostitution”?  Not prostitution in general?  “Polluted”?  “Strife?”  A lot of things on this list seem to need greater definition.

    Looking at this handy-dandy list (and I have inserted bullet-points so you can easily print this out and check-off the sins you’ve committed) I can say that I’ve committed like 19 of these.  On Friday night.  And I’m not even bragging.  I do not believe I have atoned for maybe half of those infractions.  So, I think I might be boned.  But wait.  Did you know – and this is a very handy thing about being a Catholic – that you can atone even at the very last minute?  As in:  when you die, and you’re being dangled over Hell with a view to the Pearly Gates you can say you are sorry and you will most likely be spared eternal damnation.  That’s freakin’ sweet if you ask me.