Monday, October 31, 2005
Boo!
A Very Happy Halloween to you all.
posted by Phoenix | 11:37 AM | 0 comments


Culture Clash, again
One of the hardest things for me to get used to, a Kansas/Illinois girl living in Wisconsin, has always been the clash of cultures. I've commented on this before many times, but I have a fresh example of that which sends me into confusion.

Remember me posting on my wonderful baby shower? Well, I have recently learned that something more about that day.

Some of the guests, it seems, didn't quite understand the theme or the notion of a guest of honor. Apparently, they kept wanting to know where the liquor was. Nevermind the fact that this event was billed as a Tea Party. Nevermind the fact that it took place at 1:30 in the afternoon. Nevermind the fact that the guest of honor, 7 months pregnant, couldn't imbibe. The guests still expected adult liquid refreshment.

Beer, booze, who knows?

They even went to secretive lengths to acquire said beverages. Perhaps if they knew the correct password or secret handshake they could gain entry to the big wine cooler in the sky.

This vexes me. This vexes me mightily. First of all, it was a freakin' Tea Party. Now, I realize that "tea party" is sometimes a euphemism for women drinking liquor on the sly, but that would have meant quotes around tea party on the invites, am I right? I mean, the Boston Tea Party was little more than organized patriotic vandalism, but they didn't come expecting to ransack my neighborhood, now did they?

Who throws a baby shower with booze? Tell me! Who?

Why in blue blazes would you have a beverage at a party knowing that the Guest of Freakin' Honor could not partake? This, to me, is wholly rude! It would be the equivalent of offering up a dinner and serving steak tartar as an appetizer at a do to honor a lifetime vegetarian. It is crass and rude. It isn't as though beverages other than tea weren't offered. They were. However, they were equally unalcoholic.

Furthermore, what is this business? I mean, it is one thing to get tanked at a football bash or a strip club, but were are talking about a wholesome baby shower here. I suppose we should have had shot glasses printed with little storks, or something. Tequila shooters all around, and buttery nipples for the Grandmas in the crowd?

Bah! See, this is what I mean. I fear that I shall never really fit in here in Wisconsin. I don't think beer and liquor is appropriate for a baby shower. I also don't think you should have a stripper at a baby shower. (To be fair, nobody as far as I know asked when the 'entertainment' would be arriving.) These are things that belong to a different sort of festivity.

But then again, I wasn't weaned on Miller High Life, so perhaps I can't really say.

Still. I think it was rude of them to badger the hostess about where she was hiding the booze.
posted by Phoenix | 11:03 AM | 3 comments


Mommy & Me
Week 30.

We are still traversing this odd universe, experiencing new things. The natives? They are restless. More on that in a moment.

The Experts in Engineering indicate that this week's development will progress as follows:
Our little one is nearly three pounds already and growing like a weed.
The early lanugo is disappearing, the eyelids open and close, and the toenails are
growing. The bone marrow is now responsible for red blood cell production.
Isn't that cool? Toenails and bone marrow! Sounds like the name of a punk band.

Our little one kicks all of the time now. I've decided that rather than be a field goal kicker, she's decided to be a Rockette. Field goal kickers only kick once, then watch where the ball went. Rockettes? They kick and kick. Fan kicks, half kicks, high kicks. yep. She's going to be a Rockette.

We had a nice weekend. We hung the curtains in the nursery and put up the canopy and mobile. I say "we", but really I just handed tools and hardware to Prince Charming, like an assisting nurse in surgery. The Badgers won again, so Prince Charming didn't have anything to grouse about. As an Illinois Alum, I have to be very very quiet when the Badgers play them, lest I cause an international incident.

Speaking of Prince Charming, he has been very ill. He has the horrendous chest cold. He coughs and I imagine bits of lung coming up. It is that bad. We watched our friends' kids on Friday night. The tough part was, they wouldn't go to sleep. Damn. I get up at 5 a.m. I can't stay up that late anymore, particularly in my pregnant state. But, I did get to see that Prince Charming is going to be a very loving and careful daddy, so that made it worth it.

On Sunday, I learned my limitations. I went and helped another friend with a big project on Sunday morning. I only spent 4 hours, but my back really regretted every minute. I could barely walk when I got home, so I took a long hot shower and spent the rest of the day on the couch writing thank you notes and doing laundry. Prince Charming put some Icy Hot on my lower back and that felt really good.

Today the pain is only half as bad. Either way, it was worth it to help out a friend.

Labels:

posted by Phoenix | 10:35 AM | 1 comments


Friday, October 28, 2005
Caution: Major Rant Ahead
Frick, frack, ackalack!

I'm steaming this morning!

Check out this news, via MSNBC.

It seems that Saddam's half-brother and head of his Mukhabarat Intelligence Service is pleading with the "infidel" "occupiers" for some mercy. Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti is a co-defendant in Saddam's trial and faces charges on "crimes against humanity."

But, naturally, he proclaims his innocence. In fact, and this is my absolute favorite part, he insists that he is, "an innocent person dragged into a matter that does not concern him, and on which his view is well known.” Just ask those folks who met his friend Woody the WoodChipper. They'll tell ya. He's innocent.

But, in the grand tradition of lawless thug dictatorships who suddenly embrace Geneva Conventions, Democracy, and Humanity when they get their pee-pees caught in the big zipper of life, Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti is pleading with George W. Bush and Tony Blair in writing to allow him his freedom so that he can seek treatment for spinal cancer.
“I plead to President Bush ... in the name of justice and the principles of
democracy and human rights defended by the United States, to look into my
humanitarian situation,” the newspaper quoted Barzan as saying in the
letter.

I am dumbstruck at the gall of this guy. Hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis just rolled over in their mass graves. Puh-lease! He's not on trial for jaywalking, folks.

I wonder how many of those guys who got cancer treatment in the woodchipper would line up to fight for this guy's human rights? Actually, I don't really wonder. I know how many: zero. But the line forming to be the one to visit horrors upon his person wraps around the country.

The incredible joke about all of this is I can't believe he's being denied treatment now. I can't be sure, because the article doesn't specify who has him in custody, but I have to believe he's getting better care than he would have gotten as a loyal henchman in Saddam's Healthcare Package. From what I've heard, that program often favored throwing the babe out with the bathwater; cutting off ears, fingers, and the like as preventative care, and the come-one-come-all panacea of Woody the Woodchipper.

This guy probably wouldn't appreciate the irony of me using a yiddish word to describe him, but he's got chutzpah.
posted by Phoenix | 9:44 AM | 1 comments


SpySistah Chronicles - Chapter 9
It is so depressing. This will be the last episode of SpySistah for a while as Fictional Friday is drawing to a close. I, for one, shall miss it.

Anyway, as you are all aware by now, Miss Silk gives us photos from which to draw inspiration. That inspiration leads to a story of 1,000 words or less.

I am sure of one thing. This is not the end of The SpySistah Chronicles.

As usual, I will update with links to other participants in this final farewell to Fictional Fridays. Do please leave a comment and let me know what you thought of this chapter.

“Tell me again. What happened?”

Samantha took a deep breath and told Mark the whole bizarre tale of Emma Radcliffe. When she had finished, she removed the necklace from the box and handed it to him. “She gave me this as she lay dying.”

Mark seemed perplexed, so Samantha asked, “You did know her, right?”

He turned the necklace over and over in his hand. “Yeah. I knew her. A long time ago, James introduced me to her as his girlfriend.”

“And you gave her a key to our place? Are you nuts?”

“I never gave her a key. James had a key while he was here on the island. I’m not sure I got it back from him. Maybe she got it from him.”

“I swear! Sometimes I think you have toast where your brains ought to be.”

“I feel the same way, honey.” He smirked at her, still turning the necklace over and over in his hand. “Hey did you see this?” He said, pointing to the back of the charm and a catch that opened a little door.

*****

Samantha and Mark were in it up to their necks. Again. Samantha didn’t know precisely how these things always happened to them. Emma’s locket had been filled with data that, when decrypted, suggested that a South American magnate had purchased enough liquid Vx to eradicate several Dallas-Fort Worth sized cities.

By the time the intel had been decrypted, only one team had been available to act on it. That is what led Mark and Samantha to be in scuba gear off of a Caribbean island, being circled by a shark.

“How is it you always land us in these sorts of predicaments?” she asked him.

“Me? I think it’s you! You are the one that gets kidnapped, shot at, and otherwise ends up on the wrong side of the threat.”

“Whatever. Do you think you can get us out of this one?”

“No problem. Get ready to swim.” Mark pulled the knife from his utility belt and as the shark drew near, he punched it in the head and plunged his knife into the brain. “Go!” he shouted.

They swam and swam to get away from the confused and writhing animal, eventually landing on the beach. They shed their wet suits and ran across the sand for cover.

*****

Samantha, now dressed in the black spandex of an assault mission, stood waiting in the lengthening shadows behind Enrique Chavez’s island manse. Samantha really hated the tropics. Cockroaches the size of Yugos were not her idea of a good time. Yet another aspect of how the glamorous life of a spy wasn’t quite so glamorous.

Mark was scouting the area to determine where the best opportunity to breach the patrols might be. She checked her vest, confirming that she had her 9 mms, extra ammo, and her field knife. She did. She checked her coms to make sure that she could call in the cavalry when that time came.

*****

Samantha and Mark climbed silently to the top of the bricked wall and jumped down to the other side, instinctively checking to see if their presence had been detected. Surreptitiously, they half-crawled to the sliding glass door. Samantha silently slid the door open and disappeared into the darkened depths of the house. Mark faded back into the shadows.

Samantha easily adjusted to the dark. Her photographic memory recalled the layout of the house and the quickest route upstairs. She padded quietly up the grand staircase and down the hallway to where the master bedroom lay. She crept to the door and stood silently, waiting for Mark to get into position. When the light on her watch flashed, she opened the door, gun raised, and surveyed the room. Candlelight broke the darkness and lit the entwined bodies of Enrique and his young mistress.

“This is just charming!” she said by way of introducing herself to them, “But maybe you should stop.” Enrique pulled away from the young blond and looked up, leering at Samantha in her skin-tight uniform.

“Beautiful, there is time,” his heavy accent grumbled. “Isabella will not mind sharing. Take off your clothes and join us.”

“Delightful as that offer is, I’m going to have to pass. I like my men a little more…manly.” She said motioning to his nether regions with her gun. “So, Isabella, you must like him for his bucks, huh?”

Isabella pretended not to understand, but Samantha could tell from the gleam in her eye that she had.

Samantha threw a silk robe at Enrique. “Get dressed, would you. That thing reminds me of a lizard.” He slowly shrugged into the garment and lounged on the bed. “Much better. Now. Here’s what you are going to do: you are going to tell me who sold you the Vx.”

Enrique feigned stupidity. “Vx? What is Vx?”

“Alright, Dumbass. Play dumb. We’ve already got the goods on you. It is no skin off my nose if you prefer the nasty method of intelligence extraction to my softer and gentler side.”

He got off the bed and approached where she stood, weighing the truth of her words. He looked ready to comply when suddenly he lunged and disarmed her, tackling her to the ground. Samantha fought tooth and nail, punching and clawing at the desperate Enrique. She pulled the knife from her vest, but he wrestled this out of her hands and laid it to her throat.

“Shall we discuss softer and gentler now?” He asked, his brow sweating from his exertions.

“Honey, jump in here anytime.” Samantha said.

“Oh, fine. But I really think you could have taken him.” Mark was leaning up against the jamb of the door to the master bathroom, guns trained on Enrique and Isabella.

Enrique rolled off of Samantha and she leapt to her feet, kicking Enrique in his family jewels as she walked past him.

“That was for suggesting I climb into bed with your slimy self. Now, let’s talk Vx.”

Update:

Silk has a lovely tale of two young lovers that seems familiar to me.

Rina has a story of a shooting star that I totally thought was going to end in a different way.

posted by Phoenix | 3:05 AM | 6 comments


Thursday, October 27, 2005
Intentions
I intend to spend any other free time today writing the next chapter in the SpySistah chronicles.

You must needs entertain yourselves.
posted by Phoenix | 9:22 AM | 1 comments


Lightbulb over my head
So, I've had an idea.

What if, the next time you get some request from Nigerian scam artists looking to hide the illicit gains from some something or other, you turn the tables on them. Don't respond to their email, but send them a phishing message to the same address.

For example, you could claim to be the great-grandson of some extremely wealthy old biddy. You are seeking to funnel her money, as you have Power of Attorney, out of the country to avoid paying estate taxes on the $90 million. Beg him to open a bank account and email you the details, blah, blah, blah. You can see where I'm going with this.

Turnabout is fair play.
posted by Phoenix | 9:08 AM | 1 comments


Happy Birthday!
This message goes out to the original SpySistah. I'm a day late with this post, but I figure you got your gifts several days early, so it averages out to even.

I love you. You are fab.

And, you throw a terrific baby shower!

Labels:

posted by Phoenix | 9:06 AM | 0 comments


Papa Don't Preach
It is Thursday once again, so that means I have to put on my thinking cap and tackle the weekly topic for the Demystifying Divas and the Men's Club.

This week's topic is not in the main. That is to say, it is highly controversial for the Divas and the Men. Nevertheless, I shall endeavor to put on a brave face and sally forth into the mêlée. Of course, these days my sally looks a lot more like an unbalanced wobble, but I think my readers understand when I'm using a literary device.

This week's topic is twofold. First, should the biological father of an unborn child have the right to block an abortion. And secondly, should the woman who seeks an abortion without consulting the father be liable for damages.

Crap! The next thing you know we'll be discussing creationism! Anyhoo.

The thing is, I have to say that I have my misgivings about the father having equal rights to choice. It seems to me that if you allow a man the right to impose his will on a woman's body, that she should have the right to deny him or compel him to have a little snip-snip. Why? Because equality is a two-way street, baby. But let's assume for the moment that you can get past that point for a moment. My larger problem with it is the damage it does to the freedom of the woman.

I feel that subjecting a woman's reproductive issues to the choices of a man unfairly puts the woman in a subservient role. I fear that one landmark ruling would create a precedent that would prevent pregnant women from leaving the control of their wife-beating husbands. I am concerned that a victim of rape who conceives as a product of the crime visited upon her, would then be subject to her rapists whims yet again. I know what you are thinking: prove rape and he loses his rights. The problem is, rapes are hard to prove and don't have the best of conviction rates.

And even supposing that we aren't talking about the product of a criminal act, allowing a man to compel a woman to carry and give birth to his baby suggests that he can also dictate the manner is which the child is carried. He can dictate her diet and activities while the babe is in utero. And, potentially, he could determine what extraordinary measures could be taken during labor to protect the life of the child at the expense of the mother. None of which allows the woman any say. It's a slippery slope, I fear.

It would be fabulous if all men were loving, reasonable, responsible, stand-up good guys. I would love that world! Unfortunately, not all of them are good guys.

The reason I know this is because I was once in an abusive relationship. This guy didn't hit me, but he abused me mentally playing Jekyl and Hyde games. He got off on it. He cherished the power he had over me. Only time and distance has allowed me to see the truth of this. When I finally escaped his clutches, I was skittish like you wouldn't believe and had a hard time trusting another man for many years. He was manipulative. And if he had had some final power to exert over me, he would have used it. He would have got a stiffy just thinking about it.

So, until this particular type of man has been eradicated from the face of the earth, I'm afraid that I'm going to vote "no."

Part two of the question is another field of landmines. Should a woman who aborts without consent of the biological father be liable for damages? I suppose that the flipside of this is should a man who masterbates or gets snipped without consent of a woman liable for damages? Again, this is really dangerous ground. Individual cases might be reasonably concluded, but the precedent would be lousy for other women and men everywhere.

If I am raped and get pregnant, then abort the product of the criminal union, can my rapist take me to court from his prison cell to demand damages? If I abort because screening suggests that the fetus has some serious birth defect, can the father sue me for damages because that life might have been able to be harvested for bone marrow to treat his other child?

Bah! I have wrapped my brain around this and come up with exactly nothing helpful, I fear. Go check out what Kathy and Silk have to say. Super Sexy Sadie has taken some time off, but her blog buddy Christina may ring in. Also, Ruth is guest-posting for the Divas this week. Go see what she has to say on the matter. The Maximum Leader, Phin, Stigmata, Jamesy, and That 1 Guy will all be posting on this subject from the male point of view. Check 'em out.
posted by Phoenix | 8:22 AM | 3 comments


I'm a Prophet! Stop the Presses!
The first part of my dream has come true!

Harriet Miers has withdrawn from consideration as a Supreme Court Justice. (I get breaking news flashes from Fox in my email.)

I guess I should be expecting a call from the White House. That seems like an event. Perhaps I should put on my pearls.

You think?
posted by Phoenix | 8:16 AM | 0 comments


Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Media Whore Returns!
Cindy Sheehan, Media Whore, has returned to the public eye to make you and I want to scratch our eyes and ears off again.

The bitch has decided to observe the death of the 2,000th brave soldier in Iraq with a renewed protest at the White House.

She's such a grasping opportunistic hag.

As if somehow the 2,000th is more important than number 1997, 1685, 1406, or any of the others. She's just deciding that 2,000 is a nice round number and the hurricanes are behind us, so the salivating dogs of the MSM will be happy to sniff her butt again.

She's a Media Whore. She's the very worst sort of protester. It has become her business, her main duty. Why can't she do something productive?

Heaven help me, the woman makes me want to maim something (preferably her).

Her noble and sacrificing son gave his life so that she could sully his name and wipe her feet on the flag. I honestly hope that he is unaware of her antics in his afterlife. Knowing how his mother dishonors him could be nothing less than hell, and surely he deserves better.

They all do.

I wish him peace.

I wish his mother would shut the F*** up.
posted by Phoenix | 11:46 AM | 0 comments


Contrary to Rumor
I am not dead, despite what you may have thought. I have been neck-deep in programming hell. I've been adrift on the high seas of database Hades.

The good news is, this project is wrapping up pretty quickly because...well, I am, afterall, Me.

So, I shall return to you soonish.
posted by Phoenix | 11:43 AM | 1 comments


Monday, October 24, 2005
Baby Shower Extravaganza
The baby shower was a resounding success, thanks to the incredible efforts of my sister. My mother helped quite a lot too, but my sister, as hostess, batted the thing out of the park!

We had a tea party theme, so everybody had an antique tea cup and it was all very lady-like. The sandwiches were quite yummy, as were the petit fours. The atmosphere was delightful, with fresh cut roses all over the place as decoration.

So, much kudos go to my sister and mom to whom I owe a redwood-sized thank you.

As to the actual details of the shower...

Never have I seen so much pink! And, never has there been a more spoiled child, it seems. For example, let's begin with footwear. London received as gifts a pair of fuzzy bunny infant slippers, a pair of pink tennis shoes, and 7 pair of socks decorated to look as though the child is wearing Mary Janes (in assorted colors).

She received 15 blankets of varying weights and styles: 6 receiving blankets, several fleece, and no less than 4 hand-made ones.

She received a bathtub and hooded towel set. She received her own CD player and CD of lullabyes. She received 9 outfits for the 0-3 month stage, several for 3-6, a dozen for 6-months, 2 for 6-12 months, 3 for 9-months, and 1 for 18 months. She received books and toys aplenty, and even a magenta rubber ducky! We got the breast pump and nurser, 4 thermometers (of varying styles none the same), 9 bibs, a multitude of hats, and about 3,000 other things. She received her papasan chair and lots of gift cards so we can load up on other stuff too!

There seems to be no doubt that this child will be spoiled rotten. And, the spoiler-in-chief appears to be none other than her grandmother (my mother) who got her not only the Eddie Bauer stroller-carseat-travel system, but also 4 other gifts! If Grandma goes broke, we'll know why! She can't pass up a rack of baby clothes!

We are stunned and grateful for the gifts we've received. Although, Prince Charming was heard to bemoan not only the abundance of pink, but the sad lack of anything red and white and containing the University of Wisconsin's motion W logo. So, the panic is off and I can now move into the evaluation phase to determine what we still need. Which is a relief. The good news is, I now have enough of those baby shower gift bags to keep me in them for the next 10 years!

Seriously, my house is now exploding in pink, soft, baby stuff.
posted by Phoenix | 12:45 PM | 4 comments


Mommy & Me
Hurray! Week 29 is here.

The experts claim that this week's development is all about:
The baby's head is in proportion to the rest of the body. Fat continues to
accumulate under the skin. The brain can control primitive breathing and body
temperature control, and the eyes can move in the sockets. The baby is becoming
sensitive to light, sound, taste and smell. Now, I wonder how experts know a
baby can smell in utero?

You know, this process is so amazing. It is actually humbling! I talk to London as much as I can these days. We sing in the car and she lets me know when I need to shift position to make room for her. Prince Charming likes to talk to her with his lips right on the skin of my belly. I'm not sure she actually gets much more than vibration since that is what I get from it, but whatever.

Her kicking is so frequent that I don't always notice it. Doesn't that sound ridiculous? Strange but true. It is so awesome knowing this little person is going to be arriving and bringing us joy. Her daddy is looking more and more like he's going to be emotional on her birthday. That's right! My big, strong, canyon man is turning into goo when it comes to his little girl. All of which pleases me greatly. Every girl deserves a doting daddy, after all.

Labels:

posted by Phoenix | 11:01 AM | 1 comments


Friday, October 21, 2005
In my dreams...
I just thought I'd let you all in on one of my prophetic (or maybe not) dreams.

That way you won't be shocked when it comes true, and in the meantime can laugh at me.

Last night, I dreamt that my buddy George came to my house and confided in me that the Harriet Miers thing was turning into a fiasco and he needed my help. She was going to step down as a nominee and George wanted to put me in. I swear to you. The President of the United States asked me to join the Supreme Court last night.

In my dream.

He gave me the hard sell. Told me that although I'd have to relocate to D.C., that I could continue blogging under a new alias. He suggested "Courtney of the Court," which I thought was clever. Then he said that the architecture in town was great. He told me of the benefits of having a young mother on the court, about how intriguing it would be to have a woman who was raising a member of the next generation be part of getting us there. I was flattered. Who wouldn't be? I mentioned that I was not a lawyer, that the sum total of my law education was an Ag Law class I'd taken in college. He said that he had talked to my professor from that class and she felt that I was the most sensible student, most legal-minded, that she'd every had the pleasure to teach. She always thought that I was headed to law school. You know, because I understood water rights, dog bites, and fence-in vs. fence-out. Whatever. George said that it was my broad spectrum of experience that he was interested in. I'm a farm girl educated in the city. I'm a smart girl who went to a state land grant university. He said that I was the Mid-West. He said that there were no constitutional requirements to the post, so my legal experience was not particularly important. He said it was more important that I was sincere, honest, identifiable, personable, sympathetic, and young. And I was flattered again. He convinced me.

So, don't be surprised if George dumps Harriet and names a short 30-something brunette pregnant lady in Wisconsin as his nominee to replace Sandra Day O'Connor.

Although, it is also possible that this wasn't a prophetic dream.
posted by Phoenix | 10:19 AM | 1 comments


How Cool is That?
I know, I need to update my blogroll again. What can I say? However, I've been meaning to give props to the American Geek. I enjoy the Heritage Quotes.

Today I realized that USAdave must be an Aggie.

I was very close to becoming an Aggie myself. I had a scholarship to the MBA program there, but then I was offered a promotion at work and, well...never got my MBA. Maybe after the baby?

We'll see. I might be able to do one of those weekend programs.

Still. How cool is the American Geek? And how about them Aggies, huh?
posted by Phoenix | 10:15 AM | 1 comments


Fictional Friday: SpySistah Chronicles - Chapter 8
Another Friday, another installment in The SpySistah Chronicles.

Take a gander at this latest chapter in Silk's fiction experiment. Again, I have worked all three inspirational pictures into the story and limited myself to 1,000 words. As always, I will update with links to the other participants.

Happy Reading.

*****

Samantha walked into the house toting her travel bag. It had seemed that she’d never get back home to the island safehouse. First it had been the Med, then China, and finally Germany. She was glad to be home, if a little sad. The requisite adrenaline crash that followed a mission always had this impact.

She wandered into the kitchen leaving her bag at the foot of the stairs. She grabbed a Heineken from the fridge and headed up the stairs to bed. She needed to sleep.

As she climbed the stairs, she became alert. She heard a shower running. She silently pulled her 9 mm from the holster and carefully approached the bedroom. At the doorway, she could see the bed she and Mark shared, linens crumpled and obviously slept in. Another clue. She never left the bed unmade.

She quietly searched in all of the likely places: under the bed, in the closet, behind the drapes. It seemed that there was only one intruder, and they were in the shower. Stealthily she searched the room for other clues to identity, but found nothing. She heard the water turn off and then the telling squeek of the shower door. Samantha gave it a few moments, then crept toward the bathroom door.


This, at least, was one door that didn’t make noise. She silently pushed the door open. The sight would have shocked most people, but not Samantha. She could see the back of a naked young woman, tattooed from one end to the other. She brought the gun to center on the woman’s torso.

“Don’t fucking move.”

The faceless tattooed body replied in a sugary British accent, “You must be Samantha.”

“And your name is…”

“Emma Radcliffe. MI-6. Friend of Mark’s.”

“Turn around, slowly.” Samantha directed the woman. When they were face to face, Samantha asked, “Well, Emma, how did you get into my house?”

“Key. Mark gave me a key.” She gestured toward the counter, where a silver key lay amid the woman’s underwear. Mark didn’t just “give a key” to anyone.

“Uh huh. Was Mark expecting you? He didn’t mention anything and I’m afraid he’s out of town.”

“No. It was a lark, coming to see him. Bad planning, I suppose.”

“Why don’t you get dressed and we’ll talk.”

Samantha left Emma in the bathroom and went to the secret closet. She sent a message to her boss, Scott Davidson requesting information. Mark was still being debriefed after his long undercover stint. She returned to the bedroom to find Emma wearing her own pink thong and matching bra.

“Just make yourself at home, I guess.”

“Sorry. I didn’t think you’d mind. Mark always speaks of your generosity.” Samantha watched as Emma pulled on Samantha’s favorite black sundress. Generous she might be, but there are just some things a girl doesn’t share, lipstick, underwear, and men chief among them. What kind of tramp wears another girl’s thong, Samantha asked herself.

“So,” Samantha began, “you didn’t just come on a lark, but also appear to be traveling very light. When, may I ask, did you arrive?”

“Mmm. Late last night.”

Samantha regrouped. “Well, sorry for holding you at gunpoint and all. I didn’t know…anyway, now I’m feeling a bit like one of Goldilock’s three bears. Somebody’s been sleeping in my bed, bathing in my shower, and now wearing my clothes. It is a bit unsettling. Hungry?”

“Yes, quite.”

Samantha took Emma up to the Lighthouse for afternoon tea. They munched on scones and took in the view of Horseshoe Bay Beach, Samantha trying desperately to figure out what Emma’s game was.

That evening, Samantha took Emma downtown for Sushi and then they walked among the vendors who sell trinkets to the cruise ship passengers. At one point, Emma lingered over a particular hemp necklace, finally handing money over to the vendor for the purchase. Samantha became suspicious as it had looked as though more than cash had changed hands. She contented herself to watch Emma carefully.

The ladies left the plaza and strolled down the darkened streets back toward the house. They crossed the street and Emma seemed to get nervous. She started chatting nonsensically, switching subjects with increasing momentum. Emma turned and looked back over her shoulder down the street. Her behavior made the hairs on Samantha’s neck stand up, sensing danger. Abruptly, Emma turned and began running in the opposite direction.

Samantha wasn’t sure what to do. She wasn’t carrying and didn’t know anything about Emma except that she claimed to be Mark’s friend and an MI-6 agent. She supposed that for a moment that knowledge was enough. She quickly turned on her heel and followed after Emma, her sandals slapping the pavement rhythmically.

She turned the corner, following Emma’s moves, and stood in the darkness evaluating. Emma was struggling with someone a block up. She ran toward them to intervene. As she approached, she heard a noise behind her. She turned and noticed a figure standing in the blue light of a store front, casting only a faceless shadow. Even so, it was clear that a gun was pointed in Emma’s direction.

Simultaneously, Samantha shouted and the gunman depressed the trigger. Emma looked up at the shout, then shock fell on her face as the bullet found a target in her chest. As she stood there in shock, the gunman fired twice more into her chest and ran off, Emma’s assailant also taking flight.

Samantha ran to Emma’s crumpled form.

“Take it easy.” She told the young woman as she dialed for emergency services with her phone. “You’re going to be okay.”

“No.” Emma said shallowly, “I’m not. I should … told you. Take this.” Emma placed the blood-soaked necklace into Samantha’s hand.

“It takes more than this to bring down an MI-6 agent!” Samantha tried to urge her to live. But it was a lost cause. That gunman had been a pro. She’d be dead before EMS arrived.

“I’m sorry to die in your thong.”

Update:

Silk's fabulous story can be found here.
posted by Phoenix | 2:32 AM | 4 comments


Thursday, October 20, 2005
Scared to Death
Mark Steyn managed to scare the crap out of me this morning. The implications are staggering. Excerpt:
So the world’s largest country is dying and the only question is how
violent its death throes are. Yesterday’s Russia was characterised by Churchill
as a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Today’s has come unwrapped:
it’s a crisis in a disaster inside a catastrophe. Most of the big international
problems operate within certain geographic constraints: Africa has Aids, the
Middle East has Islamists, North Korea has nukes. But Russia’s got the lot: an
African-level Aids crisis and an Islamist separatist movement sitting on top of
the biggest pile of nukes on the planet. Of course, the nuclear materials are
all in ‘secure’ facilities — more secure, one hopes, than the secure public
buildings in Nalchik that the Islamists took over with such ease last week.

As they say, read the whole thing.
posted by Phoenix | 8:37 AM | 0 comments


What is He Thinking?
That is today's topic for the Demystifying Divas and The Men's Club. Specifically, the ladies are to offer up three things we'd like to have men explain their views on, and the gents are to do the same for women.

Believe it or not, that last sentence was very difficult to write.

I'd like to offer up the following topics of conversation, seeking insight into the masculine psyche:

Subject the First: Small Sexual Etiquettes

I refer, of course, to the small niceties that well-bred men practice in relation to the fairer sex. When a man holds open a door for a woman, pulls out a chair for a woman, or holds a woman's coat open for her, does he resent it? On the one hand, these are simple enough gestures that need not have any real sexual overtones. They are merely polite. However, I can see how some men might resent having to perform these duties in this day and age of equality and liberation. I can't tell you how many times I've heard my father's story of the time he held a door open for a girl in college in the 70's. She jumped all over his behavior for treating her as inferior "in this day and age" and called him all sorts of names. My father was only trying to be courteous, but she gave him the women's lib smack-down for his efforts. It is this story of my father's that always makes me say "Thank you" when someone holds the door open for me. I don't see this as a man pushing me back into a corset and into the kitchen, but as one human doing a kindness for another. But still, I am curious what the Men's Club take on this is. Do you do it? Do you resent it? Do you see yourself as misogynists stealthily trying to take back the workplace, adjourning to your leather chairs, cigars, and brandy, congratulating yourselves on your superiority, or do you instead simply see it as a nice gesture? I want to know.

Subject the Second: Women's Grooming

Do men really think all of the grooming we nice young ladies do is ridiculous, or do you secretly enjoy it? I can't count the number of times a man has rolled his eyes or commented about my need of an hour in the bathroom to prepare for an evening out. I can't even count the number of times my need to paint my finger and toenails has caused comment. And we shan't even mention leg shaving. So, gentlemen, do you really find all of this unnecessary and ridiculous, or do you find it a bit intriguing? Do you enjoy the mystery of the beast going into the bathroom and the angel coming out? Do you really prefer chipped and unmanicured hands with dirt under the fingernails to a neat and clean polish? Do you prefer to see the feet of yeti climbing their way under the table to the promised land, or a sexy candy apple red tipped foot snaking toward you? Do you prefer to be wrapped in hairy ape legs, or sleek and smooth well-lotioned ones? Do you enjoy scoffing and making these comments as a matter of form, or are you trying to tell us you would prefer a more grungy granola type of girl?

Subject the Third: The Cluelessness of the Male to the Predatory Female

Have you ever been in this position, ladies? Some female pirranha is trying to move in on your man. You recognize the signs, signals, and her passive-aggressive behaviors instinctively, whether you learned them in high school or just understand the female of the species, but your man remains clueless to her ploy? Been there. Done that. And for some reason that I can't fathom, men never seem to pick up on it. Well, straight men anyway. I'm not sure if these guys are just flattered by the attention or really that clueless. Do they really think women can not be predatory sexual aggressors? Is this conceit or merely stupidity? Everybody knows the female of any species is always the more dangerous. Certainly those of us who are females can recognize it. We may be bound by moral and societal constraints from knocking her bony ass back out of our territory, but that doesn't mean we are unaware. Men, though, seem to be. They are like the young gazelle, sipping at the pool of crisp water in the morning dawn, unaware of the cheetah licking her lips. "Look up!" I want to scream. "Run!" Can't you see she's planning to turn you into steak tartar? You fool! So are men really clueless, or just aching to see a girl fight break out? Maybe men have no experience with passive-aggressive behavior, but I don't see how this can be. They all had mothers, right? Eh.

So, these are the questions I need answered. Line up boys, craft your responses, and let us know. We want to understand, really we do.

As you are all aware, all the Divas will be lining up with questions. Check out what Silk, Kathy, and the Ladies of the Fistful of Fortnights have to say. On the flip side, Phin, Jamesyboy, Stiggy, the Naked Villains, and Nugget will be asking questions of the ladies.
posted by Phoenix | 7:32 AM | 5 comments


Wednesday, October 19, 2005
The Nice Side of Pregnancy
Now that people can tell I'm expecting, I find that there is a pleasant phenomenon taking place.

I call it Pregnancy Courtesy.

For some reason, people are increasingly pleasant and courteous to me. It is as though my belly has swollen and is emitting happy chemicals which are confounding the otherwise rude predilictions of the strangers I meet.

Men open doors for me, even when they are not actually ready to enter or exit themselves. People offer to carry things for me. Perfect strangers go out of their way to say hello to me and inquire as to my state. People let me jump in front of them in line.

It is like being a movie star or member of royalty, without all of the paparazzi.

It is quite lovely if you can get past the idea that people are treating you like some fat princess. Me? I don't mind at all. However, nobody has yet tried to reach out and touch my belly either. That unfortunate soul will pull back a bloody stump for his troubles, and be an object lesson for the rest of them.
posted by Phoenix | 10:38 AM | 0 comments


Overheard
Last night I was watching The Amazing Race (because it comes on after hottie mchothot Mark Harmon's show NCIS) and heard the most profoundly stupid statement.

For those of you not tuning into this insipid idiocy (for some reason, this season is crap where previous seasons were actually about the race), this season has families of four racing but only within the United States.

Fine.

Last night's episode had the families running around in Mississippi and Louisiana. One of the mothers (I swear to God) said the following:

"Lake Pontchartrain...that's one of the Great Lakes."

I kid you not.

How freakin' stupid do you have to be to make this statement? I mean, come on! This is 4th grade stuff!

So, in the Villains Vanquished way, we will now provide the following public service, by way of reminding you of your 4th grade teacher and the mnemonic "HOMES."

You can remember the 5 Lakes that comprise the Great Lakes by remembering "HOMES."

H is for Lake Huron
O is for Lake Ontario
M is for Lake Michigan
E is for Lake Erie
S is for Lake Superior

For those of you who didn't need reminding, I beg your indulgence. For those of you that did need reminding, well...GET A FRICKIN' CLUE!

We shall return now to our regularly scheduled pissing and moaning.
posted by Phoenix | 10:25 AM | 1 comments


Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Sad News
It seems that there are only 2 more weeks of Fictional Friday. The last post will be on October 28th.

This really makes me sad. More than that, it really puts the pressure on to make these last two episodes really rock.

Oh, the pressure!
posted by Phoenix | 11:18 AM | 0 comments


Baby Update
We have successfully negotiated the perils of Glucola. In case any of you were wondering what that tastes like, here is a description: it is like drinking Orange Crush Syrup without the benefit of any soda to make it bubbly or break the sweetness. It wasn't exactly torture to drink it, but it wasn't pleasurable either. We don't know the results until today, and the doctor won't even call me if I failed the test. Oh - in case you don't know - this test is performed to determine if mommy is developing gestational diabetes.

We also learned yesterday that we will begin seeing the doctor every 2 weeks instead of monthly, until we get one-month from the due date. At one-month away will begin going weekly.

In one month, I will go for my last ultrasound. This is the ultrasound where they check baby's growth and estimate how big she will be at delivery. I'm hoping for a small number (7-9 pounds) as opposed to 10-12 pounds. Egad. I can't even think about that. That ultrasound should be really cool because it is done in the doctor's office where they have 3-D ultrasound imaging. We'll get to see the baby's face!

The baby shower is this weekend. SpySistah is flying in from the island to throw me the party. I'm excited. There are a few people not coming who I would really have liked to see, but I understand all about scheduling. Travel can be tough too, seeing as how our family and friends are scattered all over the U.S. Anyway, I'll be sure to post about that on Monday and let you know how it went.

Labels:

posted by Phoenix | 11:05 AM | 0 comments


Monday, October 17, 2005
Mommy & Me
Week 28. Thank goodness! We've finally arrived at the third trimester. Only 3 more months to go. The experts say that this week is all about:
Our little miracle is growing and developing at an astonishing rate!
Eyebrows and eyelashes are now present, and the hair on the head is growing. The
eyelids open, and the eyes are completely formed. The body is getting plumper
and rounder (weighs about 2 pounds) and is composed of around 2 to 3% body fat.
Muscle tone is gradually improving. The lungs are capable of breathing air but
if the baby is born now, it would struggle to properly breathe. Be sure to talk
to your baby a lot because s/he can recognize your voice now!

Voice recognition. Isn't that cool? What do you think it must be like? Floating along, sucking your thumb, listening to someone you haven't yet met the outside of? Weird.

We have a doctor's appointment this afternoon. I get to drink Glucola and then sit on my hands for an hour. That'll be fun. I'll let you know how it all went tomorrow.

Labels:

posted by Phoenix | 12:46 PM | 1 comments


Friday, October 14, 2005
Pop Quiz
It is Friday again, so it must be time for your weekly quizzes. Take the Current Events Quiz and the Entertainment Quiz, via MSNBC.

I got a 70% on the Current Events quiz, missing (of course) the sports question and the Hugh Hefner question. No surprises there.

I only scraped 50% on Entertainment.

Woohoo.
posted by Phoenix | 9:21 AM | 2 comments


Fictional Friday: The Return of SpySistah - Chapter 7
Back by popular request, Ladies and Gentlemen: SpySistah!

Fictional Friday, as you are undoubtedly aware, is all about telling a story in 1,000 words using Silk's three pictures as inspiration. This week's story is below. New readers can find the links to Chapters 1-6 in the sidebar. Let me know what you think in the comments. As always, I will post an update with links to the other participant's stories when I get them.


He was tense and making it look like he was relaxed was only making him tenser. He stood at the mirror of the seedy Berlin club that was attached to the hotel, looking down into the grime-encrusted sink. His hair was getting too long. He liked to shave it off, but for this mission, a longer look had been necessary. He tried not to think about it, but he really missed her. He didn’t like the idea of not being there for her.

He shook himself out of maudlin reverie and eased back into the quiet brood with the dangerous and violent undertone. Mask back on, he washed his hands and walked back out to the neon blue lights and stale smoke of the club.

As he walked back to the table of his so-called friends, he thought about the hypocrisy of it all. Not on his part. Somehow his hypocrisy was understandable. Theirs, though, was not. They preached and prattled about the jihad and Allah, but then they went out boozing and seeking debauchery. Initially it was this inequity that made him wonder if they weren’t poseurs pretending to be jihadists. Who knew, he had thought, maybe it was ‘cool’ in their culture.
After a time though, he had become convinced of their villainy. They had given him a test, a serious test, of his convictions and dedication to the cause. He had done murder for them, spilled the blood of the infidel, and now they trusted him.

He sat down in his spot in their corner booth, noticing that Abu was once again stroking the thigh of some young Asian girl in a blond wig and black go-go boots. Abu was perhaps the least serious of their group, considering himself a real playboy, but he was also the deadliest. Too many of those young girls ended up maimed in the morning from his pleasure-taking.

Sayeed was the youngest, but a pivotal member of their group. He was the one whose father was financing the fun, like sending your 14-year-olds to Boy Scout Camp. Mohammed, Sayeed’s older cousin, was their leader. He was savvy and had excellent instincts, but like his friends, only saw things through his own kaleidoscope of black and white.

A leggy brunette in a mini skirt and silver spangled tank top came up to their table and rubbed her derriere against Mark’s arm. He wrapped his arm around her, pulling her into his lap, and gestured to a waitress for another round.

The men continued talking around the table about inconsequential things. Football was often central to their discussions, pointing out to Mark, yet again, how almost normal these young men were. If only, he thought, he wasn’t aware of their pathological bloodlust, he could almost call them friends. But he knew better.

The brunette fidgeted on his lap and he knew that the time was fast approaching. He ran his hand up her leg to her tight thigh, then under her skirt, reaching for the power that was there. He gripped it and the twin warring emotions of calm and excitement took him again. He loved that feeling. There was nothing like it. This was how it was supposed to be: all of the power in the world, cradled in his capable hand, an extension of his being. He slid the 9 mm out of Samantha’s high-thigh holster and silently flicked the safety to firing position.

Two more minutes. That’s all he needed. The raid at the apartment would have started earlier, but as soon as they had the go-ahead, they would do it.

Samantha stood up, signaling the start of things. She turned away from the table, as though to walk away, but quickly turned back toward them, gun extended.

“Nobody move.” She held them immobile in their shock.

“What the fuck…” Mohammed began. Samantha automatically turned her gun on him, giving Abu the opportunity to pull a knife and press it forcefully to the windpipe of the young woman on his lap.

Mark jumped out of his seat, extending his own 9 mm in the process. “Look, nobody has to get hurt.”

“You traitor of the faith! You pig! How dare you?” The recriminations and accusations came fast and furious from each of the men.

Abu, however, was not to be ignored. “I’ll kill her!” He spat the words violently at Mark, spittle landing on the cheek of his hostage and on the table. “You know I’ll do it! Back off! Drop your guns!”

Mark and Samantha shared a brief look, then both carefully bent down and placed their weapons on the floor.

“Now, kick them away,” Abu shouted.

They made to do so, Mark sending both into the farthest corner. A flurry of activity arrested everyone’s attention.

The blonde woman, Abu’s hostage, had fired a round point-blank into Abu’s chest. Abu’s surprise registered on his face. Spittle was bubbling in his mouth and creeping out one corner.

Joan stood up, pointing her weapon at the assemblage. “Look, I wasn’t about to let this thing go south,” she said to Samantha. “Besides, he spit on me! Eww! And, he was a pincher! Do you have any idea how hard it was to sit there while he pinched me in places nice girls don’t talk about? He was an asshole!”

“Joan, it’s okay. Chill out.” Samantha suddenly noticed that two of the men were missing. Mohammed must have bolted during the excitement, and Mark had followed him. She knew his only weapon was still under the table, so she barked out the orders.

“Joan. If any of them move, do what you must. I’m going to help Mark.” She ran toward the exit, dodging the scared patrons in her way. She called for backup to close in and help Joan.

The door let out on the service side of the hotel pool. In the pool, Mohammed and Mark struggled in a fight to the death. When it was over, one body floated lifelessly.


Update:

The very lovely Silk has a creepy tale we can all relate to, except for maybe the shock at the end...

Rina has a disturbing tale in her Sugarbowl that is quite powerful and raw.

Jeffers has a Golden tale that left me saying only "Holy Crap!" when I finished it.

Check them all out.

Labels:

posted by Phoenix | 2:00 AM | 4 comments


Thursday, October 13, 2005
Analogy
Here's an analogy for you. Do you really want to know what it is like to be pregnant?

Imagine carrying a 15-pound water balloon in a silk sack. Oh yeah, and to make things more interesting, you can only carry it using your knees. No hands allowed.

Grip it!
posted by Phoenix | 10:16 AM | 0 comments


Do Men Always Have Good Sex?
Racy, I know, but that is this week's topic for the Demystifying Divas and the Men's Club.

(aside: do you know, whenever I think of the "Men's Club" I imagine silk smoking jackets and brandy and cigars, gentlemen lounging lazily in leather chairs, and ribald comments and wagers. But tell me, how do you get a fish into a smoking jacket?)

Back to the business at hand.

Naturally, my comments on this particular topic are going to be colored by my own experiences. However, I will say this: I suspect so. Why? There are a number of reasons.

First of all, I've never heard a man complain about the sex he is getting. I mean, I've heard plenty complain about not getting any, but nary a peep about the quality of his moments in the sack. And, before you say, "but you're a girl, they aren't going to tell you..." I must say that I have always had more male friends than female. These relationships were very open. I was one of the guys. So, had there been complaints to be heard, I would have heard them.

I suspect that men are more driven by quantity than by quality. The simple fact is, it is biological. In order for the species to continue, the male must get his rocks off. That is why the male of the species always gets the special moment - it perpetuates the species. I believe that always getting to the special moment has hard-wired men for nothing but the special moment. The drive is nice, but he's looking forward to getting there, not looking for road-side stops along the way. Once there, he wants to go again. It isn't about the trip, it is all about arriving at the destination. Hence, the car is unimportant, the gas is unimportant, the route is unimportant, etc. When you boil it down to this level of simplicity, it amounts to little more than Yes, Men Always Have Good Sex.

The fact of the matter is, to men, all sex and any sex is good. The more the better, pass the mashed potatoes.

I don't think men are like women, seeking something heartfelt and beautiful on the journey. Just like they do with everything else, a man is less concerned with the details, so long as he gets his rocks off.

On the offbeat chance that a man did have some bad sex, I don't think he'd admit it anyway. I think he'd be afraid to never hear the end of it from his buddies.

"Dude, man, what are you talkin' about? You hit it, right? Are you turnin' into a girl, or sumpin'?"

So there you go. My opinion on the subject. However, in this particular case, I suspect that the Men's Club will have the real scoop for you. No doubt Phin, the gents of Naked Villainy, The Wizard, and Stigmata will all weigh in. For more views from the ladies, check out Silk and Kathy. Chrissy is posting on last week's topic at Fistful of Fortnights.

Update: Apparently Jamesyboy and That 1 Guy are also posting on this topic for the men.
posted by Phoenix | 7:50 AM | 2 comments


Wednesday, October 12, 2005
In other news
My mommy is coming to see me this weekend. As you may or may not know, I am the vessel that shall deliver her first grandchild. And, I am, afterall, Me. (Three points if you can identify the movie that that last sentence comes from.)

I'm not sure what we'll do, exactly. She may help me move furniture or clean house. We might go shopping. Either way, she'll get to see the lovely nursery and the mobile I made for the baby.

As an aside, you know, ever since we got pregnant, this blog has lost some of it's spit and froth. Man, we've gone all pussy over here at Villains Vanquished.

Labels:

posted by Phoenix | 10:07 AM | 1 comments


Malaise of the General Variety
I just can't get excited about current events. What do we have, really?

posted by Phoenix | 9:57 AM | 0 comments


NCIS: Observations, Rants, and Fantasies
Naturally I tuned in last night to catch my weekly hour-long dose of that thing of beauty known as Mark Harmon. Damn! The man is just sexy (said with a feminine growl of pleasure).

I'm going to go on record as saying not only do I not like Ziva David, the Mossad replacement for the irreplaceble ex-Secret Service Agent Kate Todd, but I also don't trust her. She needs to do something with that hair. And she's trying to hard to get me to like her. It isn't gonna happen. It is too soon. I can't pull the band-aid off. It hurts too much. And, I can't get past the fact that it was Ziva's brother Ari who killed Kate in the first place.

Whatever. I hope she dies real soon. (I'm talking about a television character here, folks, lighten up.)

Anyway, Mark Harmon. Yeah, baby. Bring some of that yummy over here. That man is too sexy for his own good. ( Insert additional feminine growl of approval.)
posted by Phoenix | 9:50 AM | 0 comments


In my wallet
This morning, as I was fumbling in my wallet for the funds necessary to feed my need of caffeine, I discovered the most lovely surprise. What, you ask? No, it was not a dust bunny magically come to life. No moths sprung comically out, but rather, this greeted my eye:



How beautiful. As you all know, I am a Kansas girl. I am a girl of the High Plains, wagon ruts, and buffalo wallows. Kansas, she is a part of me. So, the Kansas State Quarter is a thing of beauty to me. I shall hold it in the same esteem I hold wheat pennies and buffalo nickels. I just thought I'd share this delightful look into my brain.

Look. Whaddaya want? You don't pay for this crap. It is free. Get over it.

posted by Phoenix | 9:42 AM | 0 comments


Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Freakout!
Well, it has happened. I'm starting to freak out about the baby. Now I'm simply worried about everything.

Do you know what I have purchased for the little one? 4 packages of diapers. That's it!

I feel woefully unprepared. And more than a little scared.

I have purposely put off that type of preparation until after the baby shower so that I can just fill in the holes. It seems sensible, and yet watch Phoenix spin. I am not one to procrastinate. I attack a project head-on and stay at it until it is completed. I am a list-maker. All of this inactivity is driving me batty!

Should the baby arrive tomorrow, all she will have to wear is a pink beret and diapers. Okay, I also have two of my old baby blankets. I could probably make a baby toga or something. My stepmother even assures me that you don't really need the crib right away anyway. But the cradle hasn't arrived from Kansas yet, either. My stepmother says that a dresser drawer will work in a pinch, but I'll be damned if my child is going to spend the first days of her life in a drawer. What, is this the Depression? Nope. Not Happenin'.

I'm going to pick up the crib on Saturday, that way Prince Charming has something to do next week. I want the nursery finished before the baby shower. It is a can't miss goal.

In my calmer moments, I find myself wondering what our little one will look like. It seems a foregone conclusion that her hair will be brown - either dark like his or more chocolate like mine. However, we could hit the DNA Yahtzee and end up with a red head as there are those genes on both sides of our family tree. I hope that her hair is curly like mine. That seems like a vicious thing to wish on a child, knowing the hell mine gives me, but at least I know how to deal with it. What would I do with red and straight hair? Talk about learning curve.

There's not a lot of hope that she'll be very tall, so we'll have to pin our hopes on her getting her father's thighs and not mine. I would like for her to have brown eyes and cupid's bow lips, but green eyes like Prince Charming would be nice too.

The hormones are making me crazy. That is the only conclusion I can draw. CRAZY!
posted by Phoenix | 1:06 PM | 2 comments


Monday, October 10, 2005
Mommy & Me
(To be read in a halting manner, a la William Shatner)

Mommy's Log: Star date Week 27 of this arduous journey.

We have entered the wormhole that is the final week of the second trimester. From Saturday next, it will be a whole new star system: the Third Trimester.

The computer research conducted by my faithful staff indicates the following bumps along this last part of this second leg of the journey:

During this week, the brain continues its rapid growth, and the lungs continue to grow. Eyelids begin to open, and the retinas begin to form. The baby will grow over 1/2 inch this week and will be about 1 1/3 feet long (from crown of head to the toes or 9.6 inches from crown to rump)!

End Channeling of William Shatner.

All of which is very exciting. More brain growth, lungs are always good. Eyelids opening and retinas! Groovy.

On a personal level, I have a few new things to report. The first of which is...my belly has begun to itch. Now, my research suggests that this is because the skin is stretching to cover baby's development pod. So, I have been slathering myself with coco butter lotion. Unfortunately, the brand I bought smells sorta...foul. It doesn't appear that smell was one of the key quality and design issues. Oh well. Could be worse, I guess.

Of particular note is the itching that is taking place around my belly button. I used to have a really cute belly button, but that all changed when they removed my gall bladder. I had it removed laproscopically which, long story shortened, means that I have a scar inside my belly button. The scar tissue hardened and caused my previously cute and round belly button to flatten out in parallel with the scar tissue. Now, that scar tissue is itching. Egad! Whatevah shall ah do?

Other than that, I can report that it really is easier to lose my breath and that getting out of bed is becoming a growing problem. I have to sleep in the nude, with only a sheet, 'cause I just get too damn hot in the night. I despise sweating in my sleep. That's just nasty.

I haven't really experienced that huge appetite kick-in yet. If anything, my appetite has declined. Other than that, we are both well.

Labels:

posted by Phoenix | 10:14 AM | 1 comments


Friday, October 07, 2005
Fictional Friday
Even though I didn't participate this week, you should still go and read the efforts of those who did.

Silk starts with a tale entitled Blues Cat. This story captured my heart with the tale told from kitty's perspective, and the mental image of wet cat - which always makes me laugh.

Nugget's tale is entitled Finding Salvation. It is an interesting and compelling companion piece to Silk's tale, from a different perspective.

And, Silk says that Stigmata is expected to post later.
posted by Phoenix | 10:42 AM | 0 comments


Pop Quiz, Hot Shot!
What do you do? What do you do?

For the testing of your current events prowess, I do hereby present the link to MSNBC's weekly Current Events Quiz.

And, for the testing of your pointless knowledge about things that matter very little, I do hereby present the link to MSNBC's Entertainment Quiz.

I got 60% of the Entertainment Quiz correct, which was surprising. I only did slightly better on the Current Events. Of course, the sports questions always cause me trouble.
posted by Phoenix | 10:09 AM | 1 comments


More Proof that the UN, the IAEA, and the Nobel Committee huff glue
So.

Those troll ass-sniffing idiots on the Nobel Peace Prize Committee have decided that the big prize should be awarded to the International Atomic Energy Agency and it's sniffer-in-chief, Mohamed ElBaradei.

Quelle suprise.

The UN is nothing but a corrupt and ineffectual body of international sewer rats, feeding on the rotting carcasses of the world. The IAEA is so ineffectual that they are unable to enforce anything, get thrown out of the penny-ante third world hell hole's they are supposed to be "inspecting" by power-hungry megalomaniacs, and have been wholly unable to do the first damn thing to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

But, in the grand tradition of the Nobel Peace Prize, they must be lauded, feted, and celebrated for their grand failures. Hooray.

Who is really stopping the proliferation of nukes? Let's consider:

Libya had developed a nuclear weapons program while the UN and the IAEA dined on tea and crumpets and sang "lolly-lolly." It wasn't until Uncle Sam took his boys and the Coalition of the Tired of Getting Deceived, Threatened, and Lied To to the sandy fields of Iraq to call Saddam on his murderous, thieving, lying, illegal agenda that Qaddafi got some religion and admitted to his own misdeeds and turned his program over to the US.

We can't really credit the UN (who stood in the way, blocking the door to Iraq) or the IAEA for this, now can we?

The IAEA hasn't been able to stop Iran or North Korea.

They certainly didn't capture or catch Pakistan's Dr. A Q Khan or shut down his little bargain-basement nuclear-secrets-at-a-discount road-side stand. Again, this was a product of the Libyan shut-down.

But by all means, let us celebrate their mediocrity and outright failures. Why not? Next year maybe they'll give it to someone really deserving of a Peace Prize - like Osama bin Laden. After all, his agenda is really all about the spread of Islam and the destruction of the infidels. And, of course, Islam is all about peace.

Q.E.D.


h/t: MSNBC
posted by Phoenix | 9:24 AM | 1 comments


Regrets
I regret to inform my handful of fans that I was unable to find inspiration in this week's selection of pictures for Fictional Friday.

I know, I could have written something else, a non-SpySistah story, but it only would have made you feel like I had abandoned you. So I didn't.

I'm really sorry. I promise to redouble my efforts next week.
posted by Phoenix | 8:58 AM | 3 comments


Bloggers Rights Affirmed
Check this out! Is that good news, or what?

Whatever will the FEC say, though?

Not to mention McCain & Feingold.

I don't care. I'm doing a little happy dance over the victory.

h/t: Drudge
posted by Phoenix | 8:56 AM | 0 comments


SCOTUS Woman
Much brouhaha has erupted over the nomination of Harriet Miers to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court. Miers, although a woman and a lawyer, has never been a judge. And, as far as I've been able to glean, she isn't really considered a Constitutional scholar. To my knowledge, she's never even argued a case before the Supreme Court.

Many have said and will continue to bang the drum that she isn't qualified. But just this morning I reread Article III of the Constitution and found that there are no requirements for the post of Justice. There aren't any requirements written into Article II, either, where the President is given the power to appoint justices. Of course, my research could be faulty, but I don't think it is.
What is the big deal anyway? She isn't too old. She isn't too young. Although those are both really stupid reasons to vote against her. She hasn't been a judge before. Who cares? This isn't entirely unprecedented either. In fact, this may be a good thing as it may give a fresher perspective that one who has studied the Constitution for years and knows where they stand on every issue.

A judge should judge a case on the merits and within the laws and Constitution. If you've already made up your mind, then you aren't being fair. You haven't really given a fair hearing to both sides. So I think that it is a good thing that she isn't one of the good ol' boys.

As far as the cronyism remarks go... my response is "No SHIT, Sherlock!"

What was your first freakin' clue?

This is the only chance for a President to make his legacy known, for his reach to extend beyond his term of office. You would have to be a complete moron to think that any such decision would be made capriciously or without due reflection. By very nature, a "crony" is one trusted by another. It seems to me that the President has chosen exactly what he wants. Whodathunk it?

But I suppose what really irks me is the arguments being made that she isn't "intelligent" enough. Really? According to what yardstick? And how the heck do they know such a thing? You don't have to be a rocket scientist to be fair and impartial and judge matters of law according to the Constitution and Federal Statutes. If you did, well...several current justices wouldn't have made the cut.

I don't know much about Harriet Miers. Nobody does. I'm not defending her, per se, only the fact that she be given the due deliberation that any nominee of the President would receive.

I'll even go one step further. I think it would be a fantastic idea if at least one justice wasn't even a lawyer. I'd like it to be someone unstudied on matters of law, who has a grounding in real life. That way, when matters such as Kelo come up there can be a common man's voice of reason on the court instead of a bunch of supercilious, smug, we-know-what's-best, SOBs on the court selling the property rights of average citizens down the river. Perhaps a simpler view of matters might mean less confusing rulings than "this ten commandments display is okay, but that one is not." A little dumb-it-down and keep-it-simple-stupid are sadly in great need in our nation's capitol. This could be a start.

So, let's see what we can find out about the woman before we label her dumb, old, inexperienced, and unqualified, shall we?

Jeez, Louise.
posted by Phoenix | 8:55 AM | 0 comments


Laugh out Loud
This morning's cartoon by Cox & Forkum totally had me in stitches:

The look on that guy's face as that birdie coughs...priceless.
posted by Phoenix | 8:40 AM | 1 comments


Thursday, October 06, 2005
I do hereby vow!
So help me, if this comes to fruition, I will be raving! I will be pissed-off-baboon mad! I will unplug!

According to the Guardian, the UK, EU, and UN are going to force the US into giving up control of the internet.

If they do manage it, which I desperately and vehemently am opposed to, you can count on me.

I will unplug. I will cease blogging, cancel my service, and not rest until I have wallpapered Congress with my angry, scathing, and vituperative letters. I will not rest.

I'm sorry, but this is fucking stupid. Note passage below:

But the refusal to budge only strengthened opposition, and now the world's governments are expected to agree a deal to award themselves ultimate control. It will be officially raised at a UN summit of world leaders next month and, faced with international consensus, there is little the US government can do but acquiesce.

Yeah? Well me and my buddies may decide that we are the new rulers of Europe, award ourselves all titles of high-muckety royalty, then turn the whole place into the seething cess pool it has been threatening to become for years. "There is little the US government can do but acquiesce?" Oh, how little you know and understand about us. We aren't so big on acquiescing, you pissant weenies! Go piss up a rope.

Idiots!

h/t: Drudge
posted by Phoenix | 12:40 PM | 2 comments


NCIS
Did anybody else catch NCIS the other night?

Was that awesome, or what?
posted by Phoenix | 12:37 PM | 0 comments


Refreshing...
I know, I know. I've been lazy about posting. But the reality of it is, I've been working.

Yes! I've been toiling in the rat-infested, canary-less, slave mine that is Microsoft Access Programming.

I'm something of a witchy guru at this, so such tasks naturally fall to me.

It was pretty nasty at times, but not to worry. I made it out of the mine successfully without throwing my CPU out the window. It was touch and go there for a while, though.

Anyhoo, now I can actually post.

So today I want to brag a bit. Just a bit.

I recently contacted my Wisconsin State Representative, Eugene Hahn, for an answer regarding getting the 35-mph speed limit zone extended through town to include the space behind our subdivision. Lo and behold, yesterday I received a response from a staffer that Rep. Hahn would be contacting me about the issue. Is that fab, or what?

I mean, who knew that a politician would actually do something helpful and non-controversial?

I'm atwitter and agog.
posted by Phoenix | 12:30 PM | 1 comments


Is He...or Isn't He?
Single, that is.

Today's topic for the Demystifying Divas is simply how one might tell if someone is single.

No adequate discussion of this topic could be considered complete without this obvious tidbit: Just Ask.

There is no harm in asking if someone is attached. Nay, it is the right and proper thing to do, and gives one the pretense of politely acting interested in the person in question.

But I suppose you want more from me than the simple advice listed above? Alright, if you insist.

Here's the real trouble. A man can be attached to a significant other in fact and have no actual interest or commitment to such attachment, leading nice young ladies down the path of becoming the ...GASP...other woman. I don't mean to make light of this.

Some men, whom I refer to as "Cads and Beasts" are always looking to pull another fish into the boat. I don't know if they are just insufferable bastards or if their mommas spanked them not at all. The point is, these cads are looking to make a conquest, put another notch on their bedpost, insert tacky euphemism here.

These are not nice men. They are not worthy of your time. If you are a nice girl, and I assume that you are, you are looking for more than being another in a long list of sally-come-latelys. You are better than this man. He is beneath the insects, this one, and you should steer well clear of him and his ego - the one in his pants and that other one - because they are both weapons he will use against you.

But knowing that there is a population of roaming Cads and Beasts out there is not enough, is it? I haven't prepared you for the hunt, for the possibility of becoming his prey some night at a watering hole.

Here's my advice on how to cull the Worthy Gentlemen from the herd and exclude the Cads and Beasts:

  1. By all means, make conversation. You should be yourself and act at ease, knowing that your fleetness of foot, almost gazelle-like, is much swifter than his lumbering gait. (He is often slowed by his dangling...participles and will look for less flighty prey.) If you fail to make conversation, you can't really be sure of finding a Worthy Gentleman.
  2. Do not make prolonged conversation with someone you find to be a bore or offensive. There are other classes of men beyond Cads & Beasts and Worthy Gentlemen, and you should look to avoid the less desirable of these groups too. However, you should know that one man can be both a Cad and a Beast and a Bore.
  3. If you find someone who interests you physically and intellectually, do seek additional information from him. What does he do for a living? Is he local? Is he less-than-forthcoming about information on himself? If he seems cagey, chances are he is not a Worthy Gentlemen.
  4. You can always look for a ring, but this is not always helpful. If he is married, there is no requirement for a man to wear a ring. (My own husband only wears his when we are dressed up and going out. Farm girl does not want her husband to lose a finger or hand if his ring gets caught up in the machinery.) And if he is unmarried but attached, again there is no ring. This is not a reliable tool for the careful Gazelle.
  5. When he is speaking to you, is he engaged by you and only you? Does he look into your eyes when you speak, or does his gaze meander around the room? If you don't have his full attention, he may be seeking out more lush hunting grounds. Beware!
  6. Run a test. Excuse yourself to the ladies room, but don't really go. Simply disappear from his eyeline and review his behavior in your absence. Does he replace you quickly with some chippie in a short skirt and a burgeoning bosom? Does he seem to mimic or tell jokes about you to his drunken friends? Let his behavior indict him, if it can.
  7. When you return to his side after your "bathroom break", is he happy to see you?
  8. Trust your gut. If he seems unreliable, untrustworthy, or anything else that puts up your hackles, walk away.

There are no hard and fast rules for identifying the single man. The best tools you have are your gut and your inquiring mind. Do not sell these tools short, they can be quite useful.

I've had many friends who found themselves, knowingly or not, the other woman. It never ends well, no matter what you've seen on the Lifetime Network. Steer clear of the Cads and Beasts, ladies, for they will gobble you up and leave your half-eaten, rotting corpse in the ditch of the Serengeti of Love.

The other Divas all have additional advice. Kathy has a test you can take to hone your skills, Silk takes the no-nonsense approach, and Sadie weighs in here. Pammy is our guest Diva this week, so check her out too. I'm quite interested in what the Men's Club will have to say this week. Check out Phin, Stiggy, and the Naked Villains, and don't forget to see what Nugget, who is guest-posting, has to say too.

Update: Oops! Jamesyboy posted this week too for the Men. Check it out.

posted by Phoenix | 7:37 AM | 0 comments


Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Notice to Public
I am vexed. Moreover, you can be certain that I am vexed beyond measure because I am writing about something that happened on Monday. You see, even after two days I still haven't cooled down.

So, I was waiting in line at the Walgreens drive thru pharmacy...Ah, but let me backtrack. Monday morning, I got online and requested a refill of my prescription, making an appointment to pick it up at 4:00 p.m. that afternoon. This online request process is very handy, for those of you unaware, and only takes 2 minutes to complete.

I arrive at Walgreens that afternoon and find that there are six cars in front of me, three in each lane. Now fortunately, I did not have to commit to a lane right away. So, I had some time to ascertain which lane was moving faster.

But it didn't matter. Because all of those yokels in front of me acted like they'd just arrived on Earth from the outer rim of Gadzooksia, and were entirely unprepared for every step of a pharmacy purchase. I know what you are thinking: Why didn't I just go inside? Am I right?

It was the principle of the matter. I was prepared. I had made an appointment. I was there by right. And I was not going to let the Gadzooksians win! So I not so patiently waited in line for 25 minutes. In that time, I had plenty of time to imagine the full transactions of all six of the people ahead of me. Here is what I imagined them to be saying:

CAR ONE

Pharmacist: Hello. Can I help you?

Driver: Is this a Pharmacy?

Pharmacist: Why yes, yes it is.

Driver: What is a Pharmacy, and why am I here?

Pharmacist: A pharmacy is a place where you can get doctor-prescribed medication. As to why, I can't be sure. Perhaps you have a prescription to fill...?

Driver: Hmmm. That could be it.

Pharmacist:

Driver: Yes, yes. I'll take a prescription please.

Pharmacist: Did your doctor call it in, or did he perhaps give you a piece of paper...?

Driver: I'm not sure.

Pharmacist: Well, I can look it up. What is your name?

Driver: It seems like I should know that.

Pharmacist: You don't know your name? How about your doctor's name?

Driver: It seems like I should know that too.

(After 5 minutes of mysterious name-searching)

Pharmacist: Do you have insurance or a prescription drug card?

Driver: Hmm. It seems like I ought to.

(Five more minutes of mindless idiotic blather, followed by the eventual satisfaction of the Gadzooksian.)

See what I mean? Completely unprepared for life outside of their mind pods. I swear!

In contrast, once I finally got up to the window, my transaction took all of 3 minutes. It could have taken only 2 minutes, but I had to wait for a pharmacist to become available to ask me any questions.

Pharmacist Assistant: Can I help you?

Phoenix: Yes. My name is Phoenix of Villains Vanquished. I requested a refill of my prescription online this morning.

P. A.: Yes. Here it is.

Phoenix: Fantastic.

P.A.: That will be $5.00.

Phoenix: Okay.

P.A.: The pharmacist will be with you shortly.

Pharmacist: Do you have any questions about the medication?

Phoenix: No. Thank you.

Pharmacist: Have a nice day.

See, people? It doesn't have to be so hard. Pull your heads from your rectums and breathe some fresh air. Either that, or get out of the fast lane. Next time I won't be so patient with your Gadzooksian antics.

Bah!
posted by Phoenix | 8:08 AM | 3 comments


Monday, October 03, 2005
Musical Interlude
Rose Garden

I beg your pardon I never promised you a rose garden
Along with the sunshine there's gotta be a little rain sometime
When you take you gotta give so live and let live and let go oh oh oh oh
I beg your pardon I never promised you a rose garden

I could promise you things like big diamond rings
But you don't find roses growin' on stalks of clover
So you better think it over
Well, if sweet talking you could make it come true
I would give you the world right now on a silver platter
But what would it matter
So smile for a while and let's be jolly love shouldn't be so melancholy
Come along and share the good times while we can

I beg your pardon I never promised you a rose garden
Along with the sunshine there's gotta be a little rain sometime
I beg your pardon I never promised you a rose garden

I could sing you a tune and promise you the moon
But if that's what it takes to hold you I'd just as soon let you go
But there's one thing I want you to know
You'd better look before you leap still waters run deep
And there won't always be someone there to pull you out
And you know what I'm talking about
So smile for a while and let's be jolly love shouldn't be so melancholy
Come along and share the good times while we can

I beg your pardon I never promised you a rose garden
Along with the sunshine there's gotta be a little rain sometime.....

I beg your pardon I never promised you a rose garden
Along with the sunshine there's gotta be a little rain sometime.....
posted by Phoenix | 8:52 AM | 0 comments


Mommy & Me
Week 26 is here. Yahoo! It definitely feels like we are on the downhill side of this thing. Anyhoo, Week 26, according to the experts, is all about:

Your baby could weigh about two pounds now and be around 9 inches long (crown of the head to the rump). As the blood vessels in the lungs began last week, the air sacs in the lungs begin this week. The lungs begin to secrete surfactant which covers the inner lining of the air sacs which then allows the lungs to expand normally during breathing.

Besides the active lung growth, the brain kicks in with brain wave activity for the visual and auditory systems.

Which I find extremely exciting. I mean lungs and brain activity? Very cool.

I believe the two pounds estimate. Sometimes I feel like I'm carrying a watermelon without the use of my hands. Tricky.

I received the first of our baby shower gifts over the weekend. It was a baby monitor system from my cousin's wife. Prince Charming took one look at it and laughed. He didn't feel that the video monitor was necessary.

But I think it was! I'm a first time mom. So shoot me if I think that I'd like to be able to look at the baby instead of walking into her room to make sure she's okay. Okay, maybe it is a little over the top. But I've never done this before and I am a bit nervous about the whole thing. As far as I'm concerned, technology is your friend. If I feel that I don't need it later on, I can turn the video off.

The fears have set in. Now I'm thinking of the possibility, remote though it is, that I could die during childbirth. Or worse, what I like to call my "Lifetime Movie" fear: that the baby will be abducted from the hospital.

Now, I know that both fears are irrational. But, you see, I've always feared that next big step in my life, convinced that I'd be dead before I got there. I was certain that I'd be dead before High School, College, Marriage.... It isn't like I have some medical condition and have been living on borrowed time. I'm just weird that way. So this fear is just something I've grown accustomed to. I also know that I have some of the best doctors and medical staff in the state looking out for me, so that also makes me feel better.

My Lifetime Movie fear is also ridiculous, but there it is. I am aware that both mother and child are given some sort of radio beacon bracelets that sound an alarm if you get too close to an elevator or exit. I also know that the hospital where we'll be giving birth leaves the baby in the mother's room unless there are complications. Still, I fear it.

I am looking forward to the baby shower that SpySistah is throwing me. How amazing is she, huh? Busy jumping into the fray and making the world safe for democracy, and she still has time to throw a baby shower when she's living outside of the country. Anyhoo, very excited. Still have to pick up the crib and "some assembly required", but other than a quick organize and a few last minute additions, we are ready.

Labels:

posted by Phoenix | 8:26 AM | 3 comments


Poetry:


Popular Posts:


Fiction:

divas


mensclub


divaettes


fighting 101s