Thursday, August 31, 2006
I'm Late, I'm Late, For a Very Important Date
Well, here it is Thursday again and I must put my mind to another Demystifying Diva and Men's Club topic.

Today I am tackling yet another question put forth by Andrew. To wit: How to Deal with Your Counterpart's Inability to be On Time.

Andrew seems to think this is a female-only problem. Sure, we run that risk. But think about it, boys...

There is so much more for a woman to do when getting ready. Showering takes us as much time as it takes you unless we have to shave our legs. That can easily add 5 minutes to the clock. Then, where you can simply shave, the ladies have to moisturize, foundation, powder, blush, eyeshadow, eye-liner, mascara, and lipstick. And that's all before we even get to our hair!

Hair can take quite a while depending on the cut and style, but girls with longer hair don't necessarily take more time. Sometimes it is that pesky short cut with the odd spot that won't behave that adds time to the clock as you are trying to tame it.

When we are getting dressed we again have more to do. Seriously! You try putting on nylons without snagging and making them run. Hey! That could be a new Olympic event: Men's Nylon Donning. First snag and run-free donning wins. Of course, then you have to walk around on heels for 5 minutes in a long straight skirt, dodging baby toys on wheels, laundry baskets, and misplaced furniture on a wide assortment of terrains.

Ah, but I digress.

It takes longer for women to get ready to go anywhere, true enough, but that doesn't excuse someone for perpetual tardiness. And this includes men. Andrew would like for me to publicly claim some shame for women everywhere for making our men crazy and late, fighting traffic and running for airplanes, but I can't do it. Men are just as guilty on this front.

My own father, for example, only checks the oil before we depart when we are already at least 5 minutes late. This would also be the time when he decided to top off the window washing fluid too. The rest of us would sit, waiting in the car and gnashing our teeth until he finally sat behind the wheel. SpySistah has to deal with this when she and Mr. Spy travel. A lot. He doesn't like to pack ahead of time...likes to sleep in the morning see where this is going. She frequently threatens to kill him in graphic and creative ways.

If you have a spouse or loved one prone to an inability to be on time, there are things that you can do. If you want to teach them a lesson, leave without them. I wouldn't recommend this for airline travel, but if you are supposed to be at her family's house for supper at 6 pm and she's not ready, go ahead without her. Maybe the embarrassment of being the last to arrive will light a fire under her.

You could always try talking to him, you know. Tell him that it stresses you out to be late to the airport and have to run to the gate. Tell him that it is not fun to start a vacation in a rush. Ask if there is anything you can do to help. Obviously if she can't think of anything for you to do, it should point out to her that she has a lot to do and needs to plan accordingly. Don't make your departure time a secret. If you need to be somewhere at 9 and want to have 1 hour to get there, be sure to make it plain that the bus leaves at 7:45 come hell or high water.

If the person can't be retrained or dealt with reasonably or in an adult manner, lie. Tell them that you have to be there at 5 pm when supper starts at 6. Tell her that the latest news suggests a two-hour traffic and security tie up. Set the clocks forward in the house to make her think it is later than it is. Whatever you have to do.

And if that doesn't work, bean them with the alarm clock once.

As always, you should check out Mark and Arielle.
posted by Phoenix | 10:37 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, August 30, 2006
2996 Update
Excellent News!

Every single victim of the September 11th attacks has been claimed by a blogger, meaning that on the fifth anniversary of that day, every single individual will be personally remembered in the blogosphere.

I'm so proud I could burst.

What a moving tribute and an exceptional way to remember the day and the lives taken.

If you wanted to participate and didn't sign up, you still can. They are allowing some doubling-up. So, if you can, sign up and participate.
posted by Phoenix | 9:58 AM | 0 comments

Cow Dung and Puddles Instead of Sand Traps and Hazards
I am giggling over this story that I discovered in my morning news google and must share it.

You say mooooo when you hit an errant shot
Golf has come a long way since shepherds tending their flocks passed the
time by hitting rocks with their staffs to distant targets.

Much has been done to refine the game since Scotland became the birthplace of modern golf by introducing a hole in the ground.

And the Dutch contribution to the game, which they once called "Colf", has been largely forgotten.

That's about to be rectified.

A new version of the sport called "Farmer's Golf", invented in the northeast cow pastures of Holland in 1999, is spreading across Europe.

In Farmer's Golf, players strike a ball with a "clog club" - essentially a long stick with a wooden shoe at the end. The course consists of 10 holes on bumpy farmland filled with cow dung and puddles rather than sand traps and water hazards.

The game was originally played with traditional golf balls, but that proved to be a problem, according to Dutch Farmer Peter Weenink. "Using small (golf)balls in the fields where cows are walking, you'd spend the whole day searching for the ball," Weenink recently told the Reuters news service. "So we took a bigger ball."

Weenink added that the sport is gaining traction because of prohibitive green's fees and expensive, high-tech golf equipment.

"Farmer's Golf was born out of frustration," he said.

Still, he has been caught off guard by the sports success, which has spread to Belgium and Germany.

"We are very surprised," he said. "It just started as a bit of fun."

Now this is a sport I'd love to watch business men play.

"Careful, there, Mike. You are about to step in a patty."

"Oh, thanks, Jeff. Say, the puddles are pretty strong today, eh?"

"Yeah. Hey look! That one's still steaming!"

"#4 Clog, Brian?"

"No. I think I'll lay up given the grazing herd there on the right."

I could giggle myself silly over this!
posted by Phoenix | 9:44 AM | 0 comments

Celebrate Good Times, Come on!
Happy Blogiversary to me
Happy Blogiversary to me
Happy Blogiversary, Dear Villains Vanquished
Happy Blogiversary to me!

As of today, I have been blogging for 2 years. It is quite an accomplishment, really. I've been faithful without becoming obsessed. I've posted regularly, if you can forgive the hiatus while I was on maternity leave.

I have produced a few good posts, some decent fiction, and some Political Poetry that I am really proud of. I've mommy blogged quite a bit, but can you blame me?

I've moved up from the lowliest of insignificant microbes to a large mammal in the TTLB Ecosystem. I've vented, spewed, laughed, and loved. I've ranted and raved and vanquished a few villains. I've picked on Kofi Annan, Jacques Chirac, John Kerry, and quite a few other nitwits. I've had a few trolls and my secret identity has been outed.

All in all, I've enjoyed it and I intend to continue.

Please excuse me, it is time for me to blow out the candles.

Labels: ,

posted by Phoenix | 9:12 AM | 3 comments

Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Is it just me?
Is it just me, or does this sound like something you might see on South Park?

Ahmadinejad Challenges Bush to TV debate

What a wacko. As though the President of The United States is going to recognize someone who is so obvious about his holocaust denial and thirst to see Israel "wiped off the map."

This guy needs a nice, padded room and a box of Fruit Loops.
posted by Phoenix | 12:08 PM | 0 comments

Monday, August 28, 2006
More Damning Evidence of "Tolerance" from the Religion of "Peace"
You know, 'cause all the best conversions come at gunpoint.

Do these idiots really believe that we believe these conversions? Do they not realize that we recognize them for the media stunt that they are? If somebody is holding a gun to your head, they can pretty much get you to say just about anything.

posted by Phoenix | 11:58 AM | 0 comments

It is that time of year again
The calendar has turned to that time of year again. In a few days, my house will again be filled with the sounds of shouting, the flapping of arms, and the consumption of large quantities of alcohol.

That's right. It is UW Badger Football season. The opener is on Saturday, not a moment of the day which will be missed, from ESPN's College Game Day, right up to the post-action analysis.

Prince Charming is a die-hard Badgers fan. I've never seen him paint his face or chest, but I wouldn't put it past him. In fact, he is totally set up for this weekend. He has it scheduled. He's knows where he's going to watch Game Day and the first game. He has his menu planned for the whole day (a veritable smorgasbord of fried foods and finger foods). From the peel and eat shrimp tray to the potato skins and pizza wontons, my beloved is set to make the season opener an event.

Fortunately for us both, I suspect, Bunny Boop and I will be gone this weekend. We are off to Ohio to see old family friends, a girls' weekend of shopping and talking. It was too much to expect Prince Charming to give up his holiday for this sort of women's gabfest. The deciding factor on his staying behind? He couldn't get the Badger game out in Ohio, or at least, not with any certainty.

Strangely enough, I'm perfectly fine with this. I understand that it is important to him. Usually I watch with him, but I'll have to skip this one.

Go Badgers!
posted by Phoenix | 11:14 AM | 0 comments

Friday, August 25, 2006
Message to Iraqis
This is what we call Not Being Helpful.
posted by Phoenix | 12:48 PM | 0 comments

The "Tolerance" of the "Religion of Peace"
Michelle Malkin is highlighting the story of Lina Joy today.

She is a Muslim-born woman who has converted to Catholicism and wants to marry a Christian man. Malaysia's constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but abdicates the responsibility of guaranteeing this right. In fact, you could argue that it isn't really a freedom, because civil courts regularly shuttle cases involving Islam to sharia courts for adjudication.

So let me check to see that my calculus is correct:

Converting to Islam is fine, if that is your choice.
Converting to any other religion is also fine, with the following caveat: Not if you are converting FROM Islam.

Converting to another religion from Islam, well, that's a sin. Not to mention something that can land you in a "reeducation camp." Lovely.

The scholar who attempts to justify this odd calculus does so by explaining that allowing people to leave Islam
"...would imply it has no dignity, no self-esteem," said Wan Azhar Wan
Ahmad, senior fellow at Malaysia's Institute of Islamic Understanding.

"And people may then question its completeness, truthfulness and

Setting aside the fact that an "ism" has no feelings, and therefore can't claim any dignity or self-esteem, let's just ponder this for a moment.

(crickets chirping)

Yeah, even after third, fourth, and fifth thought this is absolute stupidity. And, any "ism" that needs to enslave people to it is destined for failure. Note the examples of Communism and Nazism...

And, furthermore, if you want to know the truth, plenty of people are already questioning Islam's "completeness, truthfulness, and perfection." Maybe not the suicide bombers and hijackers, but plenty of the rest of us aren't buying the horse - we've seen inside its mouth, thank you everso.

So, there you go. Malaysia has a majority that is enslaved in terms of personal freedoms and it will likely remain that way because noboddy wants to hurt wittle Iswam's feewings.
posted by Phoenix | 11:27 AM | 0 comments


By the fabulous Cox & Forkum.
posted by Phoenix | 11:12 AM | 1 comments

Short musical interlude
There was something in the air that night
The stars were bright, Fernando
They were shining ther for you and me
For Liberty, Fernando
posted by Phoenix | 10:39 AM | 0 comments

My Favorite Story of the Day
Is this one.

Oh, how the wonder of the Technological Age!

A Texan foiled a theft in Liverpool from his home in Texas.

How? Easy.

He was watching a webcam of the Mathew Street area (famous for The Beatles) when he spotted a theft in progress at a sporting goods store and picked up the phone to inform authorities.
"We did get a call from someone in Dallas who was watching on a webcam that looks into the tourist areas, of which Mathew Street is one because of all the Beatles stuff," a Merseyside Police spokeswoman said.

"He called directly through to police here." Officers were sent to the scene and three suspects were arrested.

Isn't that delicious? Big Brother isn't watching, it's Big Tex that is!
posted by Phoenix | 10:39 AM | 0 comments

The Return of SpySistah: Chapter One
Ladies and Gentlemen, I want to make you aware of a momentous event.

SpySistah is BACK!

The latest blogvella writing assignment is a 6-chapter story featuring my old characters from The SpySistah Chronicles. (See the Sidebar.) Again, each writer is limited to 1,000 words and can draw inspiration from a handful of words/ideas that I provided in an email. They are not obligated to these words, they are merely inspiration.

This week's inspiration words, if you are interested, were
Agent John Cutter (Chapters 3 & 4), marathon, Tower of London, croissant.

To begin this new story, we asked a writer with serious bonafides so that we would get an amazing start.

And so we did!

The always lovely Silk has posted the first chapter entitled Ravens and Ghost Stories. If you are a fan of SpySistah or just love a good read, you are doing yourself a disservice if you don't check it out. I'm serious.

Don't miss this.

Now, next week we will see Chapter 2 from Jess.

Amelie will have Chapter 3, Theresa will have Chapter 4, CalTechGirl will write Chapter 5, and I will wrap it up with the Finale.

The real SpySistah will find this chapter oddly familiar...but then, that's why we have inspiration words. More on that later.


posted by Phoenix | 9:06 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, August 24, 2006
That Man Drives Me Crazy!
Today, on a very special edition of the Demystifying Divas and The Men's Club weekly topical post, we are tackling Pet Peeves.

You know, those things that he or she does that make you gnash your teeth and want to throw the peanut butter. Pet Peeves, and learning to cope with them, are a part of every relationship.

I need to wave the feathered boa in the direction of Andrew, my friend who inspired this post. Poor Andrew, he has adapted to the married life and the toilet-seat edict admirably, but feels that his own requests fall on deaf ears.

My own pet peeves are numerous. As I have posted before, I am a bit of a control freak and like things just so. Prince Charming does a decent job of putting up with me, but still, he isn't perfect. I'm sure there are things that I do that drive him crazy too, but then, this is my blog...

One thing that Prince Charming does that drives me crazy is related to his outerwear. In the summer, this is limited to his baseball caps (in categories of work, casual, and dressy-casual). He leaves them all over the place to the point that they become part of the decor! He even hangs them up on my art in the living room, if you can imagine. It is worse in the Fall, Winter, and Spring. During those times I am also treated to the leaving of coats and jackets all over the place. We have no shortage of closets or hangers, but he is incapable of figuring out what they are for.

And don't get me started on his dirty socks! I swear, they are falling off of him like leaves on a tree in October. I am convinced that they are beginning to reproduce under the bed and couch. Either that, or they have evolved to the point where they are jumping out of the laundry basket on their own.

My friend Andrew, like everyone, has his own pet peeves about his special someone. This is going to happen anytime two people share common space. Either they don't run water in the macaroni and cheese pot, somehow manage to get bread crumbs in the butter or peanut butter in the jelly, or leave the ketchup bottle greasy. There is going to be something he or she does that makes you crazy.

My only suggestions for dealing with these issues so as to minimize their impact on your relationship are threefold. First, see if you can't avoid the issue.

If you are vexed because she always squeezes the toothpaste from the middle in a haphazard and sloppy manner and you are more of a neat bottom squeezer, invest in a second tube. What, I ask you, is wrong with his and hers toothpaste? Invest the $3.00 for your mental health. If you can't stand the fact that she only buys chunky peanut butter and you like creamy, buy both. You can promise to keep your mits off of her chunks so long as she keeps her knife out of your creamy.

If you can't seem to work your way around the issue, try finding a compromise through communication. Tell the person that this or that is driving you crazy. Explain how you feel and offer to hear him or her out on their pet peeves. They may even mention things that you were unaware were bothering them. Perhaps you can trade something you do that drives him crazy for a few less socks molting. If nothing else, communication - if done in a non-confrontational light manner - will at least let the other person know what is setting you off. I would caution you, however, not to try this approach when you are having a bad day and are already pissed at the world. That can end marriages.

The last approach, well..., you aren't going to like it. If you are out of options on working around the issue and compromise through communication has failed, you only have one last option. And that is, sucking it up. Deal with it! You will either need to look past it, learn to love it, or pick up the socks yourself. This may not seem very helpful, but in the end, what is more important? The feeling of losing control over the socks of your world, or staying with the person that makes you melt?

The Divas and Men's Club are hemorrhaging, but I'm still here, posting on the hard questions every week, for your pleasure. I'm going to put some more effort into recruitment in the next few weeks and maybe we'll make another run at it.
posted by Phoenix | 10:08 AM | 1 comments

Must Read of the Day
This, from the Noble Eagle, on having the Will to Win.

I have always subscribed to the use of overwhelming force.
posted by Phoenix | 10:00 AM | 0 comments

Bloggers Remember 9/11
Hey everybody! You need to sign up with Project 2,996 now if you are going to do so.

For those not in the know, this is a project whereby bloggers are each assigned a victim of the attacks to memorialize on that day. Ever since Michelle Malkin linked to the site, the participation has been going gangbusters. There are only 400 spots left, so get on the ball!

This is a really admirable project. If you can participate, I encourage you to do so.
posted by Phoenix | 9:53 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, August 23, 2006
I think she's homesick
My littlest sister (not SpySistah) began college on Monday.

She has always been a fearless go-her-own-way kind of girl. Not for her were the same Mid-Western universities. Both the University of Illinois - Champaign and the University of Wisconsin were rejected as "too cold."

And by this we are to understand that there was not enough beach/sun-tanning opportunities.

Just in case you were thinking she wanted a more intimate and cozy college experience.

No! She wanted sunshine.

So, she's going to school at the University of Central Florida. It is ironic then, don't you think, that even though we all warned her about hurricanes, humidity, bugs, and rain that she now complains that it rains all the time there? I had to laugh. She took her convertible down there to drive and now she's sitting in a puddle. It is too hot there, she says. She's dripping with sweat when she gets to class. That is, when she isn't soaked to the skin from the rain.

Must be lovely.

In particular, she complained of something she called "wet rash." It sounds just awful. But still, very funny.

The hallowed halls of the UofI aren't looking too bad now, are they?

It is also ironic, I think, that she's been so chatty. This is the girl who would go for months without calling or emailing me. She's called me twice in one week! Did you catch that? She called me.

I think she's homesick. Florida isn't as glamorous as she thought, I guess.
posted by Phoenix | 2:20 PM | 0 comments

Despite the lack of MSM interest
Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig, kidnapped several days ago in Gaza, are still alive.

The criminals who kidnapped them are demanding that the US release "Muslim prisoners."
posted by Phoenix | 2:16 PM | 1 comments

Why do I feel like I need to defend myself?
I just completed this silly questionnaire, a "Personal Wellness Profile" for our health insurance and the entire thing just leaves me feeling very...aggravated.

First off, the questions are so stark and allow no opportunity to ask for clarification or middle-road answers. In my experience, there is a lot of middle ground when it comes to your health, you know? Secondly, there is no room to explain why you are answering as you are.

I am a reasonably healthy person, in my estimation. Am I running marathons? No. Would I if I could? No. I don't enjoy running. But on the other hand, I'm not a shut-in either.

Why do I feel that this form is judging me? It seems as though this form is telling me that I'm doing everything wrong, completely botching things, and destined for an early grave.

I have a very busy schedule! I get up at 5 am, shower and dress for my day. I wake the baby at 5:45 am and get her dressed and ready for the day. I feed her from 6 until ~ 6:15 am, after which I grab a poptart and a glass of milk. Then I pack the diaper bag and wash any dishes, and fold any laundry from the night before. From 6:30 to 6:45 I play with Bunny and say goodbye for the day. Her father arrives home from work at 6:45 am and I leave for work. I arrive at work at 7:15 am. I hustle to get square against all of my markets, then slowly slow down into other workday items. I have lunch around 2 pm and leave work at 4 pm. I pick Bunny Boop up at 4:30 from daycare. By the time we have arrived home, cleaned out the diaper bag, sorted the mail, and changed clothes, it is 5 pm. I feed Bunny her supper and then let her play while I clean the kitchen/prep supper/pay bills. At 6 pm, Bunny has her bath. From 6:30 to 7 I make supper (if we are having a nice meal). Supper is on the table at 7, at which time I wake my husband, and we eat. Then I clean up. Then I get to spend about an hour with my husband before it is time for him to get ready to go to work. The baby has her final bottle around 8 pm and usually falls asleep between 8:30 and 9 pm. I go to bed between 9 and 10 pm. In addition to all of this, I somehow manage to keep in contact with my sisters and parents, plan vacations, do laundry, and pick up around the house.

And yet, answering the questions on this survey would suggest that I do nothing but lay about the house eating bonbons all day long. As though being a mother isn't an aerobic activity in and of itself!

I don't smoke and never have. I only mention it because it is an issue on the form and I will soon be going to see someone so that they can certify the truth of this statement.

I rarely drink. This is another big issue on this form. When I do drink, once every 2-3 months, I rarely have more than 2 drinks. This is primarily because I can't drink more than that and still be vertical and because I just haven't wanted to drink since I got pregnant.

Now, I'm certainly not in excellent shape. This is very true. I am not the same size I was in college. But, prior to getting pregnant I was the same size for about 8 years. I am not the same shape I was before the pregnancy, and I probably weigh more, but HELLO! I've been making a baby.

Am I happy with the way that I look? No. But I don't know a single woman who is happy with the way that she looks. Furthermore, there are just more important things in my life. First and second on that list being spending time with my child so that she grows up happy, well-adjusted, inquisitive, polite, confident, and loved and spending time with my husband and maintaining a healthy marriage. I don't have time to play tennis or racketball 3 times per week. I don't have time to go to a gym and do the things that would make me more fit. When would I fit it in?

It just makes me mad, to be honest. It seems to imply that I'm doing a poor job managing all of my responsibilities - a real insult to someone who is as organized as I usually am. Right after I had the baby I was doing a really good job of working out after she fell asleep and before I went to bed. I would do pilates and then hit the sack. I got out of the habit of this when my little sister moved in because we'd sit and talk or do other things in this time. Our whirlwind of obligations has finally slowed down and I'm back to this routine again. I feel good about it too. Yoga and pilates. I enjoy these things. I can fit 20 or 30 minutes in on most days, but not all days.

But, I also know that I'm up against a certain amount of heredity. I would like to be more fit, but it isn't the most important thing to me. Does that make sense? I don't want to wake up one morning and find a beautiful body but no husband and a teenager I don't know in the place where my family used to be.

I don't even know what direction this post is rambling in...

I suppose I'm just disgusted with their one-size-fits-all form and it's judgemental questions that imply I work too much, work out too little, and am generally mucking up my life.

And I really resent the question under "Social Health" issues that puts single-parent, feelings of lonliness, relationship problems, personal crisis, high crime neighborhoods, and domestic violence and abuse in the same category as "there is a handgun in my home."

Oh. My. Freaking. Gawd.

As though the mere presence of a handgun is going to make me suicidal!

Does the fucking questionnaire ask why there is a handgun in the house? Hell no. It doesn't ask me to explain the fact that I have a 2nd Amendment right, that I have the right to protect my life, liberty, and property and that of my child. It doesn't care that I don't particularly want to be a victim of home invasion or rape. No, no, no. It just asks the question judgementally in the same way it might ask how often my pimp visits or how many times my dealer beats me up when I try to buy crack.

Owning a handgun does not make you suicidal. I swear to god.

Filling out idiotic judgemental forms on the other hand...
posted by Phoenix | 10:15 AM | 1 comments

Tuesday, August 22, 2006
The Next Logical Step or When Chicks Get Desperate
Because naturally when you have alienated your fan base and can't sell concert tickets the next logical step is to make a documentary so that you can rehash your victimhood and whine about your freedom of speech being infringed by fans who won't listen to your bullshit...

Listen Up, CHICKS: You have a right to say whatever you want to say. However, that right does not include a captive audience that stands ready to lick your Dolce & Gabbana cowboy boots. As much as you have a right to free speech, we have a right to refuse to listen, purchase albums and concert tickets, and call you a bunch of idiots, if we choose. Making a movie where you continue pissing and moaning...well, it isn't going to gain you a lot of ground. But, by all means, continue beating that dead horse. If you stay at it long enough eventually you will have jerky. Nobody will be interested in that either, but at least you can get into the World Record Book for beating a dead horse...
posted by Phoenix | 8:37 AM | 0 comments

Monday, August 21, 2006
Yeah, I'm a Diva, but I still don't want any Raw Dog
I’m not sure whether this will be harder to read or write. Either way, the story must be told so others can learn from the experience.

I was married Valentine’s Day 2003 to my boyfriend of six years in a very intimate ceremony in the family home. The room was wall-to-wall windows on three sides and had a huge floor-to-ceiling fireplace on the fourth side. It was an evening ceremony that was crowned in candlelight and the view out the windows was postcard perfect as snowflakes fell all around. I couldn’t have asked for anything more elegant. My husband and I eschewed the honeymoon however, deciding the money was better spent building our new home.

So it is the stark contrast between the elegance of our wedding and the activities of a weekend with his family a mere two weeks later that I want to impress upon you. You see, two weeks after our wedding we went to his Aunt and Uncle’s house for the annual butchering. Yes, you read that right. The Annual Butchering.

We got off work on Friday afternoon and commenced the two-and-a-half hour drive. We arrived shortly after 8 P.M. I was exhausted, having started my day at 5 A.M. but my husband was just hitting his stride. We walked into the house via the walkout basement where, much to my surprise, raw meat was everywhere. Crude tables had been constructed, there was a grinding machine and lots of white plastic buckets, but all of this was periphery. My eye was drawn to the twelve or so people wielding knives and hacking into this raw meat. What really surprised me was that one of the knife wielders was 8-years-old.

Needless to say, my husband hurriedly pushed me up the stairs to Phase II of the operation: Wrapping Central Command.

Before I get into the gory details, I’d like to clear something up. I love meat. I am also a farm girl. I know that there are aspects of real life that aren’t featured on the front page of Cosmopolitan magazine. I am not squeamish; I’ve helped castrate cats on the farm. I know that this is a part of life. I’d just never seen somebody do it in their basement before. All my life on the farm, we sent our butchering out. So call me sheltered, but I’m not naïve. Despite my experiences in the reality of farm life, this whole scene unsettled me a bit for a number of reasons.

First, the entire family was involved. Children, breast-feeding mothers, grandmothers, the whole brood. The entire business was accomplished with toddlers milling around under foot. Yes, drippy noses and all.

I found it strange that most of the people doing the cutting never came upstairs. What’s strange about that? I didn’t see a bathroom or even a sink down there. That’s what is strange. If you knew how these people drink like fish, you’d be concerned about the facilities too. Even more disconcerting was the fact that it was winter, people had colds, and I didn’t get the impression that the work area had been prepped with bleach. You know what I mean? Now, maybe this is not such an issue with the cuts of meat like steaks and roasts. However, they were also grinding a heck of a lot of hamburger too.

So imagine the young bride as she thinks back to her days in college, in particular her microbiology course. In college, I did an experiment for this class that involved purchasing hamburger from each of six local grocery stores and culturing what was present in the hamburger. I get queasy thinking about it even now, 10 years later.

My point is, the hamburger for purchase from these groceries is strictly regulated by the USDA. They have strict procedures and testing. Even so, our results from the experiment led me to two life-altering decisions. First, right then and there I quickly changed my meat-purchasing venue, strongly influenced by the results of the experiment. Second, I decided right then and there to be more careful when cooking hamburger to make sure it was thoroughly cooked.

Does that give you any idea of the horror that I felt at these conditions and had to desperately hide from my face? Ye gods. I’m not a good actress, but I tried valiantly to hide my repulsion. I stayed out of the butchering area and stuck to the wrapping and dealing with children. Of course, there is more to this story.

I was covered in meat pieces, exhausted, and kind of irritable by the time we got done and left for his parent’s house that night. I remember thinking that married life was not exactly what I expected. Yeah, those bright and shiny expectations got smacked down pretty fast that weekend. My husband sensed my… disgusted fatigue and let me shower first. Of course, we had to go back to it the first thing next morning. Only this time they would also be cooking a meal. Which was fine until I saw the appetizer.

Now, I realize my Microbiology class has colored my impressions a bit, but I’m not kidding when I tell you that the appetizer was something called “Raw Dog”. You are worried, aren’t you, about the honey-colored beagle? Relax. Raw Dog contains absolutely no canine meat, insofar as I am aware. However, “raw” is certainly an apt descriptor. Raw Dog is raw hamburger with a raw egg, salt and pepper, and Worcestershire sauce all mixed together and served on a saltine.

I’ve never tried so hard not to puke in my life.

The point of this lengthy, morbid, horrifying, and revealing anecdote is simple. There are going to be things about his family that scare you, things that horrify you, and things that will make you think horrible things. Relax. It has happened to all of us. It is perfectly normal. You will wonder about your future children for a while, then realize you have plenty of time to fix them. Just keep working on your acting skills and whatever you do, hide the horror on your face…and just say no, “no, thank you” to the Raw Dog.
posted by Phoenix | 2:37 PM | 0 comments

The Abyss of Political Correctness
Let's rewrite history shall we, in deference to those who are either perpetually stupid or intend to hang the world with political correctness (depending on your viewpoint).

Turner will edit out scenes in classic cartoons where smoking is portrayed as cool. They will not, however, edit scenes in which villains or bad guys are shown smoking.

We are talking about cartoons that were made decades ago, some over 50 years ago. This move, to appease a whining politically correct window licker, is asinine.

It is a sad, sad day when Tom & Jerry, The Flintstones, and Scooby-Doo get a scrub job to meet the ugly new face of political correctness.

Yet another cartoon story that pisses me off. First there was piglet, then the brouhaha over the Mohammed cartoons, the use of The Smurfs to send a political message, and now this.

For heaven's sake, the next thing you know, The Shirtales will don sunscreen to protest global warming.
posted by Phoenix | 2:07 PM | 0 comments

Scarevella - Finale
Well, it is done. Amelie has posted the final chapter of the Scarevella. It is absolutely amazing and you should not miss it.

If you missed any or all of the previous chapters, links can be found below.

Chapter One: Resurrection by Christina
Chapter Two: Death Tolls by Lolly
Chapter Three: Unnatural by Me
Chapter Four: Old Man by That1Guy
Chapter Five: The Eye by Amelie

I am very excited to announce our next writing assignment!

Beginning next Friday, we will return to dashing through spraying bullets and exploding goats as the group writes six more chapters in The SpySistah Chronicles.

For those who are new to this blog, The SpySistah Chronicles are stories written by me that pull their inspiration from my own SpySistah and from the pictures that Silk provided when she was running the A Pictureis Worth 1,000 Words fiction writing project. These stories can be found in the sidebar if you want to reacquaint yourself with the character and her adventures.

This new project is sort of a mix of ideas. Each chapter will again be limited to 1,000 words, but I have provided each chapter's author with a list of words which they may or may not choose to incorporate.

The lineup is as follows:

Chapter One: Silk

Chapter Two: Jess

Chapter Three: Amelie

Chapter Four: Theresa

Chapter Five: CalTechGirl

Chapter Six: Me
posted by Phoenix | 10:02 AM | 1 comments

Friday, August 18, 2006
I've been a bad, bad Diva
Yesterday was a very busy day for me and I didn't get to post on the Demystifying Diva's and Men's Club topic du jour.

I will correct that now, if you don't mind.

So, yesterday's topic comes directly from The Wizard, who is currently on hiatus and has assumed semi-lurker status, and is the flip side of the recent post on the twin beasts of male grooming: nostril and ear hair. We will be discussing untamed hair on the female of the species: rogue whiskers, hairy pits, and the bikini line.

Never let it be said that the Demystifying Divas and The Men's Club shy away from the hard topics, eh?

Yes, it is true. Not all women are as fastidious about their grooming as we would like. I find whiskers and the female mustache, well...icky is the only word to describe it. I understand that things things don't make one a freak of nature, but that doesn't make them pretty either.

There are a number of ways to take care of the mustache, namely electrolysis and bleaching, but you really must do something about this. No guy wants to feel like he's kissing another guy - at least, not one who might be interested in a lady. Regarding the odd rogue whisker on the chin, or as the Wizard specifically mentioned, growing out of the odd mole, I must urge action. Pluck that rogue whisker! Who are you, RedBeard? Grizzly Adams? Yowza. I shiver just thinking about it. The mole also requires attention, but this time of the doctor. You need to keep a close eye on your facial moles and watch to see if they change shape or size. See a dermatologist and see what he thinks.

I understand that some women find shaving the armpits as optional. I do not subscribe to this. I don't think the perfect accessory to the obligatory little black dress is little black hairs winking at you from between the arm and the side. God help you if they blow in the breeze of the air conditioning and look like they are trying to flag down help for an escape attempt. Men can't like this look. I refuse to believe it. How do they not think of shirts vs. skins b-ball when they see you like this? Do yourself a favor and pick up a Bic. You'll smell better, you'll look better, and you won't put the rest of us off our feed.

And finally, what you've all been waiting for: the bikini line.

Frankly, I don't know what to tell you about this. To me, this is a very personal topic. I understand some women go all nude down there and look like pre-pubescent girls. This, frankly, creeps me out. I wonder about the guy who requests this look. But, if you want to go hairless down there, that is your choice. Other ladies like a Brazilian look south of the border and they have their reasons. I can appreciate that. But, I'm not particularly fond of the suggestion that I pour hot wax on my hoo-ha just so you can rip it back off, thank you everso. In fact, I'm firmly in the camp that this is up to the woman. If you are interested in that much suffering in the name of beauty - have at it. However, if you would rather not pay to have someone pour hot wax on your external sexual organs, you won't hear me calling you names. I would just say you should keep it neat and, should you be so bold as to wear a bikini, to make sure the bottoms cover the hair.

'Cause nobody wants to see that.

That's it, that's all I've got. Mark and Arielle may or may not post on the topic, we'll have to wait and see.

We are still taking suggestions for topics and nominations for new Divas and Gents, though this experiment may be in its death throes.
posted by Phoenix | 8:58 AM | 0 comments

Window Lickers
This is a new term to me: Window Lickers. I find it expresses exactly what I want to say without running afoul of the politically correct rabble. I think we should all use it and not tell anyone what it means.

Silk either coined the term or brought it to my attention, but consider all the possibilities.

"Window Licker " could be a descriptive term for someone who covets something in the window, like a cupcake, a prada bag, or a puppy.

"Window Licker" could be someone who doesn't particularly like to fly, and so spends all of their time looking out the window.

"Window Licker", on the other hand, could just be someone visiting in a new place and soaking up all the sights.

Of course, it could also mean that someone is too stupid to figure out how to open the window.

I love it! It is the perfect term! Your job is to use it at least once today.
posted by Phoenix | 8:51 AM | 1 comments

Must See

This scathing commentary in picture form comes, as usual, from the fabulous Cox&Forkum.

I, too, am beginning to wonder if this country isn't going to politically-correct itself to death.

What the hell good are those civil liberties if we are all dead in a burning ditch, I ask you? Does nobody know the Preamble? What about that "Provide for the common defense" bit? Huh?

Congress needs to act and make this program legal. Fuckitall, I don't want September 11th to happen again, thank you everso, so I'm for whatever tools let us know what the bad guys are planning.

And yes, it really is that simple for me. Anybody who wants to commit the mass murder of civilians is a bad guy and, in my book, not worthy of oxygen. However, I'll buy the bullet that sends him on his merry way. I wouldn't want to stand between him and his hot date with a horde of virgins...


posted by Phoenix | 8:32 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, August 17, 2006
The Power of the Blog
Today I would like to point you all to the new addition to the sidebar.

In the About Me section, you will find a box that says "I remember Francis J. Skidmore."

I should explain what this is all about, shouldn't I?

In my morning surf, at the American Geek, I stumbled across the news of a powerful movement in the 'sphere to do something to commemorate each and every victim of the September 11 attacks. All 2,996 of them. I had been looking for something special to do on the 5-year anniversary of the attacks, and this works beautifully.

On that day, I will post specifically for Francis J. Skidmore, in his memory and honor.

It is my hope that each and every victim will be claimed in this project. If you are a blogger, I encourage you to participate. You can read about the project here and sign up here.

My heartfelt gratitude goes out to the organizer of this project and to USA Dave for bringing it to my attention.

Let's use the power of the blog, so often used to shed light on the lies of the MSM, to do something really important. Let's individualize and put a face on the victims from that day and make sure that they are remembered. It will make a powerful statement. I was the 1900th person to sign up, so you need to hurry if you want to participate.

It is worth the effort.
posted by Phoenix | 10:20 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, August 15, 2006
A downgrading of meaning
Alas, I am an old fuddy-duddy. I find myself writing this post knowing that it is going to place me firmly in the camp of Old Grouch.

You'll notice that I'm still posting it though. I'm ornery that way.

What I want to discuss today is the downgrading and degrading of the meaning of some words because of the way that they are used today. Let me show you what I mean...

Gourmet - this word used to describe a food or beverage that had been prepared carefully with premium ingredients. Oftentimes the preparation takes considerable time and training. Oftentimes this extra effort and better ingredients means you can expect to pay more for a "gourmet" item.

However, the meaning of this word has been downgraded and demeaned. You can get "gourmet" coffee at McDonald's and at the gast station. If you can get them there, and at the gas station you serve yourself, is it really "gourmet"? In price, maybe, but the rest of the description falls flat.

It doesn't matter if you do use a fancy script, a 150-thread count sheet will never qualify as "luxurious" unless your frame of reference is one of Saddam Hussein's torture chambers.

It doesn't matter if you label a burlap bag "Sateen", it won't make it so. It will still be rougher than a porcupine stuck in a briar patch.

I'm just sayin'...
posted by Phoenix | 10:46 AM | 0 comments

Everybody needs to chill
Fast Food Rage is sweeping the nation.

Maybe she was just desperate for an Egg McMuffin, ya think?

h/t: Drudge
posted by Phoenix | 10:42 AM | 0 comments

Monday, August 14, 2006
You want Nanny? Here she is...
Imagine being fired for admitting that you are a smoker.

Now, imagine that you can't get hired if you smoke.


I'm so glad that I don't live and work over there, even if I don't smoke.

That Big-Brother-Nanny-Knows-Best stuff doesn't sit well with me.

h/t: Drudge
posted by Phoenix | 10:22 AM | 0 comments

Friday Fiction: Psychvella Chapter 4
I'm a bit late posting this, but That1Guy has posted Chapter 4 of the Psychvella.

Here are all of the links:

Chapter One: Resurrection by Christina
Chapter Two: Death Tolls by Lolly
Chapter Three: Unnatural by Yours Truly
Chapter Four: Old Man by That1Guy

That1Guy has introduced us to a new character and set up the final chapter perfectly for Amelie. It is a terrific read. Check out all the chapters if you haven't been following along.

Oh, and the comments don't appear to be working at That1Guys's place, but for the record, it is Masterful and Perfect! I can't wait to read the final chapter on Friday.
posted by Phoenix | 10:05 AM | 0 comments

"Once a cheater, always a cheater"
Sorry, I couldn't resist the title, coming as it does so appropriately from Jennifer Aniston's Rachel character's mother.

So, it seems that Angelina has her pals spying on Brad, afraid that he is going to be partying it up while she is home with the kids. In particular, she's afraid that he will come under the evil influence of George Clooney (egad!)

This girl knows why Angelina is worried. For all of Angelina's protestations that Brad never cheated on Jen with her, we all know how things turned out. And so, it shouldn't surprise anyone that Angelina fears that he might do it again with some tart in George's stable of frisky fillies.

Poor Angelina.

Brad says she's smothering him. I think it is probably true.

I don't like her very much.

h/t: Martinis, Persistence, and a Smile
posted by Phoenix | 9:49 AM | 0 comments

All of those missing Egyptians have been located.

Expect them to be sent home ASAP for violating the terms of their visas.
posted by Phoenix | 9:44 AM | 0 comments

Wilting Flowers (or Weeds)?
Heh. It's a real shame when your smoothie strike sends you to the hospital.

On the other hand, the citizens of Crawford must not like her much, because anybody from that region (myself included) will tell you it is absolutely essential to stay hydrated in the Southwestern sun, Texas included.
posted by Phoenix | 9:23 AM | 0 comments

Friday, August 11, 2006
I'm Running Out of Tolerance and Understanding
The world is a f***ing mess and I'm running out of Tolerance and Understanding.

The recent discovery of a massive plot to bring down US-bound airliners over the Atlantic, the two Hizbollah helpers recently captured with a bonanza of cash and disposable cell phones, and the disappearance of 11 Egyptian "students" has me wondering if we shouldn't change tactics a bit.

And I'm not alone in that feeling either.

I am sick of playing defense. I am sick of wondering when one of their plots will slip past us. I am sick of feeling threatened, worrying about my child's future, and being pissed off at the stupidity of political correctness as it pertains to these matters.

I am sick of the apologists who explain it all away with discussion about education, poverty, and disenfranchisement. From now on, we should call a spade a spade.

Do you know who the enemy is? Do you know what they look like? Because I do. The profile couldn't be clearer if it were on Sesame Street. We are talking about young men between the ages of 16 and 30, followers of an extreme sort of Islam. They are not uneducated. Many, in fact, have college degrees or have advanced educations. They are not little bedouin boys who've never seen an airplane. They are not backwards, illiterate, or even stupid. They are highly skilled and trained in killing. They are the embodiment of exported violence. If you can't identify this, there is no help for you.

In the same way that you wouldn't apologize for the shark that bites off your leg, you shouldn't apologize for people intent on killing innocent civilians, including babies and small children, in some lunatic desire to make the world suffer under the yoke of oppression. And that is what we are talking about. Osama bin Laden, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and their ilk want a global caliphate. In their own words,
One of them, surely, is Anjem Choudary, who made related news this week. Choudary is a former leader of Al Mujahiroun -- a defunct, jihad-inciting group, whose venomous pronouncements on Islamic supremacy have earned him a strange prominence in the British media. He refuses to condemn the 7/7 attacks, says Muslims shouldn't help police combat jihad terror, and advocates sharia (Islamic law) for Britain. During a BBC "Newsnight" appearance this year, the host asked Choudary why he didn't simply move to a sharia state like Iran.

"Who says you own Britain, anyway?" Choudary replied. "Britain belongs to Allah. The whole world belongs to Allah. ... If I go to the jungle, I'm not going to live like the animals, I'm going to propagate a superior way of life. Islam is a superior way of life."

How magnanimous of him! I suppose there must be something wrong with me because his superior way of life doesn't look all that appealing to me. A burka, no rights as a woman, the knowledge that becoming a victim of rape is a reason to shame my family and therefore bring further punishment upon me, the fact that my husband could beat me...the possibility of my child being used as a human shield. No. No fucking thank you.

September 11th changed me. I have always been what you'd call a Security Mom, even before I was a mother in fact, but I used to largely live and let live. I don't care what you think or what you say or what you believe. You are free to do as you wish as long as you don't hurt anyone. But, I expect that same respect in return. Islamic Extremism doesn't allow for that.

I have changed in the face of this. I am no longer an advocate of the same policy. We have to be more proactive. These aren't bugs that we can take out with a bug bomb, they are psychopaths hell-bent on mass murder. Fuck 'em. Fuck 'em, I say, I'm tired of playing a proportional war. They want mass murder? Let's accomodate them and send them all to Allah in a big basket. We are not going to win this war by fighting proportionally. You don't win against people like this if you fight a war of attrition. We need to change it up. We need to get a hell of a lot more aggressive. We need to loose the dragon and let the tiger out of its cage.

I have found this same sentiment growing in the people I know and talk to. I have heard the words "nuke the whole god damned region until it is a parking lot, when it stops glowing, we'll go back in and see if they need another dose."

I don't think nuclear weapons are the answer...yet. But I think the politicians need to reevaluate their priorities and remember a few things. First, dead people don't vote (except for Democrats), and they make piss-poor supporters. Second, if the terrorists win, there won't be any more elections. It follows then that even if they can't get behind the right reasons for this war on terror (preserving our way of life and the lives of innocents and our freedoms), they ought to be able to be persuaded to do what is in their own best interests (which is the only thing that really matters to most politicians). Politicians, in fact, should leave the fighting of this war to the men at the tip of the sword. And I would suggest a mighty and deep thrust with that sword, one that will absolutely give the enemy pause. And I do mean pause. I'm talking about the sort of operation that is so astounding that even we don't want to do it - because that is what it is going to take.

We've become too soft, too sensitive to every soldier's death and not outraged enough at the deaths of innocents. That is fucked up! We apologize for the terrorists when they kill innocent women and children, but blame the soldiers when one of their own dies in the defense of our nation. It is ridiculous, it is abhorrent, and it is a million ways wrong. We can't be soft. Every death should inflame us. It should push us to drive the sword further into their belly and twist it for good measure.

We are a nation of individuals, free and proud, but some have forgotten that we have reason to be so. There is evil and it must be obliterated. You may not like the way it tastes, but you are going to like it a whole lot less when your infidel tongue is cut out. Don't give up, get mad.

Don't give up, get really mad. Show them a taste of what they've sowed with their killings of innocents.

I honestly do not believe that all Muslims are evil. I don't. But, I don't think they are helping either. I do not hear enough about them rooting out the extremists in their midst. And let's face it, that is where they are hiding. They aren't chatting up the folks at the Baptist Revival in Macon, if you know what I mean. So, while I don't paint them all with the same brush, I would absolutely call them out on what I see as aiding and abetting. If I can take it upon myself to note suspicious behavior to the authorities, whether it be a weird guy hanging out on the playground or six 20-something Middle Eastern men behaving strangely in an airport, so can they. I don't want to hear protestations of innocence or "profiling", I want results. And if you are with the freedom lovers you are against the terrorists. You can't have it both ways.

If you aren't with us, you are against us. It is really that simple.

I am so pissed off, I can't even express it.

The Maximum Leader has more.
posted by Phoenix | 9:07 AM | 2 comments

Thursday, August 10, 2006
I didn't mean to turn you on...
Sorry about the title, I've been uploading songs for my ipod.

Today is Thursday, so I must don my magenta feather boa, feathered and heeled slippers, and waft toward the keyboard in order to lend clarity to another fascinating topic. This week the Demystifying Divas and The Men's Club are waxing poetic about three things about the opposite sex that speak to them on a physical level.


Men are lovely, lovely creatures. The three things about men that turn me on are the way they smell, the rough texture of their hands, and their power and strength.

First, the way they smell. Men have this amazing smell. A man who has been working smells like dirt and sweat and hardwork. He smells of victory and pain and survival. He smells capable, and I love the capable man. A freshly showered man is also a carnival of olfactory delights. I love the way the Old Spice soap clings to him. I love the smell of his shampoo lingering in his hair. I love the fresh scent of the shaving cream on his neck and face and the musk of his aftershave. I even love the smell of his deodorant - Speed Stick - which for some reason is the best smell of them all. Seriously, he could wear Speed Stick and nothing else and win a bonanza of a carnal buffet.

Item the second of things about men that turn me on is their rough hands. Ordinarily I like things that are soft: baby skin, cashmere, silk, etc. However, a man with soft hands is a major turn off. Ick! Who wants to be caressed by their grandma? When a man touches my skin I want to know it. I like the way his rough hand is tempered by gentleness when he moves his hands over my curves. I like the way his rough hand holds mine safely. It is a major turn on, men's hands. But, a man who has a soft clammy hand gets nowhere with me. I need a strong and capable man, a man of adventure, not some namby-pamby mama's boy who is still afraid of the dark.

Item the third: Power and strength. Men are mysteries. They are unique and wonderful specimens. But the best part is the dual traits of power and strength. A strong man, both of character and physical endurance is what I want. I want a man who has the courage of his convictions. A man who will stand up and be counted. A man who will move heaven and earth to keep his loved ones safe. I am turned on by the man who holds me firmly but gently with his strong arms, steely sinew and power. I am into it, big time. This power, present but held in check, is a major turn on.

So, I suppose you would say that I am the stereotypical female. I want a man to be a man, to be the opposite to my softness.

I think I need a cold shower.

While I do that, go see what Mark and Arielle have to say on the subject.
posted by Phoenix | 10:11 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, August 09, 2006
I'm just full of piss and vinegar today
Grandma would be so proud.

I am the sort of person that can always find ways to make things better. When you are a Quality Assurance manager, this is a handy trait to have. But most of the time, it just makes me mad.

For example, the incomplete job niche shops do marketing sales and services to their target audience.

I was at Babies 'R Us yesterday, musing about all the mistakes they made. You would think that a place that aimed itself at parents and babies would do a better of job catering to those customers. It is great that they offer liquid refreshment at the checkout, but why is it that the baskets are oddly shaped and you can't get the boxes of some of the medium-sized items for sale into these baskets? Moreover, seeing as how most people will be shopping with their children, probably in a portable carseat carrier that locks into a shopping cart, why is it that the damn spaces between the racks of clothing and non-aisle displays are not sparse enough to allow easy navigation with the baskets? I have to look over/through the baby seat and over/through the box that doesn't fit in the basket and then navigate the Hummer-sized basket between a space that would only comfortably accomodate heroine-chic Kate Moss. I invariably run into something and it pisses me off!

Now, move to the parking lot. First issue: the size of the parking spaces. Most of your patrons, having children and all, are likely not driving mini Coopers but SUVs and Minivans. As such, wouldn't it be wise to make the spaces a bit wider? The doors are all going to be hanging open while the loading and unloading process takes place. It is just stupid not to take this into consideration. It is a freakin' safety hazard!

Moreover, if you have parking for 100+ vehicles, perhaps more than two cart corrals are in order? And perhaps, just perhaps, they could not be quite so far from the door? If I am politely-minded and intend to return my cart, I have to load my child in the car, lock the doors, and then attend to this chore. I am sure as hell not going to leave her alone any longer than I have to, so more cart corrals are in order. My only other option is to not do the obligatory cart roundup...and I'll admit that when she's hungry or crying, I don't properly stow my cart. I take care of my baby instead.

But do you see what I mean? They haven't done their homework, and it makes me angry.
posted by Phoenix | 9:58 AM | 0 comments

Organized? Me? You have no idea...
Yesterday I had my appointment with the photographer to choose the shots I wanted from Bunny Boop's first photo shoot. I arrived early, as I always do to my appointments, with my notes and plans organized. I even had my spreadsheet ready with the picture identifiers, size, quantity, unit price, allocations, and subtotals.

I pulled it out of my black folder, the proofs and notes and spreadsheet neatly binder-clipped together, and loosened the bindings so that I could move freely through the proofs. The photographer sat down next to me and I asked him where he wanted to start.

He took one look at what I held in my hands and said, "MY GOD! You are the most organized person I've ever met!"

"I doubt that," I said dryly.

"No, really!" I passed the spreadsheet to him and he looked it over. "Everything is here. This is amazing! This will save me a lot of work. Do you want a job?"

"I doubt you could afford me," I sallied back.

Whereupon we took up the rest of the meeting. Now, understand, that these meetings usually last 30 minutes between him and his clients. We were there for a grand total of 15 minutes, and 9 were spent in idle chit-chat and pleasantries. No joke. There is no doubt in my mind that this guy does need someone like me. I have come across few artistic types in life that were organized. In my experience that creativity comes with a lot of scattered detritus, both in physical and mental clutter. Which doesn't mean that they are ineffective, just not the best at the stuff that moves business along.

For heaven's sake, I rode herd on a million details a day for 4.5 years. I've got the system down pat. But, then again, I've always been this way. I'm a planner. A goal-oriented, detail-enraptured, uber-capable, super-planner. You need to get something done? I can come up with a plan. Need to invade a country? I can come up with an itemized task list, a project calendar, budget, update reports, and list of items to pack and buy.

In the same four months I planned a wedding, moved, found a new home, found a new job, and took a two-week vacation. All of those tasks didn't just come off successfully, but very successfully. I didn't just plan and execute a wedding, I planned and executed a very glamorous, lovely event complete with 40 pounds of shrimp, an open bar, prime rib, chicken, two potatoes, and numerous other good eats and a beautiful wedding cake for the extremely reasonable price of $1200. I rock! If you need hints on how to plan a glamorous wedding on a budget, I can give you tips. Did I mention that each guest took home hand made turtles as a favor? I even had menu cards on the table. I don't just rock as a planner, I'm a goddess.

I take pride in it.

I am known for it.

I am a force of nature.

And I absolutely love it when other people identify my super powers in this area.

My stepmother relies on me. My old boss and co-workers still rely upon me, as does my current boss. I am a personal shopper and personal assistant to SpySistah. Even my husband relies upon my super organizational skills.

It is as it is.
posted by Phoenix | 9:31 AM | 3 comments

Computer Hell
Yesterday was a rough day for me. I was in computer hell.

You see, at work some pop-up appeared and I tried to close it. This, in hindsight, was a huge mistake. Clicking on the "X" sent me spiralling down the rabbit hole. I couldn't send email. I couldn't navigate from one website to the next. The adware and spyware was so thick it was like trying to avoid all of the hands in a gang rape - which is sort of what it felt like, by the way.

Then, when I got home, my brand-spanking-new ipod had arrived and I wanted to clean up my home computer so that I'd have plenty of room on the hard drive to load music.

My home computer, free gift that it was, has never been the best piece of equipment, but I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. So, it took about 2 hours to remove some old software and defrag. That computer is back up and running this morning, as is my pc at work.

But the whole day was tense and I have a motion to make:

I do hereby move that all adware, spyware, and internet hackers and pirates antics be punishable by death sentences. They interfere with commerce and get in the way of GDP. As such, I think they are intruding on my privacy and my personal space. I think I should get to shoot them just like I would if they had broken into my home.

Too much?

Maybe, but those bastards really pissed me off. I'll calm down eventually...probably.
posted by Phoenix | 9:19 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, August 08, 2006
This is unsettling...
Eleven Egyptian Students have disappeared somewhere between JFK International Airport and Bozeman, Montana.

Are you feeling confident and good?

'Cause I'm not. But then, I'm a suspicious sort.

Frankly, it gives me a knot in my gut.
posted by Phoenix | 9:32 AM | 1 comments

Eating Crow
Well, well, well.

It seems that The Dixie Chicks are making more revisions to their tour schedule in the face of slow ticket sales. Heh.
Kansas City, Houston, St. Louis, Memphis and Knoxville are among 14 cities no longer on the original schedule released in May, according to a revised itinerary posted Thursday on the Dixie Chick's Web site.

Other shows, including Nashville, Los Angeles, Denver and Phoenix, have been pushed back to later dates.

The North American leg of the tour kicked off July 21 in Detroit. Billboard magazine and other trade publications have reported lackluster sales in some markets, particularly in the South and Midwest.

You know, I almost feel sorry for them. Of course, everytime I see a picture of them I snap out of it and realize that they are just reaping what they've sowed.
posted by Phoenix | 9:26 AM | 0 comments

Check it out
Two Paragraph Tuesday is going at full speed over at Not Exactly Rocket Science. Get yourself involved!
posted by Phoenix | 9:20 AM | 0 comments

Monday, August 07, 2006
I am adapting, I suppose.

Why do I say this? Let me lay it out for you.

I have a new baby, as you are no doubt aware since I beat you over the head with it almost non-stop. This baby, while a joy and a treasure, is on a schedule. During the week this works very well. On the weekends, however, when I'd really like to sleep...she's still on that schedule.

So for me, "sleeping in" means not getting up until 6:30 a.m. Saturday morning, however, she was up at 5:30 a.m., hungry and wanting to play. So I fed her and played with her. At that hour, you should know, there is very little on tv. I turned it to FX where they were rerunning old King of the Hill episodes. I don't watch a lot of KOTH, but I have seen enough to know the character's names.

So imagine my surprise when I started understanding Boomhauer on Saturday.

Maybe listening to baby babble has tuned me in. I don't know.
posted by Phoenix | 11:08 AM | 0 comments

Where do spies sleep when on vacation?
My couch.

There is a very comfy bed upstairs with her name on it, but she prefers the couch.

Is this because she wants to be able to make a quick get-away? Is this because my leather couch smells more like the places she is used to catching a few winks - on horseback, etc?

I have no idea.
posted by Phoenix | 11:05 AM | 0 comments

Friday, August 04, 2006
I didn't realize I was so special
Caution: Mini-Rant Ahead, Exercise Care When Wading Through the Froth

Do you know how special I am? Do you? I am absolutely amazing in a way that I am not exactly proud of, but seeing as how it is a very lonely category, I'll take it.

You see, I am the only woman in the office building who knows how to put a roll of toilet paper back on the spindle. Yahoo. Whoopee. The accolades just rush forth.

Seriously. Nobody else seems able to remove the old standard cardboard roll and put the new roll on. It is impossible! It is not that complicated. While it is not one of those standard home bathroom dispensers with the spring-loaded spindle, it is a very simple variation on the same theme.

I find it tragic that in the three years I've worked here, nobody else has been driven by the curiosity to figure it out. And, I stress again, that you wouldn't have to be all that curious. Bunny Boop could figure it out in less than five minutes, I am certain.

What happened to curiosity? Was it killed by celebrity tabloids? Do we know longer want to know how things work because we are too busy wondering what underwear Gwen Steffani prefers or how high Tom Cruise will jump in proclaiming his devotion to something or other?

It frustrates me. I don't want to be special for being the only woman who knows how to put the tp back on the spindle. That's not special! It doesn't require a key or any special tools -- unless you consider the opposable thumb a special tool.

I'm not having a training session either. Some people are too dumb to breathe!

So, there you go. I am that special. Don't you wish you were too?
posted by Phoenix | 10:47 AM | 0 comments

Scarevella - Chapter 3
The mission: 1000 words, or not to exceed, taking the current fiction project forward.
The genre: Horror.

Chapter One, Resurrection, by the very talented Christina, was decidedly chilling.
Chapter Two, Death Tolls, by Lolly, introduced a few new characters and gave me plenty to work with. Next week, That 1 Guy will follow up my chapter and the finale will be brought home by Amelie.

I want you to know that I have never before written something for this genre and I am a bit...nervous about it. I actually had Christina read the first draft to make sure I wasn't way off track. My sincerest apologies to all if I have disappointed, but mostly to those who come behind me. I hope there is something you can do with what I've left you.

And now, without further ado, I humbly present Chapter 3:


Jeffrey braced himself against the wind in the pitch black night. No good would come of this errand, he was sure. He hastened quickly onward in spite of the knowledge that evil had a hand in this perfect storm.

The evidence was all around him as he made his way home. The parish priest had been called to New Orleans. The storm had been raging all night and seemed to only keep building. The sky roiled with anger and even the trees, dripping with Spanish moss, seemed to have their own malevolent secrets. There was no comfort to be found. Not even the ever-present sweetness of
Magnolia on the breeze could be found. Instead, the pungent and heady aroma that seemed so welcoming had been replaced by a rotting decaying noisome smell of death. Another ghastly wave blew in with every wild tossing gust of wind. God help him. There was nothing else to be done.

He arrived back at home, tattered, torn, and soaked through from the icy cold rain. The front door banged open like a shot in the wind. Inside, his oldest son Emile was cowering under a blanket, furtively watching Pascal rock. Jeffrey knew a moment of indecision. Should he take both boys?

“Pascal, get your coat. You are coming with me.” His tone brooked no argument or discussion.

The young boy’s head pivoted at his words. Fluidly, he rose to his feet and went to the rack, drawing his coat around him with wildly glazed eyes. Emile continued to cower.

“Emile, there is still a slice of cake in the icebox. Help yourself. We will be home soon.” Emile seemed to relax as Pascal and Papa departed back into the storm.


“I knew you would come, Papa.”

“Yes, Pascal. I know you did.”

“I have work this night, don’t I, Papa?”

“Yes, Pascal. Madame LaFleur wants to see you.”

“Yes, I know. I sensed it.” The boys eyes glittered like obsidian, though there were no stars to offer light to glitter by.

“Do you know Mme. LaFleur?”

“Papa, you should not ask questions if you do not want answers. You have held your tongue this long, you can continue. It is not time to pay for your sins…yet.”


“I know the way, Papa. Why don’t you go back to mon frère, you wouldn’t want anything to happen to him. Would you?”

Jeffrey Niette had never been comfortable around his second son. The boy was unnatural, knowing things that he couldn’t know, seeing and hearing things he shouldn’t, so it was with a mixture of cowardice and bravery that he stopped in the path and looked at his son. The wind did not touch him, but the boy’s eyes glittered on. “Fine. I will go back. Do not tarry, but make haste. The old woman is in a bad way.”

“Yes, Papa,” the boy answered sing-song, “Tonight it is ma Mère who must pay for her sins…”

But Jeffrey hadn’t heard the final words, absorbed and carried away as they were on the putrid wind.


A banging woke Corrine from her fitful rest. She rose to close the loose shutter, but found instead a boy at the door. She crossed herself at the look of him and sent up a prayer under her breath.

“That won’t do you any good now.” The little boy seemed calm in the face of such a storm. It seemed so unnatural to Corrine. “Mme. LaFleur sent for me. Take me to her.”

Corrine exhaled a breath she hadn’t been aware she’d been holding. “Follow me,” she directed, leading him through the long shadows of the parlor and to the back bedroom. She rapped once on the door and Lacy opened it.

“Corrine. Pascal. Where is Papa?”

“He stayed home to take care of Emile. It is a dangerous night, ma Mère.”

“Pascal, Mme. LaFleur wants to see you. Do not upset her, you hear me?”

“Yes, ma Mère.”

Pascal moved into the room, heavy with the scent of death and dark save for the flickering light of the fire. The lamp lay broken on the floor by the bed. Mme. LaFleur’s eyes opened as Pascal approached the bed.

“I am here, Madam.” The boy spoke so quietly it seemed he hadn’t spoken at all.

The old woman came alive at the sound, however, so Lacy and Corinne hadn’t imagined the words. She sat bolt upright in her bed, the sheet falling to her lap. The fire brightened, sending a blaze of light upon the scene. Mme. LaFleur’s arm rose from her side, skeletal with skin hanging. Her finger pointed to the door and her voice menaced.

“Send them away!”

Corrine and Lacy looked to Pascal. His eyes were rolled back in his head and he too was pointing. The stagnant air changed and a wind started to blow from behind the boy.

Corrine didn’t need to think twice. She pulled Lacy back out the door, both of them never taking their eyes from Pascal. Once they had crossed the threshold, the door slammed shut.

The two women stood there, transfixed. Several minutes passed before either of them moved. Lacy watched as the crack under the door showed rapidly shifting shadows. Corrine pulled her away when a keening howl began.

Lacy reached reflexively for her rosary, seeking comfort. She and Corrine were both praying, not knowing when the interminable keening and wind would stop. It seemed to go on forever, the cries getting louder and louder as the whole house shook violently. The shutters banged, the house creaked, and the chandelier swayed overhead on a path of destruction. The firelight
flickered again and then suddenly, it all stopped.

Corrine and Lacy’s eyes were drawn helplessly to the old door of the bedroom. Pascal stood in the opening. The child seemed wild, almost feral, with hair askew and garments tattered. Corrine pulled away in revulsion.

“The old hag has gone. And now, ma Mère, you pay for your sins too.”
posted by Phoenix | 5:38 AM | 4 comments

Thursday, August 03, 2006
The rest of today is jam-packed and tomorrow looks worse, if that's possible.

As such, I have to post the Friday Fiction now. I doubt that this will upset anyone, but if it does, I'm sorry. I could have waited until Saturday, I suppose.
posted by Phoenix | 1:39 PM | 0 comments

Oh, honey...
Today's topic for the nearly extinct Demystifying Divas and Men's Club is an interesting one. How do you signal your intentions or let your significant other know that you are ready to rumble? And by "rumble" of course, I mean get-it-on in a Marvin Gaye kind of way.

As many are aware, there is a new baby in our life. She occupies quite a bit of time and energy, as I'm sure you can understand. Do add another obstacle, my husband works third shift (when normal, non-nocturnal people are sleeping). And, the icing on the cake has been him working even more than normal, thereby decreasing the few opportunities that do exist for man-woman type activities.

So, these days it goes something like this:

Me - "Baby's asleep. Are you awake?"

Him - "Zzzzz zzz zzz. Snort!"

Whereupon I roll back over. It isn't easy for us these days, so we grab whatever small moments we can.

Perhaps someone who doesn't have a brand new baby will have better advice. Check out what Arielle, Mark, and Jamesyboy have to say.
posted by Phoenix | 8:51 AM | 0 comments

This Just In...

The elected Senators of this land, your representatives and mine, are so much better than their constituents that they feel they shouldn't have to share an elevator with us.

I mean, can you blame them? Sharing a small space for a very short ride, having to occupy that space with the great unwashed isn't to be bourne!

I swear, this article did little else than piss me off. If they don't like to share, I say they can take the damn stairs.

Such superiority...such You know, I think spending a little time with the hoi polloi might be good for a lot of these smug bastards.
posted by Phoenix | 8:41 AM | 0 comments

The Lofty Heights of Political Discourse
This had me laughing.

Of course, I was laughing in that hysterical hyena way I do when something is so politically stupid that it reeks of desperation.

For those not clicking over, the DNC has put up a news site of their own - The Fudge Report. All you have to do is click over and you will see what a mockery it is. Somebody fumbled, because they look like they are mocking themselves. You see, the site is a blatant rip off of the Drudge Report, right on down to the font and layout. So, instead of offering a serious source of news, they are instead the butt of their own joke. Imagine if MAD Magazine or SNL did this - - it wouldn't be taken seriously, and neither will this.

If the DNC actually had some original ideas to put forth, they wouldn't be stuck in reverse, headed back to the 1960's. They are running on a "New Direction" campaign, but have no clear destination in mind. So, I will sit by and watch the train wreck that is the DNC.

But seriously, however thought up this idea...dude - is Karl Rove wearing jimmy choos and prada as a disguise as he sits in DNC brainstorming sessions? That guy really is an evil genius!

h/t: Who else? Drudge, who can tell himself that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
posted by Phoenix | 8:33 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, August 01, 2006
My Life Has Officially Changed
Yes, I know, you are going to say, "What was your first clue, dummy?"

Well I'll tell you.

Last night I received a flyer in the mail announcing the grand opening of the new Babies 'R Us on the East Side of Madison.

Wait for it...

I was over the moon with glee at the news.

That's right. I was excited about a place opening that will give me more selection when I pour my cash into baby toys, baby gear, and baby clothes.

Kind of...unsettling.
posted by Phoenix | 12:03 PM | 0 comments

Crack Young Staff on Vacation
Fans and subscribers of The Hatemonger's Quarterly are aware that The Crack Young Staff and certain members, let's call him/her "Chip", are on vacation.

In their absence, Our Maximum Leader is guest posting and keeping the home fires burning. Already he has shed light on the real plots of Mel Gibson's movies and a fisking of Maryland Drivers and their silly bumper stickers.

What will the rest of the week have in store? Precious gems, I'm sure. Keep your eyes peeled, and don't read it while drinking if you value your monitor.
posted by Phoenix | 11:47 AM | 0 comments

How Lovely!
I just received a happy little bit of news.

It totally made my week! If it weren't for the fact that today is August 1st, I say it made my month. But, let's hold out the possiblility for even better news, shall we?

La la lalalala la lala la la

(That's the Smurfy Song, in case you didn't recognize it.)
posted by Phoenix | 11:45 AM | 1 comments


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