Tuesday, November 27, 2007

We Gather Together to Ask the Lord's Blessing

Hey Mom, thanks for inviting yourself to Thanksgiving. Boy, that was a fun dinner. Fun. And you're still here! Fun, fun, fun!

You know what was also fun? Your trying to work on my computer. I loved that.

Remember how you asked me before you left Boston if I had Powerpoint on my computer? Remember that I said no? Remember that conversation? Guess what, I still don't have Powerpoint, and I refuse to purchase Powerpoint. I have Powerpoint Reader, but not Powerpoint itself. Pouting about it doesn't make the program magically appear on my computer.

I hope you enjoyed the day at Starbucks working on your presentation for the doll collector club on your own laptop. (I know you don't believe me, even though I've explained this a number of times, but you do NOT NEED to be inside a Starbucks for the laptop to operate. Really. It's true. I swear. On the other hand, the fact that you're an idiot when it comes to technology did in fact relieve us all of your presence for a day. Silver lining.)

Sure, I'm happy to let you use my printer. (Yes. This is the printer you bought for me. Thank you.)

Well, you need to turn it on first. Yes, the button on the top with the circle. (Yes. This IS the printer you bought for me. Four years ago. Yes. Thank you.)

Yeah, I know the change cartridge light is on, but it starts warning you that the thing needs replacing about two seconds after you put it in the machine.

No. I don't have any extra ink cartridges. It'll be fine.

No. You have to order them from Dell.

No. I don't want to go to OfficeMax today. It's the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I refuse to go to a mall. And I've tried Office Max before -- their cartridges don't work in this machine.

No. I don't have any extra color cartridges. Here. I think I might have a black cartridge hiding somewhere. (Yes. This is the printer you bought for me. I already told you that. Yes. I like it. Yes. Thank you.)

You know, if you're having this much trouble printing, you could go down to OfficeMax and give them the file. They'll print it for you. I got all my campaign material printed at OfficeMax. No. We don't have a Staples near us. Try OfficeMax.

Yeah, the pale lines across the photos aren't from the printer. It works fine. Yes, thank you for buying it for me. Yes. Four years ago. No, the printer works fine. You've run out of ink. Yes, color ink. No. I have to order them from Dell.

Good Grief! 42 full color pages? Uh, yeah. I guess you ran me out of ink there.

(And this is where matricide was almost committed: turns out she didn't LIKE the full page one- slide-per-page format, but only realized that AFTER she had printed 42 pages of them. But she needed to have her presentation printed. So what did she do? Why she went to OfficeMax and had them print it. Alrighty then.)

So I still have to order ink. Sigh.

But she's heading home today. Wa hoo.

She pulled some other odd stunts while she was here. Standing up in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner to announce that she was done eating, she wanted pie, and could everyone start passing their plates to her so that she could clear the table. That was odd. Taking it upon herself to clean my office even when I repeatedly asked her not to, and then bullying my children into helping her while I was in the shower, and then having the nerve to get pouty when I refused to show her where the vacuum cleaner was kept so that she could finish the job. (Thin oriental on the floor of that room -- it gets sucked into the vacuum if you don't' do it just right. She can't vacuum to save her life.) That was odd too. Washing the dishes by swishing soap through them and then putting them on the counter without rinsing. That was odd too.

On the other hand, she didn't talk about My Idiot Brother, which was a relief. (He called twice while they were visiting. So Fucking Transparent.)

This morning she gets on a plane and flies off to her doll club, printouts in hand, to give a lecture on Baby Jesus dolls and religious figures. Then she flies home again. Buh-Bye, Buh-bye.

Every time she comes here I marvel again that I'm as sane as I appear to be after having been raised by her.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

It's clean

The Fancy living room and the dining room are clean. All surfaces cleared and all surfaces (including windows) cleaned and/or polished.

Well, not the floor. I can't clean the floor tonight because I am unable to vacuum in the living room at night. Just a little bit annoying.

There's no overhead light in the Living Room, and the wall outlets are very sparsely distributed. This means that even though I plug in lamps where ever I can, half the outlets are taken up with the stereo system, and the room is dim and dark. Not romantically dim, just annoyingly dim.

I've lived here since 2002 and I have learned my lesson regarding vacuuming this room. If you vacuum while any of the lights are on, blammo, tripped breakers. Not just the breakers in the Living room of course. The stove in the kitchen trips too.

So no vacuuming after 3:00 pm.

I know what you're going to say next -- That sounds dangerous! Have an electrician come in to check the problem!

Yeah, well, I did. Except he came during the day, and even with my plugging in a vacuum, two fans and turning on all the lights, nothing tripped. Great.

However, when he went outside to look at the main box, he found that our service was coming from the street to the meter illegally. (Or it was set up so that you could splice the house off the meter and never get charged for electricity. Too bad I didn't know about this sooner!)

So instead of fixing the living room problem, we had to move out for three days while he ripped the service, redid some odd conduit stuff in the garage and replaced our main panel.

Three thousand dollars, not including the trip to Disney land we took to occupy ourselves. And look, I still can't vacuum my floor after dark.

Have I mentioned how much I hate this holiday?

Here I sit in my decluttered, dusted and reorganized living room, and I should be patting myself on the back for my work. Instead, I'm looking at the dust on the floor and thinking, "I'll never be able to get back to this tomorrow. I've still got three major rooms to go before Tuesday!"

Really and truly, it would be so great to spend one holiday one time doing something I like to do with people I actually want to be with. Or by myself. God, that would be amazing. A couple Negronis, a turkey dinner, a hotel room with a fluffy comforter, and me. Just me.

The vacuum can stay at home.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Fathers and Sons

This is a particularly famous image in the Arabian world. A older stallion to the left, Ferzon, touching noses with his very accomplished son, Gai Parada to the right. Once you start scrutinizing details of the face, you can start to see differences between them; it's not an exact mirror image. But it is a graceful image.

Some years later the son from the picture above, Gai Parada, was photographed meeting his son, Gai Radiant. (Gai Radiant is on the left. Grey horses are born dark and "grey out" over time until they are white. So the less white horse is going to be a younger horse, even if you don't recognize Gai Parada from above.)

Same pose, same stallion in two pictures. Interesting that the second one isn't as successful as the first. There's another picture on the Gainey website of Gai Parada and Gai Seance which I think is more successful, but still not as spot on as Ferzon and Gai Parada.

Anyway, it's an iconic pose, one that was recognizable before Ferzon touched noses with his son. But that example is particularly magical. Ferzon's throatlatch in particular has that tension and a particular curve which stallions show off just as their self-control is about to break. He's reaching forward, but he's trying very hard to be a gentleman, but he's posing for this young buck. Very tense. Very elegant.

Gai Parada on the other hand seems to be calmer. In both poses he's just lovely. Gai Radiant isn't working for me at all though. He neck looks posed, as if he's been asked to take that snakey neck, ears forward position so many times in the show ring that he does it no matter what is put in front of him. Too bad. He's actually a decent horse, except for this picture. Gai Parada still hows some attitude of curiosity here. (BTW, the other thing that I find less successful in this picture is the drape of the leadlines going to the handler out of frame. I don't like the straight lines cutting sharply across the water like that. In the original, the background blurs them out better.)

OK, what started this critique?


an example of this classic pose which was not quite as successful.

As soon as I saw it, I knew they were going for the Father and Son pose. But.



Has anyone ever talked to you about backgrounds? Ever? Or, um, the wisdom of handling two stallions nose to nose by yourself when you're about two feet tall?

Yeah. This one doesn't work for me.

Especially since they're cremellos. Yegh. I really don't like pink skinned eyes.

OK, not meaning to snark on the horses, just on the bizarre thought process that led the photographer to have the handler crouch down. "Don't worry! No one will see your bright shiny knees if you stay very close to the ground!"

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Picture Never Lies

Unless you're accomplished at Photoshop.

Over at Fugly Horse of the Day there's been an ongoing discussion of the ridiculous pictures people put up on the web to advertise their horses. (Hint: Don't make your breeding stallion look mangy, poorly conformed or bad tempered. Bad advertising. Also, don't put together a website of your breeding operation with unicorns, wispy clouds, and fairies in the background.)

One of the commentators on FHOTD put up a demonstration of her photoshop skills. Yes, there are "tells" all over the pictures, and she points out what they are, but hey, I'm impressed with the conversation/demonstration nonetheless. Here's her page. And here are the before and after photos. Woah. Check out her page for the rollover comparison.



Makes this older picture of my dear old friend, shot in the days before the web and Photoshop took over horse advertising, all the more impressive. He was about 19 years old in this one. What a good boy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

You're Searching for WHAT?

Just got a cute note from a horsie acquaintance who found my blog and recognized who I am. Hi!! Waving!!

Which causes me to do two things:

1) Check my stats and "keyword activity" and

2) Post a note here saying that my last official day of elected officialdom is December 5. La la LA!! So the Zorro mask now becomes simply a vain affectation. (Right. Like it wasn't before. Hee. I'm NOT giving it up. Sorry.)

Now, about my stats. The three to seven of you who keep reading, thanks. Not sure why you're bothering, but I do appreciate the loyalty even though I've become miserable at posting. And checking my "keyword activity" (what you were searching for when you hit my blog), it's the same old threesome. (Let's type them in again, shall we, so that every living soul on the interwebs can click here and be discouraged.)

  • Namusca (I unequivocally hate this mare and Midwest Arabians who continue to promote her. If you want to read more about my opinions about her, you are welcome to visit these pages. What are we Hiding? and As If to Prove a Point Please, no flaming. I am resolute, I will not be convinced that she's a lovely mare.
  • Debbie's Petland (Why doesn't this business in Braintree, Massachusetts have a website? I used to visit the one in Newton Highlands and wrote about the store I remembered once, long ago, in a post about possible hoarding behavior. There's no point in looking further for more information. Although occasionally I do wonder who Debbie was.)

But at the top of my list today of people who found me via search engines is this disturbing phrase: "Pictures of babies that are sick or beaten"

And that sent you here?

Oh great, it sent you to the ultrasound babies post. One of my least favorite blog kerfuffles ever.

It's just one of those days, I guess.

But hey, Mom of (I don't want to put his full name in here, so we'll just call him) That Ever Handsome Bay Stallion, good to see you here. Now go tell all your friends that they are welcome to visit, but that I have absolutely NO information on that bizarre sexual practice. None.

(Hey Doug, how come out of that entire list of crazy words you put in my blog to drive up traffic, that's the only one that had any impact? No, wait. Don't answer that. I don't completely trust you not to bring up Enumclaw or some other deviant behavior.)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Uri, Randi, and the Fairies

Hey Joyce.

The fairies are back. The ones with the gamin faces and the silver wings. They hold their little slender arms out, their sleeves and scarves and bits of flowing fabric catching the breeze. Remember how you tipped you head to the side and chuckled at them? How very silly they were, the paper cutouts? Remember? I do.

I remember when you went up to Lily Dale to meet the mediums. I remember how offended you were that all the spirit guides were some gross stereotype of what whites thought American Indians looked or acted like. Chief Bear Paw and Squaw of the Rolling Hills. The Indians who knew the truth of the world because only they were connected with the trees and the bears and the earth, unlike us, the Anglo-Saxons stumbling though life in our clumping boots.

You wanted to know the Spiritualists so that you could write them into your book. But you came away being thoroughly disgusted with their obvious tactics of trickery and deceit. "How can people be so gullible? Can they not SEE that the envelope reading is a ridiculous fake? The men in particular don't even try to make it look real. Their mouths move as they read the messages. To help them memorize it all I guess."

Remember how we talked about Phario's blind eye? And how if we wanted to we could make up a story as to why he was terrified of trailers? And that maybe he had injured his eye in a trailer accident? And we could set ourselves up as "animal psychics"? I do. I remember sitting at your antique farm table, cradling an iced coffee in my sweaty hand, the red glass pushing its lumpy smoothness into my left palm. It was never sweet, your coffee. It was milky and bitter. Like a Cadbury bar left too long in a desk drawer until the surface blooms white and the texture goes to sand.

Remember how we spent that afternoon drafting Phario's reading? Yeah. That was a good time. Why didn't we write that down?

Joyce, where ever you are now, you should know that animal psychics are all the rage, only now they call them animal communicators. And the American Indians, by way of Gawani Pony Boy, have taken over parts of the horse training industry. Don't bother to teach your horse manners, just commune with him as the ancient and knowing American Indians did. Then you'll achieve a true relationship with your personal spirit guide. Your horse.

But anyway, for all that I laugh at the charlatans, and hate the tricksters, I do somehow love part of all that craziness. As did you, I know. We're all attracted to the depth of a crystal and the purity of a flame.

I don't really completely believe in ghosts. They're too tangible and recognizable somehow. They're too easy to create out of a slip of paper, a camera and a willing audience. But I do somehow believe in spirits. Bad of me, I know. I think we can chalk it up to a deeply Christian upbringing. I can't quite imagine a death without an afterlife. How could something so rich and powerful just end? Pffft. A flame blown out. Doesn't seem possible that there's no smoke lingering in the air.

Hey, but I needed to tell you.

Those bells I heard when I was trying to sort through your stuff? It was nothing major or dramatic, just the small unbroken ringing of an alarm clock miles away when I sat at your computer that hot afternoon in May, hoping that searching all your files would deliver unto me a written record of what the hell you intended me to DO with all those horses you left behind. Yeah, that bell. Is that the sound of fairies laughing? Crying? Or just a touch on the shoulder? I'm guessing you know.

But I needed to tell you that the fairies, or the bell, or the memory of a bell and a chunky red glass of iced coffee, they're all fluttering in the wisps of my hair that won't stay back, won't stay tamed, and keep getting tangled in the hinge of my eyeglasses and tickling the edge of my upper lip.

Call me when you get a minute. I need to tell you something.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

For Kate

Ms. Rothwell asked for a review of Water for Elephants, a novel set in a Depression era American traveling circus.

Why yes, I would love to write one, I said to myself. What an excellent topic for a blog post. Especially since I seem to spend most of my time whining and not enough of my time on here talking about books.

Oh darn it. I hate it when I'm too damned clever for my own good.

I already wrote one.

Recycling posts, the last excuse of a blogger who's run out of ideas.