Wednesday, November 24, 2004

accidents will happen

I had a fender bender on the way to work Tuesday. It had been raining, the roads were wet and messy. I was on I30 in the mixmaster downtown slowing down quite a bit because traffic ahead was slow and the guy behind me rear-ended my car with his pickup truck. I was pretty shaken and had a stiff and sore neck for a few hours but I think I’m ok. I was even hoping maybe a miracle occurred, that the collision maybe popped my bulging disc back into place (like Locke on the tv show "Lost"). I don’t know if it did or I psyched myself into it but I did seem to have less pain today in my lower back. The bike rack is bent but it may have saved the rear end of my car. I don’t know if there’s damage to the frame underneath the car. The truck hit the rack, bent the support bar and shoved the rack into the plastic rear bumper and broke a hole in it about four inches square and the rack also broke out the left tail light. I’m supposed to take the car to Mesquite on Friday to have it looked at. It was the truck driver’s fault & the guy had insurance so maybe it won’t cost me anything. I had forgotten it would be a headache dealing with the insurance. (see "")

Thursday, November 11, 2004

hunting & gathering

I’ve just come in from my latest front-yard foraging. It must be a genetic harkening back to the aboriginal food-getting techniques that’s hard-wired into humans. But it takes something to uncover it. Crisscrossing the lawn, spotting each nut, stooping and collecting it into my plastic bag is somehow so very comforting. “Squirreling” them away for the winter. I recognize the technique in others’ motions. The Hispanic construction guy yesterday who, when I asked if he was looking for pecans, answered “nah” but when I pointed him in the direction of a sidewalk windfall, he went. Our scrawny tree has yielded at least 30 pounds of raw pecans this year. I wonder about the dozens of people, probably hundreds in this neighborhood that just let them waste away on the sidewalk and street and let the yard-maintenance crews chop the crop to pieces with their lawn mowers. One nearby house has a dozen pecan trees by my mom’s reckoning. Multiplied by 30 is 360 pounds and at $3.75 a pound at albertson’s foodstore that’s a cash crop of over $1300. Well, at least we have not wasted nature’s bounty and left plenty for the squirrels, too (the ones who do the “real” squirreling).

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


got about 4 to 4 1/2 pretty good hours at work today. was it the walk this a.m.? or the combo of aspirin and ibuprofen? I am willing to do the pain of the walk; it's not so bad and if less pain is the dividend it's really no pain.

i saw new things on my walk - things that were there before but i didn't notice. maybe tao is a new way to look at things.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

p in the b

finally a few hours of only minor pain while sitting at work. Can pain make you more creative? I'm thinking of Frida Kahlo and the bus accident that forced her to wear a body cast for months on end and not just after the accident, but periodically throughout her life. Now I know why she suffered operations trying to get relief. emotional pain brings out creativity and they even have genres like emo-punk which is just a never-ending whine draped against fast guitars. Maybe creating helps to block out the pain.

Monday, November 08, 2004

die dream

The back pain just won't go away. I resist using the dozen or so Darvocets I have stashed but am frequently tempted. I have to ask myself "isn't this something aspirin or ibuprofin can take alleviate?" and usually that's what I take. But it's getting hard to be productive at work when the pain won't go away. Just bending, or sitting, or walking around without pain - something I always took for granted is now everpresent in my mind. Can zen or tao or anything help me deal with it? The worst part is seeing that some of the very simple dreams that take my mind off work involve movement and I can't accomplish them without pain. My ambition has always been somewhat lacking and terribly unfocused so now what? This mortality bit is depressing. I think it's that nagging feeling that here I am past the half century mark and my genius has never burst out, and that I in fact have no genius. How do you get THAT back?

Friday, November 05, 2004

karma kitty

What kind of karma results in a being coming back to earth as a kitten who at 5 months of age is hit by a car? Said cat, Pedro by name, was recently abandoned at an apartment with his brother when his caretakers moved away. After the accident he was rescued and brought to the vet who required the kitty to be neutered before placing his broken leg in a cast. Ouch! Talk about adding injury to injury. Toe to hip now encased in plaster, Pedro drags his useless limb about his new-found home. The two cats into whose home he has been inserted hiss and spit at him. His caretakers note his treks through the apartment by following the single unbroken track in the carpet pile. What will happen? Will his rescuers keep him? Will he and his brother find a home at Operation Kindness? or will they be LOST

Thursday, October 28, 2004


no, not the song by michelle shocked. I noticed some store is advertising a "fog machine" for halloween. I wonder if it's the same kind of fog the chief saw at the asylum in "one flew over the cuckoo's nest"? He talked about how the orderlies would start cranking up the fog when the inmates got frisky. As the fog crept through the ductwork in the building delicate tendrils would reach out into the room, growing larger and larger until there was no place for anyone to move and they were frozen into place. Then the orderlies could come in and pick up the stiffs and put them back into their cages. At least that's how I remember the story. That stuff would be handy at work when the customers get too lively for us. But it might not work this week. This heavy humidity is already too thick to move through. Creepy clammy fingers that won't leave you alone. Your clothes feel wet. The car seats feel wet. You have to take a shower to dry off.

I noticed you have to buy the fog juice separately.......

Friday, October 22, 2004

shop class

I didn’t want to wake up in the whitepine lumber aisle at Home Deppo still wearing pajamas but I had such a small window of opportunity that I had to move when I could. I thought a cup of strong chai tea was all I had time for before that thunderstorm was gonna hit. I didn’t want to be loading lumber into the back of my wagon during a downpour. That can get a mite uncomfortable especially if you’re dodging lightning bolts at the same time. You know you’re driving into it when you can barely see the approaching vehicles on the opposite side of the freeway even though they have all got their headlamps on but it's night at ten a.m.

After I barely woke there was the incident with the Spanish-speaking checkout thing in the self service line. I laid my stuff out before checking which language it was set on and when espanol came out the speakers I thought “I can do this” and I did until the very end when I hit “debit” instead of “credit” because I couldn’t tell which was which and the thing kept yelling obscenities at me until an employee came over & got me out of the loop. Now my boards are home, safe & dry and ready to be made into toothpicks.

Thursday, October 21, 2004


I got a letter from God. Which is odd because I haven’t believed for a long time. I’ve never been a full-fledged atheist, just a non-believer. But there it was in the blur of time that occurs after most of the worker bees have rushed out of the the building and away to sit in traffic on the freeway and only I am left there working – in black and white, in the women’s restroom - a letter from God. To me. I knew it was to me because it was entirely relevant to my personal situation. It must be from watching “Joan of Arcadia” and its idea of God as “everyman” (or anybody). On the other hand, this letter was nothing like those characters on television.

I got a letter from Buddha.

Monday, October 18, 2004


The Cowboys lost yesterday and I made it home safely. I am grateful. During football season I have to plan my drive to work to avoid as many of the most rabid fans that I possibly can. Texas Stadium lies where 114 and 183 split from one another and then cross Loop 12 and these freeways are how you gain access to the stadium’s parking. The game started at 3 pm and the weather was warm and smoggy, so I figured the tailgaters would be there in full force by noon. It’s a scene you don’t want to be involved in if you are “through” traffic. Scalpers lined up on the shoulder of the freeway for a mile and traffic tangled for at least a mile more as the people in the right two lanes haggle for the overpriced tickets. It’s illegal to re-sell tickets within, I don’t know, a hundred feet or so of the stadium, but apparently not illegal to bring 60-mile-an-hour traffic to a standstill.

I was lucky. I passed the stadium about 11:15 am and saw only one scalper. I could tell I got through just in time. Another 15 minutes and it would’ve taken me 20 minutes to make a 30-second drive by.

At least it’s a stream of cars going in to park. After the game the it’s a flood, always some accidents, probably caused by drunks. Especially at night people see the left-turn lanes as their way to a quick drive through at the stoplights. Eeek. I met a passel of them on a bridge on my way home. Narrowly avoided a head-on at 20 mpg. I had to quote Red Forman: “dumbasses.” After 8 hours confined in that dome who wouldn’t want to hurry up and get home? I passed the dome at 11:15, drove more miles to work, did my 8-hour shift and a spot of overtime and drove back only to find at 8:30 pm there was still a backlog of vehicles trying to get onto the freeway. They had been sitting longer than I had and had had to pay for the privilege. And unbeknownst to me, the ‘Boys had lost, so mostly they were not happy campers.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

lies all lies

Originally uploaded by Fifi LePew.
I hate it when the makeup artists don't do those last-minute touchups on the Neiman Marcus models right before a fashion photo shoot. "oh, well," they say, "not to worry, they can airbrush that out." Too true, you cheapos, and fortunately for your lazy ass we "airbrushers" are extremely good at what we do and take a lot of pride in doing it even though all but the most famous of our clan get paid a pittance for our expertise.

It's all lies, people. Those models in the clothing catalogs don't look like that. The clothing doesn't fit like that. It's partly saftey-pinned and scotch-taped into place and mostly manipulated by Photoshop to get that perfect fit. Don't expect it to be wrinkle-free or to hang on you just so.

The ample flu vaccine supply is also a lie. Or maybe this should be titled "just how dumb is our government?"

Seriously, if I had a dime for every tattoo, zit, wrinkle, eye bag, extruding collarbone, bony knuckle, bunion, popped-out vein, and excess body hair that I've removed I could probably retire comfortably tomorrow. Throw in a dollar for every anorexic woman that required removal of another 5 or 10 pounds and I could retire in style.

Monday, October 04, 2004

No sir, you don't fight that kind of terror with a head of lettuce!

It's a little disconcerting to come to work after 2 days off and find a long-time co-worker has been fired, or in this case "asked to resign." The name plaque on the cubicle now blank. And the essence of his persona as well. The Monty Python slogans. The blue pilates ball he sat on. The disarrayed books spread about the work area. The pictures of a daughter and her crayon art on the walls. The photo of him posing proudly with some semi-well known female entertainer. The music cd's jammed wall-to-wall inside the overhead cabinet. All gone. It would take longer to make him disappear if he had died.

It also pointed out to me how unobservant people are. There are two of us who end our weekend on Saturday night and begin our work week on Sunday. Employee One had been at the office since 8 a.m. and hadn't noticed anything. I clocked in around noon and immediately wondered at the absence of the big blue ball as I passed his cubicle on the way to mine. "Employee One!" I shouted. "Where's D's ball?" Then the black unlettered name plate stared at me. And then the rest.

We two are sad. Maybe some others at work are, too. D was a good guy til his bitter divorce about 2 years ago. Since then he's been self-destructing. Drinking too much. Late for work. Really late for work. Searching for young blond women in the internet personals on company time. Volatile on occasion. He was given a number of warnings and had made two "formal" commitments in writing promising to do better. I guess his chances ran out. I would like to be supportive but he hasn't been my friend for a long time. I don't know how it happened. Maybe he associated my behavior with his ex-wife's.

I wonder about the legality and/or morality about asking someone to resign as opposed to firing them. It's happened before. It almost happened to me.

Thursday, September 30, 2004


uploaded by Fifi LePew.
I think "Abe" says it all. The prophets are speaking loud and clear. I am a sekko. (apologies to the artists involved) Sekko also speaks to me from the throng populating the Stemmons/Woodall Rogers railroad trestle. I know I need help, guys.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

i will go crazy

I hate having my mother live with me. What little life I have is made worse by her. It's been five years and things are no better than they were in the beginning. I'm going to lose my mind. She buys food for me that I do not want and then gets mad when it rots in the fridge. We bought a new and very expensive front-loading washing machine that requires high-efficiency low-sudsing detergent but we still had a big bottle of regular detergent from our old top loading machine. We agreed (reluctantly on my part) to use it up and then switch to the correct detergent, probably Tide HE or something by Kenmore. She even had "coupons off" for HE detergent. We almost finished our old stuff over the weekend so Monday she comes home from the store with a bottle of the SameKind of detergent we used for the old washer. She insisted that I had told her I must have the same brand and that brand didn't have HE detergent. Of course she got all upset about it but today she did return it and got some HE detergent. But another battle ensued. We have unpacked most of our boxes we were going to move but the house and garage are still a mess. I drove to Home Depot the other day and picked up some lumber to make some shelves for the closets to increase storage space and keep things in better order. Well, you can't just pick up a board and buy it. You have to check it for warpage. So I picked through maybe 12 boards to find 2 that were pretty straight; not easy with a bad back. Today I had to take my brand new bike back to the bike shop because it wouldn't shift gears. I had to stand around for and hour and a half waiting for it (they told me it would be 15 minutes) so my back was hurting. I finally get home to find my mother has set up my sawhorses, laid my 2 straight boards across them and piled a bunch of heavy stuff on them to "help me" get the garage in order. The boards were sagging already. I told her I needed those sawhorses so I could saw something. Then I saw the sagging boards and I had to start getting stuff off them immediately. So she's pissed again. "I did it for YOU" she says. I told her I had not asked her to do it. "You're always bitching about the garage being a mess" she says. I have remarked on the mess and I'm not complaining about it because it gets better every day. "Every time you open your mouth you bitch!" she says. I want to say "you're the stupid bitch, leave my goddam stuff alone". Instead I tell her "thank you for your hard work." It does no good. I want her to go live somewhere else. Like with my brother in Indiana. Like I don't have enough personal problems. No wonder I don't want to relate to people. I've had so much inconsistency I can't deal with it.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

sour grapes

We picked the pomegranates. I counted at least fourteen over a week ago but the fruit has been disappearing, probably because we have an elementary school 3 houses down and past the cross street: school has started and there are young fruit traffikers passing every day. The eight-foot high shrub is only a few feet from the edge of the sidewalk, unprotected from the elements and from theives. I remember the tempting pomegranate tree across the alley from our house when we lived in South Oak Cliff in the '60s. It hung just out of our ten-year-old reach, guarded by a chainlink fence and a ferocious red chow called "friskie". We could not rest til we had gained at least one of the tempting orbs and then were sorely disappointed when we discovered how little there was inside to actually eat. The necessity of spitting out the majority of the fruit's leavings was initially exotic but quickly lost its appeal.

We don't think our fruit is ripe but to salvage at least some of the crop my mom decided to pluck all. Nine fruits ranging in size from just under two inches in diameter to over three and a half inches. I cut one open. It was juicy and the seeds were red and it was sour beyond all my taste buds' liking. Better to have left the fruit for the urchins as payback.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Thursday, September 02, 2004

quote of the day

The American dream once was a Horatio Alger vision of a land where anyone, through hard work and determination, could build a better life. But in reality TV’s brave new world, where we’re all precelebrities waiting to be microwaved by the media into fame and fortune, the American dream is to have a television crew pull up and build a better life for you. (from the Dallas Morning News 9-2-04)

Of course Horatio Alger’s stories weren’t based on reality. How many average joes in the late 1800s became Rockefellers or Carnegies? In an era where people were maimed and killed for trying to organize unions so we could get decent work hours, Alger’s flights of fancy were great propaganda for the robber barons who were stepping on peoples’ necks and trying to run the country. And of course that was back when Republicans really knew their name came from “the public” and were out trust-busting those barons’ asses. Now the Republicans ARE the robber barons and all we have to dream about is sitting on our butts with some dim vision of winning a lotto or making it to reality tv.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

what i say goes...

aaaaahhh. it's good to be the queen of my little domain. Now that summer crunch is over I can get back to subjugating all the machinery to MY particular specifications. No catering to the anal whims of my testosterone-laced cohorts. I can get back to what I like most about being the only person on second shift: peace and quiet. I come in, get my list of things to do and lay out my own schedule for the night. A little bit of this, a little bit of that over there, and presto! the work is done, the mess is cleared out, several dozen unused monitors are shut down for the night and the world can rest easier knowing I am on the job. Brave, reverent, true: doing a quality job for my customers (even though they be stinking capitalist pigs).

Sunday, August 29, 2004

alone at last

my butt is numb from spending most of my shift in front of my monitor, my herniated disc is eliciting periodic stabs of pain from my spinal column and the time clock is determinedly tachinking away the minutes of life. But I finally have a moment to find out if this antiquated browser at work can post to a blog.

Friday, August 27, 2004

dusk in dallas

I take Camus out for a walk at dusk. The temperature has just fallen below 90 degrees but it’s not a comfortable 88 or 89. The humidity is so thick I think it’s pelting me with pinprick drops of rain until I realize it’s a tree pissing on me. I didn’t know for the longest time that there’s something inhabiting the hardwoods, primarily oaks and pecan trees in this neighborhood, and what people take to be dew or some such is really miniscule excrement pelting you in the face when you look up. Nonetheless, we continue our way west down the sidewalk and there’s still a good deal of pink tinting the edges of the clouds. Though the real sunset has slipped away there’s enough light to make out colors and to watch for the upheavals of concrete that might trip me. Camus hasn’t been this way lately because I’ve been working late and long hours so he takes extra time to stop and check his pee-mail. That’s fine by me; I get to enjoy the evening concert that’s in progress. The cacophony of locusts is peaking for the day and we’re enveloped in the sound of buzz saws that just fail to drown the sound of traffic. They don’t really sound like buzz saws but it is a sawing kind of noise. Each cicada has staked out its own tree. The thicker the population of trees the more cicada voices join in the chorus. As you proceed down the sidewalk the buzzes overhead, behind, and on the other side of the street fade as the ones ahead increase in volume. It’s great. I think the buzzing is not as robust as in years past. It’s also set to a higher pitch. Maybe the locusts had a poor winter and aren’t as big as usual. Tonight I also encounter many fireflies. The first of these “light bugs” are concentrated in a yard at the bottom of a slope, where there are 3 or 4 full-canopied trees and hedges along two sides of the house. I’m very happy to see the tiny bright gold lanterns glowing on and off. Later during our walk I pass four or five more concentrations of them. I notice some of them are neon green rather than bright gold. Finally, as we near our starting point I see a bird flying above the canopy of trees, then another, and another, maybe a dozen in all. At first I think maybe they are bats, but then get a better look at their silhouettes and see they’re all flying in the same direction, toward a particular treed area and realize they more closely resemble purple martins, probably headed toward a communal roost in the neighborhood. There’s no color left in the sky but the highest clouds are still slightly backlit when we get home. Mold has begun growing on me. I take a shower to remove it and the stinking insect repellant I’ve used to shield me from West Nile.

me encanta

I'm supplementing my meager knowledge of espanol by watching tv commercials on some of our local Spanish stations. Might as well use corporate money to further my education. This one is the equivalent of "I'm lovin' it" used by McDonald's. My brain doesn't see it that way though. It comes across more like "I'm enchanted" or "I'm charmed". yeah, charming, a fried piece of dead cow terrorized in its last moments by some masked man amongst a thousand other frightened mooing bovines.

The other phrase I've learned is "agarra calle" which is volkswagen's slogan. I think it's something like "take the street", or "catch the street." Many many years ago when I visited Mexico there was a widely used slogan among young people "agarra la onda" which was literally to "catch the wave" and meant "get it on" or "get with it".

I found a great "headline" for Jay Leno in the newspaper. It's an obituary index and one of the names is J. Deadmon. Dead-Mon, Dead-Man, get it? oh, yeah... I hope they use it. Maybe I'll get a free t-shirt or something. I'm usually willing to accept free apparel. Or free food.

sound of a tree falling

In his book "Into Thin Air", the story of the disastrous spring of 1996 when 12 climbers died on Mount Everest, Jon Krakauer describes allegations made by some that his mere presence as a writer/reporter added to the disaster by increasing stress to the psyches of both climbers and guides. The guides, said the naysayers, who were hoping for favorable publicity from the article Krakauer would write, may have relaxed some of their stringent practices in an effort to successfully guide more clients to the summit of Everest. The clients, thinking they might be portrayed as fools or inepts, may have pushed themselves beyond reasonable limits to avoid such portrayal. There has also been much discussion about the role of journalists who are present during news-making events; if and how their presence affects the actions of others and thus the outcome of the situation. I mention these ideas because as a newbie to this blog stuff I'm surprised at the proliferation of would-be journalists and diarists, both serious and non, who are members of this blog community. I wonder, does the fact they are writing about their surroundings change the way they interact with their surroundings? And if people interacting with the bloggists know they will surely be written about, does that change the way they act? Does a tree falling in the woods make a sound if no one is there to hear it?

Thursday, August 26, 2004

dog ventures

The dogs found a toad last night. Midnight, when I get home from work, I let them into our small back yard so they can check out the night life. Phoebe frolics; Camus snuffles. The tree-high critters are mostly invisible, tucked into wherever it is they sleep so it's the ground-bound things that are mostly on the prowl and thus prone to be discovered by the snufflejowls of Camus. Usually it's a gecko or large insect, but last night amphibian was the main attraction. When Camus can't be coaxed back into an air conditioned house for a milkbone I'm certain he's found something much more interesting. His nose jabbed constantly, focused on one area, in this case three or four terra cotta pots filled with spearmint and such. He suddenly jumped back a foot as if his nose had been electrified but immediately leapt forward toward the same spot. At this point, Phoebe, waiting on the steps impatiently for her buddy to join her for midnite snax, became alerted to the same movements I had seen and she ran to join the party. Camus grabbed the unlucky creature in his mouth but lost his grip. Too bad for him but good luck for the critter. In the dim area it looked like it could be a small rat. It had gone behind the air conditioner compressor and Camus raced around the compressor from one side to the other, unable to catch the thing. Phoebe "helped" by crowding in for a closer view. My night vision not being so acute as theirs I was forced to fetch a flashlight from under the kitchen sink to see for myself what it was. A Big Toad! A rare site the last few years and the first I've seen this summer. Camus was forced to forego his lovely toad and came reluctantly inside for his milkbone, drooling more than usual, and still looking toward the back door as if he were getting a carrot instead of steak.

"phoebe & camus"

"phoebe & camus"