Wednesday, September 29th, 2004

Greetings to NT Technology of Everett, Washington.

Are you hiring?

(Lord, but some weird shit ends up in my server logs.) (more…)

I had Tuesday off, so I went over to Chapel Hill to eat lunch and hang
out at Cup a Joe’s, where I could work on outlining for this year’s
NaNoWriMo.  While there, I had my requisite weekly Chapel Hill

I love Chapel Hill.

Anyway, there I am, at Cup a Joe’s.  It’s next to a tiny art-house theatre (the Chelsea).  
I walk in the front door, set down my stuff at a table, and head for
the back to use the restroom.  On my way through the cavernous
region at the back of the place, I have to walk by a woman standing in
the back as though waiting for her own visit to the ladies’.  Her
back is to me as I approach, and as I get closer she turns as though
she expects me to be someone else.

“Sorry for passing gas,” she says.

Now, my reaction is basically hey, it happens.  But in my
ever-present, on-the-spot eloquence, I shrug one shoulder, hold out my
hands and say, “Pbthfluffle.”  I realize abruptly that yes, what I
have said in response is in fact a farting noise made with my
mouth.  Lovely.  But I plow ahead, pass her by and go to the

Once I come back out, go through line to get my drink and take my seat,
she’s buying bulk coffee.  She gets her bag of beans, pays for
them and heads out the door.  I see her pass by, first one way,
then the other, a couple of times.  It’s a shopping center, she’s
taking care of shopping, something, whatever – no biggie. 
At this point I still just find it amusing that she felt she needed to
apologize and that my response was so dumb.

After a little bit, I get up to go outside for a fresh air break. 
As I’m standing out front, I notice that the folks at the Chelsea have
come in early – they’d gotten a new movie and they’re unpacking the
reels UPS has delivered.  The Gas Lady walks by, headed towards
the Chelsea and beyond, as Chelsea employees are behind the counter in
their lobby doing various just-unlocked-the-movie-lobby things. 

Gas lady stops, opens the door to the Chelsea lobby, and calls out to the employees:  “SORRY FOR PASSING GAS!” she cries, then she shuts the door to their lobby and goes on her way.

My immediate thought is, “Huh?”

The ladies behind the counter at the Chelsea have frozen behind the counter and stare at her as she leaves.

Ooooookay.  Gas Lady has issues.  Amusing issues, which are
the best kind.  I still consider it a pretty mild case of the
freakies, though – it beats being asked to pin medals onto someone’s
t-shirt in the bathroom of Breadman’s, and it beats a cashier at a drug
store telling me she wishes she had an AK-47, and it beats the lady at
Lowe’s who pointedly asked if I practiced Blackk Magick (you could hear
the Pratchettian extra K’s in her voice).  So, again, whatever.  She’s crazy, but funny crazy.

A couple of hours and much outlining later, I’m sitting in Cup a Joe’s still, and I see Gas Lady.

She walks back into the store.

She walks towards the counter, out of my line of sight, to where there’s a big glom of people waiting for coffee.

Sorry for passing gas,” I hear from around that way, and then
as quick as I’ve heard it she reappears at a steady clip, glides back
out of the coffeeshop, and off she goes, never to be seen again.

I told The Boyf and Mr. Saturday about this and The Boyf said,
“Uh…maybe she just really needed to feel she was being forgiven for
something.”  This is an insightful and clever explanation that
never would have occurred to me.  Also, I have no idea if it’s
true.  For all I knew I’d just met my first fart fetishist.

So strange.  So very, very strange.  Wherever you are, Gas Lady, it’s okay.  It happens. (more…)

Need some help choosing a party?  Why not look to the villains of your youth?  There’s also a page suggesting how your heroes might vote.  Follow links at the bottom of the pages for some other fluffy election humor.

Fave quotes:

Skeletor’s wrath knows the demands of a highly diverse work environment and community.


Do you know any other superhero
who personally fights eco-terrorists because they oppose his
unenvironmental businesses? Batman is basically Henry Kissinger.


Go see it.  Seriously.

It ruled.  That’s all the review I can possibly provide:  it ruled me.  I still giggle when I think about it.  It’s the zombie movie I wish I were smart enough to make. (more…)

Ah yes – that time is upon us.

It is time to begin preparing for National Novel Writing Month

This year I think I’ve roped The Boyf into it, and Mr. SaturdayMr. Pink Eyes
says he’s in, I think, and I support all of them and more in doing
so.  NaNoWriMo is extremely stressful fun.  I loved it last
year.  Yesterday I started outlining in earnest, hammering out
weird plot-points in conversation with Mr. Saturday.  I may post
some of what I write here, as I work on it during the month of
November.  We’ll see.  But regardless, that time is on
us.  Today, I get back into the fora.  Yum! (more…)

My grandmother passed away after long years of Parkinson’s on Friday
morning.  While the occurance was of course saddening, to be
honest I think some of us, her family, saw it as a relief.  If she
was gone, at least she wasn’t suffering anymore from the debilitating
disease that had spent 15 years weakening her body while leaving her
mind intact.  It was terrifying to watch her descent as a
teenager, and saddening to watch it drag on and on throughout my

What I remember about my grandmother is how fun she was.  As a
child, I frequently went to spend the day with her, a half-mile from my
parents’ house.  I remember her reading me stories, giving me
books of my own, making sweet tea and sitting on the porch working on
her tatting (an arcane sort of threadwork – think of it as cross-stitch
without the fabric backing) while I played in the yard.  My
grandmother was the first person to teach me how to blow bubbles. 
She did this thing once where she made a huge bubble-wand out of an old
wire hanger and a bucket of dishwater and she stood on her porch waving
her arms back and forth to get huge bubbles and then laughed as I
chased them around the yard.  This is one of my clearest memories
of my grandmother.  Mainly, though, she gave me the gift of quiet
togetherness.  I can’t remember all the times we would just sit
together on her porch or in her living room while I played and she read
or tatted.  Later, as a teenager, she would sit with me in my
parents’ den, reading while I worked on crossword puzzles.  By
then she had started to get sick, but I was too self-absorbed to really
realize that.  A decade later, sitting in my room at the Hall with
Kat or Pants Wilder, all of us with a book in our hands, I’d think of
those times.  This is still one of my favorite experiences to have
with someone:  just sitting and reading or writing or working,
being together.

I sincerely wish I’d been able to know my grandmother as a young
woman.  In her 20’s she and my grandfather travelled, lived up
north for a while, took roadtrips.  My grandmother refused to
drive (during her 20’s she drove through a heavy snowstorm and swore if
she survived she’d never drive again – turned out she meant it) but
loved to go places.  There’s a picture of her with my grandfather
when they were young, sitting on an overlook of some highway (the Blue
Ridge Parkway maybe, but I honestly don’t know), grinning and
relaxed.  My grandmother has an almost wicked look, a sparkle in
her eye of youth and determination.  My grandmother was fiercely
intelligent.  She and my grandfather voted for Adlai Stevenson twice
They sat in front of the evening news making fun of Mamie Eisenhower,
whom they said to be “crude.”  My grandmother sat each of her
children down, and later each of her grandchildren, at one point or
another, and explained very carefully that some people were racist and
that this showed them to be ignorant good-for-nothings and that if we
grew up to hate others for the color of our skin we would, in no
uncertain terms, be thought less of by her.  (I remember well the
day she gave me this talk.  She beat my parents to it.)  She
abhorred segregation.  She supported the integration of
schools.  She despised narrow-mindedness and ignorance. 
Decades later, when my eldest cousin came out of the closet, she was
the one person in our family who invited him to live with her.

My grandmother wore pants in the 1930’s.

My grandmother wrote poetry for years.  She filled books with
it.  Then she decided it was all crap and she destroyed most of it
(gee, I wonder if we’re related?).  My mother has, I think, one or
two poems my grandmother wrote.  I still haven’t seen it/them.

During WWII, when my grandfather lived across town so he would be close
enough to work to get there and back reliably on gas rations, my
grandmother encouraged rumors that they had divorced simply to laugh at
them when they acted shocked.

My grandmother didn’t have time for bullshit.

So I’m writing all this not to petition you for pity, because my only
emotional reaction to her physical death was relief that she wasn’t
locked in pain any longer.  I said my goodbyes years ago, and
mainly feel sorry for my mother, for whom this wasn’t going to be easy
no matter when it happened.  Instead, I write this because someone
in our tiny town, where a woman who wore pants in the ’30s, wrote
poetry, voted for the most liberal politicians she could find, hated
racists and played with bubbles will likely be remembered only as a
mother and a grandmother, a woman who cooked and sewed and didn’t work
outside the home.  All of that is true, but so much more than that
is also true, and someone has to remember it.  My grandmother
shaped her family in ways that directly benefited us, often in ways of
which we were completely unaware until suddenly it mattered – like
teaching us to be open-minded, that everyone is a human being and
worthy of respect, including ourselves, even when we’re different.

I’m not sad for my grandmother, or sad that she’s gone.  Rather, I
am intensely glad to have known her.  When I drove up to Asheville
to go to the funeral on Monday morning, I mainly thought selfishly of
how stupid I was to drive 250 miles in a hurricane.  When I drove
back down to Durham that night, the storms had gotten much worse but I
didn’t truly mind. 

It was worth some wind and rain to remember all of that. (more…)