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Robust McManlyPants on Average Display » 2006 » June

June 2006


Because it lets me laugh at things like this.

My absolute favorite things about having a blog is the search strings that lead people to it.  Of recent note:

  • “kitten names,” over and over and over again
  • “penalty for hiding from a cop in leesburg va” – let me assure you, whoever you were, that you should get an attorney
  • “manly c/ocks,” Googleproofed because, really, I don’t need those people leaving comments
  • “morphed c/ocks,” see above (and what the hell, exactly, is that about anyway?)
  • “conspiracy theories proven true,” which really makes me want to ask what their angle is

Yes, it’s a slow week.

Speaking of conspiracy theories, I’m currently reading 2012 by Daniel Pinchbeck.  I read Breaking Open the Head last summer, and this summer his new book is either a brilliant work of spiritualism or he’s gone off the deep end.  I’m just not sure.  Either way, it’s fascinating, and I have like ten things I have to Google already out of the first 75 or so pages.

I also recently added the new Moon Knight to my bag at Chapel Hill Comics, which I highly recommend (both the book and the store, actually).  And I picked up Five Fists of Science while I was there, and loved it.  It’s basically the graphic novel love-child of Adventure! and Deadlands.

So, of course it is hilarious that Limbaugh would be caught with a bottle of Viagra that doesn’t have his name written down the side, especially given his history of scoffing at the claims of medical marijuana users.  Yes, yes, glaucoma and cancer sufferers are all just hippies with fake diseases.  Rush’s need to get it up on (more or less) demand is a legitimate illness and to mock it would be shameful.

Good thing I have no shame.

Here’s the thing, though, as pointed out by Alternet:  what’s Rush doing in the Dominican Republic, a nation noted for its sex trade, with a bottle of someone else’s Viagra?

Curiouser and curiouser, as the saying goes…

All together now:  tee hee hee!

Honestly, it does make me giggle.

The obvious jokes:

  • I thought we Democrats were supposed to be the mules.
  • His rehab program must have been faith-based.  Zing!
  • Drug smuggling, like so many things, is just a harmless frat-boy prank.

Believe it or not, I have posted some kitten pictures, taken and posted garden pictures from Saturday evening, and posted some other kitten pictures that I took at random yesterday.

So here’s this weekend’s heartstopper:  last night Didi fell out of the 2nd story window in my home office.

I have no idea what precipitated this, but all of a sudden there was neither a screen nor a kitten in that window.  I remember saying something stupid at the time, and then saying to The Boyf (who was standing in the room when it happened) that I was “on it,” whatever that means, and tearing off downstairs and outside to go find Didi.  The Boyf ran to turn off the AC, since it was right next to where Didi would have landed and so loud it might drown me out when trying to find him, and I got down there and started calling out for him.

He was right where he landed, walking around and meowing and generally freaked the hell out.  I rubbed him down very lightly and didn’t get any complaints, and he was walking on his own, so I went ahead and picked him up and though he was shaking (or was that me?) he was absolutely fine.

Now that window stays closed.  And in the meantime, Didi has loved all the attention.

The Boyf and I sat down on the back porch, eventually, to catch our breath and try to let the freakies wear off, and he said to me, “Well, I guess Didi’s probably down to about 8.7 lives, now.”

“If he’s down to 8.7,” I said, “I guess I’m at point seven.”

I wrapped up A Wild Sheep Chase on Saturday night, ensconsed amongst kittens. Loved it to the very end. I fell asleep about 25 pages from the finish, though, and had wild nightmares about the significance of what was happening in the storyline right at that time, then awoke to find my skull resounding with one of the more unusual pseudonyms used by a regular Unfogged commentor. I can’t even remember anything about them except their pseudonym, but in the dream their pseudonym itself held some terrible portent. Odd. That’s the kind of thing A Wild Sheep Chase can do to you.

Immediately started in on Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye, the first of the Marlowe novels proper that I’ve read (I’ve read a graphic novel adaptation of some of the stories, though). Here’s the thing: if I loved AWSC for its snappy dialogue, holy crap. I had no idea. Chandler makes every word count. Everyone in Marlowe’s Los Angeles is smart, everyone is direct, everyone has an angle, everyone has a snappy comeback. Yeah, the roots of every noir-detective-story comedic knock-off are there and proudly on display, but the writing simply crackles. You can hear the dialogue snapping in the breeze, and the story itself is highly entertaining.

Biggest surprise so far? That a book written in 1953 would have at least three four gay or bisexual characters in it, none of whom are condemned by the main character for being who they are. He doesn’t exactly stage a pride parade for them, but he doesn’t wax poetic about how squicky they are, either. And, as a bonus, they’re all allowed to be just as tough as anyone else in a book filled with tough types.

So, I went to the dentist for my six-month checkup on Monday. At the age of not-quite-32, I have never had a cavity, never had a tooth pulled, etc. I’m just one of those people. It is not through some rigorous regimen of care – I brush, I swish*, but I don’t floss and my toothbrush, while it does have the spinny bits like a fancy one, is in fact a $4 Crest knock-off of the Oral-B style of fancy toothbrush.

At any rate, I went to the dentist. I generally dislike going to the dentist, not because I fear them but because that metal scraper tool they use just annoys the crap out of me. So there I am, having assumed the position, and the lady says to me, “Have you ever tried The Cavinator?”

Just say that aloud: The Cavinator. It sounds like Terminator, only with Cav instead of Term.

Me: “What’s that?”

Her: “The Cavinator. It’s a thin, very high-pressure stream of warm water. It’s a lot faster than the scraper, but some people think it feels weird, and it kind of sprays you a little.”

Me: “I want to try this.”

Yes, gone are the days of wild-eyed, drug-addled college partying. Now I get my kicks by trying new dentistry tools on myself.

Bottom line: it was awesome. It was fast, it didn’t hurt, it didn’t make that awful noise, it did the job in no time at all and it misted the crap out of me which was rather refreshing after having walked to the dentist’s office from the garage where my car was being made inspection-worthy.

“I don’t know why more people don’t use this,” she said. “I love it.”

Yes, this is basically the most interesting thing that’s happened to me this week. But seriously, next time you’re at the dentist, ask about The Cavinator. In that it produced an absence of hating my mouth after the scraper, it was like unto a high all its own.

* Do I ever! Zing!

I’m currently rereading A Wild Sheep Chase, a book first introduced to me by KJ (aka the Hungry Photographer).  I read it about ten years ago, and loved it at the time.

In the intervening decade, I have forgotten almost everything about this novel, so it’s like getting to read it for the first time, twice.

I really, really like this book.  Mediocre advertising and publicity hack gets a new girlfriend with magical ears and goes on exactly what the title avers:  a wild sheep chase.  It’s a bizarre and sleepy little accidental-metaphysical-adventure story with snappy dialogue, but it’s also not afraid to remind us that our lives are pretty much altogether unremarkable.  When the remarkable intrudes, yes, the mediocre hero dives in with both feet, but only after working out a deal to protect some aspects of his own unremarkable life.  Rather than be carried away by it all, he resists, and he remains pretty mediocre throughout.

By mediocre, I should note, I do not mean the quality or entertainment value of the book.  The hero has it explained to him, very carefully and purposefully, that he is mediocre in all ways:  mediocre job, mediocre looks, mediocre apartment, mediocre cat.  His weird-ass adventure, the titular chase, takes him on rides through unremarkable countryside and to a really dusty and boring little town.  As fantastical as it all is, it’s also utterly devoid of razzle-dazzle, special effects or a sense that any moment the entire cast and setting could be lifted into orbit by its own satisfaction with itself.

And yet, he still has all these remarkable things that happen to him, and remarkable things he does.  He is in no way mediocre, but in all ways mediocre.

I really like it.  My own life has had its share of small adventures – KJ and me, standing outside in St. Petersburg (the one in Russia) smoking Nat Shermans late at night, or the time Mr. Saturday and Becca and Johnathan and I drove to Louisiana on a lark, or the time Deadblob and I tried to infiltrate a certain stone edifice, or the time The Boyf and I wandered across a meth lab when we were out house-hunting.  Yes, they were adventures in that they were outside my day-to-day frame of reference, they expanded my experience, they stuck firmly in my memory (I still remember the taste of the unlit clove cigarette clenched between my teeth as Deadblob and I ran through the woods, away from said edifice, when the caretaker returned home), but throughout them all I remained a fairly mediocre person experiencing remarkable things.  The thing is, I’m OK with that.  To say that the average of our lives is, well, average, doesn’t take away from those experiences.  Rather, I think it enhances them by way of creating contrast.

Actually, if I’m really honest, I think I’ve had a pretty singular life in a lot of ways.  I haven’t been to many foreign countries, I haven’t done a lot of things other people have, but a lot of the things I’ve done have likewise not been done by many, and it’s those things that shape us and mold us, not what we have for breakfast every morning.  Still, I really enjoy the novel, and I like the chance to change my perspective for a while.  Murakami goes to great lengths to describe what seems like an utterly average landscape in an utterly unmemorable decade (the 1970’s) with stark descriptions that still manage to paint complete pictures.  He has that gift for giving the reader just enough details that their brain fills in all the rest.  And, truly, that’s some sweet dialogue.  And I’m a sucker for first-person narration.

At any rate, I’ll be done with it this weekend.  The Boyf is out of town for four days visiting relatives, and despite cable and kittens and World of Warcraft and what’s shaping up to be a pretty lively Saturday, I feel utterly at a loss for what to do with myself in his absence.  So I’ll probably read (and pet kittens, and play WoW).

So is anyone surprised that Rove walked?

Honestly?

I’ll be the first to say that I both just knew he would go to the pokey and just knew that he would walk, free as a bird, smirking that little half-smile he’s got the whole way out the courtroom door.  I mean, I really did just know he was going down, but in the way I used to just know I was going to be governor one day; that is to say, I also just knew that these were pipe dreams, fancies ready to take flight at the first rustling of reality amongst the tall grass.

He’s smart.  I hate him and everything he stands for and would like to stab and then filet alive every word that comes out of his mouth – yes, I am made murderous towards abstracts, such is my hate – but he’s smart.  He knew exactly what to say in such a way that nothing would stick.

I wonder if this is how the FBI felt about Gotti, or how the Republicans felt about Clinton’s approval ratings?

Somehow it’s made a little better to think that the Republicans look at Rove and think to themselves, Well, he’s too fugly to run for President, but at least we finally got a slick-ass greaseball of our own to love.  Ah yes.  It actually does make it a little better, knowing that the closest thing they can muster to Clinton is an unelectable pork-rind like Rove.

Ah well.  Life goes on, as sad and dreary as it might be in the absence of a Karl Rove Perp Walk Memorial YouTubing.

I’ve updated Zombie Stories: The Vampire again, because I decided I didn’t like the original ending.  If you’ve already read it, the changed ending begins at the top of page 41.  Meh.  I still should just leave it to percolate rather than try to edit so soon, but I realized over the weekend that Withrow was somehow lacking – or at least, this version of Withrow.  When I played him he was generally a kinder person to people than he was to his own kind.  It was harder to make that distinction in a short story, though, so Not-Nice Withrow had to be expressed somehow.

This is something I commonly say to my cats when they’re chasing, say, a moth. Bruce, on the other hand, was a genuinely fierce cat.  There are those who might even call him a bully.  He hated other animals, and would frequently have stare-downs with the neighbors’ dogs through the chain-link fence around our back yard.

He would win those stare-downs, too.

Thus it was with no small amount of amusement that I read this on MSNBC.com:

Jack is a ten-year-old orange-and-white tabby in West Milford, New Jersey. And when the cat spotted the bear in a neighbor’s yard earlier this week, the clawless kitty let the bear know who’s boss.

The bear scurried up a tree and eyed the cat for ten to 15 minutes, while Jack stared and hissed from the ground. The bruin inched its way down before jumping off and running away.

That’s just beautiful.

Here’s the downside: a clawless cat, outdoors? Bad idea, normally. Maybe, from the sound of things, though, this cat doesn’t need them.

Can I just say how happy I am that Gardasil got approved? I’ve known women affected by everything it helps protect against, and it is a damn fine thing that women can now seek some sort of medical defense against at least some strains of HPV. The thing that blows my mind about it, though, is the wingnut reaction to it. Everywhere (and by everywhere I mean blogs and a letters column on MSNBC.com) I’ve read opposition to it, that opposition has been on the grounds that it promotes promiscuity.

CLUE BULLETIN: Not every young woman who has sex, has sex willingly. Setting aside entirely my utter belief that it’s fundamentally wrong for a Bible-thumper to try to stand between a woman and her doctor, the simple fact is that the ideological dead-end of the belief that Gardasil somehow encourages sex is a belief that HPV and genital warts are a punishment for sex. If that’s the case, then women who are victims of nonconsensual sex – rape, molestation, name your preferred specific variety, it’ll work just fine for this example – somehow deserve to be punished. That? That’s just wicked crazy bullshit. There is no other way to say it. It seems to me, in fact, like the Culture of Life crowd would be clamoring for this as a way to make sure their young women could be sure to make babies later in life even if they’re sexually assaulted. Right? I mean, am I crazy for thinking that?

At any rate, it’s been approved, and it’s about fucking time the FDA got something right in re: women’s health. That Plan B isn’t available OTC yet is a fucking crime, and yet another expression of the wingnut belief that a woman who is a sexual being – even as the object of someone else’s violent power-fantasy – deserves to be punished. This is exactly the sort of thinking that should be expunged by the clear rationale of science, and today, for once, it happened.

I have a Rufus Wainwright song stuck in my head.

The only problem with this, in all honesty, is that my usual way of getting a song out of my head is to replace it with… wait for it… a Rufus Wainwright song*.

* It’s worth noting that the lyrics for both these songs are incorrect as cited, but I can’t find anywhere they’re right, either.

The first one, anyway.  I just finished the first draft about ten minutes ago.  I’m going to let it sit for a while and revisit it.  In the meantime, it may be awful for all I know.  It’s always hard for me to tell when it’s just been written.

Next one I’ll be working on is The College Town.

So, I’m looking to find a really, really nice bottle of single-malt to give someone as a gift later this summer (namely, Kath’s dad, as a way to thank him for all these years of the Lake House).

However, I know nothing about scotch. If you’re a scotch drinker and you can simply lay down the law for me on quality, please, I beg of you, help a man out. For the purposes of my seeking advice, feel free to toss practical considerations like how much it costs, or where I’d even get it, anyway, right out the window. That’s to worry about later. For now, I just wonder what on earth to get a dedicated scotch-lover.

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