The Icing on the Cake

What I like about the weather here is that people take it seriously. If it snows even a millimeter classes get canceled, parties are postponed, and cars stay parked. Unlike in the northern states where you are fully expected to attend class or work as long as there is a semblance of a trail of tire marks in the snow. Being a Michigander, I speak from experience.

So the Winter Rapture Hail-Fire Storm of 2010 did come yesterday morning: rain, then ice, then snow, then sleet, then rain, then snow, then the most precious pebbly hail you’ve ever seen:

(the above video was taken with my new flip – and I used the ridiculous flip magic movie maker software to create a short movie out of random clips – those flower pots USED to have forget-me-nots in them)

My office was closed for the day and the bachelorette party I was looking forward to was cancelled. But that was the least of the damage around town. My friend Amy (the bachelorette) texted me: “According to the News Channel 5 weather ticker the following things are cancelled tomorrow: Debutante Workshop, Handicap Hoedown Fundraiser, Act Workshop Moolah Shrine, & The Public Health Clinics of WalMart.”

What do Debutantes do on their nights off? I know I filed my nails, read some papers, and watched “44 Inch Chest” with my drunken boyfriend.


Learning a New Craft

I had my first enameling class last night. It was boss. The class was very small but not too small to not have a crazy middle-aged woman wearing a dog-haired covered sweatshirt and taped-together dollar store reading glasses. She answered her cell phone in class within five minutes, hung up and said, “That was my son – he is a glass maker – he would know how to do this stuff.” She got back on the phone with him later – but I suspect she was checking in with whatever nurse let her out of the funny farm for the night. She also asked the instructor all kinds of made-up technical questions like, “Is that gauge the C90P One Thousand?” and whenever the other students and I made a mildly witty comment she said, “That is FUNNY.”

Eventually she shut up when the blow torches came out and I was able to get down to business. The first lesson was all about making enamel samples and learning the basics. It is very fun to watch powder turn to molten glass. And this is how you do it (minus pics of the blow torch because at that point I had my hands full):

First you get your stuff:


Then you put some enamel powder on some metal:


Maybe scrape it up to funk it up:


Then cook it with a torch:


Wait a bit to let the color come out, scrub it up, and torch a clear coat over it and wah-lah!


I call this the Wesley Snipes sample because it reminds me of the movie “Rising Sun” that he was in.

All of the rest of my samples reminded me of the 70s. There is something about copper that says seventies, no?


The Wrong Number Dealio

I still have my ol SoCal area code cell phone number so from time to time I will get some Toked-Out H-wood Mover and Shaker leaving a voice mail for someone named Steve:

Rose, I don’t know who you are but you keep bad company and have a very regressive sense of humor.


You’re Free To Go

Tomorrow is Wednesday and the week is already getting away from me. Quick update:

  • I heard everything: Ten bullets shot through a window down the street.
  • I survived my first day of class in the the Fed Penn – one lesson learned: lots of sayings in everyday convo sound hilarious in front of a room full of inmates, like when I told them after they were done with the ten minute writing exercise they were “free to go.”
  • I’m going to be an aunt. Finally. I always refused to buy liquor for my younger siblings but I have no qualms about buying for a niece or nephew.
  • I’m pushing the limit on how many times I can refill my smushy front drivers side car tire with air. The gas station down the street has an air machine that takes debit cards. (I’m almost afraid to write that in case one of my enemies reads this and wants to sabotage me by shoving gum in the debit card reader.)
  • Media note: I’m insane for INSANITY & The Millionaire Matchmaker.
  • Note to self: Need to find a Winter Olympics countdown widget.
  • At work, some of the ladies love to talk about how they have been “good” because they have been drinking water. They do not think it is that “good” when I talk about how I have been breathing air.



Last night I had a deep-fried cheeseburger at Dyers and spent twenty-seven cents on this postcard:


A Club To Join

When the economy is bad and unemployment is high people cry “we need more jobs!” and as someone who recently scored a  job I can testify that we most certainly do not need more jobs and those of you looking should just stop and try to make and sell hemp necklaces or soap or maybe read the collected works of Andre Dubus or watch Errol Morris’ “First Person” series. What we need is more money distribution from the teensy part of the population that makes a kabillion dollars off cheap labor and we need more Robin Hood action. Screw jobs for jobs sake.

Today at work I was in the middle of a passive aggressive eight-person email storm that was so ridiculous and succulent that I almost am willing to break any sort of communication and confidentiality agreement in my contract to post it all right here. Almost willing and completely willing are two different things though so you will just have to wait until I send it all to McSweeneys or turn it into a one woman show when I am fired for trying to radicalize the staff or I eventually quit.

Stiff bizznazz speak mixed with grammar mistakes and the occasional ALL CAPS is like, my new favorite genre of poetry. It is hard to mimic unless you have never seen Office Space, The Office, or any of the Christopher Guest mockumentaries or just generally lack a sense of irony. Humorless people are to blame for the economy.

I’m starting a Robin Hood club.



Thunderstorming at night here is the trend. Last night I couldn’t sleep because I kept thinking about my work event I had scheduled for today and how all the senior citizens driving from rural Arkansas were going to have to brave the terrible weather in their ill-equipped cars. Oh their poor brittle bones rattling over bench seats in hydroplaning Delta 88s!

So I did what any person having trouble sleeping at 4am, I re-upped on some Nyquil (the original Blue – I am not sick BTW). Sure it turned my eyelids into sandbags and by the time my alarm went off my name, date, and current president were erased from my memory, but I got some relief from my storm worries and was eventually able to make it to Clarksdale to eat a fried-green-tomato-bacon-and-cheese sandwich next alongside a crew of bused-in-wanna-be-bluesers from a music camp outta Columbia College in Chicago. I think the sandwich would make quite a pairing with the Nyquil. I’ll serve it at my road-side snack shop someday – maybe call it the hyp-and-henn of lunch choices because of the blue and green combo. Whatever I call it I will be sure to invite those camp graduates and see where their blues have taken them.


Mississippi Interpretive Thrift

Usually I would have posted any items of this rad-i-tude on my other blog.  But the comparative nature lends itself to the exploratory themes of KayeKillA of course. I couldn’t believe I found these pairs in separate sections of the store. They obviously should be sold as sets. Just look at the earnest craftsmanship:

P1230090 P1230095

Above: Version on the left is regular old paint. Version on the right is cross stitch.

Below: Version on left is photograph. Version on right is regular old paint.

P1230104 P1230105

The hands of Mississippians touch us all.




You Are Nowhere Without a Sole

For the first part of the week, including Sunday, I dreamt about shoes.  Not in the Carrie Bradshaw sense of shoes, but like losing regular shoes. Like searching inside giant bags of shoes looking for a lost gold sandal.  Like the shoeshine service at the hotel in my dream turning violent. That kind of shoe thing.

I figured I must be concerned about my mobility and possibly that the visual manifestation (shoes) in my subconscious was inspired by my decision to take a teaching gig at the nearby (well, relatively nearby) Federal Penitentiary.

“Take off your shoes.”

“What’s that?”

“Your shoes have to go through the metal detector as well.”

It’s just like an airport, I thought. Except of course, nobody is going anywhere. I had been there waiting to go through my Federal Correctional Contractor orientation for two minutes and they already wanted to see my socks.

“Do you have an underwire bra on? It’s setting off the machine. It’s very sensitive.”

People told me that I would feel it, the kind of unease specific to being around a lock-up, as soon as I pulled into the parking lot and saw the menacing look of the expansive compound and the razor wire and observation towers (hello Foucalt) but that didn’t do it for me. My curiosity is stronger than my fear of authority, but my imagination is stronger than my curiosity so I eventually succeeded in freaking myself out. But it took the whole of all the parts of that morning; the urine analysis, the fingerprinting, the security procedure (including what to do in the event of fights, riots, tornados, and tobacco use) overview, and so on to make me feel it. And  feel it, for me, was the sensation that I was going to be held there indefinitely on some underwire bra technicality. I really didn’t know how much I was affected until I was snoozing over shoe dreams later that night.

“It’s ok if the hairs on the back of your neck stand up when the doors close behind you, it’s not really normal to be in this situation, inside these walls.”

The above statement was said to me by:

a) Carpenter who just installed a 12X17 foot walk-in closet for my shoes

b) Federal Correctional Facility Orientation Director

c) Father Paul at St. Agnes Church

So the next couple months will be dedicated to unnormal, as opposed to unusual, situations. How much of these unnormal things I will have clearance or clear conscious to write about I don’t know, but maybe I can establish my codeword -- my metaphor now: shoes. Run SK! Run!


The Majesty of Taliesin West

Featured in not one, but two different, Vistavision Videos:

And another with the featured tourist showcase models:

We were on a guided tour when we visited Taliesin West and you have to be with a guide to take photos and video so there weren’t many opportunities to grab the exact Vista Video that I wanted. There were however, endless opportunities to hear the asinine remarks from the dustbillies and retires and dustbilly retires in our tour group.

A very vocal old fella actually stopped the tour guide on several occasions just to interject knowledge nuggets like, “These buildings are very angular, like geometric,” and “I don’t know if they thought of this but the sun rises in the east so having the building facing this way was actually a really good idea.. for heating and sunlight.. ya know.” 

To which the tour guide would say, “Yes, Frank Lloyd Wright had good ideas like that. That is why you just paid thirty-eight dollars to tour his compound of architectural genius.”

She didn’t really say that but I bet she wanted to.


Casa Grande Ruins in Vista Video-Vision

My recent trip to Arizona presented a few opportunities for good Vista Video-ing – The Casa Grande Ruins video footage was grande enough for two versions.

First, with a lady in the shot:

And then, regular Vista Video style:

Why aren’t you contributing your own videos to the VV program?



You Oughtta Know

Is there anything (aside from being a POW like the one I saw on “This Emotional Life” last night) more annoying in life than having to deal with a person that sucks it so much and who will never know it

I can 90% guarantee that when you think back to the most major points of frustration in your life, it was because you were dealing with someone who refused to acknowledge their role as a human being who sucks.

The never know it part is key. I mean – we all suck once in a while but time, tears, guilt, or court orders usually make us come to terms with our wrong doings. We are sharing far too much air with people that, for one repressed reason or another, will never accept that they are widely hated for good cause (and they should be suffocated).

Like say, as a completely random example, I have this friend who has a boss that is an insanely ineffectual micro-managing deceptacon with the emotional intelligence of a five layer burrito. The kind that spends the day hosting last-minute mandatory meetings about ridiculous shit like tornado policies, re-forwarding company emails with the note “did you see this” to his/her employees, and then incessantly talking about the long hours he/she works. The kind of boss that so visibly resents that his/her employees not only get a lunch break and have things to talk to each other about, but also get paid for their work, that they actually start to look like an imploding chicken soft taco by quitting time.

Trying to communicate with people like that is like talking about dinosaurs with people that believe their bones were placed on earth by Satan. You aren’t even at the same starting point (which in both cases would be somewhere along the lines of earth/reality/common decency/mutual desire for joyful living) so it is pointless. The only thing you can do is bore your friends with details until they stop calling one-by-one and you are left filling your nights downloading Jersey Shore extras off the MTV website.

So my declaration for the day is that much like the essential paths in fictional narrative, the narratives of human personality are just two: either someone has self-awareness or they don’t. And you can’t do much about the latter. You can’t even be sure you are part of the former. You can, however, use my free or low-fee services and I will let you know where you are in the big picture of a-holedom.

What I can guarantee you with 100% certainty is that if you get two or more ladies in an office setting on a regular basis, with a regular schedule, the amount of time discussing where they will eat lunch and what they will eat for lunch will, over time, slowly progress into a daily full-fledged seven and a half hour discussion. They should just ask in job interviews, “What should we have for lunch?” to really see how people fit into the office culture.

God. I feel so bad for my friend.


Books I Got For Christmas:

The 2010 Reading List Includes:

  • Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor
  • Tulipomania: The Story of the World's Most Coveted Flower & The Extraordinary Passions it Aroused
  • Brightsided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America
  • Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan
  • Spirit Animals: Unlocking the Secrets of Our Animal Companions
  • Raymond Carver: A Writers Life
  • An American Dream by Norman Mailer (Only book I got without a secondary title)
  • Stories of the Old South: Southern fiction from some of our greatest storytellers (I like how the books is already addressing me as "our")

I’ll probably finish all of that by next week so send me more books.

Anyone else watching This Emotional Life?


Celebration Review: A New Year, A New You, An Old Me

I didn’t post yesterday because I was out celebrating Palindrome day – yep, just doing things that involved activities you can do backward and forward (roller skating was not included because I could never do that backward) like eating sandwiches, reading “Go Hang a Salami I’m A Lasagna Hog,” and wearing a full body unitard from American Apparel.

This New Years Eve celebration was grand. We had Thai food, champagne, second-hand smoke, good conversation, high-fives, hugs, the blues (musical), bourbon, beer, and I met a well-groomed preacher from Arkansas. In a rare goof, I left my SD card out of my camera (so I had to fight off low-grade anxiety from my obsession with documentation most of the night) and only have a low-light cell phone photo of the Hi Tone (we finished the evening there):


On New Years Day B and I went over to our friends place for a low-key family-ish celebration. A Bloody Mary and Buffalo Chicken kind of party. Children were invited.

I was headachey a a little tired from (the bourbon) the stress of not having my camera the night before, but still observant enough to make notes for the following short piece titled,

The 60 minute life cycle of a table of snacks at a party with small children:

The Set-Up:

The table, a “coffee table” in the middle of the tv/family room, starts with one bowl of corn chips with dip, one bowl of caramel corn, and one cracker platter with a variety of crackers. As the party progressed a glorious platter of mini (cheese)burgers fresh off the grill was brought out, as was a decorative bowl of chips and black-eyed pea dip complete with two small spreading knives with handles shaped like a snowman and a penguin, respectively.

The fate of the snacks 59 minutes later:

Bowl of Corn Chips – stable. Apparently uninteresting to small children.

Caramel Corn – Half-empty, half-chewed, and generally physically violated after repeated grabbing and regurgitation by four different toddlers.

Cracker Platter – 3/4 full with original inventory, of which 100% was smashed to tiny cracker shards by especially aggressive four year old.

Chips and Black-eyed Pea Dip – Chips – fine, if you don’t mind knowing that the chips had been fondled by a munchkin that was just in the bathroom for a half an hour without the supervision of his parents. The bean dip was found in small droplets on the area rug and the decorative spreading knives recovered from the onesie of a 19-month old girl with the most beautiful blue eyes.

So far most of the damage was visible, but perhaps the saddest fate belongs to the cheeseburgers, for it is not the damage we see that hurts us the most, but the damage we ignore:

While his parents watched the Rose Bowl directly across from him, a young boy just barely of coffee table height, ate the buns off two of the mini-cheeseburgers and probably being too full to eat a third, lifted the bun off another burger and proceeded to lick, lick the cheese on the sandwich before placing the bun top back on, giving it a precious pat with his small trouble-making fingers, and leaving the room as steely as a seasoned hitman.

I like to imagine that had their parents not been there, all of the children would have sat and watched the football game quietly munching on Cheerios or something. That will be another study (one that I probably won’t get to any time soon because I like clean snacks more than I like sociological studies).

In case you were wondering, I’d already had my snacks before the assault.

2010 Here We Go Again

I love a good inspirational slogan. Someday I will host seminars on the power of the personal slogan and Tony Robbins and The Situation from The Jersey Shore will show up. 

A new year brings a lot of opportunity for fresh life-guiding rhymes, especially as we move into the tens. Here a few themes I worked up that you can use to shape your new year:

  • 2010 It’s Raining Men
  • 2010 Pick Up The Pen
  • 2010 Forget Zen  (or 2010 Keep it Zen – if you are so inclined)

And then there are more abstract themes that come in the form of questions:

  • 2010 Where are the Spacemen?
  • 2010 The End of the World is Coming When?
  • 2010 How Many Dollars Equal a Yen?