Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Boy in Rhododendron Bush

That's what I'm calling my latest series of photographs:

Monday, August 22, 2011


We don't usually have too much trouble with bedtime; we just shut the bedroom door, put our earplugs in and have a few beers. Works like a charm! Oh, we get all the usual stalling tactics: 'I'm hungry!', 'I'm thirsty!', and 'I need to pee!' We try to get them in their room early, about 7:30, and we read books. Then they can read to themselves or play a little if they want, as long as they stay in their room and don't kill each other. They can come out to go to the bathroom or get some bread and butter, but no eye contact. It's true, I have low standards. But I'm also the one that can lay on my couch and drink beer, starting at 7:45. Yay me!

I'm not sure what was going on tonight, though, because I have been hearing some whoppers, even through the earplugs and Alaska Amber:

'I'm afraid of dying!'

'I need you to wash my feet!'

'He's not being kind! He won't let me sleep with my robot parts and my pillow pet!'

'I can't go to sleep until my green shirt gets washed!'

'I need a tissue!'

'I need a tissue, too!'

'I didn't get any boogers!'

'I didn't get any boogers, either!'

They're STILL awake in there, playing some seriously questionable game, and we're running low on beer. Things are not looking good, my friends. If you don't see any more posts from me, send one of those St. Bernards with the keg around its neck. Actually, send two, and don't bother waiting to see if I post again. HELP ME.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Dead Cat Recipes

Don't worry, this is not becoming a cooking blog. If it did, it would be the shortest and worst one in the history of the internet. Though I AM quite proud of the chocolate covered ant recipe we perfected a few months ago, and justifiably so, don't you think? Today, though, I whomped up something that tempted me into posting what passes for a recipe around here. It's mostly for Jennifer, so look away if you don't appreciate dishes made from giant onions.

The boys and I went over to see the fam this morning. Lloyd was fishing, of course. It's a sunny summer day, he has some friends and family in town, and there are still some creatures of the deep who have yet to face the wrath of his fearsome prowess. We visited a fabulous hippie festival, and we spent some time admiring the neighbor's garden. They were harvesting beautiful, gigantic red onions and gave me one. I came right home and made it into dinner, and I'm going to tell you how, because I'm sort of narcissistic that way:

Chop up giant onion, green part and all
Cook some pasta (I used spaghetti, but the bowties or something small would probably be better)
Cut a bunch of bacon into little pieces and fry until crisp
Take bacon out and set aside
Dump a couple of glugs of olive oil into bacon grease
Cook up two big handfuls of chopped walnuts, pecans or almonds at high heat until crisp
Set aside nuts with bacon
Cook chopped-up onion and some chopped or grated vegetables (I used grated zucchini and carrots) with a little sea salt and pepper in oil until done
Dump bacon and nuts back in vegetables and mix
Put mix over pasta
Grate parmesan or other hard cheese on top

Delicious, nutritious and full of bacony goodness! I suppose one could substitute sausage or chicken, but I'm a bacon fan, myself. This concludes this episode of 'Cooking with Dead Cats'.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Oh, Ayla

Everyone knows Clan of the Cave Bear, right? The book series, not that crappy movie with Darryl Hannah. I can summarize six epic novels in a couple of short sentences, I'm pretty sure: Beautiful and brilliant cro-magnon Ayla is raised by neanderthals and then cast out, whereupon she ventures out into the great wild world on her own and invents a lot of fantastic crap and has sex all the time. Wow, that was only one sentence! I'm better than I thought, and that is something I almost NEVER get to say.

The first three books (Clan of the Cave Bear, Valley of Horses and Mammoth Hunters) are actually pretty good, and also easy to summarize: Ayla grows up with the neanderthals (the 'clan' of the title) but is different so doesn't really fit in. She is cast out for thinking differently and sets off on her own. In short order, she meets the man of her dreams, domesticates the first animals, discovers how to control fire and invents needles, a proto-bow, and multiple other items with her fabulous genius that surpasses that of any human ever to have walked the earth. Also, she is stunningly gorgeous. Get the picture? SHE IS THE BEST EVER, in every possible way. These facts are repeated ad nauseum, and then tossed in a few million extra times for good measure. Just in case you're pretty thick and didn't get it right off. Oh, and also, without fail, any band of people that Ayla comes across ask, nay, BEG, her to stay with them forever because she is so undeniably wonderful in every way. There are always anguished tears when she leaves. And leave she must, for Jondalar is far from home when he meets her and longs to return. Jondalar, also, is amazing beyond words, and must take his place among the leadership of his own wealthy tribe.

Books four and five (Plains of Passage and Shelters of Stone) are okayish, and not surprisingly, easy to summarize: Ayla and her dreamy hunk, Jondalar, leave her new adopted family, the 'mammoth hunters' of the title, and make the long arduous journey back to Jondalar's family. Then they settle in there and have their daughter, Jonayla (no lie; that's her name).

Book six is called 'The Land of the Painted Caves', and it is even easier to summarize: it sucks worse than any book I have ever read. Ever. In my life. If I paid money for this book, I would be angry. I'm only about a quarter of the way through it and Ayla has already encountered a second set of conjoined twins. They don't live, which is too bad because siamese twin cave people would be AWESOME. Anyway, that's pretty unlikely, I'm guessing, because she only knows a thousand people or so. I think the author was counting on us forgetting about the first set, because they were in the first book, which was published in 1980. I don't know about you guys, but I can't remember JACK from 1980. That's just a tiny little complaint, too, and also not the only repeat situation. Any subtlety that once existed is completely gone, particularly regarding Ayla and Jondalar's pure marvelousness. Seriously, I am going to have to go get a thesaurus because I am running out of synonyms to describe them. The prose has degenerated into Danielle Steele territory, and it's getting drearily preachy about various social issues. These are always resolved brilliantly by Ayla and Jondalar, naturally. I was still reading it last night, mostly because I was out of books, but I went to the library at lunch and picked up The Encyclopedia of Dead Rock Stars: Heroin, Handguns and Ham Sandwiches. After I finish that I might pick up Land of Painted Caves again, just to see how awful a book can truly get. Perhaps I'll have an update, but I simply cannot recommend this one.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


***edited to add: I want to punch Blogger in the face right now for the mismatched font. The first paragraph won't match the last paragraph, no matter what contortions I put myself through. There, I feel better now.

Hey, do you guys remember my brilliant Dead Cat Beauty Secrets? If not, you can refresh your memory, but it's basically a comprehensive plan for beautifying your entire life. There's virtually no effort on your part, and it works like magic! To prove it, here are some testimonials from fans:

This does work! Our bathroom lights were almost out for quite a while and I was feeling pretty good about myself... Another beauty tip I'd recommend is chlorine-- really does wonders for my hair. I've even started a few dreadlocks just to stay hip and think I'll save a lot of money on shampoo and conditioner if I keep this up for the summer, but probably just for the summer :-) Tammy, 39 wonders!* Shannon, 39

I don't want to give away the secrets here, you really need to read the whole post to fully appreciate the plan, but part of it consists of downsizing your bathroom mirror.

Today, I was just minding my own beeswax, surfing the net, when I came across this article at Jezebel. It's all about a woman who is even more radical than me on the mirror front. She is going an entire year with no mirrors at all, and you can read her blog here. It doesn't appear that she is fully embracing the other elements of the Dead Cat Beauty Plan, but perhaps it isn't for everyone. If you have time, take a look. I'd love to hear what you think about it.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Again, and etcetera

And....... here I am AGAIN! Ready for the daily report? I'll try to degrossify it a little bit for you squeamish folks. My wounded wrist appears to be significantly better; it's just a lightish purple today. It's still a little tender when I use my keyboard at work so I had to trim back my brilliant report writing, just a smidge. I like to pace myself, anyway, so that works out well. It better heal up quick, though, because we are moving our entire office soon. No one knows exactly how soon, but the lease for our current building is up.... sometime soon.

They are already practically abandoning the place and leaving it to the vermin. The lights that burn out don't get replaced anymore, for one thing, and the innards of the building are spilling out all over the place. Just today I saw a door hanging open that I'd never even noticed before, and there was a whole shower in there. It had a hose hanging from the shower head, and a heap of moldering fabric piled on the floor. The funny thing is, I had heard a rumor that there was a shower and I went looking for it one day, wondering about the feasibility of running at lunch. I couldn't find it, and I even checked the big building blueprint that hangs on the wall. Weird. That was a while ago, of course, when I was new. Because now I just go running if I want to and I don't care if I stink afterwards. I still don't know what that mildewy mound is, but I'm not going to think about it anymore. LALALALALALA, I CAN'T HEAR YOU!

Our new place is smaller than the current one, and we have a lot of stuff. We do a lot of work, and have the giant stacks of files to prove it, along with manuals, policies, equipment and etc. LOTS of etcetera. So much, in fact, that we are under constant pressure to go paperless and rid ourselves of our voluminous etcetera. Trust me when I say that we have serious and eminently reasonable objections to this and put up fierce and so far, successful, resistance at every opportunity. Know what we don't have? Boxes. Know what else? A moving plan. Except the one that says: 'We are moving sometime soon. Very soon'. Guess what else we don't have: a place to move. The new space requires some construction before it's ready, and we are moving sometime soon, did I mention that? The soon-to-be office already has people in it, too, from a different division. They don't always fully appreciate us, nor our accoutrements and accessories, I am sorry to say. I'm pretty sure I know what's going to happen: We will have to move because our lease is up, sometime soon, and the new space won't be ready. We will be squatting in the hallways, filthy, with our clothes in disarray and our belongings in shopping carts, boxes and dollies, while our new, clean and neatly-dressed coworkers spit on us and hurl dimes at our heads. Now that I think about it, though, that's pretty much business as usual. Only this time, we're not going away.

Well, all for now- I have to go ice my wrist and down some motrin. I have to be prepared to defend myself and my shopping carts, you know. I only have one more thing to say. BRING IT ON, PEOPLE! You'll take my etcetera away from me when you pry it from my cold, dead hands, and not a second before. Even if I am floating down the hall, awash in spittle, contused by a million dimes. THEY CAN TAKE OUR LIVES BUT THEY WILL NEVER TAKE OUR ETCETERA!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

On a Roll

Dang, people! I am on a roll: I have posted for three days in a row, so I'm going for four. It's like starting a diet as you come off a nasty stomach flu or a particularly bad couple of days after tripping over the fine line between Saturday night and Sunday morning (paraphrasing here; thanks, Jimmy Buffet!) I was going to put a link in the text there, but let's face it: if you don't already know who Jimmy Buffett is you definitely should not be reading this blog.

So, what's new and exciting around here? Well, I have several things I would like to post pictures of, but Lloyd is fishing today with the camera. Wait, that didn't come out right. Lloyd is fishing, with a fishing pole, and he took the camera with him. To take pictures of the fish, after he catches them by using a fishing pole. THERE. I am quite looking forward to him getting home, so he can take pictures of the giant swollen bruise on the inside of my left wrist. And of the robots. Oh, and also because I like fish. My bruise is not related to either robots or fish, but rather skates. The kind you roll recklessly around on, not the kind that swim in the ocean and might be caught with a fishing pole.

I went inline skating today at lunch, for the first time in many months, and as you might guess, took a nice little spill, leaving me with a 6" by 2" linear, curved bruise from the base of my thumb, down my wrist and partway up my arm. It is currently an attractive shade of green with mottled purplish-red splotches. I have yet to check my butt, so I will spare you the description of that. I was quite shocked, as I am pretty cautious and rarely fall.

Afterward, I kept thinking of the worst skating accident I have ever had. I was working at an Air Force base, doing construction inspection. I liked to skate around the airfield at lunch, and one sunny day I was out in the back forty, where there was a small hilly section, about as far from where I started as I could possibly get. The sun was shining through some trees, making spots on the ground, so I missed seeing some leaves fallen on the path. I went down hard, right on the back of my upper leg. I had to skate all the way back, of course, and when I got to my office I found that I had a serious road rash, about the size of a dinner plate, from my underwear line about halfway down my hamstring. This wouldn't have been so much of a problem for someone a little more gracile; you probably would have just had a little saucer-sized wound, but I definitely had a large plate's, or maybe even a serving platter's worth. Then it started oozing blood and that yellowy sticky stuff, and I had to go to some meetings. My pants stuck to it and all the stinky old construction guys thought I was weird. And I am, but I just had a perfectly understandable sports injury! Geez! When I got home I had to take a bath with my clothes on to get it unstuck and it hurt for at least a week. Wow, that is a gross and unpleasant story! Aren't you glad I posted today?!?!?! Also, you should FOR SURE take up rollerblading right away.

I'm not sorry, though- it was an absolutely gorgeous day, and if Cliff Mass is to be believed, we will soon be suffering another brutal northwest winter, regretting every second we wasted with Facebook or Tom and Jerry whilst the sun shone. This would definitely be a good time to make sure you have an emergency kit in your house, and all your vehicles, too. Last year hundreds, if not thousands, of people were stranded on highways around here for 18 hours in a snowstorm. Just think about that, being trapped in your car on a frozen highway amongst your fellow starving commuters. What are you going to eat? Your seat covers? The skinny guy in the Lexus parked next to you? Oh, I know you could totally take him, but he's likely to be stringy. Would it kill you to have some granola bars, a blanket, a container to pee in, some cash to pay off the crazy-eyed woman in an Odyssey so she won't eat you? Just a little something for you to consider while you're shopping for your new skates. Ta-ta for now!

Sunday, August 14, 2011


You probably know we homeschool, and that we are about to start Weston's second year of Dead Cat Academy. Last year we did 'Kindergarden'. We had a pretty tough final but he squeaked by, so now we are planning 'First Grade'. I have just started scheduling the first half of the year. It's been our experience that the plans go out the window after a few weeks so it seems we could just cut them out entirely and save me a significant effort, but Lloyd likes to have the illusion of control. I'm pretty unschooly myself, and left to my own devices I would probably go commando when it comes to structure of any kind. Unfortunately for lazyass me, the threat of pandemonium of this nature strikes fear into Lloyd's deeply organized pilot's heart. As a result, I am forced to drag out my book and pencil and whomp up some placebos to soothe his soul.

This year, we are also going to try some proto-schooling for Shane. I'm not super optimistic about this, as he is currently too busy building artificial intelligence from sacks of robot parts acquired from the thrift store and Grandpa's basement to have much interest in such common pursuits as the alphabet and the integers. I'm not kidding, he can't even spell R2D2, but if you want a robot that eats the imaginary garbage off the floor, he's your man. So yeah, I'll be watching with interest. From afar.

As for Weston, I asked him what he wanted to learn about this year, and here is his list, in order:

George Washington
Civil War
Atoms and Cells
How Cars Work
Why It's Easier to Sleep on a Soft Bed than a Hard One
How Boys and Girls are Different
How Bodies Work
Why Daddy Always Wears Underwear

I'm reasonably convinced, but not entirely certain, that the last one was a joke. Either way, have fun, honey!

Saturday, August 13, 2011


I have had a busy week, my friends! I spent three days at a geek conference, and it was more than a little painful. Don't get me wrong, now: I LOVE geeks. They are very useful in many, many ways. I just don't want to listen to them yabber all day about boring ass equations and user defined functions. Especially when they are ALL WRONG. They should ask me; I would tell them. I don't know why my opinion is not more frequently solicited. Oh well, a mystery for another day.

In other news, I have been feeling a definite hint of fall in the air here in the Pacific Northwest. This is also ALL WRONG, because it is the second week of August and summer just started 23 seconds ago. Seriously, I had to go coat shopping. You guys are not going to believe this, but I went TO THE MALL. They have this store? Called Macy's? And there are racks upon rack of clothes that ARE ALL THE SAME, ONLY IN DIFFERENT SIZES. It was very strange, and it took me a while to acclimate, but once my head stopped spinning I found the most awesome black trench coat with white piping on super clearance for $29.98. It had been marked down from $199, which makes me wonder how much profit, exactly, they make on regularly priced items. Oh yeah, A LOT, and all because of outsourcing to countries with super cheap child labor in their slavery-like SWEATSHOPS. Too bad, so sad, score for me, right? To assuage my conscience, I went to Goodwill on the way home and picked up an tan Old Navy trench (also sweat-shopped, natch, but the damage was already done WAY before the coat got into my hot little hands, so yay, me!) and a Cabbage Patch Kid for the boys.

Let's see, what else? Hmmmm..... We have been harvesting garden goodness left and right. We have this crappy apple tree in our back yard, and the apples have been falling off with reckless abandon. I have been snatching them up before the compost rats can get them and slicing them up for the freezer. I feel very Little House on the Prairie, let me tell you. We have also been digging potatoes and performing various other productive chores. The kids LOVE this, which is funny, because they were not nearly so keen on hoeing and watering for the last two months.

If you saw the beach pictures, you will know we just came back from a trip to the coast. SUPER FUN. Also, we had a memorial service for my mother and grandmother/burial service for my grandmother on the way to the beach, followed by a burial service for my mother on the way home from the beach. Confused? WELCOME TO MY WORLD.

Wow, you know what? I think I might be done here for tonight. Oh, I have plenty more to say, believe you me! For example, I am, once again, reading a book about a book, which always makes Lloyd mock me severely, but really, it's quite fascinating and I intend to tell you about it. Just not today. Someday I hope to read a book about a book about a book, just to really blow his mind. That's all for now; have a FANTASTIC weekend!

Friday, August 12, 2011


Happy Friday, everyone! At my house, it's barely 6 a.m. The coffee has bypassed the carafe and flowed all over the counter, cabinets and floor, along with a generous helping of grounds. I like strong coffee, y'all! The towels were all dirty and there was no soap in the shower. I licked the floor like a thirsty cat, I rubbed the grime off on the shower wall like a cow on a fence, then shook myself dry like a dog, only to discover that facebook is down. OH, THE HUMANITY!

Let me make a slight clarification: when I say facebook is down, I mean I can read it, but not post. They are working on this issue and feel certain it will be resolved shortly. Try again in a few minutes! In the meantime, however, here I sit with rage to vent. Thanks a lot, FACEBOOK!

You know, I hate the legislative branch as much as anyone these days. Maybe more! It's super easy to get whipped into a frenzy, for a multitude of legitimate reasons. But I keep seeing these posts about how they all get their salaries for life, or how they get a full pension after one term. None of these things are true. You can read the truth here or here. Or google it up and find out more. As per the usual, the truth is much less outrageous than the rumors and lies.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Just a few more vacation photos....

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


***updated to say: Look at these fantastic vacation pictures! My extremely clever brother-in-law, Stefan, took them with his iphone. Can you believe that? He even had it inside a ziploc bag, what is up with that?!?!?! If I put my phone inside a bag I probably couldn't even use it to swat flies, and here he can take pictures I'd give Lloyd's right arm to be able to take with a big fancy camera.

***also, we are back from vacation, yay!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Nikki Sixx is a Genius

Wow, now there's a sentence I never thought I'd write. If you don't know who Nikki Sixx is, you can read about him here. He's the bassist for the band Motley Crue. Yes, all you headbangers, I am well aware that there are supposed to be umlauts over the 'o' and the 'u', but I have no idea where to find such a thing on here. This is the 106th post on here, and Stories from Korea has 453, and not once before today have I ever had to use an umlaut or any other symbol that is not readily apparent on my keyboard. I find this deeply troubling and feel that I need to broaden my horizons and my vocabulary right away. Send me a note if you know how to find the symbols on blogger, will you? Moving on, Motley-Crue-with-umlauts is a loud, angry, prolific and popular band, known for their outrageous antics nearly as much as for their music.

I was a big fan of the Crue in high school- they use a pentagram for a logo, and I would put one on my arm in blue eyeliner. Oh yes, I was a real badass. The star within a circle went nicely with my deck shoes, acid washed jeans, and pink polo. I also frequently accessorized with duct tape; I had this one pair of 501s that were ripped all the way around one of the thighs. They were my favorites. I would duct tape them up and wear them until they simply had to be washed. Then, unless I hovered over the washer and dryer and snatched them up as soon as they came out so I could pick off the hot, sticky, balled-up tape and start over, my mother would take them and throw them in the garbage. Then I would have to fish them out of the trash, wash them again while standing guard, then begin again with the elaborate taping operation. And sometimes I would put a safety pin through my pierced ear. True story: if you are going to do that so you can look all tough, you need to file the end of the safety pin down until it's dull, because if it's sharp it will stick in the flesh instead of going through the hole. See? BADASS.

I sort of lost track of what the band was doing until recently, when I saw the sign at the Tacoma Dome advertising their upcoming show. I googled them up and saw that they were pretty much still raising hell, and that Nikki Sixx was writing books and taking pictures. I went shopping for blue eyeliner (they still sell that stuff; can you believe it??!?!?) and then picked up both the books: The Heroin Diaries and This is Gonna Hurt. I read 'Heroin Diaries: a Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star' first; it details Christmas 1986 to Christmas 1987 and describes his life as a heroin addict and the beginnings of how he got clean. The book includes wrenching passages from his journals during that time in his life and harrowing stories from his difficult childhood, along with his present day reflections and those of his family, friends and bandmates. Fascinating, painfully honest, and deeply inspiring. And even if that touchy-feely stuff holds no interest for you, the book is worth reading for the tales of total debauchery alone. Just a little warning, you might want to skim parts of it if you have a tender constitution, as the stories of sex, drugs, and rock and roll are pretty graphic. Luckily for me, I have a high tolerance for drunken ridiculousness. The thing I found the most alarming was that of the list of junkie rules of personal hygiene he shares, I religiously adhere to at least one. As an added bonus, proceeds from the book go to Covenant House.

This is Gonna Hurt: Music, Photography and Life Through the Distorted Lens of Nikki Sixx is also inspiring, and somewhat hard to describe. His photography is stunning, compelling and disturbing, all at the same time, and celebrates what some people would consider ugly. He makes the same point, over and over, sometimes with a wrecking ball, and sometimes with a laser: everyone is different, and that's good. People deserve to be who they want, and to do what they want with their lives. We don't have to be what our society has decided everyone has to be to be accepted: thin, rich, and conventionally beautiful. No one measures up to the airbrushed ads that are constantly jammed down our throats, among other things, so we should all just tell the man to kiss our collective ass and do what suits us. To me, he seems to speak to artists in particular, though I'm not at all sure that's his intention. He even bashes the glossy soul sucking magazines and says he keeps them out of his house. I harbor a deep hatred for those rat bastard rags for their generous contribution to our self-loathing, too, and wrote about it here in a post about how hard it is to be a man. See how smart he is?? He thinks just like me! BRILLIANT. Another definite must-read. The Nikki Sixx Facebook page is also outstanding; lots of good discussion and photos, so check it out, and ROCK ON, dudes! I totally just wrote 'duds' instead of 'dudes'. Does that ruin my ending? DAMMIT.