Monday, July 22, 2013

Royal, Royal

WordNerdGirl's Prompt O'Day (not to be confused with the fish patty sandwich) is as follows: "A Royal Baby writing prompt: Google your birth date, then write 3-5 lines inspired by what else was happening on that date in history."

With GINORMOUS apologies to David Bowie, ("Starman" is a favorite of mine!) who on July 3, 1973 stopped the Ziggy Stardust Tour), I present to you:

Royal, Royal

You've got your mother in a whirl
We're not sure if you're a boy or a girl
Hey royal, your mum's on the verge
Hey royal, when're gonna emerge
The cameras are ready, now
To take your picture and your soul
Come on royal, the time is now
Make your mum sweat on her brow 
They pull you out, they say you're here
You little royal, you are so dear


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Swiftboat

Saturday night I took my daughter Robin to the Taylor Swift concert.  Fact number one, I am not a Taylor Swift fan.  On the ride home from the concert (which had a two hour thunder/lightning/wind/rain delay) I was tired and cranky (I know, such an unusual state for me) and my co-pilot had fallen asleep.  As I drove, trying to avoid the various "interesting" drivers on 76 and 422 at 2:00 a.m., I was formulating this blog post.

I was going through all the bands I have seen live and was comparing them to the concert I had just attended.  It was a fairly harsh review I was going to give Ms Swift but then I stopped.  I turned my thoughts to what a wonderful evening it had been.

The magic of seeing an 11 year's old face light up upon going to their first rock concert.  The magic of a mother spending one on one time with one daughter when she has four.  The magic of giggles and fun and smiles.  If I wrote the post I had started out tinkering with, it would have sucked the real reason why I went to the concert in the first place.

Was I expecting to have a good time at a Taylor Swift concert?  No.  Did I end up having a good time (despite Taylor Swift)?  Yes.  Because the magic of seeing her little face light up when her hero took the stage and the freedom of two girls hanging out together on a Saturday night was what made it all worthwhile.

$4 water bottles and all.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Wrong Number

Generate your own faux texts at iphonetextgenerator!



From WordNerdGirl: "Just got a wrong number text. The message: "Glad you are enjoying it." Sounds like a writing prompt to me! 3-5 on who was enjoying what. Go!"

I could have gone "blue" here but, eh, sometimes simple, clean humor is funny as well.  Have a good weekend and stay cool!!!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hot :(

It is hot in Philadelphia.  Like Africa hot.  The thermometer says it is in the 90s but the heat index is in the 100s.  The air is thick when you breathe and you get instant swamp ass the minute you go outdoors.  I have central air (thankyoubabyjesus) and it was broken Sunday overnight to Monday.  I grew up without A/C, window units included.  These days (boy do I sound old) I cannot live without it.

A nice (temporary) solution to the hotness would be a nice bike ride but my muffler is still spitting gas all over the place.  For the first five minutes of operation, my little motorcycle decided to start spewing gas from the left muffler all over the garage and driveway.  And then she runs fine.  I have had two mechanics look at it and now I have left messages for three new ones.

She's old (an '82 Kawasaki 440) but I like her just fine.  Anyone out there who likes working on carburetors or old, quirky bikes, drop me a line.

So, no Earth shattering insights into the world today or nothing new going on in my world, but "hi", it's hot, send me a competent mechanic.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Gleeful?

Okay, first some good news.  After riding around with renewed permit after permit, today ended 21 years without a motorcycle license.  Considering it was also about 1000 percent humidity today and I had to ride around a parking lot for 5 hours in full gear, I am patting myself on my back.  Feels like I accomplished something pretty big in my life.  Two decades and three bikes later - I am legit.

And now, the not so good news.  My eldest daughter and I visited Laurel Hill Cemetery last night for "Cinema in the Cemetery".  It was a fun night, despite the ginormous mosquitoes.  On the way home we turned on the radio and heard the "breaking news" about the Travon Martin/George Zimmerman trial.  We were both pretty dumbfounded.  It was a good chance to discuss race and our criminal system (if any silver lining can be found in this fiasco) but it was heartbreaking nonetheless.

This morning before my big parking lot/frying pan test I hear the news about one of the "stars" of "Glee" had passed away.  Instantly, my feed was blowing up with more information and analysis of this 31 year old actor passing away (most likely he contributed to his own death by his habits) than news out of Florida.  Each life should be honored - I am not that callous.  But a "D List" celebrity is not more news-worthy or tragic than the death of Travon.

Travon's death wasn't drug or alcohol related.  Travon wasn't glamorous or on television.  His "sin" was being born black in America.  His death makes no sense to me.  This isn't the most eloquent post you'll read about this whole travesty but I did want to get my words out tonight.  You know, before another "celebrity" dies or has a nip slip or gives birth to a weathervane.  Travon isn't the first or last black kid to be killed for no reason (or very, very, very faulty reasoning) at all.

We should really sit up, take notice, and take stock as a Country and society about what garners our attention.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

End Game

"Robin, get me a toothpick?", I asked as I was trying to unknot someone's shoelaces the other day.  "You banned me from using those," she replied.  "I did?" "Yes, right after you banned gum, again."

Sigh.  I ban things on a regular basis in this house; I can't keep track of what is allowable and what is forbidden anymore.  It reminds me when I took Hayley and her friend to mall around the time of the A&F "no fat people clothes" debacle (read my post "Ubercrummie").  I had given her all the "pre-flight, walking around the mall by yourself instructions" when I said, "Oh yeah, remember no A&F."  Hayley turns to her friend and says, "My mom bans lots of things.  We can't go to Chick-fil-a.  We can't use BP gas.  We aren't allowed to have gum."  And off they went.

There are different levels of my "banning behavior".  The gum and toothpicks are due to the fact if they chew gum I find it in the clothes dryer and stuck in various, inappropriate surfaces.  Toothpicks and glitter get everywhere.  They are a nightmare.  The business boycotts are generally due to my politics.  Word usage is due to my wanting to bring up decent human beings.  Now there is a new conflict coming at me and I am not sure what to do about it.

I loved, loved, loved the book "Ender's Game" and all the sequels.  A movie version, which so far looks pretty cool from the previews, is coming out November 1.  What I hadn't know before is the author, Orson Scott Card, is a pretty vocal critic of homosexuality and advocates for a group called the National Organization for Marriage (anti-same-sex marriages) and believes homosexual activity can be a part of or lead to paraphilia (sex with objects, children, animals...).  So, now before me lays another possible thing to boycott, a movie of a book I own and have read.

Is it easier to boycott a fast food restaurant because they are 10 others down the road to choose from?

Is it easier to boycott a clothing company because they are not within your family's budget?

Is it easier to boycott Tom Cruise because all his movies suck anyway?

Are my boycotts really creating a sacrifice for myself or are just meaningless bandwagons I appear to jump on?  I am not sure what the right thing to do is.  The old axiom "if it feels good do it" can also be "if it feels bad avoid it".  I would feel bad the whole I time I was watching the movie.  Just because it was a beloved book in my library, the new insight I have gained into its creator makes me to not want to spend $11 to support his life choices.

Here is a link to a site called "Skip Ender's Game".  They have quite a bit to say about Mr. Card, offer alternative activities for November 1, and there is a pledge to boycott to sign, if you so wish.  Cory Doctorow, author and blogger over at BoingBoing, wrote a bit about why he is not boycotting the movie and you can read his piece here.

What do you think?  Do boycotts work?  Who are they for?  What do they do?  Who do they harm?  Who do they benefit?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Days of Future Passed

Over this past Winter, my good friend Dallas told me a mutual acquaintance of ours was getting his own reality show.  I nearly pissed my pants laughing.  If you haven't seen or heard about Philly Throttle yet, watch it.  It is fairly tame and cool if you're a local Philadelphian who likes to see Philly on your TV.

Adam is the star of this newest reality series.  I met Adam about 21 years ago; my then roommate Kris, Dallas' ex, set met up on a blind date with him.  Did I mention Philly is a super small town?  Adam and I didn't exactly hit it off and I ended up mooning over the bassist who was playing in the band we saw that night at The Underground.  The Underground used to be (not sure how she is these days) a really awful bar.  It was literally underground, had less than 10 chairs, was extremely narrow, and was low ceilinged.  Anywho.  West Philly in the 90s was a good time to be young and free.

Adam, Dallas, Kris, and Will (aforementioned bassist) and a motley crew hung out, (people with names like Slo and Wrong Way John) worked at, and stored bikes in a sort of collective garage in West Philly.  It is where my love of motorcycles began.  Will was determined to get me riding and I bought my first bike, a little Suzuki 125, for $100 out of a beauty salon window.  That bike took me places; metaphorical and physical alike.  I loved that bike.  There is a certain freedom from going to be the girl on the back of the bike to being the rider.  Slightly heady and powerful, there is nothing like a motorcycle ride to clear your head.  You have no choice but to be in the present.  Any daydreaming can lead to big issues.  Motorcycles and the guys who introduced me to them were and are, live in the moment kind of people.

I moved onto bigger bikes and different choices in my life.  "The Lost Boys" of the garage, as Kris named them, remained in stasis.  They were all about 10 years older than I was but chronological age doesn't count for much in their world.  Since the late 90s I have had several different careers, got married to a stable, mostly mature man, gave birth to four daughters, lost a mother, and in general, pretty much "grew up."

About 2 months ago, my past and my present came close together.  Will and I had stayed in touch strictly via email and Facebook.  He knew I was looking to ride again (I had been a pretty bad accident in 1995 and sold the wrecked Honda CM400 to Adam) and he told me about a bike he had seen for sale.  It was a 1982 Kawasaki 440 KZ.  It was $300.  It was perfect and I was ready to be back on the road.  Over those weeks of buying it and having Will get it road ready, he and I got to hang out. He has not changed since 1995.  Frozen in time, going nowhere.  Should I be describing someone who helped me out in a more positive light?  Am I an ungrateful bitch?  Yes and no.  In the end of the deal, he tried to pull a fast one and I balked.  I ended up with the bike and a legit, local mechanic.  Having to deal with Will for those 6 weeks I saw what my future could have been and I didn't like it.

Seeing Adam on TV last night was like having an out of body experience.  I guess it is always a little weird when you see someone you know on TV but the unsettling part was how much Adam hasn't changed.  Like Will, he seems to be still living hand to mouth in a fantasy world of Neverneverland.  These people, who I thought were in my past, popping up in my very different present has provoked some good memories and some not so good memories.  Another friend of mine from the Wild West Philly Days, who is married and blogs and has some children like mine wrote about the experience that is Adam as well.  You can read her story HERE.  (fyi, Chris is another guy I went out with, but he was a class act.)  Jo seems firmly in her present, even while still tending bar at "The Glinch", as she did in her past.

I feel a lot more removed from those days.  Time?   Moving away from the City?  Different priorities?  I don't have a good answer.  The reality of it all is, I had a good time, I did some truly dangerous (and fun) things, I got out alive and mostly unscathed, I don't regret a second of it, but I am glad where my reality is now.  I don't see my bike as a mid-life crisis cry-for-help.  It is the way I am able to still connect with "fun Jenn" and still be "grown up Jenn".  Seeing people from my past, in real life and on cable TV, lately, has put quite a bit in perspective.  I had been pining for those days: I was young, cute, thin, responsibility free.  Seeing what the end result of had I continued down the past's future path makes my present all that more a gift.



Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Mxyzptlk

Julie, aka WordNerdGirl, asks us to: "grab 3-5 random sentences (I used the newspaper) & rewrite them backwards from last word to first. Lots of cool wordplay emerges. And... Yoda like sound you make will prompt writing this."

###

From Augusten Burroughs' "Possible Side Effects", p246

  • Me to mystery a was, Meats specifically marked drawer the of instead, drawer crisper salad the in meats the kept mother my why.  Crisper Salad marked drawer sliding the opened and refrigerator the to went I.


Hmm, more caveman than Yoda.  Let's try another source.

From David Rakoff's "Don't Get Too Comfortable", p128

  • Held am I which in pity or contempt the of reminder physical the becoming somehow or, welcome its overstaying object the about think to want don't really I and.  Ego artistic of sense any of out them keep they if care much don't I but, make I things the unwrap people watch I when moment lovely a it's.

Well, this is better.  Let's (um, me) alter some of David's words and see what happens:

  • Held, am I, in pity or contempt.  The reminder of the physical becoming the object I don't want to think about.  Ego, artistic sense, they care much, but I don't. Unwrap people, watch the lovely moment.

Eh, it's an experiment.  Grab something you enjoy reading or don't enjoy reading and discover a new way to play with words.



Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Oh, Bother!

Prompt 40 from Creative Writing Prompts : "List 20 Things That Annoy You".

###


There aren't enough gigabytes to store the long, long list of grievances I have with the world.  I am turning 40 on Wednesday; my whole life people would joke I was "5 going on 40" or "12 going on 40".  Now I am just "39 going on 40 becoming Andy Rooney".  Grumpy Cat has nothing on me :)


  1. People who text or "secretly" look at their phone screens during a movie in the theater.
  2. The mockingbird from last Summer who has found his way back here this Summer.
  3. Baby corn.
  4. The looks I get at the market when I am loudly correcting or corralling my children.
  5. The word "moist".
  6. Parents who don't teach or enforce manners with their children.
  7. Hipsters.  I saw one last night who looks like he lives on kale and drinks his own urine.
  8. Drivers who fail to use lights and wipers when it is raining.
  9. Drivers who do not know the difference between "stop", "yield", and "come hit me".
  10. Drivers who are mad at me for pulling over for emergency vehicles.
  11. Um, I guess any driver aside from me.
  12. Butter on bagels.  Cream cheese is the only acceptable condiment; lox preferred but optional.
  13. "Lite Beer".  A) it is gross and B) any product using "lite" is teaching my kids to spell wrong.
  14. Raisins. Especially sneaky ones hiding in baked goods I was noshing on.
  15. Your/you're, there/their/they're, alot/a lot abusers.
  16. The word "like" as a constant interjection.
  17. Pantyhose.  But I hate that people who don't wear hose when the occasion dictates.
  18. Small portions of food you eat in one sitting only to discover it was "4 portion-sized".
  19. Smugness.
  20. Complaining, making lists, and irony?

from Grumpy Cat's Official Facebook Page




Monday, July 1, 2013

Ho, Ho, Ho

I have approximately 50 more hours of "being in my thirties".  My earlier post suggested I am okay with this; in general, yes I am.  50 hours out?  A little panicky :)  Today's writing prompt from Julie at WordNerdGirl is as follows: "My son made a Christmas in July list. It includes a cash machine that prints real money & a hovercraft that floats 6 ft off the ground. Today's writing prompt: 3-5 lines of your own Christmas in July wish list."

Consider this a mash of a Christmas in July Wish List with the Mid-Life Crisis Bucket List, if you will.

###

  1. Learn how to play "Great Balls of Fire" on the piano - well.
  2. Drive coast to coast across America.
  3. Become a "Massage-a-Week" gift program member; and invent such a program.
  4. Visit Thailand.
  5. Finish my short story which is getting older than myself.
  6. Go to a proper "High Tea"; gloves, hat, clotted cream - the works.
  7. Conquer my addiction to Candy Crush Saga.
  8. Learn how to sit back, look around, smile, and realize what I really want I already have.


Oh, and a pony.