Yesterday I belly-ached about the cold, the snow, the ice…and tonight it snows and we all go, “Oooohhh!  Look at the sno-o-ww!! It’s so pre-e-tty-y-y!!”  Big fluffy flakes of God’s Dandruff floating fancily to the ground, sticking to telephone poles, balcony railings, windshields, window screens….heck, well…everything.  And with temps going down, down, down tonight we’re likely to have a slippery side-road situation or two…especially as Seattle has so many hilly neighborhoods:  Capitol Hill, First Hill, Beacon Hill, Queen Anne Hill (mine)…actually, Downtown is pretty hilly, too!  Oh, but it’s so pre-e-tty-y-y!! 

Yeah, tell that to the guy who’s bumper you smash when you slide out of control into him *wham!*  Thank Zeus that’s one thing I don’t have to worry about!  If Joe Metro slides into someone, it’s not my fault!

Fickle frakin’ beings, humans are…me included.  I only like this beautiful spectacle, mind you, because I don’t have to be out in it to go anywhere.  I’ve got my cozy little apartment with plenty of heat and blankets and Christmas Music.  Yep.  I’m a sucka…a few congealed frozen droplets of moisture start falling from heaven, coating every tiny branch of the now leafless tree out in front and creating an urban Ansel Adams-esque photo op, and I’m all about turning up the tunes.  Pandora radio is WONDERFUL for this type of thing.  Who wants to buy CD after CD of Xmas music, only to play it intermittently for three or four weeks a year?   Or dig out the old beautiful vinyl only to find out that your turntable hidden in the back of the closet is hidden there for the same reason it’s been there for the past few years…that you need a belt for it and it turns no more (for now, I keep telling myself)?  Nope.  Pandora rocks, it rolls, it swings, it just is awesome. Just type in any song or artist you are in the mood for and it will play music like that “seed” song/artist until the Apocolypse…or your internet fails, whichever (aren’t they the same thing?).

So, I’m just sitting here on the couch, my Chia-Butt thriving, thankful that I’m toasty and warm, with hot tea, an interactive “hot water bottle”…aka my cat…and Dean, Frank, Bing, Perry, Eartha, The Andrews Sisters and all those old-fashioned pop crooners.  And I’m as happy as a clam in Pismo Beach during the off-season…

It just better melt and be completely gone before Tuesday…or I’m gonna be one unhappy employee on their way to their first day at work…

© 2008 D. Kessler

I often wonder why it is that people settle in such cold climates.  I mean really…if it gets cold enough to make it a mortal mistake to be without shelter, you would think that there is something basically wrong with humans living there year round.  Oh, sure, it’s a wonderful place to live for two thirds or three quarters of the year…but if from the calends of December through to March we’re talking about sub-freezing temperatures, or worse, then I just don’t see the pay-off.  There is a reason human beings were nomadic in places like the Plains/Steppes etc.  Snow? Ice?  Blizzard Winds?? Frak that!  We’re outta here!  See ya in the Spring! 

Oh, sure…I’m just a big pussy.  I have thin skin.  I don’t have enough meat on my bones (or used to).  I’m just not used to the cold.  Blah-blah-blah.  I’ve heard it all.  I’ve also lived in quite a few different climates, thanks to a Sagittarius mom that seems to think that moving every few years was a good thing…call it a “fresh start” or “running from your demons” or “giving your kids a different perspective” or whatever else thing you want.  The down-side is we kids got to make new friends every few years…making my brother slightly more introverted, but me more social.  The “up”-side is we got to experience all sorts of different weather climes. 

Already familiar with the So Cal Coastal-Mediterranean climate, we packed up the VW and a friend’s car and trailer…off to the Willamette Valley in Oregon, we were.   To experience drenching rains for five or six months a year and to learn what frost was first hand (I’d never seen it before!).  After a few years, it was down to Cali again, but this time a northern inland hell misleadingly called The Sacramento Valley.  “Valley” sounds nice, right, pretty valley?  Nope…brown and dry and hot, hot, hot all summer and not a beach in sight (that’s just not right!).  I thought it could get no worse, but oh, no…I was wrong.   Let’s load up the kids and the dog and…It’s a Road Trip!!  To the South…Alabama, to be exact…complete with 90% humidity (whether it’s 98°F in summer or 35°F in winter), cockroaches the size of small mice in even the nicest homes, incessant buzzing outside from some scary-looking bug called a cicada, and let’s not forget the tornadoes (and the Klan marches…for real!).  That didn’t last long, only a year and a half.  Even my mother new that was a mistake…and so we were soon on our way back out west…California here we come!  So happy!  Wait…for some reason my mother got it in her head as we passed through Northern Arizona that the pines were so pretty and wouldn’t it be nice to live here and it’s only a day’s drive to the coast so we could visit Gram in California all the time…*sigh*  Bye-bye California, hello a different kind of hell. 

Now, Flagstaff, Arizona, is at an elevation of 7000 feet above sea level.  That’s higher than Denver.  That’s just ridiculous.  What that means is Flagstaff gets SNOW.  Yep.  Snow…in Arizona.  It gets mutha-fraking FREEZING cold.  I remember it being 12°F!  That’s just way wrong…almost as wrong as being below zero at night!  And we still have to go to school, we still have to learn to drive, we still have to function. 

So you see…I have some experience with different kinds of weather and have been in and out of cold for a long time.  But how people live in places like Fargo or Sheboygan or Fairbanks or [insert your town/city here]…I just don’t get it.  I would die.

Back to the here-and-now, my self-chosen hometown of Seattle is set this week to get the coldest weather we’ve had since 1990.  Yep, and I remember that winter…it was hella cold, and we got snow by the foot in the downtown core even.  It screwed with Joe Metro bad.  This week, Monday looks to be the coldest with a daytime high of 25°F.  Yeah, go ahead and laugh…we’re wussies here…but it’s still frakin’ COLD.  And Tuesday, the first day at my new job, is not going to be much better at 29°F.

Whoa…wait a minute, you say.  Job?  Did you say new job?? 

That’s RIGHT, Suckas!  I am unemployed no more!  I get to get up everyday while it’s barely light, just like a normal person, stumble through making coffee and making sure my clothes are on right-side out, ride Joe Metro downtown while putting on my makeup and not come home until it’s dark again (that can be anytime after 4:00 pm this time of year around here).  Whoo-hoo!  After six months, I’m ready for this again.

So, that’s it today, Kids.  I am thankful for my new job.  Thankful that my spouse doesn’t have to pull out his slightly thinning mop worrying that he isn’t writing enough music to cover the bills.  Thankful that I will once again have my own money and not have to ask him for funds for everything from drugstore staples to a beer and a burger.

And it’s about time.

© 2008 D. Kessler

I am a mortal.  I live I die. I will hopefully pass the torch to those that may  further my criteria for integrity in life. But it may not happen.  In fact, I’m not banking on it.  Even though I have the most pristine amazing most perfect specimen of the human consciousness as my offspring, I cannot bank on the age old tradition of her furthering my agenda…and that’s more than okay.  I want my daughter to take my input and turn it into her own thing. Such is the nature of evolution.

What I really mean to say is that I think that my daughter, free independent thinker that she is, will probably take what I say and do and incorporate it into her ethic and eventually my “legacy” (if that is what is it) will root and grow through her.  But I will never ever expect her to favor my agenda over hers.  To do so would burn my bridge from behind.  Nullify all that I am.

I’m a bit emotional right now…

I bring this up because I just found out that a woman that I have held in such Bettie Page immensely high esteem for most of my adult life has passed from this plane.  She is gone.  She was a Taurus, like me.  She was a dark haired rogue, like me.  She was born in the year 1923…the number that has followed me my whole life.  Ms. Bettie Mae Page, at age 85, in her mortal self, passed into the infinite.  I hope she is not too late to meet my brother JD on her way to Bliss.  Because, even though I never met her or knew her personally, she has she been part of my family…to me.

I am actually surprised at myself for being so emotionally disturbed by her passing.  I think it may be a little bit of the fact that some people seem to be above and beyond…don’t they always live?  They always will be?  They always will exist…won’t they?  But then…by brother didn’t, so I guess neither do they, these “others” that we feel will always be…

Bettie Page age 80 I am hoping that maybe my brother is still hanging out there somewhere in the Outer Zone…and maybe will get to meet and help Ms. Page along her way.  He was always a big fan.

That said…is there anything here I can glean for my “thanks” assignment?  Yes…maybe…well, no…I dunno…maybe.  For sure…I am thankful for Ms. Bettie Mae Page.  She became, by no intention of her own, a beacon, an icon, a immortal blessing to all GRRLs that thrive on individuality and independence and Do-For-Yourselfness.  I cried tonight.  I will forever feel her absence…

I will always miss you, my sweet Bettie.  You have helped me become who I am…and I thank you.  All us Grrls thank you.

© 2008 D. Kessler

Here I am surfing around the net in my pre-posting tradition, catching up on my fave blogs and such and I come across…this.  I started to comment, as I felt compelled to do so, and suddenly realized I had way too many words for a comment.  I started to be one of those that comment so long that you wonder why did they just start their own post on the subject and just leave a short comment with their link to their longer one.  Those kind of comments kind of drive me mad.

EmilyStrange The gist of the post (as well as this one and this one)  is whether Emily the Strange was actually plagiarized from a children’s book character named Rosamond.  Now, I’m not condoning plagiarism by any means…but before we start laying blame and calling names and demanding retribution, one needs to think about and maybe research a few things.  Such as, there is something called public domain and whether or not the copyrights were still in effect at the time of Emily’s “creation”…and also, how long can one claim copyright infringement after such a possible hypothetical infringement has been discovered…etc.

Now, I may seem short-sighted here, but the line that most disturbs me in the post I just read, actually, is this: 

“Emily’s claim to fame is that she is one of the biggest sellers at Hot Topic.  She was specifically created for marketing.”

I completely disagree.  That’s putting the cart before the horse.  The fact is Hot Topic found her and has exploited her to the down-and-dirtiest sense.  I have a bit of perspective on this worth mentioning, and here it is.  

The timeline, as far as I can tell, looks like this:

The book in question, Nate the Great Goes Undercover: published in 1978

Hot Topic Stores: first open doors in 1988

Emily the Strange:  created by Nathan Carrico in 1991 for Santa Cruz Skateboards as a sticker. 

Then Carrico’s friend Rob (Reger) started Cosmic Debris (also in Santa Cruz) and acquired Emily, creating cheap silk-screened t-shirts with her image.  I have one of these original shirts…somewhere in my storage unit, but it’s there and it’s mine.  It says, “Emily didn’t aim high…she aimed low” and shows Emily with cats in tow, brandishing a sling-shot aimed at a bullying boy in the distance.  I’m pretty sure Rosamond doesn’t do that the book, I can assure you!

At the time I was working in an independent alternative clothing store downtown Seattle (we’ll call it “The Viv”), which also had two other locations in key districts in the urban core. The clientele were mostly skater-types, club kids and goth/batcavers…and because of our downtown location near the Pike Place Market, we also got a lot of tourists and sometimes a celebrity or two. Our buyer/asst manager worked directly with Rob and Cosmic Debris, having known Rob when she lived/worked/played in the Bay Area, and we first carried the stickers and then the t-shirts when they became available. 

The way a small business like ours would acquire the merchandise is basically like this:  Our buyer “N”  would hook up with Rob and/or his team at low-end expo-type conventions held two or three times a year.  Start-up manufacturers, such as Cosmic Debris was at the time, would have stalls with samples only to show.  After the order was solidified…after and during a few days of partying with said vendors…the vendor (Rob and team) would scurry back to Santa Cruz to screen and print ’til the wee hours of many morns to fill their orders, including ours. This business model means that they really only could market mostly to small independent retail businesses.

While all this was happening in the early-mid-90s, Hot Topic was not yet near the huge conglomerate it is now.  We didn’t yet have one in Seattle during this time…at least not in the urban core…and they did not yet carry anything Emily.  When Hot Topic finally did come to urban Seattle a few years later, “The Viv” started to loose sales and eventually closed it doors, one by one. Our hip 20-something staff moved on, moved up and some moved away:  N went to NYC to work for Ralph Lauren; J went work at Barney’s, got married and had children; and I became a Corporate Whore slaving for a Fortune 500 company in Seattle.   Eventually, I noticed that Hot Topic (where I would now go to get cool cheap hosiery, because The Viv was gone and Nordroms is too expensive and doesn’t have the kind of selection I like) started carrying Emily merchandise…and boy was there A LOT of it now! 

It is obvious to me that Rob struck a deal with Hot Topic to carry Emily stuff and it has been instrumental in skyrocketing his company’s success.  Good for him!  (Go Rob!) Does he or Hot Topic owe the creators of the Nate the Great children’s books?  I don’t know, but I think not.  Emily has become something entirely different than Rosamond…if she was indeed ever exactly like her to begin with.  A little sticker design, inspired by a character in a book, mutated and expanded into the phenomenon it is now.  And I, for one, am actually glad because Emily, who actually looks almost exactly like I did “back in the day” 15 years ago, has reached more children, young adults and yes, even the old fogies that are their parents, than Rosamond ever could have.  And for that I am thankful.

Yep, Thankful.  Thank you Nate and Rob for your fun, dark take on what so many of us were thinking and feeling growing up and even still in our young adulthood.  Thank you, Cindy, for hiring me to work in your store so I could find Emily before she became the mutated marketing windfall she has become.

And thank you, N, J, M, and D for all the fun-filled hours at work, picking up after the likes of Dennis Rodman and others that came to shop there…all the while dancing through the racks to some of the best music of the 90’s.

And by the way…since Emily looks just like I did back then, do I get to claim some sort of monetary recognition from Nate and Rob and Hot Topic?  I mean, come on, really…

© 2008 D. Kessler

I am officially a Lame-o.  One that is lame.  A slacker that sucks.  Yep, that’s me.

Of course, I’m not so down on myself to be applying that to every part of my life.  No, no…I’m definitely a lame-o, but only as it applies to selected areas of expectations.

I suck at commitment to little things.  Oh, I’m great at commitment to big-ticket things like:  being committed to my relationship with my spouse, sticking to the same job until way past when my psyche needs me to pack it in and find something better, making sure we have all the necessary traditional items on the table at name-your-holiday-here.  I can definitely be counted on to be there if you’re having a crisis and you need me to sleep over to make sure you don’t slit your wrists or other vital artery-holding area of the body. And, yes, I seem to have helped more than my fair share of friends move.

But then there are the things I really, really want to do that I just give the shaft or screw up in some way.  Like seriously planning on signing up for pottery classes and even telling some friends so I’ll be more likely to follow through…but it never happens.  Or, wanting to learn French and thinking that that Rosetta Stone program looks like a good idea…but when I got my 401K cashed out and I had the money to spend on the full deal…nope, didn’t happen.  Oh, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve joined a gym and end up paying for months that I don’t ever step into the place.  This last time really sucked because the gym was only three blocks away from home, one block away from work (in the same direction as home) and I just stopped going after three  or four months…always planning on going back though, because I would see it there every day…except that then the building got sold and so the gym closed and now I’m S.O.L.  Then there was this week-end…two shows I wanted to see with friends I haven’t seen in a while, and I didn’t show up for either one!  Well, it’s true I can’t really afford to go out to see bands at the moment, what with me outta a job and dependant on my spouse for the frivolous funds…but still!  I told people I would try to make it..and I meant it!  And, of course, let’s not forget about how my NaNoWriMo word count was higher than I’ve ever achieved in one short month…no, ever.  But I didn’t even get half-way to the 50K goal…and it’s totally do-able if I would have just written everyday, just a little, not even 2000 words each day.

Really, I’m doing all this bashing myself over the head because I realized something very late last night…around 2:00 am, actually.  I totally screwed up and did not post yesterday…AT ALL.  There goes my “31 posts in 31 days”…there goes my “I did this!” pride swelling my ego even more…there goes my promise to you all reading this slog.  I just kept putting it off all day…because Sundays are so nice and lazy sometimes and the couch felt good and I had my hubby home and we just were LAA-ZEE.  Oh, I’ll write later…I don’t have any words right now…I’m so sleepy-comfy…I have all day…I have ’til mid-night even…I…

Oh, frak…it’s not Sunday anymore.  I screwed up.  Then I even entertained the idea of posting anyway, at 2 am, as it would be something and even though the calendar wouldn’t recognize it as a post for Sunday I would, and I would write again for Monday like usual.  But I didn’t have any words because my brain was dragging out all the things that I suck at and making me feel like you-know-what.  It kind of slaughtered any words that might have been hanging out waiting for the right time and the rest of the words to come cluster together with them to make some sort of coherent…something.  In fact, I still don’t really have anything to say about my assigned December topic of “thanks”.  I’m thankful for…what?  Being a lame-o?

Hmm…maybe I can turn this around and say…well…

I’m thankful for lazy Sunday afternoons.  The ones that have a bit of autumn chill, but not the energy-sapping wind that can often accompany them.  The ones that have the slight pitter-patter against the window and the broadleaf evergreen buses outside that make you drowsy and want a nice hot camomile tea with honey.  The ones that make you want to stay curled up inside on the couch with a book, or a couple of indy, foreign or b&w classic films…you, your loved-one and the furry feline all in a tangled web of grandma’s home knitted/crocheted throws…what we call a “Cat Pile” in our house.

That’s what I got.  That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.  You don’t’ like it, well, too bad.  (Any others I’m missing here?)

And I am sorry for any of you that stopped by on Sunday to find a re-run from the day before…really I am.  We’ll try not to let it happen again, at least not this month.

But then…I am a Lame-o, ya know, and it might…but I hope not…

© 2008 D. Kessler

Food.  Ya gotta eat it or you die.  Fun, huh?  

You take some substance that used to be living…some plant or animal or derivative of such…kill it and maybe subject it to heat for a period of time in order to break down the molecular structure, therefore making it easier for your body to extract and utilize its nutrients.  Then you put in it your mouth and mix it around with bodily fluids that contain enzymes that even further break down its molecular structure, mashing and grinding it with the bone-bits protruding from your gum tissue, eventually transforming the dead plant/animal part into a pulpy and slightly lumpy paste.  After the paste is the sufficient gross-out texture, a slimy muscle in your mouth, with weird tiny bumps all over it, maneuvers the paste to the back of the mastication zone and shoves is down a tube which in turn squeezes the paste along its entire length to a bag full of acid where it sits fermenting for a few hours before being flushed into another extremely long tube that constricts and releases in turn, moving the paste-acid concoction along its entire length of anywhere from 20 to 27 feet.  Along its journey, the convulsing tube will extract moisture and elements that the body deems necessary.  After the concoction has run the gambit, the body, via the convulsive-tube-organic-extruder-machine pushes whatever it can’t use out your ass.

Yummy, huh?

Why do we do it? I mean…yeah, yeah, ya gotta eat or you die, but we do it far more than we should.  According to the CDC, over one third of adult Americans are obese.  Obviously, some part of it the aforementioned process is enjoyable.  To quote a certain very annoying Alaskan Governor…Ya betcha! 

Pile on all that ooey-gooey cheese on a chewy-crunchy carb-filled crust and add your choice of fatty animal-based proteins chock full o’ spices and smoky goodness!  A single slice of Domino’s Pizza can have 30 gm of fat, and 47 gm of carbs…and we all know we can’t eat just one slice!  Add one single 12 oz beer to that and you’ve added another 12 to 20 gm of carbs.  Ah-haah…it’s starting to make sense.

Also ever notice how good pizza is when you’ve got a hang-over?  I swear the best hang-over food is pizza, Mexican or Chinese food.  Why?  Um…the excessive carbs, protein and fat help to repair your battered body tissue is my guess.  And thank Zeus you can get it delivered!  ‘Cause you know the last thing in the world you want to do is get dressed and go out in public with a groggy cloud of what feels like fiberglass insulation wrapped around your head and scouring your eyeball sockets.

So, kiddies…that’s where we have ended up, right next to the “Name Your Item of Thanks Here” ATM-thingy:

I am thankful for DELIVERY.  The delivery of Dominos Pizza, the delivery of Chen’s Chinese Cuisine, the delivery of Insert-Your-Favorite-Establishment-Here.  Oh yes…because HELLL no, was I gonna get my ass anywhere near any place today that anyone could see me.  Not after last night at The Mecca with Cory and Dave and Attilla and Stevo and Kirsten and Erica and Andrea and Kaitryn…and whoever else I saw there last night in my celebratory haze.

HELLL no.  Give me the dark, comfy cave of my apartment and the glow of my ‘puter and some ooey-gooey cheesy goodness…and I’m back to sleep now…

© 2008 D. Kessler

Mention the term Happy Hour to just about any American and you won’t have to explain what that means.  It conjures up visions of frosty glasses of beer, a myriad of various cocktails and cheap food, usually appetizers.  It also brings to mind the huge sigh of relief that is the end of the work-day, sometimes an early end on Fridays, and hanging out with friends, acquaintances and even your neighborhood Officer Friendly, all in varying states of soberness, or rather, drunkenness.  It gives a nice warm glow to the deep emotional center of a person, usually erroneously attributed to the pumping organ known as the heart.  And no, no one ever drives home after Happy Hour…no, no, never.

However, just 75 years and one day ago, this haven of contentment could not legally exist.  Can you imagine getting off work, harrowed and worn out, and having to go home to…a glass of milk?  Or a lemonade?  A cup of coffee or tea?  I mean, come on!  What kind of reward is that?  Milk…gas.  Lemonade…acid reflux.  Coffee or tea…case of the jitters, irritability and possibly the digestive plagues already aforementioned.  What a raw deal!

Yep.  Thanks to the 18th Amendment to the Constitution of the US of A, enacted across the land in 1920, that lovely frosty beer whetting your whistle on a hot August evening after work, that gin and tonic or whiskey coke with your buddies at a friendly neighborhood establishment, served by a cynical or friendly Joe the Bartender, were not only scarce, but worse….illegal.  You might be able to risk a speakeasy in a remote alley later in the evening, but daylight hours, at the corner cafe?  Uh-uh.  No can do.  And definitely not with Officer Friendly…unless he was on the take.

December 5th, 1933 changed all that.  Bathtub gin…bye-bye.  Mob-run speakeasy…not so many and not so profitable anymore.  ‘Cause, by Jove!  FDR says it’s OK to have a beer, says it’s OK to toast your glass of scotch!  And when Utah finally…the last of 36 states…voted on the 21st Amendment to say OK too, that was it!  Over here in Seattle, the State of Washington had already ratified the new amendment back in October, and so eager were Seattle-ites to get the ball rolling and jump off that Wagon of Woe that the City Council already had an emergency ordinance drawn up just waiting for the Mayor to sign it…which he did immediately…and voila!  The Mecca Cafe on Queen Anne Hill/Uptown is purportedly the very first bar in Seattle to legally serve up a beer on that very day, December 5th, 1933!  At least, that’s how the history on the back of the menus used to tell it…and I say bully for them! 

So, today’s trite topic of “Thanks” goes like this:

Liberty's Torch is lighted once more today_1933 - courtesty Seattle Post-IntelligencerI’m thankful…so very thankful…for the 21st Amendment to the Constitution of  the United States of America.
And for the beverages, which now so freely flow.
One nation, now drunken, be they morose or happy,
Enjoying tranquility and Sodden Debauchery for all.

And now, off to The Mecca, such a short stone’s throw from my abode, in celebration!

*holding invisible glass high*

Slainte! Salude! Cheers!


© 2008 D. Kessler

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