Nymph, In Thine Orisons Be All My Sins Remembered

I really fucking hate it when someone tries to bring me to Jesus just as I am gearing up for a set on the parallel footplate stack sled machine.

See, I had just one skinny hour in the middle of the afternoon today, on account a good regular client called and asked desperation if I had time for him in his hour of pain, so I whirled into the gym, knocked out my twenty minutes on the resistance bike, stretched, and hit the weight stations. Days like this you do not mess with things that need plates loaded. I was knocking out my second round, not as good as an angle press (see header) or a Smith squat say, but it will get you through, and this amiable white-polled geezer, not bad looking for seventy plus, tall, slightly stooped, mooched up on the other side of the footplate to ask about my stretch movements. Was it for the body problem I had? (Sadly, some days my old leg injury still means I carry a walking pole into the gym, inevitably when a low pressure system is bearing down; people must be fairly mindfucked to see me using a light cane and then jamming up a sled with ten wheels on it, but that’s their problem.) Yeah, I said, explaining about dance stretches and the proprietary workout I had lifted them from, while he nattered about his wife going to Curves (blergh) and then suddenly asked “Is the Bible ever a part of your thinking?”

No, I said, I am a Pagan on even numbered days and an agnostic on odd ones.

He forged ahead regardless. It didn’t matter, had I ever…

Not interested, I said. Really not up for talking about it right now.

Well had I heard about the woman with an issue of blood…

Ferfrigsake you Morlock, do I look like someone who doesn’t have a degree in Languages and Literature and hasn’t made a study of comparative religions? Oh right, I’m on this weight machine in a string tank.

And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, 26And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, 27When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. 28For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. 29And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. 30And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?

You septuagenarian opportunist, you saw me limping on a wet day and now you want to persuade me that Jeebus will heal me. Right? I HAVE TWENTY MINUTES TO WORK OUT AND THIS IS NOT THE TIME.

He reluctantly buggered off before I could tell him to bugger off. Or point out that he was in my house of worship, goddammit, and he was interrupting me at my prayers.

I gotta say, my workout volume was pretty massive, given the brief time I had.

He comes at me again, I won’t be so nice. For Christ’s sake. In a manner of speaking.

 

 

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The Nuptial Vultures

Nuptial Vultures

So I went to a Ukrainian wedding. I trained for this by singing with a German chorus for several years, and surviving the dinner dances that followed their concerts, though I forebore to mention anything about this to the celebrants; the bride’s mother had told me years back about Wehrmacht soldiers billeted in her house when she was seven. Still, if you have danced with a good whack of booze in you while someone worked the squeezebox, you are prepped for this kind of thing. One of the guests bent in toward me and the Engineer later and congratulated us on being able to keep up.

Eastern Rite Catholic wedding traditions are something to witness. Most of the service is sung. The priest could have given aces and spades to the choir’s entire tenor section, and I think we have all heard that Saint Paul cantrip about Love Is Patient And Kind enough times to make our eyes glaze over, but I’d never heard it done in Gregorian style, about the only part of the service that was in English. Foliage was everywhere.

The church was a little traditional keepsake box built entirely of timbers — I think the bride told me there was not a nail in it, old country craftsmanship — surrounded by new growth woods north of the city. As we approached it, looking for the entrance, two vultures settled on the roof tree. While we watched, they scrabbled around on the slope of the roof shingles several times, using their wings for lift.

I do not know the significance of this as a wedding omen. I’m going to go with one of those counterintuitive “good luck” things, like the Italian tradition if a bird shits on you. Maybe it’s a thing and they live there like the ravens at the Tower. I’m just kind of afraid to ask.

Hope Never Dies

I am still here.

I honestly don’t know when I’ll feel like writing again about the antics of cats, garden insurrections, the droll wisecracks of my Engineer sweetheart or gym idiocy. The dumpster fire (yesterday I saw the term “diaper fire”) of our current rolling crisis has eaten my brain alive, what is left after adjusting for stubborn post-injury pain that I don’t even want to talk much about. I spend way too much time on Twitter, hoping to make an early catch of good news when it does happen. Concentration is hard.

But every once in a while something comes along:

I used to faithfully read a series by Elliott Roosevelt, yes, that Roosevelt family, featuring his mother Eleanor as the Miss Marple-like sleuth in a series of pulpy murder mysteries. They weren’t terribly good, but they weren’t terribly bad either, and featured striking cameos like a house party involving Humphrey Bogart, or an open air fish fry where poor Southern African-Americans dynamited or telephoned the fish (I forget which) and entertained the First Lady to dinner. They were just cute, friendly books, the kind that telegraph that nobody really got hurt, this is just made up, we’re playing let’s pretend.

Hope Never Dies is a lot more noir. But funny noir, even with its glum reminders of why our heroes Barry and Joe are private citizens now, free (except for a disapproving Secret Service detail) to be pursuing a string of clues in a suspicious death. The cliches are all there and they’re delicious: the surprise midnight appearance at Joe Biden’s home, the mysterious woman, the planted stash, the hard-boiled similes (“I crossed the yard as fast as a dog licking a dish”). Shaffer can write. I’m devouring this thing, but not too fast; I need some time out from the nonstop battering of the Trump administration. And having written local politicians into a murder mystery myself, I feel like I now have a posse.

On the other hand, there is this, from the same author.

Creepily, it was published before the 2016 election. What did he know and when did he know it? Can I stand to read it?

And I am really not sure about

I think it deserves a read for the pen name alone, though. News as I get it.

 

Something Is Up In The Kitchen

My sweetie was away for two weeks tubing on the Niobrara River and chilling at a cabin on a Maine lake, and all I got was this questionable tea towel.

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(Disclaimer: I don’t travel well, I don’t do togetherness with families much better, and someone had to stay home and feed the cats. I haven’t gotten on a plane since 9/11 and don’t plan to. I was fine with this.)

It’s supposed to be a towel or decorative hanging for Sumo fans. I ask you: is wrestling the first thing you think of,

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or is this gay household porn for guys who prefer chubby guys?

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Vote in comments. I’m not sure what to do with it.

The Haunted Bijoona

*

Does anything actually work the way it is supposed to any more? I am on my third washing machine in a decade. My refrigerator, which replaced a sturdy sale model with eighteen years of service, has been repaired twice. And now I have, not only a bijoona, but a disturbingly, authentically haunted bijoona.

This is, to recap, the commode I had installed a shave over three years ago to replace the one that served the first floor of the house loyally for the Biblical three score years and ten. So of course before it was really even seasoned into its job, something had to happen. The eve of Thanksgiving, 2015, in the middle of a wiring upgrade which was supposed to be done by early November and continued till January, The Bijoona suddenly fell prey to an affliction whereby either the bowl would empty completely and not refill, or fill to the brim and decline to drain.

The Engineer, inevitably, was out for the evening rescuing an idiot, a hobby which he has gradually, thankfully abandoned, but that left me here with a holiday weekend, a spanking-new commode sticking out its tongue at me, and the Internet. Hot water was recommended: “Do not use boiling hot water as it can crack the porcelain. The water should be the temperature of the hottest tea you would drink.” These are not thoughts you like to connect to a plumbing fixture. I doughtily boiled water, let it cool, poured, plunged, and wondered idly if the electrician, an ADD poster child who left a trail of tools and personal effects and could never show up when promised, might have dropped his cell phone in there and flushed it. Right about when I hit the brink of despair the goddam thing finally worked. Just in time for the Engineer to get home.

We had one other episode of that, and then, about two months ago, something snapped in the flapper assembly and I had to shorten the chain so that the flap would come up. Not long after, it started running steadily after you flushed; the flapper wouldn’t seat unless you diddled the handle in just such a way, a very tiresome process on which to coach clients, all of whom not only want to use the bathroom but explain, with great specificity, why they need to pee at that exact moment. I got nothing here. I just always assumed that using the bathroom was a given and that you didn’t need to identify the cause (coffee, green tea, honey I really DON’T care.)

One of the clients, a dear man who can talk till my eyes glaze over about the clever improvements he is incessantly making in his own house. insisted on opening the tank and adjusting a screw. “That will fix it,” he announced. Yeah right.

Then, about a week ago, I heard a dire moan: a human, B-horror-movie sound issuing weirdly from the bathroom. Water chugged briefly in the pipes and quit with a squeak. It sounded as if someone had had a disturbing gastric episode.

Every so often it happens again. Marley’s Ghost with diarrhea.

So, has this been the problem all along? I call a business that I trusted and they unload a haunted commode on me, like a British estate agent played by Christopher Lee foisting the psychopompous ancestral property on a clueless American couple? The Engineer says it’s just a pressure thing in the pipes, but he’s an engineer and has to think that way.

I haven’t sat down so cautiously since the rat came up through the U-bend. Updates as they occur.

__________________

*Enjoy the Clancy brothers singing about a haunted privy. These guys were a joy to me in my teenage years.

 

 

The English Bach

This is not actually a post about music.

What happened was, Sebastian, my faithful handbuilt desktop of ten years (my Engineer spec-d it out, I passed screwdrivers and told him what I needed it to do) started crashing a couple of weeks ago. Repeatedly. The mail program, the browser, the whole damn OS. It accelerated over a period of 48 hours to the point I would have been frantic without a laptop in the house. A client who gets paid to understand computers all day (and very probably emulate Russian hackers as a security geek, for the military) said it sounded like a hard drive problem to him, with an explanation that matched the observed gyrations.

(I named him Sebastian because the case is a Bach VX, even though I lean more to late Romantic than Baroque. It seemed only natural.)

So we tottered out to Micro Center and bought a new hard drive, even though the old one was not even two years old — I’ve had a defective hard drive before — and the Windows 10 OS for the heck of it, since one thing Sebastian had apparently not been able to do for months was update Windows 7. Some of this is chargeable against tax. This is the excuse I use.

A few hours later, we had everything installed, restored, activated and updated, and I set to work. It was nice. Windows 10 was fast and so was the new drive. I used it through Monday, annoyed only to note that every time the computer slept, it woke up thinking it was September. All those site certificates out of date. I got really tired of resetting the clock.

Then Thunderbird started crashing again. Then everything. Three blue screens in a row. I haven’t seen a blue screen since Windows XP.

“I think it’s the motherboard,” I said, pointing out the clock issues. We reflected that the motherboard was ten years old.

Newegg ships in a day if you pay a modest fee. We got a new motherboard and a power supply, considering there were possible power issues in some of the crap we saw.

Everything went together fairly well, and because I am anal-retentive about things like this, we had all the manuals for the remaining hardware, and it powered up and today we loaded everything back on it. It was so new by this time that I named it after Sebastian Bach’s son, Johann Christian, also known as the “English Bach” from his main stomping grounds (he is buried in England, and the royal family endowed his widow). I decided to start this post by searching up a music video of one of his concertos, which Mozart admired.

The audio burred. The browser crashed. The system blue-screened.

  1. The audio card may be poorly seated.
  2. The MEMORY_MANAGEMENT crash makes me wonder about the RAM. The memory sticks are one of the few pieces of hardware not updated so far.
  3. If it is about a couple of sticks of RAM, despite the fact I love the new OS and zippy startup, that percussive sound you hear will be me rhythmically and repeatedly slamming my forehead into the especially stout and unyielding plaster walls of my 1940’s-built residence.

In the meanwhile, enjoy some music.