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Showing posts from September, 2018

We Are No Longer Other - Redefine America as a Teenage Girl

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I watch all the foreign detective shows on Netflix (foreign here means with subtitles and not filmed in the U.S.) Since I was old enough to stay up and watch The NBC Mystery Movie I've been enthralled by the idea of resolution - questions answered, circle completed. I learned from TV detectives that it's a thing to make observations and calculate. My young brain was so happy. Columbo, Quincy M.E., and MacMillan and Wife were my childhood role models.

I make assumptions that the host culture's authentic nature is reflected in the narrative of my foreign detective shows. Right now I'm watching The Method, which is set in Moscow. I compare it to my Russian archetype which is mostly built from Stalinist-era literature and Ukrainian lifeguards - agreed that this is not a very stable archetype, but the TV show is fitting well enough within it.

Long ago I sought to identify White People culture in America. My friends who are not white people often use the pronoun "we&qu…

Babel - Flash Fiction

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Sasha is furiously washing the dishes in the kitchen sink. The sun is rising, and Jacob is sitting quietly at the computer with his game. She's furious because he's been there since midnight, when Sasha went to bed, watched an episode and a half of House, hoping for company, eventually falling asleep; still there when she awoke unsettled because there was no-one beside her. Because Sasha thought she'd have a glass of warm milk and go back to bed, but found all the dishes still dirty in the sink like they were two days ago when she challenged Jacob to wash them. He would, he'd said, after his game.

In fact, there wasn't a clean cup for the milk. And here is Sasha, hands in the sink, washing.

"Why do I even believe you?" she mutters as she furiously scrubs.

"Huh?" Jacob more grunts than questions, and his back is still toward the kitchen. Were there any other living thing in the room, the grunt would not have been credited to Jacob, because he is…

A Series of Nevers vs. Violation of Ethics, aka Don't Lie About Peshawari Naan *UPDATE*

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So here's what happened:  I just wanted roti canai. But on my way out of work I saw a car on the parkway, driver door open and person standing outside the car.  It's a dark curve with no shoulder - not a safe place to stop.  I slowed and rolled down my window to see if I could be of assistance; the person said everything was fine, so I kept going.

I went to the Asian market to get some frozen roti, and I left my purse in the car, which I never do. I put my wallet in my pocket and congratulated myself for being lighter.

I got really excited when I found a sign for Peshwari Naan, and then I got really tetchy when I dug through several rows of frozen bread and found none. You don't falsely claim to have Peshwari naan when there isn't any. That's just rude.

So I got the plain roti I'd come for. I went back to the car - my big ugly pink purse was gone.  The passenger window was still open, which is also something I never do. I could see it so clearly: who wouldn…

Bobby McGee and Thee - Port Arthur 2002 - Happy Birthday, Vickie

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"You want to go to the beach tonight?" Vickie's Texas drawl was hopeful; we were finally meeting in person after knowing each other through the hotel system for years. The beach south of Port Arthur was suggested by Vickie's friend, her guy friend, the one who (you could tell by the wistfulness in her voice) currently held her heart; the one she said was her best friend. I wouldn't have to drive, she said, because I'd been driving since California.

"Sure," I replied.  I'd just left the desert and hadn't seen the Gulf Coast, which holds a piece of my heart, in over a decade. Of course I wanted to go to the beach. The problem was this: I was too old to innately know this was Spring Break, and there would be no beach to be seen.

It was joyous mayhem. There were jeeps and Beetles driving up and down the sandy shore, campfires burning, hippies dancing...

Around the other side of  Vickie's car a particularly greasy young man was sitting on a …

My Weekend As a Pirate, aka Abbeyville

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Abbey the Cockatiel* eyeballs me from her cage - a weird game of hide-and-seek because she wants to be afraid, label me the Debbil, but can't stand to be ignored. We know this game, yeah? Funny that non-humans play it too, or maybe no surprise.

While I watch TV she navigates through the open door of her cage onto the floor, but when I acknowledge her she retreats into her safe space.

I get it, Abbey; do your bird thing.
Abbey's momma, Chantelle, asked how much I charged to birb-visit and whether I was willing to barter. I love barter, but I can use cash. I said I wanted a Cuban; I should have known she'd have one already. It was on the counter with the cash and a box of matches next to a list of Abbey-care instructions.

I call Abbey's name and whistle as instructed; she whistles back in response. I take a risk and put my hand in the cage, knowing she might bite me. I'm surprised when she steps calmly onto my wrist like it was what she wanted all along. Maybe it was…

Brewing - a story of faith and New Orleans

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The sky this morning is pale ocean blue - dull and thick with the water that lingers on the edge of a coastal storm. I made coffee last night, because I'm gross and like it room temperature and also like to grab it when I first wake up at dawn's early crack so I can coffee nap. Yes, this really works.

Hurricane Florence is pummeling the Carolinas; Abby the Cockatiel and I watched CBS coverage for a few hours yesterday. Most of the interviewed voices reiterated that they felt lucky and ready to get back to work; I heard someone say the one thing they would like donated is cleaning supplies. My heart gets happy to hear a pragmatic person speaking to the world.

I started watching a TV show called The First, starring Sean Penn (Abby didn't seem interested.) It's set in New Orleans, a city that will always hold a piece of my heart and soul. The city itself is a cliché for something that cannot be explained because it's incarnations deep. The home in the TV show probabl…

Conceptual Skeletons, Forced Matching and Poetry in Debism

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Conceptual Skeleton is my new favorite thing, because it forces a match between two of my pre-existing favorite things, concepts and skeletons. This week's GEB book club reading - we're working through Chapter XIX - was really all about me and my methods in writing, especially poetry. I figured it out thanks to Sherlock.

I see a pattern between disparate words or processes and I squeeze until I can draw a metaphor over them, forcing a match. The metaphor drawn and applied is a conceptual skeleton. Skeletons work nicely because the variety of bones and joints makes the concept flexible enough to drape over something unlikely, and then it can be pushed around until it seems to fit.

I am not ashamed to admit I don't know how many times I've watched all episodes of Sherlock. While I was reading GEB, Season 3 Episode 1 was playing on the TV and something gelled. If this is about to be a spoiler, shame on you. You should have already seen this show.

I think it's the 3rd …

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, Because It's Hallowed.

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My sweet and bubbly personality is genuine, but so is my dark heart. I think dark may not mean the same thing to you that it does to me.

My birthday is right before Halloween; the world was just beginning to die when I was born. Orion watched over me every night.

I don't think that helps explain why I like bugs and lizards and bats. Especially bats. I can find an eye of calm in death metal. My favorite Christmas carol is God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.

Darkness is not creepy to me, but joyful. 

I like to play with the dark things - tales, emotions, creations - because they are beautiful. Dark is the other side of the earth from the sun; it's where you can see the stars and the moon, where creatures of the desert find it safe to come out from hiding. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is ultimately a story of hope, even if the hope is strangled by humanity.

Bones are organic matter allowing us to walk upright and feel superior. When bare and picked clean, they are evidence of a food…

Nemeses (Because There's Always a New One.)

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Yesterday was my long day. I'm frustrated that I left the kitchen with dishes in the sink, even though it's nothing new. I give myself all the mom-lectures: why are you stepping over the boots instead of putting them away? Why didn't you prepare your lunch last night? When are you going to promote yourself? I'm not sure whose voice that is.

I don't want to promote myself today. I don't want to attract people who think I'm awesome because of what I can produce. But that's not right, is it?

I want to attract people who enjoy my company while I oscillate from topic to topic, or avoid all topics entirely; who see me and love me for what I am and then leave me alone. There it is: don't ask me for anything, but like what I offer because I can afford to give it away. Is this fair, really, in the realm of friend-making? I don't know.

But what I can produce does represent me: these are my ugly babies. This is what I do. Everything that leaves my hands is…

Rules for The Dating Game [Lots of F-bombs Edit]

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My ultimate goal here is to get everybody to stop wasting time - their own and that of others. Before you hit "send" on that DM, or when you think she's out of your league, take a moment to review yourself.  Know yourself - every time you think you do, you really don't. Trust me on this one, because it's true of all humans. Keep the "I may be an idiot" door open at all times, but don't let knowing you might be an idiot stop you from living. Identify your end-goal: what do you want ultimately; what are you willing to accept? answer this question and then see #11. Take No for an answer. Take maybe for a "not likely" or really it's just no. See #12.DON'T FUCKING LIE. don't bullshit, don't twist options. In order to be successful on this point, you have to be solid on #1 and #2. Fakery evidences itself, always. It's just a matter of time.Don't make assumptions. If you need clarity, ask the question.Realise that the pers…

Your Uniform vs. Nobody Should Put Deb In Charge

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Your uniform is what you change into when  you get home from work, or your go-to when life insists  you have to put on pants. That favorite outfit you wear to meet new people is not your uniform - that's a presentation, like flip-charts and stuff. Your uniform doesn't care what lighting will be at the venue.

You adopted your uniform through trial, error, and input from all your senses. It's a protocol you set for yourself; it delineates your persona and also gives you a comfortable space.This skeleton shirt and my gray painting jeans are my uniform. It's too soon to tell, but I think my cowboy boots are turning into uniform as well.

Take a minute to think about what your uniform tells you about yourself.

It was decided I should run this week's Mosaic Writers meetup. This only looks like a big deal on paper; I've run meetings before and this one is pretty self-serving. My biggest duty will be to make sure nobody talks for too long. Thierry used to set a timer…

Things Which Are Not Mine To Carry, aka My Date With Satan

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I felt the trepidation within minutes of finalising plans. It comes with the territory when you agree to meet Satan at a pool-hall after work, or anywhere.

Satan and I have a long and varied history. The first and last thing  you need to know is that he groks me, for better or worse. I do my best to reciprocate, but I've always told him there were things I didn't wanna know. We haven't had face-time since 2002.

Some of the water under the bridge is toxic. If I were to learn next month that I'm dying, though, would I regret a lost chance to hug Satan? Probably, yeah; so we're going in, Legion. I am sure in my skin and not afraid I'll do something I'll later regret. I challenged myself to demonstrate my new ArchetypeMe, show-not-tell.

Man, we sure could have made a mess in the old days; we made excellent messes. Not tonight, Satan. Not tonight.

Satan has a loyal streak that's Hell-deep. It took him nearly an hour to park his truck safely so he could com…

How I Built ArchetypeMe

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Once you build a world in your own mind it is nearly impossible to deconstruct it. Reframing the components from which you built your world is much more feasible; it's easier to reassign pieces of an untruth than to make them go away.

This is how books and movies, for example, stick with us. We map them into memories. Done effectively, we can call up a world to visit where we haven't been and which as far as we know does not exist.

Applied to people, this can be useful, awkward or dangerous.

Here's what I mean: Archetype Me is a set of traits, interests, experiences, and skills. Actual Me also has habits, bodily functions, needs, and history; me's made of cells, bones and gravy. Stressors, triggers, bills to pay. All of that, not just what you think you understand about me, comes to the party when I show up.

I build an archetype of myself in my mind; I also have them for all the people I know. It's what humans do, how you think you know somebody and why you believ…

Dirt Catharsis - Like a Golem.

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You know this one: I went out to get the mail but I could not just walk past the bucket, the hedge clippers, and the weed-monster.

The stand of poke-berry was taller than I am; I wish I'd taken a before-photo.  We aren't ready for the after-  yet; the area looks like we're midway through a Marine's first haircut.

I do yard-work only when the landlords aren't home. It's not like they'll rush out and stop me, but I'm preventing an unknown awkwardness which makes sense to my inner mind. Some weird balance is struck; so be it.

It took a year of living here before I was comfortable making moves against the foliage. At first I wasn't sure how many of the cars coming and going actually belonged to the household or who was in charge of what duties.

Since the kids moved out, and it's just Mr. and Mrs., I have a good sense of what gets done and why - time and mobility limits most likely apply. Also, I now get paid to feed their cat when they travel, wh…