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June 29 1998, Monday



  started work on a musings-promotional flyer that I will post in the towns that I travel through during my imminent road trip. The flyer features a snapshot of Theresa Venesian (at her insane best) as the eye-catching graphic. I've come to the realization that one of the things the musings has always had going for it was my occasional inclusion of images of writhing goth girls decked out in distressed Victorian finery. Writhing goth girls seem to be eye-catchers as well as crowd pleasers, so how better to illustrate a musings promotional flyer?

I stopped at Two Moons on the way back to the Wertland Mansion to get myself a black bean and rice burrito. The waitress was blond, what a surprise; I'd thought the proprietress only hired long-haired brown haired womyn.

I usually get the super-hot gallina sauce on my burrito, but I guess they must have changed the recipe, because by the time I was done eating it, my mouth was on fire.


  eventually bought myself a 32 ounce Mickeys, but I didn't drink it right away, heading off yet again to Cocke Hall to work on my poster. But the Mickeys was still fairly cold by the time I opened it up, on the front porch of the Wertland Mansion with Wacky Jen and Deya. They were drinking Haffenreffer Malt Liquor out of cans. It seems we'd independently decided to drink malt liquor on this hot summer day, much like Leibniz and Newton independently inventing Calculus.

As usual, we discussed a wide range of topics, but the most interesting of these was perjorative terms for women. It all started with a discussion of the fact that this somewhat crunchy girl named Jenna has finally decided that Jessika is "cool" (chinese). At one time, however, Jenna thought that Jessika was actually two different people, a "bitchy" aloof girl wearing a blue wig and retro glasses, and another, more pleasant, girl (also named Jessika!) with bleached blond hair and no glasses at all. Wacky Jen and Deya were of the opinion that "bitch" was one of the worst things one girl could call another, that it was a "fighting word." I said I didn't think so, that it seemed to imply a certain amount of respect. But then, I really only know how the term is used by men. When a man calls a woman a "bitch," it usually is an expression of frustration over the fact that she won't have sex with him. If a man calls a woman a "slut," however, he has absolutely no respect for her at all. Deya and Wacky Jen responded that, at least among the women they know, "bitch" also implies sexual things, but that it usually is used as a label for women who use sex as a means for social advancement. There are certain kinds of people who will always find themselves being called "bitch," while there are others who will probably never be labeled with the term. And then there are those who sometimes are, and sometimes are not:

frequently called "bitch"

  • Joanna Road Rage
  • Elizabeth (former housemate)
  • Jen Fariello

sometimes called "bitch"

never called "bitch"

A strange little shrine on 12 and a Half Street off Wertland. An evidently very religious guy lives in an adjacent basement apartment and has built this shrine advising people to get to know Jesus. I can't figure out whether the beer cans are included to deliver an anti-alcohol message or whether they are just decorations.

Meanwhile, several bloodthirsty exotic Tiger Mosquitos were flying around, occasionally biting us. I had no mercy, and wanted to kill them at each and every opportunity, but Deya was of a different mind entirely. She said that she almost never swats mosquitos, choosing to let them suck their fill of blood and fly away in peace. She claimed that swatting them is what causes the allergic reaction and swelling. To prove her point, she allowed a mosquito to suck blood freely and grow fat on her arm. Watching it do so gave me sympathetic itches all over both my arms, but I resisted the urge to reach out and smack it. Its abdomen grew thick and its undersurface glowed crimson. And then it suddenly flew away, straining its wings to fly its heavily-laden body over to some nearby bushes. Someday soon all that blood Deya donated will be translated into another generation in a long dynasty of irritations.

We went upstairs to watch the Simpsons, and then I gave my much neglected childhood friend Nathan VanHooser a call, inviting myself over. Since Deya and Wacky Jen didn't have anything else to do, I figured they might as well come along with me.

We stopped on the way, of course, to pick up some beer (Red Wolf and Natural Ice). Everybody likes beer on a hot summer day.


hen we arrived at Nathan's Little High Street abode, the man himself was just putting together the bottom bracket on the bicycle belonging to his wife, Janine. He'd replaced a full set of old bearings, but it hadn't been an easy task. The cotterless cranks, you see, had proved nearly impossible to remove. He'd pounded and pried and banged and hammered, using all kinds of different inappropriate tools, breaking some in the process, and leaving the cranks themselves dented and scratched. He'd been more careful with the crank that had the gears on it, removing it along with the crank axle and pounding out the axle using an ingenious set of makeshift tools consisting of a rebar punch and a wide plastic pipe.

"Haven't you ever heard of a cotterless crank remover?" I asked.

"A cotterless what?" he responded in dismay.

So I explained that there's a little five dollar tool you can buy in any bike shop that threads into the pivot center of each crank, and that once in place, you can screw in a little pusher screw that pushes the crank off the crank axle without any difficulty at all. Nathan was amazed to hear of such a thing, but he had to concede that bike shops "had to have a better way."

Janine arrived; she'd been off playing tennis or something. We all drank beers and talked about stuff. There was plenty to talk about: Wacky Jen's job working as a bartender in a sushi restaurant, Deya and I miraculously getting the deposit back from Godfrey Land Management, and many things about Harvey the Elderly Dog. Harvey, for those who've forgotten, is an ancient dog whom Nathan and Janine adopted well over a year ago. Being old and having lived a long and unknown life prior to wandering into his new human companions, Harvey is always a good source of conversational padding. He's got lots to talk about: his strange genitalia, his unflagging sex drive, his almost non-existent eye sight, his hip dysplasia, and the tale of the removal of a massive tumour from his belly.

Jen, Deya and I went with Nathan when he gave Harvey a walk around the neighborhood. All the cats seemed to know he was blind, staring at him sassily from across the street.

On Nathan's suggestion, we all moved out to the patio, where there's no furniture, only astro turf (a spartan æsthetic not surprising for a couple who met each other doing Peace Corps in the Gambia). Nathan and Janine were full of jokes and here are two that stick out in my mind:

joke number 1

Three nuns died and went to Heaven. Greeted by St. Michæl at the Pearly Gates, they were told they'd each have to answer a question before being allowed in.

St. Michæl asked the first nun, "Who was the first woman?"

"That's an easy one!" said the first nun, "Eve!" and trot-trot-trot, she walked through the gates and into Heaven.

Then St. Michæl asked the second nun, "Where did the first woman live?"

"That's an easy one!" said the second nun, "Eden!" and trot-trot-trot, she too walked through the gates and into Heaven.

Then St. Michæl turned to the last nun, the Mother Superior, and said, "Since you're the mother superior, I'm going to have to ask you a somewhat harder question. What did the first woman say when she met the first man?"

"That's a hard one!," said the Mother Superior, and trot-trot-trot, she also walked through the gates and on into Heaven.

I kept expecting that joke to have a sad ending.




joke number 2

A chicken and an egg are in bed together, each smoking cigarettes. Sheets are torn asunder and a soggy wrinkled condom is draped over the headboard. The chicken has a very self-satisfied smile on its face, but the egg looks disgusted and pissed off. What happened here?




Or, perhaps more to the point, which came first, the chicken or the egg?

And I'd thought the punch line was going to contain the word "laid."

We drank a lot of beer, but that didn't keep us from getting hungry. All the earlier talk of sushi had Nathan wishing for some, but I was thinking more along the lines of Taco Bell gorditas. We ended up compromising in that familiar way that contributes to the robust health of the pizza industry and Nathan ordered a couple large Papa Johns pies.

Eventually Janine went to bed, but Nathan stayed up late with us, going in for armload after armload of beer. We've never really been force-fed beer in quite this way before and eventually we had to say that there was no way we could drink any more. It had been a very entertaining and somewhat unusual evening, but it was time to go home.

Deya dropped off Wacky Jen at her place, and I stayed in the Wertland Mansion, but first I made Deya assure me I wasn't wearing out my welcome.


efore going to bed, I read little parts of a children's book Wacky Jen loaned me, Harriet the Spy, about a little girl who takes notes on everyone around her and then faces a series of dramatic consequences when her notes are discovered. This theme has played itself out numerous times in my own life, the most recent of which is going on now with these musings. I haven't read much of the book yet, but it looks like it might have some lessons for the keepers of online journals. By the way, there's also a movie based on the book.




one year ago
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