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Rest in Peace, Marlys.

My bartender for a short time, and my friend for much longer.
Inventor of the Tacotini, the most disgusting drink I have ever tasted.
One of the funniest motherfuckers I’ve ever known: witty and sardonic while simultaneously compassionate and unpretentious.
A perfect partner in crime to those with the wisdom to recognize your genius.

The world is dimmer without you in it.

I'll be playing some Steely Dan for you tonight.

R.I.P. Marlys

R.I.P. Marlys

R.I.P. Marlys

R.I.P. Marlys
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Steve Madden, a popular footwear designer, has named this boot "The Taco".

If I have to explain why this is offensive, you are not my target audience. Please move on.

It's for sale on Amazon. Rather than spend a lot of time and energy yelling about it, I think a more productive use of that energy would be to go write a satirical review. And also pass this on to encourage your funny friends to do so, as well.

A couple of notes about reviewing on Amazon: You *do* need to have an Amazon account, and to have purchased at least one item from the web site. It doesn't need to be the item you are reviewing. So no, not everyone can play, and yes, there is a certain lack of anonymity here, if you care very much about your Amazon review history. Amazon has pretty easy-going review policies and it is NOT their practice to take reviews down, but they do have some rules. Specifically prohibited are:

"Obscene or distasteful content
Profanity or spiteful remarks
Promotion of illegal or immoral conduct"

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Recently, when I logged onto Netflix, on my recommendation list next to Trancers, The Big Lebowski, Louis CK, and The Dunwich Horror, was: Vanilla Ice: Cool As Ice.

No shit, Vanilla Ice. I don't know what the fuck I watched to make Netflix think I needed to see this film, but if their AI thinks I needs to watch it, who am I to argue? So I put it on. This trailer should give you an idea of what I was in for:

So I watched it. The whole thing. After the cavorting-in-a-construction-site scene, I almost gave up, but ended up making it through the whole thing.

And this is how I felt about it:

Oh my god those pants.

This film made it all the way through shooting, editing, and being released. By Universal Studios.

P.S. I swear I do not have a lazy eye, just the angle of the camera was weird or something.
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More visible orange action.

This guy had the best response to the multitude of flier-spammers: "I'm sorry, I can't read."


Yes, that happened.

neo thrash couple
This happened, too.

Bird carnage. The train conductor saw it, laughed, and left it there.

1 month, 10 days
And then we went to the beach.


Eric Duffy lookin' scruffy.

We found the "Bio" (organic) booth at the market.

I was really happy about it.

We ate stinky brain cheese on a stick. Dear god, it was divine. I think it was called Saint-Mar... Saint something with an M. Not Marie or Martin.
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We now use terms form this video to reference having partied beyond our endurance.

That's my calf, complete with fingernail scratch from crowd-surfing during Judas Priest.

This one actually happened the first night of the fest, before there was even any music. Two bottles of wine!

Burghard smacks the lip.

Prelude to above picture. Those shoes belong to a married Australian girl. And no, he did NOT score, she just fell asleep in his tent. He woke up and pointed at her silently, mouthing, "Who the fuck is this?"

Offered without comment.

This is Damien, from Normandy. He was rad, but too drunk to either write down his email address, or dictated it to me. Seriously, too drunk to dictate. I have video that I will *not* post of him attempting to pee in the bushes and nearly failing.
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I am gluten intolerant and have a "traditional" food allergy to corn.

When I tell people that I can't have wheat and other gluten-containing grains, and that I also can't have corn, the thing they focus on is the wheat. exclaiming that that must be OMGimpossible to avoid.

Actually, it's not that hard. Cross contamination is an issue, and I have only recently been figuring out how much of an issue it is. But still, with some reasonable hygiene practices, good planning, and small lifestyle changes, a gluten-free lifestyle is pretty manageable to me. It's not fun or easy, but it's possible to do.

Staying corn free? That is way harder than you think.

When I go to the pharmacy, it goes like this:

"Can you look at the ingredients on this medication and tell me if there is corn in it?"

"No, there's no corn in it."

"Really? What about that modified food starch?"

"That says 'food,' not corn."

"Corn is the most common 'food' for starch to come from.'"

"Well, here's an equivalent medication that doesn't list starch in it."

"But it's flavored with sucrose, which could also come from corn."
...and so on. In addition to thickeners, caking agents, flavors, and sweeteners, some people are sensitive enough to have to worry about calcium silicate and magnesium stearate, which are in like, every medication. Seriously, grab a handy bottle of any kind of pill and read the label.

I fortunately have never had a noticeable reaction to silicate/stearate or any of the more obscure additives like them. (The list of possible corn allergens has more items on it than I can possibly remember, so I just focus on the ones I've had reactions to.)

But I can't just take an aspirin or any other over the counter pill someone hands me. It has to be the right brand, one that I know I've used before without a reaction, and even then, I have to re-read the ingredients.

Once upon a time, I got a new prescription for allergy pills and they had corn starch in them. The antihistamine was blocking the allergy attack that it was causing. The allergy attack won in the end, but it was just a rash and minor asthma.

Note that I live a life where I say it was "just" an asthma attack. Just a period of being unable to breathe properly. No big deal, happens all the time.

Another weird gotcha that it took me several years and several inexplicable rashes/asthma attacks to figure out: ethanol and caramel color. No vanilla extract for me- I have to make my own from potato vodka, because the corn-based alcohol used to make vanilla extract has enough corn protein in it to give me an instant asthma attack. No sodas of any type- every cola with caramel color in it gives me an asthma attack and a mild rash.

I just went and took a look at the newest version of the Corn Free Foods and Products List. Take a look at it. There is one brand of toilet paper on it. One. Because all the other brands they have tried are dusted in corn starch, as paper products often are. I fortunately am able to use whatever toilet paper I want, and don't react to the corn starch most toilet papers are dusted with. But some people do.

I was just trying to find out about beers that aren't made with corn, since every beer I've tried so far gives me a rash. In my research, I happened upon a couple of depressing quotes from this blog post:
"As of this point in time, I do not know of any commercially available, corn free shampoo, conditioner, deodorant (with antiperspirant), or multi-vitamin. ."

"Though Corn Products International is happy to declare corn-derived 'Dextrose is used in intravenous fluids, pharmaceutical applications, vitamins, amino acids and alcohols' they do not label these items as “contains corn” and put those with a corn allergy in a position of serious health risk. Even for those with a mild allergy to corn, it can be incredibly dangerous to receive their allergen directly, intravenously!"
Wait... in IV fluid? Yes, really, in IV fluid. I need to get a medic alert bracelet. And I need it printed in a couple of languages. And even then it might not save me if the person administering the IV does not *happen* to be on the top of their game.

So yes, this allergy is pervasive, and something I have to be thinking about all day, every day. Every time I purchase, eat, or prepare food I have to read labels and examine surfaces and utensils for possible cross-contamination. On high-pollen days when my system is irritated, I can't even be in the same room with a bowl of popcorn without having a little bit of trouble breathing. I haven't yet had a noticeable reaction to topical products such as shampoos and toothpaste, but I can't be sure that I won't, ever.

I don't really want my allergies to be the focus of my life, or the topic of practically every conversation I have with people I'm meeting for the first time, but it has to be. I have to educate people as much as possible because I need their help in avoiding a reaction. I need to be constantly vigilant, because every time I eat something, take a medication, or rub something on my skin, I could be risking my life, and honestly I fail sometimes, so the more people I have that are willing help me be vigilant, the better.

I've had folks who are concerned and thoughtful save my ass before. And been grateful every single time.
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This weekend I got an elbow to the cheekbone, about a quarter of an inch from my eye socket. The bone is bruised, but the skin is not, so even though it hurts, I don't look bad. I was very close to getting my first ever black eye, though.

And it was, once again, from a little, tiny girl. cut for serious rage, with caps and everything )

There are a lot of tiny girls that come to metal shows who do not make/allow their big beefy (or even average sized) boyfriends to hurt others in order to "protect" them. Lots. And guess what, I see plenty of them get right up front and get to enjoy the show, and not get a black eye. All the time. The only girls that *do* come with attached ogre chaperon tend to be fucking retards who have never been to a show before in their lives and therefore hurt people by not knowing how to move around without breaking faces.

God dude, how hard is this? Elbows hurt. Keep them down and back. Take a wide stance to avoid flying across the room when you get bumped into. Don't lift your fist up in the air without knowing which way to swing when you take it back down without, you know, punching someone in the head. AND DON'T LET YOUR FUCKING BOYFRIEND ELBOW OTHER CHICKS IN THE TITS JUST TO PROTECT YOURS.
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I shared this on Facebook, but probably nobody read it because it's long. A good read even if you belong to a marginalized population, because we do this to each other and to people from other groups, too.

link>> Derailing for Dummies

EXCERPT FROM THE INTRO:You know how it is. You’re enjoying yourself, kicking back and relaxing at the pub or maybe at the library; or maybe you’re in class or just casually surfing the internet, indulging in a little conversation. The topic of the conversation is about a pertinent contemporary issue, probably something to do with a group of people who fall outside your realm of experience and identity. They’re also probably fairly heavily discriminated against - or so they claim.
The thing is, you’re having a good time, sharing your knowledge about these people and their issues. This knowledge is incontrovertible - it’s been backed up in media representation, books, research and lots and lots of historical events, also your own unassailable sense of being right.

Yet all of a sudden something happens to put a dampener on your sharing of your enviable intellect and incomparable capacity to fully perceive and understand All Things. It’s someone who belongs to the group of people you’re discussing and they’re Not Very Happy with you. Apparently, they claim, you’ve got it all wrong and they’re offended about that. They might be a person of colour, or a queer person. Maybe they’re a woman, or a person with disability. They could even be a trans person or a sex worker. The point is they’re trying to tell you they know better than you about their issues and you know that’s just plain wrong. How could you be wrong?

Don’t worry though! There IS something you can do to nip this potentially awkward and embarrassing situation in the bud. By simply derailing the conversation, dismissing their opinion as false and ridiculing their experience you can be sure that they continue to be marginalised and unheard and you can continue to look like the expert you know you really are, deep down inside!

And now a request... anyone got any good links along these lines? I'd especially like a well-written Sensitivity 101, something concise that won't fall into the tl;dr category if I share it on Facebook. I know, pipe dreams. But it could exist.
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Okay guys, I am totally soliciting, but it's for a good cause:

Pledge These Guys Some Money!!!!

If you don't want to or can't watch that video, I'll explain it. But I highly encourage you to watch it, as you will be immediately charmed.

The guys in Evangelist have an entire new album, Self Confidence!, recorded and mixed, and have the album artwork all ready to go. I have only heard the material from this album live, but I am already in love with it. As I've mentioned before, they have amazing song titles such as "You Have Very Soft Hands," and "Marriage Equality." Also forthcoming on the new album is a song called "Gay Rage," which is "a tirade against religious opposition to gay rights." In addition to the fantastic titles and themes, they also play really great progressive/thrash/death metal. Their sound is sort of all over the place, but I find that to be charming.

So basically, these guys are rad, their music is great, and the themes are something I can really get behind.

Official Evangelist Website

Evangelist on MySpace

The problem is, it's going to cost them $1500 to have this album mastered and pressed. They have about $15 between them.

So they've started up a Kickstarter page to ask for pledges to help them out with this cost. The way it works is this: Their goal is $1500. You pledge anywhere from $1 to all $1500, and there are varying levels of rewards you receive for your pledge. At $1, you get a pre-release mp3 from their new album. At $2, you get the mp3, and a high-five from every member of the band. The prizes increase in awesomeness and silliness from there, including phone calls on your birthday, free admission into any show they play, a thank you note with a hand-drawn Predator on it, an originally composed song of the title and theme of your choosing, and an exorcism and faith-healing should you choose to donate $666 dollars or more.

The catch is, if they do not receive enough pledges to meet their $1500 goal, they do not get ANY money. This means that you also don't pay any money unless they reach their goal. So come on, if you like what these guys do at ALL, go promise them a spare dollar or two. That's less than the cost of a latte.

And now, one more video of a live performance, just in case you aren't convinced they are worth it:

No, really, go pledge a buck or two!

Oh, also, they are playing a TON of dates over the next little while, including Bellingham TONIGHT (Jan 7), and Portland this Sunday.
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Important piece of background info: I am allergic to casein (the protein found in dairy products), as well as corn protein. I am also gluten intolerant.

Is there a 12 step program for cheese addiction?

I asked this question once, and my partner at the time was like, "Sure, it's called Overeaters' Anonymous." The thing is, I don't truly have an eating disorder. I have some body issues--what American woman over 30 doesn't--and have certainly had periods of my life where I've had a less healthy relationship with food than is desirable. But these days I have a healthy self-esteem and little need to control my life through food other than to make sure I don't have an anaphylactic reaction and, you know, die. Having known folks with actual eating disorders, I am pretty positive that what I'm dealing with is very different.

My issue with cheese and other dairy products is that I have a strong desire for the immediate physiological reaction I have when I eat it. There are no studies I can find to support this, but the claim that casomorphins and gliadomorphins in wheat and dairy produce an opioid effect in the brain and therefore are addictive is becoming increasingly popular. As I said, I can find no hard science to support this, I only know what I personally experience.

When I eat dairy or gluten, the immediate (within 1-2 minutes) effect is one of relaxation and calm. My pupils dilate, I instantly feel a bit dizzy, but at the same time safe and very, very relaxed. In the case of gluten, the negative effects kick in in about 15 minutes: first bloating and stomach cramps, then within a couple of hours, rashes and body aches. Over the next several days, the body aches continue while the GI distress works its way--ahem--downwards. I have also noticed cognitive effects, where I feel sluggish and generally emotionally delicate for a day or two afterwards, and I do not have these symptoms when I do not eat gluten.

The thing is, with dairy, I experience the immediate pleasant effects, and the negative effects are very far removed from the act of eating. If I eat a slice of cheese, I feel immediately comforted. One could claim that this is psychological, however if I increase the amount and eat say, and half a pound of cheese, there is absolutely no question that I am *high*. Dilated pupils, dizziness, and yes, the nods. In the middle of the afternoon, when I've had plenty of sleep already. I've never done heroin, but I've taken plenty of prescription opioids. The effect is very similar.

I don't experience any negative effects from the dairy until the following day. I will have inflamed sinuses and increased mucous production when no other food or environmental factors have changed, and occasionally a mild but tolerable rash. Within 3 days, I will have large, painful, subdermal comedones that take weeks to go away completely. The number and severity will be directly proportional to how much dairy I ate.

I didn't want to believe that this was the cause, so I've repeated this experiment many times. I do have a tendency towards acne regardless of what I eat, but those particular types of cysts do NOT appear if I don't eat dairy.

The thing is? I CRAVE it, especially if I am feeling stressed or depressed, and in classic addiction style, it's difficult for me to just have a small amount- if I have one slice of cheese, I end up eating the whole freaking block. It's the worst late at night, when my self-control is compromised. Seriously, quitting cigarettes is easier for me than quitting cheese.

I've been fairly good about it in the last few months, in part because Eric's been really supportive at my request, reminding me in a nice way how good my skin has been looking lately and pointing out that I'm going to feel like crap the next day. I've also found that eating snacks that have a similar fat and salt content will help stave off the craving, at least a little.

So here's a list of things to do instead of eating cheese. It's mostly for me, because I had a "weak moment" last night and ate my housemate's entire box of Laughing Cow, and will have to replace it today and try to stay the hell away from it this time. But maybe there are other folks in my situation who will find it helpful:

  • Olives. Fat and salt galore.

  • Microwave "nachos" (in my case on rice crackers or rice tortillas) with Daiya cheese* on top.

  • Avocados. On GF bread, crackers, or just on its own with a bit of balsamic vinaigrette or salsa.

  • Peanut or almond butter. I actually spread this on a rice tortilla and then pan-fry it in oil when I'm really feeling like I need a slice of sharp cheddar. I also dress these grilled sandwiches up with onions, garlic, and hot sauce. Yes, with peanut butter. It's totally good.

  • Wayfare Foods' "We Can't Say It's Cheese" spreads.** Once again, not cheap, but pretty durn tasty. Also, much lower in fat and calories than an actual cheese spread.

Yeah, the list is short right now. I'm looking for suggestions and will add to this list as I find things that work.

* The number one product that has saved my butt: Daiya vegan cheese is free of casein, lactose, soy, gluten, and corn, and is actually tasty. Expensive, but tasty. It also has a higher fat content than the same amount of cheddar, which is not good for the waistline, but it helps with the craving. Unfortunately, this is something that's only really good on or in stuff, not so much as a snack on its own.

**One of Wayfare's product reps told me that the source of citric acid in their "sour cream" product is from corn. This leads me to believe that it probably is in their spreads, too, but I haven't yet reacted. Just a warning for folks that are corn-allergic.
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FunFunFunFest 2010

Wow, I forgot this even happened. This was at Red 7 on Sunday, the same afterparty where Landmine Marathon melted my face off. It is absolutely AMAZING what some good lighting will do for you. Even Eric's 3 chins (due to weird position, not actual fat) look attractive.

Hey, [personal profile] schmoo, was this photoshopped, or is the lighting the trick here? I need a personal photographer to just follow me around to every show where I'm drunk and fabulous and catch candid shots of me being awesome. Though actually, I was not drunk yet- I am holding my first drink of the night, and it is clearly full.


Nov. 10th, 2010 12:22 pm
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This is Eric's knuckle. The tattoo is a reference to our time in France, where we saw Kiss at Hellfest. You may or may not know this, depending on your familiarity with said supergroup, but Paul Stanley is a stage banter GOD. Witness:

So one of his amazing pieces of stage banter from the show was to tell us, in his effeminate falsetto, that he was going to "give you THE BOOOOOMB," and kiss his hand, then make a dropping motion with his thumb and forefinger towards the audience. He said this several times, and the last time he said, "I'm gonna give you THE BOOOMMMMB, so you can feel me OUT THERE..." and then flew, on wires, out over the audience several hundred feet. No shit. The BOMB. Plus the usual fireworks and confetti and whatnot. None of us realized that we were that stoked on seeing Kiss until they were actually playing, and then all these super-kvlt black metal kids were having a drunken circle pit in the beer garden while they played "God Gave Rock n' Roll to You." Yes, the song from Bill & Ted's.

What the tattoo actually is about, though, is not just Kiss, just about unexpectedly AWESOME times. And that's what we had this last weekend.

I mean, the fest was called FUNFUNFUNfest, so of course it was going to be fun. But no, it was FUCKING GOD DAMN AWESOME. And of course everyone that we told about this fest kept assuming it was a metal fest, despite the fact that when I told them about it, I used many words to explain that it was a festival full of bands who had nothing in common other than being FUN. But I guess if I'm going, it must be heavy metal.

Anyway, highlights of the fest:
  • Weird Al Yankovic! Holy shit, that guy is 51 and can still rock kick over his HEAD. This is what a vegan lifestyle and lots of exercise can do for you, folks. I don't know if it will help you be as funny as him, though. :)

  • GWAR. This was actually my first time seeing them, and probably the best of all possible circumstances in which to see them. I was able to get within 6 feet of the stage and NOT get beaten to a bloody pulp, which is unheard of at Gwar shows. I probably could have gotten all the way to the barricade, but I actually don't like riding the barricade because I get a barricade shaped bruise on my belly from people pushing. I'd rather be 2-3 people back and be running into soft bodies instead. This was also an extra special performance, because they disemboweled Sarah Palin onstage. And ate a troll penis, but I think they do that often enough at their shows. I saw them on Saturday night. It is now Wednesday, and this morning I cleaned my ears and the q-tip came out with red and green food dye on it.

  • Peelander Z.

    So. Many. Mike. Dude, they dress up like Power Rangers, climb the stage, engage in plushy Guitar Squid Bowling out in the audience, recruit their audience members to play their instruments, and yell happy things at us in broken Engrish. All to a power-pop-punk soundtrack. What could be more fucking fun?

  • DESCENDENTS. Holy shit, I srsly did not realize that I was so stoked on them. But they played all the singalongs: Cheer, Sour Grapes, Clean Sheets, Bikeage. I flipped my shit and lost my voice.

  • Landmine Marathon and Punk Rock Karaoke. There was a free afterparty on Sunday at the Red 7. Folks were on stage indoors doing karaoke to the Cramps and the Misfits, and outdoors, these guys played:

    Their songs are mostly faster and less doomy, more thrash with some hardcore influence, but I couldn't find a good youtube video of any of those. This one has fantastic sound. But yeah, Sandra totally got in the pit, which shocked the hell out of me. There were about 6 people moshing, and somehow I got more hurt than I had the entire weekend in those gigantic crowds. One guy got knocked the fuck out. Heheh. Minor downer was the fact that the audience members found themselves unable to comment on anything about the vocalist other than her appearance. Girl screams better than many large men, but the most important thing about her is that she's "a babe." Which she is, and she totally capitalizes on it as a vocalist and a performer, but still. It shouldn't be that difficult to notice that she is also talented.

  • Oh, and Burghard and I did not fight all weekend. Bonus.

So yes, I'm home, and exhausted. And now lunch is over, so I have to go play more catchup.
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Have packed for my trip to Austin. Did not pack one pair of pants. For modesty's sake in potential moshing situations, I did pack booty shorts/leggings to wear underneath them.

Problem: My usual fest gear rotates around being able to attach items to my belt. Skirts do not have belt loops, thus creating potential for belt to ride up to boobie level and have to be constantly adjusted, or just plain fall off due to the way the buckle is constructed. Do I sew belt loops on on the plane, or give up and wear the dreaded pants?
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moar pictures )


These pictures actually depict two days of events. Day 1 was the Ceremonial Castings record release show, as mentioned. This was fun, but I unfortunately was trying to party as if I hadn't just spent two weeks sicker than a dog, and ended up barfing after about 3 drinks. :( Suspect Michael from Alda--and many others that only see me at shows--thinks I am a dumbass or at least kinda shallow, but don't really care. Much.

Was smart and stayed sober for night #2. I am totally capable of rocking out sober, however I tend to notice it more when I say something really weird and people say, "Um, okay." and then find some excuse to walk away. So that happened a couple of times, but whatevs. Everyone else probably got drunk and forgot anyway.

Highlights (both positive and negative):
  • Every single band on the bill at the release party. Holy crap, all my favorites, all sounding freaking great.

  • Pillowfight during Evangelist's set. Except the pillows smelled like pee, because the floor of the Morgue mostly smells like pee.

  • Ubik playing dressed as Devo. They of course covered Whip It as part of their set.

  • Michelle of Ubik falling down spectacularly TWICE: Once during her set, I think actually while she was singing Whip It. She just stayed down and finished the song on her back while bicycle kicking the air/her boyfriend's thighs. Fall #2 was only witnessed by me and maybe 1 other person. She was standing on a long padded bench at the back of the venue while everyone was watching the band. Turns out the bench part was not actually nailed in any way to the box that held it up, so when she stepped forward onto the edge, the whole thing flipped over. I'm not entirely sure what happened with her body, but somehow the bench part came forward, and she ended with her ass *inside* the bench box, and her head and feet sticking out of either side. Fortunately there were no sharp nails or anything sticking out of it, so she was just massively bruised the next day.

  • It wasn't intentional, but my corpsepaint did end up strongly resembling King Diamond. It has been suggested that I open a restaurant in Olympia called King Diamond Chicken. The hot dog booth at Jake's should be renamed to Full Metal Hotdog.

  • Unfortunate and annoying drama that I will not post about publicly. Fortunately I was able to very quickly sidestep it with a minimum of involvement.

  • Some asshat knocked the side mirror off my car while it was parked in the U District on the second night. It was on the side that was near the sidewalk, so I'm guessing that someone just went down the line of cars with a baseball bat. Dick. Ballpark over the phone is that it's going to cost about $350 to fix, which is below the deductible on my insurance, so no love on that. :(

I probably have some more to say, but I'm still tired from all the rocking out.
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So Wes's uninspired name of "2 Nights of Metal in the Forest," became more aptly titled "Wes Stock." For some reason he didn't like the title change, but really couldn't do anything about it. We also called it "BearwoodStock," since Bearwood is his last name, but somehow that extra syllable was too hard for the drunk folks.

moar musing on what makes a good outdoor show and way-in-advance planning for my birthday )

What a fucking awesome weekend. I feel sorry for all the wusses that didn't come out because "it might rain." Though I do suspect that the reason *why* it was so much fun is that only hardcore people who don't give a fuck about getting a little bit wet showed up. It was just a bonus that most of us were able to stay dry.

When we showed up on Friday, I was a bit worried that it was going to be entirely lame. We arrived at about 7pm, and at that time there was just Wes and the guys from Decapitated Corpses, who are all about 19 years old, standing under the canopy looking dejected.

That is me on the far right.

But then right after Eric and I set up our tent and hung an improvised rain canopy near one of the fire pits, the Heavy Metal Short Bus showed up. Seriously, an actual small-sized school bus came screeching into the camp, running roughshod over boulders and crashing through bushes. It finally dumped out a bunch of metalheads holding backpacks and tents, and then proceeded to screech further up the mountain at about 40 mph. Backwards. Around hairpin turns. WHAT.


lots more pictures + the rest of the weekend here )

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It was a typical weekend, or at least a typical party weekend. The following photos are new, however they are representative of events that occur at every good party I've ever attended:

Figure 1. In which the Irish and the Vikings party together. Historically accurate, neh?

Figure 2. Duffy gets hurt/puts on a fashion show.

Figure 3. In which I am v. drunk and v. happy.

Figure 4. In which I look like a fucking badass while doing or wearing something completely incongruous.

a few more )

I'm very glad I was able to go to this, and I will be going again next year. What a fucking awesome bunch of people. Except for Vomit Guy, but there's always one of those. Other than that, good times. There's not really too much to say that the pictures don't tell: We arrived late on Friday, set up camp, and then spent the next 48 hours listening to live and recorded music, swimming and soaking up the sun, and generally just hanging out and being chill and friendly.

And yes, people got drunk, and people got stupid, and they did this while competing in the the Beer Olympics, which I was able to participate in with one shot of whiskey = one glass of beer. (Pretty much all beer and cider use corn sugar to feed the yeast, so I pretty much can't have any of it.) But they were drunk and stupid in the best way possible, without any of the out of control stupidness that can (and does happen) in a lot of situations like this. What a really great bunch of kids who have made a really wonderful community for themselves.

So the story of Vomit Guy.moar.... )

But each of those episodes accounted for about 30 total minutes of an otherwise AWESOME weekend.
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The dive bar/diner my ex boyfriend (a different one, btw, than the one who was partially eaten by the burmese python) burned down is FINALLY REOPENING THIS WEEKEND.

I will not be there. I will be beach camping with good friends and dogs. But damn it, I will be getting 'faced on a weeknight in that shitty little back room soon enough.

Hurrah for the return of A.M. Happy Hour! And never let Kegan into your blessed kitchen again!

(Sorry Keg0r. But srsly, YOU BURNT DOWN THE FUCKING REEF.)
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The little guy, Slartibartfast (Barti), is about 3x as big as this now, but of course I have no recent pictures. Plus he is not looking so good lately, in large part because I haven't apparently ever taken care of him properly. I had been keeping his habitat similar to the corn snake, following the example my ex set. Turns out that corn snakes are native to temperate climates, and pueblan milk snakes to tropical climates, so Barti's been about 10 degrees too cold for his entire life. Which is why he's had intermittent problems with shedding his entire life, as well.

Recently the intermittent shedding problems that Barti had turned into one completely failed shed, wherein he retained his eyecaps and most of his dead skin. Because he retained his eyecaps, he had some trouble seeing, which meant that he was reluctant to eat. Not eating resulted in dehydration, which caused his next shed to fail, which caused him to be more blind, and so on and so forth. The end result is that he looked like utter crap, with several layers of unshed skin, milky white eyecaps, and wrinkly from dehydration, like his skin was too loose.

So I took him to the vet, and she gave me some advice on home care and the proper husbandry for him, and he's on his way to recovery. I'm soaking him for 45 minutes a day to rehydrate him and loosen up his dead skin, and have ordered the proper equipment to keep him at a tropical temperature. Also, my vet taught me a new trick to encourage him to eat: I'm now "braining" his mice, which means using a paring knife to cut their widdle skulls open and expose their tasty brains. The snake can smell this and it makes him more likely to strike. This doesn't bother me in the least, in small part because the mice are quite small and are pre-killed when I get them, and in large part because I just have a very high tolerance to animal carnage. I'd already been doing something similar to encourage both snakes to eat- I thaw the animals in hot water so they are closer to body temperature, and when I dry them off, I roll their bodies around a bit so that some blood squishes out of the nose and the snake can smell that. This is just an extra step.


PBRs is also twice as big as this, now. I really need to take some new pictures. So this guy is relatively healthy- he also had a bit of a problem shed the other week, but I was able to just put him in the bathtub with warm water and grasp him with both hands as he tried to crawl away. This basically resulted in a sort of wet-massage that got any remaining skin off. I'm also constructing a sort of "humidity hide" for both snakes, that is basically a tupperware box with a hole cut in the lid filled with eco-earth or sphagnum moss, both of which retain water nicely and are mold resistant. This way they can crawl in there when they are ready to shed and stay relatively dry the rest of the time, since extended periods at a high humidity can cause all kinds of other skin problems in snakes.

I cleaned PBRs cage out last night because it simply had to be done. I'd let it go a little longer than I should have, and his corner of the living room was beginning to smell. I at this time do not have any sort of alternate enclosure to keep him in while I clean out his cage, as he's outgrown every kind of temporary cage I've ever bought. Generally I get someone to hang onto him or keep an eye on him while I do what I need to do, and when I'm alone I just put him around my neck and multitask. Well this time I did not have anyone around to help, meaning I had to hang onto him while I cleaned his cage, and he was clearly ready to poop since he ate just a week ago, so the whole thing was very nervewracking.

If you've never been exposed to snake shit, especially not of the size that a 4.5-foot snake produces, well, then you're lucky. They only have one hole- the cloaca- for urine, feces, and genital storage, and both urine and feces all spray out at once, and it smells like a combination of rotten fish and hot garbage. It's not something you want on yourself or your possessions.

I miraculously made it through the whole process without him shitting on me, and wrestled him back into his cage. PBRs, like many corn snakes, is very active and curious, and doesn't usually want to go back "home" after he's been allowed out to explore. Anyway, once I got him back in, he started checking out his new habitat, which has a new humidity hide and fresh bedding. I sat on the couch to relax and watched him cruise around.

Which is when he came right to the front of the cage and positioned his body so that his cloaca was facing me. He then proceeded to squirt out approximately a gallon of urine in a stream that traveled a good 8 inches, thoroughly soiling a good third of the new bedding I'd just put in, and then shot a rat-sized missile of feces out of himself with such force and speed that it made an audible thump when it hit the wall of the aquarium and ricocheted back into his water dish several inches away.

Thanks for the show, dude.

It was my ex's idea to have all these reptiles, but I got attached to them and have been more than happy to continue caring for them after the breakup rather than place them. In fact I think at this point placing them would involve some significant heartbreak for me. I never was a reptile person before and had no idea I could feel so strongly about an animal that didn't cuddle.


Jun. 8th, 2010 10:28 pm
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Wow, what a weird snake night. Both of them needed their cages cleaned badly, so I just busted it out all at once. My corn snake, PBRs, is too big for any of the temporary enclosures I have, and likes to climb my entertainment center, so I let him do that rather than tying him up in a pillowcase. Weeeeel I forgot that there's an air vent behind the entertainment center with holes big enough for him to fit through. I didn't see him crawling into it until he was like halfway in, and panicked and grabbed him by his midsection. If you've ever tried to get a snake to back out of a hole it's stuck its head into... well.

Pretty much there was nothing I could do other than squeeze him tight enough that he couldn't go any further and scream for Jason with visions of him ending up in the (unused) duct system, feral and eating mice and probably dying in there eventually and stinking the place up. It was fairly scary, too, because in addition to tensing up because he was scared, he flexed his midsection in a way that made me think I was hurting him. By the time Jason heard me and came up stairs, PBRs was already starting to back out, because it turns out the holes actually aren't big enough for him to fit all the way through. I just thought they were in my panic. So he's back in is cage now and happily eating, and I know better than to try to let him roam around while I'm distracted with anything.

And THEN, when I was feeding the little guy, Slartibartfast, I had something happen that I've been waiting and hoping for for a very long time:

My snake actually bit and swallowed a section of his own tail!

If I'd had time for pictures, I would have taken one. He was all curled in on himself when I went to feed him his mouse, and he missed and got a large chunk of his own tail, like a good inch and a half. It really did look like he swallowed a bit of it before regurgitating it and finding the mouse.

Fucking rad.
becala: (Default)
I started typing this out in a private message to a friend, but I realized that maybe I wanted to share my methods more publicly. Eventually I'm going to put in pictures of the completed products, maybe before and afters, but I just wanted to get this down now.

Following is what I have learned over the past few years about taking band t-shirts, often only available in Men's sizes, and often enough only L or XL as well, and making them fit. The focus here is on people with the following skills/qualities:

  • You know how to thread, load a bobbin, and do a basic stitch on a sewing machine, but don't have experience using patterns or doing anything fancy like that.

  • The shirts you are modifying are of the traditional type, meaning centered-logo on front and optional centered-artwork on back. I can't help you if you have sideways off-center logos or full-shirt prints.

  • You have, or can borrow, or buy, a sewing machine.

  • Additionally, you have enough money to get basic, but not excessive supplies. Probably about $25-30 worth of initial items.

  • You don't want to keep the sleeves on your shirt. I hate sleeves, so I have never tried to figure out how to take in a shirt and maintain the integrity of the sleeves or take them in as well.

So that's my target audience. If you're actually a good seamstress, or have the patience to learn to become one the "right" way, there are plenty of books and articles out there for you elsewhere. This is for a music fan who doesn't have a lot of patience or a lot of skill, but wants to not dress like a blob.

Read more... )
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