June 20, 2006

Skedaddle Alert

FYI: I don't intend to update this weblog anymore. The irresistibly charming and gracious Pixy Misa, Lord of All Mu.Nu, has put up with my freeloading ass long enough, for one; I'm no longer a very good fit for the overall mu.nu vibe, for two; and I really want to experiment with Wordpress, for three. Pixy's not into the admin chores of hosting multiple Wordpress blogs and, given what I can understand of the work that goes into it, I don't blame him. The gent works himself to death as it is.

Until I can arrange to nestle into more permanent digs--give me a week or two for that; you recall that I am neither efficient nor speedy, I hope?--I'll be over here. You won't find much there at the moment and I doubt I'm gonna post up a storm at what I intend to be a temporary blog anyhow, but, you know, if you get lonely or whatever, look me up.

Oh! Some of you have also griped at me that the email displayed at upper left isn't working. Use the gmail addy--it's my first [fake] name followed by a dot followed by my last [fake] name, all at-gmail-dot-com. Purty simple, huh?

Posted by Ilyka at 03:25 PM

June 14, 2006

It's a Dry Heat

Every time I complain about the heat here--and complain I do, because I'm a complainer by nature, Complainy McBitchalot, that's me--my boyfriend reminds me that I'm the one who moved here. On purpose.

He also reminds me that I am the world's worst cheerleader for the idea that It's a Dry Heat.

Me: Damn, it's hot today.

Boyfriend [mimicking]: But it's a dryyyyyy heeeeeat!

Me: Oh, shut it.

Boyfriend [still mimicking]: I can't believe I moved to the desert and it's hot here! What's up with that?

Me: No, really? SHUT IT.

The thing is, though, I may complain a lot, but it doesn't mean I haven't been converted to the belief that dry heat beats wet heat every time, because I have. I really, really have.

Not everyone subscribes to that idea. That's cool. It's weird to me, but it's cool. One of the funniest ongoing conversations I ever had was with a fellow waitress years ago who had moved to Phoenix from Atlanta--and she wouldn't shut up about how hot it was.

Me: But Linda, Atlanta?

Linda [near tears]: At least we had SHADE there! At least things GREW there! At least we had BREEZES once in awhile! At least it RAINED! [Note: This was all sobbed in the most beautiful, heart-rending Southern accent possible, seriously. Southerners even do complaining graciously. It's astonishing.]

Me: But the humidity--

Linda [shrieking]: It's 117 today, Ilyka, 117, THAT'S BARBARIC, how can you even think about humidity? Whether it's dry or wet it's still one hundred and seventeen degrees! One hundred! And seventeen!

Me: But it's a dry--


Unsurprisingly, Linda eventually moved back to Atlanta. Actually, Linda went to her husband, who had been transferred in his job from Atlanta to Phoenix in the first place, and told him he could either stay married or stay in Phoenix but she, by gum, was getting on a plane and going back to the place where she'd never have to hear about the you-know-whatting dry heat again.

You either get used to dry heat or you don't. Linda didn't. I did. But you can only get so used to it. It's not like temperatures in the triple digits quit bothering you. They just don't bother you as much. On the day it hit a record high of 122 in Phoenix, I was making the quarter-mile trek from my apartment to the one, the only, apartment complex laundry room. This was a huge apartment complex, but--one laundry room, on the south side of the complex, and I lived on the north, and I'm not kidding, the complex spanned an entire quarter mile. It was about noon when I was hauling my gigantic, overstuffed laundry basket up there, and I remember thinking something like, "Wow, little worse than usual today."

I did not think, "Wow, IT'S A RECORD HIGH TODAY," because you don't think like that. 115, 117, 118, 119, 122--is there really that much difference? Apparently there is, because I did notice it, long before I heard the weather report. But I noticed it in passing, so to speak. I didn't notice it the way Linda would have noticed it. That's what I mean when I say you get used to it. You don't quit noticing it, you just quit shrieking about it.

That's not to say I didn't shriek just as bad as Linda my first year there. My parents moved us to Phoenix in June. Now, hold on--they meant well. They thought that this way, my brother and I would have the whole summer to make friends before school started. My mom, in fact, spent a lot of time nagging me to Go Outside and Make Friends. Me, I kept screaming at her that there was no one outside to make friends WITH because the neighborhood kids were what some would call SANE PEOPLE who STAYED INDOORS watching television, instead of going outside WHERE IT WAS OVER 110, for crying out loud, was she trying to kill me?

Every time I did shuffle out of doors--and believe me, I did this as seldom as possible--I thought, this is what it feels like to be baked in an oven. This is what a Thanksgiving turkey would feel were it not already dead when you popped it in at 425 degrees. Even when you do get a breeze in 110+ temperatures, it doesn't comfort you. The lousy breeze is hot.

So I get why some people don't care how dry the heat is. It's just the opposite of why I don't care that it's "only 78" some place, some place that's also having 80% humidity. I've been vastly more uncomfortable in 78 degrees with high humidity than I've ever been in the oven-like climate of the desert. You put me in a humid climate, and the sweating, it never stops. The theory of sweat is that you sweat, it evaporates, you cool off. I know this is 46 kinds of gross and more than you needed to know about me and all, but in a humid climate my sweat never evaporates. It just COLLECTS. And you can't tell me there isn't something unnatural--something just as unnatural as, say, living with three solid months of over-100 temperatures--about getting out of an ice-cold shower and never being able to dry off from it because the minute you exit the shower, oh, look out, here come those great big buckets of sweat again.

Here, you sweat for a microsecond before the dry air sucks it right offa you, before you can even think to flick it away. This, this I can deal with.

It's not anywhere near what it used to get up to in Phoenix here today, but it's still pretty hot. And I'm still kind of complaining about it. Just know that I don't really mean it. Deep down, I am praising the heavens that I am here in the magical marvelous dry heat and not anywhere else; especially not anywhere else where I'd get into Linda-style arguments with the locals about how yes, I know it's only 78 degrees on the thermometer, I know, but the humidity is going to drown me.

I believe. I believe in the dry heat.

UDPATE: That said, this is still the best part of the day. Sink, you fiery bastard!

P.S. Help me out: Did I write this before? I'm getting that horrible sinking feeling that I've written this post before. I can't turn it up via Google here, but, I dunno, somewhere else? Maybe Journalspace? Or that one blog I deleted last year because some petty, childish, passive-aggressive, hypermanipulative little armchair analyst viper pissed me off too much to continue it? Am I really getting this senile that I repeat myself this badly? Can we pretend that last question was rhetorical?

Posted by Ilyka at 03:07 PM | Comments (7)

June 12, 2006

More Interior Desecration

Behold, if you dare, my new bathroom decor:

This is only partly my fault. My Most Beloved Aunt gave me a gift card to Bed, Bath & Beyond. I know she had only the noblest intentions, but really, she should know better. Giving me a gift card to Bed, Bath & Beyond is like giving Charlie Sheen a gift card to his favorite brothel: Something icky is bound to happen.

In this case the icky thing that happened was that I bought a shower curtain described by the boyfriend as "Kinda 'Brady Bunch,' don't you think?" And yes, I do think, but here's the thing: Everything in Bed, Bath & Beyond is "kinda 'Brady Bunch'" right now. The 70s are back and me, I'm through fighting it. I just don't have the energy. Besides: Trading warm tones for cool did not make things any less ugly in the 1980s. Because that's all that happened, you know--rust became berry, avocado became teal (do you remember? All the teal?), beige became peach or gray, depending, and brown became black. These colors still had the potential to add up to U-G-L-Y, especially if you went overboard on the teal. And every third restaurant, apartment complex, and strip mall in the Southwest went overboard on the teal in the 80s. Personally, I would have preferred more berry.

I am also not sure the rugs really go with the shower curtain, but the rugs that probably did go with the curtain were that pukey shade of gray-green they call "sage" and I was not feeling up for sage tonight; as for wheat, that's just phoning it in, to go for the wheat-colored rugs. Wheat-colored rugs match everything but white. No, I had to live on the edge and get the apple green, because the key thing about myself that I always forget when I'm in Bed, Bath & Beyond is that the reason I own so many pieces of black clothing in my wardrobe is that I can't match colors for shit.

In other news, I continue to be as dumb as a box of rocks. I spent half an hour cursing the shower rings that held up the previous shower curtain, the previous shower curtain that came in a perfectly decent non-Brady color scheme, because no matter how hard I pried and tugged at these rings, they would not snap apart. And these were the kind of shower curtain rings that snap together to hold the shower curtain UP and snap apart to take the shower curtain DOWN. They were not rocket science, these shower rings. Snap together, snap apart. Except that for some reason they would not snap apart no matter what.

I blamed the hard water we have here for leaving mineral deposits that had clearly built up and fused these stupid rotten shower curtain rings together permanently, apparently. What else could explain this?

But when after what seemed like hours I finally broke my second or third ring open and my boyfriend cheered, "Great, only seven more to go!"--that, I think, is when I just plain lost my shit and started quoting from that scene in Vacation, you know the one, the one in which Chevy Chase tells his family that they are going to have so much fucking fun at Walley World that they are going to be whistling "Zippity-Doo-Dah" out of their etceteras--only, compared to me, Chevy was a pretty mellow guy in that scene.

I had really had it with those rings, is what I'm saying.

Finally we took down the entire rod and slid the entire curtain-and-liner set off of it and resumed trying to pry these miserable bits of plastic apart. After screaming every obscenity I knew and a couple I made up specially for the occasion at one of the rings, I shrieked at my boyfriend, "Lookit this! Lookit this, the little fucking bastard has the nerve to WIGGLE at me! It won't come apart, oh, NO, but it'll damn sure wiggle at me! It's fucking taunting me, this fucking thing! It's--"


It turned out all you had to do to these shower rings was twist them ever so slightly, just the barest, neatest little flick of the wrist, and apart them came with no resistance whatsoever. I brute-forced FIVE OF THEM before finding this out. I don't know whether to cheer my amazing upper body strength or bemoan my advancing senility.

Posted by Ilyka at 10:08 PM | Comments (8)

June 07, 2006

The Kids Are All Right II

Could you all do me a favor? Chastise me if I go on one of my these-damn-kids-today benders again anytime soon.

We went to see X3 Monday night. At the ticket booth, a sign warned that the theater's ATM was down. The boyfriend and I failed to derive from that what the cashier then told us: All card activity was suspended.

"Cash only!" he barked at my boyfriend. I forgave him for his surliness when it dawned on me that he'd probably been explaining this problem to customers all night long. It's hard to be polite the 45th time you bear bad news to people.

I fumbled in my purse but came up with only $9. Neither of us carry cash much anymore. It's all debit card action around here.

That's when a young guy somewhere between his junior year of high school and his sophomore year of college (there was a time I could have estimated his age to the year, but that was before I got old) pushed between us to hand the cashier a twenty, saying to my boyfriend, "It's cool, man, I got it."

Then he handed us the tickets.

Then I fell over dead.

We tried working out a deal with him in which my boyfriend would run across the street to an ATM; I tried giving him the paltry $9; we tried selling ourselves into his indentured servitude, but this kid would have none of it.

"Really, man, it's all right! I've been in this situation before myself."

And then he and his girlfriend rushed into the theater, away from the crazy old people with their strange obsession about money, dude.

"Do you suppose he was on Ecstasy?" I asked the boyfriend.

"Oh, could be," he replied.

"Do you know what this means?"


"I am officially in favor of legalizing Ecstasy*."

"And subsidizing it."

"Ecstasy grants."

"Fixed-interest Ecstasy loans."


So thank you, strange kid at the theater. Whether you have a big heart or were just stoned out of your mind, we love you.

*Actually, I'm in favor of legalizing most street drugs.

Posted by Ilyka at 12:07 PM | Comments (6)

June 06, 2006

Admin Note and an Observation

At some point in this blog-thing somewhere (I'm too lazy to look it up), I noted that it's the dashed-off, throwaway posts that garner me the most comments. This continues to be so.

I take from this that whenever I write more than a dozen words, I bore people.

But what I also take from it is this: The less you write, the more others can project their own thoughts onto the post. Or, the blanker you leave the canvas the more room to paint for everyone else, or create your own analogy, but I think you get the idea.

I don't know that this is a bad thing, but it's sometimes an aggravating thing. Then again, it's only an aggravating thing because why? Because VANITY. Because I think of all the things I took the time to craft and develop that were, comments-wise, failures, and then there to rub salt into my wounds is some half-assed post that's over a week old, off the main page, and still going strong. Well, I mean, it's still going; I don't know about "strong." People seem a little fatigued at this point. Hey, guess what? I WAS FATIGUED WITH IT LAST WEEK, you nerds.

All a long way to tell you that (1) comments are closed here and (2) if you have a blog, but you despair of ever receiving comments, just throw out whatever random thought comes to mind some morning (being sure to keep it short), and watch people get well and truly busy with it.


I Don't Like Doughnuts
posted by ilyka in were you going to finish that? at 1:07 p.m.

I don't get the appeal of these things. Why're they brought to every staff meeting in every office in America? Doughnuts are gross. Fuck you, doughnuts.


you dont like donuts? ill bet you dont like america either, bitch.
--some troll

I can see where you're coming from, Ilyka, but are you sure you've thought this through? Imagine if there were no doughnuts. What effect would that have on our economy? What about the bakers? What about the sugar tariffs? I think there's a lot more to this that you could have explored had you taken the time to really look at the problem in depth.
--some guy who needs to get out more

Aw, shoot, there's nothing wrong with doughnuts! You just haven't had any good ones. My grandmother makes hers from scratch and I'll bet if you only tried one of them, you'd change your perspective in a hurry. They're really good!
--a proud granddaughter

I agree, Ilyka. I don't like doughnuts either, for what it's worth. A cinnamon-raisin bagel beats a greasy doughnut every time. Especially a cinnamon-raisin bagel with fat-free cream cheese. MMMMMmm!
--CorrupterOfBagels, Somewhere in the Midwest (or Maybe the South)

Cinnamon-raisin bagels are an abomination in the sight of the Lord. So is fat-free cream cheese, for that matter. Crikey, you people.

god, you anti-donut people discust me!!! MOVE TO FRANCE BITCH!
--that troll again

Etc. and so on. Try it! I'm sure you'll see results in no time.

Posted by Ilyka at 11:01 PM | Comments (10)

June 05, 2006

To the Person Who Got Here Via a Search for 'Let Them Eat Jellybeans'

Thank you for making me feel less like a 37-year-old woman. Or damn you for reminding me that I'm 37 years old to begin with; I'll decide which tomorrow.

Oh, well. If nothing else, I've at least kept my vow not to visit Nicaragua.

Posted by Ilyka at 12:08 AM | Comments (2)

June 04, 2006

Commenting Difficulties

If you're having trouble getting your comment to post, fear not. Or rather, do fear, but know that it's nothing personal. I just had one of my own appear not to go through, and so I reposted it, at which point I realized the previous one HAD gone through, so there I was in public repeating my damn self.

Mu.nu, my host, has had a rough few days, as those of you who noticed the site outage Friday night may have suspected. Apparently we underwent a denial of service attack. And then there's the spammers, who crapflood the system regularly. So, you know, things is wonky around here.

I don't know what to tell you besides just do your best, and if you have problems, email me. I can delete duplicate comments for you or whatever if you need that.

Thanks, and sorry.

Posted by Ilyka at 11:47 AM

June 03, 2006

The Next Time I Mock Somebody on the Internet, Consider the Source

Proof, if more were needed, that I am an imbecile:

My boyfriend and I were standing on the patio smoking cigarettes when a crew-cutted young fellow in swimming trunks headed past us, towards the pool. I will omit the pointless disagreement that his passing prompted between my boyfriend and I, about whether the security guards lock the pool up at different hours on the weekends than they do during the week, and get to the good part, the part in which I am exceedingly dumb.

As the young man passed us on his way back from the pool, he chuckled in a slightly embarrassed fashion and explained, "Dropped my dog tags in the pool."

"Oh," I laughed, "didn't feel like sending the dog into get 'em, huh?"

The young man gave a very small "heh" and continued on his way without further comment.

"Good job, honey," my boyfriend muttered with clear disgust, "Making fun of a serviceman. And so soon after Memorial Day."

"Service . . . ?"

"Yes. The hair?"



"I--oh. You mean . . . you mean his dog tags. HIS dog tags."


"Not his dog's tags?"



"Oh, no."


"I am--wow, I am REALLY STUPID."

"Edith," my boyfriend sighed, shaking his head, "Edith, you dingbat."

Posted by Ilyka at 11:56 PM | Comments (3)

May 30, 2006

Dear Shorty McBallSweat

I remember it as if it were yesterday, Shorty, even though it was last July.

You entered the workout room in all your flabby middle-aged glory, strutting proud as a peacock, blinding me with your brilliant plumage.

"Hi!" you shouted to me. "Jesus, it's like a freezer in here, isn't it?"

And with that introduction, you began dragging an exercise bike over to the wall with the thermostat. You then leapt awkwardly upon the bicycle and stretched your vertically challenged frame all the way up to the thermostat (you know, the thermostat that controls the climate in the workout room, the thermostat that was deliberately placed out of all but Shaquille O'Neal's normal reach, ON PURPOSE, to prevent every Tom, Dick, and Shorty from adjusting it to his own personal comfort zone? That thermostat, yes), and YOU TURNED OFF THE AIR CONDITIONER.

It was JULY, Shorty. July in the desert.

Then you used every single weight machine in the place, sweated buckets all over each, and failed to wipe down even one of them. You not only didn't bring a towel in with you, you failed to grab of the nice clean ones stocked in the workout room by the apartment complex management for the purpose of encouraging people to wipe down the equipment when they're done with it.

Listen, Shorty, there's this thing I want to hip you to, it's called Ashtanga yoga. It's a form of exercise just tailor-made for sweat-lovin' ballsacks like yours. You should take a class! It has everything you love:

  • Exercise
  • Brutally hot temperatures
  • But the workout room, Shorty, it is not for you. Did you notice? Did you notice that over the course of nearly a year now, no one has ever left the thermostat in the "off" position, no matter how many times you have set it there? Do you suppose there's a reason why your quest to maintain a sweat-friendly environment inevitably ends in failure?

    All a roundabout way of saying, Shorty, that if you fucking touch that thermostat again, I'm gonna break your teensy-tiny little hands. And for heaven's sake, buy some longer shorts. It's 2006.



    P.S. Seriously, you fuck, it's SUMMER.

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:35 PM | Comments (2)

    May 10, 2006

    Talk Me Out of This

    Lately I have been thinking I would like a kitten.

    The problem with kittens is, they grow up to be cats. Crabby old sassy-mouthed cats. I ought to know. I have had my share of cats.

    Still, things like this do not help me resist the call of the dark side.

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:15 PM | Comments (11)

    April 26, 2006

    I Give Up

    I am behind on--well, you name it, I'm behind on it. Cleaning, washing, homeworking (both educational and financial), emailing, telephoning, despamming the blog (did you notice the other day, how I sort of forgot to do that? What a mess, huh?), thank-you notewriting . . . I mean, the cat is current on his insulin shots, I never neglect those--but other than that, everything here on my end is one wrong move away from DISASTER.

    I'll see y'all after my final, say about May 15 or so. Then I will be able to tell you whether I succumbed to the temptation to write on my class evaluation, "Look, I wanted to learn Spanish, not marry it," and also whether or not I was able to write it in Spanish.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:01 PM | Comments (3)

    April 09, 2006

    I Went on a Hike

    Someone in this house forgot that Sunday is a day of rest. That someone is not me.

    Very stiff/dusty/achy/sunburned/bitter. More later. In the meantime you can look at all the pretty pictures.

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:51 PM | Comments (3)

    March 24, 2006

    In Which I Deviate from the Schedule

    It turns out that I have made one lulu of a boo-boo: I have neglected to return paperwork relating to my new job. Uh, I have neglected to return my new hire paperwork, actually, with things like the I-9 and the W-2 withholding and, ah, anything else that might indicate I am employed.

    This is bad, as they will not pay me without these items. I sort of knew I hadn't returned this stuff, as I sort of knew I hadn't ever finished filling it out, because I am disorganized and a procrastinator, yes, but also because I really hate paperwork.

    Anyway, having screwed that all up to hell I am now off to fix it by hastily filling out the rest of the damn forms and faxing them off from somewhere, Kinko's or OfficeMax or something. I will then report for duty at this job that I may or may not legally have. And blogging against the strawfeminist will resume in earnest mañana, when office workers are no longer available to read it, but that's how it goes sometimes.

    In the meantime I would recommend the comments here to anyone who is still wondering what feminism is or to anyone who'd still like to add his or her thoughts on the matter. They are STELLAR, these comments, and I will excerpt bits of them all for a post before this week is through (the week can end on Saturday if I say it does, damnit).

    Posted by Ilyka at 12:47 PM | Comments (0)

    March 22, 2006

    /bans self

    I interrupt blogging against the strawfeminist to note, first, that I totally stole that title from Michele, formerly of A Small Victory, who used it in a comments thread that I am in too much of a hurry to look up; second, to issue a public apology to a couple of people I've hated on in my own comments, because I'm a rotten person with a hair-trigger temper. (Also, I did not have enough coffee today.)

    However, that is no excuse. Margi, Andrea: I am truly sorry. I've been too defensive, too irritable, and too hasty, and I hope you will forgive me.

    That said, I'd like to request something of my right-leaning commenters. A couple things, only, I promise, and they're not hard:

    (1) Please try to stick to the points made in the posts or, at least, the points made by those responding to the posts. I don't often plead for people to stay on topic, but I am doing it now. If that is too difficult, host your own Blog Against the Clinton Sex Scandal Week. I might even link it.

    (2) Please try to interpret charitably any remarks made by new commenters. A woman today mentioned her reluctance to bring up a daughter in today's sociopolitical climate; well, I hate to tell you this, but I had recent conversation with a conservative woman about the challenges she faces in doing exactly that. Parents of all political backgrounds worry about raising children, just as they have done throughout history. This should be a point of agreement, not a point of contention.

    With that, I'll bow out of my own comments until I can behave my damn self. I realize this might mean I will never return to them. What can I say? I'm a slow learner.

    UPDATE: Pursuant to item 1, which apparently was not as clear as I had hoped it would be:

    That goes equally for "Blog Against The Other Side Does This, Too (And Besides, They Started It)" Week, "Blog Against Unfair Stereotypes in General" Week, "Blog Against No One Having Got Amanda to Shut up Yet" Week, and any other pet topic dear to one's heart, about which one is more than welcome to blog at length on one's own blog.

    Two things, people, I asked TWO SIMPLE THINGS. Please let's not be determined to appear illiterate; do you think we could manage that? Never mind, I'm getting mean again. As you were.

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:04 PM

    March 18, 2006

    What I Did for St. Patrick's Day

    Worked. And then I spent all my time on Google.es.

    Also, I forgot to wear green. DO NOT TELL MY GRANDMOTHER.

    I spent all my time on Google.es because I was researching Colombian food. And I was doing that because I have to do these cultural activities for my class, and if I only show up with a reasonably authentic Colombian dish to this Colombian cultural night that my professor keeps telling me we're going to have, but for which she refuses to specify an actual date . . . if I only do this, then I have two of the three required cultural activities handled, and I can rest secure in the knowledge that I will never have to go see Spanish films with subtitles on campus, see, because she's counting Colombian Night doble, and I already did one cultural activity, so I'll be DONE.

    Cook weird food and be set, gradewise? All classes should be run like this.

    And yet, here's what I love: I'm 60 miles or so from Juarez and I had to get the Spanish teacher from Colombia. NMSU has gringo Spanish teachers and Mexican-American Spanish teachers but no, una colombiana, that's who I got. No offense to Colombians, but this is not exactly convenient for me, you know? I can buy tomatillos locally, but I'll bet I'm going to have to get an international money order to procure guascas.

    Anyway, the problem I am having with Colombian cuisine is that it hasn't been popularized by an English-speaking celebrity chef yet. I have a love/hate relationship with celebrity chefs. On the one hand, once they popularize something, it becomes more convenient for me to make. "Great! Now I can get authentic San Marzano tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella at the local grocery store! THANK YOU, Mario!"

    On the other hand, once they popularize something . . . I'll put it this way, my being a sushi-hater has been damn difficult over the last 20 years.

    But the damn Colombians . . . as best I can tell, authentic Colombian cuisine has been filed under the more general category of "Latin-American cuisine" in the U.S. Which is fine with me, except my teacher's Colombian, did I mention? Imagine going to some foreign country's "American Night" to which all your students showed up with packets of Kool-Aid and bags of Big Macs. I don't think it's gonna fly if I show up with something that turns out to actually be the national dish of El Salvador.

    I guess now would be a good time to confess that I can't find Colombia on a map, or at least I couldn't until 35 seconds ago. You mean it's part of the South American continent? Get out! Why is everything written in English calling it part of . . . wait, do we include the northern South American countries in Latin America? What does Latin America mean? I thought it meant "all those countries that aren't quite North America but aren't quite the Caribbean and also aren't South America either." What the hell, "Latin America?" It's not like there's a section of the Americas where the predominant language is Latin. Why do we even have that term?

    Oh man. I have to stop this before I sound any more like Jessica Simpson did when she thought buffalo wings were made from buffalo, or for that matter, any other time she's opened her mouth.

    I figure it this way about Colombian Night: Either no one's gonna show up, or twenty of us are going to show up bearing the most easily-Googled recipe result for the national dish of Colombia.

    Oh yeah, and Erin Go Bragh and all that.

    Posted by Ilyka at 03:49 AM | Comments (11)

    March 17, 2006

    Life Moves Pretty Fast

    This would have been quite a shot, had I only taken it even 90 seconds earlier than I did.

    Well, I suppose it's a judgment on me for not getting dressed today.

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:44 PM | Comments (0)

    Removed Until Further Notice

    "More Penguins Please" is gone. While I'd like very much to revisit some of the topics that came to mind as a result of my writing it (and, especially, the comments it engendered), I don't feel comfortable leaving it up just now. It was something of a hit job, and I think I'd feel better about myself if it were more an attack-the-argument piece.

    Then again, I'm not sure how you attack the argument that feminism was born from the wombs of anorgasmic women--ALL RIGHT, ALL RIGHT, I'll quit while I'm ahead. Really, you people never let me have a moment's fun.

    We'll get back to it next week, which is going to be . . . ooh, should I tell you? I'm having a little theme week for myself. You may want to read something else that week. Or you may not. If there's one thing I never can predict, it's what'll catch on and what'll tank. Don't ever give me a job at Vogue. I couldn't predict a trend if it were barreling at me bearing a sign reading, "THIS IS THE NEXT BIG THING."

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:16 PM | Comments (5)

    March 13, 2006

    Briefly on the New Job

    Training began this morning at the uncivilized hour of 7:30 a.m. I am wiped. I am about to go down for a nap, actually, before I haul myself to a little thing the school's Spanish department calls Noche de Cine so I can get "cultural activity" points. Watching Univision doesn't count as a cultural activity, nor does watching Office Space in Spanish with the English subtitles on; I already checked. It's too bad, because it's pretty funny hearing Bill Lumbergh say "¡Peter! ¿Qué te pasando?" although then you have to subtract some funny just because it isn't Gary Cole saying it.

    After watching Office Space in Spanish I really wished my Fellowship of the Ring DVD had a Spanish language option because every male Spanish voiceover in Office Space was like way down here, all Barry White, basso profundo, right, and can you just imagine Frodo speaking in that register? You can't. Or Gollum, damn, I am dying to know what Gollum sounds like en español. I really think that would kill me.

    Instead I have to go see something that my Spanish teacher wrote down as Diario de una Moto; except, I can't find a movie by that name no matter where I look and the thing about my Spanish teacher is . . . she's a little . . . I mean, sometimes . . . I think she might be dyslexic, to tell you the truth. So who knows what we're actually seeing. The boyfriend said he hoped she meant this and I told him just for saying that, I hoped it was actually this instead. Of course I am dragging him with me. The rule in this house is that if I have to suffer, he has to suffer; also, I will need someone to poke me awake.

    Wait, this was supposed to be about the new job, wasn't it? Well, so far, it's better. Much better. I guess I shouldn't go into much detail but let's just say that if you want people to transcribe dictation rapidly and accurately it is helpful not to hobble them with crapware that thwarts these aims at every turn, even if--no, especially if--that crapware is proprietary and the code base dates back 20 years. Put it in a museum, then, but don't expect me to tolerate it for long.

    The real test, however, will be when I start listening to the new doctors, and that brings up something I want to make clear right now, because it's come up before and I don't want it coming up again:

    If, as part of your job, you sometimes dictate stuff that other people type, I am sure you are doing this BEAUTIFULLY and I'm equally sure that whatever problems you are having with the process are the transcriptionist's fault entirely. Believe it or not, I'm aware some transcriptionists suck at their jobs. On some days I am one of those transcriptionists myself.

    In other words, let me vent once in awhile, and understand that when I do so, I am so not picking on Those Who Dictate as a group--some who dictate are terrific and some who dictate are terrible, yes, but when you get right down to it, I have only one criterion when evaluating Those Who Dictate:

    Do you at least kind of, sort of make an effort to do it well?

    [ ] Yes
    [ ] No

    In rare cases I may follow that up with:

    I mean, I understand if you're tired or you have a cold or the baby just set himself on fire in the middle of what all you were saying or you just found out your spouse is leaving you, really. These things happen. And I understand if you stutter or if English isn't your native language. But at least half of the time you're giving it some effort, aren't you? We're in this together? And you're not actively trying to mess with me or anything, right?

    [ ] Yes
    [ ] No

    So please just take my word for it that if I am complaining about a doctor, it is because I am sensing that doctor just doesn't give a fuck, and yes, doctors do come in that variety, same as any other profession, only you hope those doctors at least give a fuck about their primary aim of caring for patients, and honestly, I think it's quite likely that they do. Some of the best doctors from the patient's standpoint can be hell on absolutely everyone and everything else and especially hell on chores they'd rather not do in the first place . . . like dictating chart notes. I had a doctor once begin a report with "This is Dr. Sexyfine [well, he was] dictating yet another fucking report on patient . . . ." It is not FUN, the dictating of reports. I get that.

    And sometimes the best doctors are frankly terrible to work with. We had a great doctor at the AIDS clinic I used to work at, from the standpoint of the patients. They loved him. He wore himself out trying to help them. But he was an asshole. He threw charts. He reduced nurses to tears. He even barked at me on occasion and I was strictly back-office; my job and his job intersected as little as two jobs possibly could, but some days he'd just go on a rampage and find reasons to yell at anybody, and on those days you quickly learned not to take it personally. If you judged him by how he treated his coworkers and even his bosses you'd think he was a lousy doctor, but as nearly as I could tell, he wasn't a lousy doctor; so when I'm listening to someone um and uh his or her way through a dictation, I keep in mind that for all I know, that person is the best doctor in the whole wide world--and that's what matters, not all the umming and uhhing.

    So when I bitch about this or that dictating physician, please understand a few things:

    1. I know they have other, more important things to do.
    2. I know dictating is an awkward and difficult activity.
    3. I know some transcriptionists suck at their jobs and that it'd be faster for a skilled keyboardist to just type the shit himself rather than have to dictate it to some ninny who can't keep the difference between "it's" and "its" straight and spells "any" with an "e."
    4. I can tell the difference between a naturally awkward speaker who's making an effort and a naturally polished speaker who isn't making any effort at all (because "Hey, that's what they pay these broads for") and, while I may get occasionally exasperated with the former, I will never, ever hate on them, least of all here. But for the latter I HAVE NO MERCY. If reading that sort of thing makes you freak out and get all defensive about your own dictating abilities, which it totally shouldn't do as it has nothing to do with you, then READ SOMETHING ELSE.

    Okay? Okay. I just knocked half an hour off my nap time for this, so don't make me mention it again. Great thanks terrific and goodnight.

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:05 PM | Comments (6)

    March 09, 2006

    I'd Sleep More Soundly With a Cat Like This

    Mouse patrol! I love this post and I am jealous of Kenneth for having such an excellent cat.

    No, my two little fat things never go on mouse patrol, and a handful of you will remember exactly how devoid of predatory instincts my cats actually are (those of you who don't may see the extended entry--it's something I wrote elsewhere).

    Bring the mouse into the house to play with drop at mama's feet and promptly forget all about entirely, even as mama screams and shrieks and screams some more?--Sure! Kill the mouse while it's still outside the house, where it belongs?--Where's the fun in that? Fall asleep, I mean snoring asleep, I mean passed OUT, when locked in a bathroom with a mouse?--Oh, my cats excel at that one!

    They're too fat and they're too old and when they do things like terrorize me by bringing home mice they don't really want, I kind of hate them. Especially when I contrast them with Troy, the faux-diabetic cat who is diligent on mouse patrol.


    I want to testify to you that tonight, I have had a change of heart about a major part of my life. Tonight, I have decided that people who hate cats* are absolutely 100% correct in their assessment of the creatures.

    You get a cat--if you're me, one just comes and finds you--and you take it to the veterinarian and you pay exorbitant sums to vaccinate it and you buy it cat food and you clean its litterbox and you pet it and love it and let it outside when it clamors to go and for what? FOR WHAT?

    So it can reward you by bringing home a trophy, of course. In the case of my most vicious, carnivorous cat, a trophy in the form of a mouse that is nowhere near dead.

    Oh, no, where's the fun in bringing mama home a corpse? That would never do. Better to bring home a young, fresh, aerobicized, spastically scurrying little rodent that will scare the daylights out of mama. Mama will really appreciate that action.

    Mama would like to know if any of you would like a cat? Wait, hear me out here. Let me tell you all her selling points:

    --Missing two front teeth, so cannot eat (much cheaper) dry cat food. This bitch is into me for two cans of Fancy Feast a day.

    --Longhaired, so will get snarls if you don't brush her regularly.

    --Hates being brushed and will try to bite you if you do it.

    --Luckily, is missing two front teeth, so bites seldom successful deterrent to brushing (see above).

    --Screeches constantly for this, that, and the other. Don't tell me I need to work harder to appease her, either. You have no idea the appeasement that goes on around here.

    That said, I do not appease her to the point of appreciating live vermin being brought home. When I OH SO FOOLISHLY opened the back door tonight to let her in, and I saw a tail hanging out of her mouth, I shrieked like a banshee.

    That scared her into dropping the mouse.

    Which scared the mouse into running under the desk with no regard for the fact that MY FEET GO THERE.

    I would tell you the whole gory story from that point on, but I have already rudely unloaded it, play-by-play fashion, via the miracle of instant messaging, on this poor guy. I guarantee that at least once tonight, if not seventeen times, Hubris wished he had a wife at home who would yell at him to get off the computer, damnit, and I mean NOW.

    I should probably at least tell you the part where I opened the back door to admit another, entirely different cat from the one I am now desperately trying to give to you, only to realize too late that THIS CAT ALSO HAD A MOUSE IN HER MOUTH.

    Seriously, I'm not making that up.

    But that cat did a better job neutralizing her rodent (Hosanna, Hosanna to cats who are NOT missing two front teeth), and he was dazed enough that I was able to sweep him out the front door with little resistance. So he was only a problem for maybe two minutes, two minutes during which I wept and begged God to tell me why He was doing this to me.

    I should also probably add that the whole evening I have been bitterly regretting that I am not this woman, who loves mice and rats and all manner of rodents, and does not mind imagining the feel of their little clawed feet scampering about her bare and un-be-goosebumped flesh. If I were only that woman, I'm sure I would have a roommate by now, a roommate named "Tiny," who would sleep in a cage that I cleaned out and lined with fresh newspapers regularly in a loving, thankful manner.

    But I am not that woman, and so Tiny rests beneath a plastic mixing bowl that I was eventually able to drop over him, a feat not easy to accomplish when you're crouching atop your bathroom counter in the "scared shitless" position, and I have weighted that down with the heaviest book in the house, which is the medical dictionary, and best of all, I have my bathroom back. Just, you know, mind the mixing bowl.

    And in the morning I will call the complex and demand they get a maintenance guy down here to remove him. And while they are engaged in that process, I will take myself out to breakfast, or hie myself down to Best Buy, or WALK TO EL PASO, A MERE 45 MILES FROM HERE, I don't even care--but I am not dealing with Tiny any more. Tiny has already given me sweats, palpitations, hyperventilatory syndrome, and situational depression-slash-anxiety this evening alone. On the plus side, he's certainly taken my mind off the cramps.

    See, I'm a feminist, so I believe women can do anything.

    But I'm also a capitalist. So I believe any dirty work you can possibly palm off on someone else through the magical medium of money, you fucking delegate.

    UPDATE: Tiny's dead and I feel terrible. If I just hadn't been such a chickenshit ninny about this whole thing, I could have got him out of the apartment last night and back to his nest.

    I'll tell you what I hate: I hate that I couldn't control the fear. I do mean "couldn't," not just "chose not to/didn't want to badly enough;" the poor scared little guy would run at me and I'd just lose it, I mean weeping, sobbing, hysterical losing it, every time. And if you can't stay strong when someone as cool as Hubris is cheering you on to stay strong, well, you're hopeless then. I'M hopeless.

    Damn, Tiny. I'm sorry. You were such a cute little fellow, too.

    Oh, but hey, you can still adopt the miserable lowlife cat who brought this problem to me in the first place. Act now and I'll throw in a second cat, free!

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:59 AM | Comments (2)

    March 07, 2006

    Slipcover Hell

    HGTV has failed me. All those hours watching all those episodes of Designer's Challenge . . . Design on a Dime . . . Designed to Sell . . . and for what? For what?

    For me to turn my home into a damn Holiday Inn, that's what:

    (Andrea, feel free to shield yourself against the three of the Four Colors of the Apocalypse on display in that picture.)

    No, I guess I don't know what I was thinking with this. Well, I know some things I was thinking. I was thinking, for a start, how stupid it was of me not to declaw that one cat I adopted for about three years, that insane feral cat who wrecked one arm of my loveseat--that was one thing I was thinking. I was also thinking, "Hey, $42.00 for a slipcover at Overstock.com? I'm so there!" And then finally I was thinking, "What a lovely warm russet that is," completely forgetting the advice my mother has pounded into my head since infancy, namely, that every color looks 30 times darker once you get it out from under the display lights used to photograph it and into your actual cave home.

    Things I was not thinking:

  • "That 'lovely warm russet' is bound to be the color of dried blood in real life."
  • "Stripes? On a slipcover? Those will never line up properly and I will go slowly mad from obsessively straightening, straightening, straightening--NO, YOU MAY NOT SIT ON THE SOFA! WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?!--straightening, straightening . . . ."
  • "I have never before applied a slipcover to an item of furniture in my entire life."

  • Yes, I did indeed do the trick with the rolled-up magazines, in case you were going to suggest that one. It doesn't help; the minute anyone sits down on the damn thing, it's all over. Also, notice the parts of the couch that aren't horribly cheap and shiny looking? The parts that don't scream, "I am 100% polyester, baby?" Those would be the parts that have been dulled by the excessive application of CAT FUR.

    I have owned this slipcover for one week and I am already ready to tear it into little tiny pieces, because in fact I don't have time to keep up with the straightening and the tucking and the pleating and the--how could I have watched this much HGTV and yet learned nothing? How is this possible?

    UPDATE: The potential for annoyance is limitless in the world of slipcovers. Consider the Matelasse Loveseat Slipcover in "Tomatillo," for example, an image of which I have shamelessly lifted from Target.com:


    Now consider an actual tomatillo. And yes, tomatillos are all that color*, namely, BRILLIANT GREEN. Not RUSTY RED, you ignorant Matelassian marketing morons. And is it just the makers of the Matelasse Loveseat Slipcover who are doing this? No, it is not. I have seen other "tomatillo"-colored housewares and slipcovers. I'm just picking on Matelasse because they are so woefully unclear on whether it's cooler to be French or Spanish and with the "tomatillo" slipcover, it's clear they decided to JUST BE BOTH.

    Pretty soon tomatillo will mean "a relative of the tomato and member of the nightshade (Solanaceae) family [that provides the] tart flavor in a host of Mexican green sauces," and it will ALSO mean "An ugly shade of red which people who don't know the first thing about traditional Mexican foods have stupidly decided to call 'tomatillo' in the mistaken belief that it sounds more exotic and spicy that way. ¡Ay yi yi!"

    Who's up for more margaritas? Hey, I'm from Minnesota, but the wife and I, we really thought that POLE-OH cahn LY-MON that we had down in San Antonio last summer, when we took the kids to Sea World, was just super!

    *Unless they are ripe, in which case no one eats them. It would be like noting that technically, bananas can be brown: Yes, but is it most common to eat them that way? Is that the color you answer when someone asks you what color a banana is?--So don't let's be smartasses about this. You will never see tomatillos in the supermarkets in any color but green, and so it will be until some celebrity chef decides that the redder, riper ones "lend a sublime tartness" to, I don't know, Yorkshire pudding or something. They're always doing that kind of thing, celebrity chefs.

    Posted by Ilyka at 07:42 PM | Comments (6)

    Lows in the 30s

    We're supposed to get a cold front tomorrow, but I think it's sneaking in early; I take the below as a good sign that for once, weather.com isn't just out-and-out lying to me.

    I hope it's true. I'm ready for neither the return of air conditioning, nor the return of las cucarachas, both of which I can look forward to when it warms back up again.

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:36 PM | Comments (1)

    February 21, 2006

    And Then Again . . .

    . . . you should maybe enjoy your Paypal-button-free existence while you can, amigos, because I'm pretty certain I'm right up on the edge of being fired. But I'm a look-on-the-bright-side sort of person, so, hey! Think of all the blogging I'll get done if it happens!

    Did I say blogging? I meant drinking--least until the money runs out.

    How's your week going, huh?

    Posted by Ilyka at 03:09 PM | Comments (6)

    February 08, 2006

    Seriously, Nothing

    It is that I am reduced to proffering you random Jules Shear lyrics, I'm afraid:

    I've told you nothing if I've told you lies
    But the picture is so deep
    And your eyes only so wide--
    Screwed the truth

    You sort of have to hear it, because it's enunciated just as I wrote it. Anyway, possible discussion topics: Is the artist confessing a lie, or accusing someone else of one? Does he make a distinction between lying and screwing up the truth? Is there an actual, measurable difference (beyond the obvious semantic one) between someone having "lied" versus having "screwed the truth up?" If so, what is it? If not--oh, hell, if not, I am just wasting your time, aren't I? Because it's not like I can give you credit or money for this question. Mmm. Never mind.

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:16 AM | Comments (1)

    February 07, 2006

    This Has Not Been My Day

    First, the lighting issues:

    Over the weekend I happened to notice that I unaccountably had a little extra money and that a little store down the road was having a sale on lamps. I bought two attractive lamps, a 60-watt and a 100-watt, for just about $50. Neato, I said, and came home and plugged in the lamps and tossed the lamps they were replacing (which were so ugly I don't even want to tell you about them. They also didn't give off much light; these lamps did.). Hooray and victory, etc.

    That evening, the fluorescent bulbs in the kitchen went out. I know: I could have got up on the stepladder with the tape measure and figured out what size bulbs and then gone to Wal-mart and--and, stop right there. Any solution that involves me making an extra trip to Wal-mart, above and beyond the trips I make already, is a poor solution. That is the rule in this house.

    Besides, the apartment complex will replace them for free, so why should I spend the money? See, exactly. I would just call them in the morning--no, wait, the morning was Sunday. My apartment office is closed Sundays, I guess because of all the hundreds of people who are out apartment-hunting during, coincidentally, the very hours of the week during which most people work.

    So I hauled one of the new lamps into the kitchen, where it looked ridiculous but did in fact illuminate things. Fine. Whatever. I'm flexible.

    Monday morning I forgot to call the apartment complex. Hey! I had an exam, remember?

    Today, finally, I called the complex. Within a couple of hours (this is not a bad response time for apartment maintenance workers, really) the nice man showed up and installed replacement fluorescent bulbs and I moved the new lamp out of the kitchen and all was well and so, seeing that all was well, I turned off the light in the kitchen, because you should always turn off the light in a room you are not currently occupying, it saves energy.

    Ten minutes later I flipped the switch in the kitchen and thought I might have a seizure from the strobe effect that resulted. Uh, what? I'm thinking to myself, I'm thinking, "Maybe this is what electricians call 'a short' and not actually a bad bulb after all," and then I'm thinking, "Of course, I'm not actually sure what 'a short' is," and then I'm thinking, "Which is terrible when you consider that I took a year of physics and a semester of circuits." And it IS terrible--all those credit hours, all that lab time, and not only do I not really know what a short is, I DON'T REALLY CARE. I'm sorry, I just don't. I found electrical engineering boring. It didn't help that I was taught it by a wrathful Iranian professor who thought the trick to teaching us all what a short is was to YELL A LITTLE LOUDER, occasionally in Farsi.

    So I whacked the fixture with a mop handle and promptly got light again. Hands up who wants to bet I'll be using this whack-it-with-a-mop trick for the rest of the time that I live here? Because otherwise, it's call maintenance again and risk that the fellow they send out knows no more about circuits than I do, and up and fries himself to a crisp in the middle of my kitchen. Oh, no thank you.

    Then tonight, the boyfriend goes to shower before class and he gets out and I'm ignoring him just like always when he interrupts my perusal of the internet to complain that "This thing's stuck."

    "What thing?" I ask, but only because that's polite. I don't actually care or anything.

    "THIS thing," he says, which means I have to get up and go look. I pull this trick myself all the time so I can't get too mad at him for using it; I would hope he'd learn some moves from me after this long, in fact. That's what you do when you want to involve someone else hip-deep in your problems: You gripe at them from another room and then refuse to specify the problem, so that they're forced to get up and go to where you are and come look, at which point they discover that the bathroom light switch is now stuck in the "ON" position.

    I mean, if they're me this afternoon, that's what they discover.

    "And are you trying to pry that out of there with something metal?" I asked sweetly, as the boyfriend hastily put away the fingernail clippers that he HAD SO been using to pry the switch out (it's one of those annoying styles of switch that cropped up about the late 70s/early 80s, you know, it looks like this, but it's not a dimmer like that one is). "Because that would be almost as stupid as the way you have fucked up this switch to begin with," I continued, because I'm not a very nice person, and I am especially unmerciful when the same class of problem--there's no light; there's some light but it's flickering; there's too much light and no way to shut it off--KEEPS HAPPENING, over and over and over, much as it has since Saturday. (I didn't even mention the part where the 60-watt bulb I transferred from the old to the new 60-watt lamp went out within six hours of being transferred, did I? Hey, do you think maybe I'm gradually arriving at the reason these lamps were on sale in the first place? It's only fair to discount merchandise which is cursed, right?)

    And I'm especially unmerciful also when I suspect, as I do, that this switch got jammed because someone has a habit of always smacking the switches as though he were Arthur Fonzarelli and all the switches were jukeboxes at Arnold's. I am a little tired of that habit, especially now that he's gone to class and I am left with a terminally-lit bathroom and of course the apartment office is closed for the day, and how in tarnation am I supposed to get to sleep tonight with the bathroom all lit up like Vegas? I know, I know, close the door, but that strip of light gleaming out from underneath the door will creep me no end. In fact, to hell with it, he's getting that side of the bed tonight. Let him imagine what might be behind that door. Maybe it's that girl from Poltergeist. You never know. I'm not one to rule that out, seeing as how I have apparently purchased two lamps this weekend which are damned, damned to Hell, and determined to take all their fellow lighting fixtures there with them.

    We'll get to the Spanish teacher who is very angry at all of us for doing exactly what I thought we'd all do on our exams, and how she has determined that the problem is that she is not speaking enough Spanish at us, another time. Right now I've got to figure out what to do about my new Bathroom on the Strip.

    UPDATE: The bathroom switch I fixed in all of 2 minutes after I wrote this because I just rock the planet that much. Or so I'm telling myself. And, yeah, my Fonzarelli hypothesis was confirmed--the switch had been shoved back far enough to get stuck on a wire back in there; I just tugged it back out and things were peachy again. The lecture on "We Are Not the Fonz, Didn't You Notice That When 'Rock Around the Clock' Failed to Start Playing Whenever You Smacked One of These Damn Things?" has also been delivered and accepted.

    The kitchen fixture got tired of being smacked with a mop handle. Which one of you said it was likely the bulb not being seated properly?--'Cause I think you're right, but when I got on the stepladder and tried fiddling with it myself, I got nowhere. I'll call maintenance tomorrow.

    Finally, maybe think twice before picking up any lamps from Beer Fun Gin Ports. Pretend that's Cockney rhyming slang and heed my tale before breaking out your wallets in one, all right?

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:00 PM | Comments (8)

    February 04, 2006

    Lastest Meme

    I'm doing this because the silver-haired fox at Exile in Portales asked me to, even after I hollered quite rudely at one of his commenters, and, well, I can't resist such gracious tolerance of my big virtual mouth.

    Besides, it's a New Mexican thing.

    Nonetheless, a note to future would-be meme-taggers:

    I have this page, sometimes called an "About" page, and it's got all kinds of boring facts about myself, and it was kind of a hassle to do once, so I'm not really dying to do it again. See, most of these memes that go 'round essentially invite the blogger to yak about him- or herself ad nauseum and, um, see the part where I said I already did that and don't want to do it again?

    So be advised: Future meme-taggers will be pointed to the "About" page (or, if I am feeling lazy, ignored entirely). I do this as a favor to all of you, because it turns out I'm just not that fascinating a person.

    End lecture! On with this, my lastest meme:

    Four Jobs You Have Had In Your Life
    1. "Would you like fries with that?"
    2. Patient registration clerk at the Division of Tuberculosis Control of Maricopa County.
    3. Administrative assistant at the HIV/AIDS outpatient clinic of [above].
    4. Software developer, but this was mostly pretty boring. The McDonald's job was more interesting, if you can believe it.

    Four Movies You Would Watch Over and Over
    1. Urban Cowboy.
    2. Victor/Victoria.
    3. Office Space.
    4. Trading Places.

    Four Places You Have Lived
    1. New Jersey.
    2. Northern California.
    3. Southern California.
    4. Arizona.

    Four TV Shows You Love to Watch
    1. I hate television.
    2. Well, except for Food Network.
    3. I like Sara Moulton and Rachel Ray, particularly. You Rachel Ray haters, just talk to the hand already.
    4. Oh, and almost any program on HGTV is good.

    Four Places You Have Been on Vacation
    1. Seattle, Washington--this was awesome. I'd go back in a minute.
    2. New York.
    3. Utah (failed that one).
    4. Hot Springs, Arkansas--and this was better than you might think, honestly. I had to change all my Arkansan jokes to Oklahoman ones after that trip.

    Four Websites You Visit Daily
    1. Here Be Hippogriffs.
    2. Everyday Stranger.
    3. A Crafty Madness.
    4. Insert your web site here! Because otherwise I am just going to get the hurt-feelinged comments from you and, people, I really despise the hurt-feelinged comments. Remember what Gene Kelly said about how to comport oneself: "Dignity; always dignity." Now if only Gene himself had remembered that advice before appearing in this. Do as he said, not as he did.

    Four Favorite Foods
    1. Anything that can be scooped up with injera, i.e., Ethiopian.
    2. Any meal at which baba ghanouj and hummus appear, i.e., Middle Eastern/Greek.
    3. TA-MAH-LES that are not from Dallas.
    4. A proper slice from a proper NYC pie.

    Four Places You Would Rather Be Right Now
    1. Hey, I like it here! It's why I moved? Like on purpose?
    2. But I guess I wouldn't mind visiting London again.
    3. New York is always awesome.
    4. And some day I'd like to visit Eastern Europe.

    I am not tagging anyone. I am afraid they will only point me to their "About" pages if I do.

    Posted by Ilyka at 12:59 PM | Comments (10)

    February 02, 2006

    For Those of You Who Thought I Made Him Up

    What I learned today:

    Boyfriends tire rapidly of having their pictures taken.

    But it's what he gets for putting his slippers up on the couch like that. Slob!

    Posted by Ilyka at 12:54 AM | Comments (10)

    February 01, 2006

    How I Can Tell I Am Late for Work

    Sky lookin' all pretty and stuff. Damn. Wish I were retired.

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:02 PM | Comments (2)

    Embittered, Used Up, and Broken

    I don't have time to write this like I want to, but I'll give it a shot anyway:

    When I complain about something, I generally try to do it in a way that transforms any actual anger I have about it into L-A-U-G-H-S.

    I'm not saying I succeed very often. But my intent is to turn misery into funny.

    If you think about it, it's not actually very funny if you start bleeding all over yourself in the middle of a crowded public place. But it's pretty funny if it happens to someone else, or so all the girls in high school who hissed, "NURSE!" at the poor unfortunates who suffered this indignity seemed to think.

    Almost anything awful is kind of funny, provided it only happens to someone else. I figure, why shouldn't I be my own someone else? I'm not an extrovert, you know. I don't have a band of people to pal around with. There's me, there's my boyfriend, there's my family, there's the marvelous people I email, and . . . uh . . . mmm . . . well, I've exchanged pleasantries with one of the girls in my Spanish class once or twice, and . . . well, that's it.

    I ENJOY mocking myself. I'm a rich repository of malicious, mean-spirited humor for myself. And no, I don't take it seriously. I don't really think I'm as dumb as I sometimes make myself out to be. I don't really think I'm as clumsy, or as fat, or as neurotic--if you want to know the truth, I think I'm pretty all right. If anything, I tend towards the vain and the proud. Self-effacement is simply one way I try to head those sins off at the pass.

    If it sometimes gives other people a laugh to read about it, that's just so much velvet.

    Not everyone agrees with me about what's funny. That's fine. I usually don't agree with them about what's funny either. Insert cliche about horse-racing or the world going 'round here.

    But you know what I don't do? I don't automatically assume that if, for example, you think Scrappleface is laugh-out-loud hilarious, you must be all kinds of messed up as a person. I assume, I think correctly, that you and I don't agree on what's funny in this particular instance.

    I don't make assumptions like this:

    I couldn't help but feel sorry for that poor embittered woman. Such a sad life she must have if she is consumed with such hatred.

    --and I especially don't make them based on one post about TAMPONS. For pity's sake! Okay, I confess to having harbored perhaps a touch of hatred for whoever designed those crummy tampons, but you know what? It's out of my system now, because I turned it into something that cracked myself up.

    See? I wasn't kidding about the vanity. I read, and re-read, my own posts, and I break myself up with them. That might be vain, but it's not embittered.

    I have a pretty good life. Many days I'd even say I have an excellent life. The days I don't have such a great life, they work out in the end anyhow, because misery means one thing to me: Misery means MATERIAL.

    I like providing material. I get a kick out of it. I'm tickled pink if you sometimes get a kick out of it too, but if you don't? Spare me your analysis, because it comes off as being just a little bit . . .

    . . . bitter.

    Posted by Ilyka at 12:33 AM | Comments (7)

    January 26, 2006

    Only Umpteen More Weeks Like This One, Hooray

    So did I mention that this class meets four days a week? And assigns homework every day? Oh, I know, I know: "Ilyka, it's one class. In beginning Spanish." You are right, of course, but that doesn't change the fact that I am exhausted, plus now I have to run to the store for a few things before logging into work for the night, and thus have no time to blog anything for you.

    Participants in this discussion may want to offer their esteemed two cents here, depending on current irritation levels with that which is political. If you're not up for that then permit me to recommend instead this blog, whose author kindly emailed me a couple of amusing links, and also made some soothing remarks about how of course going back to school is stressful, there there don't fret. I love people who take time out of their days to do such things, and it is often just such people who keep me from trying to kill the entire internet. ¡Gracias, señor bueno!

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:21 PM | Comments (2)

    January 24, 2006

    Night, Unsilenced

    It's just after midnight. The sky's too clouded over for stars, but the air is fresh and crisp. It's positively brisk. It's a still, clean, beautiful night.

    Except for the dude pacing the walkways on his cell phone.

    I'm going to indulge in a little generational stereotyping, because I survived it once upon a time and you will, too, young'uns: You kids these days are all, man and woman alike, fucking around on each other.

    Seriously, woman: When your man volunteers to venture out into the cold night air to walk your itty-bitty pipsqueak guinea pig of a dog, why do you think he needs to take his phone with him? I'll tell you why he needs to take his phone with him: TO MACK ON A LADY. A lady who is not you. He has a phone and he must mack.

    Poorly. Tackily. Cheesily, as macking can only be done when it is done with one arm attached to a leash, and the other end of that leash is attached to his girlfriend's completely embarrassing dog.

    Also, loudly. Is it the sexy, now, to shout your courtship to the heavens? I must surmise that it is, because every person under 25 seems driven to do it.

    Note I said person. The ladies, also, are fond of fleeing their homes on who-even-knows-what flimsy pretext of an excuse ("Shoot, I'm out of tampons--wait, I think I saw some blooming in the pampas grass earlier! Be right back!") to make the furtive calls to the fellas late at night. This is definitely a behavior that transcends gender. The kids these days, it is like they are all in training pants for their upcoming affairs and divorces. It's just terrible.

    If things don't work out with the setup I've got now I'm going lesbian or joining a convent or--hey, wait, maybe I could even do both. But I'm not jumping back into these increasingly shark-infested waters for any amount of luscious booty. No sir. Not me.

    Silent night,
    Holy night,
    All is--CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?

    Oh, yes, dude. Yes, I can. And verily, what a lucky thing it is that your girlfriend isn't as fond of night breezes as I am, or she'd be able to hear you, too.

    Posted by Ilyka at 12:24 AM | Comments (5)

    January 23, 2006

    Virtual Posole

    For Margi, who has had an actual baby.

    that's all chile, baby

    For the rest of you, the view from the porch:

    hopefully this does not reactivate my stalker

    School day tomorrow. Not happy. Remind me one of these days to ponder the question, "Why do people so easily believe that persons with sadist tendencies populate the ranks of law enforcement, yet so reluctantly believe that the same holds true for the teaching professions?" With all due respect to learned, professional educators everywhere . . . your field has its share of sadists. Here's praying I don't get one of 'em tomorrow.

    UPDATE: Not so bad, really. My professor's a very nice woman from Colombia. Because we have such a shortage of Spanish speakers here, I guess. Anyway, that she's, well, a she, is kind of a big bonus in my eyes because the last time I took a Spanish class, it was taught by a Senor Campos and . . . have I ever told you about Senor Campos? Coach Campos, outside Spanish class? Okay, remind me to tell you about Senor Campos sometime--el cerdo asqueroso that he was (or is; I doubt I could be so lucky as to have him be dead). But the short version: Should you be suggesting to a 15-year-old girl who's behind on homework that maybe she needs a spanking? And that maybe you should be the one to deliver it? If you answer that affirmatively, HIE THEE FROM THIS BLOG IMMEDIATELY.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:15 AM | Comments (3)

    Insert Cuss Word of Choice Here

    All right, I have HAD IT with you, Blogrolling! I only just put the main blogroll back today, because Blogrolling seemed to be on good behavior, whereas it had not been just a couple days ago. And, once again, it hath betrayed me.

    I used to load Blogrolling last of anything, on advice (all right--scold) of Andrea. Then I went to this goofy pink-and-black template that I hacked offa Strange Banana, and I couldn't get it to work without loading all the left-most stuff first and all the right-most stuff--that is, my blog content--second. Thus did I give Blogrolling a license to mess with me. Again.

    Anyway, blogroll's down. I'm going to handcode the damn thing. You won't be able to see what's been recently updated, but that's of little consequence, I think, in these days of RSS and XML and I don't know what all. Which is a long, fancy way of saying I doubt any of you really use the blogroll. And that's okay! I use very few of 'em myself.

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:32 AM | Comments (1)

    January 20, 2006

    This Will Not Be a Regular Feature

    But seeing as it is still just-barely Friday, here: Have some cats.

    Sally, the fattest, dumbest, but most manageable cat in the world. Sally demands a mere three things in life:

    1. One, and only one, particular brand of dry cat food to eat. Luckily for me this brand is widely available.

    2. A short trip outside at night to lick the sprinkler water off the sidewalk, despite being provided perfectly potable fresh water inside, which she is content to imbibe all other times of the day, that is, right up until the moment she hears those delicious SPRINKLERS come on. Mmm--runoff!

    3. That I never come anywhere near her with this accursed camera again.

    This, on the other hand, is the high-maintenance diabetic cat, Cocoa:

    Do you think maybe he went diabetic because I named him after a sugary beverage? Nah, there's no science in it. I'm thinking he went diabetic because at his peak weight he was 28 pounds. Here he's going for the slimming effect of posing next to the bag my textbooks came home in. The New Mexico State University bookstore says "THANKS" to me for purchasing a new edition Spanish textbook for ninety-six dollars! Plus a nonrefundable-under-any-circumstances accompanying CD for twenty-five dollars! To which I say "You're sure welcome, you thieving bastards!" By semester's end, I may even know how to say it in Spanish!

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:00 PM | Comments (2)

    I Like the Night Life, Baby

    I continue my quest to make my town look vastly more exciting to live in than it actually is.

    Next weekend: Teenagers cruising the mall parking lot! Woot! Except no, actually. The police have done a thorough job of chasing 'em all out and making sure they stay chased-out. They were about to take off after ME tonight when I missed my exit and had to circle around the mall again.

    "Is she cruising? She looks a little old to be cruising--"

    "Could be a pedophile, Chief."

    "Sonofabitchin' bastard, Carl--I'll bet you're right!"

    Posted by Ilyka at 08:38 PM | Comments (1)

    Remind Me Always to Bring the Camera

    Things I would have photographed at school, had I only remembered to bring my camera:

  • The poster headlined, "Need Credit?" which depicted a person in scuba gear, underwater, weaving a basket. Yes, thanks to a joint effort by the Art and Physical Education departments, you, too, can earn 1 credit hour in underwater basket weaving at New Mexico State University.
  • The staff-only restrooms in the building where undergraduate advisement occurs. These had apparently been a men's and a women's originally. The plaque--you know, with the little icon and the Braille and the word "men?"--outside the men's room, however, had been altered. Pasted over the dude icon was a black-and-white photograph of a woman in crisp business attire, in slacks instead of a skirt, carrying a sensible handbag. The word "men" had also had the letters "Wo" prefixed to it . . . in Liquid Paper. Some days I just freaking love women. Also, be advised!--Apparently the undergraduate advising center at New Mexico State has no male employees and/or a lot of small-bladdered female ones. I'm totally making a special trip back over there to photograph that plaque, if only because I think this woman might get a bitter kick out of it.
  • In another women's room on campus, a sticker with contact information for a rape hotline had been affixed to the inside of the stall door--and half peeled-off of it, whether by an overzealous janitor or just by someone who didn't want to think about rape while on the toilet, I don't know. Anyway, someone else had come along and filled in the missing/torn-off words with permanent marker, including the missing phone digits. Excellent.
  • The ugly fugly ugliness of the campus in general. Hey, I don't mind. This is what happens, kids, when you matriculate in pot-smoking and blowing off classes in junior college: You wind up at an ugly university. I can't walk around the campus without my inner landscaping architect throwing a tantrum at all the burnt grass everywhere. This is the DESERT. Put in some freaking CACTI. And ROCKS. There is no excuse for the yards and yards of burnt grass and the buildings, oh man, don't get me started on the buildings, please, we'll be here all day and into next week. Just know that they are Very Very Bad Indeed, although nothing, no building anywhere, can top the one housing UT-Arlington's School of Architecture. I would show you a picture of it, but guess what? I can find no picture bigger than about 80 x 65 pixels on the UT-Arlington web site, and do you know why that is? Because even the university must know, deep down, that this is the ugliest building ever erected by any human being anywhere in the history of mankind, and yes, I have seen Stalinist architecture. This building would make you LONG for Stalinist architecture. I'm telling you. I nearly changed majors at UT-Arlington to architecture, but then I saw that building. Imagine if all the Mechanics and Aerospace engineers worked out of a building shaped like a penguin. Would you feel confident they had anything to teach you about aerodynamics? Exactly.

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:33 PM | Comments (6)
  • January 16, 2006

    Grumpity Grump Grump Grump

    I think, rather than complain about things--because even I'm tired of my complaining; I don't have that hard a life, for crying out loud--I'll just post a picture.

    ALTHOUGH . . . maybe you can tell me this: If, hypothetically, you and your husband have your sister over for a visit, and you and your husband decide to go work out on a cold winter's evening, and you and your husband have a 20-month-old daughter . . . does deciding that all four of you should visit the workout room seem like the optimal scenario to you? Because it doesn't to me, really. I'm thinking the sister stays at home with the toddler and babysits, or the mother and the sister go and the husband babysits, or . . . I mean, there are several other configurations, all involving the absence of anyone under the age of ten from the workout room. From at least a safety standpoint, wouldn't that be better? If there were no little people in the workout room? But don't mind me. It has been suggested in some quarters that I am just a bitter old bitch who is becoming increasingly fond of the pejorative "spawn" to describe other people's adorable, brilliant little children.

    Anyway. Let me just say how sorry I am that Martin Luther King, Jr., was killed, not only because he was a visionary leader and a great humanitarian etc. etc., but because now we have yet another day, besides Saturday and Sunday, on which my entire town can and does converge on Wal-mart. If you want some idea of the pandemonium there, try this:

    Two teenagers completely blocked the end of an aisle with their carts while they chatted (I assume these are the only two teenagers in my town without cell phones), and I thought, "Oh no we are NOT blocking up the entire aisle just to have a conversation," and then I said exactly that, out loud, at sufficient volume that the woman next to me turned and replied, deadpan, "Well, no--we're not," to which I responded, "But then, we were brought up right," and we both had a laugh while the teenagers continued their conversation, utterly oblivious as all young people are to the complaining of Those Who Are Grown. Normally I would celebrate this as proof that all's right with the the world--I would be far more disturbed if the teenagers had ceased talking and issued heartfelt, abject apologies--but this did come at the end of 50 minutes in the damn Wal-mart and an hour for the Wal-mart experience is about my limit. Any longer than that in there and I don't know what I'd do, exactly, but I know I could not be held responsible for it.

    But you understand? I said something rude (and scoldy!) out loud. The last time I did this was over four years ago, and even then I waited until the offender was out of earshot. I am a big old coward about this sort of thing, so just imagine the extent to which I was pushed today that I dared to open my mouth at all.

    Oh!--Before anyone calls me a racist let me point out that I make the exact same complaints about humanity every Monday holiday. I don't like President's Day any better, but I don't think that's because I harbor any bigotry towards people with wooden teeth or Marfan syndrome (which yes I know Lincoln may or may not have had; please let's remember that no one likes a know-it-all before commenting, thank you, come again). To hell with your three-day weekends, America. Especially to hell with the way employees at certain institutions, I'm not saying universities necessarily, tend to take the preceding Friday off so they can have four-day weekends, and thus for four solid days no one can accomplish a single fucking thing. Yes, to hell with this fat, lazy country. I am moving here. (With thanks to Andrea for that particular time-waster.)

    Wait, I promised you a crummy picture, didn't I? Well, here; click for bigger, or simply snicker from afar. I'll get over my sunset fixation eventually, but for now it continues.

    Back to work! What? You didn't think I had a three-day weekend, did you? SOME OF US WERE WORKING, AMERICA.

    I'm just saying, I think the toddler belongs at home

    Posted by Ilyka at 08:58 PM | Comments (11)

    January 04, 2006

    Sorry, Been Busy

    I seem to have developed a fondness for patting trolls on their pointy little heads. I know you're shocked.

    Well, it makes them feel appreciated. And, damnit, shouldn't everyone get to feel appreciated a few times in life?

    Besides, it still beats the tar out of guest-blogging.

    UPDATE: And NOTHING beats a gift from Hubris. Behold the ultimate misogynist's law school application. You are so definitely going to want to click for bigger:


    Note: I advised Hubris to offer this to Feministe, after he was unable to upload it here using a guest login. If Jill or Lauren end up posting it, I'll take this one down. But in the meantime? It's just too good.

    AND FINALLY: On a more serious note, possibly the best summary I've seen of the whole thing:

    . . . unfortunately, not all little boys do mature. Some of them just get bigger. And they’re sitll bullies, but now they’re in bigger bodies, and with a viciousness that’s been honed over the years. Jill of Feministe encountered such men, at an online board frequented by fellow students at her law school. Sick stuff - guys posting for months to threads about her - comments about her appearance (because, you know, feminists have got to be ugly, even when they’re young and strikingly good-looking), “Jill sighting” posts and mentions of “tag teaming” her around campus, and some people found Jill threads that mentioned rape and a desire to “hate fuck” her. Creepy stuff.

    I know admonitions to "read the whole thing" grow tiresome online, but really: Read the whole thing.

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:43 PM | Comments (10)

    January 03, 2006

    The Weird Stuff Thing

    Well, I kind of owe Margi for hitting her with the "Seven Things" one, see. This is how meme-tagging never. Freakin'. Ends.

    I wish it would, because I've actually done this one before. I screwed up and listed six of them, even. So I've given everyone a BONUS weird fact about myself.

    There, that was easy. Hah!

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:32 PM | Comments (1)

    Small Band, Big Cup: A PSA for the Women

    If, like me, you are a goofy bra size, this is what you must do:

    You must read this post.

    Then, you must go here and spend too much money on bras. Bras THAT FIT.

    Because, I'm telling you, you will be so freakin' happy if you do.

    By US standard sizing, I'm a 34F (and sometimes G, depending on style and manufacturer). Most (but not all) bra manufacturers call this a "34DDD." A damn triple D--I can't look at my own bra size without flashing back to my grades in high school.

    Who sells this size? Nobody sells this size! So for most of my life, I've been squishing into 36DD bras that don't fit. For most of my life I've been walking around with quadriboob.

    Never again. I love these people, do you hear me? I am sorry to go all Jerry Maguire like that, but I love these people. My boobs love these people.

    If you're in similar circumstances, you should absolutely check it out. It is awesome.

    UPDATE: Oh, that's what I remind myself of. Only with less bourbon.

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:14 PM | Comments (17)

    Actual Search Hit

    "How to get back at a man when he tells you sexist jokes."

    Hmm . . . is there really any need to strike back? He's clearly an idiot, and that's kind of its own worst punishment right there.

    But if you insist, I would suggest having him watch this.

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:27 PM | Comments (0)

    January 02, 2006


    Such a day! Enough. Do please try not to make too much fun of the picture; I'll get better with practice.

    . . . I think.

    new moon at sunset

    [Clicking makes bigger.]

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:05 PM | Comments (7)

    Home is Where I Can Say "Fuck" If I Want To

    I am not meant to blog anywhere but here.

    I am not meant to blog for anyone else for any reason, under any circumstances.

    Listen up, people, because this is important:


    Man. Sorry for the all-caps . . . if I could triple-underline it, though, I would. Please, just--just remind me of that. If I ever post, "I will be doing some guest-blogging at . . ." consider that your cue to email me with a stern "No, you will NOT. Because you will hate it, and it will hate you right back. Don't be a fucking moron."

    You can even put an asterisk in it. You can tell me not to be a f*cking moron. Or an effing moron. Really, I don't care. And I promise I won't tell anyone that you came this close to saying a naughty word.

    Thank you. Your continued support is, as always, deeply appreciated.

    And I mean that from the bottom of my fucking heart.

    Posted by Ilyka at 07:15 PM | Comments (3)

    Things to Do with Barbie When You're Bored

    I took very good care of my Barbies until I got to be about 15.

    Then, I took them all out to the big trash can, piled them up, and tried to set them on fire. It didn't really work; I was too chicken to use lighter fluid, plastic only scorches, and the hair flamed out too quickly to really get a good blaze going.

    I thought I was being all kinds of punk rock. It turns out I was just being normal:

    Barbie’s house burned down, she flew off a cliff, (couch), in her van after the brakes failed, she drowned in her pool, she recreated the hilarious (albeit painful) ski jump accident we all saw at the opening of every “Wide World of Sports” program and sometimes Barbie would have the shit beat out of her or get shoved down the stairs by Miss America Barbie, the dark haired competitor.

    I dropped her out my bedroom window, (on the second floor), just to see what would happen. I popped her legs and arms off, dyed her hair, cut her hair, decapitated her and she was left with a lot of marks made from a black marker to resemble bruises from her various mishaps.

    Inspired by yet another stupid study, of course.

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:33 AM | Comments (1)

    If I'm Not Around Much This Week

    . . . that will be because I'm concentrating on fulfillling two obligations: One, guest-blogging at Absinthe & Cookies; two, writing my obligatory Dead Pool posts (note: Those will be under the name "Della Morte." Can I ever get enough of bad pun handles? No, I cannot.).

    And while I'm working on those two things I may even drop in over here once in awhile, because I feel guilty for having asked Beth for a login, then never having done a damn thing with it. I may as well make this a sort of guest-blogging week.

    It's time for me to write crummy posts at other places, is what I'm saying. Feel free to visit any of 'em and leave me a comment. I like company, especially in strange places.

    Posted by Ilyka at 12:16 AM | Comments (1)

    January 01, 2006

    Please Type Quietly

    Because my fucking head, you have no idea.

    UPDATE: Cruelty.

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:27 AM | Comments (4)

    December 31, 2005

    For Dinner I Am Having Blueberry Pie

    $4.99 for a Marie Callender's at the store is not too shabby. It's baking now. I will wash it down with some fine cham-pag-nuh:

    And will you look at this refrigerator? It is so seldom this full of this many fine healthy things that I was forced to photograph it:

    This is going to be a damn good New Year, that's what. I hope yours is too. (I have started on the brandy, so you may expect me to wish you that roughly 63 more times before it hits midnight here in the MST.)

    P.S. That container on the middle shelf, far right? It is not Linda Blair's pea soup from The Exorcist; it is green chile sauce. Obviously, it tastes 40,000 times better than it looks, or it wouldn't be there.

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:02 PM | Comments (2)

    Damn Technology

    All right: What batteries do you use in your digital camera? What batteries should I use? If your answer reads anything like this, I swear I will ban you from the site. Any solution that even hints at soldering is automatically out because, remember: Your hostess is retarded. Nothing flammable should ever be brought anywhere near her, and just shut up about the cigarettes already.

    Battery recommendations appreciated. NO SOLDERING. NO HOBBY SHOPS.

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:17 PM | Comments (9)

    December 30, 2005

    An Update to the Smoking Post

    I really need to get out and do some errands but a recent comment reminded me that I should correct something in that damn smoking post:

    The author of the book I bought myself does NOT say cigarette smoking is merely a habit; on the contrary, he goes to great lengths to dispel the idea that it's only a habit. He definitely considers it nicotine addiction. Actually, this might be the best way to explain it:

    recipe for becoming an asshole smoker

    Carr would actually label the pink circle "brainwashing;" I just prefer an Ed Wood reference. His point is that the addiction is certainly part of the problem, but it's not that big a part of it, because smokers can sleep through the night without waking to feed that addiction; therefore, "I could never go eight hours without a cigarette" is bunk. Smokers regularly go eight hours without a cigarette, easily.

    So obviously the worst part of the problem is right up there in your stupid, stupid mind. This surprises me about as much as finding out that eating too much can make you fat--and yet, I am definitely having some light-bulb moments reading this book. I do not hate this book and I haven't thrown it against a wall yet. That is good.

    I may write more when I've finished it. In the meantime, I thought I should correct my mistake in the original post. And no, I really don't know WHAT I was thinking when I wrote that. That post was apparently authored by my stupid, stupid mind.

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:36 PM | Comments (0)

    December 29, 2005

    Things I Sometimes Miss About Dallas

    This is probably going to be a pretty short list.

    I feel bad running down Dallas all the time. For some people it's home. And some people really love it. And it's not the worst place on earth, by any means.

    But it's not a place I could ever drum up much affection for. I tried, believe me. I lived in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for 11 years. You can't say I didn't give it a chance.

    For all I bash it, though, there are some aspects of life there I get a little sentimental about. Now that my boyfriend's moving here, my only connection to it will be that my parents and brother are still there. I figure that makes this as good a time as any to remember the positives:

    1. Samuel C. Jackson's Super Bowl party

    You remember Samuel C. Jackson? He threw the best parties. He had a little house out in Garland and we'd head out there for Labor Day or Fourth of July, lugging a cooler of cheap beer (hey, that's all anybody else was bringing), some chips and dip, and maybe a bottle of wine for SCJ as a thank-you.

    But the Super Bowl parties were the big ones. Samuel C. Jackson worked as a waiter at various upscale--really upscale--restaurants in the area. He could assemble a pretty diverse crowd that way, and this was his genius: He knew who'd get along together. The guy was a master host.

    You know how some parties, everyone segregates into cliques of 3-4 people? And there's no mixing or mingling among cliques? At all? Samuel C. Jackson's parties weren't like this. He could get the technical writer talking to the sommelier talking to the housewife talking to the tattoo artist . . . he knew which people would get on with each other, regardless of class or background.

    One Labor Day we ended up talking to some fellow from Quebec part of the night. Now, if you'd told me beforehand that I'd be talking to some guy from Quebec that night, I'd probably have snorted, then launched into my Celine Dion impression. But it was actually a very pleasant conversation. We refrained from saying "Ha ha, Quebec," and he refrained from saying "Ha ha, Texas."

    Samuel C. Jackson also made the best Jello shots you ever had. He did each tray of them a little differently from the others, and every time we'd start on a new tray of them, he'd explain what he'd done with this particular batch:

    "So that last tray, I used up the rest of the Citron, 'cause I think that blends really nice with the lime, right, so you get these little fuckers that don't taste strong, but they are. So it's kind of a stealth buzz. But these guys . . . these guys are grape and cherry, I think--is it cherry or strawberry, Mac?--yeah, cherry, with Everclear. So watch out, because I put a fuckload of booze in there. Might burn a little going down."

    To most people, Jello shots are Jello shots. To Samuel C. Jackson, they were an art.

    Yes. I will definitely miss the Super Bowl party this year.

    2. Driving faster than 35 miles per hour.

    I really hope this one is mostly self-explanatory.

    Dallas people drive super-fast and super-stupid. Nearly every person in Dallas thinks he or she is a good driver. Nearly every one of them is wrong--spectacularly wrong.

    I've probably added years to my life just by not driving the Dallas freeways anymore, but driving is no longer as fun, either. I even kind of miss the Mixmaster.

    Wait. No. I don't.

    3. Two airports.

    Now I don't even have ONE airport. I gotta drive 50 miles to El Paso to get on a plane.

    4. KRNB, one-oh-five-DOT-seven, and WRR, classical 101.

    If want classical music now I have to listen to the NPR station. And (1) they play mostly terrible short pieces and (2) they talk endlessly and very, very slowly after each one. It's not worth it. I basically never listen to classical anymore.

    Plus, WRR would broadcast the Dallas city council meetings every Wednesday afternoon. This was fun to listen to in the way that listening to something that makes you want to scream can be kind of fun, in a cathartic way.

    As for KRNB, I can get two hip-hop stations where I live now, which is a bonus, but I have no more classic soul/R & B. I miss 105.7 in the worst way.

    5. "More restaurants per capita . . . ."

    This is one of those annoying little facts that every person in Dallas can recite in his sleep. It's said to shut you up when you complain about all the chain restaurants, and Dallas is awash in chain restaurants.

    Luckily it is also awash in every other kind of restaurant. Russian, Greek, Lebanese, Ethiopian, Indian, Italian, French, Thai, Vietnamese, Jewish, Moroccan, German, Polish, Japanese--you can find something to eat there; you just can't use the restaurant reviews in the Dallas Morning News to find it. For some reason that stupid fucking paper, which I do NOT miss, would only really give thumbs-up to expensive nouvelle cuisine restaurants. Thank you, Dallas Morning News, for breaking the news that The Mansion on Turtle Creek serves flawless food. I actually already knew that, but I wasn't looking to drop $200 over brunch, you class-obsessed little poseurs.

    I miss this place and this place particularly.

    6. St. Thomas Aquinas and All Saints parishes.

    I was baptized in the first but wound up mostly attending the second (it was closer to where I lived). St. Thomas Aquinas is worth looking at if you're into old-school church architecture, though it's not actually that terribly old; I believe it was originally built in the 1950s. The priest there gives the best homilies and the choir is fabulous, if you're into that sort of thing, which I am.

    As for All Saints, I loved its stained glass mural, which you can just barely make out at the top center of its web page. I WISH I could find a larger image of it, because it has to be seen to be believed. It's attempting to show, I think, that Jesus loves everyone, people of all cultures--but that attempt goes a little . . . I mean, it's kind of . . . look, one of these days I'll have to see if I have an old bulletin lying around that I can scan the image from for you.

    For right now, all I can tell you is that some of the people Jesus loves include a fellow down at the left whom I immediately nicknamed "Bob from Accounting," and a hazy group of space aliens in the upper right. Yes, ALIENS. Close Encounters of the Third Kind sorts of aliens. I don't think the artist was trying to depict aliens--I think they were meant to suggest people so far in the background that you can't see them properly--but they happen to look exactly like aliens. Peace be with you, whichever galaxy you hail from.

    The whole decorating scheme at All Saints is 1970s: Orange velour-covered pews. Naugahyde kneelers (these are very comfy!). I loved it. It's kitschy in the extreme.

    So that's what all I miss. On the other hand, I have sunshine every day here. I can see stars at night. I can see mountains. I can enjoy a daytime sky of blazing bright blue dotted with ridiculous puffy clouds and a nighttime sky of intense indigo dotted with constellations. I can shiver in briskly cold breezes every night. All this AND tamales. My cup runneth over.

    No. I'm not too broken up about leaving Dallas.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:21 PM | Comments (11)

    Sassing Back the Search Engines

    To the three apparently discrete entities searching for "Avon World Sales Leader:"

    You got the wrong blog. I'm more of a Mary Kay person, actually.

    To the person at the Equal Opportunities Commission searching for "Dirty Hernandez:"

    That wasn't me either. I would never use that term and I'm rather sorry someone here did, even if it is apparently just the name of an alcoholic beverage.

    I'm particularly sorry that I'm the second result for that search. Watch it, Jim! You're on fuckin' notice.

    Finally, I am not a business, I don't employ anybody, and you clearly need more work to do if you've got time to sit around the office Googling "Dirty Hernandez."

    To the person in Maryland searching for "Ilyka Damen:"

    Well, yeah, that's me, but do I know you? I don't think I know anybody in Maryland--no, wait, maybe. Oh dear.

    Anyway, it's creeping me out, though I'm not sure why. You'd think, given that I started a blog, that it would make me happy to see someone's actually interested in finding it; but it doesn't, and it's just further evidence that I'm probably not really cut out for this sort of thing.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:01 PM | Comments (3)

    December 28, 2005

    How to Eject an Agoraphobe from the House

    1. Live next door.

    2. Have this dog who "normally" lives with your mom "because it's kinda mean to keep one in an apartment, you know?" (Note: Yes, I do and yes, I think dogs need a real house with a real yard to play in.)

    3. Have Mom bring the dog over for a "holiday visit" with you, his "real mom." [Cough.]

    4. When the dog freaks out at his unfamiliar surroundings and begins whining in the most heartbreaking yet thoroughly nerve-scraping way, DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO APPEASE HIM, on the grounds that "he'll get over it, eventually."

    5. Repeat for hours and hours.

    Actually, I lied. This isn't how to get an agoraphobe out of the house. This is how to make a dog-murderer out of an animal lover.

    I know, I know: It's not puppy's fault. But you can't hear puppy, and I can. This NOISE. My GOD. I would trade this dog for a set of colicky 9-month-old quintuplets so fast, puppy wouldn't even get in a goodbye yelp.

    I'm going to kill this bitch. The owner, I mean, not the dog.

    Well . . .

    . . . no. Definitely just the owner.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:48 PM | Comments (2)

    December 26, 2005

    This is What it Amounts To

    Periodically, in someone else's comments, some wag will bring up my promise to blog as a dude and wonder whatever became of that, not that I blame them for asking. It's a fair thing to wonder.

    Here's what became of it: I forgot, when I said that, that I am lazy. Blogging as a dude and really trying to make a go of it, plus really trying to disguise myself effectively, would unfortunately require this thing called EFFORT.

    No small amount of effort, either. First of all, as some of you already know from comments I've left with you, I have a fairly distinctive IP address that identifies me as being from, well, where I'm from--at least roughly; sometimes it gets the city wrong. But the "wrong city" it uses most often just happens to be one of the few cities that people outside New Mexico recognize as being from New Mexico. Obviously, it'd be a little too coincidental if suddenly there were some center-right male blogger running around leaving comments at some of the blogs I frequent with that same IP address.

    Therefore, if I wanted to get my guy blogger any kind of reputation at all, I'd have to have him comment places using another IP address.

    Well, there are certainly proxies available for that, though many of the free ones will not process POST commands in an effort to thwart spammers. Still, it could be done.

    The thing with a proxy, though, is that you only have to forget to use it once to get busted--and I am, in addition to being lazy, extremely scatterbrained, so I'd definitely mess it up at least once. At least. I'm thinking of how many people suspected who Article III Groupie really was, because of just those kinds of errors.

    The story of Article III Groupie brings up another problem, one I had not considered originally, but which became more important to me the more I thought about it:

    I realized that I always found it horrifically offensive when a male blogger pretended to be a chick. Remember this guy? Or how about this guy? I can't stand either of 'em. To pretend to be a chick means you think you know how chicks are. To pretend to be a chick means you reduce being a chick to a set of mannerisms that you can don and remove at will, like a masquerade costume. It's demeaning to actual women.

    Well, the same holds in reverse: To be pretend to be a man means you think you know how men are. To pretend to be a man means you reduce being a man to a set of mannerisms that you can don and remove at will, like a masquerade costume.

    It's demeaning to actual men, don't you think? I think now that it's a very arrogant, ignorant, presumptuous thing to do, to pretend to be someone of the opposite sex, with obvious exceptions being made for the stage, for literature, or for any other medium in which it is clear to the audience that the work is fiction.

    But to do it as a con, as a ha-ha-fooled-you sort of prank, no. I don't think I like it.

    The final problem I had with blogging as a man was that what I thought I wanted to do with that project was write about politics, politics minus so-called "women's issues."

    I forgot the part where I'm really not interested in writing about politics at all anymore. I don't believe anyone's ever been convinced of a thing through argument, and that's what political blogs mostly facilitate: argument. You can call it "debate" or "discussion" if you prefer, but it all eventually degenerates into argument, at least in the absence of a heavy-handed comments moderator. And of course, if your comments moderator is too heavy-handed, you wind up killing all debate and discussion entirely. You get an echo chamber.

    I'm not trying to insult people who run political blogs. If that's your thing, great. I probably even read it--certainly if you're on my blogroll, I read you. It's cool if that's your thing. I respect it, honest.

    But it is not my thing, and here's why: If I blog about politics, some of my readers understandably begin treating my blog as a political blog, behaving as though they were in a political climate, one in which things can be debated and discussed. Unfortunately, some of them then bring that very same "free to question, nitpick, and argue" attitude over to my personal posts, like they're on fuckin' Crossfire or something.

    And guess what? My personal shit is not up for debate, you assmonkeys. Most people get this, but it's just stunning to me how many people don't. It ought to be easily determined with a quick quiz:

    Q: Is this post about anyone in Washington, D.C.; Baghdad, Iraq; or any political leader or event anywhere in the world?

    ( ) YES--feel free to argue.
    ( ) NO--if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.

    Anyway, this is how it's going to be from here on out:

    1. Meryl's blog is designated a "No Israel-bashing Zone." This blog? This blog is designated a "No Feminism-bashing Zone."

    2. Pay attention, because this is important: I will decide what is feminism-bashing and what isn't. Don't be shocked if I decide to give miles of leeway to people I like, and virtually no leeway at all to people I loathe. If I think you're a creep and you fem-bash, even in a way that I secretly agree with, the part where I think you're a creep is going to trump my secret agreement with your expressed sentiments. (I intend this, incidentally, as incentive for people not to be creeps.)

    3. Is that fair? NO. But this blog does not exist to be fair to you. If it's justice you're after, go troll a forum. Maybe if you kiss up to the administrator enough you'll get promoted to moderator, and then you can dish out all the justice you like.

    4. Or, you could run your own blog, and be as fair or as unfair to people as you please. Don't bother tracking me back, by the way--I've never been happier since disabling trackbacks. Trackbacks are the devil's tools and disabling them is God's work, people.

    5. That said, if you're afraid I won't notice what you wrote, and you honestly think I'd like to read it, feel free to email me with a link. The address is up top at the left under "Got Something On Your Mind, Sparky?"

    Context is everything. I'm a big believer in that. I make a concerted effort to adjust my behavior to my host's expectations on any blog at which I comment. I know Andrea doesn't want to hear from me when I disagree with her, so guess how I handle that?--I don't comment when I disagree with her. I know some of the guys at Ace of Spades like to indulge in a little chick-bashing now and then, so guess how I handle that?--I join in, or I bash the guys a little back. I know the commenters at Feministe are more liberal than I am, so guess how I handle that?--I phrase things more deferentially there than I might in a group of right-wingers, because I'm the outsider, the uninvited guest, and they're the regulars, the invited and the welcomed.

    Here is what I do not do, figuratively speaking: I don't go to strip clubs to complain about all the shocking nudity, and I don't go to church to complain about all the God-talk. I adjust to my surroundings.

    And so help me, so will people here, or they'll be o-u-t OUT. Dissent, crushed, with a twist of lemon and a dash of bitters.

    This may not be a feminist blog per se, but it is certainly a blog by a feminist. I am through being fair and patient and understanding towards anyone who refuses to grasp that.


    Posted by Ilyka at 06:39 PM | Comments (8)

    Before I Break All Your Kind Links

    You can get to this page with just http://ilyka.mu.nu/ now. Are you happy? By cracky, you'd better be happy.

    I'll delete main.html sometime this week probably, just to warn you.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:42 PM

    The 'Seven Things' Thing

    Sigh. From Lauren:

    Seven Things To Do Before I Die
    1. Get stupid undergraduate degree so stupid people can lay off my stupid ass about my being so stupid, the stupid yuppie bastards.
    2. Visit Russia and Eastern Europe, particularly Poland, and I'm not just saying that to make up for insulting Polish people earlier, either. It's a long story. I just want to go. When I was little you couldn't go; now you can go; I'd like to go. The end.
    3. Learn Spanish, properly this time. This Spanglish ain't cutting it no mas.
    4. Own a really fast car, and learn to drive it properly--preferably somewhere where it can be driven properly, if we haven't set the speed limits to 25 mph (or whatever that works out to in km/h) by then, you know, to save the ozone layer.
    5. Go completely balls-out blonde. I mean bleached. Actually, I'd settle for just getting that done before it's all gray. I've had highlights, but that's not the same. Anyway, I certainly wouldn't maintain it, but to have it just once would be fun.
    6. Pay my mom back. This is a long story and we're not getting into it here, so don't ask.
    7. Tell someone who's really being an asshole in public that they're really being an asshole. In public. And say it without flinching, without remorse.

    Seven Things I Cannot Do
    1. Tread water. This is very embarrassing because no one ever believes me, so they try to teach me, and we waste 15 or 20 minutes, and how does it always end? "Wow. You really can't tread water." No kidding. Take comfort, o mine enemies: I am easily drowned.
    2. Play pool. This is another one that people need to quit trying to teach me.
    3. Wink.
    4. Live in harmony with nature. Nature has a really nasty insect problem, have you noticed? Fuck nature.
    5. Tolerate the smell of bananas. Oh man, I don't even like typing that.
    6. Lauren can knit, but says she can't crochet. I'm the opposite: I can crochet, but all I can do with knitting needles is stab myself repeatedly.
    7. Pull-ups.

    I'm going to put the following back to "Seven Things That Attract Me to My Mate," which is another version I've seen out there, instead of "Seven Things That Attract Me to Blogging," only because I'm not sure I'm attracted to blogging so much as addicted to it. I keep trying to quit it and it keeps finding me. Often I literally hate it, and one of these days I mean to quit it for good. Anyway:

    Seven Things That Attract Me to My Mate
    1. He calms me down. I don't know how obvious it is to you, the reader, that I'm kind of a spaz, but I'm kind of a spaz.
    2. For every nine jokes I make, he'll make one. But his one will be better than all of my nine put together.
    3. The things he's insecure about are not the things I'm insecure about, and vice versa. We complement each other well that way.
    4. His eyes. They're gorgeous.
    5. You don't want to know this one, and I'm not going to tell you.
    6. He's taller than I am.
    7. And at least 100 times nicer, kinder, and more generous than I am, too.

    Seven Things I Say Most Often
    1. Yeah, the f-word. And too much Valley Girl speak, i.e., items 2-4:
    2. Seriously.
    3. Totally.
    4. Completely.
    5. I'm not kidding.
    6. You have no idea.
    7. This is terrible, but: "You cocksucking asshole motherfucker." This is, like, my worst cuss save for one. Believe it or not, 95% of the time it is said to inanimate objects. If I accidentally spill cat litter on the bathroom floor, I will address the spilled litter as "you cocksucking asshole motherfucker," not caring that it can't suck cock, doesn't have an asshole, and isn't fucking anyone's mother.

    Seven Books That I Love
    1. A Tree Goes in Brooklyn.
    2. What Do You Care What Other People Think?
    3. All the Anne books.
    4. All P.J. O'Rourke, but especially Eat the Rich and Holidays in Hell.
    5. The Essential Ellison.
    6. Rock This--and you, you just shut up. Right now. I know it's basically a transcription of his comedy routines. I don't care. How's your novel coming, anyway? You ever make it through National Novel Writing Month? Mmm, that's what I thought.
    7. Bright Lights, Big City. Am I the only one who kind of likes Tad Allagash better than the protagonist? Not all the time, but some of the time? And am I the only one who thinks "Tad Allagash" is the best character name ever devised by an author? Try changing it and seeing if it still fits the character--it doesn't (Tad Rubinski? Tad Petersen? Tad Sharif?). He could only be called Tad Allagash. ". . . drugs to be hoovered, dances to be danced, women to be Rubinskied"--oh hell, no. It's just so wrong.

    Seven Movies That I Watch Over and Over Again
    I just want to echo Lauren here because I don't like movies much either. And we all know what the first one's gonna be anyway.
    1. Urban Cowboy. You think that's bad? It gets worse.
    2. Saturday Night Fever. Look, I don't know what my thing with early Travolta is either. I just know it beats recent Travolta. And oddly enough, I never did have a crush on him--not when he was Barbarino, not when he was Tony Manero, not when he was Buford Uwen Davis, and, uh, certainly not now. I honestly don't know what my thing is with the dumb Travolta movies. Also, shut up.
    3. Office Space.
    4. Victor/Victoria. I used to use this as a dating suitability test: If you could watch this movie with me and admit (1) that it's totally hysterical, (2) that not all musicals suck, and (3) that it's not a damn chick flick, you passed.
    5. Wow, I'm already having difficulty--no, wait! Team America.
    6. Somewhere in Time SHUT UP, I know it's . . . look, this is why I'm not really your go-to person for film recommendations, okay?
    7. That Star Trek movie, the one with the whales? Was it the fourth or the fifth one? Anyway, I loved that. Also, shut up. Again. I can't believe I have to keep saying that.

    Seven Songs I Play Over and Over Again
    1. "I Can Understand It," Bobby Womack.
    2. "Ain't That a Kick in the Head," Dean Martin.
    3. "Nothing Was Exchanged," Jules Shear.
    4. "Fairground," Simply Red, and holy shit, I can't even tell you to shut up about that because I don't think I can shut up about that. That's just terrible. I should be very ashamed. And I am! Well, it does get worse.
    5. "Why," Andy Gibb.
    6. "Nice Work if You Can Get It," Frank Sinatra.
    7. "Come and Get Your Love," Redbone.

    WELL. That was exquisitely embarrassing. Why are these memes always so nosy?

    And I guess now I have to pick on other people. Holler if you've done this already, and if you want to be cruel to someone, suggest an alternate for yourself. Bonus points if you pass the buck to someone you despise, and you tell me who it is in email.

    Seven people to pass this on to (who will now never speak to me again):
    1. Kenneth
    2. Rob.
    3. Margi.
    4. Helen.
    5. Meryl.
    6. Ith.
    7. Beth.

    UPDATE: Rob's is up. Some of his choices have me going, "Damn, I forgot that one"--like asking what's for lunch a lot. The stupid thing is that I live by myself and work from home, and I still ask this. Daily. Out loud. Hello, Crazy Cat-Lady Land, here I come!

    Rob was a true gentleman and didn't tag anybody, so you don't have to be afraid to go look. I also like what he did with the mutable category of "Seven Things That Attract Me to . . . ." In Rob's case this became "Seven People You'd Like to Have for Your Birthday Dinner"--not as part of the menu, you understand, but to have dine with you. Coolness.

    UPDATE II: Here is Margi's. I got a movie recommendation from this, PLUS I love her birthday dinner guest list, PLUS she included a book I had at first put on, but then took off--The Great Gatsby. I can scarcely believe I bumped F. Scott Fitzgerald for Chris Rock. No wonder F. Scott drank.

    Remember, kids: Writing doesn't pay. Unless you're Stephen King, and then it pays bunches; but, also, you're Stephen King.

    UPDATE III: Helen begins hers by noting that she "fucking hate[s] memes." To which I can only add: I know, and so do I, and why did I torture everyone like this? Honestly, I have no idea, but I'm leaning towards "because I'm an imbecile."

    Unsurprisingly, Helen reads better books than I do, has been more places than anyone else has, and definitely watches better movies than I do (not that this last is particularly difficult). The girl has got some culture! And I love that she blew off the seven songs with the explanation that she's "a mood chick," because really, if I'm being truthful, that's exactly how I am. It's true that the songs I listed tend to come up more often than most others, but that doesn't mean I play them every day, or all the time--and certainly not all together. I have to be in the mood for things, and many songs I love will bore me to tears if I'm not in the mood for them right at that moment.

    Fun stuff. Go see.

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:43 AM | Comments (10)

    December 25, 2005

    Impossible Wish for 2006

    A dumb game some friends and I played years ago: Name your impossible wish for the new year. This has to be something that hasn't a chance in hell of coming true. Here's mine:

    That no parents anywhere on the planet name their daughter "Sierra."

    "But what about Ciara?" comes the anguished wail from hundreds of thousands of mostly stupid people. Well, I'll tell you: You can use "Ciara," if you're Irish. But then you have to pronounce it as in Irish: KEE-ar-a.

    The other thing you should know about "Ciara:" It's already the name of a dimestore perfume. Are you trying to ensure your daughter grows up to be a streetwalker? Honestly, just name her "Jean Nate" and be done with it.

    "But 'Sierra'--"

    --is the name of a North American mountain range. Please leave it that way, you pretentious ass. Though, now I think of it, "Sierra" also sounds like it could be a discount brand of cigarettes. In fact, for all I know, it is.

    "New Sierra Lights: High on taste--low on price! Now available in menthol and new 120s 'luxury lights.'"

    So, no. Mamas, don't let your babies be christened "Sierra."

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:14 PM | Comments (7)

    December 24, 2005

    On Smoking

    Let's get the disclaimer out of the way:

    Smoking cigarettes is a filthy, disgusting, unhealthy habit, and you should never take it up, because you're playing Russian roulette when you do: You don't know, until you start--or rather, until the first time you try to quit--whether you'll be one of those people who drops it relatively easily, or one of those people who quits when they die, after their family has decided to discontinue the ventilator.

    And, as I've said before--even if it doesn't kill you, it robs you of the full enjoyment of life long before then. It's the part where you're still smoking and still alive, but just barely, that people don't consider often enough.

    Including me.

    I bought a book on quitting recently. I can't tell you how many times I've done this--wait, yes I can. I have done it exactly once before. I bought a book titled If Only I Could Quit. It was a selection of quitting stories by ex-smokers.

    Oughtta be hella motivational, right? Just imagine: All those ex-smokers.

    Wrong. Turned out everyone who shared his or her quitting story began the story with a lengthy reminisce of how fun it had been back when he or she had started.

    I do not know if all smokers are sentimentalists, but I know I am. Every time I'd turn the page to the next story, I'd get through maybe two paragraphs before thinking, "Man! I really want a cigarette! The way she talks about that first sweet drag--GodDAMN! I totally remember that! Let's see if I can find it again!"

    These people . . . I don't think they had set out deliberately to romanticize smoking. But that was nonetheless just what they had done. Free advice: Don't describe in detail the almost sexual thrill you used to get from sneaking a pack of Kools out of Dad's carton, while you're trying to coax me to quit. Imagine a book on dieting written that way:

    "I knew I couldn't afford the 786 calories in that slice of chocolate cheesecake, knew it in my bones. And yet--the rich marbleized swirls, the waiter's assurance that it had all been made in-house, with European dark chocolate, the invitingly crunchy, yet moist, graham-cracker crust . . . oh, I thought, it can't hurt to try it just this once.

    "That was my downfall."

    There is a damn reason diet books don't focus on helping you relive your most gluttonous moments: It is because this is not helpful to dieting in the least. So why anyone thought a book about quitting smoking should contain page after page of rapturous, glowing descriptions of the almost unbearable pleasures of lighting up, I have no idea. Maybe R.J. Reynolds actually published it, and I just never noticed. Those dirty, sneaking bastards.

    I'm skeptical of this book I bought recently because I already gather from the reviews that its premise is that smoking is a habit, not an addiction, and that once you free your mind from the brainwashing of "it's an addiction," and accept that it is merely a habit, your ass will follow.

    I'm not saying the author's categorically wrong about that; I'm just saying, if that's so, it is in my case one HELL of a habit. I mean, I first tried to quit when I was 19. I'd been smoking regularly for about 2-1/2 years at that point. And you know how long I made it without a cigarette, that first time out?

    Nineteen hours. As many hours as I was old in years.

    And the thing is, I didn't go into that quitting attempt thinking, "Oh no, oh no, I'm addicted." If anything, I went into it with the opposite attitude. I went into it with the brass balls (and naivete) of youth. I went into it thinking, "Well, I've done this for a couple years now, but shit!--I don't want to be like those old people smokers. I better quit now, while it's easy."

    Ho, ho! Anyway, I got my ass handed to me. I literally shook for the better part of that day. I thought only drunks trying to lay off the sauce got the shakes. I thought a lot of things that turned out not to be true for me--among them, that cigarette smoking was just a habit that I could retrain myself out of fairly easily.

    You might remember the National Quit Smoking Day slogan, something about how if you could quit for one day, you could quit forever. I'd like to stand up right now, brothers and sisters, and testify to you that the folks behind National Quit Smoking Day need to drop dead--because, honestly, did no one in the American Lung Association stop to think about the effect that slogan might have on people who couldn't go one day?

    I'll tell you how I interpreted it at 19: I interpreted it as, "Wow, you're so fucked. You couldn't even quit for a day. Might as well smoke while you can."

    So like I say: If it's just a habit, it is one motherfucker of a habit. We'll see if this book is helpful or not.

    UPDATE: More here, including a correction to an obvious error in this post.

    Posted by Ilyka at 03:06 AM | Comments (8)

    December 22, 2005

    A Short Preliminary Review of a Present I Bought Myself Recently

    That would be Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door. I bought this after having been alerted to it by Andrea, but also, subconsciously at least, to annoy the brother of a friend of mine, who sees red at the mention of Truss's other book, Eats, Shoots & Leaves, because his own grammar and style guide didn't sell nearly as well. He'll probably never know I did this, and would only think me stupid if he did know, but nonetheless, I take perverse satisfaction in it: Ha, ha--I bought a book by that whore, Lynne Truss.

    Okay, it's probably not a good idea to start this review off by calling Lynne Truss a whore, even if I'm only kidding. So much for my manners.

    Anyway, good stuff so far. She wanders a bit; I did not really need to know the 200-500-year evolution of spitting conventions in polite society, as I figure the disappearance of the word "spittoon" tells me all I need to know about that and, besides, it's just gross.

    Still, the book is worth the purchase price for the section headed "Why am I the One Doing This?" alone, because that sums up my complaint with the way people behave (or rather, don't behave) perfectly: The onus for achieving politeness is now on the person who values politeness the most, and not on each person equally. When it comes to manners, I am a collectivist: Everyone should behave. In my dream world that sentence continues, ". . . or it's off to the gulag with you." Have you noticed we don't live in my dream world? I have.

    But leaving it up to the one lone holdout who's fed to the teeth with rudeness results in that one lone holdout becoming the aggrieved, the picked-on and, in the eyes of the rude, the actual offender. It's now considered rude to ask people to please quit being rude.

    "What do you care if I'm talking on my cell phone? I'm not bothering you." (I'll be the judge of what bothers me, thanks.) "Oh, well like I'm so sorry I didn't hold the door open for you, Your Highness." (I'm not asking you to hold it open for me, but was slamming it into my face strictly necessary?) "Maybe if you ever have children, which I doubt, because who would ever want to reproduce with you, you'll understand better how difficult it is to get them to behave"--this always being uttered after the speaker's offspring has subjected you to continual torment, maybe kicking the back of your seat for half the flight, or shrieking for 30 solid minutes just below the frequency only dogs can hear, or ramming their kiddie cart into your calves in the store, with not one word of reproval offered by the parent. Okay! Children are difficult. I get this. But you expect me to apologize to you when you, the parent, make no attempt whatsoever to correct them? Wow. Fuck you.

    Which is a whole other section of the book: "The Universal Eff-Off Reflex." I haven't got to that part yet, but the title is already making me itch. Can we . . . do something about Eff, f'n, f**k, etc.? I am all in favor of polite fictions but these are stupid fictions. There's a difference. Whenever I see "Eff you," or "So-and-so is on f'n fire today," or "I guess that means the rest of us are f**ked," I immediately substitute "fuck"--and so does everyone else, and that's the entire point of this business: It permits the writer to say "fuck" without incurring the social penalties associated with saying "fuck."

    And yet everyone who reads these shorthands is automatically substituting the real word mentally, so what exactly are we accomplishing with this? I don't get it. I know I have sometimes tried to reign in my cussing habits by using "freakin'" or even "frigging," but these are at least entirely different words. If I write "freakin'," chances are you read it as "freakin'," and then think "what a geek she is, I can't believe she said 'freakin',' how Mormon is that?" But at least you can pronounce "freakin'" in ordinary speech, whereas I defy anyone to pronounce "f**k" in a way that doesn't sound exactly like "fuck." "Eff," while it can be pronounced in a way that does not sound like "fuck," nonetheless makes it too clear that "fuck" is what was intended, because what other word is universal enough to be referred to by only its starting letter? We don't write "G" or "Gee" for "goodbye" because--"G?" That could be anything. But Eff--oh, we know what that one is, all right.

    Either say "fuck" or don't. It can be a fun exercise to try not to use it, especially now that everyone does. You find you have to rewrite sentences entirely. I wish anyone well who attempts it; it's not that easy to do anymore. But if you're sufficiently enraged to say "Eff" you're sufficiently enraged to just say "fuck."

    I'm sure someone will make the point that maybe, in a book on manners, you shouldn't say "fuck." Well, obviously. My point is only that "Eff" is a lousy substitution. Besides, if you're going to talk about how awful it is that everyone gets told to fuck off all the time anymore, pretending that they're not actually saying what they're saying, which is, again, just for review, fuck off, seems silly. It's like writing a book about cancer that never once uses the word "cancer," instead littering the text with euphemisms like "the big 'C'."

    Other than the use of Eff, though, so far so good. More later, maybe.

    UPDATE: It grieves me to be so rude towards a book about manners, but this was ultimately disappointing.

    In the author's defense, that could just be my pathological hatred of cell phones talking: You show tolerance for cell phones, I lose all tolerance for you. Truss says hearing people talk on their cell phones "humanizes them." That only reminded me, yet again, that I don't really like humanity.

    I used to live across from some neighbors who had their washer and dryer repossessed. They began hanging all their laundry out to dry on clotheslines strung across their back patio.

    It totally humanized them to me; I'm just not sure that was a good thing. Do I need to know that my neighbor prefers briefs to boxers? Do I need to be able to estimate his wife's bra size? Look at the way the cups catch the wind! That's got to be at least a 38C, don't you think?

    A little humanity goes a long way.

    Anyway, I'm forced to remember the criticism leveled at Eats, Shoots & Leaves by the grammarian mentioned above: He said he understood that it wasn't intended as a style manual, but only as a rant against bad grammar. The problem, he said, was that there were better rants available. And then, in a moment of stunning vanity, he linked "better rants" to his own book.

    And here it is. Because if Eats, Shoots & Leaves is as tepid and disjointed as Talk to the Hand, my friend's brother is probably right.

    Posted by Ilyka at 03:22 PM | Comments (7)

    September 12, 2005

    A Chunk of My Identity Just Turned Black and Fell Off

    I have long believed two things about myself: I like to read, and I like to cook.

    The first one might be a lie--as I realized when the other night I couldn't name the last novel I'd enjoyed--but the second one is definitely a lie. All this time, I've been kidding myself.

    I hate to cook.

    Really. Many's the night I've turned in with my stomach growling because I couldn't be bothered to throw a couple of slices of bread in the toaster before bed. Or because there weren't any slices of bread in the house, and making anything more complex than toast was just too much work.

    I hate to cook. What I like, I've decided, is having something to do with my hands while people talk to me. And I like eating good food, and I can't really afford restaurants, so if I want something good to eat there's no delegating the chore of cooking--either I'm fixing dinner or no one is.

    Lately, no one is. Here, this is the most complicated thing I've made lately: An enormous pot of posole. This is basically a stew-like soup of pork and hominy and massive amounts of chile. It's not really complicated at all, in other words. I expended the effort to put that together because why? Because I knew I could spend the next three weeks not cooking anything but merely warming up a cup of posole here and there when I got peckish.

    It's actually surprisingly good as breakfast.

    I used to make fun of women in the grocery store who'd have one head of lettuce, one box of low-fat cereal bars, one 12-pack of Diet Coke, and 17 Lean Cuisine dinners in their carts, with nothing else--but by gum, I can see now how it could happen. I could wind up like that, except I wouldn't buy Lean Cuisines, I'd buy Marie Callenders. I loves me some country-fried pork chop, Marie!

    This is terrible. I used to list cooking as a hobby. "Oh, don't you like cooking?" I'd inquire nosily, when a coworker would complain about having to make dinner that night. "I think it's so . . . relaxing, actually! I really enjoy it. It helps me unwind. Plus, at the end, you have something wonderful to eat!"

    I was so full of it.

    I have garlic. I have onions. I have mushrooms. I have tomatoes. I have lemons. I have vinegars, red wine and white wine and rice wine and balsamic. I could be making something really fabulous right now.

    Wanna place bets on whether I'm going to?

    UPDATE: Okay, I'm going to. But my gosh, I'm rusty. Having a hard time remembering what to do first or do next, that kind of thing.

    I may update this afterwards and tell you what I fixed. Why? Because I may feel like it. And also because if that Greg Gutfeld character can post something like "IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!!!" on his double secret hidden blog or whatever, well, I like when others lower the bar for me like that. It relieves my performance anxiety. Please don't take that as "Oh, she hates Greg Gutfeld" because no, she does not. I love him (and belated happy birthday to the man). I'm just saying.

    ANOTHER UPDATE: I am at a crossroads and you are all asleep and can't help me--except maybe Pixy, who has just announced our engagement in the comments here. Four words: FREE LIFETIME TECH SUPPORT. I'm so there!

    But my dilemma: Basically either I food process the mixture of spinach/onions/tomatoes/garlic I just sauteed before I throw it on top of the chicken, or I don't. I think I'll like it better if I give it a few quick pulses, but that will mean more dishes, and I am not good at dishes--one more argument against my ever cooking again. The boyfriend used to do them all. Don't ask me how I worked that stroke of luck out because if I knew, I wouldn't be here; I would be negotiating the advance for my soon-to-be bestseller, How to Get Your Man to Clean Up (After Your Ass). I would have speaking engagements. Women would trample each other to get me to heal their sick children.

    Well, at least two weeks hence there definitely won't be any cooking. How rude would it be to bring a doggy bag . . . ?

    AND ANOTHER: There, in the oven. We Will See.

    I pulsed, by the way. This turned out to be a good thing as I'd forgotten I'd need to dump the whole mess in a half-cup of white sauce. I don't think it would have blended as nicely if I'd left the spinach leaves whole and, anyway, I hate stems.

    It's a bad thing in the sense that the dishwasher is full (and running) and I still have a sink-and-a-half's worth of stuff to clean. I don't know why some people get so excited about stem cell research and nanotechnology when clearly what America's scientists should be working on is cloning my boyfriend.

    I aborted the panzanella I was going to make with this. What am I, a pig? Well, yes. But I used two pounds of spinach in this dish. That's enough greenery for one day I think.

    Recipes in the extended entry.

    Spinach-Smothered Chicken

    NOTE: I crib heavily from this recipe. Credit where credit is due and all that.

    2 lbs fresh spinach
    1/2 white onion
    3 cloves garlic
    3 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped
    Some button mushrooms--I don't know, say 5 or 6?--halved and sliced
    1/2 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed, and quartered
    Cooking oil, and I don't care what you use honestly
    1/2 C milk
    1 T flour
    1 T butter
    2/3 C grated parmesan
    Seasonings of a vaguely Italian type (see below)
    And about a pound of chicken breasts, or at least 3 of them, pounded to tenderize

    Mince your garlic and chop your half an onion.

    Peel and seed your plum tomatoes. I score an "X" into the bottoms, drop them in a pan of boiling water for 15-30 seconds, remove them (WITH TONGS!) to a bowl of cold water, let 'em cool a sec, and peel them that way. To deseed, slice off the tops, then slice in half vertically, and squeeze. Seeds-B-Gone. Purists may moan that the tomatoes get too much water into them this way. Purists can go to hell.

    Oh!--and when done peeling and seeding, dice them. Not too finely.

    Halve and slice your mushrooms. Drain, rinse, and quarter your half-can artichokes.

    Now throw some oil into a nice Dutch oven sort of pot, let it heat over medium, and then toss all the above in. Okay technically, you will want to start with onions and garlic, stir stir stir, then mushrooms, stir stir stir, and then tomatoes and 'chokes. Stir around, do a little dance, make a little love--no, don't do that last one. The garlic might burn. Don't let the garlic burn!

    Pat yourself on the back (read: have a beer) for having got this far. Then throw in the spinach. I would give you that "washed three times well and dried" business here, but you know to do that anyway, right? Or just do what I do and buy the prewashed 20-ounce packet and throw very nearly all of it in, so as to kid yourself that you will use the remainder later "in an omelet or something" instead of "throwing it away two weeks later, after it's started growing horrible, awful things all over it."

    Cook the spinach just until it's cooked down. You really aren't cooking it so much as wilting it.

    Throw the whole mess into a colander and drain off the worst of the liquid. Don't knock yourself out draining all the liquid; you'll need some of that later.

    Now either food-process it all or keep it rustic, meaning, don't do anything to it.

    Wipe out the Dutch oven pot in the lazy sort of way we all do when we think no one like the health department is looking. Put it back on medium-low and make half a cup of white sauce, which is in this instance: 1 T butter, 1 T flour, stir stir stir, and the slow addition of 1/2 cup milk. You can even use skim here because it's such a small amount. See if I care!

    Into this throw the chopped (not pureed!) spinach mixture. Stir stir stir, just to coat. Enough! Take it off the heat and remember you forgot to pound the damn chicken breasts.

    Pound the damn chicken breasts. Coat these in a mixture of grated parmesan, dried basil, dried oregano, dried thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. For the love of man do not ask me to specify the proportions (although I just realized, I tend to go in the order listed, most to least). Use your judgment.

    Lay the chicken breasts in a casserole dish which, believe it or not, you do not need to grease first. The recipe I cribbed from specifies an 8 x 8 x 2 inch size dish. I don't know what chickens that lady is buying, but every time I go to the grocery store anymore, I am amazed and horrified by the steroid-packin' chickens we have in this country, and 3 chicken breasts pounded out will not fit in an 8 x 8 x 2. I have to use, ah, whatever the next size up is. Is it 13 x 9 x 2? Anyway, it's oblong and I recommend it. Or I suppose you could roll up the breasts and hope the whole thing doesn't overflow, but given what a mess I make in a kitchen anyway I do not myself choose to risk it.

    Spread spinach mixture over breasts to cover.

    Bake, 350 degrees, 45 minutes. You do not have to cover it! That's the neat part. Let cool when finished. Eat. Be shocked that something relatively nutritious tastes THAT good. Which it does. I've made this several times and it's never failed.

    Panzanella, or, what to do with the rest of those artichokes

    You remember the other half-can of artichokes? Good. Mine are sitting in a small Tupperware at the moment but that's no reason yours should. You will need:

    Some sturdy bread. Technically, day-old. I've been lazy about making bread from scratch so I never have day-old around anymore and you can't get it in stores here.

    Which reminds me, a note to all back-East cooks: Not all of us have these marvelous bakeries you people take for granted. In fact, most of the country does not have these marvelous bakeries you people take for granted. So please shut the fuck up about day-old bread and how easy it is to procure. It is not. I am talking to you, Rachel Ray.

    There, I feel better. Anyway, cube the bread, crouton-fashion. Now where were we? Right.

    4 plum tomatoes
    2 roasted red bell peppers (or just take some from a jar of roasted sweet peppers)
    That other half-a-can of artichokes, drained, rinsed, quartered
    Olives if you like them (I don't, and please don't get on my ass about that)
    Some lettuce that you like
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1/4-1/3 part red wine vinegar
    3/4-2/3 part olive oil
    Seasonings for the vinegar-and-olive oil like, say, basil oregano salt pepper and maybe thyme and just possibly crushed red pepper, depending

    Whisk together the minced garlic, vinegar, oil and seasonings to taste. And do taste it, if you don't make vinaigrettes all the time and know already pretty much what you like. If you don't like the taste now, you won't like it later, and you will have ruined perfectly good other things with it. This is the sort of thing that gives old Italian women (and/or Mario Battali) heart attacks to hear, but you know something? Every once in awhile, when I can't get one to come out the way I want it to, I have been known to (ssssh!) sneak about 1/8 teaspoon of sugar into it. Fixes it every time. But no telling!

    Chop the tomatoes as coarsely or as finely as you like. No peeling and seeding this time, hooray.

    Do whatever it is you olive-eaters do with olives. Ugh.

    Combine tomatoes, bell peppers, artichokes, and actually anything else you feel like throwing in, vegetable-wise. I'm planning on adding seeded, sliced cucumbers when I get around to doing this tomorrow, AS WE ALL KNOW I CERTAINLY WILL. Oh!--and add the cubed bread which may or may not be strictly day-old but whatever.

    Pour some dressing over. I don't know, 1/3 C? 1/2? I always make a cup, use whatever amount I think is right for whatever I'm doing that minute, and save the rest for later. Anyway, toss it. That's right. I said toss the salad. You may all have your Beavis and Butthead moment now.

    Put some lettuce on a plate or in a bowl or whatever you prefer--use a sippy cup if you insist--and put dressed bread-cubes-and-assorted-veggies on top of it. Very good stuff. Unless you fucked it up, in which case, that's all your fault.

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:33 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

    To Whoever Got Here Via a Search for "Shut Up You Stupid Goth"


    Posted by Ilyka at 07:23 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    Perhaps You Would Like a Pointless Story from My Childhood: An Exercise in Traffic Reduction

    I really don't have anything else today. It is my day off. Still, I'm very sorry. You might try reading a good weblog next time.

    In the fourth grade I had a cruel teacher, Ms. Chan--legendarily mean, the kind who caused third graders to wet themselves at the prospect of being assigned to her the following year. And lucky me, I went from second to fourth directly, and had no fellow third graders to warn me what lay ahead--which was basically a year of terror in which I do not remember a thing except learning to do whatever it was I did, all of it, everything, Ms. Chan's way and no other.

    To do otherwise was to risk The Screaming. I'm telling you, I could pick out Ms. Chan's uvula from a line up to this day, that's how wide her mouth would open, and that's how often her mouth was that wide open, doing what it did best: Letting the screams out, occasionally shaping them to form a name here or a vowel there, but seldom into anything else intelligible. You'd be practicing your cursive (head DOWN! For pity's sake you didn't want to risk looking at her, who knows what you might set off doing a thing like that), and Ms. Chan would be at her desk grading spelling tests, and all of sudden you'd hear "THOMMMM-MAAAAS! Aaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeee! Ooooooooooooooooo! Eeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaauuuuuuuuuuu!" In the end the principal would come, and probably Thomas' mother too at some point, and it would be determined that Thomas would have to write 200 repetitions of the same sentence by Friday only, his would have to contain consonants and words and suchlike.

    This was in 1977-1978, and no other teacher at my school in Sacramento, California, at that time referred to herself as "Ms." But you would address Ms. Chan as "Ms." or she'd take your head off with a look. Also, no sense risking the screaming over two measly letters, right?

    If I started out in life associating the prefix "Ms." with unholy fire-breathing she-devils who could really, really scream awfully, awfully loud very, very often, it is Ms. Chan's fault.

    I eventually ingratiated myself with the other fourth-graders, who hated me for that whole skipped-third thing (parents: Please do not do this to your children. Do not do it even if you often catch them reading textbooks on particle physics with flashlights under the covers at night. Restrain thy vanity and just don't do it. The utter ruin of my entire scholastic career began right fucking here.). I won quite a few of them over through my formulation of the Chan Eyeshadow Hypothesis, which was declared Theory by year's end. It went like this:

    Ms. Chan wore three different patterns of eyeshadow, rotated at random (or . . . was it?). While every other teacher was aiming for the nude look in makeup, the fresh-faced California outdoors, healthy glow, pale frosty eyeshadow, beige lip gloss look, Ms. Chan was inflicting upon her eyelids . . . tragedy. Tragedy in Technicolor. Depending on who-knows-what, Ms. Chan's eyelids were either:

  • Turquoise blue and mint green

  • Cornflower blue and violet, or

  • Cotton-candy pink and purple

    So what I went around telling all the kids was that I had been studying this (so much for that "gifted" bullshit), and that it seemed to me I could correlate Ms. Chan's mood with her eyeshadow combinations. Which, now that I think of it, is not really that out-there. I probably make myself up differently depending on what mood I'm in, although not since the please-let-them-die 80s has pink and purple eyeshadow figured anywhere into the ol' makeup bag, thank goodness.

    According to the Chan Eyeshadow Hypothesis, the pink/purple combination heralded a good day--naturally, Ms. Chan wore this one the least often. Blue/violet, which she wore most often, indicated an average day--so, some screaming, but nothing out of the ordinary. Turquoise/green, fake a stomachache and go to the nurse's office, or (if you were me and would only wind up sent back to class if you tried that) keep your head down and do not look at her, do not speak to her, do not breathe at her unless ordered to do so by Satan's handmaiden made flesh herself.

    And so . . . bleah. This is where I either tack on a Thoughtful Reflection:

    Looking back, however, I see Ms. Chan not so much as a terrible, frightening ogre, but as simply A Woman and A Teacher, a victim of an educational system that still held teaching to be neither profession nor calling, but simply a waste-heap for unmarriageable women . . . .
    . . . or hit you with a Segue:
    I was thinking of Ms. Ultrabitch today as I admonished myself for watching Food Network in the workout room, which only makes me more hungry following the workout. Ms. Chan would likely have prescribed her standard punishment of 50 Sentences: I will not watch Food Network while on the treadmill. I will not watch . . . .

    . . . or a Punch Line:

    Only when Ms. Chan was rushed from the playground, where she'd been monitoring a tetherball championship, to the local emergency room did we learn the awful truth: The very eyeshadow we'd been using to predict her moods turned out to contain ENORMOUS QUANTITIES OF LEAD. Ms. Chan survived, sued Noxzema Corporation, won a bundle, and became someone's Mrs., but still drools a little out one side of her mouth when she gets too excited, such as whenever Maury Povich comes on.
    Unfortunately I don't have any of those, and I don't feel much like making something up. I seem to have hit a wall here, Chan-wise. I guess what we can get out of this should-never-have-left-draft-mode mess is:

  • Some of those early stereotypes about feminists being all bitchy and stuff?--Were sometimes true.


  • Eyeshadow based on any of the primary colors is almost always a terrible idea.

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:58 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack
  • September 01, 2005

    With Apologies to Those of You Who Came Here Seeking the Grace, Wisdom, and Light I So Regularly Dispense

    --but oh my heavenly days, am I feeling rageful. And before that one guy asks (or, worse, sends me a poem about it), NO, IT IS NOT THAT TIME OF THE MONTH.

    Please, gentlemen, let me provide just this one tiny bit of advice that, so help me, I wish never needed to be provided. But it does, so I will, and here it is: Do not send the ladies poetry about their menses. Ever. Not for Arbor Day, not for V-E Day, not for any occasion at all. Yes I know the colors of Christmas are green and red BUT NO, NOT EVEN THEN. Okay? OKAY.

    Whew. That's taken the edge off a little bit.

    But you know what would help more?

    You telling me what you're mad about.

    GO. And hurry up--because if you haven't noticed I'm not feeling real super-patient today, either.

    NEVER MIND, I AM ALL BETTER NOW UPDATE: Blogrolled by The Fake Doctor! Sweet. Must try to actually earn that distinction sometime.

    You are all reading The Fake Doctor daily and enjoying the humorous dispatches very much, yes yes? And if you are of the nice young Jewish females, you are the sending of the naked pictures of yourself to him with great haste and frequency also, yes? You are using the digital photography and the email and perhaps even the FedEx for the 8 x 10 glossies? Good, good. We want to keep that man happy, so off with la ropa, chicas. And you, Meryl--send the nice man some readers. I know you've got a nice Jewish girl or two lurking about somewhere on that blog.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:45 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

    August 27, 2005

    A Quick Reminder to the Man Who Said Only "I'll Look Into It" When Asked to Visit Again Soon

    Oh yes, dude. Yes she IS. And do you really want to be leaving that alone for long in a college town? I don't think that you do, darlin'.

    (Thanks, OHNOES!--'preciate it.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:21 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    August 18, 2005

    I Shouldn't But I Will

    Sheila has listed five of her quirks. Here's the thing: Hers are cute. I especially like the insistence on socks.

    Mine are . . . well, look, how about I try just to pick out the five least repulsive? Would that be okay?

    1. I hate showering first thing in the morning. Or . . . the afternoon. I have sometimes put off taking a shower until 8 or 9:00 at night, to be honest. The best I can come up with is, taking a shower first thing means I'm doing it because I have to be somewhere, and I hate starting my day having to be somewhere, somewhere outside my cozy little house, somewhere I might actually have to do things. The showering is just the launching pad for everything I hate. The only time I'll shower relatively early is after a workout, so I've actually been better about prompt showering lately, because it's not that I like to be filthy and disgusting--and baths do not freak me out like this at all. So I don't think it's the bathing so much as it is what the bathing stands for. I hate the symbolism of showering! Or, I'm a freak. It's one of those.

    2. I make schedules for myself. This is funny because there's never that much to get done. What would happen if I actually had very much (or even anything important) to do, I wonder? I would probably waste three days on just the scheduling.

    So I make schedules, and they're the lamest things in the world: 10:20 a.m. Sort laundry 10:25 a.m. Start laundry 10:30 a.m. Dress 10:35 a.m. Workout 11:35 a.m. Change laundry. But if I do not make the schedule, nothing gets done. I have to write it all down or it doesn't happen.

    3. I fly into a killin' rage if you hang up a towel with the tag showing. I won't cut off the tags because it leaves an "itchy spot" on the towel. Also, I think it looks bad. BUT THE TAGS! MUST! NOT! SHOW! when the towel's hanging from the rack. Actually, I think I just have a thing with towels in general; see the "About" page, item 11.

    4. I do not eat fruit. I will not eat fruit. This is where someone always goes, "Really, not even strawberries?" or suchlike, but listen: Name your fruit, it doesn't matter, I won't eat it. There's something sickly-sweet about most popular fruits--oranges, melons, and bananas, ugh, especially bananas--that triggers my gag reflex and I literally can't swallow a bite of the stuff. If I'm feeling nauseated and like I need to throw up, but I'm having difficulty, all I need to do is recall the one time someone got me to try cantaloupe and whoops!--Thar she blows! I will eat applesauce, and I will eat apples or blueberries baked into pies only. But that's IT.

    As for the people who like to get preachy about the Vitamin C deficiency I so obviously must have due to my fruit aversion, I would remind them that I consume mass quantities of tomatoes, peppers (THREE times as much vitamin C as citrus fruit! Suck it, orange lovers!), and chiles (TWICE as much vitamin C as citrus!). I'm not getting rickets scurvy (thanks, Rob!), so relax.

    But could you eat that banana in another room please, because I can't stand even the smell of it. Thanks.

    4. My bed-sharing etiquette with men leaves something to be desired--basically I make all the rules and they are permitted to make none. For example, I will hold them. Under no circumstances are they to attempt to hold me. I can't STAND being held while I'm trying to sleep. The only purpose of a man in bed beyond the obvious one, as far as I'm concerned, is to function as my personal life-sized teddy bear. The poor man who attempts to turn over during sleep is inevitably met by me violently shoving him back into position, facing away from me, so I can keep an arm slung over comfortably. I have heard the complaint "my arm still feels asleep, I must have slept on the same side all night" many a morning. I say "Oh, that's too bad" and nothing else.

    5. Input I cannot control makes me insane. I had to sit (well, not sit exactly) through an episode of Celebrity Fit Camp 2 and--AND--an episode of Hogan Knows Best recently in the workout room, because that's what the bitch who got there before me had the television set to, and several times during the hour I literally bit my tongue to keep from screaming, "Please! I'll watch anything else! Bowling! Golf! Poker! CROSSFIRE! Just turn it! Turn it to something else before I lose my mind!"

    But of course if you heard a stranger at the gym bust out with that speech you'd conclude that person had already lost her mind, wouldn't you? So I didn't say it. The problem with someone else's bad television habits (we won't even mention the radio) is, I cannot tune it out. Believe me, I try. I know people who can tune things out effortlessly and I'm so very very jealous of them, but I can't do it. So the result is, I can tell you everything--everything--that happened on that episode of Celebrity Fit Camp 2, even though I never wanted to know. Now my brain's storing all this information and for what? For what? (Though for the record, I am rooting for Victoria Jackson. Go Victoria!)

    We will not discuss the time I suffered through Tommy Lee Goes to College, except to say that compared to Hogan Knows Best, it is marginally less likely to drive me to suicide. Tommy Lee, for all his haggard pierced-and-tattooed vileness, has a certain charm, and he does not have a vapid twat of a hyperbreasted daughter a la Hogan.

    As always, feel free to share your own.

    UPDATE: Ilyka never said she could count, y'all. Maybe I just really like the number 4; did you ever think of that? Maybe it's one of my idiosyncrasies.

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:15 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

    August 17, 2005

    The Neurotic's Guide to Not Writing Thank-You Notes

    1. You've all heard that the secret to success is to prepare, prepare, prepare, right, kids?! Well, it's true! It's never too early to prepare for success, success, success!

    2. So start early! At least four weeks before your thank-yous need to arrive--

    3. What?

    4. I can't hear you. What's that, now?

    5. --needed to arrive four weeks ago? Like four weeks before now?


    7. Go wallow in shame for a few hours. Go, hurry, right now! You've wasted eight weeks as it is! Get back to me when you've finished crying.

    8. You really disgust me, you know that?

    9. All right, get in the car. We're going card shopping.

    10. I know letters are more proper, but how are you going to fill up an entire page to that one relative you scarcely speak to? See, that's what I thought. You really should--what now?

    11. "Oh dear sweet heaven above absolutely every card in this store repulses me?"

    12. "The Christian ones especially?"

    13. Do you know what that means?


    15. Oh knock it off. There's no crying in Wal-mart!

    16. Maybe just a pack of the little ones that have "Thank You" embossed on the front.

    17. I know they're ugly.

    18. I know they're just the size of elementary-school party invitations.

    19. I know you didn't receive many of those as a little kid.


    21. Look, just grab a packet of them and let's get moving. We're already--

    22. What?

    23. Over the years you've bought so many of these? Uh-huh . . . so--

    24. --and you always end up using three of them and losing the rest in the bottom of a drawer somewhere?

    25. Where you find them so many years later they look like something from a time capsule?

    26. "Something Lileks would put in a book to make fun of"--yes, I see.

    27. And then you have to buy new ones all over again?

    28. What's your point?

    29. "I want real individual cards"--okay. So pick some out.

    30. What do you mean, "I can't do this today?"

    31. When exactly were you planning on doing it? Another four weeks from now?

    32. What do you mean, "Maybe?" That was sarcasm, you asshole!

    33. Oh, for--

    34. If you're going to keep doing this we might as well pick up some Kleenex while we're here.

    35. Not that this furthers our goal at all, or anything.

    [Editor's note: Steps 36-62 omitted for brevity.]

    63. Did you write those cards yet?

    64. I mean, they're right there.

    65. "I don't have that one relative's address"--look here, that's what the internet is for.

    66. You spend enough time on it, one would think you might know that.

    67. What are you doing?

    68. Address labels?

    69. You want to make address labels. Because . . . ?

    70. "I can't write straight without lines." So . . . ?

    71. "The address always looks slanted." You're kidding me, right?

    72. For fuck's sake, no it is NOT "a serious issue."

    73. It's an ADDRESS.

    74. Three lines, maybe four. Who cares if they slant a little?

    75. "The Post Office will care"--I don't believe this. I'm not hearing this.

    76. "I'll care"--okay, finally, some honesty.

    77. Could you try not caring? Just to, you know, speed this up a little.

    78. Fine.

    79. I don't think diskette labels will look right.

    80. Particularly not with that little diskette icon at the--fine, okay, I'll help you find the address labels.

    81. That's a shipping size label.

    82. Hell, no, I don't know why you bought them. Obviously you didn't do it on my recommendation.

    83. What is it with you and the crying?

    84. You remember now? Remember what?

    85. Why you bought them. Uh-huh . . . do I want to hear this?

    86. Does it have anything to do with writing thank-you notes?

    87. Uh-huh . . . your grandfather's funeral . . . labels for hymn books . . . right, I remember that.

    88. You misspelled "hymnal" on them.

    89. Here, just--just take the whole box of Kleenex. Honest to--

    90. Sure, I guess file folder labels would work.

    91. Yeah, see? Those came out great!

    92. No?

    93. What?

    94. Okay yeah, it's a little cut off at the top, but are you sure . . . I mean, do you really need the barcode?

    95. You know something? You are an abominably loathsome person, but so help me, I defy anyone to find me another American who cares this much about what the USPS will think of her mail.

    96. No, really, it's kind of nice. Just . . . completely counterproductive to the task at hand.

    97. So try a lower top margin then.

    98. Yeah, the first two come out better that way, but the other four--oh teriffic, now you've got me obsessing about this.

    99. Could we just . . . could we just print the labels now?

    100. Hmm, yeah, okay . . I guess tweaking the vertical pitch might line up the--

    [Editor's note: Steps 101-133 omitted for brevity.]

    134. Why are you checking your email?

    135. It's late! Everyone's gone to bed already.

    136. Everyone NORMAL, I mean.

    137. See? No new emails.

    138. Of course no one loves you. Do you want to know why?


    140. Why are you--no, no, absolutely not, I forbid it.

    141. You are not blogging this.

    142. So, shame: Do you have any?

    143. Guess not.

    144. Do you know, in the time you've taken to list all this out, I could have written thank-you letters to the entire population of Rhode Island?

    145. Well, no, I can't think of anything particular to thank them for either. That's not the point!

    146. The point is, YOU ARE AN ABOMI-

    [Editor's note: At this point the critical inner voice was taken out with a swift kick to the head, delivered in the form of a vodka tonic.

    The thank-you notes, as of this writing, have been "rescheduled for a more appropriate time," according to our source.

    Our source adds that the labels work best with a top margin of 0.58" and the default vertical pitch of 0.67".]

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:50 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    August 15, 2005


    I have mentioned that I like Las Cruces a whole lot, yes? Good, good. Because I do have just one complaint:

    (Pic from the Purdue University Urban Center.)

    So I guess in a sense I have not one complaint, but many.

    Too many.

    The little, and not-so-little, bastards are mostly outside, which is not that much of a problem, except that they've made it known how much they'd really, really like to come inside, and that is a problem. I'm not going so far as to say cockroaches are my Room 101 item, because unfortunately I can imagine fates far worse than being locked into a face-cage full of cockroaches; but would it be fair to say they're up there in the top 10 of things I loathe and fear?

    Yes. Yes it would. They don't make me scream and they don't me cry; they make me blisteringly angry and they make my skin crawl. If I see one, dead or alive (though admittedly alive is worse), I will twitch uncontrollably for hours. In fact I'm sitting here right now covered in phantom cockroaches, with every itch making me jump, and if you're sitting there right now thinking "Thanks for sharing, Ilyka" all I can say is YOU'RE WELCOME. If I have to suffer and twitch, you have to suffer and twitch. That's the way things operate around here.

    If you are wondering whether I knew about las cucarachas ahead of time, before I moved, the answer is kind of, but no, mostly not. I mean, the boyfriend said his student apartments used to have them pretty bad, but hello? Student apartments. I knew I wouldn't be living in student apartments, so I didn't worry about it.

    If you are wondering whether the pests are something of a deal-breaker, i.e., enough to drive me back to Dallas, the answer is a firm but sliiiiiiightly wistful "of course not." For one thing Dallas had, ah, the ones that fly, the kind that wicked lying Southerners try to convince you are not actually cockroaches but merely "water bugs," which, no offense Southerners, is a lie that would not fool a three year-old.

    But do I sometimes think back fondly on the militant pest control service my former apartment complex employed, the one that sprayed with such joyful abandon it's a wonder I'm still alive? Do I sometimes wonder how much it would cost to lure them here?

    Yes. Yes, I do. Because here is the number of cockroaches I ever had in that apartment over a five-year time span: 0. Before someone brings up the old blog and that post I think I called "Palmetto Ghetto," please recall that the nasty creature was outside. Outside! Not inside.

    Anyway, I wish I could say that the number of roaches I have found inside this apartment is 0, but it is not. It is some number greater than 0 and less than 10 and that is as much as I feel like telling you about it.

    Here's the thing: I recently enjoyed two weeks 100% cockroach-free, outside AND in, plus one week following that was, say, 92% cockroach-free, during which I only found the occasional belly-up corpse (are they not especially putrid-looking that way? The cockroach wins for Most Disgusting Thorax, definitely) on the patio. The patio, i.e., outside.

    But the reason I had those 2-3 weeks of relief is that I am horrible person who deliberately dumps toxins into the helpless, sacred environment. See, I had swept the patio--which you have to do a lot here as it's a very dusty, very windy environment--and then I thought, I know, I'll bleach it too, and then after the water/bleach solution had evaporated I thought, wait, what if I washed off all the pesticides? and then I, ah, sprayed every conceivable surface of my patio with copious amounts of Raid.

    So what I'm thinking happened is, the washing of the patio carried off lots of pesticide residue into the ground cover around the patio where it proceeded to kill bugs dead, bugs who would not live even long enough to crawl onto the patio in the first place, hooray. And then, yeah, the part where I applied a fresh layer of poison on top of that, I figure that couldn't have hurt either.

    For all my seeming irresponsible disregard for The Environment, however, I'm not actually into infusing the soil with toxins--what happened was more a result of me not being very bright than a result of me being in a murderous rage against cockroaches (though for the record, I generally am in a murderous rage against cockroaches. That is fairly normal for me). I'm just saying, bathing the patio and surrounding areas in pesticides is not my preferred method for eradicating pests; no, not even such foul creatures as cockroaches.

    So if anyone has any suggestions for methods that work, I would appreciate hearing them. Before anyone says "Combat traps," though, be advised that I have Combat traps; I'm just trying to figure out a way to deposit them around the patio without making it so that every time I step out for a cigarette I am greeted by a perimeter of Combat traps which in turn have perimeters of cockroach corpses. Also, did I mention that it's windy and dusty here? It is windy and dusty here. If I go the Combat traps route I'm probably going to have to Krazy Glue them to the concrete. You may think I'm kidding, but I'm not. It is that windy and that dusty.

    Oh, one other thing: Anyone who says "boric acid repels cockroaches" will be flown to Marin County, allowed a brief reunion with his or her former commune mates over a last meal of soy protein and wheatgrass juice, and shot. Boric acid doesn't do diddly-squat dick, so don't even.

    Something that works. Please. Thank you.

    UPDATE: This really deserves to be promoted from the comments. Ms. Lauren is much braver than I am, and probably braver than you, too:

    Hey, I go to Purdue. I'll bet that pic was from one of my old profs, Tom Turpin. When I had to take his class ("Bugs: Friend or Foe?" Foe!) I had to bring home a madagascar hissing cockraoch and keep it alive IN MY APARTMENT for the entire semester. Blugh. I named him Max.

    The worst part is that whenever I turned on music, Max would go crazy. He lived in a piece of Tupperware and would crawl all over the thing hissing and cracking up against the side of plastic.

    So maybe if I put a little boom box on the patio . . . ? They could listen to Gwen.

    UPDATE II: I love Geek Empire because dude's got a way with imagery. Of course, given that the subject is cockroaches, some of that imagery's pretty disgusting; but he backs me up on the uselessness of boric acid against a true infestation, and he's definitely had 'em worse than I do:

    This is nasty: one of their primary entry points into our apartment was through a hold behind a broken tile at the far end of the bathtub. This meant that, every once in a while, you'd be taking a shower, the water backing up a few inches in the bottom of the tub, and all of a sudden a giant cockroach appears out of nowhere and does a slide down your bathtub like he's at a fucking waterpark and is swimming around in the water, trying to grab onto something not porcelain, like, say, your feet.
    Gaaaaahhh! But do read the whole thing. He's got a Martha Stewart reference in there that just slayed me, and when you can grind fresh material out of a subject as stale as Martha, that's impressive.

    My first apartment was like that. I'd tell you all about it but I'd like to be able to sleep tonight without nightmares. For the people who think I'm freaking out over "baby" cockroaches, though--you're right, but you're wrong. These I'm waging war against now are mostly the American cockroach, just under 1" long, exactly like the picture above. In my first apartment, though, my roommate and I had the Yew-nited Nations of cockroaches. We had all kinds, but mainly little German browns and the occasional--but not seldom enough!--big, black, 2-3 inch ones. Those nasty things don't slow down with their size, either.

    I didn't have a car at the time; every day after work I'd bike the four miles home, and sometimes by the end of that ride I'd really have to pee. Well, I dashed into the place one evening under just those circumstances and that's how I learned to, ah, look before I leap, so to speak. Because there is nothing like the sudden realization that you're crouching with your nethers exposed maybe all of six inches away from a cockroach the size of a damn hamster. Nothing like shrieking and racing out of the bathroom only to discover your roommate's just got home himself, either.

    Before you've pulled up your pants.

    Posted by Ilyka at 12:04 PM | Comments (20) | TrackBack

    August 09, 2005

    I Needed a Summer Vacation, So I Took One

    Mentally, anyway. When surfing the internet starts to feel ennervating instead of enjoyable, you know, you have to take a break.

    Besides I've clean run out of things to say. So Peter Jennings died and I suppose people will have some things to say about that, but I just . . . don't. I could say that the media didn't waste a minute turning it into a "SMOKING KILLS" story, and that I loathe this because (1) we know and (2) Jennings knew and (3) for Pete's sake, I was not fond of the man, or at least his public persona, but could we let him rest in peace for a minute before we go all Surgeon General on his dead ass? No, that's right, we can't, because journalism is a sacred trust and a higher calling and a public service and DID YOU KNOW SMOKING WILL KILL YOU?

    The best ones are the outlets that claim people are quitting because Peter Jennings died. Firstly, I doubt that. People will say any damn thing if you man-on-the-street them. Secondly, how nauseating. Why turn an ordinary human being into St. Jennings of the Blessed Pall Malls? Wait, I know the answer to this one: Because if it helps save even one life, it will be worth it!

    I'll tell you why I want to quit, myself: It's not the death part. It's the home oxygen-dependent part, the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease part--it's all the little and not-so-little health aggravations you go through before it kills you. It's knowing that the health care providers treating you think you're being nothing so much as a stupid, obstinate, waste of their time. Seriously, would you want to be putting smokers on ventilators all the time? Wouldn't that feel a little Sisyphean after awhile? Of course it would. I imagine it wouldn't be long before you'd be thinking, "You know something, Mrs. Kravitz, you're 82 and being intubated for the third time this year, and you want a medal for finally kicking the habit a whole six years ago. Well, screw you. I'm not giving you a medal because we don't give medals to idiots. Shoulda quit 40 years ago, idiot."

    And what do you say to a headline like this besides, "Duh?" Teenagers don't think anything can kill them. I know; I'm the one who used to go skulking around the neighborhood at three in the morning, deliberately staying off the main roads and looking for dimly-lit streets to avoid . . . the cops. Oh yeah, teenagers are just fulla smarts like that. You can't get an addicted 40 year-old smoker to face the realities of lung cancer; now we expect teenagers to do it?

    But I'll fall in line for a minute: You shouldn't smoke. You're better off stopping sooner rather than later. But I'm going to argue that you should do that not so much because it can kill you, but because of everything it screws up in your life in the meantime. Can't date nonsmokers. Can't sit through three-hour movies without missing a few scenes. You get weird pains all the time, everywhere, and every time, I mean every time, you think "Oh no, this is it--here comes the cancer." It's not worth it to smoke because of the anxiety it gives you alone--never mind the cost and the hassle and the nagging, the nagging, the neverending will you please just STOP it already nagging, from people who want you to quit.

    So thank you, news people, for adding to the nagging. Because when it comes to turning smokers into ex-smokers, nothing else has been proven so effective. That's why nobody smokes anymore, right? Nobody smokes and we're all eating our vegetables and loving our bodies, ourselves. And listen, I made that up about Jennings being dead. Really he's having a great time on the Riviera right now, and he hopes to catch up with you all later, maybe this winter in Gstaad?

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:30 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

    July 28, 2005


    I've been doing this two years today. That's two years down the drain, gone forever.

    Will you be very disappointed if I don't create a slide show to mark the occasion?

    I think I'll also maintain my policy of not giving blogging advice, and not reposting old stuff. That last is as much in my interests as yours, because I can't stand to look at it. Seriously. Some people look back over their annual output and feel pleased at the improvements they've made along the way.

    I look back and shriek, because I'm actually getting worse at this the longer I do it. At the rate I'm, ha ha, progressing, I figure maybe three more years, tops, and I'll be reduced to posting Mariah Carey lyrics.


    I am going to violate my not-writing-about-What-I've-Learned policy, though, because that at least I can keep short. It amounts to this:

    I don't know how not to suck, but I do know that if you go into this with the goal of making people like you, you've already set yourself up for a no-win. See, the people who refuse to like you will think of you as hypersensitive, and the people who do like you will nonetheless think of you as a toady. You'll get stuck between "Oh, she freaks out at the least little criticism," and "Oh, you can get her to say any damn nice thing about you for the price of a link." Then, there's a good chance you'll kind of despise yourself.

    (Unless you really are a toady, of course--in which case, keep on toadyin'.)

    That's really all I've got out of it--that sometimes I have to grit my teeth and say what I want rather than what will please. This is harder for me to do than you probably know. Don't get me wrong--I don't think of myself as some great Wielder of Truth here. I don't kid myself. It's just a dumb blog, and not a very successful one at that. But sometimes I have to kick myself into writing something I know is only going to earn me, yes, more kicking.

    Some system.

    Anyway, thanks a lot to all of you who've been here since back when and even those of you who haven't--the ones who leave me cheerful comments on even the stupidest stuff I come up with, you I love especially. That's the other thing I guess I've learnt from blogging:

    Most people out there are vastly nicer than I am.

    And that can be kind of encouraging and inspiring to me, actually.

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:56 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    July 25, 2005

    As We Limp Along Through the Valley of Mediocrity

    Pretentious title for a nothing post right there. But hey, cheer up. I found you something: Cassandra the Inimitable examines what seems to be a fairly silly-sounding study about sex and submission. Go read that, 'cause heaven knows the well done run dry over here.

    I admit I giggled at this part:

    I get the impression a lot of these "studies" are driven by a feminist agenda.
    I just have a feeling that feminists might not like this study any better than Cassandra does. A Technorati search and a brief tour of a few feminist blogs didn't turn up any mention of the study, but I think it'd be an odd feminist indeed who'd cheer a study that essentially concludes, "See?--The broads like it when they're under your thumb (er, pelvis)." It's like anything else--some do, some don't.
    Posted by Ilyka at 04:46 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    July 16, 2005

    And Curse Sir Walter Raleigh, He Was Such a Stupid Git

    I love the internet, I do--but until it gets up to speed and starts performing the ordinary (but touching) actions of another actual human being, one I could send out to go pick up the coffee I should have bought the other day at the store but didn't, one who'd only complain a little bit about being sent on a dumb errand like that . . . what good is the internet, really?

    Exhausted. I have hours of work ahead of me. I need that coffee. I know, I should just grow the hell up and schedule a regular shipment from some online retailer who offers fair-trade shade-grown organic because . . . uh, well, the Amazon, you know, and support for indigenous peoples, right, and like pesticides, they're all toxins, whereas coffee is completely a health food.

    I would drink coffee ground exclusively from DDT-soaked beans harvested by six year-old slave children right now. I don't care.

    So tired.

    Of course this dreck is all you get on a Friday. It's what you get for only reading blogs while on the clock, you bums.

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:58 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

    July 11, 2005

    Brief Holiday

    Crazy boyfriend bought spur-of-the-moment tickets to come see me (bless you, Southwest Airlines). Gets in tomorrow. Blogging will be light.

    And naturally the carpet needs vacuuming and the bathroom needs cleaning and the cat box, we're just not discussing the cat box. No.

    Meanwhile enjoy the hard work of others. Some things I've been meaning to link to and haven't:

  • Geek Empire backs me up on my theory that the biggest security leaks come from within. Security's his line of work, so he ought to know.

  • Cassandra has an eloquent defense of the womanly arts:

    My Mother and my Mother-in-law are both homemakers. They both work hard. They have always worked hard. If you do the job right, it is time-consuming and difficult work. Scrubbing floors and toilets is not what I would call a hoot and a half. Cleaning a dirty oven is not exactly a yuck-fest. Laundry and ironing are not fun. My mother hand-irons all my Dad's shirts, and they always look beautiful. She does the painting when their house needs it every few years. And all the gardening for their enormous yard. She is in her seventies.
  • From the traditional to the progressive: Ms. Lauren has a request:
    I know there must be some dudes out there that blog, but I can’t think of any. If you can think of any blogs written by people with external gonads, please leave them in the comments.
    I think the problem may be that men just aren't wired for dialogue, for the open communication style of the internet. The dudes, you know, they tend to be more visual, less verbal. I'm frankly not surprised that most of them prefer gazing at porn to maintaining weblogs. But if you find any, Ms. Lauren, let me know! It's not like I'm sexist or anything.
    Posted by Ilyka at 04:42 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack
  • July 08, 2005

    You Know, I Think You've Made Your Point

    Yes, yes, all right, that's enough now. I get it: I'm a stupid, self-loathing little skank.

    Say! Did you know small groups of words--like, say, stupid, self-loathing little skank--remain perfectly readable even through the strike tag? Which, granted, does usually signify a correction or retraction; only, traditionally, what's being corrected or retracted isn't something quite so inflammatory as, uh, stupid, self-loathing little skank.

    See, people tend to dislike having their sites linked just below descriptions like that. Did you know that? Did you know I'm already very tired of seeing that link, from that post, among my referrers?

    Remove it, please. You've had a thorough--a very thorough--apology from me, one I'd be more than happy to publish if it came to that, which naturally I hope it does not. I'm also relatively certain I'd remember it if I had called you any names, but . . . ah . . . um . . . er, no. No, I definitely didn't. Not once. Not ever.

    So altogether, I don't think I'm asking for anything excessive here. Just, you know, remove the link, and then I'll remove this, and that'll be that. Thanks.

    Posted by Ilyka at 08:03 AM

    July 04, 2005

    Paranoia, the Destroyer (of Workouts)

    I think I'm leaving off comments on this one. I don't need some well-meaning halfwit to show up and lecture me about how I shouldn't feel this way and it's really all my problem.

    It is not my problem.

    Fucking hell, some days I hate being female.

    So I have this sort-of routine set up where I try to do 30 minutes of cardiovascular and 20-30 minutes of strength training Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays I just do 45 minutes on the treadmill. I say it's a sort-of routine because it doesn't always come off quite like that.

    Today, for example.

    I'm real near the end of my 30 minutes on the treadmill when some beefy middle-aged guy who isn't a regular, and looks it, puts his key in the lock of the workout room at my complex. I'm not thrilled about this because I'm an antisocial bitch and so far I've had the room to myself, other than a nice elderly woman who was there for the first five minutes watching some overblown drama on Lifetime--but at least, I figure, I'm halfway done already. I won't have to put up with him for long.

    But his key doesn't work.

    I deliberately keep my eyes on the television. I'm not getting off the treadmill and letting him in. Do you know why? Because my attitude about that sort of thing is too fucking bad.

    I mean, how do I know the guy lives here? How do I know he's not a rapist?

    Go on, laugh--but it's not funny. The workout room is technically in the public view in the sense that it's near the office, but the office is closed today for the holiday. And while the main fitness area has windows people can see into, the restrooms are tucked down a hallway off to the side, a hallway with no windows, and if someone dragged you back there . . . .

    It's not funny! They put locks on these things for a reason: To ensure that only people who are supposed to be able to get in can get in.

    Your key doesn't work? Well, ain't that a shame, Cletus.

    So I don't get off the treadmill, but this jackass keeps trying to unlock the door for at least three minutes, ensuring I get to feel really uncomfortable about not letting him in. As I said, however, I'm an antisocial bitch. I can live with being uncomfortable. Hell, I feel uncomfortable around people most of the time. It's my default state. I'm used to it.

    Then he wanders off and I think, oh, thank goodness.

    Then he comes back.

    Tries his key for a couple more minutes. I'm not even enjoying Designer Finals anymore. DAMN it.

    Wanders off again. Returns with one of the residents he has dragged from the pool.

    Who proceeds to let the guy in with his key.

    Do you know why security in this country is a farce and a joke? Do you know why we could seal the borders tomorrow and people who wanted to get into the U.S. would still be able to? Because some friendly, good-natured, gullible jackass can always be counted on to let them in.

    "Sure, stranger! Lemme just get my key here--boy, these locks, huh? Real aggravatin'. I dunno why they put 'em in. Seems like it's all just a big hassle, Mr. . . ."

    "Bin Laden."

    "[click] Well there ya go, Mr. Bin Laden, she's open. Come on in! I hope you enjoy your stay and I hope you'll permit me to welcome you to the U.S. of A."

    "Thank you. Death to the infidel!"

    "Oh, izzat how you say howdy where you're from? Well all right then--death to the infidel! Ha, ha! Boy, you Brazilians sure are a fun buncha folks."

    It's useless. Useless. You could lock everything up tomorrow, it wouldn't matter. Some yokel who thinks it's "mean" to leave someone locked out will fuck it all up in an instant.

    I don't care if I'm mean. I've said so before and I'm standing by it. I didn't like the vibe on this guy when he was outside trying to get in; I liked the vibe on him even less when he did get in.

    Something was just off--maybe the way he went straight for the lat pull-down machine without any warm-up whatsoever. Maybe the way he did only a handful of reps on that before moving to another machine. Maybe the way he seemed to prefer machines that were between me and the door.

    I'm not the kind who sits around puzzling why I get bad vibes when I get them. I don't sit there beating myself up for having them, either. Sure! Maybe I'm paranoid. Maybe the guy just hadn't used the workout room in awhile and they'd changed the locks since the last time, and thus his key no longer worked. Maybe he only dallied at the machines because he really is out of shape and lacks stamina. Maybe, maybe, maybe. But the worst that can come of me being paranoid is that some guy I don't know thinks I have a hostility problem, and see, I already know I have a hostility problem, so big fucking deal.

    No, I'm not one to chastise myself for not being more friendly to strangers. I'm one to just walk out.

    Furious, and feeling like I need to run this anger off all over again.

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:54 PM

    Technical Difficulties

    I don't know what the heck's going on, either. Be patient. And quit laughing!

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:59 PM

    July 02, 2005

    One of Those

    I don't mean to sound even dumber than usual, but do you ever have days you wish you could just break up with yourself?

    "I'm sorry. It's just not working out. I care about you, I want you to be happy, but I think maybe I don't have what it takes to make you happy."

    "It's not you; it's me. I'm just not emotionally ready for this level of commitment."

    "I know you have feelings for me, and I have feelings for you too, but they're not the right kind of feelings."

    "I want you to know, whatever happens, I hope we can still be friends." (Said right before changing the locks and the phone number.)

    "One day we'll look back on this moment, realize it was the right decision, and have a good laugh over how close we nearly came to wrecking each other's lives."

    Feel free to suggest your own. Oh, and first person to go all concerned and sympathetic on me, I ban from the blog. I'm just not ready for that level of commitment right now, okay? I need my space.

    Posted by Ilyka at 07:28 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    June 29, 2005

    I Scored 75 out of 100

    But shut up. I can quit anytime I want to.

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:27 AM | Comments (6)

    June 19, 2005

    Conversations with my Father

    Setting: I'm seven years old and doing this thing that I do where my dad pulls the couch out from the wall a foot or so and I get up on the back of it and pretend I'm walking the balance beam.

    My mom: Ilyka, get down from there! You're going to fall and crack your head open doing that!

    Me: I will not! I'm being careful!

    My dad: She's fine. I'll keep an eye on her.

    My mom: Don't contradict me in front of the children.

    My dad: I'm not contradicting you. Cripes! I said I'll keep an eye on her. Could you relax?

    My mom: Fine. When she falls and breaks her legs, you'll be the one driving her to the hospital. NOT ME.

    My dad, to me: You hear that? If you feel like you're gonna fall, try to fall towards the couch. Don't fall towards the wall. I'm not missing the game to take you to the #$@^ hospital.

    Me: I won't fall.

    My dad: Yeah--did you hear what I said? AIM FOR THE COUCH.

    Me: I heard you!

    Me: . . . but I'm not gonna fall.


    Setting: Driving my recently-deceased grandfather's car home to Arlington, Texas, from Middletown, New York, my father and I find not one hotel vacancy in the entire state of Pennsylvania, and we damn near don't find one hotel vacancy in the entire state of Virginia . . . until, at 2:30 a.m., we finally find a hotel in downtown Roanoke that could politely be said to "have seen better days" and could rudely (but more accurately) be said to "stink of mold."

    Me, opening door to room: Uh, wow. This is really craptacular.

    My dad: It's also $230 a night.

    Me: For each room?

    My dad: $230 a night each. Too bad you're not a boy.

    Me: That's highway robbery. This place is a pit.

    My dad: Listen: For $230 a night, you love this hotel room.


    My dad: Right. See you in the morning.


    Setting: I am arguing with my father about a female relative's habit of simultaneously giving me money, then criticizing me to death.

    Me: I'm sorry I said mean things to you about her.

    My dad: Eh, it's all right.

    Me: But I'm not cashing that check. She thinks she can pay people to let her be rude to them and I don't play that.

    My dad: Oh, cash the check. What are you, stupid? Look: Someone sends me money, they can insult me all they want. It's Italian rules: You do a favor for me, I do a favor for you.

    Me: It's doing her a favor to let her point out my every flaw?

    My dad: Who knows? That's not the point. Look, I'd be suggesting new flaws for her, is what I'm saying. Just give me the money.

    Me: "Thank you for your generous donation. Incidentally, have you ever noticed how clumsy and awkward I am?"

    My dad: Now you're thinking.


    Setting: My father and I are loading the moving truck at my old Dallas apartment.

    My dad: Two vacuums? Whaddya need two vacuums for? Wait . . . three vacuums? Is this a hobby for you?

    Me: It's only two vacuums. That one's a carpet cleaner.

    My dad: But this carpet is filthy! It's embarrassing. I can't believe my daughter lives this way. Three vacuums, you'd think you could plug in ONE of them sometime.

    Me: I have good intentions.

    My dad: That's what the road to hell is paved with.

    Me: If I'm going to hell, it's going to be for something more serious than not vacuuming.

    My dad: I don't wanna hear about it.

    Me: No. You don't.


    Setting: Again, we're driving home a car after a funeral! This time it's my (still living) grandmother's car and we're going from the Salt Lake area of Utah back to Dallas. This time, we already have a hotel room reserved in Pueblo, Colorado, but what we don't count on is hitting 6 hours of steady snowfall, starting in Vail.

    My dad: I can't see the road.

    Me: You're fine. I can see the edge on my side. You're in the lane.

    Me: . . . I think.

    My dad: How many hours has it been?

    Me: I think two.

    My dad: I can't stand this. This is the sort of driving your mother should be doing. She's used to this crap. I'm not.

    Me: You're doing fine.

    My dad: #*%$! Did you see that guy?--He hadda be doing 70, at least.

    Me: Native. Probably thinks we're pathetic.

    My dad: Better pathetic and alive than reckless and dead.

    (Here I go silent to try to get in a rosary. I figure we need all the help we can get.)

    My dad: Could you talk to me? It keeps me alert.

    Me: This BLIZZARD isn't keeping you alert?

    My dad: I mean I need the reassurance that I'm not about to pitch us off the mountain.

    Me: Sorry. I was trying to say the rosary.

    My dad: When the Virgin Mary offers to pilot this car through the snow in the middle of the night, THEN you can talk to her. Right now you talk to me.


    Setting: I'm over at my parents for Sunday dinner, and they have the missionaries--the Mormon missionaries--over. Mormon missionaries depend on other Mormons for meals, is how it works. Let's not get into that now; the point is, it's me (the apostate ex-Mormon), my father (a Mormon convert), my mother (Mormon from birth), and two eager-to-spread-the-gospel young missionaries.

    My dad, winding up a discussion about his conversion to Mormonism: I'll tell you what I do miss sometimes, though. I miss having a beer.

    My mom: [shoots my dad Look of Death, laughs awkwardly to cover for it]

    My mom: George . . . .

    My dad: What? It's the truth. I do, I miss having a beer sometimes. On a hot day, a nice cold beer--it just tastes really good.

    Missionaries: [grinning their eager-to-spread-the-gospel little ASSES off.]

    My mom: You shouldn't say--

    My dad, to missionaries: A lot of people, they drink beer for all the wrong reasons. Because their buddies drink it. Or they just want to get drunk. But I really liked the taste of beer. That's what I miss. The taste. Oh, don't get me wrong--I did a lot of drinking in college--

    Missionary Uno: Uh, Brother _____, did . . . didn't you say you went to BYU?

    Missionary Dos: [dispenses with the grinning and moves up to outright giggling.]

    My dad: Oh, yeah! You know, they really didn't have much of a football team back then. Not like now. You guys ever wanna watch a BYU game, just give us a call. We got the Dish, you know. I get all the games now.

    My mom, icily: I think Brother Missionary Uno was trying to express his disappointment at learning that you were drinking beer at Brigham Young University.

    My dad: And you weren't?

    My mom: George?

    My dad: What?

    My mom: THAT'S ENOUGH.


    Happy Father's Day to my dad, he of the many sarcasms.

    Now you know where I get it.

    Posted by Ilyka at 12:12 PM | Comments (6)

    June 18, 2005


    That's right, 6:

    It's not easy to feel vituperative in such fine weather, but for you and for you? I'll work on it.

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:00 AM | Comments (5)

    June 16, 2005


    That's the number of spam comments I've got to clean off this thing. Also approximately the number of years it feels like since I've been without the internet.

    So. Uh, how are you, internet?

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:36 PM | Comments (10)

    June 02, 2005

    Q & A

    Okay, so far just one person has asked me about the upcoming move, but let's pretend bunches and bunches of you asked so that I only have to run through this once:

    Q: Why are you freaking out about moving? You live in an apartment. You don't even have kids! Boy, just wait 'til you have children; then you'll know true moving frustration, let me tell you. Why I remember this one time, my Jeremy, he--

    A: Uh, thanks. First of all, I am freaking out because I am prone to anxiety and the freaking out, it's just what I do.

    Second of all, I am freaking out because I'm not moving down the street. I'm not moving across town. I'm moving from here--

    --to there:

    Q: Whose flag is that?

    A: New Mexico's.

    Q: New Mexico . . . okay, is that--

    A: Yes, that's one of ours, if that's what you were wondering.

    Q: I knew it wasn't Canadian, but the other--you know, since I live up north, I wasn't exactly sure--

    A: No. Definitely not Canadian.

    Q: What brought this on?

    A: A happy confluence of opportunity and desperation.

    Q: No, I mean, why are you moving to New Mexico?

    A: Because it's home to the world's largest enchilada, fool, and I'm starving.

    Q: Oh COME on--

    A: Also, it was the first state to declare an official state cookie.

    Q: I know you're a great greedy whale of a woman and all, but this cannot seriously be all about food.

    A: YOU eat wimpy Dallas salsa for 11 years and tell me food doesn't enter into it.

    Q: You're not going to tell us why you're moving, are you?

    A: Not entirely, no, but I did I mention New Mexico is home to the Hatch Chile Fest? My September is going to be biz-ay.

    Q: Can you at least tell us where in New Mexico you're going?

    A: Las Cruces! Home of the world's largest--

    Q: --enchilada, yes.

    A: Right.

    Q: Hey, that last link says Las Cruces is a top retiree destination. Does this mean you've finally realized your dream of living among the seniors?

    A: Either that, or all this time you've been reading a blog by an elderly woman and just never noticed. That reminds me, I've got to get these rollers out of my hair before Matlock comes on. It's a two-parter!

    So that's why I'm freaking out: Because if heaven forbid I forget something, I can't just DRIVE BACK 700 MILES AND FETCH IT now, can I?

    Posted by Ilyka at 08:30 AM | Comments (18)

    May 08, 2005

    Yes It Is Indeed a Dumb Quiz Post

    Lifted from la fabulosa Margi (who is a mother! And today is Mother's Day! Happy Mother's Day, Margi!), I've found my inner European:

    Your Inner European is Italian!

    Passionate and colorful.

    You show the world what culture really is.

    Who's Your Inner European?

    You know I would never have posted this if it had come out French, don't you?

    I want those boots, incidentally. Not generally a shoe person but those boots, those boots are divine.

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:56 PM | Comments (7)

    May 07, 2005

    Let Me In

    So you tell me: 8:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning--is that a good time to turn on the radio, the radio you keep in the bedroom, and pump up the volume on the Tejano music? Or is that a bad time?

    Oh, who am I kidding: Any time of day is a good time for a fiesta, am I right? Any time at all. Life . . . life should be una fiesta continua.

    And I . . . I should be allowed to move into the senior apartments. You know, the senior living communities? I know I'm not old enough. Then again, aren't you only as old as you feel? Well, I feel like gathering with the elders around the 6:00 p.m. rerun of Murder, She Wrote. We'll do that after dinner, served promptly at 5:00. By 7:00 p.m. we'll all have repaired to our separate quarters for an hour of reading or knitting before bedtime, at 8:00 p.m.

    Sounds heavenly.

    Let me in. I will do everything in my power to atone for the age difference, seniors. I will mow the lawns--you can fire the landscaper! I will play bingo with you. I will take up golf. You don't allow pets at these places . . . ? Fine. The cats are history. I'm tired of cleaning the litterbox anyway.

    Let me in. I will drive you to your doctor's appointments. I will pick up your prescription refills at the pharmacy. I will cry with you over the obituaries. I will be so good, so helpful, I swear. Come on, I already have the housedress collection. I will let you borrow one if you want. The pink gingham is my favorite, but--you like it? Hey, that is flattering on you! So take it, Mrs. Mcgillicuddy. No, I insist. Take it. It's yours.

    Down with age discrimination. Let me in.

    Posted by Ilyka at 03:22 PM | Comments (7)

    Thank You Medicos

    It's the little things that make my job worthwhile.

    The little things like looking up the meaning of phrases like, "responsive only to deep sternal rub."

    Oh sternal rub, how I love you. You are cruel, yes, but you are cruel to be kind.

    Or to permit me to lie down comfortably on my own bed, whatever.

    See, if you have this person in your bed who is already sound asleep when you try to enter it? And that person has commandeered the center of said bed and has flailed his or her limbs out to cover the rest of the surface like a poor imitation of a Da Vinci illustration? And all your soft entreaties to "Please move over so I can lie down, please?" are going ignored? Ignored and snored at?

    Sternal rub.

    Wakes 'em every time.

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:05 AM | Comments (4)

    April 27, 2005

    One in a Million

    It ain't every man who will go along with you when you come home from the bar and want to put on this, or who will then humor you when you feel like throwing a softball lemon around to "practice your fielding."

    Which is pretty funny right there, considering your softball experience amounts to hours (and hours, and hours) in the backyard with your dad, whose idea of coaching was to yell over and over, "KEEP your EYES on the BALL! Eyes on the BALL!"

    And then after missing a bunch of throws, with the sweat running down your brow and your arms feeling all rubber, you'd yell, "I AM keeping my eye on the ball!"

    And he'd look you right in the eye and say, "If you'd been keeping your eye on the BALL, you woulda CAUGHT it."

    It's not a bad coaching method. Because when I forget that I never did own a proper glove or get picked early for a team--when I forget all that? And I'm just tossing that softball lemon around? And I'm keeping my eye on the ball lemon?

    I got a pretty decent record.

    But you got to keep your eyes on the ball.

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:03 AM | Comments (4)

    April 15, 2005

    The Internet Scold

    Someone told me in the comments at another blog that I've earned a rep for being an "internet scold."

    This bugged me a little. Not in that "waah, my feelings are hurt" kind of way, but in that "nagging phrase that won't quite leave my mind" kind of way.

    Finally I figured out why: It's because it is hands-down the most accurate thing anyone has ever said about me online.

    FINALLY, someone's got my number.

    It's true! First post I ever had substantial linkage from was a scold. All my most-linked posts have been scolds. Had an old one linked just this week that was a straight-up scold. Some scoff; others scold. I'm in the latter camp.

    I scold, therefore I am.

    Once I realized this, I was actually pleased because, damn, at least I have finally achieved some sort of consistency in my life. See, offline?--I am a dedicated scolder. Ask my brother what it was like to grow up with a scolding older sister. Ask my boyfriend what it's like to date a scolding woman. Ask my girlfriends what it's like to have lunch with a scolding friend.

    My cats can't talk, but if they could?--You would hear an earful about the scolding. "Not only does she let that man in the white coat shove ice-cold thermometers up our butts," they would yowl, "but on top of that, she yells at us for throwing up on the carpet as though that were somehow OUR fault."

    So listen, I know it's Friday and no one reads blogs much on Fridays anyhow, nor over the weekend, so maybe this is not strictly the best time for this, but to hell with it: Leave your favorite examples of my haughty scoldishness in the comments if you like. We'll have roast scold for supper. Roast scold with a side of scolding.

    Go on. Scold the scolder!

    UPDATE: I'm sorry, but this is too good and I only just remembered it, and it's a classic Exhibit A from childhood:

    I was once sent home early from a vacation with my grandparents due to scolding.

    Oh, there were other factors, but I really think it was the scolding that sealed the deal. I scolded my grandmother for ordering wine with dinner (my grandmother's Mormon).

    I don't remember precisely how old I was, but I'm pretty sure I was under 10 at the time. I was a precocious scolder, early wielding the Sword of Scold--against my own grandma.

    My dad and I were reminiscing about that time recently and he said, "It's like you failed vacation."

    He's right. It is.

    Posted by Ilyka at 08:19 PM | Comments (19)

    April 14, 2005

    Recursion for Dummies

    My mother is an accountant. In the process of becoming an accountant, my mother learned to divide the world into two kinds of people: People who get debits and credits, and people who don't. You can simplify this to: People who pass first semester accounting, and people who drop it.

    No one fails first-semester accounting, except maybe the very, very lazy. You have to be really obstinate to fail Accounting Principles I, because what normally happens is, the people who've spent the first four weeks of the semester patiently explaining to their instructors that MY BANK DOESN'T DO IT THIS WAY, or (this was a personal favorite of mine) THE SMALL BUSINESS FOR WHICH I DO PENNY-ANTE BOOKKEEPING DOESN'T DO IT THIS WAY; the people inevitably concluding with the plaintive wail, "WHY ARE YOU DOING IT THIS WAY, WHEN THIS WAY IS SO CONFUSING!!!"--anyway, those people?

    They drop out. They're anal-retentive enough at least to contemplate being accountants, which generally means they're also anal-retentive enough to memorize the drop dates and get out of Dodge on time, if Dodge ain't guaranteeing them an "A."

    I have taken the long way around again just to reach the simple point that, with computer programming, and the mathematics that provide the framework for computer programming, either you get recursion, or you don't.

    And you know, maybe you would have got recursion if only you'd watched more Sesame Street.

    No, really.

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:34 AM | Comments (4)

    April 13, 2005

    This Anxiety Attack Brought to You by the Helpful Lady in the Wine Section

    I was doing so well today, where by "well" I of course mean "well for me," which is not quite the same thing as "well" the way your average-functioning adult defines it; but, well. Well for me.

    I just got back from a quick trip to Yuppie Market. I went there for produce because, man, you should have seen what they were calling produce at my home-away-from-home, the Wal-mart. Do you know what those jokers are doing now? Putting lettuce in bags; bags with opaque bottoms so you can't see how near-to-rotten the lettuces are.

    I know I could just stand there, all figurative brass balls and what-are-you-gonna-do-about-it attitude, pulling lettuces out of bags (replacing them as sloppily as possible) until I found the head of green leaf that was Just Right, but as Stockard Channing once sang in "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee," I Was Not Brought Up That Way.

    I was pretty proud of me today, though, because I used to hyperventilate just walking into Yuppie Market. I was convinced, however irrationally, of two things: One, that every other shopper in Yuppie Market was an expert chef who knew exactly what she was going to do with every last bit of food in her cart; two, that my lowly presence in Yuppie Market could only be justified if I were in there wearing a name tag and pushing a mop.

    I have issues. It goes with being neurotic.

    Today, though, I put three whole things in the cart without wigging out, and that's when I realized that if I could put three separate things in the cart without wigging out, well, then I could probably put all the things I was going to buy in the cart without wigging out, because after all, I wasn't buying much there to begin with. And I mentally patted myself on the back and pronounced myself cured. That was before I got to the wine section.

    My weakness at Yuppie Market, besides the cheese section (which I can't really set foot in without crying), is the wine section. Because, as you know, I'm a real connoisseur of fine wines.

    Ha! Ha! No. No, I'm not. I care that the wine doesn't come with a screw cap and I care that it isn't vinegar, but mostly I just care that it's under $10, because technically, technically according to the budget, I have no business buying a bottle of wine ever.

    I came this close to getting OUT of the wine section without wigging, I really did. I had already picked out my $8.99 bottle, and you quit laughing, because that isn't nice. I was just browsing the whites. I looked at the Italian ones and then the French ones (oh hush) and then the Australian ones and then I got to the American ones and . . . and that's where the very kind lady who manages the wine section corralled me to ask if I needed any help choosing a wine.

    Yes, I thought of saying later (because I never think of things to say when it might make a difference), I do need some help. I need to know a polite, tactful way to let the staff here know that if they speak to me while I am shopping I will flee without purchasing another item, even if it's the very item I came here specifically to purchase. I need to find a gentle way of explaining to your organization that your genuinely considerate efforts to induce me to buy more are guaranteed to backfire and make me buy less.

    See, it's like this: If I were, say, in the midst of a particularly heavy menstrual period, and I urgently needed sanitary supplies, and a store clerk were to offer to help me pick said supplies out, I swear that I would leave my cart right there and sprint for the exit, no doubt leaving a trail of gore in my wake and reminding all the other shoppers of that time? In high school? When that one girl had to go to the nurse's office? And everyone was pointing and whispering about it? But no one would actually tell her? And then that one guy, Josh, would not stop being a creep about it and trying to get us to throw tampons at her, like in Carrie?


    Sad. Not exactly tragic, but definitely sad.

    The worst part is, I was all set to come home from the store humming a happy tune and getting to work on a nice batch of pico de gallo, and instead? Instead I rushed right in and sat down to tell the internet that for some reason I can't go shopping without totally losing my shit.

    Thanks, internet. You're no Xanax, but you're better than nothing.

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:43 PM | Comments (15)

    Glory Daze

    So once upon a time, I called a dick a dick and got labeled a hypocrite in response.

    I was plenty tore up about it, too. You're all sensitive folks . . . I'm sure you can imagine. I just can't quit thinking that I--no. No. Please, let's not talk about it anymore. I--I guess the pain never really . . . never really quite . . . goes away.

    Anyhow. Why'm I reliving this precious moment after all this time? Oh, I guess because I just can't resist a well-deserved pile-on.

    I'm petty like that.

    Posted by Ilyka at 12:38 AM | Comments (1)

    April 12, 2005

    Zero Content Warning

    Here you go--click the pretty picture. Seen everywhere that matters.

    Go on--amuse yourself.

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:18 PM | Comments (1)

    April 02, 2005

    Pretty Much


    Speaking of [Terri Schiavo]: if nothing else, this entire affair has made me heartily sick of the very act of reading the Internet.

    Also of writing on it.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:19 AM

    March 24, 2005

    March 23, 2005

    Obviously the Mormon Upbringing Has Worn Off Some

    Look: I'm not proud of this.

    Bacardi 151
    Congratulations! You're 137 proof, with specific scores in beer (40) , wine (133), and liquor (121).
    All right. No more messing around. Your knowledge of alcohol is so high that you have drinking and getting plastered down to a science. Sure, you could get wasted drinking beer, but who needs all those trips to the bathroom? You head straight for the bar and pick up that which is most efficient.

    My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
    You scored higher than 71% on proof
    You scored higher than 88% on beer index
    You scored higher than 97% on wine index
    You scored higher than 99% on liquor index
    Link: The Alcohol Knowledge Test written by hoppersplit on Ok Cupid

    (Seen at Dizzy Girl's.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:35 AM | Comments (3)

    Pain Delivered Via Your Own Stupidity Does Not Hurt Any Less

    If anything, it may hurt more: In addition to the physical sensation, there is the added sting of knowing you have just been incredibly dumb.

    I do mean "sting," and I do mean "incredibly," and I definitely mean "dumb."

    Dumb as in, you only wash your hands once after mincing a habanero pepper.

    And then not as thoroughly as you should have.

    And then before using the restroom.


    Posted by Ilyka at 04:12 AM | Comments (7)

    March 08, 2005

    Closed II

    My grandfather died.

    Maybe I will talk about it later. Likely I will not.

    UPDATE 03/09/2005: Okay, I leave on a plane tomorrow for the services.

    This was my grandfather. It's probably in poor taste to brag on one's relatives, particularly after they've passed on, but let me crib from it a little anyway:

    He served in the U.S. Army for three years during World War II seeing action in North Africa and Italy. In 1939, he started in banking as the Custodian, later serving as President of the Bank of American Fork and retired as the Vice Chairman of the Board in 2004. He served on the American Fork City Council, two terms as Mayor of American Fork, and two terms as a State Legislator. He served as Director, Vice President, and President of the American Fork Rotary Club. Served for 14 years on the American Fork Hospital Board including a term as Chairman.
    He was the sort of man they don't much make anymore (which might partially explain why I spend a good deal of time on this blog picking on the menfolk, come to think of it). He did everything for everybody.

    You know what it doesn't say in the obituary?--He built his own house. I don't mean he hired some contractor and ran around town boasting about his "custom-built home" like all the yuppie folk do nowadays; I mean he designed and built the whole thing himself, from basement to rooftop. He worked three jobs at one point to save the money. Meanwhile his family were living in another house next door and I could be wrong about this, but I want to say he built that one too. See, this is the stuff I'd know better if I'd kept in touch more THE WAY GRANDCHILDREN ARE SUPPOSED TO. I didn't even know he'd served in the state legislature. I'm pathetic.

    Anyway, he was an amazing guy. I'll miss him a lot.

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:48 AM

    February 28, 2005

    Does This Answer Your Question?

    Hmm . . . damn cranky today.

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:49 PM | Comments (1)

    February 26, 2005

    Needs Work

    I know, but deal with it for now. I was bored with the other.

    Posted by Ilyka at 08:16 AM | Comments (7)

    February 17, 2005

    Things I Would Say to My Neighbor, If I Knew Her Beyond Bumming Her One Cigarette


    So, wow: You and the boyfriend fight a lot, huh? At least once a week, always after midnight, all doors-a-slamming and "fuck-you's" a-flying. Crazy stuff.

    Not that I mind it so much because, oh my, you have no idea how much more liveable you two are compared to my previous neighbors . . . but, well, sometimes, with all the doors-a-slamming and fuck-you's-a-flying, I can't help it: I find myself tensing up, waiting for that sound of a body hitting the floor, the wall, the couch--that moment when I'm forced to think, "Whoa, time to call the police."

    Anyway, my bad for intercepting you just at the start of one of these episodes. That must have been pretty awkward for you both, huh?--The way I had to sort of wait for you and your guy to quit chasing each other across the parking lot so I could pull into the one available space? (Does the parking situation suck here, or what?)

    But I was real, real determined not to bother you both or even, to be honest, make eye contact with either of you. Oh, okay, I admit I kept an eye out from the corner, just to make sure he wasn't overstepping the bounds or anything as you were trying to make a not-so-smooth getaway in your car. I always try to keep a look out.

    I believe it was at about the point he urged gently, "Honey, don't drive; you're drunk," that I decided he probably didn't mean you any harm. Certainly he did not raise his voice to say so; the only raised voice I heard was yours, telling him to get the fuck off your car.

    Yeah. Sad. Still, that would have been the end of it, except you popped out of the driver's seat at that moment and bounded over to me and the boyfriend chirping, "Hey, either of you got a cigarette?" And I think when I asked you which you preferred, a Capri 120 or a Marlboro Light, you answered, "I'll take one of each!"

    I figured you were then in a better mood than I'd thought at first, except you were still seeming pretty hostile to the boyfriend. He must have done something pretty bad, huh? Or maybe not. Maybe you two just weren't meant to have a threesome with Lady Alcohol. I don't really know.

    What I do know is that when your man coaxed you back into the apartment, his job made easier by your pacification with the cigarettes (one of each!), I felt a little bad for you both and I said, with all due respect and just as deferentially as I possibly could, "Y'all look out for one another, now."

    And you muttered, perhaps louder than you realized, "Fuck you."

    Man, your guy . . . he looked ready to drop through the concrete as he hissed at you, "Shhh!" And then he looked at me as if to say, "I'm sorry, but this is how she gets."

    Which, believe me, I know. I think I mentioned it up above, but I have heard how you get. Over, and over, and over. Only now, it's dawning on me that I don't so much hear him as I hear you.

    I'm not saying he's perfect. Maybe you have a good reason to shout him down. Maybe you have a dozen good reasons. I had one like that once, and I didn't have a dozen good reasons, I had a hundred.

    But what I'm thinking is, if he's no good, then you should leave him. And if he is any good, and it's just that you've kind of sort of got into this habit of screaming at him because you know in your bones he will always, always put up with it?

    Then you should really leave him.

    Maybe find yourself someone who will challenge you but like, in a good way. Maybe find yourself someone who will drive you and inspire you to be the best person you can be. Maybe find yourself someone who won't lie down on the porch and stamp "WELCOME" on his ass every time you throw a shit fit, because that situation's no good for you or for him. You'll only grow to despise him, and he, he can only do likewise.

    Meanwhile maybe there's a man out there who will see you get all angry-drunk and say firmly, "You can leave if you like. You don't have to stay here if you're angry with me. But you'll go home in the cab I call for you, and not behind the wheel where you could maybe kill somebody." And then he needs to have that look in the eye that says This Word Is Final. Oh, don't even--you know that look and so do I. It's not the same as that look that says, You'll Do as I Say or I'll Belt You One; it's different. I'm not talking about that look, the chickenshit's look. I'm talking about that look that says, I Have Had It up to Here with Your Shit and You'll Do as I Say or I'll Leave You, for Good, Forever, Adios.

    Meanwhile maybe there's a woman out there who can put two and two together and figure, if all drinking with this guy does is make me angry, maybe we shouldn't drink together. Better yet, maybe there's a woman out there who can get giddy and happy and joyous and excited and passionate about this guy, whether alcohol's involved or not.

    And maybe when that woman bums a smoke off a stranger who wishes her well, she can manage a more civil response than, "Fuck you."

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:44 AM | Comments (4)

    February 15, 2005

    One Big Happy

    I combined the blogrolls--no more separate one for conservative women bloggers. What was happening was something a mental midget could have predicted: I was never getting past the main blogroll and around to reading the conserva-chicks. Second-class citizen journalists, indeed. (I don't use newsreaders; I've never found one I like.)

    Tomorrow I'd like to get around to a big linkfest incorporating some posts I found in the course of doing this maintenance, but for now, one that stood out: Please send prayers and well-wishes out to the author of Such Small Hands, Lee Anne, who will be having, hopefully very soon, a kidney transplant. Few things could be more terrifying to undergo. Lee Anne, you definitely get included in my prayers throughout your journey. Please keep us posted.

    And other bloggers, if you want to maybe spread the word and encourage folks to hit up her wish list, why, somehow I suspect that would be just fine.

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:16 PM | Comments (1)

    February 11, 2005


    Bobby Womack, "I Can Understand It." Wow, that was a blast, huh?

    (Ooh, hey, I need this.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:40 AM | Comments (12)

    February 05, 2005

    A Little Childish Self-Indulgence

    Not to imply that everything on this blog couldn't be filed under a category of that sort, but . . . look, I know, I know, I should probably read up on this and figure out the who-what-when-where-why, particularly the "Why Should I Care?" part, but I'll have to quit cracking up at the name first:

    Togo's armed forces said Faure Gnassingbe, the son of former president Gnassingbe Eyadema, will assume power in the West African country following the death of his father earlier on Saturday.
    I'm sorry, and you can throw me in Having-No-Respect-for-Other-Cultures prison for saying it, but I can't quit hearing that name as a patient's chief complaint, i.e.:
    1. Gassy knee.
    2. Eye edema.
    I'm thinking perhaps needle aspiration and cool compresses, but then, I just type it, I don't treat it.
    Posted by Ilyka at 11:17 PM | Comments (5)

    February 03, 2005

    Recent Acquisitions

    Well, let's see: First of all, I'm really looking forward to overdosing on this. Oh, and to drooling over this. I have also long wanted this collection, and now, at last, it is mine.

    And then there's the most important one, just in time for Valentine's Day: This. Yes, that is my favorite romantic movie and shut up, I didn't ask you and I don't want to hear it. It's also my favorite comedy, and my favorite drama; in my teensy-tiny world, all movies are Urban Cowboy, and Urban Cowboy is all movies. (I could explain to you how this is so, but you wouldn't believe me anyway.) It is even my favorite Dumb Movie Made to Capitalize on a Flash-in-the-Pan Trend of Limited Appeal, Starring One of the Saddest Celebrity Victims of Scientology Ever, Just Before He Really Went Down the Toilet and Needed the Man with the Gigantic Head to Resuscitate His Career (Since Trashed All Over Again).

    Yes, yes, yes. I admit it, and no, I do not like it in an ironic way. I mean I like it sincerely, just as sincerely as Aunt Corene means it when she tells Bud and Sissy that they all live like pigs. See? That's just one more great thing about the movie right there: If nothing else, it makes me applaud my own housekeeping skills. How many movies got that going for them? Or rather, how many movies got that going for them that I can still stand to watch?--Because if it's one of those dark dungeon-y flicks where like rats and cockroaches scurry over half-eaten bodies, I'm just going to sit through most of it with my hands over my eyes because I'm chicken like that, even though it would be nice to say once in awhile, "Yes, there are cat food crumbs on the floor; yes, that stain there is where you dripped coffee on the counter; yes, that is mold on the bread crust, but look!--NOT ONE half-eaten body ANYWHERE."

    Of course, somewhere on the campus of UT-Dallas (motto: Not the UT with the football team, not the UT without any football team, and not the UT by the Alamo), my more studious and scholarly half has probably sensed that this DVD arrived today and is hastily devising schemes to get out of watching it with me . . . as though this relationship were a democracy or something. I know, right? He hasn't got a chance in hell.

    Das boot: Now with spurs.

    Posted by Ilyka at 12:39 AM | Comments (5)

    January 24, 2005


    You can learn all you need to know about a person's politics through a simple game of Marry, F---, Kill.

    It's simple: You name three celebrities. The other player(s) decide who to marry, who to sleep with, and who to kill.

    The list I gave the boyfriend: Roseanne Barr, Ann Coulter, Margaret Cho.

    I'm sorry, Ann fans. It's lucky you're all armed to the teeth so you can exact your revenge on him. Believe me, I tried to talk him out of it:

    Me: You're going to marry a self-confessed fag hag who has sworn to stick her finger up your rectum during oral sex.

    Boyfriend: I'll get her a gay pool boy. A whole cabana of them, whatever it takes.

    The list he gave me: O.J. Simpson, Michael Moore, Michael Jackson.

    Me: Let's see: We know all too well what the consequences of marriage to O.J. are, so that's out. I'll have sex with him and marry Michael Jackson. It's not like marriage to Jacko involves actual sex anyway.

    Boyfriend: You're going to marry a pedophile just so you can kill Michael Moore.

    Me: We'll need a prenup. I'm not paying the bills at Neverland when he goes to jail.

    Hours of fun, hours of horror.

    But I'll never look at him the same since he admitted he'd have sex with Eleanor Clift--not that the other choices were much better.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:00 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    January 18, 2005

    How Lazy? THIS Lazy

    Never underestimate my ability to blow things off.

    I dreamt last night that the boyfriend and I were sitting around talking to a couple other people, when suddenly I asked, "Wait, is today Saturday?"

    "Yeah," answered the boyfriend.

    "Saturday the 25th?"


    I looked at my watch. It was 4:25 in the afternoon. I said, "Ohmigod, our wedding is at 5:15 at my parents' house."

    "Oh, that's right," said the boyfriend.

    "I really don't feel like going."

    "Me neither."

    "We'll never make it on time anyway. It's 45 minutes to my parents' house from here."

    "We'd be late to our own wedding."

    "I know!"

    "Can't we reschedule?"

    "My parents would have to reschedule everything then. The caterer, the band, the decorators . . . it would cost them a fortune. They'd kill me."


    "Yeah. Hey, and I don't know what I did with my engagement ring."

    "Did you look on the bookshelf? You leave everything on the bookshelf."

    "I know, but it's not there. I checked already. Did you ever pick up the wedding bands?"

    "Uh, no."

    "Oh crap. What are we going to do?"

    "Well, I think we have to go."

    I started thinking about getting into the shower, doing my hair, my makeup, having to put on the damn dress . . . and I said to the boyfriend:

    "We should have just gone to Vegas some weekend."

    "We should have," he agreed.

    "I really don't feel like getting married today. What's wrong with me? This is supposed to be the happiest day of my life, a day I'll treasure forever, but I'm not feeling it at all. I just don't care. I'd rather sit here and hang out some more."

    "I know," he replied, "but maybe you should at least get in the shower."

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:06 PM | Comments (5)

    January 02, 2005

    Happy New Year

    We're all still alive and well, I take it? Good, good. I'll settle back in to work here, ah, tomorrow, probably. Right now it's Sunday, and Sunday is a day of what again? That's right: REST.

    Oh, and gift-card spending. I'm pretty sure there's something about gift-card spending in that commandment, too.

    Meanwhile, enjoy Jim Peacock's recipe for Macho Dip and Andrea Harris' new blog. (I love the "new year, new blog" thing.) I have really been taking time off from all things web-related, so that's all I have for you at present.

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:31 PM | Comments (1)

    December 22, 2004


    I'll return after the holidays, I think.

    (Image from The Fractal Farm.

    UPDATE 12/24/2004: So far, Jim has compared the fractal image to some junk found between his toes--gaaahhh!--and Helen has compared it to, I think, arterial plaque deposits. So if anyone else has anything to add . . .? Because we still have a few body parts to go with this.

    (Lousy fractal haters.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:58 PM | Comments (8)

    December 16, 2004

    Even When You Think I'm Not Working for You, I'm Working for You

    I do and do and do for you kids . . . I linked the explanation about my dumb pseudonym and my puerile "about me" stuff over at the left. You don't want to know how long it took me. I don't even want to know how long it took me, but I have no choice in the matter.

    And now to the kitchen. I'm trying something called Spicy Orange Beef. Feel free to make dirty remarks about the name of the recipe in the comments, or don't.

    (More food-related dirty talk in the comments here. Much thanks to Cassandra for tracking me back on that post, because the thing about Cassandra is that she be bad. Seriously, devastatingly, Defcon 1 kind of bad. If you aren't keeping Villainous Company, you're missing out.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:39 PM | Comments (4)

    December 12, 2004

    Now, Now, Everyone Chill

    My excuse for the preceding post?

    You guessed it:


    I know: What an un-ladylike thing to say.

    I should take that prior post down, really, but then I'd lose some hysterical comments, like Hubris wondering if he's too butch. Hubris?--DEFINITELY.

    Posted by Ilyka at 03:53 AM | Comments (5)

    December 10, 2004

    Screw This

    And people wonder why I periodically abandon the blog for weeks on end. That's in reference to comment numero uno, incidentally, not the post itself (which I quite liked).

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:30 PM | Comments (15)

    December 09, 2004

    Administrative Notice

    Generally, when there's an asterisk in the title and that asterisk refers to a disclaimer at the end of the post, it means the post was a joke.

    Hey, I never promised you good jokes.

    Posted by Ilyka at 08:51 PM | Comments (7)

    November 24, 2004


    Would someone please tell me what I do to close comments on posts older than a week? I'm getting very, very tired of all the spamming.

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:39 PM | Comments (7)

    November 11, 2004

    Snapshot II: Let Them Eat Jellybeans!

    (Does two in a week count as a "series?" I think it should count.)


    It's late 1984 and I am o-v-e-r my prior support for Ronald Reagan. Over it.

    I wasn't too into the election, because even I could see that Mondale was a loser of a candidate. Props to him for choosing a woman for his running mate; shame he never had a chance in hell of winning against that fascist Reagan. Did you know if you count the letters in Ronald Wilson Reagan, you get 6-6-6? The number of the beast. Tell me that's a coincidence. Ha!

    I have been shown the way. I have been rehabilitated. I have seen the light.

    I have accepted Joe Strummer as my personal savior.

    I am so punk rock. See? Right here: Here's my copy of Let Them Eat Jellybeans. Sorry I could only find it on cassette. It'd be much cooler on vinyl, huh? I mean, uh, actually I don't, uh, really like most of the songs on it--but that title, isn't that title awesome? That caricature of Reagan on the cover, isn't it priceless?

    And don't I have my copy of Never Mind the Bollocks? And not just any copy; not just that lame pink-and-green U.S. version all the poseurs have, oh, no--the British release, the import. Take that! Oh, sure, it's not actually any different in track listing from the U.S. version, but . . . but . . . but it looks cooler. And it comes from the U.K., from which all good things come. So there. You could've had it yourself if you'd only made the effort, but I guess you'd rather be a poseur.

    And look, look at this: 45 RPM singles from Britain. Look at the little tiny holes they punch into them instead of our big you-need-an-adapter-to-play-this ones. Aren't they adorable? And I don't need an adapter to play them! They'll play just fine on my hand-me-down stereo from my parents, the one that actually comes with an, euwww, eight-track. No, those Brits know what they're about with the small holes. Doesn't it just prove how resoundingly stupid the U.S. is? How lame? How fascist? Of course it does. Q.E.D.

    I have saved up my babysitting money and ridden my bicycle nine miles each way to a little independent record store near ASU to collect all this stuff, which isn't very punk rock at all; but can I help it that the Phoenix metropolitan area has virtually no public transit outside the core of the city? Fascists!

    Yes, I am very punk rock in my own estimation. And it has to be in my own estimation, because I have only one friend, and she thinks I am ridiculous. She thinks I should be listening to Split Enz instead. I think Split Enz are all right in small doses, but they're not exactly going to change the world the way my bands will. Hell, they're scarcely known now; what are the odds that anyone will ever hear from any member of them ever again?

    Not that there aren't other punks in school, but they hang in their own little clique and are suspicious of outsiders, of poseurs. I wish they could see that I am no poseur. I am genuinely, sincerely, wholeheartedly down with the punk movement, even if it did flourish originally in the mid-70s, when I was seven years old and still listening to Andy Gibb. But that's not my fault. My parents should have had me sooner. And they should have been British citizens.

    I am torn between secretly admiring the other punks (they hate to be called "punk rockers," a label applied to them by the Man) and secretly thinking something isn't quite right with them. They all have the same leather jacket from the same store, the only store in town selling jackets that are punk enough, and they all do more or less the same thing with their hair, usually some variation of the mohawk. No way in hell am I cutting my hair into a mohawk. First of all, my parents are angry enough that I colored it jet black and second of all, mohawks are kind of ugly. But that's okay! Live and let live. Punk is all about expressing your individuality.

    Because I don't have $100 for a sufficiently punk leather jacket, I make up my own outfits. I raid my mother's closet in search of anything retro 60s. It's not easy; my mother is extremely organized and no pack rat. Most of what lingers in the closet is from no earlier than the 70s. This of course won't do at all. Why can't I have a mom like Marci's? Marci parades around like Jean Shrimpton at a biker's ball. No, a biker's ball crashed by the Sex Pistols. That's it.

    It's so unfair. My mom is so fascist. And the nerve of her, yelling at me for snagging that be-yew-ti-ful black skirt that's allll-most a mini, that forms an unbeatable yeah-you-wish-you-were-me combo with my fishnet stockings . . . her getting all upset just because it's the skirt she was married in, I mean, honestly. How fascist can you get?

    Although, she did buy me the fishnets. And that's the problem with all this: My parents are not nearly as intolerant of how punk rock I am as they ought to be. Oh, we aren't exactly getting along: It seems they take issue with my penchant for removing the screen to my bedroom and sneaking out the window in the middle of the night to go walking around the neighborhood, just thinking about stuff--like how fascist everything is. They're not pleased with my habit of blowing off school, either. As if it were somehow my fault that school is totally fascist!

    They don't like me wearing all this black, either. They are worried it means I am a Satanist. I'm so tired of explaining to them that it's the Ozzy fans who are the Satanists and dear God in heaven, do NOT lump me in with those losers. Those are the kids who smoke pot in the smoking area at school. I want nothing to do with them. Nothing. They do not express their individuality like I do. They don't express anything beyond the desire to get really, really high. Ugh. Losers. I'll bet even Satan doesn't want them.

    Despite all this fascist tension in the house, my parents are pretty tolerant--too tolerant--of my passion for punk and new wave music. Christmas and birthdays occur much as they always did, with me handing them a list of records I want. I try to hit them with the big-ticket items, naturally, but I also try to spare them the trip to Roads to Moscow, the indie store. They would just haaaate Roads to Moscow. I try to pick things that are just this side of mainstream; things they could pick up in those fascist chain record stores like Wherehouse or Musicland.

    For Christmas, 1984, one item tops my list: Sandinista!

    "Sandinista?" my mom asks, in That Tone.

    "Sandinista?" my dad echoes.

    HAH! I knew that would get them. My parents have been more or less Republican all their lives. On occasion my father has been suspected of voting for Democrats, but no one's ever been able to prove it. As for my mother--

    "What is it, an album by communists?" my mother wants to know.

    "I doubt it," my father laughs. "Communists couldn't get their act together long enough to produce a record album, much less sell one in this country. They have bread lines to stand in."

    I am long practiced in ignoring my father and his smartass remarks. "It's by the Clash," I tell my mother cooly. "Want me to write it down for you?"

    "Oh, I think I can remember that. The Clash? Again? I thought you had everything by them already."

    "This is the only one I don't have. It's a triple album."

    "So that's why we get to pay for it," my father grumbles.

    Perfect! I can never resist an opportunity to lecture my parents on the evils of capitalism and the goodness of the Clash.

    "You won't find it that expensive, actually," I tell them. "You see, most Clash fans in England are very poor--"

    "Because they don't work." My father is starting to grate my nerves with the smart remarks. He certainly doesn't ever let me make smart remarks, which makes this whole conversation unfair from the start. Unfair, and fascist.

    "--because Thatcher's fascist policies have taken away their jobs, you mean, and so what the Clash did, because they are not heartless thugs like Thatcher and Reagan, was record a triple album, but demand that their record company release it in a single sleeve to keep the costs down."

    "I'm sure the record company loved that," my mother says.

    Really, no wonder my parents are so ignorant of the plight of the poor: They're too busy making jokes about it. How sad they are. How bourgeois. Have they no shame at all?

    "I think it's nice that a band would care so much about its fans that they would take on the corporate greed machine like that," I tell my parents.

    "Oh, no one's saying it isn't nice," laughs my father--has the man been laughing this entire time? What is so funny about this?--"it's not like your mother and I work for the record company. It's no skin off our asses to pay less money for this crap--"--this crap? Did he just call--"so tell the Clash your mother and I said 'thanks.'"

    "I didn't say thanks," my mother corrects him. "I can't believe we just agreed to buy her a record called 'Sandinista.'" She turns her attention to me again: "Do you even know who the Sandinistas are?"

    "Sure," I bluff. Well, not really bluff, exactly. I mean, I have an idea--

    "Do you even know what country they're in?" Oh damn, damn, damn my father. That fascist! But wait--wait, something I heard on the public radio (the nonfascist radio!) the other night--

    "Nicaragua," I say proudly.

    "That's not bad for a kid who only ever reads the leisure section," my father admits.

    A kid. God, they're so--"Oh WHAT," I sneer, "I should be like you and read the Wall Street Journal?"

    "I'd settle for you reading your homework assignments once in awhile."

    "Whatever. At least I care about what's going on in the world."

    Oh hell. Why did I say that? Why did I say that? I just know I have let myself in for it with that one. I don't know anything about what's going on in the world. My father is right: I only ever read the leisure section. And music magazines--Creem and Rolling Stone and Trouser Press when I can find it.

    But I care! I just need to become better informed is all. It'd be easier to do if I weren't stuck here in Mesa, the heart of Mormonville after Salt Lake City. Here in Mesa, with all the fascists.

    Fantastic: Now my mother's laughing at me. This is a disaster. It is a difficult thing to do, to make my mother laugh.

    "If you care so much about Nicaragua," my mother wants to know, "then why don't you care how many Nicaraguans were killed by the Sandinista regime?"

    "And starved," my father puts in.

    "And jailed," adds my mother.

    "That . . . that isn't exactly true," I tell them. What exactly did that professor guy on the radio say the other night? Oh!--"That's just an excuse Reagan used to justify . . ."--oh, help me, Lord; to justify what again?--"to justify that whole deal with the Contras." There. With any luck the vagueness of "that whole deal" will cover most of my bases on this one.

    I remember another thing the professor said and add, "You can't trust what you read in our papers, because they're biased in favor of the Reagan administration,"--will my parents stop laughing for one minute?--"but anyone who really wants to find out what's happening in Nicaragua, who really cares about the truth, should just go there and see for themselves."

    My parents stop laughing. Finally! My mother sighs and says, "Well, you're going to have to make do with the papers--"

    "--which she doesn't read--" I give my father That Look. "Don't give me That Look," my father snaps. "You don't read them."

    "Well, she's going to have to start reading them if she cares so much," my mother tells him, "because she's not going to Nicaragua."

    "Of course she's not going to Nicaragua. You think I'm gonna pay the plane fare? She doesn't even have a passport."

    I give up.

    My parents are so fascist.

    But I'll show them. I'll show them! One day I will be 18 and there'll be nothing they can do, nothing at all, to stop me from going to Nicaragua. I will do just as that man on the radio said, and go see for myself how revolution can heal a wounded people.


    Of course . . . of course . . . didn't someone tell me there's a lot of jungle in Nicaragua?

    Jungles. Jungles have . . . insects.

    Thousands of insects, probably. Large insects. Bigger than the ones you see camping, maybe. They probably fly right at you . . . .

    Eh. Maybe I'll just try to tune into NPR more often. Let someone else go to Nicaragua.

    Someone who's not, you know . . . fascist.

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:17 PM | Comments (5)

    November 09, 2004

    As a Set of Grandparents Used to Say . . .

    . . . "Oh, bless her heart." Margi's, I mean. Because if a Monty Python quiz can't unite us, I'm telling you, nothing can. Want to see what Monty Python sketch character I am?--Click the extended entry. But first, see if you can guess it from my answers:

    You walk into a restaurant and eat a HUGE meal. The waiter asks if you want dessert. You say: I'll ask the questions here!

    After dessert, it's time to pay the check. You tell the waiter: I have to go to the lavatory.

    From the following, choose your favourite song: SPAAAAM! Wonderful SPAAAAAM!

    And your favorite colour? Green. (Editor's note: First pick, purple, not listed.)

    You feel most comfortable when wearing: Whatever I damn well please, you stupid bastard!

    Choose the phrase that YOU would be most likely to use: NO ONE expects the Spanish Inquisition!

    Which movie(s) would you find most interesting? Suspect. (Editor's note: I found none of the titles interesting. Suspect just happened to be the only one I'd actually seen.)

    In your spare time, you can be found: Shouting obscenities at strangers. (Editor's note: Isn't that what having a blog is all about?)

    What's your dream job? Food critic.

    And finally, after a long hard day at your dream job, you just can't wait to: Go home and swear at the cat. (Editor's note: I don't even have the dream job, yet this still happens EVERY DAY.)

    So what creature am I in the Pythonverse? Oh, just humor me and pretend you care.

    You are a cardinal! You love to try & get others into trouble, even if you have to make up lies...NO ONE expects the Spanish Inquisition!
    You are a cardinal! You love to try & get others
    into trouble, even if you have to make up
    lies...NO ONE expects the Spanish Inquisition!

    What Monty Python Sketch Character are you?
    brought to you by Quizilla

    People, that is just so freakin' Catholic I could cry.

    Posted by Ilyka at 08:59 AM | Comments (2)

    November 07, 2004


    I haven't been rabidly political all my life, you know; I don't even think I'm rabidly political now. I care, but I don't care a lot. I find politics more interesting than I used to, but I also quickly reach an overload point where I just need to tune it all out.

    For some reason, one thing people who've found themselves drifting rightward over the years cannot resist doing is chronicling the drift, trying to pinpoint where it all began, laughing at where they used to be Before, before they did that thing they never, ever thought they'd do and Actually Voted for a Republican, Can You Believe It?

    If you think I'm kidding, check out this old comment thread at Tim Blair's. For every one guy who posts, "Gee, I've always been conservative," (the first few comments in the thread are mainly that) there are 19 others derisively but good-naturedly recalling their days with the Green Party.

    I don't really know why right-leaners find this activity so fun. I do think it shores up the assertion that people on the right are made, not born.

    Here is one of my Defining Political Moments or whatever, as nearly as I can recall it. If I'm disciplined enough this next week, I'll write about more of them and make it a series.

    No promises.


    I am in the seventh grade at a junior high school in Cupertino, California, during an election year: 1980. I don't know anything about any of the candidates, but I do know I'm a Goldilocks sort of person who wants the bed neither too soft nor too hard, so I figure that probably if I could vote, I'd vote for John Anderson, the independent. In the addled reasoning of my 11 year-old brain, his being neither a Democrat nor a Republican must mean that he is Just Right.

    Many of my classmates are very political and there's a lot of discussion going on and lots of surveys being taken on Who We'd Vote For, If We Could Vote. When I get corralled into one of these I give my stock answer of "Anderson" and it usually registers no more than "hmm, okay," in reply. This is fine with me because I'm not interested in this nearly as much as I'm interested in getting the attention of a boy in my English class.

    One day a strident, obnoxious girl I'm not fond of asks me who I would vote for. You know, in case 11 year-olds ever get the vote and all.

    "Anderson, I guess."

    "Anderson? That's throwing your vote away."

    "Well, I can't vote anyway so I guess it doesn't matter."

    "Of course it matters. Why wouldn't you vote for Carter?"

    "I dunno. I just like Anderson better."

    "Well, who are your parents voting for, then?"

    Oh, good. I actually know the answer to this one. "Reagan," I tell her.

    The girl literally sprays me with spit. "REAGAN?!?"

    "Man, Debbie--say it, don't spray it."

    "How could they vote for Reagan? Did you know Reagan wants to take away old people's Social Security?"

    "What's that?"

    "It's the money they get from the government after they retire! Without it they'd all STARVE!"

    "That's terrible."

    "Of COURSE it's terrible! Your parents are INSANE!"

    Wow. I have never actually considered that my parents might be mental before. I don't always get along with them, but this is the first time someone's suggested that might be due to insanity on their part.

    It sure sounds crazy, to vote for a guy who'd be so mean to old people like this. "I don't know why they would vote for someone who'd do something awful like that," I apologize to Debbie. "But maybe they don't know about this."

    "Well, TELL them. And then ask them how they could vote for a MONSTER like Reagan."

    "I will. I'll ask 'em tonight."

    Debbie shakes her head disgustedly and moves on to the next student.

    That night I ask my mother how she could vote for a mean guy like Ronald Reagan who wants to starve old people. Old people are the very nicest people I know. My grandparents are old people and they are wonderful to me. Why does my mother want to starve them?

    My mother sighs. "Who told you that?"

    "This girl at school."

    "A friend of yours?"

    "Not really."

    My mother asks, "Do you know how Social Security works?"

    "No," I admit. "I didn't even know what it was."

    "Social Security is like a retirement program managed by the government."

    "Okay," I say, "What's wrong with that?"

    "In theory, nothing's wrong with that. It's a nice idea. In theory, you put money in while you're working and take it out when you retire."

    "Like a bank?"

    "Not exactly. What actually happens is the government takes the money out of your paycheck as a tax and puts it into a program called Social Security."

    "But you pay taxes in April."

    "You do. We do. This money for Social Security comes out automatically before that, though. The money we pay in taxes on April 15 goes to other things."

    "Okay." I'm still not seeing why Debbie was so upset. And what about the old people? My mother goes on:

    "The problem is the way it's set up. The way it's set up, there's not enough money when you retire, when you start to collect Social Security, to make up for what you put in while you were working."

    "So we should put more money in?"

    "That's one . . . look, do you know what a pyramid scheme is?"


    "Okay," my mother sighs again. "I'll try to explain it to you. In a pyramid scheme, there's a large base of people at the bottom who are putting just a little money into something, some investment. They're the bottom of the pyramid. And because there are so many of them, they don't have to put in very much individually to create a large sum all together. Are you following this so far?"

    "Kind of . . . ."

    "If you have 100 people each contributing $1, you wind up with $100 total. But if you have only 20 people contributing, they would each need to kick in $5 to get $100 total."


    "At the top of the pyramid, you have a very small portion of people collecting and drawing off the money contributed by the people at the base of the pyramid. The theory of a pyramid scheme is that people start at at the base of the pyramid contributing small amounts, migrating over time to the top of the pyramid, where they take out large amounts. Or rather, that's not how a pyramid scheme actually works, but it's how the people on the bottom think it will work. In reality, the people at the top stay right where they are, collecting all the money. That's why pyramid schemes are illegal."

    "But then--"

    "Hold on. Don't interrupt. I'm not saying Social Security is exactly like a pyramid scheme, but the operation of it depends on something like it. It depends on a large pool of current workers putting money in, so that the relatively small pool of retired workers at the top will have plenty of money to take out."

    "Why don't they just take out the money they put in? Why do they take out money put in by the other people?" I'm not following this at all. They take out other people's money?

    "What happened to the money they put in?" I want to know.

    "It's still there. But over time, it doesn't buy as much as it used to, because it hasn't been invested well and isn't earning enough interest to make up for inflation. It doesn't have the value that it used to and won't buy them what they need. You've heard your dad talk about what candy bars used to cost when he was little? They cost more now, don't they? They cost more, and they're smaller."

    That's true, I think, although I have sometimes wondered if my dad was making this up. A nickel for a candy bar?

    And I think I kind of know what inflation is. I hear about it on the news a lot. Apparently it's bad. My parents have been complaining about it.

    Interest I am less sure about. "What's interest?"

    "Interest is--interest is something you'll understand better when you have your own bank account. For now . . . if you put your allowance in the piggy bank, what happens to it?"

    This seems like an awfully dumb question to me. "It stays there."

    "Right. But if you were to put that money in a real bank, like your father and I do, it would stay there and earn interest. Interest is money the bank pays you based on how much you have in your bank account, more or less."


    "We'll talk about that some other time. To get back to Social Security, what's happening is--is several things. For one thing, people aren't having as many babies as they used to, so there will eventually be fewer new workers to enter the base of the pyramid, and that base will shrink. Remember what I said about how much each worker needs to contribute to make $100?"

    "Uh . . . ."

    "Pay attention," she admonishes. "You're smart enough to understand this if you try. The fewer workers at the base of the pyramid, the more each worker has to pay into it for the people at the top to collect enough money. That's one problem with the Social Security system. The base is shrinking. That means more money comes out of each worker's paycheck."

    "Then it gets a little complicated" my mother continues, "but basically, what with the shrinking base, the effects of inflation, and the poor interest, the people at the top are not able to collect as much as they should. Over time, they put a lot of money in while they were working. Now, the only way for them to get sufficient money out is for the workers at the base to contribute more."

    "Then the workers should contribute more. It's not fair to the old people!"

    "It's also not fair," my mother says gently, "to the workers. They're trying to raise families and feed their children, and they could use that money themselves. Worst of all, when they eventually reach the top of the pyramid, the very same thing is going to happen to them: There won't be enough money for them to live on. Do you think that's fair?"

    "No," I admit. "But--"

    "The other problem is at the top of the pyramid," my mother goes on, "The problem at the top is that people are living longer. That's a good thing, a very good thing, but it causes a problem in a pyramid scheme. When Social Security first started, it assumed people wouldn't live long after they retired, and therefore, they wouldn't spend nearly as much time at the top of the pyramid taking out, as they did lower down in the pyramid putting in. It assumed there would always be plenty of money available, that more would be going in than would be coming out."

    "The reason your father and I would like to see changes made to Social Security," she continues, "is that we don't want to be hungry and poor when we retire. If we could have some of the money we put into Social Security and put some of it into our own savings, we could make sure there would be enough money for us once we quit working. But we can't do that, because the government takes that money automatically. What it amounts to is that we're paying for a service we may never receive, or that won't be much good if we do. Now your friend--"

    "She's NOT my friend," I interrupt. I have never really liked Debbie.

    "Well, this girl at school is right to be concerned about Social Security benefits. No one wants seniors to go hungry, to be poor after all those years of working. But she's wrong about the best way to prevent that from happening. She may not understand Social Security any better than you did," my mother concludes, "so if she asks you about this again, maybe you should try to explain it to her."


    The next day at school Debbie corners me right after PE. "Well?" she sneers. "What did your parents say about Reagan?" She says "Reagan" like it's a cuss.

    "They don't want to starve old people," I tell her. "But they don't think Social Security does what it's supposed to do. See, it's like a pyramid, and what's happening is--"

    The forecast for Debbie today must have read, "Partly salivary with an 80% chance of spittle."

    "OHHHHHH!" she says sprays, actually stamping her foot, "That is such right-wing PROPAGANDA!"

    "Listen! You didn't let me finish--"

    "I don't need to LET YOU FINISH!" she rages. "I've already heard this pathetic excuse and it's BULLSHIT!"

    "But I'm not surprised," she sneers, before I can get a word in. "Coming from a bunch of MORMONS, I'm not surprised AT ALL."

    And before I can puzzle out what my family's religion has to do with any of this, she turns around and walks away.

    Eventually I quit telling classmates I would vote for Anderson. I start saying "Reagan" instead.

    Sometimes I don't like my mother at all, but I think she is probably smarter than Debbie.

    And she definitely spits at me less.

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:44 PM | Comments (4)

    November 05, 2004

    The Screws at the Back of the Tongue (Or, There Will Be Some Changes Around Here)

    The screws, they have been loosened--not by alcohol, nor by illicit substances, nor by four horsemen, nor by necessity. Certainly not that last--there is no shortage of people who say it better than I do, and thus no need for my tongue to be loosened. Some people need the tongue loosened, but I cannot charitably count myself among them. Is there a market for tongue tightening?--I need THAT.

    No, the screws have been loosened because it's about time, is all. We have a no-more-terms president, and if I can't say what I want to now, then I never can. Es todo, comprende?

    (And yes, I am using the polite form of the verb. I basically use the polite form of the verb unless you know my underwear size. This is not what I was taught in Spanish, but I find that as a rule of thumb, it works--especially when you've been years out of Spanish and can't remember anything.)

    Also, if someone can tell me why comprender es preferido as the infinitive form of the verb "understand" en Norteamérica, when entender means the same thing, and to my ear sounds much better, that is like double bonus, where bonus, sadly, equals zero. And you know what zero times any other number always equals, right?

    Posted by Ilyka at 12:03 PM | Comments (3)

    October 29, 2004

    Totally 80s Unconscious

    I just woke up from a dream in which I was watching a Tom Petty music video. The song was basically telling Judy Tenuta to quit telling People magazine that they used to go out when they never did and in fact, actually, he hates her, and in the dream I was just watching this thinking, "Oh word, Tom."

    Judy Tenuta. I thought I had forgotten about that creature.

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:11 PM | Comments (3)

    October 02, 2004

    Okay, This is Maybe Becoming a Problem

    So has anyone ever had to have a friend lock something addictive up for them--bottles, smokes, bongs, Sims 2 CDs--to help them sober up? Because I think I've reached that point.

    This game doesn't even run on my setup so much as it sadly chug-chug-chugs along, the little people simulation that could, and I still can't keep from loading it up first thing in the morning. Which then becomes afternoon. Which then becomes whoops, time to work! Which then becomes, etc. I'm convinced I don't have a better graphics card because God really does love me after all, and He knows that with a better graphics card I might actually starve to death from my compulsion to sit here 24/7 telling little imaginary creatures to make sure they eat.

    Anyway. Apparently there were presidential debates recently? Uh-huh, really, you don't say. Right now all I could offer about that would be only of the most pathetic nature. I have a lot of catching up to do.

    Heartfelt if insufficient thank-yous to Jim, Dr. Alice, and Helen, who all emailed to nag and to verify that I had not actually passed out of the land of the living. I am here. I am not dead yet. Now take these discs away from me, I'm not kidding.

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:40 AM | Comments (12)

    September 11, 2004

    Call Me Wingnut

    Don't even ask me how this evening went. Let's just say that when I said it was a parts story, and hinted that it shouldn't be a parts story . . . well, I would chalk that up to premonition if I couldn't already chalk it up to a rudimentary knowledge of human nature.

    It is not easy, nor is it compelling, to relay a parts story.

    Because anytime you spend a Friday night beginning sentences with "Look, it's not just the kerning that's at issue here--" and you're met with the response, "Would you shut UP about the fucking KERNING already?!?" well, you know you're in trouble. Also, you're probably not getting laid that night. Pardon me for not having the exact odds on that, but you're safe figuring them somewhere around pretty damn low.

    Anyway, an aside: O dearest man of mine, do tell me why Roger Simon is calling for Dan Rather to be sent to Darfur. (What would that be? Gunga Dan: The Wrath of Sudan?)

    No, you tell me. Tell me how a levelheaded guy like Simon started calling for action well beyond what your ostensibly wingnutted girlfriend would. See, I've done enough explaining for the night, thank you. And I've backed my explanations up with slightly more than, "Well, this one guy in the comments at Atrios says . . . ."

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:05 AM | Comments (0)


    I would just like to say thank you, thank you very much, to the guy who gave me that sex-of-author-in-question link. Because, see, then I threw a hissy fit. And then I wrote this.

    And now I'm getting search engine hits for Adam Brody.

    I want you all to know that at the time I wrote that post, I didn't even know who Adam Brody was.

    ("Hmm," says the detective, scribbling furiously in his coffee-stained notebook, "That is suspicious. May be a man after all? Possibly gay. Investigate this.")

    I don't read girl rags or even women's rags. I don't know who the Sexiest Man Alive is supposed to be at the moment, and honestly, Brad-Pitt-is-Hot references are so tired anymore.

    So I had to look for inspiration at the Teen People web site, which I was able to do only because vaguely in the back of my mind was this notion that "The O.C." was a halfway-popular show among young people, particularly young girls. And I probably picked up that idea just overhearing cell phone conversations in the damn mall or something.

    Oh, you bastards. It'll be a long time before I'm over this.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:58 AM | Comments (1)

    September 08, 2004

    I Have No Idea

    . . . what this post was going to be about, because I just realized it's a really fantastic day outside. I mean gorgeous. Other locals can back me up on this. It's the kind of day where I don't even mind that I have all of $15 in the checking account. It's that good.

    So why in hell I had to begin it by reading some wanker complain that a band of 14 year-old girls are "skanky" and "not in the good way," I don't know. I guess because I wanted to take that fleeting wow, what a beautiful day feeling and slam it into a wall of despair and disgust and wishes that God would just end this little science fair project right now and sure thing, of course I'll volunteer to go over the cliff first. No problem.

    I'm all for putting whatever you want on the internet and I don't have kids, so parental controls aren't really my issue, and it's a wide wide world out there and whatever floats your boat blah blah blah, and I'm an adult and can generally get by without warning labels for content and why yes, in fact I do know how to just point-and-click myself elsewhere, thank you, and I am also skilled in the use of the shutdown function, mmm-hmm indeed yep . . . but there are times I wish parts of the internet came with a "WARNING: What you are about to read may make you want to die" sticker.

    My excuse is the coffee wasn't ready yet. It's ready now, though, so adios.

    Oh, here though. Go read something that doesn't involve 14 year-old girls and one sad clown's attempt to locate his prick long enough to beat it off to them before ultimately categorizing them as sub-par wank material. Go read . . . go read . . . go read Simon World. Simon World currently has the web design I'm most jealous of--yes even though I said I hate blue, shut up--and all the wit I was born without plus tons leftover.

    Yes, go read that. Unless you're caught up on Simon World, in which case please go beg Hubris to post more. Hubris always cheers me right up.

    Oh . . . or Little Miss Attila for you political junkies. Little Miss Attila recently compared me to a serial killer, but then she also compared me to Athena, so I have to believe she really meant the serial killer part in a good way. And besides, now if I ever become a cartoon, maybe I can bunk with Nice Pete.

    DIE, PERVS, DIE UPDATE: While I'm bemoaning the exploitation of 14 year-old girls, Wizbang! is linking to video of an eighth-grade girl masturbating. (Read the comments and see background here.) Tell me again, O Conservatives, how it's actually gay marriage that's going to lead to more pedophilia. Tell me again how none of the folks in your camp ever has anything to do with the mainstreaming of this stuff. Tell me one more time. But then, what do you expect of a blog that would be halfway up the ass of Wonkette by now if she didn't have so much other crap jammed in there already?

    Posted by Ilyka at 08:06 PM | Comments (5)

    September 07, 2004

    Other Posts That Might, Just Might, Indicate the Author's Possession of a Vagina

    But not necessarily because, as Rammer pointed out in the comments, I regularly confuse the Gender Genie. I ran the excerpted (blockquoted) passage from this post through it, and it identified the author of the passage as being male.

    I did note at the time that this same algorithm that's expected to give results with "80% accuracy" was only batting about 63%, proving that guys who write algorithms are seldom as clever with them as they think they are, and possibly also suggesting that guys who write algorithms don't know dick about actual flesh-and-blood women; but then the popularity of anime among them proves that, doesn't it?

    It has been observed that arguing with conspiracy-minded dolts--particularly, arguing with conspiracy-minded dolts on the internet--is seldom helpful.

    But what the hell? It makes me feel better, and I'm what's important around here. Plus this way I get to recycle old stuff and don't have to produce anything new and--wait, I didn't mean to say that last part out loud.


    Other Posts That Might, Just Might, Indicate the Author's Possession of a Vagina

    In Which I Explain the Difficulties I Encounter, as a Woman, with Internet Erotica

    In Which I Advocate Masturbation Via Bathtub Faucet for my Hypothetical Teenage Daughter, Not That I Would Know Anything About That Personally or Anything

    In Which I Am Hit on by a Gentleman from South Africa Who Was Probably Way Too Homophobic to be Gay, Sorry; Also It Very Obviously Occurs in a Straight Bar, as No One in the Story is Depicted Dancing, Cruising, or Having Any Discernible Fun Whatsoever

    In Which the V-Word That Actually Isn't "Vagina" Figures Prominently

    SPECIAL NEXT-ISSUE PREVIEW!!! Coming next week: Ilyka Damen goes all fucking girly, featuring reviews of the most fab, must-have lipcolors for fall; the one thing your man secretly wishes you'd do in bed (that you probably aren't doing); candid conversation with The O.C. hunkster Adam Brody; Krav Maga or Pilates?--an in-depth comparison on how to get fit (and be the envy of all your friends during the holiday season!); shopping on a budget--where to go for off-the-rack impressions of your fave high-fashion designers; and so much more, all designed to make you feel dull, drab, insecure, and in need of an enormous fucking makeover!

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:27 PM | Comments (9)

    September 06, 2004

    One More Time: The Name and the Sex

    The origin of the Stupidest Pseudonym Ever Born:

    One thing I will clarify right now is the stupid, stupid name. It's a pseudonym. It's a bad, bad joke, too. It dates back to 1992 or 93, I forget exactly which, when I logged onto a little BBS called Tasty Petunia Vomit, hosted by a sysop who went by Nifty Corpse . . . .

    I immediately began thinking of Nifty as my new best friend, and he immediately began thinking of me as a demented lonely lady who called his BBS from work a lot. The relationship has changed only in the sense that I'm a little less lonely these days and don't keep in touch with him as often as I'd like--but again, for all I know, he considers that a huge relief.

    Anyway, I couldn't log into a BBS called Tasty Petunia Vomit, hosted by Nifty Corpse, without a handle of my own, so I chose "Ilyka Damen." Pronounced eye-LIKE-a da-MEN. I'll give you a minute to quit rolling your eyes and making that weird choking sound.

    I quickly realized that no one got the joke. The most common assumption I got was that I was a Russian male. People, "Ilya" may be a Russian name, but "Ilyka" is nobody's name. Except mine when I'm online. Even the Bad Baby Namers couldn't come up with something that godawful. Something that bad takes work, I tell you.

    Despite no one being able to pronounce it, laugh at it, or respect it in anyway whatsoever, I got used to using it as a handle, and find I can love no other. I'm a one-handle kinda gal.

    One thing I've always been a mite touchy about--and I have no business being touchy about it; not after coming up with such an ambiguous handle--is the implication that I might not be, in fact, a chick.

    Like I said, I have no business being touchy about it. But there you go. I think there's something about being told you don't sound like a chick, you don't act like a chick, you're not feminine like a chick, that always rankles a woman. I mean, in a way, it's a compliment. In another way, it . . . well, it hurts, if you want to know the truth. And I don't cop to having hurt feelings--particularly not hurt feelings over something written on the damn internet--every day.

    Anyway, detectives in the house may feel free to request verification of my sex by emailing this fellow, this fellow, or this fellow; two of the three have met me personally, and the other has my full name from a receipt of payment forwarded to him (and he's done an excellent job of keeping that information confidential, for which I am grateful).

    Or you can just sit around going, "Now, what are the odds that a girl would take three weeks off her blog to play computer games? Hmm," to which I can only say, "Better than you think, sir. Better than you think."

    Incidentally, is that Gender Genie thing still out there? You know, that thing where it tries to guess your sex based on samples of your writing? Anyone know what happens if you run me through it? I've never bothered; I think those things are stupid and pointless, but maybe I'll try it 'cause now I'm curious.

    I did once fool some questionnaire that tried to guess your sex based on your responses to the questions. One of the specific questions I recall in which I didn't register as "typically" female was, do you prefer a room painted white or a room painted blue? I happen to hate blue, but apparently plain-white rooms are a turnoff to many women, so my answer wasn't typical of my sex on that one.

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:10 PM | Comments (18)

    August 25, 2004

    Just One More Turn . . .

    Uh, so my boyfriend came home with this last Friday, and . . . um . . . .

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:56 AM | Comments (7)

    August 19, 2004


    I haven't died, I've just been dealing with academia, which always makes me wish I had died. Now if you're one of those people who just loooooooves college, I must respectfully request that you save it for another blog. No, really: Stop talking.

    But now I'm not getting in until spring so my time is my own for the fall, mostly, and now that the stressful part's over--or at least delayed--I feel pretty damn good.

    And it's raining. Let me explain what that means to me: It means I woke up this morning refreshingly not dripping in sweat. It means I went out for my morning coffee and smoke and it wasn't hot out. It means mean Mr. Sun has taken a vacation day and thank God for that because--with apologies to people who yearn for him and don't see him often enough--here in Dallas I see him way . . . too . . . often. I just need my space, Sun Guy, all right? And by the way, I think maybe we should see other people. Those clouds overhead, for example. I think the one in the northwest has his eye on me.

    Oh my. I just realized I could bake to my heart's content today in relative comfort . . . so, ah, goodbye.

    What, you need stuff to read? Fine: Register for the Atlanta-Journal Constitution and read about Jim Peacock's brush with fame (and if you're feeling sweethearted, email me the text of the article while you're at it).

    Or read a delicious tale of coworker smackdown. I love when people bitch about their jobs. I get this from childhood, since "traffic" and "you would not believe what that #&!@ at work tried to pull today" were two favorite topics of conversation around the dinner table. Now as a child, this bored me; but once I had my own ultra-glamorous first job?--suddenly these stories became absolutely fascinating.

    Rob longs for the start of football season, hates what's on television, and mourns the Olympics of yesteryear. Personally, I never had much idealism about the games; how could I, what with the eastern bloc always marking down the U.S. athletes and the U.S. always marking down the eastern bloc participants? It was all grudgematch, all the time, so far as I was concerned.

    But I have watched some of the Olympics this year, and I normally always will make sure I catch some of the summer games . . . for the gymnastics. Shut up, I love that stuff.

    I won't make any friends saying this, but I normally root against the U.S. women's and for the U.S. men's team. I just seldom see a U.S. women's team (women? They're girls) with any artistic interpretation to rival the competitors from other countries, and in women's gymnastics I think you need a little flair like that. You can't just bank on a Kerry Scruggs clone breaking her ankle every time. The men can get by on strength alone, but not the women.

    Finally, this blog has again gone apolitical and is likely to stay that way for the near future, for reasons which one of these days I may get around to articulating clearly, but don't bet on it. In the meantime, this sort of hints at my problem . . . sort of. (Hey, and it gets bonus points for mocking that assclown Bennett. Yeah, Jim, that Bennett.) Sour as it is to say, I lately have this reaction when reading political blogs*:

    My former editor Henry Copeland predicts the political blogs won't die after the election -- and he offers solid, grim evidence -- but I'd rather they die than continue on as lame copies of the shrill, humorless and worthless American Monopoly Daily Op-Ed Column Left / Column Right pages sitting in driveways throughout the country right now.
    I have this reaction all too often anymore, which is partly why today's agenda is going to be heavy on the domesticity, light on the blogging. And of course you can always blame the rain. The glorious, wonderful, sunblocking RAIN.

    UPDATE: Some other links: (1) No more Blogspot for the Food Whore, hooray! (2) the scariest aspect of this story is that after feeling the slip and the lurch and after being taken to the wrong floor, he got back on the same elevator; (3) Allison requests your participation in some butt exercises. (I just realized that Allison and I are practically neighbors. Scary, but in a cool way.)

    PRAISE THE LORD UPDATE: The boyfriend made it into the Master's program at UT-Dallas. Now, when he argues with me, I might have to actually listen to his ass. (Congratulations, honey.)

    *Except when I'm reading your political blog. Then I absolutely love-love-love it! Your political blog is freakin' awesome!

    Posted by Ilyka at 08:14 PM | Comments (2)

    August 04, 2004

    The Big Fat Nothing

    I could bore you with a not-very-interesting story explaining why I've been neglecting this blog, or I could send you off a couple other places. I don't know about you, but I vote the latter:

  • This is exactly how I am about bugs. A recurring argument between my boyfriend and me goes something like, "Why do I have to be the one to kill it? It's in your apartment," which is inevitably met with "Because you're the man and killing bugs is the man's job." Seriously, men?--It really is. You can protest that all you want; you can yack about how this proves that when women say "feminism" they really mean "all the fun parts with none of the increased responsibility," but just as you're working yourself up into high dudgeon you might just notice, in the periphery of your vision, your woman quietly packing her bags and leaving in search of a man who will just kill the damned bug already and spare her the lecture.

  • This is the version of the SAT I should have taken, provided my first choice--substituting the Paul Anka Band Entrance Examination--was deemed unacceptable.

  • There is an update to the story about the shysters who ripped off $30,000 from a charity; you know, those shysters, the ones who ripped off $30,000 from a charity that was sending toys to Iraqi children? The ones who, if there is a Hell, have surely by now been voted Most Likely to Burn Within It Forever by its lesser and greater demon residents? Well, there's an update, and it involves the magic L-word: Lawyers. Thank goodness.

    Posted by Ilyka at 07:13 PM | Comments (7)
  • July 30, 2004

    Oh, Right, That

    In all the insulin-injecting excitement that's been going on around here this week, I forgot my own weblogging anniversary. It was, uh, two days ago?--July 28, yes, that's right. This is typical of me. I'd forget my own birthday if it weren't for all the lovely presents.

    Anyway, you don't get any presents for maintaining a weblog for a year, particularly not when you do such a bad job at it as I do. I think what you are supposed to do if you have a weblog is write some awful "What I've Learned About Blogging" post, and folks, I hope you don't mind too much, but we're totally going to skip that.

    Because if you want to learn about weblogging, really the only thing to do is get yourself a weblog. You type in http://www.blogger.com and you follow the instructions--instructions which are so clearly written and easy to follow that I have signed up for at least three blogs that way, then promptly forgotten what I named the blog and what password I used to access it--and you pay no money and, voila! You have a weblog. It's that simple.

    Or you could always do what I did, and register for one accidentally on Journalspace, home of my old posts (because I am both too lazy and too stupid to figure out how to get them out of there), but I really don't recommend that if you can help it.

    Happy blogiversary to me, hooray.

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:47 PM | Comments (13)

    July 27, 2004

    Now There's a Word You Never Want to Hear

    "Fistula." So I guess it wasn't actually rectal bleeding after all; more like "dime-sized mystery aperture on backside" bleeding. I can't decide whether it was a good thing or a bad thing that the vet invited me to look for myself and that, to prove my strong-stomachedness, I did so; but I can tell you it's probably a good thing the f-word up there is also about to be banned from my vocabulary.

    (What search term hits will I get from this one, I wonder?)

    UPDATE: Look, I don't know why I feel compelled to tell you people about this, but I do and it's my blog so . . . not fistula after all. Abscessed anal gland. Antibiotics should fix. Also cat is diabetic. Also lump on throat is benign cyst and not, as I initially feared, malignancy.

    I really have a nerve, because I once made vicious fun of a woman who was blogging about her cat's health problems, but then again I wouldn't turn into a total fucking bitch if someone registered IlykaDamenPop.com and harass men who are to funny what the germ theory of disease is to increased longevity, so there's that on my side.

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:36 PM | Comments (2)

    July 26, 2004

    Four Words

    It is indicative of how my day went yesterday that at one point, while pulling out of the Kroger parking lot, my boyfriend halted the car, shook his index finger at me, and decreed, "There are four words you are not going to say anymore today: Taco. Bell. Rectal. Bleeding."

    Ha, ha! Um. Guess you had to be there.

    "Taco Bell" was verboten because we'd both just eaten at one. We'll know we have a government in this country that cares deeply about the health and welfare of each citizen when it offers grants to researchers willing to study what makes people, otherwise sane, healthy people, people who know better, decide that eating at Taco Bell is ever a good idea.

    Not that it was exactly my fault, although I suppose I did start the conversation that led to our eventual distress:

    "After we return the movies, why don't we stop for lunch somewhere?"

    [Groan.] "Noooo . . . ."

    "What? Why not?"

    "Because I just want to get these errands over with."

    "Look, it's Sunday. Day of rest. We'll still have plenty of time to get to the store afterwards. Why can't we stop and have a little lunch?"

    "Because we're just going to wind up paying $10 each at some shitty restaurant that you picked."

    "I pick shitty restaurants? Which ones? Which ones are shitty?"

    "Okay, look, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that."

    And indeed he should not have. Don't think I didn't take advantage of his not banning the words "shitty restaurant" from my vocabulary later, after I had tried to compromise by letting him pick the restaurant and he had elected to make a run for the border.

    [Insert standard "run for the bathroom" joke here.]

    As for the rectal bleeding, that's not either of us suffering from it, praise the Lord. That would be my eldest and most beloved cat. Abscessed anal sac or colorectal cancer? Who knows? That will be what I spend this next week trying to find out.

    Ah, veterinary bills. Blogging will be light.

    UPDATE: Cat bottoms--catch the fever! Now there's a post that's both hilarious and, from my standpoint, freakishly coincidental. I'm telling you, cat bottoms are the new black. (Via Meryl Yourish, to whom I owe email. Ack.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:21 PM | Comments (2)

    July 14, 2004


    Yes, it's a lame filler post. You know, I used to throw out link collections when I had nothing to say or (more often) no time in which to say anything, until one day I paid attention to how long it took to fill in all the links for such a post, proofread it, and post it--and two freakin' hours had elapsed. I'm not sure if that's because I'm a slow, disorganized, awkward linker, or if they really do just take that long. I lean towards the former. I never bookmark things and wind up doing a clumsy traceroute on items I want to link: "Let's see, I think I was reading ASV at the time and was it this post?--No, this one--No, in the comments to that one--yes that's right, it was this fellow's blog and he links to . . . ."

    So you see, I would make a lousy Instapundit . . . but that's okay. You don't really keep me around to read Wonkette to you, do you?

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:50 PM | Comments (4)

    July 06, 2004

    Hack Hack Hack

    Bronchitis. Bronchitis in July. How messed up is that? Blogging will be light while I conduct a search for suitable lung donors. In the meantime, you should know that the Godzilla/Morgan Freeman battle for the presidency continues, and of course, all the blogs to the left are worth some time.

    Posted by Ilyka at 08:15 AM | Comments (6)

    July 03, 2004

    Palmetto Ghetto

    Three things that make Ilyka want to change residences real bad:

    (1) The sight of a %#$& flying cockroach on her beloved balcony the other night,

    (2) The "crime alert" notice posted on her door that reported the mugging of a visitor sometime "the week of June 28," and

    (3) The second "crime alert" notice posted on her door that reported the daylight break-ins and burglaries of two separate apartments, also sometime "the week of June 28."

    Meanwhile do not even ask what I pay these cretins per month. Oh, it's not West Coast/East Coast outrageous. But it's awfully steep for a place that won't spray for pests regularly and won't hire security personnel. Not that the security personnel issue matters much--when a place starts experiencing daytime break-ins, it's past the point of having a few rent-a-cops do any good.

    Welcome to the Palmetto Ghetto. Damn me.

    UPDATE 07/03/04: Meryl, in the comments below, reminded me of a fourth reason: The increasing prevalence of gunfire. I've had to call the police for nearby gunshots twice in the last month, the most recent occurrence being last Saturday night. This, on a street that houses a police station less than a quarter mile away. Doubleplusungood.

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:10 AM | Comments (4)

    June 27, 2004

    Snap, Crackle, Pop

    Ever had a cube of ice suddenly crack on you?

    Ever had a cube of ice suddenly crack on you while you're stirring it?

    Ever had a cube of ice suddenly crack on you while you're stirring it in a glass of tomato juice*?

    My kitchen counter looks like a chunk of C4 just realized it coulda had a V8--so it did. And never mind my shirt.

    This is what I get for not having any Spray-n-Wash in the house.

    *Tomato juice, Ketel One Bloody Mary, whatever.

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:07 AM | Comments (1)

    June 25, 2004


    It's Friday night. Ilyka has to work until midnight, but she's allowed periodic "breaks" and stuff, plus everyone knows nothing really fun happens until past midnight anyway. What should she do?

    (1) The dishes and the laundry.

    (2) Try to establish more dialogue internationale down at the bar.

    (3) (I was going to put something about the Sims here, but you know something? I really can't take anymore Sims at the moment.)

    (4) Write those thank-you notes she's always saying she's "too busy" to write, even though she's never too busy to write 4000-word blog entries several times a week when she feels like it, that bitch.

    (5) Buy a four-pack of Wexford's and hang out on the internet getting steadily more depressed by humanity until she just wants to die.

    Vote. Or make suggestions.

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:52 PM | Comments (1)

    Enjoy Me While it Lasts

    . . . because September is just around the corner.

    Man, if the terrorists do anything to screw up that release date, I am gonna be so pissed.

    (There, does that make this a political post? No? Oh, well.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:19 AM | Comments (2)

    June 23, 2004

    Okay, That's . . . Interesting

    I don't expect you to believe me, but somewhere out there on the internet, I totally share a blogroll with Noam Chomsky.

    (No, I'm not telling you where it is. Do your own research.)


    I'd say something about strange bedfellows, but look at that mug and tell me you'd want to reference it with anything about beds if you were me. Hell, even if you weren't.

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:58 PM | Comments (1)

    June 22, 2004


    The last of the interminable "About Me" series which began here. Most recent edition here.

    57.···I have four cats. None of them were purchased. They just all came and found me. I'm really trying to keep it to four, because four is about three cats too many, and I don't want to turn into one of those people who up and dies and suddenly it's in the paper that there were like 104 cats found gnawing the body to bones. Besides, cats are territorial and they don't do the small group thing well, and they do the large group thing even worse.

    58.···If we were under my kind of fascism, you really wouldn't like it, because cruelty to animals would be punishable by death. That includes leaving your cat out overnight when it's 40 degrees out. I have a neighbor downstairs who does that and I've been trying to lure his cat away to come live with me, where we can plot the death of that sonofabitch in warmth and comfort.

    59.···Even though I'm against cruelty to animals, I still eat meat. My thing is, it's okay to kill things that are tasty, but you don't have to be cruel about it. When I had more money, I used to give some to these guys, because that's essentially their position too.

    60.···I used to give money to PETA, but those people are just insane.

    61.···One reason why I get upset when some conservatives start going overboard blasting liberals is because in the back of my mind I'm thinking, "Hey, now, I used to be like that." And I did. I remember listening to some socialist tool on NPR explain how everything was really just grand in Nicaragua and anyone who said otherwise was just an American propagandist, and I remember believing every word. Fervently.

    62.···I will never write a celebrity a fan letter, because I used to always sort of want to write one to Joe Strummer, but I didn't because I think there's something cringeing and pathetic about fan letters. And now he's dead. I figure if I couldn't be bothered to write him one, no one else should ever get one from me either.

    63.···I've always wanted to be old. Whatever age I've been, I've always wanted to be older than that. Right now I'd give anything to be 60, because I figure at 60 you really don't have to take any shit from anyone, and plus you can retire in about 10 more years. Not five--forget five. Not unless you want to live on cat food, anyway.

    64.···I'm never updating this, and I'm never doing anything remotely like it again, and I'm betting you're grateful that's the case, too.

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:03 PM | Comments (4)

    No Actually As a Matter of Fact I Am NOT Done

    He really annoyed me, that guy in the post below. At one point I had to break it down for him:

    "See, for about the last 10 years or so, more in some cases, Americans have had access to this little thing called the internet. We're not as cloistered, nor as ignorant, as you think."

    I know Americans kind of do this with other countries, or rather I'm at least guilty of it--where like the U.K. is still "England" and furthermore, it's Victorian England, even though the last Victorians have all been dead for about 100 years now. You get this stereotype of a nation and if you don't check yourself you tend to operate on those assumptions born out of your stereotype. So while intellectually I know Victorian England is no more, part of my unconscious is still drifting along doing this free-association game: U.K., let's see . . . Proper. Polite. Tea Drinkers. Secret Compartments. Drawing Rooms. Carriages. Street Urchins. Top Hats.

    But memo to visitors and immigrants to these United States:

    Welcome. We're happy to have you.

    Now in between gorging on McDonald's, ravaging Wal-mart, shooting up our schools, auctioning our family members on Ebay (hey, Unca Bob's up to $3.50 already!), and zoning out on American Idol, we sometimes find a moment or two in which to pay attention to your crazy foreign asses.

    So like when you tell me South Africa looks like Southern California in places and I reply yes, that's what I've heard (and read, like in this book for example), maybe you could not argue with me and insist that I really think it's more like the Australian Outback and that I'd probably be shocked to realize South Africans have television.

    Copy and paste that paragraph and put it in your Fodor's.


    Posted by Ilyka at 10:41 PM | Comments (3)

    Get Your Talk On

    (Uh, you people like really long entries, right? No? Gee. That's too bad.)

    So my boyfriend's up visiting his parents this week and I'm on my own and didn't feel like cooking last night, so I went out to a bar and grill I frequent, where I know the bartenders and I know they'll make sure my food comes out the way I want it and, bonus, will "forget" half my drink order, because I am a mad flash tipper.

    (Let that be a lesson to you 15-percenters out there: TIP. Tiiiiiiiip. It ends up saving you money in the long run.)

    One of the things I had forgotten, one of the annoyances I lost in gaining a boyfriend, is what a magnet I am for troubled people, particularly troubled drunks.

    Troubled talkative drunks.

    They love me. They want me to lend them my ears while they tell Mama Ilyka all about it.

    Last night it was a gentleman from South Africa who wanted to tell me about how he "fought the Negro in the bush" before "doing the chicken run" and emigrating here. Apparently he's been a U.S. citizen now for the last five years.

    I have never met anyone with less of a clue about how Americans are, never met anyone more determined to tell all and sundry how Americans are, never met such an argumentative son of a bitch in all my life.

    All I can say is I hope he's not typical.

    I squeeze into one of the few remaining seats, a corner one, and am greeted by the bartenders, the female Glimmer Twins with similar-sounding names who I'll just call Vicki and Nicki with the understanding that these are not their real names, etc. I love these girls to death. It's nice to see them. Is my man arriving later? asks Nicki. No, he's out of town this week.

    "Oooh, Vicki! Hey! You hear that?"


    "She's on her own this week! Man's gone!"


    "So what are you going to do, huh?" Nicki asks me.

    "Whatever I want," I say, grinning. It's all nonsense anyway and she knows it as well as I do. I am a well-behaved woman and even if I weren't what prospects do I have these days anyway?

    As soon as I think that I hear the gentleman on the other side of the corner say, "'Scuse me, love." Vicki bounces over to attend to him, chirping, "What's up?"

    "This tab . . . I don't think it's quoit roight, see."

    Hmm. Some Anglospheric flavor, but what? It's not U.K.; I am certain of that, but I don't think it's Australian either, though of this I am less certain. I have to generalize and say that to me, an Australian accent sounds more or less as if you "Texasized" a British accent. This sounds more like a "Georgia-fied" British accent. Where the hell's he from, anyway?

    But I'm not going to actually ask because every time I ask someone where he's from, when it's obvious this isn't the person's country of origin--and especially when I ask it of people who say "shedule" for "schedule"--I get exactly the reaction I'd get if asked permission to pick the guy's nose for him. I have learned my lesson. I can keep my mouth shut. I can keep my curiosity in check for at least, uh, 10 minutes? I think I can hold out for that long. Maybe if he talks more I'll guess it.

    It turns out the fellow's tab is correct and it's for a much smaller amount than ever he dreamed so in that case if Vicki would be so kind, may he have another pint please?

    Vicki snatches up his glass, calls over her shoulder, "What're you drinking, hon?"

    "Budweiser," he replies, "but it doesn't matter. You haven't got anything good on tap anyway."

    Oh here we go with the beer thing, I am thinking. Stupid Brits-or-cousins-of with their precious beer issues.

    Meanwhile I am staring across the bar at a tap labeled "Bass Ale," adjacent to another labeled "Guinness." What's this guy's definition of a good beer, anyway? He should--they all should, these foreigners who visit American chain bars and drink them clean out of Budweiser while bitching about it the entire time--he should do what any self-respecting beer snob does, and hie himself to a quality liquor store or even Central Market and pick up a case of whatever it is those fools drink over there. Pimms? I have no idea . . . and he can leave the bottles to sit out on the counter and warm up to "cellar temperature" and feel right at home. But of course, he can't do that as cheaply as he can sit up here at the tail end of happy hour and bitch about drinking Budweiser.

    We Americans, we seduce you, we exploit your sense of thrift, we lure you into drinking terrible beer with our cheap, cheap prices. You will be assimilated, you limey tightwads.

    Now I am playing an electronic trivia game so I'm no longer looking at Mr. Goodbeer, praise Jesus; but slowly I become aware that he is looking at me.

    Am I getting The Eye? I haven't had The Eye in so long, I've forgotten what it looks like. I go most places with the boyfriend; no one's really rude enough to try to give me The Eye under those circumstances. The Eye, really? Geez, this guy must be in his cups for sure then. I haven't any makeup on beyond powder and lipstick, my hair's knotted up in a clumsy chignon, and while I certainly used to have some claim to smoking fineness, no lie, I am sad to report that these days I am distinctly chubby. This fellow's too old for me, somewhere in his 50s, but he's tanned and fit and has a fine head of silver hair, lots of it, and I'm sure he could pick up an aerobicized 40-something woman with no trouble. So he can't really be giving me The Eye.

    I sneak a glance out of the corner of my own eye.

    It is definitely The Eye. Gahhhh! I can only imagine the thought process: "Here now, that fat bird in the corner looks a bit of all right."

    Great. A failed beer snob with his beer goggles on. Vicki and Nicki are down the other end of the bar doing their faux lesbian act, towel-slapping each other's behinds and tickling each other. They're not stupid; the clientele in here is mostly male and their antics bring in the tips, the tips which none of the customers who gawk at this display realize go, in Nicki's case, right home to her boyfriend, and in Vicki's case, right toward clothes and hair products and makeup so she can procure a boyfriend herself.

    But this means I have no out at the moment. I don't know the people on the other side of me well, except that one of them sometimes beats me at trivia while other times I hand him his ass at it, which is what I'm trying to do right now, actually, so no more worrying about The Eye 'cause it's eyes on the screen time. Next question!

    Cripes. I have no idea who wrote "Ain't Misbehavin'." I will be lucky to get 200 points on this one.

    One of the other televisions is showing some sports highlights show. I glance up at it during a break in the trivia game. Baseball. Blecch. I'm without interest in sports until football season now that basketball's over. Not a baseball fan. Not a soccer fan either, which is what they show next.

    "Boring, isn't it?"

    Shit. Here we go. The chat-up. "I don't really watch baseball," I say tersely. "Nor soccer."

    "I don't care for soccer myself."

    "Really?" I ask before I can stop myself. I am surprised and I have just shown my surprise in the tone of my voice, meaning I've betrayed an interest in Where He's From, which is not good, because now he's going to tease me with it, because in my experience, that is what the vaguely-English-accented love above all else to do. Bait the American!

    "I like American football. The NFL."

    Not Australian. I'm sure of that now. Too bad. I wouldn't mind hearing about Australian football.

    "I prefer that myself. I like that and basketball, but neither is going on right now."

    "Basketball's very different."

    "Yes," I respond, but I'm thinking, what's your point? I know those are two different sports but those are the two I like and you're the asshole who started this conversation so could you at least hold up your end of it? How long have I been talking to him now . . . not even a minute? Fine. I'm going to hold out for another nine at least and then I'm asking this bastard where the hell he's from.

    I hope it's not New Zealand. I don't know anything about that country.

    Which will make it harder for me to make fun of.

    Seven minutes. Close enough.

    "So if it's not too personal a question, would you mind telling me where you're from originally?"

    BAM! Did he stiffen up right on cue or what? It's amazing. It's Pavlovian. This has to be some genetic reflex triggered right from the brain stem for these people.

    "Actually, that's a very personal question."

    I've had it with this geezer, though sadly this will not be the first time I think that tonight. I roll my eyes. "You people," I snort. "Annnny-time you ask people with British-sounding accents where they're from, y'all freak out like I asked you for a DNA sample or something." I laugh, shake my head, and go back to trivia.

    I've made him mad now. Good. He's keeping it in check but I can still hear the anger beneath the even tones of his voice as he says, "Well, it is a personal question."

    Snort again. "No it isn't."

    "Then tell me where you're from." My goodness, they always do this too! As though it's like payback or something . . . see how it feels to be asked where you're from?

    This is how it feels: Must be Monday. Why don't they get it? Americans ask each other where they're from all the time. I have adapted, I have assimilated, and I sound as Texan as I want to anymore, but I could put on my best New York accent and go out somewhere and if fewer than six people inquired about where I was from, or at least offered, "You're from back East, 'sat right?" I'd about fall over dead.

    I smile pleasantly and answer, "Originally, New Jersey; but I grew up in California, then Arizona, and for the last 10 years I've been in Texas."

    He is crestfallen. She answered and it doesn't seem to have bothered her a bit, damn her.

    Also, now the only fair thing to do is tell me where he's from.

    "Well," he begins, looking down at the bar top, "I'm from South Africa. And you Americans, you don't like South Africans."

    Say what?!

    "No, no," I protest. "That's not--"

    "Oh, it's quite all right. Really. Americans don't like South Africans. I understand."

    "No you don't," I insist. "It's ridiculous to make a statement like that. We don't--"

    "No, you do. You don't like South Africans." He twists his mouth up as though something is stuck in his throat, something distasteful.

    "You don't like us," he continues, his mouth working furiously, "because of apartheid."

    An hour later I have made no progress convincing this fellow that the only person who's still stuck on apartheid is him. But by now, I'm beginning to figure out why.

    It seems he was for it. He's too guarded to say so directly; just keeps repeating "I served my time in the bush, I fought to keep the Negroes out, but time and history and the U.S., particularly, were against us, and we lost, and I, like so many of my countrymen, I took the chicken run, and came here, and now I'm an American, too. So that's that." And here his chin goes up and he takes a swallow of beer and stares directly ahead of himself, and takes a drag of his cigarette, and you can tell he is thinking himself the very model of stiff upper-lippedness. The last bastion of White Civilization has made his stand and fought the good fight but come a-cropper in the end, alas, but he will still stand tall, he still has his dignity, and that's the thing, isn't it?

    Criminy, I think to myself, this guy has real delusions of Churchill.

    Also, he's a bigot.

    "Look, I believe you. I never said you weren't an American," the guy to the left of me retorts. He is visibly irritated. He is arguing with the South African--the South African who is now an American, and don't you forget it!--and even though he's a polite little guy I can see he is starting to get to the place I've been since this whole conversation began, a little place I like to call My God But You're Obstinate.

    He brought this on himself, of course, by interrupting a reminiscence by the South African Who is Now An American of--what else?--My Time in the Bush, to ask, "So have your views on the whole thing, that situation--have they changed any since then?"

    The guy stares at him for a moment.


    We don't really know what to say to this, this fellow to my left and I. We have an entire silent, telepathic conversation in a shared glance at each other: You want to say something to him? No, you? Erm. Uh, no? Yeah, me neither.

    I mean what the hell do you say?

    The South African adds, "You Americans--and I shouldn't say that, because I'm an American now, too--but you Americans, you wouldn't understand. Americans have never had to defend themselves on their own territory as we did."

    "Uh, hold on a second," the guy to my left says, laughing, "we sort of had some people who were here first called Native Americans . . . ."

    "That was hundreds of years ago. You wouldn't know what it's like to do that in your lifetime."

    "Okay, but listen, maybe in your case--"

    "You don't know anything at all about my case, mate."

    And on it goes. I'm in the middle watching this ping-pong match.

    "You don't really think I'm an American, do you? Just some South African. Americans don't like South Africans. But I'm telling you: I am an American."

    "Look, I believe you. I never said you weren't an American."

    I have a sudden and surprising thought: But he isn't. Not really.

    I am wholly displeased to find myself thinking this, and yet there is an element of truth to it I cannot deny. He doesn't get it. He doesn't get any of it. He doesn't get the first thing about us.

    Later this South African guy will leave and the fellow to my left and I will be chatting about the encounter and he will nail the problem perfectly:

    "He's not an American. He's a naturalized citizen."

    Exactly, I agree. He has the papers, but he ain't got the heart.

    Nor the spirit.

    "I shouldn't say this really, but . . . ."

    "Nah, go ahead."

    The South African exhales cigarette smoke. "American men," he begins, "American men are very . . . effeminate."

    "Really? Relative to what?"

    "You don't believe me," he smiles, "but it's true. American women seek out men they can dominate. And as a result . . . as a result, American men are very effeminate."

    "Look, that's bullshit," I say flatly. "I have gay friends, right? If I want to hang out with an effeminate man, I know who to call. That doesn't mean I want to date them."

    "I'm not talking about poofters--"

    "Ha! Nancy boys?"

    "--but American men are very effeminate."

    I have figured out this guy's argument strategy: sheer bloodymindedness. He just repeats his statements until you give up in exhaustion. He brings nothing new to the table; just repeats himself. So I just roll my eyes at him now. "Whatever."

    He knows he's got me, too, because he's grinning openly now. "And I'll tell you something," he continues, "American women are very . . . ."

    "Oh, let me help you out," I sneer. "Very pushy?"


    "Very demanding? Very aggressive? Very . . . emasculating?"

    (Because you know, I've never heard any of THIS before, and certainly not from South African immigrants.)

    "No, you're just very forward. Very direct."

    "And we like effeminate men, don't forget that."

    "Well, you see, I'm an American now. So I should try to be more sensitive, I suppose. But it's a very different . . . ." He seems stuck for the word.

    "Culture?" I offer.

    "Yes. A very different culture. You see, in South Africa, men are more like men, and women are more like women."

    How spectacularly unhelpful, I think, can we have a few more circular definitions of that sort?

    "There's more separation between the two," he adds.

    "You mean women tend to hang out with other women while men hang out with other men? Like socially?"

    He is staring directly at me now. "Let me put it this way," he says slowly, "this conversation we're having, you and I, it wouldn't happen in South Africa."

    "Because in South Africa, you see, a woman alone, a woman at a bar," he continues, "well, if I were talking to a woman at a bar such as I am talking to you right now, it would be apparent to me, and to everyone else, that I was soliciting a whore."

    "Wait . . . why? You mean no other kind of woman would be out by herself?" I ask incredulously.

    "Precisely." He shakes his head.

    "But I shouldn't say things like that anymore. I'm an American now."

    I make a mental note to myself to try to find out if there's any truth to what he is saying, or if South Africa was like this even 30, 40, 50 years ago, because the more I am talking to this guy the more it seems to me as though someone has thawed a prehistoric creature out of an ice block somewhere and dropped him into the heart of Dallas, Texas, 2004, and my God, no wonder the beast is having difficulty acclimating to his environment

    Then again, he could be making shit up. He could be making all of it up, or at least most of it, because heaven knows honesty is the about the last thing people bring with them into bars.

    Also, I think on some level this guy thinks he is doing a little shock and awe routine on me. I am supposed to be shocked by the barbarity of his past life but in awe of his uber-manliness, and I think the end result is supposed to be that I go home with him tonight.

    Clueless. The man is clueless about absolutely everything.

    Then again, maybe it's partly my fault, because while I'm certainly not hot for this guy I do nonetheless maintain a little pity in my heart for him, so to cheer him up I buy him a pint.

    "You're very sweet. Thank you."

    "No problem. Enjoy your watery pseudolager!"

    He makes a face, an embarrassed face. "I shouldn't have said that. Really, I like this beer, actually. It's quite good."

    I grin at that. "You lie like a dog."

    "It is important," he says stiffly, "to maintain civility."

    "That's nice," I say, "but you should know that most Americans are perfectly aware that their beer is shit."

    "It's just that we sort of like it that way," I add. Which is true for me at least. I went through my micro-brew phase; I still love a Guinness once in awhile, and my favorite beer splurge is a four-pack of 16-ounce Wexford Cream Ale, cans with the little widget inside just like Guinness does, a sort of vanilla version of Guinness, but I don't buy them all that often because boy, do they pack a wallop and one will have me loopy, two will have me buzzed, and by three I'm dead drunk.

    I like some "good" beer, sure. But I like my shit beer too, which is why tonight I'm drinking pints of Miller Lite.

    Besides, they're only $1.50 during happy hour.

    He is jovial halfway through the pint I've bought him. "I like you."

    "Thanks," I answer. "Say, I don't even know your name."

    "I'm Tom," he says, which is not his real name, etc. He extends his hand and I shake it and tell him my name, and then he wants to know my last name too.

    Geez. Now who's asking personal questions? But what the hell, I tell him.

    "Ah, Italian," he pronounces.

    "No. Spanish with a Portuguese spelling."

    "That explains your intelligence. The Spanish and the Portuguese are very intelligent."

    "Not lately they aren't," I snort. "What've they done for the last 500 years anyhow?"

    "The Spanish and the Portuguese are very intelligent," he repeats. Such a broken record. He is determined to compliment me and he does not care that it's the stupidest compliment in the world, especially because I'm not even that much Spanish, which I tell him. The word "Irish" is uttered and provokes an immediate reaction:

    "The Irish! Who can stand the bloody Irish?"

    I give him a dirty look. "I can." He hath messed up and yea verily, he shall know it. And he does know it. He looks away, embarrassed, and offers his own last name which I can only render as Thwuquowieoe.



    "What the hell kind of name is that?"


    "A-ha. Vikings."

    "That's right," he smiles. "Say. Why don't you come sit over here by me, love?"

    Gah! That was out of left field. "I don't think that would be a very good idea," I tell him.

    He's actually leering at me now. Ilyka, I think to myself, Ilyka, honey, you were a damn fool to buy this freak a beer. You know that, right? A damn fool. Stoopid with two o's. Why didn't you just buy a load of dynamite and soak the fuse in gasoline and flick live cigarette ash onto it.

    The leering grin widens. He nods and says, "You're prudent, you are. You're extremely cautious around us . . . Vikings."

    "What with all the raping and the pillaging, yes and anyway I have a boyfriend as you no doubt heard me say when I came in and, ah, hey, excuse me a minute! Be right back!"

    And I am off that stool in a single bound and the door of the ladies' room has never looked more like the door to sanctuary than it does this very minute.

    I actually didn't even dawdle in the restroom for once, but I see I was gone long enough because he's cleared out when I get back, and in fact Vicki has already wiped down his place at the bar.

    "Vicki?" I say.

    "What up?"

    "Um, I know I tabbed out already, but could I please have one more pint and I will pay you cash for it because, like, I need it after dealing with the South African bush fighter all evening?"

    The guy to my left is still here and he turns to me immediately and with a grave look on his face and in his best South African accent he intones, "I served my time in the bush where I fought the Negro but I'm an American now . . . ."

    I am convulsing with laughter and so is Vicki and so, for that matter, is the guy I've been trying to beat at trivia, who is on the other side of the guy to my left, even though he's only heard bits and pieces of the whole business throughout the evening; but then again when someone goes on about the same subject for seemingly hours, even a person not seated nearby is likely to catch at least an instance or seven or thirteen of it.

    "Man," the guy to my left says now in his normal voice, "was that guy an asshole."

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:30 PM | Comments (6)

    June 18, 2004

    Administrative Notice

    The Journalspace webmail account some of you have been using to contact me has made it onto all the usual spam lists, so if you wouldn't mind making use of the address listed at left instead . . . thanks.

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:23 PM | Comments (0)

    June 11, 2004

    Excuses, Excuses

    So, ah, for my birthday my boyfriend bought me the only Sims expansion I didn't already own and uh . . . .

    The lack of updates around here is nothing unusual; I take mini-breaks all the time. But this week I haven't even been reading other weblogs, and that is unusual for me. Are we all behaving out there? I don't want to see any nonsense, now.

    Anyway, I figure I'll burn out on this dumb game eventually and then freak out because my visits are down to 30 a day and then maybe we'll see some posting activity again. Maybe.

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:39 PM | Comments (6)

    June 02, 2004

    Looks Like I Picked the Wrong Week to Quit Sniffing Glue

    My NT installation on my work machine got hosed somehow last night. I don't know whether part of the drive went bad or if it was somehow affected by the massive storms we had here last night, but suffice to say, I have an unexpected--and unwanted--night off tonight. And maybe tomorrow night, too. It depends on whether the new CPU they're shipping me out "by noon tomorrow" really gets here, uh, by noon tomorrow. Because it's technically the company's property, I can't just bum an NT CD from a friend and tinker with it myself, which actually, now that I think of it, is probably for the best anyway.

    Instead, they'll ship me a whole new (refurbished, actually) CPU. Weird how business is done nowadays, huh?

    I initially thought this meant you'd see more blogging from me this week, but then it occurred to me that thanks to this mishap, I won't be taking this Saturday night off to celebrate my birthday after all. So maybe we'll go out tonight instead.

    Besides, I see everyone's favorite topic has resurfaced, and you'll pardon me if dinner and a movie sounds like only 30,000 times more fun than participating in the discussion of it. I have nothing to say about it that I haven't said already, or that hasn't been said better by others, except to note that remarks like these, from the comments to this rebuttal by Daniel Drezner:

    Lauren, I hope you spend many nights alone.

    I wouldn't date you if your boyfriend paid.

    Ever thought of getting a decent disposition? You might want to try learning something from Asian women.


    I ignore completely just about everything that western women have to say. I intend to continue to do so. They have nothing to say that is worth listening to.
    I correct the females in their behavior, but it's only a thing that can be successful if we all do it, it won't help us, but maybe our children can find decent mates
    . . . go a long way towards explaining why I think feminism still matters. Because personally, I do not wish to raise a daughter in a world where such views are prevalent, or given serious consideration.

    My hat's off to both Trish Wilson and Ms. Lauren for sticking to rational argument in the face of remarks like those above--which is not to imply that such is atypical behavior for either of them. As for the objection made by several of Drezner's readers that inviting "conservatives" to "feel free to leave" Feministe is offensive, I suggest more conservative bloggers ensure they are without sin before casting the first stone, particularly if they're carrying the blogad for RightWingStuff with the tagline, "Back-handing the Left Into Submission." Really makes a person with opposing viewpoints feel about as welcome as . . . why, as a conservative being invited to "feel free to leave."

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:04 PM | Comments (4)

    May 28, 2004

    Spoiled Imperialist Pig American Whining

    It's official: I now have the ugliest, most depressing-looking balcony in the world.

    On the bright side, it only took them one week and two days to get around to making it that way.

    And I can clean the grill and set that up just in time for the Memorial Day weekend. So there's that.

    Posted by Ilyka at 08:40 PM | Comments (5)

    May 24, 2004

    And On Top of That, The Berenstain Bears Is One I've Seen Already

    This was such a Caillou-watching morning. But no, I had to get caught up reading blogs when I coulda been watching the bald-headed kid we all love to hate.

    Damn you, blog authors. Just damn you.

    Posted by Ilyka at 03:39 PM | Comments (7)

    May 23, 2004

    Things I Thought Were Obvious

    If you leave me an insulting comment and don't have the balls to post your real email address, obviously I'm going to edit it to amuse myself.


    Posted by Ilyka at 12:54 AM | Comments (3)

    May 20, 2004

    The Thwarting of the Grill

    So they were supposed to paint my balcony yesterday, which meant I had to haul everything off it lest it be terra-cotta'd permanently. Fine, great; despite my clutterific habits, I've always managed to keep a tidy balcony. Two chairs, a table, a wastebasket . . . in the summertime, a fan and a barbecue grill . . . .

    The barbecue grill.

    This is Texas. Grilling season starts at Easter here.

    Now do you think they painted the patio yesterday? Bonus question: Predict whether they'll paint the patio today. Bonus bonus question: Predict whether they'll paint the patio any time this week.

    And now I swear the grill is starting to talk to me from the storage closet.

    Doesn't some tandoori chicken sound good?

    Sure does.

    So then maybe you should take me out of here and get everything set up, huh?

    Can't. They're fixin' to paint the patio.


    Apparently this place wasn't ugly enough.

    I don't see any painters.

    Yeah, me neither.

    So you know what you could do? You could take me out and set me up and just take me for a test run real quick--maybe just throw on some brats or something--and then once those are done and I've had a chance to cool down you could put me back and they'd never know!

    Bratwursts give me heartburn.

    Okay so some steaks! You have steaks in the freezer! I know you do!

    How'd you know that?

    Steaks are what derailed you from the path of vegetarianism. You always have a package of steaks in the freezer.

    Don't tell PETA.

    So let's grill some! Right now now now now now!

    I told you, I can't. They're supposed to paint the patio. I gotta keep everything off it so they can paint it.

    But when are they going to paint the patio?

    That is a mystery, impenetrable to the minds of mortal men.

    You're a girl.

    Figure of speech.

    It's dark in here.

    Listen, I know it sucks, okay? How d'ya think I feel? You think I wouldn't love some tandoori chicken? Or some Jamaican jerk pork?

    I know you would love those things. So take me out.

    It doesn't work that way.

    I hate you!

    Yeah? Well, I guess that means you don't want to see the nice new scrub brush I bought to clean you with last month. And I guess since you don't want to be clean, you might as well stay in that closet all summer long so I don't have to be ashamed of you.

    You bought a new grill brush?

    I did indeed.

    Let me see!

    You'll see it when you get out.

    No no no I want to see it NOW, see it NOW, see it--

    You throwing a temper tantrum in there? I'll bet if I'd bought a nice stand-up Weber instead . . . I'll bet that grill wouldn't be throwing a tantrum right now. Those Weber grills have too much class for that.

    But I come from Germany.

    And do you know of anything more annoying than a whiny German? Because I don't.

    I'm sorry.

    That's okay. Listen, I'm going in now. You hang tight in there, okay?

    [muffled sobs]

    Okay, there is something more annoying than a whiny German. A crying German is definitely more annoying.

    Make them come paint the patio.

    Buddy, last year I couldn't make them replace the air conditioner. Six weeks of "well, we topped it up with some more freon, see if that helps," before they finally got it through their heads that the whole unit needed replacing. Six weeks covering part of June, all of July, and part of August.

    I see that you have issues with your apartment complex.

    Boy howdy.

    You should move.

    End of the year, buddy. End of the year when the lease is up.

    And then we will have tandoori chicken whenever we want to.

    Well, no. Then it'll be winter. But the summer after that--

    This complex will paint the patio before then, though, right?

    I hope so. I really, really hope so.

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:45 PM | Comments (8)

    May 15, 2004

    Say Anything

    Done. Done with blogs for a couple days. Bleah. Dumb, silly, pretentious, asinine blogs.

    Including this one?--Honey, this one sets the standard for dumb, silly, pretentious, asinine blogging.

    Please feel free to throw random thoughts into the comments. And I write that knowing that asking people to please leave a comment is the number-one, surefire way not to get any comments.

    If you're topically challenged, here are five words, in no particular order, that I never want to read, nor write, again:

    (1) Ecosystem
    (2) Unusual
    (3) Required (especially when followed by "reading")
    (4) Poll (especially when preceded by "internet")
    (5) Visionary

    Share your own, or instead, just tell me something good. Anything good.

    UPDATE: Okay, this definitely qualifies as good.

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:11 PM | Comments (14)

    May 13, 2004

    Functional Illiterate

    Yeah, it's that lit-ah-raw-chuooah list that's been making the rounds, where you bold all the books on it that you've read, I guess so some guy who has the entire list bolded can go "Ha, ha, ha" as he polishes his pince-nez. I noticed it most recently here, but look around and I'm sure you'll see it other places.

    I didn't put this in the extended entry, by the way, because I'm in one of those moods to be a perverse bastard--i.e., because I didn't feel like it and I knew it would irk a few people that I didn't put it there and that thought made me so happy. And before anyone asks, as a matter of fact I am on the rag today. Happy now?

    Achebe, Chinua - Things Fall Apart
    Agee, James - A Death in the Family
    Austen, Jane - Pride and Prejudice
    Baldwin, James - Go Tell It on the Mountain
    Beckett, Samuel - Waiting for Godot
    Bellow, Saul - The Adventures of Augie March
    Bronte, Charlotte - Jane Eyre
    Bronte, Emily - Wuthering Heights
    Camus, Albert - The Stranger
    Cather, Willa - Death Comes for the Archbishop
    Chaucer, Geoffrey - The Canterbury Tales
    Chekhov, Anton - The Cherry Orchard
    Chopin, Kate - The Awakening
    Conrad, Joseph - Heart of Darkness
    Cooper, James Fenimore - The Last of the Mohicans
    Crane, Stephen - The Red Badge of Courage
    Dante - Inferno
    de Cervantes, Miguel - Don Quixote
    Defoe, Daniel - Robinson Crusoe
    Dickens, Charles - A Tale of Two Cities
    Dostoyevsky, Fyodor - Crime and Punishment
    Douglass, Frederick - Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
    Dreiser, Theodore - An American Tragedy
    Dumas, Alexandre - The Three Musketeers
    Eliot, George - The Mill on the Floss
    Ellison, Ralph - Invisible Man
    Emerson, Ralph Waldo - Selected Essays
    Faulkner, William - As I Lay Dying
    Faulkner, William - The Sound and the Fury
    Fielding, Henry - Tom Jones
    Fitzgerald, F. Scott - The Great Gatsby
    Flaubert, Gustave - Madame Bovary
    Ford, Ford Madox - The Good Soldier
    Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von - Faust
    Golding, William - Lord of the Flies
    Hardy, Thomas - Tess of the d'Urbervilles
    Hawthorne, Nathaniel - The Scarlet Letter
    Heller, Joseph - Catch 22
    Hemingway, Ernest - A Farewell to Arms
    Homer - The Iliad
    Homer - The Odyssey
    Hugo, Victor - The Hunchback of Notre Dame
    Hurston, Zora Neale - Their Eyes Were Watching God
    Huxley, Aldous - Brave New World
    Ibsen, Henrik - A Doll's House
    James, Henry - The Portrait of a Lady
    James, Henry - The Turn of the Screw
    Joyce, James - A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
    Kafka, Franz - The Metamorphosis
    Kingston, Maxine Hong - The Woman Warrior
    Lee, Harper - To Kill a Mockingbird
    Lewis, Sinclair - Babbitt
    London, Jack - The Call of the Wild
    Mann, Thomas - The Magic Mountain
    Marquez, Gabriel Garcia - One Hundred Years of Solitude
    Melville, Herman - Bartleby the Scrivener
    Melville, Herman - Moby Dick
    Miller, Arthur - The Crucible
    Morrison, Toni - Beloved
    O'Connor, Flannery - "A Good Man is Hard to Find"
    O'Neill, Eugene - Long Day's Journey into Night
    Orwell, George - Animal Farm
    Pasternak, Boris - Doctor Zhivago
    Plath, Sylvia - The Bell Jar
    Poe, Edgar Allan - Selected Tales
    Proust, Marcel - Swann's Way
    Pynchon, Thomas - The Crying of Lot 49
    Remarque, Erich Maria - All Quiet on the Western Front
    Rostand, Edmond - Cyrano de Bergerac
    Roth, Henry - Call It Sleep
    Salinger, J.D. - The Catcher in the Rye
    Shakespeare, William - Hamlet
    Shakespeare, William - Macbeth
    Shakespeare, William - A Midsummer Night's Dream
    Shakespeare, William - Romeo and Juliet
    Shaw, George Bernard - Pygmalion
    Shelley, Mary - Frankenstein
    Silko, Leslie Marmon - Ceremony
    Solzhenitsyn, Alexander - One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
    Sophocles - Antigone
    Sophocles - Oedipus Rex
    Steinbeck, John - The Grapes of Wrath
    Stevenson, Robert Louis - Treasure Island
    Stowe, Harriet Beecher - Uncle Tom's Cabin
    Swift, Jonathan - Gulliver's Travels
    Thackeray, William - Vanity Fair
    Thoreau, Henry David - Walden
    Tolstoy, Leo - War and Peace
    Turgenev, Ivan - Fathers and Sons
    Twain, Mark - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
    Voltaire - Candide
    Vonnegut, Kurt Jr. - Slaughterhouse-Five
    Walker, Alice - The Color Purple
    Wharton, Edith - The House of Mirth
    Welty, Eudora - Collected Stories
    Whitman, Walt - Leaves of Grass
    Wilde, Oscar - The Picture of Dorian Gray
    Williams, Tennessee - The Glass Menagerie
    Woolf, Virginia - To the Lighthouse
    Wright, Richard - Native Son

    A few notes:

  • Catch-22 was the subject of the essay that got me accused of plagiarism. I think the point of my essay was to note how much I hated the book and why I hated it, but the book has since grown on me some and I don't hate it anymore. I guess I'd say it's no worse than the best episode of M*A*S*H, and if that sounds like only a tepid endorsement . . . well, it is. On the other hand, that book is where I get the habit of saying, "Oh, well, what the hell" all the time, so I guess it's given me something.

  • I admit it: I only read The Stranger because I wanted to see what Robert Smith was going on about in the song "Killing an Arab."

  • My mother's been after me to read Wuthering Heights ever since I was old enough to have half a chance at understanding it. I've tried to read it several times, but the last time will be the last time, because I finally figured out what I didn't like about it: Every single character in the book gave me a massive pain in the ass. I wanted to smack the life out of each and every one of them and put them all to work on a farm somewhere, or perhaps stick them all in factories--anything so they'd have less time for melancholy and perpetual adolescence. Do not tell me to read Wuthering Heights, okay? It ain't happening.

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:30 PM | Comments (8)
  • May 06, 2004

    Great Moments in Boyfriend Humor, Part Eleventy-Quillion

    "How much does a flight to Atlanta cost?"


    "Because I'm going to hop a plane and whale on Peacock for getting 'Eye in the Sky' stuck in my head."

    "Hey. That's what I said."

    "I mean now I have the entire three lines that I know from that song going through my head. I am the maker of rules . . . I mean I went a nice peaceful decade without hearing that song since I quit listening to classic rock and now it's back and I want to kill him."

    "If it helps, substitute the Paint Your Wagon version."

    "It's not helping."


    "I'm serious. Pull up Expedia."

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:15 AM | Comments (5)

    May 04, 2004

    It's This Weekend?

    But . . . but I thought . . . oh, hell. I thought it was next weekend.

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:32 PM | Comments (2)

    April 23, 2004

    As Usual, He Has All the Best Lines

    A friend of mine wrote me the other day that he misses my boyfriend's blog. I'd miss it myself, if I didn't have access to the live-and-in-person version. Shortly after he read various responses here and there to the sexism post, I heard this instant classic:

    "You know, if Kevin Drum's only going to post twice a day, the least he can do is show me some tits."

    There are reasons I keep him around. Many, many reasons.

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:47 AM | Comments (1)

    April 20, 2004

    Let's Just Get This Over with Already

    More "about me" stuff. Previous edition here, first one here, yada yada yada, and yes, I'm as tired of this whole schtick as you are, but I'm trying to be better about finishing what I start. More importantly, my beloved aunt tells me they're her favorite thing about this site, and I'm afraid all other opinions take a back seat to my beloved aunt's on, well, just about everything, except maybe politics.

    (Okay, except definitely politics. But whatever, right?)

    41.···I spent my childhood in California. California in the 1970s was a nice place for a kid, but I wouldn't want to live there now, and in any event, I couldn't afford to.

    42.···I'm terrible with money. My check card quit working and the bank couldn't explain why, so rather than asking them to send me a new one, I just quit using it, and for someone like me, it's better, even though sometimes it's a pain in the ass, because I've never been able to get it through my skull that using check cards is still spending "real" money.

    43.···Ditto for credit cards. Kids, don't get one. Credit cards are the devil, period end. I had a friend tell me that when the government is doing security clearances, one of their red flags is high debt, because they figure you could be bribed to spy for the other team more easily if you're carrying a lot of debt, so I guess I'm never getting a security clearance, even though I really don't think I'm very corruptible.

    44.···I try to keep a clean kitchen and a clean bathroom, but I don't dust except when there's a dire need for it, like when I'm moving, or . . . no, I think that's it. I say that this is because when I was little, my chore used to be dusting the house and I hated it, but when I say that my mother says I shouldn't blame everything on my parents, even though my dad blames his refusal to eat any vegetables whatsoever on his parents and no one's ever questioned that one for a minute.

    45.···My favorite season is winter, but I think that might be because I've spent most of my life in the sunbelt. I'm pretty sure that after a few years in Minnesota, I'd be telling you my favorite season was summer. The grass is always greener.

    46.···I can't stand people who are polite to the point of refusing to say what they really mean. I'm talking about the kind of people who spend 45 minutes deciding to where to go for dinner because they're all going, "Oh, no, really, I can eat anything--you pick." [Update: I still can't believe I got an entire post out of this one.]

    47.···I have a short attention span for most things, but if I'm into something, I'm really, really, really into it, and you have to get quite mean with me to get me to stop doing whatever it is I'm really into.

    48.···You also have to not care when I yell at you for making me stop doing whatever it was I was doing.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:08 AM | Comments (6)

    April 18, 2004

    This Says Nothing Good About Me

    You know your reading habits have gone to hell when you play this game (link spotted here and here, among other places) and you get the following result:

    After you discover Flight, your Workers can construct Airfields.
    Well, hey, they said "the closest book." I'm at the computer. Where all the computer books are. And obviously, the most important book to have by the computer is the mini-manual for Civilization III: Play the World.


    Researching the origins of this was a trip. The farthest back I could track the game's origins was here, though the post in which it appears calls it a "Q & A meme" in which the author has decided to participate, so this likely is not the original. What's interesting is that between here and here, the original instruction to "Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 18, find line 4. Write down what it says," becomes:

    1. Grab the nearest book. 2. Open the book to page 23. 3. Find the fifth sentence. 4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
    Also, the remaining questions in the original (or the nearest I can get to the original, anyway) die the death of the unmemetic.

    I know! It's almost as fascinating as those Airfield-constructing Workers!

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:40 PM | Comments (3)

    April 13, 2004

    And This is How Punk We Keep it Around Here

    So punk that five minutes after posting that last one, the DSL went out because it turns out service providers like to be paid, in full and on time, and I'd done neither for, uh, a while. That's right: I was too busy keeping it real for you.

    Expect blogging to be light, etc. Dialup sucks.

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:37 AM | Comments (8)

    April 11, 2004

    Even with Assistance, I Can't Draw

    It doesn't really get any easier than this, does it? And yet my results were, how you say, terrible.

    Fun timewaster, though. I figure if I keep practicing, I'll soon be ready to advance to fingerpainting. Thanks, Kate!


    Looks nothing like me.

    Oh--other than the split ends. I definitely do have exactly that many split ends.

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:54 AM | Comments (6)

    April 09, 2004

    This Economy . . . Sucks?

    I had two messages from recruiters this week. Two. No, it's not a big number, but let's put it another way: That's two more recruiters than have called me in the preceding (counting on fingers) . . . two years.

    When recruiters are calling me, things just can't be that bad. I'm sorry if that doesn't fit someone's world view that Bush deliberately sent the economy into a tailspin in order for Halliburton to reap billions and billions in profits, but trust me on this one.

    The one of 'em was looking for a Mac developer, which I'm not and never was. No need to call him back. Can't these guys read? Oh, wait: Head hunter. Right.

    The other one was looking for a contract position. I've always been too chicken to go the contract route, but that doesn't matter. What matters is how the interview would go:

    Recruiter: So I see your last position was at Company McScrewed!

    Me: Yeah.

    Recruiter: And you left there in, let's see . . . early 2002?

    Me: That's right.

    Well . . . so! Tell me about what projects you've been working on in the interim?

    I build a lot of Sim houses.


    And I got a blog.

    Oh . . . ha ha! No, but your development projects. What software have you been working on lately?


    Well, you know, it doesn't have to have been paid work. Any spare time projects you've been working on? Anything you've written as a hobby?


    Anything, ah, for school, maybe?

    Quit going.

    Oh. Ah . . . is there any particular reason, you know, that you haven't been programming? Any . . . extenuating circumstances?

    Well, frankly, I used to blame it on burnout.

    Oh! Yes, burnout! Ha! Ha! You know, I hear that one quite oft--

    --but lately, I dunno, lately I'm more inclined to blame the freebasing.

    The--I'm sorry? Did you say--

    You know, if there's one thing I've learned in this life, it's that I should have listened to Richard Pryor.

    I--uh, can you hold a minute? I--I have another call.

    Hey, wait! I did write one program, come to think of it. Just a little doohickey I did up in VB. I know VB is for losers, but I was in a hurry to get to my dealer's, you know? Anyway, it calculates the probability that I'll set myself on fire while hitting the pipe. And so far, it's been dead on every time.


    Posted by Ilyka at 06:31 AM | Comments (6)

    April 07, 2004

    Conversation III

    Driving through the parking lot of the massive strip mall that is home to Target:

    Me: You just missed that stop sign.

    Boyfriend: Shit. Sorry.

    Me: I don't think anyone noticed.

    Me: Here's another one. You have to stop at this one--there's a grandma about to cross. It's a sin to run over somebody's grandma.

    Boyfriend: What's she wearing?

    Me: Holy crumb! She's totally wearing her housedress!

    Me: [awestruck]

    Me: It's got the pockets and everything! Look! It's a button-up! I only have, what, about 30 of those things at home? Her hair's all done, her makeup's on, she's got her tennis shoes on, and she's wearing her housedress to Target. This woman just became my personal hero.

    Boyfriend: Don't get any ideas.

    Me: I won't. You have to be somebody's grandma to pull that look off.

    Boyfriend: Remember that the next time you want to wear yours all day long.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:09 AM | Comments (4)

    April 06, 2004

    Opinions Sought

    I'm putting it to a vote: Am I capable of summoning the requisite nastiness, meanspiritedness, and all-around love of the cheap shot to apply for a position at the recently-downsized Amish Tech Support?

    Or am I more likely to win the award for "Most Likely to be Pink-Slipped by Lair and to Cry Like a Little Sissy Girl for Weeks Over It?"

    I'm thinking that someone who's prone to saying to hell with her readers periodically, not to say monthly, is probably not the ideal candidate for the job.

    Oh, and then there was the time I said mean things about Lair. I'm not sure if that goes in the plus or the minus column.

    But Meryl Yourish suggested I apply once, so I thought I'd ask you losers what you thought of the idea. You may leave your suggestions in the comments.

    And don't be kind. Be honest.

    UPDATE 04/06/2004: Voting's closed, and I'm afraid I forgot to tell you all about the part where, as a former boss of mine loved to say, this is not a democracy. My one vote overrides all your silly votes, see. And apparently, the blog Amish move a lot faster than the offline ones. Looks like it's just about staffed up again.

    Oh well. You snooze, you lose.

    Posted by Ilyka at 03:49 PM | Comments (12)

    April 03, 2004

    Well Slap my Behind and Call Me Kos

    I decided to delete that last one. Talk about your overwhelming melodrama. Who needs it?

    Posted by Ilyka at 03:26 AM | Comments (3)

    April 01, 2004

    Remember These?

    My really vapid lists of stuff about myself? The ones that began here and were most recently here?

    Hey, it's not all greatness* around here, you know. Sometimes you get what you get.

    33. I finally passed freshman English on the third try, but victory was bittersweet because in the middle of the semester I had to go to the dean when the teacher accused me of plagiarism. She couldn't and didn't cite the source I ostensibly plagiarized, because there wasn't one. It turned out she just didn't believe a freshman English student could use this word correctly; therefore, I must have borrowed my material from elsewhere. She backed off when I went to the dean, and I finally passed Freshman English, but I thought I saw her the other day, and I was surprised by how much I still wanted to choke the life out of her--slowly. Not just because I didn't like being called a cheater, but because she was pretentious in other ways, like the time she said teaching freshman English was beneath her because, as a Literature major, she aspired to Higher Things. Whatever, you twat.

    34. My boyfriend is an English major. I can't decide which is harder to forgive him for--being a Cowboys fan, or that. I realize that's only peripherally about me. I'm sorry.

    35. I like Texas, but I don't love it, because it has no mountains. I can live inland, but it's hard living without mountains.

    36. The best thing about Texas is the people. The worst thing about Texas is the people. What I find is that I like the natives, but I hate the people who move here from everywhere else, and especially the ones who come from the so-called "blue states" and set about trying to make things in Texas "more progressive," because the whole reason they came to Texas in the first place is because they could (1) find a job and (2) buy a house more easily, and the whole reason they couldn't do that where they came from is because they made everything there too progressive.

    37. If I were condemned and needed a last meal, it would come from here, especially since everything there is cooked in lard and I wouldn't be needing my arteries much longer at that point anyway.

    38. I'd much rather tell someone what I think than what I feel, which is why I get so touchy when someone says women are more emotional than men, because I'm not, unless tequila is involved, and then--look out.

    39. I have this fascination with the former Eastern bloc, because when I was little, all those places were a great mystery to me. I'd like to learn Russian and Polish just because I like the way the languages sound.

    40. I get very defensive when people who haven't spent much time in New York criticize it, but I'm also starting to get very defensive when people who haven't spent much time in Texas criticize it, too. The short version is that one of the things I love about the U.S. is that if you don't like a place, you can go somewhere else you like better--but in the meantime, keep your mouth shut if you don't really know what you're talking about.

    *Oh, save it.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:30 AM | Comments (7)

    March 31, 2004

    Take That New Age and Shove It

    You know something? I didn't need to do a sort of spiritual housecleaning--no more than usual, anyway--I needed to do ACTUAL housecleaning. I washed all the windows I could get to without a ladder the other day. I dusted. I did laundry. I vacuumed. I swept and mopped the porch. The little things that had been lying around in piles here and there for, oh, nigh on two years? I picked them up and dealt with them, pleasant or no. And I feel 100% better.

    Still poor. Still out of shape. Still prone to insomnia. Still the only 34 year-old woman I know who is way, way, way too excited about this. And to top it all off, today is the day for a loathesome little ceremony known as The Changing of the Litter Boxes.

    But my house is looking fiiiiiiinnne.

    Billy Crystal was right: It is better to look good than to feel good.

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:08 PM | Comments (5)

    March 30, 2004

    So I Think Maybe . . .

    . . . I have a primitive blogroll up. And when I say "primitive," I mean, if your blog ain't on there, you have every reason to expect that it soon will be. This was just what I could throw out in a hurry to appease Meryl Yourish (see comments here), which I think we all have to agree is crucial to do. Pissing her off would violate a very important principle, which is, I Like Living and I Hate Being Yelled At.

    But as for the long load time, that one's a mystery to me. I think it's something that would have to be taken up with this guy, and I'm loathe to bite the hand that gives me stuff free, you know?

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:56 PM | Comments (4)

    March 19, 2004

    Under Construction

    Now you know I don't like to get too touchy-feely with y'all (or, indeed, with nearly anybody) but I thought I might as well own up that the reason this blog thing really isn't happening at the pace it ought to be is because it's sort of a personal housecleaning time for me these days, and when I say "housecleaning" I mean it's probably about comparable to renovating a crack house, so that many of my days begin with exclamations like "There are trash bags on the windows? How in hell did trash bags get on the windows? Who put those up? Wait . . . wait, I did that. Shit."

    And the problem with having your head up your own rear like that is, well, I can't tell you what I think about the Spanish elections or the hotel bombing in Iraq or Howard Stern or Martha Stewart or . . . because I'm not thinking about any of that. I'm trying to figure out how to clean things up around here without making an even bigger mess.

    Luckily others are not so encumbered. Jim Peacock has a post up on political correctness that prompted me to write a mini-post in his comments that I'd actually meant to write months ago and then, um, didn't. If I had a dime for every time that happened . . . .

    Oh, and get this: Meryl Yourish hooked up Haloscan comments. You could have colored me dead when I saw that. Dead, but happy--if that's possible; I suppose some religions claim it is. Anyway, you just know she'll attract all the fun types with that action. Try not to be one of them, huh?

    Well, just thought I'd warn you that a whoppin' one post a day is going to be, like, the best I can do for a little while. Which is fine. This was never an Instajerk-style blog anyhow.

    And no, that ain't a typo.

    If you must have some political stuff, however, you can do me a favor and tell me what you think of this (which I got via that Howard Sternophile dude who used to write for TV Guide). My own opinions on it are in that the-damn-custard-just-won't-set stage, where you can't decide whether to leave it in the oven at 300 for a few more minutes yet or just to dump it all and have something else instead. Maybe you'll do better with it.

    Posted by Ilyka at 03:02 AM | Comments (5)

    March 16, 2004

    Natural Selection

    Not to imply that I am the intensely jealous sort or anything, but here's how to select yourself straight into that pool of "Men Ilyka No Longer Wants Within a Five-Mile Radius of Herself:"

    Sit your sorry ass down on my couch and put on that DVD of Femme Fatale you rented the other night . . . you know, the one you rented for the sole purpose of ogling Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, the best argument for the aggressive promotion of contraception humanity has yet produced?*

    Yes, this method is guaranteed 95% effective. The only thing saving it from being 100% effective is that remote chance you could still save yourself by turning the television off, denouncing Ms. Whyami-Famous as "not even qualified to act in hardcore," and groveling like a sorry punk at my feet.

    Don't even think I've forgotten about your thing for girls with French accents. No, indeed, I have not forgotten that bit at all, you lover of cheese-eating surrender monkeys, you. For Bastille Day this year, I might just celebrate by stringing you up by your balls. Hey, it beats the guillotine, doesn't it? No? Alas, it is a pity, that . . . but c'est la vie. Vive la France!

    *And don't even give me that bit about "But she was Mystique in X-Men!" unless you want to be strung up next. Over the course of two films Mystique gets, what, a dozen lines maybe? Paris Hilton could play Mystique. And clinical trials are nearing completion in which it is proved that Paris Hilton is genetically incapable of performing anything, even herself having sex. So put a sock in it about Mystique already.

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:31 PM | Comments (7)

    2 Dumb 2 Blog

    So look: Am I the only person who thinks that if you've written software--say, blogging software--that will totally eradicate your blog entry if you, say, preview it before saving and then hit your browser's "Back" button instead of clicking the teeny "Re-edit this entry" button which is up at the top of the screen while you are looking down at the bottom because, obviously, that's where you were at the end of your proofreading session . . . am I the only one who thinks "DO NOT USE THE 'BACK' BUTTON FOR NAVIGATION" or somesuch warning should appear at the bottom of the screen in 72-pt bold type? Or is that over-idiot-proofing?

    On the other hand, I remember when Windows first got popular how annoyed all the geeks were with it for asking you whether you were "sure" you wanted to delete something . . . "Goddamnit!" the guy would mutter, "If I didn't want you to delete it I wouldn't have clicked 'Delete,' now, would I?" Yet every last one of these people had some horror story of having deltree'd huge chunks of their hard drives, and I mean, these were the people who were supposed to be good with computers. Can I get some pity for those of who are stupid? No? Well, fine then. Be that way.

    You know, I have these misadventures in blogging way too often. Maybe it's a sign.

    Posted by Ilyka at 07:10 PM | Comments (6)

    March 13, 2004


    Well, now the journalspace webmail is giving me "database error" instead of, you know, my e-mail?

    If you've sent something to ilyka-[at]-journalspace.com recently, please do resend it to theonlyilykayouneed-[at]-yahoo.com. (And I'm awfully sorry about making you type in that hellatious address there.)

    This weekend, I promise: archive transferrin' and perhaps even actual posting. No, really.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:22 AM | Comments (3)

    March 04, 2004


    I'd like to blog, but I'm busy.

    I'd like to blog, but I'm busy.

    So aggravating.

    I've figured something out, though: You know why it's difficult for me to be too prolific? Because I'm not paid by the hour, or by salary. I'm paid by what I can produce. Thus, I do not blog during work hours. Those hours not devoted to work are sometimes taken up doing other things. I know; it's difficult to believe, but it's true.

    If you were all paid in this fashion, I'd be seeing a lot fewer corporate domains in the logs.

    It's just a thought.

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:43 PM | Comments (7)