Her Ladyship

Notes from the gutter.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Really, it's a toss-up

Kids today. I tell you.

Sometimes, I'll be out in public and see some annoying little brat do something that makes me reach instinctively for my birth control patch.

Sunday, I was out at the Alamo with G&T and ZFF - first time at the Alamo, ladies and gents, after living here for 10 months. Am something of a tourist slacker, I'm afraid - when this one kid just about took everyone with him during his meltdown. He was about 10 and granted, it was extremely hot out and the Alamo is pretty boring even under the best of circumstances. But still... His mom was standing out in the courtyard, trying to read the presentation on the Alamo's timeline, and the kid was sulking, "You ALWAYS want to stop and read everything. I TOLD you this would happen! IT'S LIKE TALKING TO A BRICK WALL!!!!"

At one level, I felt for the kid, because I had that exact same complaint about my parents when we would get dragged to some educational exhibit. However, if I had ever said anything like that, in as snotty a tone as that kid did, I would've been frogmarched right back to the hotel room, where I'd stay in solitary confinement for the rest of the day. IF I was lucky.


The other day, I was taking refuge from the searing sun during a BBQ in the host's living room. Someone had turned on the TV and, as is the norm if you have cable these days, stumbled across Ferris Bueller's Day Off. So I and a few other Gen-Xers gathered around to watch a movie I'm pretty sure I'll remember long after memories of my loved ones are erased.

It right during the big parade scene when a seven-year-old girl came into the room. She took one look at the TV and squeals, "Oh, Ferris Bueller's!" and ran over to the couch to watch.

Things like that make me believe that the next generation may turn out okay after all.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Weird science

Earlier on this week, we drove out to Houston for an overnight trip. The Texan grew up outside of there and, oddly enough, my friend RollerDiscoMonkey and he went to the same high school. Small world, eh?

We got to drive all around The Texan's old stomping grounds, which was fun. Plus we met up with RollerDiscoMonkey and her parents, which was really nice, as I hadn't seen her since my trip to Guatemala last Thanksgiving, and her parents in a couple of years. Houston overall is so green. That's a pleasant change of pace from Hill Country, which is a rugged beauty but never could be described as "green."

Feeling the urge for a little culture, we braved the rising waters (Houston was undergoing yet another drenching spout of rain) and went to their Natural History Museum. The Texan and I had a great time playing with all the interactive science exhibits, even if we did have to elbow schoolchildren out of the way once or twice. Being an oil town, the musuem had a big exhibit on energy. One section had a crank where you could race to see how many drops of gasoline your energy would match. It was timed and had a computerized host who would yell, "Faster! Faster!" at you. I guess that was to encourage you, but it made me dissolve into fits of giggles, so I was only able to crank out 3.9 drops of gasoline, while The Texan did a whopping 4.2 drops. Boy, did I never hear the end of that.

They also had the travelling Body World (http://www.bodyworlds.com/index.html) exhibit. I'd read about it while it was in Chicago and was delighted that we'd have the chance to go check it out. Basically, this researcher created a technique called "plastination" that allows you to preserve the human body. So they have all sorts of actual cadavers there on display, which were fascinating. The Texan and I agreed that the best ones were the arterial work. Arteries are pretty!

Anyways, we managed to spend four hours in the Natural History Museum, which for me is something of a record. I usually blow through most museums pretty quickly. For example, I didn't even spend four hours at the Louvre (I was there with Grits. We'd agreed to split up and meet up again in four hours. Three hours in, I decided to call it a day and started working on postcards).

Exhausted, we drove home finally and arrived in the early evening back in beautiful parched SA. The pets' exuberant greeting made it nice to be home.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Freaks of nature

Last Thursday, I read an article in the Washington Post which shocked and horrified me. And not in the good way, either. In "Give me swelter" (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/19/AR2006071900508.html?referrer=emailarticle), the reporter interviewed a bunch of people who live in DC and yet inexplicably choose not to use their air conditioning. In my minds, this is grounds for involuntary committal.

The people that were interviewed were, and I say this as a democrat who grew up in la-la-land, tree-hugging hippies. Sure, they had one cheapskate who didn't want to pay for the a/c, but the rest kept talking about how guilty they felt about what it was doing to the environment.

Now, I started an environmental club when in high school (20th anniversary of the first Earth Day), so I am not unsympathetic to green causes. But there's also such a thing as quality of life, and air conditioning is a necessity, NOT a luxury, for that.

I say this as someone who lived in DC for one summer without a/c. And after that, as god is my witness, I vowed that never again would I submit myself to something so awful. Our landlord, who we eventually got into not one, not two, but three lawsuits with - but that's another story - couldn't seem to get the a/c fixed. Seeing as that house was falling part and since has been nicknamed amongst my housemates "the house of Usher," that's not surprising.

I was on the top floor, so my room just baked during the day. I remember one night I got up around 3:30, just completely miserable because of the heat and the humidity, and it was 85 degrees in our hallway. WITH the a/c on. So I had to leave my doors open to get whatever sorry excuse for a breeze that was coming my way. Because there weren't screens on the windows, I got eaten alive by the mosquitoes. I tried everything, from slathering myself with insect repellent before going to bed, to burning citronella coils, to taking vitamin b to build up an immunity.



It got to the point where I had so many mosquito bites that people would ask in all sincerity what kind of rash I had.

Ever since, I slept in a/c. Call me a delicate flower, but there are just some things that are worth spending money on. And cool air so that your towels can dry off after your shower, so that you can sleep the entire night without waking up in a sweat, and so that you actually *like* to spend time at home is entirely worth it.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Under attack

The Texan often reads an online British IT newspaper, which is a lot more interesting than my description would have you believe. They often have quirky stories that would be appropriate for "News of the Weird." They also write-up the latest IT gadgets, one of which has taken over our office and leaves no one safe: http://www.usbmissilelaunchers.com/.

For those of you not in the mood to click over, that's a missile launcher with four styrofoam missiles that you connect to your USB port and can launch via your keyboard. They even are accompanied by a fairly realistic missile-launching sound. The damn things fly a good eight feet. Guess how far away my desk is from The Texan's? I've been under attack with no end in sight. I tried holding his dog hostage, figuring that even if his heart is black enough to target his fiancee, it wouldn't allow him to target his dog. I was wrong. My only hope is that the missiles will eventually fall apart in-flight, just like Saddam's SCUDs in the first Gulf War.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The American dream is alive and well in Texas' Hill Country

Saturday night I fulfilled a long-thwarted dream: I went to a drive-in movie. Take that, mom and dad! They never would take us kids to a drive-in when we were little, which drove us kids crazy. Especially since one of the neighboring families seemed to do it regularly and would taunt us with stories of being up past bedtime and sleeping in your PJs in your car while you ate popcorn your mom made at home. Oh, the glamour! Oh, the hedonism!

This weekend, we rectified years of hurt. Actually, I'd thought I'd never get to go, since I'd figured that most drive-ins had gone out of business. Turns out there's one in the south side of San Antonio. It must be used as a business loss because it is, well, a little worse for wear. Grass pokes up among the broken bottles and cracked pavement of the drive-in's parking lot as you navigate in-between other cars. Still, $7 buys you entry to a double-feature (in this case, the new Pirates movie and Cars)(verdict? meh, and I fell asleep), so you can't argue with that.

On the way, we stopped at Bill Millers for some chicken strips and fries to eat with the beer we'd brought in our cooler. All about the class, you know. We got to the drive-in about 15 minutes early so to snag a good spot. It was one big tailgate party: all around us were people in their lawn chairs, or, this being Texas, sitting in the back of their pickup trucks. You listen to the movie by tuning in a station in your car, so everyone had their stereos blasting.

Having been warned, we stocked up on the bug spray. Good call - normally, my nectar-like blood usually ensures that I'm constantly swatting at mosquitoes, but I wasn't bothered at all. It was quite nice, sitting in my comfy lawn chair and swilling back a nice cold beer while watching a movie outside. Every so often, we'd get a small breeze which would relieve some of the heat (even late at night, it's still in the mid-80s here).

What did bother me was the constant wailing of babies and cranky children who were up far too late. The people in the truck next to us didn't even make it halfway through Pirates before they had to give up and take their kids home. Having seen that, I now understand my parents' decision-making process a lot better.

Still, it was a fun way to see a movie. I don't know that I'd go every weekend, especially since the double feature got out around 1:30AM, but I'm still glad I went and I'd even go again. I'd just make sure to park the car away from the young-uns.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Damn you, Sci-Fi Channel!

You know, I could handle the crap made-for-TV movies starring people I grew up with - nice to see they're at least not reduced to turning tricks on Hollywood and Vine - but Sci-Fi Channel, you have crossed the line.

Today is Bastille Day, and for the first time in...jesus, ten years, I'm in a city where others are unlikely to celebrate it (in DC, it was a reason to drink lots of red wine, just like people use Cinco de Mayo to drink massive amounts of tequila and St. Patty's day, beer)(man, now that I think about it, DC will do anything for a party). However, now I am in a city where you hear people unironically still calling them "freedom fries," so the chances of the crowds rushing out to French restaurants tonight are slim to none.


Tonight is also the season premiere of Stargate SG-1 (and its little sister, Atlantis - truly, Stargate is turning into the Law and Order of the sci-fi world). The Texan feels the same way about Stargate that I do about The Amazing Race: namely, that the DVR cannot be trusted with the heavy responsibility of recording the show, because what if it fails? WHAT THEN??? Madness, rending of the hair, gnashing of teeth, etc. And I know, because that's what I did when it fucked with my TAR once last winter.

So tonight we will be in to watch the shows and plan on venturing out only after they have come to their natural end. Oh well - I guess I can always have brie and wine while I watch. At least this way I don't have to listen to La Marseillaise.

Vive la revolution!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Heaven IS a place on Earth

And it shall be known as Bellagio's spa, even though its location is smack dab in the midst of Sin City (aka, Las Vegas). J-Ditty and I spent a good chunk of the morning before she got married at its chapel hanging out at the spa and we have already agreed that we will go back there to spend her anniversary next year. Her new groom can come if he wants, I guess. It was just so zen-like and peaceful that even the shower was a religious experience. And this comes after my being a little late in getting there (shocking), so there's nothing like checking in and being told, "Your treatment starts in 45 seconds." That will light a fire under your ass. Still, my masseuse ended up losing track of time and went 10 minutes over, so it all worked out. I had the hot rocks/coconut oil treatment, which was marvelous.

Only ebb in all this was that the (free!) razers in the bathroom had only one blade and I cut myself shaving. I know, world's smallest violin playing here. And I wouldn't even care about that, but I wanted to go into the jacuzzi and I figured that the management would frown upon introducing fresh blood into a shared body of water like that. So I didn't.

Oh, and J-Ditty's wedding was nice, too.

Heh. She and her new husband were ecstatic, everyone there (bride's family, as the groom's is overseas) was just delighted, and everything went wonderfully.

The wedding was in the early afternoon. We all had a snack at the bar afterwards and then met up at a restaurant within the Bellagio for a bridal party dinner. It was delicious and I spent a good chunk of the beginning pouring through the restaurant's wine list, which was one of the most comprehensive ones I've seen.

J-Ditty's grandma, who is in her early 80s, ordered a glass of red wine to sip throughout the evening. She had almost finished it when a guy at the next table over sent a glass of wine from a bottle that costs, the waitstaff proudly informed us, $1000 a bottle. Everyone at our table immediately said, pass that glass this way. I had a sip. Um, tasty? I like wine, but I guess I don't know enough to be able to discern between my Fat Bastard Shiraz (on sale at HEB for $6.99) and a glass of $1000/bottle red. Her grandma, who knows more than I do, said it blew away the wine she had been drinking.

And a hearty thank you to my sister and brother-in-law, Dust Bunny and Road Runner, for their gracious hosting skills. I stayed with them and forced them to drive me back and forth to the Bellagio as needed. When they weren't hauling my sorry ass about town, we had a good time hanging out and watching my sister's cache of "What Not To Wear" that had built up on her DVR. We realized on the way to the airport that we had done nothing besides that and hang out by their pool. Now THAT's how to see Vegas. I lost a dollar at the nickel slots at the airport but that was more because you have to gamble at least once while in Vegas than any real urge on my part to throw away money.

PS: Why, Zizou? WHY?

Friday, July 07, 2006


I grew up playing AYSO - well, to be perfectly frank, my sister and I alternated as subs as part of AYSO's rule that everyone plays - but either way, soccer is one of the few sports that I can stand to watch on TV. It always reminds me of standing in the back field with one of my friends who was also a fullback after the halftime eating of oranges (another AYSO rule). Having braces meant that you could kill a lot of time picking the pith out of your teeth, which on the team I was on in 8th grade was a good thing, as our front line kicked ass and did most of the work for us.

But anyways. Turns out The Texan also played fullback in his Lil Tex days, so we have both truly enjoyed watching various World Cup matches. And I haven't at all held it against him that he accidentally deleted the England-Portugal game before I could watch it.

Since I work out of my home, it makes it easy to keep up on games, except when things get busy in the office and people insist on calling you to work things out over the phone. I kept having to get up and take phone calls on Wednesday during the France-Portugal game, and finally I had a lightbulb of an idea: just put the TV on mute and watch the game while talking on the phone. What could possibly go wrong with such a fail-safe idea? Of course, I blew my cover almost immediately. Portugal bounced a ball off of the goalpost and I sucked my breath in so loudly the person I was speaking to on the phone thought that perhaps a knife-brandishing maniac had burst into my home. I had to lamely explain, "Er, I got startled." Which in a way was true.

Anyways, the final is Sunday, and I'm pulling for Italy, although Zenadine Zidane is the bestest player ever.

I, however, will probably not be watching the game, as I am heading out for Vegas tomorrow. J-Ditty is getting married and I'm flying out there for moral support. So a completely worthy cause - can't wait to hit the penny slots and wear my trashy Jessica Simpson shoes (black patent leather on the top, 4-inch cork heels on the bottom) out for a girls' night out before the big event. Congrats, J-Ditty! May you both be very happy.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Yay Amurrica!

Have a happy 4th of July, all my fellow Americans. We're having a BBQ, largely so that we have an excuse to make a velveeta crockpot dip. Travel safe, point the guns in an arc when shooting up in celebration, don't drink more than your weight in beer, that sort of thing.

And for those of you going down the Comal River (in nearby New Braunfels, Texas), try and have a good time tubing, even though now the powers that be have banned beer bongs on the river. Is nothing sacred???