Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Let's make it official. Starting with The *Disappearing* of Thanksgiving

I really love your enthusiasm for my holiday rants. And not just because I love to rant (which hullooooo - is my favorite) but because it always feels good to not be alone in one's opinions of things. And there you guys are, all "Yay! It's Finny Rants About The Holidays time!", making me all warm and fuzzy inside.

And, isn't that what the holidays are really about? Feeling warm and fuzzy inside?

Yeah - I used to think so, too, until people got all full up with their retarded Holiday Crazy and began snuffing out the warm fuzziness that *could* be a part of the holidays if they'd all just stop being idiots and starting full scale riots over video game consoles and such.

Which is why I'm declaring December on this blog to be How Dumbasses Are Ruining The Holidays Month.

Because there are SO many ways that dumbasses are ruining the holidays beyond just the fugly-fying of their homes with absurd decorations when they should be spending that time and money, say, MOWING THEIR DAMN LAWNS SO THAT CHEETAHS STOP USING IT FOR CAMOUFLAGE.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

What I'm planning to do here is trot out all the ways in which dumbasses are standing between all of us and a warm, fuzzy holiday season, one post at a time. And, by all means, feel free to add your peeves to the comments so that I can fold them into the ranting to come.

We'll start with a post that I drafted up before Thanksgiving when I was in the throes of an enthusiastic happy hour with Bubba and all on fire about a sighting from my commute home on November 9th.

Remember that date, November 9th, because it sets the tone for the post below.

Hope you're all looking forward to a month of holiday ranting interspersed with ironical displays of my holiday endeavors because even though there are dumbasses out there intent on ruining my warm fuzzy good holiday times, I never stop trying to fight back with seasonal baked goods and some measure of good tidings.

For that post already...

I nearly caused a low speed traffic accident by slowing down to a shocked halt in front of a house a block over from mine when I saw that creepy telling glow of OH SHIT THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS ARE UP ALREADY.

Net lights over shrubs, string lights hung all mamby pamby along the gutters, some horseshit wound around the porch columns. ON NOVEMBER 9th. Waaaaaaaaaayyyyy more than a month before Christmas.

Meanwhile, do people even celebrate Thanksgiving anymore? Because I think this country, as a whole, has forgotten about Thanksgiving in its ever hurrying rush to celebrate Christmas.

Not to get all, "When I was a kid" on you, like some crazy old bat (which I don't yet qualify for at my spring chickeny 33 years of age), but I do remember a time when we at least waited until the day after Thanksgiving to get all HOORAY CHRISTMAS IS ONLY 30 DAYS AWAY and shit.

Like, there'd be the mad dash to the mall on the day after Thanksgiving (though I will NOT call it Black Friday because I just will not) and, soon after, there'd be the lighting of some tree in Rockefeller Center in New York City, because it's super relevant to the rest of the country to light a tree in a city thousands of miles away, and the chorus of holiday stressing out would be set to annoying jingling music in every store, commercial and radio station.


But I think there's been some secret agreement made amongst those who really want Christmas RIGHT NOW to *disappear Thanksgiving* in some sort of mob hit so that they don't have to wait one additional hot second before dousing themselves in egg nog and running headlong into a Wal-Mart frenzy at an ungodly hour to maim people with shopping carts and also save, like, $2.50 on a Xbox.

I think they're trying to *wack* Thanksgiving.

I mean, when you think about it, what really stands in the way of Christmas anymore? Halloween? Pffftt. Certainly not.

I mean, I saw Halloween decorations in the stores for about two weeks and THE SECOND that shit was over, all that stuff got packed into boxes and shipped back to whatever storage facility holds it all for next year. The shelves weren't even cold before the Christmas stuff filled its place. Meanwhile the shelf space next to the Halloween stuff had Christmas stuff in it already, so it's not like the writing wasn't on the wall.

It was. Halloween is on shaky ground in the Obstacles Between America and Christmas department.

And what else is there between us and Forever Year Round Christmas? Hardly anything.

I mean, Easter gets a little play, and there's Fourth of July that people like because there are explosives, outdoor cooking and beer, but no one's getting up at 4am to race into a department store to buy an American flag or anything.

What I'm getting at, here, is that the holidays are fine things in themselves, but the Crazy that surrounds them is, like, totally gross.

So when I see my neighbor's Christmas lights up on November 9th, it makes me want to jam a pen in my eye and/or go on a killing spree with a giant candy cane.

Thankfully, there are already many stabby instruments making their appearance around my neighborhood, so at least I won't be at odds in my hunt for a killing instrument.

Monday, November 28, 2011

And nigh-night.

50,326 words later, I have barely reached the turning point of this beast and will probably have to go back and hack off the first 35,000 words BUT WHATEVER.

Done for now. More silliness to come. Later. After sleeping.

Let us join together as one in our holiday pet peeves

I just wanted to check in and make sure that you all survived the craziest holiday shopping weekend in history.

Crazy in the sense that people were nearly (or totally? I didn't follow up on the news stories because they were too depressing) killed attempting to buy waffle irons for $2 and such.

I just feel like the holidays have lost their appeal when celebrating them involves the use of pepper spray, rioting or handguns on fellow citizens of humanity.

Perhaps, in that sense, I am the crazy one, but I'm willing to accept that.

Meanwhile, sorry the blog has been so quiet this month. NaNoWriMo is nearly over (3 more days! 6,000 more words! I need to give myself constant pep talks and use a lot of exclamation points so that I don't shrivel up into a lumpy pile of despair! Forgive me!) and I really really want to be back with you guys, hanging out here, bitching about the aforementioned holiday insanity and also showing you pictures of things I'm making, eating, drinking and pointing at in horror.

Yeah, I feel renewed attention to my favorite game of Holiday Fugly coming on, so I hope you're ready for my Holiday Ranting A-Game.

Got some holiday rantings of your own? I totally want to hear them. It may even inspire me to go on a whole new rant of my own.

And wouldn't that be nice? Some togetherness, some camaraderie, some linking of arms and pointing of collective fingers during this season of holiday?

I think so.

So spill it in the comments: Holiday Pet Peeves...GO. And remember - you can say swears here and I heartily encourage it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I just saw it happen

I got up this morning to just go walk the dog and spend the day off doing whatever.

Like, I'd dick around in the yard raking shit or I'd prune something, look at the bees, ride bikes to get tacos with Bubba, whatever.

Not like it was a special day off, or a day that most other people would have off, and so I'd just go about my day off as though it was my own personal secret. Secret Finny Day Off! Let's go get drinks!

Or whatever.

I thought I was still safe from it. From the days off that aren't really days off because everyone else has them off, too, and so they're out there mucking up your own secret day off with their mutual day-offness.

Please do not act like you don't know what I'm talking about because I know that you do.

And really, while we're all *knowing* what I'm talking about - let's call this phenomenon of mutual day-offness what it really is - The Holiday Season.

Oh sweet mother, it is so ON. And I watched the switch get flipped.

Yep. Saw it happen.

I watched it go from "Oh, pretty. It's fall." to "OH SHIT. I HAVEN'T SHOPPED YET."

See, I was just freshly back from our bike to tacos, where I had just blasted through a pile of leaves on my bike with no regard for whether there was a cinder block hidden in the middle of it or more likely half a tree limb, and I was so pleased with Fall.

Oh, the neighbor's house looks so nice with the red leaves from the maple tree in front and oh it's kinda chilly I should maybe wear a jacket, and that kind of shit. All while just driving up to BevMo to get materials for tonight's Special Day Off Edition Cocktail Hour.

It was a rare peaceful moment in my world during which I didn't contemplate hitting anyone with my car.

Because I usually only get that way during a certain time of year and, hey, it's only fall, so there's no reason that people should be acting any differently than any other time of year but wait why is there a traffic jam in the BevMo parking lot IT'S NOT LIKE IT'S THE HOLIDAYS OR SOMETHING...


I just saw it happen.

I watched regular people, who are probably only marginally insane and poorly behaved most of the year, flip down the visor of their steel helmets and let fly the Holiday Battle Cry.



"YEAH! ARE YOU LEAVING? OK, GREAT! THANKS! I'LL JUST WAIT HERE while blocking traffic entirely because I'm in the middle of the lane because I don't want anyone from either direction swooping in and taking MY spot because BITCHES I got here first and this is holiday prison rules parking so just sit the fuck back there and wait!"

I mean, I could have denied it at this point. I could have chalked that scenario up to the reassuring concept of this being, perhaps, a drunk driver in the booze store parking lot who had stopped by briefly to refuel before tearing back out on to the streets of San Jose on a one woman killing spree.

I could have, but it would have proven fruitless because immediately after parking my car (in one of the many spaces that were only a few rows beyond the cherished front four spots), I witnessed a series of Only At The Holidays events that broke me of my comfy cozy It's Not The Holidays Yet denial.
  • I walked into BevMo (FINALLY.) to find a 20 foot tower of Jim Beam Holiday Collectible gift sets
  • I checked out at the grocery store next to a big stand of Special For The Holidays Ivory Label Lanson Champagne
  • Came home to find the first Christmas card of the season propping open my mailbox. (Leave it to the accountant.)
    • Along with 8 different catalogs with holiday themed covers
  • I have the neighborhood kids racing about on the streets at midday because school's out for the long weekend and let's all tie our hair together and ride one bicycle out of sheer relief of being away from the four walls of school!
  • My neighbors are balancing on rickety ladders in their driveways and they ain't cleaning their gutters
  • I went to look up a recipe for tomorrow's dinner (which I realize is Thanksgiving dinner, yes.) and it was in the Holiday section of my good old fashioned recipe binder

There's really no denying the facts at that point. It's the fucking holiday season and I totally just watched it happen.

This morning, things were all fine and dandy and then I went ahead and pushed the issue flaunting my day offness right in front of BevMo and BAM!

The holidays are here.

Nice going, ass.

Meanwhile, Happy Thanksgiving, people.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

FINE, I WILL THEN. [Tutorial]

I finally gave in today and hatched a craft.

I've been staring at the leaves for months, here at home, in Arkansas, in Tahoe - I just keep staring at them and fantasizing about making wreaths, taking their picture, becoming ONE with them.

Stop staring at me, swan!
Because I'm obviously a psycho.

And then I saw Dig's post about Bleeping Wreaths and was all, Oh look how pretty! I want to make a wreath from leaves! but then I was all, But oh, Bubba hates holiday decorations and I could never hang one on our front door screen door because he'd totally poop but then I was all, I bet I can make one that's really lightweight and won't wreck the screen or I can put it someplace where he won't get all WHAT'S UP, HOLIDAY LOSER or whatever. 

It was a whole thing.

So this weekend came along, when Bubba was going out of town and I was left unsupervised in the presence of leaves and fall and wreath making materials abounding just all over the fucking place, so after a lot of hemming and mental hawing over What If Bubba Hates It and I Have To Explain Myself For Making Something Holiday-ish, I shut up my mind and just did it.

And, really, there's nothing HOLIDAY-y about fall leaves, really. When you think about it. Which I did. Lots.

Also, there's so much other shit I needed to do, that I was having a hard time justifying taking time to make wreaths that might not be met with the warmest acceptance and approval. Until I realized that I was actually standing still, staring at the space on the wall where I wanted to put these alleged wreaths and had stopped all productive activity to do so, and so wasn't doing anything anyway.

Exactly what my mind was imagining.

I was just wasting time staring and wanting and itching to craft and so I told myself to stop being such a freak and just do what the crafting fingers wanted: Make a god damned wreath and shut the hell up, self. 

So I did.

Yeah - take that, self.

Also, I went and took pictures of the pistache trees that are all aflame with fall on our street. They've been staring at me all week and I just needed to get them together with the camera for a quick second before they were barren from the windy rainy weather and I had to be all sad that I missed my chance and begin administering the mental beatings that would carry over until next fall.

Aflame, I tell you.

Sometimes it takes a lot of self flagellation for anything to get done around here, is what I'm saying.

See, that wasn't so hard. I don't know why I make things so difficult.
 And then, after photographing the trees and collecting leaves in the rain from my neighbors' driveways while they looked out at me with pity from their living room windows (Hi, people - FYI: Pointing is not helping.), I took 20 god damned minutes and made two adorable wreaths that, when Bubba rolls his eyes and points to them in a few months when it's Valentine's Day and they're still hanging on the wall, will get thrown into the vegetable beds and composted because TAH DOW they are biodegradable.


Simple Ass Wreaths Tutorial

Makes 2 wreaths

A bunch of leaves of whatever colors are around
An old file folder
Hot glue gun with hot glue sticks
1 foot of ribbon, strip of cloth, length of twine - whatever tying implement you have lying about tangling up with other shit in your craft supplies
Two different sized bowls that both fit on one half of the file folder

How to
(Sorry, no photos of the process. I was in and out of this project in about 20 minutes and thought I'd end up throwing it away in the composter, so didn't take any pictures. That'll teach me.)
Take your file folder, and keeping it folded, trace the circumference of the larger bowl onto the folder. Then put the smaller bowl inside that circle and trace that one so that you now have a nice O shape at least two inches wide.

Cut the Os out.

Heat up the glue gun and start gluing down leaves in whatever fashion suits you. I layered them up with their stem ends all going the same direction until the stems started getting in the way and then I just cut them off. And because I don't like waste - even wasting of shit that was going to be thrown in a heap at the curb anyway - I used all the leaves and just started gluing and stuffing them in wherever they'd fit when I got to the last few.

Make the other wreath just like I said, there.

Loop your tying implement (I used some 1" ribbon left in my wrapping supply box) over the first wreath and tuck it behind the leaves on the front. Tape it down to the cardboard O backing and tuck the other end over the other wreath and tape that down.

You're done.

Oh. Yeah. That was pretty fast.

Yeah, that's pretty much it.

I hung mine by hiding a tack behind the leaves on the top wreath and pinning it to the wall, but you could tie another length of ribbon or whatever to the top wreath and swing it over your front door (I tried this, but I knew Bubba would hate it so I stopped) or tie a bow in it and pin it to the wall from the bow or even loop it over the top of a framed picture and tape it to the back. You could also hang it from a suction cup hook to your front windows, like I imagined doing when I was in denial about Bubba's hatred for all things Holiday Decorate-y, but I'll leave it to you to determine how much of a scrooge your beloved might be.

The only other thing I did was go back to the wreath, after it was hung where I wanted it, and glued some of the floppy leaves in place so they wouldn't dry all wonky. But if you're using leaves that are already real dry, you won't have to do this.

Then sit at your bar, even though it's 11am and there's no need for cocktails just yet, and write a blog post about what a lunatic you are and how you should probably not be left unsupervised and how you should REALLY be writing all these words for NaNoWriMo since you have about 1500 to go for the day and you haven't even typed word ONE.

So, yeah, I'll be seeing you. Happy wreathing.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pudding brain

Oh dudes. This month is totally getting away from me and I hate just hate that.

Know what else I hate? Only blogging once a week. Seriously.

I have shit to tell you people and when it gets to the weekend and I sit down to tell you all of it, my brain numbs up and I have a hard time scraping together two coherent words that you might want to read.

But that's mostly because I've been spending all my words on NaNoWriMo.

So far, I'm about 30K words into the 50K goal and I'm on track to win again this year, for the third year in a row. YAY.

In even better NaNoNews (which is a thing I just made up. You should go use it as a hash tag on Twitter and get a trend going. I'll join in! Maybe.) I may be writing a novel this year that actually makes it to Stage 2: Editing. Which will be wholly unlike my previous two novels that will die a cold solitary death in the forever phase of Stage 1: NaNoWriMo Draft.

Now, granted, I'm not 100% sure that I'll edit this novel, but since I never made it this far into the month while still liking my novel and the characters therein, it at least has a better chance than either of the two stink bombs from years past.

I attribute this relative success to three things:
  1. Scrivener
    Seriously, having actual writing software that lets you put together character sketches, outlines, scene descriptions and so on, is actually as helpful as the Theys of the world say it is. Not that Scrivener is paying me to say that or anything. I just really like it and it's helping me not hate my book this year. Hooray.
  2. I wrote an outline before I started writing.
    Now, granted, I wrote two outlines and did research and wrote up chapter summaries and everything before doing my usual punt at the 11th hour by deciding to go with an entirely new, un-outlined premise, but then I wrote up a quick outline for that idea and it's been semi-smooth sailing since. In the sense that I have only rewritten the premise once or twice and the novel has taken only two or three major shifts since I started writing. OK, so it's not the same premise at all, really, but I haven't changed the title, so that's something.
  3. @NaNoWordSprints
    Ever had to sit down and catch up on 5,000 words in a day? Yeah. It's not the best. Particularly when your brain is filled with pudding and you can't come up with the brain power to order a burrito, much less write a novel in draft form.
    But having the @NaNoWordSprints deal going on Twitter, where they have some nice NaNoWriMo person tweeting ideas, commands, prompts and silliness to get you writing as many words as humanly possible in 20-30 minute increments is EXTREMELY helpful when your fingers thud down on the keyboard and immediately freeze. What? I need to have a sudden and powerful weather shift occur in my story? OK. I can think of something for that. Or, an alligator or anteater needs to appear or be mentioned? OK. I can fit that in somehow. Give me 10 minutes. So, yeah, super helpful.
 Mostly, I feel like this year's NaNoWriMo situation is an improvement over past efforts since I'm 10 days from the finish line and I haven't gone on a wordly killing spree inspired by intense hatred of all my characters.

Though someone will have to die soon. I have a chapter in my head all written up for that scene, so unless someone starts pissing me off, I'm just going to have to make up someone annoying to knock off so I can have them shoved carelessly into the back of an ambulance like so much bagged lawn clippings.

Anyway, that's what's up with NaNoWriMo. I'm going for my third win and no one has died yet. I'll let you know when I cross the finish line and we can do a body count together.

In other November news, I signed up for the Applied Materials Turkey Trot again, for the 4th consecutive year, and almost immediately after paying my $35 registration fee, decided I probably won't run it after all.

Why would I throw $35 in a hole like that?

Well, when you submit your registration, you end up on a thank you page of sorts, and this page has a hideous counter to tell you how many other idiots are running this race on Thanksgiving morning in some half assed effort to wish away the calories from the 16 pies they plan to eat.
And when that counter says 18,296 like it did when I was sent there after registering, I had to take a moment to get over nearly swallowing my tongue and then swiftly decide that my $35 would just be considered a donation to the food banks that benefit from the race as well as a little gift to myself in the form of a run through my vacant town on Thanksgiving morning while all these crazy fuckers are off running this race on the other side of town.

Yeah. Jada and I will be going for a solitary run around my neighborhood and, on our way home, will stop by a friend's place for Thanksgiving bloody Marys and ZERO race day bullshittery.

I'm pretty sure.

I mean, you know how much I love a balloon arch and race day jitters and all that shite, so I may give in at the last minute and subject myself to the throngs of insane morons dressed in costume pressed together in the name of extra pie, but it's likely that I'll opt for a quiet run through empty streets with the dog, followed by bloodies with a good friend and some race fries even though I didn't run a race at all.

Because I guess I'm just a cheater like that.

Also, the bees went nigh-night after their third sugaring, nearly all the fava beans have germinated and at this very moment I'm sitting in front of a fully functional gas fireplace that is giving me no guff whatsoever when I go to turn it on.

I feel like I should probably go buy a lottery ticket.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Garden fight!

I don't know why I love the concept of my gardens fighting one another, but as I sat down to compare this year's garden and its final tallies to last year's I could only imagine pretty green tomato leaves curling into little garden fists of fury.

"My tomatoes are bigger than yours!"

"Yeah jerk? Well, my tomatoes are more numerous than yours!"

OK, so fighting tomatoes are kind of stupid. Let's move away from this bizarre concept.

What I meant to say was, the garden is done for the season. Including the volunteer potatoes and peppers, which held out way longer than I thought they would, but mostly because I finally tore the overgrown tomatoes out of their way so that they could see the sun again.

Someone get me some fucking sunscreen!

And then what happened? Well, the spindly little peppers which had produced all of an ounce of fruit for me, finally started doing some growing. In October, when it was basically too late for anything impressive to happen.

At least we're still wearing our blossom hula skirts.

I could be a pepperoncini. Put me in coach!

I double dare you to fry me up.

But still - we got some more peppers and AT LONG FUCKING LAST we got two NuMex Jalamundo peppers.


With which I *could* have made two very overwrought jalapeno poppers and thus fulfilled my fantasy of fried foods, but I did not.

I opted for some end of season salsa verde because of the abundance of the volunteer tomatillo plants and because the thought of firing up a pot of hot oil to fry two measly jalapenos seemed like a greasy waste of time.

Maybe next year! When I just sow them direct in the soil and back away from this delusion of mine that tells me that, despite many years of failure, I can actually start seedlings indoors and successfully harden them off to grow in the garden.

Look. I just can't do this. I suck so impressively at it, in fact, that it could be a new defining characteristic of mine. Seedling Killer. That's me.

Anyway, I did sow them directly in the garden *eventually* and, after a summer of growing in the shade beneath the aggressive tomatillo and cherry tomatoes, I harvested a big two jalapenos.  That particular failure is all my fault and we'll try again next year when I'll endeavor to make more sense in my gardening. Like, I'll sow them in the spring somewhere where they'll see the sun. Maybe! But I'll also probably do something stupid somewhere else in the garden, so don't worry - we'll still be able to have this little end-of-season heart to heart about my stupidity in 2012.

Hooray for that.

In Finny-Doesn't-Suck news, however, this was a banner BLOW THE DAMN DOORS OFF year for the tomatoes.

Seriously, now.

I planted four plants - two standard (Better Boys), one beefsteak (Brandywine) and one cherry (Sun Gold) - and if you remember from my previous year's predictions, one tomato plant = 50 lbs of tomatoes.


That would mean, if you're following my predictions anyway (which, why wouldn't you? Do I steer you wrong? OK. Sometimes.), that I should have gotten 200 lbs of tomatoes this year.

But what of the cherry tomato? Certainly THOSE can't produce 50 lbs of fruit.

Or can they...
Did they do this, like, 35 times?

OK. No they can't. I mean, *maybe* in someone else's garden they can, but in mine they put out about 15 lbs of tomatoes. Which, frankly, was a bit much. I feel like I spent the better part of my summer sitting under that plant picking until my fingers and nails turned green.

And they never looked bare.

It was terrifying.

Anyway - the tomatoes did well and I owe it mostly to the Better Boys who, in collaboration with the Brandywine who was NOT as impressive as last year, put out 199 lbs of fruit.

Still though, prettiest fruits.

199 lbs of tomatoes. 15 lbs of cherry tomatoes. 214 lbs of tomatoes in total.

That's a lot of fucking tomatoes, people, especially if you only put in four plants.

It was a good year.

What of the rest of the place? Well, let's go through the fun exercise of comparing final numbers:

2010 vs 2011
Gardening costs: $56.26 vs $60.30 = -$4.04 : 2010 wins!
Total produce value: $1,059.45  vs $1,781.39 = $721.94 2011 wins!
Cost per pound to produce: $0.21 vs $0.23= -$0.01: 2010 wins!
Total pounds: 264.31 vs 263.62 = 0.69: 2010 wins!
Total pounds of tomatoes: 147.44 vs 214.04 = 66.60 : 2011 wins!

What the hell have I learned from this? Er...well, the 50# of tomatoes per plant rule works, but not in the way I imagined (the healthy producers make up the difference and cherry tomatoes are growers not showers - ha!) and pound for pound, tomatoes are more valuable than melons.

On an unrelated note, I've also decided that I'm cutting my green bean crop in half next year. We just don't need to go through the rampant bean frenzy that we do every year unless all my tomato taking friends develop a strong desire for green beans. Which I sort of doubt they will. So, unless someone will commit to taking 20 pounds of beans off my hands next summer, I'm cutting that situation in half. Maybe we'll grow cucumbers on the other half of the teepee.

Appreciate your enthusiasm.

But...sick of you.

Or maybe nothing. Or maybe sweet peas. Whatever - it just won't be all beans.

So, next year's plan, which is obviously already being formed in my mind even though I *just* took the garden down and planted the fava beans, will start with a half-sized bean crop, at least three tomato plants but NO cherry varieties and the peppers (both NuMex and Golden Greek) being planted in full sun starting in spring. And, not to spoil the experiment story, but I think I already saw the stupid cherry tomatoes germinating in their volunteer pot, so that may have been a bad idea since there's no way they'll make it through the winter with that behavior.

We misbehave.

Good thing I don't want to plant them again anyway! Take that, jerks.

So, now I'm waiting patiently for the seed catalogs to come out so that I can start my winter fantasizing about what I might plant next year while hopefully picking a lot of kumquats off the suddenly productive plant and staring the new Clementine tree orange because those big green orbs are the biggest teases.

I should be orange soon.

Me too!
 Which I guess means it's time for winter, skiing, making abominations and behaving lewdly in my kitchen.


Sunday, November 06, 2011

Well, that was weird.

After all my WOE IS ME I HATE AIR TRAVEL griping, our air travel to and from Arkansas was the smoothest trip of my life.

And we connected through Dallas and everything. WEIRD.

No one snaked my arm rests (unless you count the 100 times Bubba did it to be funny HA HA HA.), no one smelled like a three day old deli sandwich, no one even kicked my chair.

I'm starting to think no one likes me anymore. Am I not part of the Flying Sucks So Do You Want To Fight Me club?

Whatever - there was some mad fishing in Arkansas and that's what you all really care about so why am I filling the screen with rambling about an uneventful flight halfway across the country?  WHO GIVES A FUCK.

This is me giving zero fucks.

And this is The White River being all, IT'S FALL SO LOOK AT ME.

I swear, this is the prettiest time of year to stand out on a river and haul in fish. Although I will say that I was constantly finding myself distracted by the scenery, which normally wouldn't be a problem except that the pesky trout kept jumping on my olive woolly bugger and making the staring difficult to concentrate on.

I seem pissed don't I?

I mean, the friggen place was so IT'S FALL the whole time that I got exhausted looking back and forth from the leaves and trees to my indicator.

Oh fall, you're the cutest.
Oh trout, you're the squishiest. Sorry about that buddy, you were too big for my puny lady hands.

So, yeah, it was a rough time. The weather was perfect (60s, sunny), the river was slow moving (except when they were generating at the dam - bastards) and the trout were plentiful, hungry and in some cases laughably enormous.

Yer a big fucker ain't ye?

As close to catching a 20#er on a #20 fly as I've seen.

I shall name him Bruiser.


And because no fishing in Arkansas story is complete without my recounting the local culture for your personal horror, please allow me to tell you another brief story about "Only in Arkansas".

As you can figure based on the name of this trip, it occurs over Halloween. Which is great for a lot of reasons that I outline in this post, the most important of which being the fact that we get to dodge out of all Halloween bullshittery to instead stand on a river and fish for trout.

But, sometimes, we have to abandon the safe and secluded confines of our rustic accommodations and quiet river to avail ourselves of the local amenities and fill in the gaps of our pantry which means that, in this case, the avoiding of All Things Halloween fell a little short.

Specifically, we needed more tonic. And limes. And beers because we killed three kegs (5 gallon ones, people! We're not alcoholics.)

So, because we had to go into town for beer, that meant that we got to come into close and scary contact with the local townsfolk. Now, I don't remember exactly which town we were in when this occurred, but it's somewhere in Northwest Arkansas and WHOA.

See, we traipsed into some hillbilly grocery store with a name I've never heard before, notable only because it has to be the only grocery store in all of Arkansas that's not a Wal-Mart, grabbed the few items on our short but crucially important list, and headed up to the cashier's stand.

And there I stood, mouth probably agape, staring unbelieving at the cashier.

The woman was large, but that's barely notable in the grand scheme of things. She was wearing her hair tied in a bun and tucked under a cotton bonnet, a printed cotton dress like you might see on the many wives of a polygamist, a cotton apron and an obscene amount of very poorly applied pancake makeup.

Like, there was a flesh to makeup line running from ear along jaw to ear that was so dramatic that the first moments of my incredulity were simply dedicated to how the fuck someone could apply so much poorly matched makeup (it was a good four shades darker than her actual doughy pale complexion) and then spend so little time trying to blend it in.

Looked like the woman had drawn that line from ear to ear and then just colored it in like a four year old might color in the face of Mickey Mouse in a coloring book.

But before I frittered away my wonderings and awe on the makeup's application, I happened to let my eyes fall on her handmade nametag (not corporate issued, although that would have been a nice touch), which brought a whole new level of disbelief to the situation.

Her nametag said, "Aunt Jemima".

The woman was in black face.

A giant white woman in Arkansas dressed up as Aunt Jemima for Halloween, painted herself in (an albeit poorly executed) black face and came to work.


I was floored. But then I tossed my eyeballs around the bustling grocery store and realized that all of the faces in there (even hers with its odd coloring) were white, or some sun-abused shade of white, and that we were in Arkansas where apparently this is not a big deal. I also realized that she'd probably gone to the makeup aisle of said all-white grocery store and purchased the darkest shade of foundation they had in stock to complete her Halloween ensemble.

So, yeah. Wow. I mean, the other cashiers were dressed up for Halloween, too, and some in scandalously not big enough for their old sagging asses costumes, so it's not like this woman was there against the store's rules dressing up for Halloween in such a fashion to make a crude point, but still.

Black face.

So wrong.

And then we returned to our cabin and the river, vowing to never speak to anyone else outside of our closed group.


Let's never speak of it again and instead just focus on the pretty pictures.

Ah, pretty fall. Nothing bad could happen in a place this pretty.

Innocent yellow leaves.

Angelic wooly bugger

Delicious trout.

Bacon, onion and potato hash stuffing. There's nothing wrong with that.

Hardly offensive.

Perfectly delicious.

Please stop squeezing the fish, ma'am.

Stranger danger.

Another one for the books.

Like I was saying.

Safe in the pretty wilderness where no one is in black face. Ah. Oh! Sorry. Never speak of it again.
Still, we'll be back. But we will not be going shopping. Ever.