Tuesday, October 31, 2006

where's Miss Fairweather when you need her?

I was over at the SP's house last night. He was installing a counter in the kitchen, I was eating a sandwich in the living room, away from the noise and sawdust.

My cat is currently residing at the SP's. You Rudy-fans out there will be glad to know he's settled in very well; he's got the run of the house and the SP's really good with cats. Rudy's earning his keep by diminishing the cricket population in the house: the basement is populated with these scary prehistoric-looking monstrosities that look startlingly like the bugs from Starship Troopers. My fierce fat neutered killer lapcat likes to pull the legs off them and bat their writhing carapaces around on the hardwood floors until they expire. Eat your heart out, Casper Van Dien.

But last night Rudy ran up against something he wasn't prepared for. He was nosing around the edge of the couch when suddenly he jumped back and something flew up in the air. I thought at first it was that pair of socks he'd been tossing around, but the thing went up and up and kept circling. It made no sound whatsoever, and neither did Rudy: he hopped up on the couch beside me and tracked its laps around the ceiling.

I confess I yelped a couple of times--part startlement and part nervous laughter. My SP had warned me that bats got into the house sometimes. This was a good-sized bat, too, about six or seven inches in wingspan. It's a freaky thing, the way they swoop and dive at you but veer off at the last second--this little dark shadow making no noise in the corner of your vision.

My SP's house is old; it has doors between every room. I grabbed Rudy and shuffled him into the dining room and closed the pocket doors so the bat would stay in the front room. I even opened the front door, hoping the bat would find its own way out--but alas, it was too disoriented and could only circle. I went and fetched my Sparring Partner, who has experience with this sort of thing. He said the only way to deal with it was to chase it around until it was exhausted and then try to scoop it out the door.

We proceeded to do this, with a broom and a fluttering newspaper. The bat tried to land a couple of times--on the doorjam, on top of the curtains, but we routed it out and made it fly until it finally collapsed on the mantle. I actually knocked it out of the air a couple times, which made me feel bad because I didn't want to hurt it, but it only collided with the newspaper and landed on the futon, so I don't think it was too badly hurt. When it landed on the mantle the SP grabbed his welding gloves from beside the woodstove, and nudged the bat into a five-gallon paint bucket (the kindling from said paint bucket was unceremoniously dumped on the floor). The bat was too tired to fly by this time but kept eluding him behind the knickknacks on the fireplace, then climbed down the wall beside the mantle. It was fascinating watching the little bugger climb, with his little clawed toes and webby legs.

The SP nudged it into the paint bucket and then leapt for the front door, bounded down the porch stairs and deposited der fledermaus somewhere in the wild suburban night while I doubled over laughing in mingled humor and relief.

Ok, yes, they're small and easily damaged, and afraid of humans. But they're just plain freaky, the way they swoop and make no sound. It's bad enough having something flying at your head and know it's armed with teeth and claws and habitually carry rabies....

Now I'm thinking I shall have to get the cat vaccinated, dammit. More money down the drain.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

brainstorming in spam

I daresay others have mentioned this before me, but I noticed anew today the strangely intriguing taglines on the spam in my junk folder. Here's a random sampling from today's spam, with inserts where needed to make grammatical phrases:
  • is separable an[d] cache

  • impish commandment

  • aperatif

  • midnight craftsmanship

  • the disorder at fell (or is that Fell? as in a place named Fell?)

  • a little battle between wondering whether it were [something?] both times

  • imbue

  • everyplace troubadour

Note a couple of them are just words, but some of my very favorite words. Makes you wonder what kind of email filters are going through my mail.

I keep thinking there's got to be some use for these very fine scraps of verbiage. Just in twisting them around to make sense, I can feel bits of story coalescing in the primordial soup of my writer's brain. I don't generally do poems, but...

The disorder at Fell is and was a little battle,
between wondering whether it were something inseparable from us,
or the cache of an everyplace troubadour,
whose impish commandment imbued us all with
midnight craftsmanship...
did we not choose an aparatif and another go at Milton.

Take that, English majors!

Friday, October 06, 2006


It is a beautiful blue day outside. I got paid today, and the check was a bit more than usual since I'm no longer paying insurance on my ex. I woke up today with that feeling I was in the right place, doing the right thing. It helps that I'm settled into a place where I can be myself again.

Halloween is coming up. I went to the craft store and bought a couple of artificial crows, black chicken feathers over styrofoam and wire. I had a pair of them some years ago, but threw them out when I moved, and now I'm sorry I did. This new pair are smaller and not quite as imposing, but they'll do.

I was standing in line at the checkout with my crows, and the woman in front of me starts doing a little customer-return dance. She wants to return some scrapbooking crap, but the package has been opened.

"We don't take back opened packages," the clerk tells her.

"Well, the man who helped me said I could return it," the woman coos. She's too old to be using that kittenish voice. She's chunky and overdressed, with dyed dark hair and sunglasses. "I'm sure you remember. You sent him to help me. He was one of the managers."

"I'm sure he didn't say that," the clerk says. "That's against our policy. Do you know who it was?"

"Oh, I don't know his name," the customer simpers. "But he said I could return it, it was just yesterday..."

"Well, what did he look like?"

"Oh, I don't want to say," she says. "That wouldn't be nice of me."

At this point I snorted and dropped my purse and the crows on the counter. "Oh, come on, lady," I said out loud. She froze and gaped at me. "Does that work a lot?" I asked her.

"Well--I--! Give me that!" Her whole demeanor turned snarling in an instant and she grabbed her opened package of stickers. "Never mind, you little--" she reared her head, backing away, and I grinned at her, eyebrows cocked-- "bitch!"

I laughed. "Yeah, I'm the bitch."

"He had dark skin!" she said triumphantly, and flounced out the door.

I gave the clerk a bland look; she had on her best neutral-service expression. "I worked retail too long to listen to that crap," I said.

She handed me the receipt for my crows. "You have a good day, sweetheart."

I perched the crows above the entrance to my cubical at work, above the plate that says "Messinger of Doom."

Yes, I am downright dangerous when I'm in a good mood. I'm contemplating ways to built artificial skeletal arms out of wire and flour dough.