(Today's car conversation with MissNine, which would not have occurred if Mr13 had been in the car.)

MissNine: I think I have a crush, kind of.

Me: Really? That's nice. Anyone I know?

MissNine: Yes. It's (xxx) from my class.

Me: Ah. He's a nice boy.

MissNine: Yeah, pretty much.

Me: So, why do you think you have a crush on him? What do you like about him?

MissNine: (pauses) Well...we both like bikes.

Me: I see.

MissNine: And we both have the same political interests.

Me: (giant spreading unseeable grin) 

MissNine: He's cute.

Me: That's a classic reason.

MissNine: I think that's it.

Me: All pretty solid.

MissNine: Yeah.

Me: Well, thanks for letting me know.


The White Stripes, "We're Going To Be Friends"


I have been so lucky over the years to have had many exceptionally-talented creative folks as friends and colleagues. I love to see what they are doing, how they grow in what they do over time, the unique way they interpret the world through creative mediums. I am often inspired by not only their successes, but their determination to keep at it despite a great deal of competition, limited opportunities, and discouraging remunerative prospects. But I do sometimes wonder: are we quickly heading towards a society where such pursuits as art, photography, music, and even traditional journalism are but hobbies or luxury pursuits? Will there be anyone who can make even a basic living in the arts?

I was poked to thinking about this idea (again) via this article via Peta Pixel noting that 50 CNN photojournalists got the axe today. Bottom line reason: there are plenty of talented and very motivated non-pro "citizen photojounalists" that have great cameras, do good work, and are completely willing to upload their work to CNN just to see their images on a major site. CNN gets quality content, free, in same deal that is in place for many of the writers for news aggregators like the Huffington Post and Gawker. The lure to provide something for nothing has always been common in the arts. There are far, far more people who would like to be able to work in a creative field than there are positions available, so competition keeps most wages and perks to a bare minimum, if there are any offered at all. People hope their images or words or sounds will be so superior that "someone" (otherwise known as "they") will take notice sometime, and offer up a dream job, or even any vaguely-related dream-ish job. Hope springs eternal, and for those who are very motivated, do very good work, and know how to make solid connections, good things sometimes happen.


(Let me fix that.)


In all reality, the trend is not going towards paying anyone more money, it's making people accept that never getting paid is how it is. The digital era has brought forth literally millions and millions and millions of gifted artists. We can see evidence of this everywhere on the 'net. There is more wonderful writing, music, and photography available for me to view than I could ever intake in several lifetimes. It's heartening to know and quite beautiful in reminding us of the finer parts of humanity, and at the same time, completely solidifies the knowledge that when nearly anyone in the world can jump into the pool with just a mouse click, they will simply because they can.

Supply and demand, baby. There are far more creative riches to access, but some would say that you can be too rich. Today, those "some" are probably the 50 photographers who lost their jobs at CNN, and are unlikely to find similar replacements. You can wag your fingers all you like at CNN or Huff Post or any other media access point, but you can't really blame them for taking advantage, either. These are not benevolent non-profit organizations, after all; they exist to make money. What boss wouldn't be giddy to have people knocking down the door to work for free? And it's not like there is going to be some backlash from creatives to withhold content if they aren't given a share of the profits. There will always, always, be someone else ready to step in and do the job just as well for free, count on that.

I don't have a place I sit comfortably on this issue, because it's just gone past right or wrong or good or bad. It was an inevitable outcome of technological advances. I feel a bit sad, true, because creative people are simply going to have to work exponentially harder to keep doing what they love to do and are best at, and will likely have to do other stuff to pay their bills. The irony of having more and less at the same time is bittersweet.

(crowd at Flaming Lips show, Puyallup Fair, Puyallup, WA., 9/21/11)


MissNine: Mom, do we have a cooking cape?

Me: A what??

MissNine: You know...that use when...ah!! A apricorn!

Me: AN APRICORN? (explosive laugh)

MissNine: What? (dissolves into giggles)

Me: You mean an apron?

MissNine: Hahahaha! Yes! Hahaha! Well?

Me: No, we have no cooking cape or apricorn!

MissNine: Hahaha! Mom! My brain just went crap!

Me: Hahaha! DON'T SAY "CRAP!"

MissNine: OK!


There's no reason to stress over the December holidays when you can use my handy Shopper's Horoscope to help you through. I live to give!

ARIES: Your hard-headed, selfish, bullying nature is ideal for smashing your way to the front of any frenzied store purchase line, so you can totally wait until the last minute. You will easily plow through old ladies, toddlers, the differently-abled, and any number of portly store security guys to get YOURS, because you know YOU deserve it. Remember: you need to keep a self:others buy ratio at about 50/50. Maybe write it on your hand.

TAURUS: You are resolute, unmovable, and insanely stubborn. Use these qualities of entitled determination to argue down any store clerk for at LEAST a 20% discount on anything. You will not settle for anything less than what you want, and will hang in there until past closing time. The store manager may choose to actually pay you to leave, and you can use the extra cash to get a little something special for your therapist's stocking.

GEMINI: Your striking dual nature can really pay off at the holidays. Go buy whatever you want for your family, wrap everything beautifully, but keep the price tags, original boxes, and store receipts. Let them enjoy their gifts for a day or so, then quietly in the dead of night take everything back to the original places of purchase for a full refund. The holidays are really about sharing time with family, not crass presents, right? If anyone in your family is upset to find their gifts missing, just claim burglary and file an insurance claim. Double win!

CANCER: You are that person at the holidays, the one who assigns so much sentimentality to the season that you are likely to cry at the sight of a "Precious Moments" tree ornament. You start to decorate the house the day after Halloween, and force your pets to wear Santa costumes through January. Your problem is overextending yourself and buying so much crap for everyone that you can't pay your bills, and end up homeless and hanging out at the zoo all day by the reindeer, weeping. You are the perfect person to busy yourself in your tchotchke-choked home making homemade gifts, like pencil holders or creepy Gingerbread Man cookies.

LEO:  As an insufferable, lazy, arrogant narcissist, you're already a known quantity to your friends and family, so you can totally get away with buying things YOU like, rather than what THEY would like. They will nod, smile, and seethe silently when they open up new hubcaps for your Hummer or a set of bath towels with your monogram, but will end up giving you the gift back for you to keep because they don't have any use for it. King Of The Holidays, that's you!

VIRGO: There's no one like you when it comes to the holidays, because your intensely perfectionist/OCD ways will see that you've decorated your home beautifully and wrapped the most exquisite-looking presents. Reduce your foul, fermenting anxiety by buying the exact same gift for everyone on your list, and make it something no one could possibly dislike so your fragile ego won't take any soul-crumbling hits. Think socks or baby bunnies.

LIBRA: Rather than being a well-balanced individual, you are the Bipolar Betty of the zodiac world: you're either running around like a fresh methhead or lounging so long on your couch watching Real Housewives of New Jersey that you get bedsores. Use one of your upswing days to get all your shopping done, but plan ahead: buy extra boxes of aluminum foil to use as easy wrapping paper on your "sloth" days.

SCORPIO: You loathe the holidays and everything about it, and totally resent having to do anything other than systematically plotting revenge on your boss and spouse and/or having sex with anything that moves. Screw The Man at holiday time by stealing a few Salvation Army money kettles and thoughtfully giving the cash inside to the adults on your list in lovely cards, and the coins in piggy banks to the kiddies. Your charity will be so unexpected that most of the adults may decide to sleep with you after all.

SAGITTARIUS: There's no getting around it: you are a thoughtless, immature, impulsive ass who barely connects with people long enough to have anyone to buy for at the holidays. However, you are also incredibly charming so your road to holiday happiness lies in dating a sweet-but-gullible retail store clerk for a couple of months before Christmukkah. Convince her (or him) to let you use up their total store employee discount for your gift purchases, then dump her (or him) a couple days before the event so you don't have to buy her (or him) anything.

CAPRICORN: You are the most materialistic, shallow, and cheap bastard in the zodiac. Dickens' Ebenezer Scrooge was surely a Capricorn. Make your bitter spendthrift pessimism a plus at the holidays by going through your home and re-gifting things you no longer want, like a dried-up Chia Pet, expired cough syrup, or your children.

AQUARIUS: The Weirdo Of The Zodiac, you are the one who brings chipotle-infused tofu to Christmas dinner, argues for four hours with your mother about the appropriateness of said side dish, then retreats for the rest of the night to play Call Of Duty in the basement. You are completely devoid of emotion and sentiment and you enjoy making fun of Cancer people and actual cancer victims. Your idea of holiday shopping is whatever you can scoop up from the counter displays at Walgreens when you stop to buy some cigarettes on the way to Christmas dinner. Just stick with that, you robotic freak.

PISCES: You are either a feeble-minded hippie or a smelly drunk, so holiday shopping is a particular hardship for you. You are so scatterbrained that you can't remember who you need to buy gifts for or even why, and are easily duped into buying overly-expensive presents by even the most clumsy salesperson. Solve this by asking a Virgo pal to write out your buying list, then give it to an aggressive Aries friend with your credit card on Black Friday or Christmas Eve. Have Aries bring the purchases back to Virgo for wrapping (or Libra and the aluminum foil if Virgo is being too anal about it and taking too long.) Celebrate with your bong or liter of vodka at completion.


Old school cut-and-paste modification! I found this double-sided rock magazine poster today folded up in a manila envelope. I would add that I am no more a fan of Quiet Riot and The Fixx in 2011 than I was in the '80s when I made this.

Stupid MTV.


Let's get this done with early, shall we? (Click on each for full size)


I love food. Oh, I really do. I love all the tastes and textures and smells of good food; I chew slowly, I savor, I experience food. Food is an event for me, and a simple, sublime pleasure. However, I really don't like to cook. It's kind of like all that work, the measuring and mess and planning and serving and such, takes all the fun out of actually eating the food. Also, I am not particularly good at it, and I generally don't like to do things I kinda suck at. I just don't have the patience to cook fabulous meals, and at this point in my life, I just accept it as one of my native faults. My poor children. Never shall they know the comfort of Mommy magically whipping up some delectable repast, including bountiful celebration meals. No, sorry, we'll have to go out or bring in, but no holiday cooking for this little domestic failure.

I did make one major attempt and of course recall it well. It was Thanksgiving of 1993, in our high-rise apartment overlooking the Auraria Campus in downtown Denver, Colorado. My firstborn had just turned two years old, and we had decided that we wanted to raise him as a lacto-ovo vegetarian. This would be the first year we all did the holidays as vegetarians, and I was determined to make a delicious non-meat feast. I got some recipes from PETA, one of which was a vegan "no-meat-loaf," made primarily of sunflower seeds. I busied myself in the galley kitchen and was quite proud when I put the loaf pan in the oven to bake.

I timed everything perfectly, and all the other traditional side dishes were ready as I brought the seed loaf out and filled the plates with portions. My son was still in a high chair, brought up to the dining table. As we all sat down and began to eat, the faces of my husband and son twisted quizzically. They had both started in on the loaf first thing. They chewed and chewed, their expressions more dismayed with each grind. I became alarmed, and then a bit defensive.

"What??" I spat out at them, frowning. "What's the problem?"

"What...did you make this loaf with?"

"Sunflower seeds, why?"

"Did them first?"

Oh. Ohhhhhhh...crap. No. No, I did not. The loaf was filled with unshelled, utterly inedible sunflower seed shells. There would be no vegan Thanksgiving entree that year.

My toddler and my husband then laughed until they cried, with reddened faces and much pounding and stomping, I cried without laughing and then laughed without crying, and now it's family legend.

And no one even asks me to cook holiday dinners. They know.

I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving, vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, carnivore, chef, chef failure, all.


I am not making this up. Thank Duluth Trading Company for "Ballroom Jeans."

There's also "Buck Naked Underwear," said to have "no pinch, no stink, no sweat" properties. IS THIS COMPANY DEALING IN BLACK MAGIC???

Um..."Anti Monkey Butt Powder."

And the cure for "Plumber's Butt?"  GET OUT!

Duluth Trading Company, I salute you!

SNL, Nerds Broken Fridge


Unless you've been hiding under a blanket the last few days, no doubt you have heard of the ruckus  at the University of California - Davis. A police officer, Lt. John Pike, was filmed casually pepper spraying a sitting group of peaceful, non-threatening Occupy protestors, point-blank. It is a horrifying image of needless, pointless police action: brutal, callous, and a clear abuse of power.

While UC - Davis figures out whose heads are going to roll over this one, in the meantime our friend The Internet has come up with a brilliant black-humored take on the situation. Lt. Pike, or "Sgt. Pepperspray" as we now might refer to him, has become a Photoshop meme, pepper spraying figures in great works of art, famous historical scenes, and the like. I figured I would join in.

For tonight's bedtime story, please consider sharing these "Sgt. Pepperspray's Mother Goose" rhymes with your kiddies! Please to enjoy! (Click on the pics to enlarge)