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31 August 2014 @ 03:14 pm
It's been weeks since we mowed the lawn. First it was dry and the grass wasn't growing, then it was wet and the grass wouldn't stop growing. So I'm out there in the heat and mugginess, pushing a noisy, smelly machine around and trying to miss snakes.

From the back, toward the house (obscured behind the trees):

Yard 2

From between the trees, toward the back:

Yard 1
Current Mood: hothot
Current Music: The Princess and the Frog
31 August 2014 @ 05:36 am
I remember when we used to go grocery shopping right after church1. One of the three grocery stores in town was open on Sundays, at least until one in the afternoon. There was a gas station that was open on Sundays, and 7-11 only had truncated hours. All that was left was the hardware store, which apparently did thriving business on Sundays.

You can try to tell me it had something to do with the sabbath, but I don't buy it. Our primary reason for visiting the gas station on Sundays2 was to buy gas for the lawn mower. Anything we needed from the hardware store — sandpaper, paint, saw blades, lumber — pretty clearly wasn't intended for a day of rest. It might have been, if someone considering the use of such materials restful or recreational had plans for them, but since I was generally the one who had to paint the porch3, prune the trees, or whatever other routine tasks there were to be done, I can attest they weren't recreational. (I still don't consider them recreational, although I would much rather repaint the porch or lop out a mulberry tree than mop the kitchen floor!) It was tradition, and just as semi-non-denominational as the Christmases we're told to accept as basically secular these days.

By five o'clock, everything was closed, even the 7-11 where I bought my comic books for 30¢ each. I was partial to The Avengers4 and Captain Marvel, but bought the occasional Ghost Rider.

It was restful.


You knew there was some time during the week when nothing was happening.

Not anymore. And while I admit it's convenient being able to run out for a gallon of milk or a bottle of ibuprofen at half past midnight on a Sunday night, there's a sort of healthy innocence that we've lost with that convenience. It was the weekend! Fuck off, goof around! Monday was the start of another week! Now, the week has no end, and working on Sunday is perfectly normal. The weekend is "celebrated" with a frenetic desperation.

I've been working second shift about an hour away. I have Monday off. If they give me the choice of working Saturday, I'll jump at it, since I could use the hours. Sometimes they have Sunday hours, too, and if they offer them this week I'll take them.

1Yes, once upon a time I was a Christian. You don't want to know how devout. But even after I wasn't, I was still too young to do anything other than bend to parental dictates.
2And by "our" I mean "my," riding past a couple of closed stations on my bicycle, with a 2½ gal. gas can balanced on my knees. They did not yet require one to be 16 to pump gas.
3Scraping it first, of course!
4At the time, publicly admitting to knowing the name of even one Avenger was grounds for endless playground torment5, just like admitting to watching Dr. Who.
5Never enough, though, to discourage fantasies about Natasha Romanoff, either as a role model or as a an object of preadolescent admiration!
Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: Bitesize, Sophomore Slump
22 July 2014 @ 09:41 am
I think this story is reasonably good. I mean, considering it was written in under a week, in furtive bursts, constantly looking over my shoulder. There is an older version, but I've cleaned up some embarrassing mistakes now.
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
Current Music: Ultraman
The Pogues show on April 18, 1996 was not their best, but I got a hint or two that sosoclever might be as interested in me as I was in her. The next day, I called her and asked her to go to The Magnificent Ambersons' release of Ambersongs with me.

Current Mood: touchedtouched
14 April 2014 @ 11:21 am
It's snowing! Not much, but it is quite definitely snowing!
Tags: ,
Current Mood: excitedexcited
We have a $13 bottle of beer1 in the refrigerator. It is Angry Orchard Strawman . . . and I'm not drinking it right now. Why not? Because it's a thirteen dollar bottle of beer2! I'm afraid I'll finish it and wish I had saved it for tomorrow, or for the next day, or next week. . . .

So instead, I'm having a $3 bottle of weird-sounding beer. I remember Rhinelander as the cheap beer I used to buy in cases of returnable bottles3, around 1989 or 1990, hauling five or six cases of empties back to the liquor store at a time and using the deposit to pick up another case. Now, though, they make fancier stuff! I almost picked the Thumper IPA, but went with the Chocolate Bunny instead. Why? Because it's funnier!

Chocolate Bunny is "stout brewed with cocoa powder." It is 5.5% ABV, and I just noticed the bite out of the ear of the bunny on the label.

I don't think I've had a stout from Wisconsin before . . . it has the usual slightly burnt taste of American stouts, combined with the too sweet (for me) taste characteristic of Wisconsin beers. It's not the best I ever had, but I'm glad I tried it, and I'll try the rest of the line given half a chance!

1Okay, technically cider.
2Yeah, still cider.
3Do they even make beer in returnable bottles anymore? I don't mean craft beers you buy by the growler from brewpubs, but cheap beer in bottles they sterilize and refill for mass distribution. That was recycling!
Current Mood: thirstythirsty
24 February 2014 @ 11:40 am
Nineteen days ago, I wrote to Steppenwolf Theatre to find out what's going on with my play.

I have seven e-mails this morning . . . National Science Foundation, Victoria's Secret, National Science Foundation, National Science Foundation, Land's End, Levenger, Library of Congress, baked beans and Spam.

Where are you, Steppenwolf? I'm waiting!
Tags: ,
Current Mood: discontentdiscontent
08 February 2014 @ 04:22 pm
I remember studying for comps in grad school. We had an enormous reading list, and only about half the material would be relevant, but we wouldn't know which until the day of the test. Everybody else read and re-read everything on the list, met in long, intense study groups, and read and argued about secondary materials. I, on the other hand, plodded through almost everything once. Half of them didn't make it.

It's no surprise, then, that I scored 206 words per minute, placing me about halfway between a 3rd grade student and an 8th grade student.

ereader test
Source: Staples eReader Department

(found through a link in a column on
Current Mood: just doin' stuff
27 January 2014 @ 04:33 pm
We have fruit flies in our kitchen.

We've had fruit flies before, hitching a ride into the house in a bag of onions or apples from the grocery store. We stop getting anything we can't fit into the drawers of the refrigerator for a while and eventually the flies die of old age, starvation, or boredom. Then we can stop keeping the onions in the fridge again for a while.

Except we're actually feeding these suckers. On purpose. In a couple dozen test tubes with bright blue stuff at the bottom. And by "we" I mean sosoclever. She sits there at the kitchen table with a microscope at 2:00 in the morning separating male fruit flies from female fruit flies while I'd rather we were doing something else*.

I help by standing around drinking beer and making jokes about forcing fruit flies to conform to a rigid gender binary and her fly morgue really being more of a fly potter's field.

I never had to separate Noam Chomsky and Charlotte Brontë in the middle of the night**.

*Like watching Untamed Heart or Trailer Park of Terror, or playing chess while listening to recordings of poetry readings!
**Well, maybe I did, but only in a weird intellectual sense!
Current Mood: nerdynerdy
I doubt anyone is surprised, by now, that I don't exactly consider Republicans irredeemable demons or Democrats unsullied saints. Or vice versa.

I have mentioned, in the past, that Obama was saying, "You know, I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman," while Cheney was saying, "I think, you know, freedom means freedom for everyone." I complained about Obama comparing same-sex marriage to incest, and I haven't forgotten that. Obviously. (This doesn't mean I agree with Cheney about much of anything else.)

Illinois has decided to allow marriage equality, and the Senate has passed ENDA. These are good things, and both are important to me personally.

Mark Kirk, a Republican and, I'm not ashamed to say, one of my Senators, was one of ENDA's backers. I'll search for links when I feel more energetic, but one of the reasons I opposed Obama when he was running for the Democratic nomination for Senate was his consistent opposition to gay rights in the Illinois legislature. I can't be the only one who remembers how cozy Obama was with Rick Warren.

So when Obama claimed to be proud of his "home state", I took it with a few pounds of salt.

But what really shocked me was Orrin Fucking Hatch!!! Orrin Hatch voted for ENDA! If you had told me that ENDA passed unanimously but for one vote and dared me to guess who had cast that one vote, I would have guessed, without a second's hesitation, that it was Orrin Hatch! Here I am, half a week later, and I'm still boggled!
Current Mood: surprisedsurprised