I'm leaving the old intro here, but adding this- it appears the doves have taken over my blog for their fiction. Just as well, I was doing a piss poor job of updating. They're doing much better.

This blog is infrequently updated, full of incorrect spellings, misused words, and general bad grammar. It started when I was trying to use google+ (which I've since given up on) and discovered there was no character limit for posts. If you've known me a long time, a lot of these stories will be old hat. If you plan to know me for a long time, you'll no doubt hear many of them in person. But, folks seemed to enjoy them, so here they are.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

the Thirtieth Story

For today, my one and only thanksgiving story. My family never much did thanksgiving growing up. There were four of us, and we ate dinner together every night. We didn't have any extended family within driving distance, and, most importantly, we're not people inclined to be bound by tradition. Generally, we didn't make a big deal of it. Dustin's family, though, makes a very big deal of holidays. After going to his extended big meal two years running, I put my foot down, and insisted that we were going to my mom's for thanksgiving. He, very logically, argued that my mom doesn't do thanksgiving, so I called up my mom, and asked if, you know, maybe we could do this thing? She was game, and called up my brother, who agreed to come out. Then she called me back and asked how traditional this ought to be. Since Dustin was so used to a big  thanksgiving, and I was keeping him from it, I thought we should try to do a turkey, and some pies. So mom bought some frozen pies, and a turkey.
Mom's a teacher, and her kids homecoming day was thanksgiving morning. She wanted to go to the game; we could either put the turkey on before and have dinner in the early afternoon- far too traditional for us- or wait till we got home and have dinner around 6. We opted for the latter. Then the game went into overtime, and there wasn't time to come home before picking up Tristan and Yukka, and it was pretty late before we got the turkey in. New Yorkers at heart, this was fine- dinner would be around 8. Mom has a roaster thing separate from the oven; we put the turkey in this and turned it on. It emitted black clouds of smoke. We took the turkey out and cleaned the roaster, put the turkey back in, mixed some cocktails and went down to the beach. About an hour before the turkey was scheduled to be done, we headed back up the hill to put on potatoes and check on the bird. We opened the lid of the roaster to a completely raw bird- the damned machine never got turned back on after the cleaning.
We had pie and wine for thanksgiving dinner, and turkey for dessert. We're adaptable people, and for that I am thankful.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Twenty Ninth Story

Today's story takes place in Ohio. For my birthday, my mother gave me some amount of money and told me to use it to learn to fly. I wanted to go hanggliding, but much of Ohio has the wrong geography for that, and the amount wasn't quite enough for a flight lesson, so I decided to jump out of a plane. There was a place not too far from Oberlin where you could take a two hour course and then they would take you up; so I signed up there. The class was about 20 minutes of knowledge one might need when jumping out of a plane. This advice included the nugget that we weren't to have long in freefall and should pull our cords about 15 seconds after leaving the plane; but this was our first jump, and it would probably take us that long to start counting, so to just scream FUCK! at the top of our lungs about 5 times and then pull. (this was good advice)

The rest of the two hours was looking at a map of the surrounding farmland. We were supposed to land on their property, but again this was a first jump, and if we screwed up, we might end up at the neighbors'. Most of the farms we were to gather up our parachutes as best we could and find the nearest gate (gates were marked in red on the aerial view). There was one place where they were breeding thoroughbred race horses, and we were on no account to open any gates there; the woman had raised the lowest bar on the fences towards our goal and we should be able to roll under. "And THIS field. This field here- there is a bull. If you land here, fuck the parachute- there is a knife in you jumpsuit pocket, cut your lines and run for whichever fence is closest. Jumping out of a plane isn't dangerous. That bull though- that bull is dangerous" (I'm not sure whether this was good advice. Should one run from a bull? or back away slowly? Don't know, didn't have to find out)

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Twenty Eighth Story

My brother went to Japan for several years after graduating from college. The first Christmas he was gone, my mother and I flew to Thailand to meet up with him and his then girlfriend, Vika. There are lots of stories that come from that trip (the one about the hiking boots and lack thereof originates here). This is just a short aside, though. It is easy to lose track of days when traveling; Mom was more alert than the rest of us. Christmas morning found us on a plane on or way to Phuket. Mom pulled a tiny fake pine tree out of her carry-on and started singing christmas carols in the middle of the flight.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Twenty Seventh Story

While we were in Mali, my mom and I wanted to get to Timbukto. There were two main reasons for this- the first was the libraries, and the second was the simple fact that it is Timbukto. I mean, you just can't get that close to Timbukto and not go. "That close" though, gives the wrong idea. It is still hard to get to timbukto. There is no road. There's the River Niger, and there's 4x4s. We got it into our heads that we wanted to take a boat. Boats are expensive. We had met up with a pair of British folks, and we were going to try and get together to find passage. They found some other folks (another british woman and a couple, one Danish, and one Bulgarian). The bunch of us ended up splitting a boat with another group from Spain, and a French lady traveling with her Senegalese husband. The last two actually knew what they were doing, the rest of us were dumbasses. Because we had negotiated separately, the english speaking group was to be sleeping on the boat, while the spanish speaking group was to be camping on shore. The first night, there was a storm. It was amazing- the wind was shearing horizontally, driving rain in front of it like a blade. The spanish tents ripped themselves to bits in their attempt to blow away. The boat was leaky, but designed for these storms and thus mostly fine. Clearly, the spanish people needed to come in. But the english speaking crowd had spread out blankets and mosquito nets and what not covering every inch of the boat, so for a long time, we ended up with all the Spanish people sitting in a row on three sleeping bags. Eventually, through diplomatic means, we were able to gain some more land, but there just wasn't enough room for everyone to lay down, so we all played cards and accused each other of cheating in languages we didn't understand.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Twenty Sixth Story

I guess this will be the pattern. I'll forget to check google+ for weeks (months) at a time, but when I remember, I'll post a new story almost everyday. Then I'll forget again.
This is the story of the duck who couldn't swim. It is from when I was VERY young; probably first grade, maybe second. My brother and I both weren't going to school at the time, and in between lessons, mom would take us down to the park. There were lots of ducks at the park, and I would run around like a mad thing trying to pet all the ducklings. There would often be one female duck with ridiculous numbers of ducklings. Presumably, none of the ducks counted their fluffballs, and when a fluffball saw a bunch of other fluffballs it figured that was were it was supposed to go. There was a downside to this, though. Ducklings don't produce oils of their own- the mother duck preens her chicks and imparts waterproofing when she does. With that many chicks, she can't preen them all. My brother and I found ourselves standing on shore, watching a duckling sink. We had no idea WHY the duckling was sinking, we only knew that it was. We called mom over, pointing at the floundering duckling; being who she is, without even stopping she walked right into the pond in the middle of the park, swam out to the duckling, and brought him back to shore. She didn't know why he couldn't swim, either. We let him rest and then put him back in the shallows, keeping a close eye. He clearly wasn't gonna make it, so we brought him home. Our cat had kittens at the time, and the little duckling did his best to keep up with them (after all, they were also fluffballs, maybe they were just really strange ducklings?). Mom, of course, was calling around trying to figure out what to do with a stray duck. Eventually she found a bird rehab place, where we continued to volunteer one day week until re-enrolling in actual school.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Twenty fifth story

another day, another story. The Crab story is another installment from the beginning of Dustin and I's relationship. It is set in his old apartment. It starts with him at work and me at school- he called me up to say that he was at the grocery picking up food for dinner, and do I eat crab? Of course I eat crab. He picked me up on the way home, and when we got there, he went into his room to check his email. I stayed out in the kitchen, mucking around, maybe doing dishes or something. The window above the kitchen sink was open, and there was a breeze, still, the grocery bag seemed to be rustling a lot more than it should. I began to suspect there was something in there. The super 88 is a little sketchy, maybe there was a mouse in the vegies? I went into Dustin's room, and said something along the lines of "I think the grocery bag is moving". Dustin didn't really respond, so I went back out and continued with what I was doing. The bag was definitely moving. I went back into Dustin's room, and said that there was absolutely, for sure, something in the bag, and he needed to come check it. He sighed, and got up to go investigate. He opened the bag, looked in, and said that there was nothing in there but the crabs. I responded that I was SURE something was moving, and he said that the only thing moving was the crabs. Only then did it occur to me that the crabs would be alive in the kitchen. Only then did it occur to him that one might buy crabs that weren't alive.

I insisted on putting a brick on top of the pan when we cooked them, as I was SURE - despite knowing otherwise - that they would escape the pan, angry and wanting revenge. They were very tasty, but I told Dustin that if he wanted fresh crab again, he damned well have it dead and cooked before I arrived.

the twenty fourth story

This is the story of Milemarker 81. It requires a lot of stage setting. My brother decided, one winter, that he wanted to see the northern lights. His plan was to take a tent and a sleeping bag and just drive straight north from NYC. I was a little leery of this plan- neither of us have winter camping gear, and he didn't (doesn't) have a car. In the end, it was decided he was going to borrow mom's car, and mom's car comes with mom, and I hitched along for the ride, and his then girlfriend (now wife) was also along. It turns out, though, that you can't drive very far north on this side of Canada. I had gone to the library the day before we were leaving to try and get a map. Couldn't find anything, so I asked the research librarian. He asked me to come back in fifteen minutes. When I walked back in, he started laughing the kind of loud gaffaw that just does not belong in a library. It seems no one had bothered to make a map of Labrador- there is only one road. He also helpfully informed me that the road is not paved and was not recommended for anything without 4-wheel drive. The only way in is the ore train, which will hook up a passenger car if someone wants to ride along.

Ok, that's the setting. The four of us were on the ore train. There was one other passenger, of the first nations (I never got which nation, so we have to go generic, here). I speak a bit of French, he spoke even less; still, we were trying to have a conversation. After a few hours, he stood up and started to get his things together. I intended to ask him where he was getting off, but, in my pidgin French, what I actually asked was "what town for you?" He responded, very clearly "pas de ville" (no town). I said, "I know we're not in a town now, but what town do you live in?" He looked hard at me this time, and said, again "No Town". Once again, I tried to rephrase my question, once again "No Town". I thought to myself, ok, there's no reason to push this, we'll see the town when we get there. The train was slowing down, so I figured it wouldn't be long. He had all his stuff together by now, and was moving back on the train to the door. The conductor appeared at the door and motioned to our fellow, who went and stood next to him. As the train reached a curve, the conductor opened the door, and the man simply jumped out, into snow nearly as tall as his head, right next to milemarker 81. Before we sped up, we were able to see him plow his way to a tiny shed, from which he removed a pair of snowshoes and the disappeared into the woods.