Eclipse day!

I saw the eclipse.  I am quite proud of this, normally I have a knack for missing big once-in-a-life-time (or a handful of times in this case) natural phenomena events.  But not this time!  My other big claim to fame is that I saw Halley’s comet when I was 10 – that only happens once every 75 years so I feel really good and smug about that.

Being down South in LA I didn’t actually see a full eclipse, just the partial one, so I missed out on the sky going dark, the halo of solar flares and all that other apocalyptic stuff.  But still – I saw it, I went outside and looked through pinhole cameras and paper glasses which I’m not convinced protect you from anything.

It looked like a startlingly bright orange, crescent moon to me.  Well actually what it first looked like was just a regular big bright light in the sky.  Because of course I thought to myself, “Everyone looks at the sun occasionally, just for a second and then they look away again.  Surely just a quick peek…”

(Disturbingly, there is photographic evidence to show that the Molester McFascist shared the same thought process today.  Normally it’s reassuring to know you’re not alone in your stupidity, but this time….)

But the thing about a partial eclipse is that the piece of the sun that isn’t covered by the moon is still bloody bright, so you still see the light from the sun pushing aside the shadow of the moon.  If you didn’t have some sort of a viewer, there really would be no way  to tell that a partial eclipse was occurring.  No one mentions that.

Really  I was expecting it to look like some invisible beastie was nibbling away at the the sun until there was a big chunk missing.  Through the special camera and glasses, it looked exactly like that! But using the old sneak peek method it looked like a regular white light in the daytime sky.  I guess a partial eclipse serves to remind us that the Sun has not fallen on our heads….yet.

 

 

The Mock Turtle Misunderstanding.

I quite often succumb to reading those crappy things on Facebook, “15 of the Most Outrageous Lies Kids Tell”; “25 Stories to Make Your Hair Stand on End”; “Hilarious Replies When Someone Texted the Wrong Number.”  I am annoyed by myself for wasting time doing it and will often give up after a few slides, but sometimes I see it through to the painful end.  Anyway, what I am about to confess will place me firmly on one of those lists, one titled, “People Who Shouldn’t Admit to Being this Dumb.”

Up until this morning, I thought that the mock turtle was a real animal.

This is true, I woke up thinking there was a real animal called a Mock Turtle, and now an hour later the walls have been blown apart, I am completely disillusioned (is this a real world?  Spell check seem to be on board with it…)

The destruction of my innocence began when I was mulling over what impersonal, unemotional topic I could write about this morning.  Why the mock turtle of course.  I had no idea what it looked like or what it might have in common with the genuine turtle, therefore surely there must be others who shared my ignorance, and would appreciate being liberated from their lack of knowledge.  I knew that the mock turtle in Alice in Wonderland was a fictional character, for starters it talks – dead give away.  But I kind of thought that it was based on a real one because after all there is such a thing as Mock Turtle Soup.

Ah…you can see where the confusion began.  There’s chicken soup, rabbit stew, frog’s legs, steamed snails, mussels in a white wine sauce, spit roast pig, wild boar… generally speaking when a food has an animal in its name, the animal is real.  I suppose the word “Mock” should have been more of a clue.

Anyway, for those of you who are curious Mock Turtle Soup is made from the bits of cows that you’ll only find in a proper butcher shop (or on a cow) like feet, brains, organs, with some vegetables thrown in for vitamins.  It is supposed to replicate the taste of Green Turtle Soup which was all the rage in the 1700s.  Turtles were being kidnapped and transported to Britain and the colonies from the Cayman Islands.  Shipping and handling fees being extortionate from the dawn of time, the soup was expensive enough to require you to sell a couple of your own organs. Thus someone came up with a cheaper alternative, and in a fit of honesty rarely found in marketing, accurately named it Mock Turtle Soup.

I guess it’s not so different to imitation crab rolls.  Perhaps in 300 years time there will be a person at a party demanding, “What do you mean the Imitation Crab is not a real animal?  People used to eat them all the time!”

 

24 hour break from being a decent person.

We are about to get very personal.  If that sounds a bit icky to you because I don’t normally do that, wait a day and I will have written something new and impersonal.

So mere hours after last week’s happy post and bold assertion that I am living a relatively problem free life, the man for whom I have silently cared very deeply for the last three years, has a seizure and a stroke and it turns out he has a couple of brain tumors.

Awful. Unfair.  Fucked up.

In a case of spectacularly bad timing I had promised myself the morning before I heard the news, that I would finally tell him how I felt…  so either I could move forward with him or – more likely – move on without him.  Obviously I didn’t say anything… he had other things on his mind, tumors to be precise.

Anyway, I’ve been to see him every night for the last week, and his is far from a hopeless case.  He’s young, he’s strong, there are good treatment options, and he has the most incredible group of friends by his side 24 hours a day.  I am astutely aware that he does not need my company.  I am not one of his inner circle, I’m not even the outer circle, I’m more in the bubble groups that you can vaguely see from the outer circle.  So my going to visit him every day is a selfish act, one which might appear odd to him. I go because I can’t stay away, and all this love I have for him is allowed to come out purely because he has brain tumors.

But that’s not the end of my selfishness, it goes way beyond that, read on.

Tonight, there’s a big group of people hanging out at his house to watch of all things, The Great Wall, starring Matt Damon (honestly, not as bad as it could have been, I’ve seen far worse).  He (my unrequited love, not Mr. Damon) casually mentions that a girl he likes is coming round… and the clenching pain in my chest is like the ice cracking on the frozen pond before young Sally and her new ice skates fall into the freezing dark waters below.

His opinion is that I will like her. Well fanfuckingtastic, that makes everything better.

She arrives, and they immediately disappear behind closed doors together for a considerable amount of time.  The little pond ice crack has now been replaced by massive glaciers breaking apart forming destructive titanic icebergs careering around my emotional well-being.

Yep, I am the asshole who is jealous of the woman who brings happiness to the guy with a brain tumor.  I am that shitty person right now.

I make an excuse, go outside and debate the merits of just leaving right there and then…but I am perversely looking forward to seeing The Great Wall. And a hasty departure would just look strange.  Instead I go to the liquor store to buy myself a beer to help myself get through the film.

It was a plan that was working pretty well until the happy couple come and bloody well sit next to me on the floor, all shimmying up one another’s personal space, their feet millimeters away from mine.  At this point I became the uber shitty person who hates both of them: the woman whose only crime is to make the man with the brain tumor happy; and the man with the brain tumor whose only crime is to not date me.

Fairly soon after I find an excuse to sit at the back of the room and shoot toys arrows at the screen.  BECAUSE I CAN, OK!  JUST BECAUSE I AM SUPREMELY CHILDISH, AND I CAN.

The film ends, my little heart is a bunch of broken spiky popsicles floating around in slush. Everyone else leaves so quickly that I am one of the last people there, which normally I would cherish but right now makes me want to vomit.  I burble cheerfully about emailing if I don’t see him soon, and sprint out the door without hugging him – the first time I’ve done that in two years – because my torso feels like I’m lying face down on a bed of spears, and my throat seems to be trying to escape through my eardrums.

Then I sit in the car and cry.

Then I told myself that I could have 24 hours to wallow and cry (16 left to go) and then I have to go back to being unabashedly loving for the forsee-able future, because when you’ve been giving all your affection to a man with brain tumors – no matter if he doesn’t need it – to suddenly withdraw it, is a selfish asshole move.

So yeah… I’ve given myself a 24 hour reprieve on being a decent human being.  After that I will give an Oscar winning performance.

 

 

 

 

Oh please, pleeeeeease!

There is no milk  in the house. Not a single drop.

In a cruel twist of fate, I am supposed to be having a lie in to recover from an exhausting week – culminating in a tremendous party to celebrate 10 years of living in Los Angeles – and yet here I am after 4 hours of sleep, BING! Wide awake and staring forlornly at a cup of watery tea, wondering if I should attempt substituting ice cream for milk

And that there folks, is the full extent of my problems in life…. It’s okay, go ahead and give me a mental slap in the face, it’ll feel good.

Soooo yarss, yesterday, August 12th, marked my 10 year anniversary of moving to Los Angeles. I celebrate this anniversary with the same level of dedication that Wil E.  Coyote has for trying to have Road Runner over for dinner.

At last night’s  glorious shindig (I’ve no room for modesty in my life any more – it was an awesome party: drinks, music, food, arty farty tea lights in mason jars strung from trees, and lots of laughing ) there was a mix of friends old and new, gathered from the past 10 years of my life. To the casual observer it was a random mix of a guests.  Family; friends from former jobs; solid drinking buddies; friends met whilst setting fire to a BBQ; friends I met dressed in drag (as one does); acquaintances of other friends that I’ve stealthily sneaked into my life; friends I’ve known for more than 10 years; friends I met a mere 10 weeks ago.

But to me they all fall into one clear category: these are the people who, when you go to a wedding, you cross your fingers and offer up a silent prayer, “Oh please, please, please, pleeeeeeease let them be on my table!

Cheers to being on the most fun table.

The perfect name for..

Pootling along the freeway, trying to reassure the car that yes I will get her an oil change and a service soon, pat pat, and I know I’m 15000 miles overdue, I’m sorry, and I know she’s feeling a bit tired and achy, and I’m very sorry , but this week, this week – I promise. Psychic hug, stroke the dashboard.

Mercifully I get distracted by a big lorry in the distance, its name printed across the back doors, red and blue letters on shiny, shiny polished aluminium siding: Deep And.

Deep and what? Deep and lovely?  Deep and squalid?  Deep and dangerous? Deep and dragons?  Deep and Darth Vader, a love story?

We start going up a hill. I give the car’s steering a wheel a scratch behind the indicators and urge her to go just that little bit faster.  She is a curious and bold little thing and gamely accelerates so we can catch up to the lorry.

The full name is Deep And Express.

Martha and I (yes the car is named Martha, and yes it is because of Martha Stewart, and no I do not have a Martha Stewart obsession, the car chose the name, not I) enjoy a chortle over this.  Deep And Express sounds like a porn courier service. “Good evening, I have an order of Throbbin Hood, Cliff Banger, and some lightly mentholated lube.  Sign here please.  No, it doesn’t need to be your real name.”

We descend the hill, Martha picks up momentum and I engage in the awful habit I picked up in Tasmania whenever the petrol gage is too near the E for comfort, of putting the car into neutral for a spot of coasting.  Petrol stations – not as abundant as you might think in Tazzy.

We begin to draw level with the lorry and I can see that the name is also written on the side, only it’s slightly different, Deepland Express.  The lorry is so shiny that Martha and I simply couldn’t see the big vertical bar on the back blocking our view of the L.

Sigh, the Deepland Express is not nearly so entertaining.  I think they should consider a name and indeed business change.  In a world where a major supermarket chain deemed it viable to sell Asparagus Water (don’t try and hide underneath your seats Wholefoods, it is you, again … 3 sticks of asparagus in a bottle of water for $6! ), there’s probably room for a speedy porn courier service.

 

You’re confused Senator McCain? So is everyone else.

The universe has a splendid sense of comic timing.  Within two days of posting that everything was coming up roses, my mum is diagnosed with pneumonia.

It’s all okay though, she’s doing fabulously well due to the modern miracle of super strong drugs.

Anyhoo today, along with thousands of other people today I watched former FBI director James Comey sitting on his lonesome at a table being questioned in front of hundreds of people, about his actions, his reasoning, his memories, his interpretation of events and of Trump’s behaviour and words. We could talk all day long about this and indeed much of the nation has been, a friend of mine in Washington DC posted that some businesses today closed their doors and went to the pub instead to watch the TV.  Amongst all the voices heard today, there was one that has got people ever so quietly and ever so politely murmuring, “What the hell was that?”

John McCain, since the election, has raised his public image considerably by facing the fact that Trump is a poor president, instead of red-facedly attempting to defend the insanity unlike some other members of the Republican party.  (There’s loads of them, we can single out Paul Ryan for sure, but you know ..iceberg, tip.)  Both Republicans and Democrats have been referring to him as a voice of reason.

So it was a bit of a shock to witness him, during his turn to question Comey, having what was at its best either an aging brain moment, or a My family has been threatened so I have to do this, moment.

Basically, McCain in his questioning said that Clinton and Trump, being the two presidential candidates, were part of the investigation into Russia’s involvement in the presidential campaign, and then implied that – since Comey had stated that no charges were to be brought against Clinton as a result of the FBI’s earlier investigation into her email situation – he had cleared Clinton of wrongdoing but Trump was still under investigation and so therefore Comey was biased against Clinton.

This is when the viewers went , “Eh?  What’s he on about?”  Because the thing is that Comey had already testified to saying that Trump was not under investigation at this time.  And he explained repeatedly that the Clinton email investigation, had been completed and closed without charges being brought against her.

So basically the real time situation is that there are two investigations: one that is closed in which Clinton was investigated and cleared; and one that is currently open in which neither Clinton nor Trump is the subject of investigation.

….and then there’s McCain creating an alternative universe.

I felt like I was watching Great Uncle Roger get really mad after Christmas dinner because he’s convinced that the game of Halo 3 he is avidly watching is actually the news, and the rest of his family won’t believe him when he tells them war has been declared.

I guess Comey felt the same way when he furrowed his eyebrows and declared “I am confused, senator.”

 

 

Exhaling, and a hint of mortal peril.

Ahhhhh.

Did you hear that?  Here it is again, louder.  Ahhhhhhhhhh.

That’s me, exhaling, a big deep breath.

The big scary surgery in the family went really well.  A bunch of other things that were stressing me out have been waded through or meandered off on their own, AND I got a month’s membership to a spa that is so focused on relaxation it has a room specifically for sleeping.  Lush.

I’ve been feeling all “Life is short! Carpe diem! Don’t sweat the small stuff,” and been squeezing buckets of lemonade out of teeny tiny lemons.  Stuck in traffic?  How nice to have time to listen to the radio!  Broken plate?  One less thing to wash. Put on weight? Well my cleavage looks fantastic and food tastes great – HUZZAH!

And for bonus points, last month I organized a 10th birthday party  and discovered the secret to kids’ parties: keep the kids full of sugar; the booze flowing for the parents, and provide entertainment that involves just a slight hint of mortal peril – we made fireballs in bottles!