"chi·a·ro·scu·ro [kee-ahr-uh-skyoor-oh]
n. pl. chi·a·ro·scu·ros In all senses also called claire-obscure.

1. The technique of using light and shade in pictorial representation.
2. The arrangement of light and dark elements in a pictorial work of art.
3. a. A woodcut technique in which several blocks are used to print different shades of a color.
b. A woodcut print made by this technique.

[Italian : chiaro, bright, light (from Latin cla-rus, clear) + oscuro, dark (from Latin obscu-rus).]"

In college I took a few basic art classes and at one point we studied the beautiful style called chiaroscuro, or the use of light and dark in a picture. Now, this style doesn't encompass the simplicity of, "Oh look - that dog is casting a shadow. In direct sunlight." (Pause) "Wow." It means the main of the picture is very dark, and the central subject or subjects are lit up in a dramatic manner - as with fire light, for instance. The pictures have very contrasting bits of almost solid darkness broken by bright patches of light. Think of those old comics and horror-movie stills of the villain's face lit from below; the edge between the highlights and the shadows can be very distinct, though this is not always the case, especially in the old paintings that brought this particular style to life.

One of our projects for this study, as you can imagine, was to draw a picture using only pencil and blender in the chiaroscuro style. While I very much liked the style, for the life of me I could not think of anything to draw. One evening while waiting for inspiration to strike, I was sitting cross-legged on my bed with a pad of paper in my lap. I was barefoot, and had lit candles as my source of light to "get into the mood," so to speak. One of the candles I had actually set on my bed to cast a better light on the paper, and had it resting against one bare foot for stability. I know; dangerous, stupid, just asking to cause a fire, but I kept a sharp eye on it - and actually, that's how inspiration struck.

The candle I had on the bed was a typical column candle, and as such, when lit the top inch or two of wax glowed nicely, fading at the edges into just the wax outside of the column. The top edge of wax had melted in such a fashion that some of the flame's light peeked up over this edge to cast some pretty spectacular lighting over the paper, and coincidentlaly on my foot.

So, there was my picture. Envision, if you will, a candle and foot, the foot seen resting on it's side on the slightly rumpled blanket of a bed, the arch sort of cupping the side of the candle. It turned out very nicely, if I do say so myself.

Can you see where this is going?

The day that the project was due, we all trotted in with our drawings, comparing them before class started. I unrolled mine and set it on the table, and almost immediately I was asked, incredulously, "Oh my gawd, Sketch, what the hell did you draw?!?" This was followed by gasps and laughter as everyone turned to look at my drawing.

The young man who had asked the question had only gotten a quick glance at my drawing, and he was standing a good seven or eight feet away. From this distance, and due to the very style of the project - light and dark - he saw simply a lumpish thing near the bottom of the page seemingly connected to a long column-like object which took up the rest of the page. The size of the candle compared to the foot just happened to be, well, suspiciously close to, um, "anatomically correct" for ... something else.

... Can you see it now?

Realizing for the first time what I had inadvertently created, I blushed and stammered "What? It's just a candle and a foot." Silence followed this for a few heartbeats, and then more laughter, more friendly jests. I hadn't helped the situation, it seemed, with that statement. Naive as I am prone to be, the thought of socially-taboo fetishes had been the furthest thing from my mind until that moment. And then the full twisted innuendo of it hit me: I had drawn a foot fondling a candle, and to make the sexual context of it as clear as possible to the viewer, foot and candle just happened to be positioned to look like a very happy penis. With a glowing head.

As I blushed further, and giggled, and rolled my eyes and tried to explain that was pure coincidence and I hadn't meant anything by it, one of my favorite professors, who had slipped into the room unnoticed by me, spoke up. "No! No, no - this is great. This is fantastic! Go with it - sell it! Do you have any idea how much money you could make with something like this? The controversy of it alone could make you millions, literally!"

He went on to explain that throughout history (this was my Art History professor, by the way) controversy played an enormous role in artwork, and that a piece of art with enough controvery surroudning it, or just the "right" controversy, would very often be held more valuable than some of the very greatest of the masterpeices we all know so well today. He gave an example of a painting that had such a huge controversy surrounding it that the artist had people worldwide wanting to buy it, for literally billions of dollars, and that the collector who eventually bought the piece bought it sight-unseen, with no way to veryify any talent or skill, because all they were interested in was the controversy. The artist became a billionaire overnight.

The good-natured joking pretty much died after he said that, and my fellow students then looked at me as if I had created some incredible masterpiece and would be the next Bosch. Of course there were still a few helpness giggles, but overall I was seen to have become the "art genius" overnight - and it was completely by accident ... I swear.

Since that day I have considered my professor's words carefully, especially since I enjoy darker artwork involving demons and monsters and the like. I particularly like artwork that involves the corruption of things that are usually seen as good and light - a form of chiaroscuro of the psyche, of you will. I'm not sure why I like these things and have long since given up trying to figure it out. I just like them. A lot. And it shows in my own artwork, with my preference for drawing these sorts of things. And some of the things I draw - forgive me, mom - can be pretty controversial themselves.

In the area of good things corrputed, I have been working on a series of pictures involving my version of Nightmares (the creatures, not the bad dreams). My Nightmares are corrupted unicorns, pegusi and - and this is my favorite - carousel horses, twisted into crazed, malicious versions of their former selves by that primitive dark evil that spawns into our hearts such things as demons and devils to convince us to be good to each other. In fact, most of the Nightmares are created through the interference of demons and all manner of demonic devices, from straight-up claws to meat hooks to things the like of which are seen in the Saw movies.

I have so many ideas for this series that if I ever draw or paint out every one it will be an enormous collection, and I've even toyed with the idea of full-sized sculptures, if I ever learn the art of sculpting.

Needless to say, these pictures aren't the sort that just anyone would buy to hang on their living room wall for all to see. There is a lot of blood in them, ripped muscle, bone, etc., and that alone would be enough to prevent them from being shown to the mainstream populus. Add to that the fact that it's unicorns for godsakes - the purest, most innocent of creatures ever - that are being de-horned and twisted to such a horrible degree and if I were religious I'd probably be risking excommunication by the Pope himself. Hell, he'll probably black-list them anyway, and threaten excommunication and damnation to anyone who views them, much less collects them.

And that's what I want. Not only would I get to draw some of the twisted things I see in my head and not have to stash them away, never to be shown professionally, but the controversy they'd likely create could conceivably give me a quick status in the darker niches of the art world, and that would be my shoe-in for any other artwork I'd want to show and sell, dark or light or whatever.

Anyone can draw a picture of a sunset, but how many will draw a unicorn with it's face slashed and seeming almost to grin gleefully amid the gore?

I will. I do.

And when I see the things I draw I sometimes fall into wondering just what it is about such darkness that draws me, and what it says about me and possibly my morals or social sanity. Then I remember my professor's words and realize that no matter what Freud might say about it, I'm not the only one drawn to things that don't fit into a Utopic social idea of goodness and light and morality; that, in fact, as is seen throughout history, such controversy and upset is a necessary part of life in that it forces us to face those darker aspects of ourselves, our societies and our ways of life and to attempt to change our world for the better, accordingly.

Call it a necessary evil. Call it a strange therapeutic acceptance of our primitive brains. Call it twisted, if you will. But call it something; let it speak to you and let it make you feel something other than, "Oh, what a nice use of colors." Hate it or love it; let it move you to make changes in your own lives to exorcize your demons and become stronger for it.

When someday you see a picture of one of my Nightmares rearing, bloody, on a carousel with flayed cheeks so that it can scream a bigger scream and you wonder why the gleam in it's eye seems to be one of triumph rather than fear, see the darkness that pervades our everyday lives, twisting our dreams and ambitions to stress, anger, fear, hatred and distrust. See the lack of food in third-world countries while we waste whole dishes because they "didn't turn out quite right." See the nations of people who become passionately enraged at words like "nappy headed hos," but only shake their heads, sigh and turn the page at stories of mothers who allow their husbands to rape and kill their children while they watch and egg them on. See murderers turned loose on the streets because they "had a rough childhood." See one more species wiped from existence because someone wanted a fancy, sophisticated meal or a nice coat or purse.

See all the things that show our darker, twisted nature, and let whatever disgust or rage or fascination you feel direct you to act to change these things, and then look again at the images to ensure you do not forget that this is our world, and we alone make it good or evil, light or dark, welcoming or dangerous. Let the images I create remind you that you have the power give the unicorn back it's horn, no matter how tattered the beast.

If controversy is what draws people, in disgust or fascination, I will use it to make my own difference in the world by moving people to think beyond what their television tells them, and to react to what they see by making even just little changes in their everyday life, or by volunteering for a cause, or by donating fifteen fucking dollars to a charity, so that the demons they see portrayed remain portrayals and cease to come to life to haunt the dreams and aspirations of humanity.

I hope to see you all there at my first-ever art show, whenever that may be. I'll get you in for free, I promise.

Considering expensive peices of paper

I'm considering - kinda, sorta maybe considering - going back to college to get a Bachelor's in Art History. This would inevitably lead to a Master's, so really I should say I'm considering going back to college for a Master's degree.


But, here's the thing: I can't afford to go full-time, and so - if I decide to do it - I want to take online evening classes. Which I've never done, and so have no clue really of what that entails. And I don't have a computer except the one here at work which, well ... let's just say I take a particular dark glee from imagining all the ways I could destroy it. It's just that old, that out of date, and that crappy. And well, it's at work; the thought of staying here after work is over just to use the computer makes me cringe.


But, I really - really - enjoyed the art history class I took in college several years ago to get my A.A. in Graphic Design. Graphic Design can take a flying leap for all I care, but that class was really fun, and I've always loved looking through books of art throughout history, books on famous dead artists, etc. It has fascinated me since childhood. Mama Wren can attest to this, as she's an artist herself and so had many, many art books which, in my youth, I could flip through for hours, entranced. Museums fascinate me as well; it always feels like walking through time, or the attic of someone long gone, seeking and finding treasures at each turn. (Thanks for that, Mom.)

In short, even if the subject plays no valid working part in future careers and all that future employers care about is the fact that I have a peice of paper with my name on it along with the title of Bachelor or Master, I would enjoy it just for me. I've been going back and forth over the last few years as to whether or not to go back to college, and I think the reason I've been largely against it is that I couldn't see the point, as - unless I find some dark niche in the society of those who collect controversial artwork - I couldn't imagine my artwork really paying off enough to make it my day job, and any subject other than art doesn't really interest me as a profession.

I've known for some time, however, that a higher degree or degrees would be very beneficial, and having seen my own boss rejected on so many good jobs despite his knowledge, skill and experience really hit home. The only reason he's still working here is because he, like me, only has an Associate's degree, which is just not enough these days. I don't want to work here forever. Hell, I don't even want to work here another five years, but unless I either get another piece of paper to prove my intelligence or get an apprenticeship at a tattoo parlor, this is where I'll be twenty years from now, and that thought is really depressing.

... Well hell, I think I've convinced myself. Maybe.

But I still need a computer for it. Mom- think Grandma would get one for me with my trust fund? It's for college, which should make it an automatic yes since that's what the trust was set up for, but she really doesn't make it easy to ask. She makes me feel like I'm asking some grave and terrible thing, and I jus don't like feeling that way. But she listens to you. Well, she listens to anyone other than me, really, even if they say exactly what I do. Maybe you could put a bug in her ear on the trip to D.C.?


So, if I really get serious about this and if I can get a computer for it, the next step would be finding a school to suit my desires. I have no idea where to even start on finding a college that has a great art history program. Anyone have any ideas? Heard of any fantastic schools that are notorious for turning out sharp art historians?

Any leads would be helpful and greatly appreciated.

Critters rock


This is Gabriel, a Savannah Monitor, the coolest lizard I ever had the pleasure of knowing (followed very closely by Harry, of course, who is actually almost tame enough now to start to compete with Gabriel's claim as coolest.) I gave Gabriel up a few years ago when I reaized that there is a huge difference between seeing a very large lizard and thinking you can handle it, and actually having to handle said large lizard.

Gabriel was about two and a half feet long when I sold him, no where near the six or more feet he was going to be fully grown, and he was way too strong for me - he was all muscle and the demand to be held. I felt that if he were to twist around suddenly while I held him and my thumb or fingers were in the way - which was almost every time I held him, as he was impatient with my slow mauevering of him so that he could rest on my chest as he liked - he could have easily broken them.

I tried ignoring his endless scrabbling at the side of his cage to get my attention, every day, the whole time I was within eyesight, but it broke my heart to do so. He wanted so badly to be held, or even just to have his ear holes scratched. He loved having his ear holes scratched, to the point that - like a cat - he would lean into my fingers, eyes closed, and if the scratching lasted long enough, he'd actually end up laying full out on his side with his head on my fingers, in a state of lizardy Nirvana. It was, well, cute. Endearing.

And having to ignore him because I couldn't handle him anymore felt cruel to me.

So I put an ad in the paper and the first call I recieved was from a man who loved Savannah Monitors, had raised many of them over the years from hatchling to adulthood, and who had been wanting to get another for awhile but didn't want to start with a baby again, which was all that was available from pet stores and breeders in the area. Having had so many of them as adults, he could handle their size and strength, and had plans to do what I would have eventually done had I been able to keep Gabriel - to devote an entire room to him, not just a large cage, which is best for such large creatures.

It was hard to give him up, especially since he never once stopped demanding my attention, but I could not continue to ignore his demands. He was such a sweet and gentle lizard, and to ignore him long enough would have made him a diffrent lizard, perhaps not so friendly. I couldn't do that. He deserved better.

I was confident that Gabriel would have not only the care but the attention as well that he so depserately wanted with this man, and so I said my goodbyes to him and sent him on to a hopefully better life.

I never heard from the man I sold Gabriel to again, and of course promptly lost his phone number. I can only hope that what he'd told me about his experience with monitors was true, but he seemed to know what he was talking about at the time, so I never really worried, only fell prey on occasion to those horrible "What-Ifs."

I miss Gabriel.

There's really no point to this blog other than to say that: I miss him. This started simply as a test to try some HTML code I found online to add pictures in these posts since my computer doen't like to play nicely with Blogger, rendering much of it's point-and-click editing useless. But I just had to choose this picture to test with, didn't I?

Damnit, I want to go home and hug Harry now. Being a smaller lizard species, I'll never have to give him up, and for that I'm thankful.

Ah hell, I'm gonna get even mushier: hug your pets today. They love you more than you may know.

PS- The HTML code worked. Sweet.

The art of interpretation

Virus Dais

Just because I'm feeling sorta artsy-fartsy, here's a sample of my computer artwork. This began as a sketch of my boyfriend (see the sketchy-scratchiness of the edges of the creature? That's pencil.) Obviously, it ended up as something completely different.

I call it Virus Dais; the creature is a sort of malignance, a tumor of destruction on a pedestal of self-importance. It symbolizes, in short, the darkness of the human psyche and how one can come to love it's effect without realizing it, becoming what is socially referred to as either a "Drama Queen" or "Sefl-Made Victim," or any myriad of other issues with self-worth - either the inflation of it or what is seen as the lack of it.

At the time that I created this I had a few drama queens and victims in my life, and was -though I didn't want to admit it then - tired of the bullshit. And so Virus Dais was born. I'm curious to know your interpretations of the other symbols in the picture - the skull, the lotuses, the wing - just because I love the human desire to interpret archetypes to make them fit their own lives or systems of belief. I could tell you what they mean to me, but really that's not what matters. What matters in the end is what the viewer feels, so please tell me what you think.

Masturbation with other peoples' computers is still a sin

Masturbtion with other peoples' computers is still a sin
Current mood: mischievous

Days like today totally, completely, and in every way make up for all the crappy, horrible, awful, just plain shitty days that life throws out at us odd little humans.

"DNA expert fingers Karis"

This wonderful headline will be plastered across the front page of tomrrow's newspaper, in 60 point type. (Karis, if you're interested, is a man who brutally raped and shot two women in 1981, and is currently being re-tried because his "troubled childhood" was not taken into account in the first trial. In a fantastic twist of irony, Karis himself was against this re-trial, making incriminating statements and refusing to have an attorney present, which just adds to the humor, for me anyway.)

Although we really should point out the insinuation in this headline to the editor (who wrote it), we've decided on a sort of underhanded palace coup, and we're keeping our mouths shut. The editor of this newspaper is not really anyone's favorite person, and when the managing editor - who is out covering the Karis trial, and whose story will bear the naughty headline - sees the headline tomorrow, well ... I kinda wish I worked tomorrow. This is gonna be good.

This will be one of those stories told for years to future reporters, editors, and production workers with much giggling.

Mere moments after my boss, incredulous, read this headline aloud to my co-worker and me and we all broke into spastic fits of giggles, my co-worker regaled us with the tale of a bulletin she had posted on Myspace earlier today, regarding one of the reporters here who hasn't the cleanliest of habits, and who we consequently dread working with. The relevant parts of the bulletin are as follows:

i always thought the term "newbie" was restricted to the internet, or extremely geeky interactions.
not work ones.
this woman has been irritating the crap out of me all day. walking back to the department, thinking her one page is the shit and special and she is allowed to touch my keyboard with her
pussy and smelly hands as she breaths down my neck with her dragon breath.
scratch that.
i imagine a dragon having clean teeth and fresh breath. they probably take pride in their hygeine.
this woman is gross.
and i am irritated.

what a shit-tastic morning. i sure hope those of you that see me later are prepared for the fiery mess of hatred and anger i am as of late.

(i kid, i kid. im as fucking fun as ever. mwahhaa)

The three of us, after this, were useless for the next several minutes, especially in light of the insinuation of the above headline. I actually cried, I laughed so hard.

The word my co-worker was trying for is spelled ... well, how exactly is it spelled? The reporter whose hands were described had something on one of them that looked, well, puss-filled, which can also be termed, um ... puss-y. I can completely understand how the mistake was made because, well ... how do you spell that damn word?!?

Needless to say, it was brought to my co-worker's attention when her inbox was almost immediately flooded with replies, all of them demanding, "She put her what on your keyboard?!?"

They always say laughter is the best medicine. It's true; this made my day.

I cannot do this anymore

I can't do this alone.

For two and a half years, I have tried to change my eatng habits, and for two and a half years I've failed, time and again. I can't deny what my tatsebuds tell me; I cannot convince them that I like salad, as restricted by what I can and cannot eat. I cannot find, no matter how hard I look, recipes for actual meals, not just tasteless lettuce, made for people who have gastritis.

I have been trying so damned hard lately, and I'm still hurting. Last night for dinner I had minetsrone soup, and when I woke up in the wee hours of the morning this morning, I was in pain again. I'm in pain right now.

I cannot even eat one small bowl of soup without hurting.

I hate this.

I am angry, I am sad, I am depressed. I don't want to eat anymore because I can't eat anything that actually tastes good, but I know I have to eat to stay alive. So that's what it's become: a daily painful ritual of cramming fuel into my body to stay alive, and every day I die a little more in my heart.

I need help with this, and I can't find any. I'm going to call my doctor today and set up an appointment to see about what can be done, either by going to a dietician or seeing if there are any medication that I can take on a daily basis so that I can at least eat a fucking sandwich with more than one slice of meat, one slice of cheese, and cardboard-delicious lettuce on it. I can't do this anymore; I can't face, each day, the desire for something even mildly satisfying (even simply tomato or pickle on said sandwich would be heavenly right now) and the truth not being allowed to have that. I cannot face things that I cannot taste simply to survive. I am not a machine; I need food, not fuel.

I hate myself that I cannot do this, that I continue to fail, that I continue to hurt myself, that I continue to break down crying because of this. I hate that no matter how hard I try, I have not been able to learn to enjoy the things that I am limited to. I never liked them before I had gastritis, and having it has not changed that - cannot change that it seems. I hate being depressed, and the fact that I let myself be depressed about this, but - like my tastebuds - I cannot convince myself to just "get over it." Gods know I've tried.

I need help, or I will wither away not for lack of food, but for lack of happiness; this has come to ovverride anything else, no matter how sweet, going on in my life.

I want my life back. I want to stop this constant loathing.

All I want is one goddamned tomato, and I cannot have even that.

I have a little dragon friend

I have a little dragon friend
Who sleeps in my kitchen at night
And greets me each morning for breakfast.

He's smallish, you know-
No more than a foot and a half long,
Snout to tail tip-
And he's very kind,
Not like the mosters of legend at all.

He hoards no gold nor jewels,
He demands no maiden fair for food,
Acts no tricks upon unsuspecting guests,
And never once has he set anything afire.

He's green all over,
Save for his belly and the bands upon his tail,
And he changes his shades to match his mood or thoughts
To fantastical arrays of
Blues and pinks
And Magentas and violets
And reds and oranges, too,
With yellows and midnights
And browns and black eyeliner,
And all at his whimsical, fanciful whim.

His throat is a pile of jewels
In these colors which changes as he moves
And he moods
And I'm caught up in it like
A fish in a net in the sea.

He's quiet and never complains to me
Of things a dragon might complain of.
He lets me rub his strange little ears and his throat
Without squirming or wriggling away-
I think he humors me, because
I'm the one who feeds him each morning,
And brings him fresh water in which to play.

A nice branch and occasional splash
Is all that he requires,
Spending much of his days sleeping contentedly
On vines, up high, chin down and snoring,
If dragons snore.

I have a little dragon friend
Who sleeps in my kitchen at night
And greets me each morning for breakfast.

He's smallish, you know-
No more than a foot and a half long,
Snout to tail tip-
And he's very kind,
Not like the mosters of legend at all.

Fuck today, revised

Like the new colors? I decided it was time for a change, since the old color scheme, while nice, didn't really lend itself to the whole "giggle-board" idea. Hard to giggle when you're being dark and gothic, you know.

You may also notice that the post I made earlier today, which was chock-full of the word "fuck" with various uses of the term, is gone. After re-reading it a few times (after having calmed down considerably) I decided that although it really does help to scream out "Fuck!!! in your car after certain incidences, it's really not necessary to continue the verbal vomitting, as it doesn't fix anything. The scream or yell in the privacy of one's car suffices; anyting more is overkill.

Besides, I try not to use cuss words too much in writing; there are other ways to express one's feelings, as Mama Wren once wisely told me a long long time ago. I belive we were discussing dragons, actually. No matter. Here is a much cleaner and more organized version of my earlier post.

FARK! I'm mad.

This weekend was pretty cruddy, what with allergies and on top of them a slight cold, so I didn't wake up in the most sparkling of moods this morning, but then, I'm not really a morning person anyway. I understand this, however, and so try not to take to heart anything negative that happens in the morning, but I can only be reasonable for so long.

At the second stop sign on my drive to work, I was cut off not once, but twice in a row by two vehicles coming from a stop sign on the left. The first one irritated me, as he pulled out after I had already started into the interesection, but being a generally reasonable person, I can usually let one bad driver slip under the radar unscathed. So, after braking to avoid being hit and grumbling under my breath, I started out, again, once they had passed. Then the vehicle behind that one pulled out in front of me as well, not just cutting me off, but having to actually jerk to the side to drive around the front of my car, as by this time I was about halfway into the intersection.

Hitting the brakes again to avoid another collision, I glared and my patience grew thin. But I didn't honk, I didn't yell. I didn't flip anyone off. After this vehicle, too, had gone I proceeded unmolested through the intersection and to work. Granted, I had a vicious little diatribe going on in my head the whole time after that to the effect of, in short, this: "Stupidity oughtta hurt. Stupid drivers ought to simply die outright the very second they make their first stupid decision that could result in an accident. If I were God, that's how it would be, and boy would there be a lot less people on the roads then." Yes, there was a lot of cussing involved, but when it's only me, I can cuss all I want, darnit.

Upon arriving at work I was attacked three feet into the building by another worker claiming I had screwed something up. I hadn't, and after explaining the situation it was all good, but still- can't ya wait until I'm at least at my desk, if not settled into it and ready to start my workday, before pouncing on me? Please? Is that really too much to ask?

I won't go into the nature of the supposed screw up save to say that it was due to e-mail malfunction and, as I stated above, everything is alright now and I'm n longer being blamed for it, but it is a situation that leaves me seething nonetheless. Not because I was accused of it, but because, due to spam and the purpose of the e-mail account in question, there is nothing that can be done about it, so it could very well happen again. And again. And again. Spammers, along with bad drivers, have made their way to the top of my Shit List, and would be the second group of people to instantaneously die horrible deaths if I were God.

After these aggravations, I decided that, gastritis or no, I needed Starbucks. Think of it as comfort food. And so off I went.

The drive to Starbucks, and then through the drive-thu were uneventful, and actually, due to the always happy and smiling attitude of the people working there I was actually tempted to and did crack a smile myself and had begun to drift into a better mood by the time I pulled out of their parking lot and headed back to work. Things were looking up.

Starbucks and my work are on the same street, just a few hundred yards apart, so there's not really much time for things to go wrong between here and there, but today it managed to happen.

Along this road, the speed limit is 25 miles and hour, and always has been. So, being a good little driver, I was going a whopping 25 miles and hour. Mere seconds into the road I glanced into my rear-view mirror to see a man tailgating me so closely that I couldn't see even the very tops of his headlights, so close that if I were to stop suddenly I could have picked his nose without even turning around. I thought he'd back off soon enough, as I was, after all, going the speed limit and not under it, but he remained glued to my bumper. That smile I mentioned in the Starbucks drive-thru vanished, and the anger of earlier returned.

Regardless, I attempted to remain calm, and so tapped my brakes once - just once - not enough to slow my car but to let him know he needed to back off. He remained, and flashed his highbeams at me in response (I only know that bit because the little bit of light coming up above the back of my car brightened- I still couldn't see his headlights, he was so close.

I waited a few seconds, during which he remained, and tapped my brakes a couple more times. He backed off maybe a foot, jerked foreward again, and flashed his brights again. I tapped my brakes enough this time to actually slow down, and he finally backed off to an appropriate distance. So, I got back up to 25, and BAM! There he was again, on my ass, highbeams in my mirror.

By this time, the parking lot at work was coming up, so I turned on my right turn signal and slowed down, hoping that he would'nt hit me thinking I was simply trying to get him to back off again. He didn't hit me, but as I was making the turn into the parking lot, he revved his engine to speed past me, honked, and made a great show of flipping me off.

Needless to say, that wasthe straw that broke the camel's back.

Although I'm usually a very sane and level-headed person, I was THIS close to pulling back out of the parking lot, following him to wherever he was going, and doing something horribly loud and violent that would likely end with him in the emergency room and me in jail. THIS close. I really almost did it, which, if you know me personally, tells you just how very angry I was.

Instead, I parked, cussed a blue streak, screamed out "Fuck!!!" at my steering wheel, and tried not to punch anything, realizing through an angry haze that the materials of the interior of my car are far stronger than my fists, so I'd only end up hurting myself and getting angrier. I was actually shaking, I was so mad.

His actions, from the beginning, were completely uncalled for. I was going the speed limit, not under it. Hell, even if I were going under the limit, that doesn't make it ok to tailgate someone and flash your highbeams at them, but doing so when they're actually going the posted speed is beyond wrong- it's ridiculous and childish and proves nothig more than that you are an asshole with a small penis.

Most people back off if you tap the brakes once, some wait for two or three taps, but even then they'll back off to an appropriate distance, no matter their impatience. The fact that he didn't but rather became more agitated shows not only a lack of intelligence and respect for anyone except himself, it tells me that he must have some sort of serious psycolgical issues stemming from anger and a need to feel superior by being the leader or breaking rules (in this case, laws.)

The honk and gesture only confirm for me that this man is not only an asshole, but a danger to everyone on the road around him, and as such, in my most humble opinion, does not deserve to live. I meant what I said in my earlier post that I hope this man dies a horrible, painful death, and soon. I'm sure I'm not the first person he has done this to, and if he has such an attitude while operating a machine that can kill people if the operator makes bad decisions and so requires a higher level of thought and attention, I can only imagine his temper in other, less dangerous situations. He deserves a death that's horrible, and he deserves it soon, before he can continue his vehicular harassment of other drivers and quite possibly cause an accident. When I mentioned above that I coldn't see his headlights because he was so close, I wasn't kidding. It's lucky for the both of us that I didn't need to suddenly stop.

To top it all off, it was raining, and had only in the last ten minutes or so begun to rain after a long dry spell, so the road was slippery and more dangerous than usual, and this stupid man was pulling this shit despite that. It truly amazes me sometimes how stupid people can be.

I'm not a violent person, although I often have violent thoughts; in all my life, I've only ever been in one fight, if you can even call it that, so very quick was the experience. On the schoolbus one afternoon in seventh grade I put up with being whipped in the face with a twisted up wet tie-dyed t-shirt for quite some time, asking calmly and then forcefullytelling the whipper many times to stop. Finally, one last double-whip across the face made me snap. I had always heard stories of people in fights "seeing red" and having "tunnel vision" and only the one thought of "hurt him/her," but never belived it was real until that moment. My vision did go red, and upon spinning around to face my tormentor, my vision closed down to just her face, and my only thought was to hurt her as badly as I possibly could. My fists flew, hitting her in the face several times, and when she grabbed my wrists to stop me I dug my nails into her hands as deep as I could and held on, pulling her arms as far out to the side as I could to cause as much pain as I could. The busdriver yelled and slammed on the brakes, and I slammed back into myself and let go, shaking, and that was the end of it. In the end I was more disturbed by what had happened to me in those moments - the reddened tunnel vision, the desire to cause pain - than I was angry at the girl for having tortured me for so long. Supposedly she had a black eye the next day, but I never confirmed it since the next day was Saturday and I didn't see her the following Monday or Tuesday, and a creeping sense of fear came over me to realize that I liked that; I liked that I had hurt her, and I liked the feeling of wanting to hurt someone.

I vowed that day that I'd never allow myself to lose control like that again because that dark happiness I got from it scared the shit out of me. It was the primitive - or as is sometimes called, the reptile - part of the brain left over from humankind's early days of fight or flight, before civilization, before thoughts more advanced than "Eat, mate or kill." And I knew that if I were to give in to it, to allow it to happen again, I could well get to love the feeling, and become a very dangerous person. It's not a likely scenario, of course, but that possibility exists with every human being, and I didn't like that I liked the idea so very much.

Today I almost broke that vow. I almost followed the man who tailgated me so closely, almost set out to track him down and cause him as much pain as I possibly could, both physical and psycological. I almost let myself think of how nice it would be to main him horribly but leave him alive to see in the mirror everyday the physical evidence of his mental monstrosity.

And, it felt good, those few seconds that the idea tickled my brain.

I think that's what has me in such a tremendously horrible mood, in the end. Not just the bad drivers, because they're everywhere and you get over it. But the fact that I almost let myself lose control and do something I knew to be more monstrous than this man in all his rage could ever be. I saw the darker side of me today, and danced with it - if only for a few seconds - before slamming the gate on it and screaming out "Fuck," to the patient interior of my car.

It scared me, and like most human beings, I cannot help but to feel anger as a result of a fear you can do nothing about, and so "fuck" became my word of the day, and I glowred and grumbled and sat tense and restless at my desk for the next several hours. I wanted to yell, to scream, to hit something, to jump up and run, to do anything to release the angry, nervous energy and adreneline built up in my body.

I have since calmed down, but am still angry at that man. It's a calm anger, though; more a 'shake the head in disgust' anger than a 'run now or I'm going to grind your face off on the nearest patch of rough asphalt' anger. And reasonig out the cause of the ferocity of that anger - the reptile part of the brain's desire for violence - has helped to calm me down as well. I still wish him a quickly-delivered death, or even just some accident that leaves him incapable of driving, for the sake of everyone else around him. The spiteful part of me wishes that death or accident to be painful, of course, but in the end it could be a simple quiet stroke that leaves him in a state of painless dementia and I would be happy; I simply want his danger gone, so that no one else ever has to go through anything close to what I went through today.

And here at the end of it, I'm disgusted more than angry, and hope only that he takes no lives but his own through his lack of intelligence.

*Sigh* This really oughtta be my motto: I hate stupid people.

Please, friends, drive safely. Pay attention to what's going on around you, because there is no guarantee that everyone around you is paying attention to you. Don't tailgate people; not only is it pointless in most cases, it's more dangerous than most people give it credit for. Don't cut people of. Don't talk on your cell phone unless you're stopped at a light or parked. Don't shorten the span of your life just to get across that intersection or to that next exit a mere two or three seconds faster; it isn't worth it. People love you, and they love the people you could kill by doing these things.

Doing stupid shit while driving really does not make you a bad ass - just an asshole, and that's what this post is really about. Those of you reading this know this, I'm sure, and so it's not aimed at you, but maybe some bad driver will come across this and read it and maybe - maybe - I can change their mind and save a life or two.

I still wsh I were God, though.

Spring: Here we go again, kiddies

I have a love/hate relationship with spring. The artist and outdoors-lover in me cry out in joy at the sight of so much vibrant green, so many colorful flowers, such nice calm sunny cool days. The allergies in me beg for mercy as no wrongly-accused victim about to be slowly tortured to death has ever begged before.

Though you'd not know it to look at it, my car is actually a nice slightly greenish-silver color. Really. The fact that it's yellow right now - a vibrant, virulent, sulfric yellow - is not because I decided to go out and get a new paintjob; that's the fucking pollen that has covered - literally covered - the land as of late. My sinuses, my eyes, my throat- all are screaming for mercy, for an end to this horrid atrocity of plant-induced misery.

My eyes are red-rimmed, swollen, bloodshot, burning and itchy. My throat is raw. My nose exists in only two states- stuffy and running, or just plain running. And by that I don't mean a little drip here or there; I mean a full-fledged faucet has been installed in my nose, and someone jammed it to permanently "on." At night, it's Nyquil (on top of my top-of-the-line prescription allergy pill) and tissues stuffed up one or the other nostril (in some more severe cases, both nostrils) and me barely able to breathe and therefore barely able to sleep. During the day, it's operating anything (keyboard, mouse, car, etc.) one handed, as the other hand dares not move it's fist full of tissue away from my nose for even a second. 24-7, I'm cussing enough to make a pirate nervous. I've grown so used to the words "bless you," that I really don't hear them anymore, nor do I have to think to form the knee-jerk response of "thank you." It's like breathing, really; you just do it.

There are only two consolations. The first is when the Nyquil starts to work a bit, so that the tissue stuffed up either nostril doens't immediately soak through and need to be replaced, but rather lasts a good three or four hours before either it soaks through or the faucet switches to the other nostril. The second is, again, when the Nyquil starts to work a bit, so that its lovely fuzzy-headedness-inducing ingredients mix with the antihistamines in my prescription pill, and I get a little high. Only a little, though; just enough to make the act of standing up, to get something to eat or drink or to go to the bathroom, kinda fun. And don't worry, all you mom-types and dad-types out there; I did call my pharmacist first to ask if it was ok to take the Nyquil with the prescription allergy pill, and he said it was, so I have medical permission to get a little high. I promise. And I don't drive while taking both; I just sit or lay on the couch and drool on myself while watching old episodes of The Simpsons.

On a side note, I'd like to thank the individual or individuals who decided to go ahead and start putting all the seasons of various much-loved TV shows on DVD. Watching season two of The Simpons sends me right back to my childhood days. Now I just need to get the Nintendo game, if they have it for SNES, and I'm all set.

Going back to medications, I'm happy to report that Harry doesn't need any; he got a clean bill of health at the vet on Friday. What had me worried about him was that he developed these weird pale patches on his legs (three of them, anyway), his chest, and his throat, and I'd never seen anything like it before. The scales were not dry and brownish to indicate he was about to start shedding (he had just finished shedding about a week before, in fact); they felt just like the rest of his scales, only they looked like someone had tried to drain them of color and got pretty far with it. The only thing I could find in my research about discoloration of scales was something about bacterial infections, only in those the scales are darker, not lighter, and they swell and pus up a bit. Also, bacterial infections only tagret a few scales individually or in very small groups, not whole limbs. I had no idea what was going on, but knew that with reptiles illness is very dangerous; by the time they start to show any abnormalities or symptoms, it's almost too late to help them. Many reptiles die of things that can be easily fixed, all because it's so hard to detremine if there's something wrong with them. Having to wait almost a week to get him in to a vet had me seriously worried about him.

I finally got him to the vet on Friday, and lo and behold, the strange, never-before-seen pale patches were starting to dry and peel; the lil' stinker was shedding again, that's all. When I mentioned that he'd just recently shed, the vet smiled and said that right after winter reptiles have a tendency to shed more frequently, as they're becoming more active and eating more, and therefore growing more. I guess I just never noticed that before, but then, I don't usually find shedding to be something worth writing home about.

As for Harry's overall health, he's doing very well. The vet had only two suggestions: that I feed him more whole prey items than veggies and fruits, and that I use flourescent tube lights for lighting rather than the UVA/UVB reptile bulbs because, although they claim to have the necessary UVA/UVB waves for reptiles, it turns out the bulbs often don't have enough of it, where the tubes do (well, for six months anyway). So Harry gets to crunch more crickets, mealworms, earthworms, waxworms and pinkies, and until I can get him the tube lighting (and even after, as it wouldn't hurt) he gets a half hour outside in direct sunlight each day. His weight is good, his color is fanatstic, eyes clear, mouth clean, no mites or ticks, and his temperament has always been shining. In short, I get a pat on the back for being a good lizard-mom.

Needless, to say, I'm ridiculously relieved that he's ok. I even got him a tub of mealworms that day not only to bulk up the meat in his diet but also as a treat, because he loves them and I hate them. Really. There are very few things in this world that legitimately creep me out, give me the willies, make me want to jump up on a chair and squeal like a little girl, and mealworms are the Number One Creepy-Crawly for me. I hate them. I shudder at the mere thought of them.

But, dutifully, I cut their creepy little heads off (you have to do that because if the lizard eats them too fast they'll chew their way out of said lizard's stomach, killing the lizard) and feed the wriggling, slippery, gut-spilling bodies to Harry, who would do cartwheels of joy if he could. He crunches madly, and I try not to watch as afore-mentioned guts slither about, sometimes sticking to the sides of his jaws. He's happy, so I oblige, and hope my imagination does not get the better of me later at night, showing me images of mealworm heads chewing their way out of the garbage can and into the bedroom where my unprotected toes await ...

The things I do for my critters ...

And so, spring has definately sprung (I swear it was hiding right around the corner, just waiting to leap out and get me) and aside from haywire allergies and sick-lizard scares, it's actually nice. I could ramble on about the beauty of it, but all you need to do is look outside to see it for yourself, so do that. Get out with friends and family and enjoy the weather. I plan on enjoying it with the boy and the lizard, and perhaps some nice strawberry sorbet.

I got the blues

Imagine a scratchy, smoky, New Orleans-style blues song in the background of this post, not just for ambiance, but because, well, the blues - real blues - rock.

My blues today stem from money - which is nothing terribly imdividual, I know, but I feel like talkin' about it, so here I am. Actually, to make it a bit more fun than just your average "I'm broke so life sucks" rant, I'll attempt to put it into verse like a scratchy blues song. I'll ask your forgiveness in advance for botching such a great musical style...

"Well my momma, you know she told me
'Girl you better learn to budget, now,
Or you'll end up cold and broke and on the street.'
YEAAAAAAHHHH, momma she told me,
To budget or I'd end up OOOOONNNNN the streeeeet.
Cold and so hungry oooonn the streeeeet.

So I took that advice and I budgeted,
And I'm still so damn broke I can't put new shoes on my feeeeeeeeeeet.

Paid all of those things that you gotta pay,
And I'm still so damn broke I can't put new shoooooeees on my feeeet.

My baby's car went and broke down,
Won't start and it's leakin' something green,
And it's cold and it's lonely and broke down,
Sittin' out oooonnn the street.
Then my lizard he went and got sick, now,
Got strange patches of something,
From his hips and his shoulders right on down to his feet.
Got STRAAAANGE little patches of sooomething,
All down his legs to his strange little feeeeeet.

But I took that advice and I budgeted,
So the car, it's still cold and that lizard's still got his sick feeeeeeeet.

I paid all of those things that you gotta pay,
And I'm so damn broke now,
Don't know HOW I'm gonna fix thooose little feeeeeet.

Well my momma, you know she told me
'Girl you better learn to budget, now,
Or you'll end up cold and broke and on the street.'
YEAAAAAAHHHH, momma she told me,
To budget or I'd end up OOOOONNNNN the streeeeet.
Well I budgeted and I paid and then,
Damn car broke down and the lizard GOOOTTT sick feeeet.

Don't know what I'll do with that car and those STRANGE little feeeet."

Ahem. You can stop laughing now. I think I'll call it "The Lizard's Toes Blues."

And now I want Jambalaya.

World Dominators, Inc.

The new blog is up and running, the first post posted, and the URL is:

It's still in the beginning stages, needs a bit of work on the layout (the computer I have at work doesn't particularly like blogger and so I can't actually change anything, only edit what's already there...) Bear with me; I will find a better computer and polish it as soon as possible. For now, do enjoy the first post... darlings.