Friday, February 24, 2012
We had some celebration in Casa Birkenstock this week- Pater Pie celebrated entering his late-mid fifties with a small household get-together in the kitchen area, and reminded Birkenstocks and Vissers alike why we love him by bringing the sacred thing that is pizza into our home.
He decided that in lieu of a cake, he wanted his mother's sour cream and raisin pie, which Estelle volunteered to bake in our shitty oven. Very apt, I must say, although I do not do raisins. I'm sorry, but you left a bunch of grapes out in the sun, now they look like James Earl Jones, taste of ozone and you want me to eat them? Mister, I got a couple of places you can take your raisins. Psh, next you'll be trying to tell me you forgot a bunch of other fruit in the cracks of your couch cushions for your health and pleasure- please, I'm not that naive, ok? Either way, the aforepictured pie, after many many years of baking in aforementioned shitty oven, came out lovely and pie-like and Estelle even went to the effort of separately baking some crust letters to spell out Happy something on it. It went away sharpishly even though there were mumblings of leaving it till the morrow whence it would be properly cooled down etcetera etcetera but you fool no one, father o' mine. When I woke up the next day there was only about five square inches of terrorised raisin pie left, and I'll give anyone three guesses where it went.
Oddly, the night took a serendipitous turn when Estelle enquired as to the skill displayed by miss Sandra Bullock in that one FBI beauty pageant movie, and had me illustrate (badly) how to make a wine glass sing. The glass she had was mute because of a gold rim (god that sounds potentially both extremely dirty and very vague on the reason why), so we pulled out some more stem-ware from the cupboard to see what would work.
We had great fun experimenting, figuring out the different sounds made by the different shaped glasses, with harmonies and all kinds of high-brow shenanigans abound. We were two bow-ties and a pair of suspenders short of a barbershop stem-ware quartet, which is impressive any day of the week, lemme be the first to tell you. I nearly lost some bladder control out of excitement when I realised that I had an app on my phone that had been sitting there, just waiting for the day when it would finally become useful and warrant its existence in my life. 'Twas a guitar tuner with a function to tell you the key something is playing/humming/karaoking-in-pajamas-with-hairbrush-microphone-in-its-bedroom in. I summoned it like a level 2 hedge wizard who would at last get to show those bastards up at the University the life-saving properties of his neverending-handkerchief-from-the-sleeve trick, and proudly announced "A! B flat! A little bit below C!" as water was transferred to and from the favourite-son (brandy glass).
Barend showed suprising aptitude for this hugely, massively and inarguably useful skill, as he would often drift into virtuoso-type silences like some badass Beethoven being hit over the head by a sledge-hammer shaped epiphany, and everyone's conversation would grind to halt as we heard some sweet, haunting note of echoing nostalgia emerge from the unplayable golden rimmed glass of legend. It sang undying mnemonic tunes under his tender fingers, telling of a great many wonders past, forests and streams, calling forth the sounds of both the violin and the squeaky washing line alike... it was magical. I could not resist the urge to lay some sweet photo filters on those pictures to convey the sheer majesty of the moment and the utter bullshit of my purple prose.
But yes, excellent evening. I emptied the rest of my instant camera cartridge in its honour, and I believe my father at the very least had the gift of the next-day hangover to remind him of the fun he had on his 56th birthday party.
Sad news now.
Alien invasion / Mayan end-of-the-world 2012 party I was helping the newly redeemed Tertius to organise for his own birthday. Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that the promised delivery date of said apocalypse was the 4th of February, a good many ths and rds of February ago.
Yeah, it didn't so much happen as it did not happen. As it turns out, second chances are cheap, and I hand them out like that shady man in the white van hands out lollipops after school lets out. About a week before the party was to happen, communication from ol' T started drying up. Usually he was rather prompt and sparky about replying to my emails with my updates on document and logo designs for our Alien / Government co-op (yes, in case you're wondering, this thing would have been Matrix levels of intricate and mythologically steeped), but suddenly he went rather worryingly mute. At first I did not ascribe this any particular meaning other than he has a steady job and I mooch for a living, and continued to put my man-hours of design and writing into the project. Let me be clear on this point: this is the kind of work- designing and executing elaborate adventure/game parties for people- for which I charge handsomely and which I do exceptionally well. I had somehow talked myself into doing it for free out of some kind of misplaced loyalty for the man who had not two months prior sat on my bed and accused me of Satanism.
Two days before the damn world is meant to end with a bang, it's his actual birthday so I call with a "Happy birthday" on my lips and a "You better not fuck me over this time, shithead" in my heart. He does not answer. I try again, he does not answer. Of course I leave a message, and send a text, even mentioning he needs to OK one or two things before the weekend party, but nought. I am nothing if not scarily persistent (ask Dirk about Veronica Mars if you don't believe me on that), so I call again. Now his phone is off. On his birthday.
Fuck you, Mr. Elevenses, I am not so easily put off. I phone his brother and someone who used to be a mutual friend (who I believe said the long goodbye to the back of me after glimpsing my horns and red forked tail some time ago), but neither answer. Then and there I decide to fuck that gently with a spoon, as Dirk would say, and since I had people organised to play aliens for me at this event, I decided to call it cancelled so I could at least give them those two days' notice. I don't mind telling you I felt a fool, dammit, a FOOL. *Mr. T Voice* Everyone I knew with a lick of sense had been screaming at me not to take the guy back into the fold, and here I was left standing with my metaphorical dick in my hands. Also: apologies for that last mental image.
A day later, after my incessant phone calls- more to make the point that he was purposely avoiding me than anything- he smsed. Not called, mind you, but texted. I had been labouring under the assumption that I had somehow slipped up and burped hellfire or muttered in tongues under my breath at some point, but as it turns out, he says, he was just so busy with new studies and work that he had decided to cancel the party and throw out the two months of work I had been doing for him and the nearly R400 he had spent on props. He had been so scared to tell me this, he said, that he had decided to wait a week to 'fess up, allowing me to continue working on it, and sending him updated graphics and copy each day. Ah yes, that old chestnut. The age-old conundrum: to screw my friend over because I'm a tit-witted coward, or- no wait, that sounds about right, let's go with option A.
After blankly refusing him re-entry into the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants and multiple "please, I really value our friendship- you know, I could have just kept quiet, aren't I a shining prince for having spoken up at all?"s on his part, I concluded by sending him a (still greatly reduced, friend-of-a-friend rate) invoice for my time spent working on the project. He promised to pay it into my account, and asked to come pick up the props he had left lying in my room. When he came to collect them I had my formidable Fee Fi Fo of a dad go out to the gate to hand it off to him as I could not be arsed to give a single fuck, but after my dad had been out there for about 10 minutes I grew suspicious, and when I heard his VERY SERIOUS FIRM DISCIPLINARIAN VOICE all the way to the kitchen, I went outside to see what was happening.
Turns out my dad had flat-out SCHOOLED a motherfucker on the ethics of friendship and loyalty and not being a arse-nippling coward, and for good measure had shat all the fuck over him for not simply bringing cash to pay the little I had bothered to charge him for my wasted time. Did he have any cash on him? Yes, but he didn't have change, he only had 300 (my invoice was for 250). That's fine, we'll take it.
You need to read that last sentence with an intonation of "we're doing you a fine favour here son by not simply taking your car keys off you and sending you home minus your shirt and shoe laces." He left in a damn hurry and in a faint haze of urine. He did try to text me again after that, still asking to please be let back on my Christmas card list, but buddy, you done screwed the pooch this time. I will kill many an elected official and/or Afrikaans pop singer for any one of my friends, and I suppose now I know that I'm willing to write off even attempted exorcisms and welcome them back with open arms, but it's good to know I have a final straw, really.
Brenda, my absolute, 100% favouritest person in the whole wide world & web and numero uno best friend has been having a truly shitacular week, and thusly I have chosen to humble myself on the altar of the internet gods to perk her up a wee mite. I mean really, it was such a bad week she was actually transmitting bad dreams to me via numero uno best friend telepathy, so I think she deserves the hurting I'm about to heap on myself. It's at least a week until I have my wisdom teeth removed, so I'll dig into the Snofferol Archives for this one.
This is me, Loraine the Breathtaking, at the tender age of 10. If I look slightly odd and you can't place what's bothering you here, it's for two possible reasons:
1. My dad used to cut our fringes and since my hair used to be more or less a foot thick pre-hyperchondria, what you're seeing there is a coiffure that defies the laws of physics.
2. The eyebrows of the Loraine in the picture above are... well, I'll allow you to come up with your preferred adjective here, but now that I've pointed them out to you I'll bet you've cocked your head to the side and gone "oooh yes, that is strange... that's- what is that?"
(Let's call the unspoken third reason "not quite having grown into all my amplitude yet.")
This is a story, children, about the evils of lying. It is also a moral- or an Aesop, if you will- about lying well, goddammit, cause if you're going to do it- commit.
I was a very naive and sheltered 10, if you can believe such a thing of the Tourettes-ridden loud-mouth you have come to know and, well, know, over the last few months here. I had a small TV in my room- my first- having always loved the talkies, and having inherited it after my great-uncle Jurie moved out of the little room in the back yard, he having inherited it in turn after we had finally bought a television for the lounge that didn't require hand-cranking in order to raise colour. I had set it up on the top of some tall structure at the foot of my bed so I could lie back and look up to see the moving pictures I so loved without ever having to move my ever expanding little pre-pubescent arse.
One day, the mighty Oprah was on (as she was in yesteryear) and I felt sickeningly grown-up watching her right in my very own room like that. I mean damn, baby, I had a remote and everything. She had someone on who was illustrating some kind of a fancy grown-up lady device that did some shit to your eyebrows that seemed to me unlikely to occur in nature. There was some kind of precedent here I was not privy to, some secret Lady-thing, where it was understood that this device- held to your eyebrows and compelled to make a loud *click*- was truly miraculous in achieving whatever the hell its goal was without inflicting pain in the process. Now I was buggered if I knew either what the end-game was here with the clicking and the jumping up of the well-kept ladies every time the effete gentleman would come at them with the device or why they thought this was so impressive, but I was also damned if I wasn't going to take a hearty swing at it myself. Was I not precocious and wise beyond my years; an old soul to be heard told by every teacher I had ever flashed $10 words at? Then surely I qualified to be a part of this elite grown-up woman's club of the clicking of the device that did something with the eyebrows that was lovely and sophisticated and so on.
My solution, brilliant as I'm sure you and Doc Brown would both agree- sheer elegance in its simplicity for achieving both eyebrow alteration and painless clicking: a nail clipper. I did not bother with a mirror, for I did not really know what the result was that I should be aiming for nor did I want to get up and miss any of the potential brow-manicuring action. So there I would sit, grabbing a length of eyebrow, and systematically had at it with the nail clipper.
Once the show was over, I decided to check out my handiwork in the bathroom mirror. Yeah, was not expecting that bullshit, I'm sure you'll be shocked to know. I panicked. What to do? What the mothering fuckless hell to do?! My mother was an artist, so a fairly free spirit and a scattered mind, plus it was getting dark and, you know: wine, but even so she was sure to notice her eldest child had started going bald from the eyes up. Ingeniously, following on the true mastery of the thinking that had brought me to this impasse, I landed on a cheap plastic mask that was hanging around my room from the last birthday party I had attended.
I moseyed- nay, sauntered- into the living room as though I was trying to spell out the word "nonchalant" with the sway of my hips, and sat down on the couch, daring the TV-watching family to find fault with my appearance or demeanour. Of course the true genius of the mask was the strategic advantage it afforded me in allowing me to check my parents out through the eye-holes while I rested my chin on my casual as James Dean palm without giving the game away. You see? Naive- like a fox.
My mother raised the alarm straight away. "Why are you wearing a mask?" She asked. "No reason," I said, throwing a Meryl Streep Oscar winning lilt of cool into my voice as I said it. My answer was scientifically formulated to satiate any curiosity and invite no further questions. "Take it off, what are you hiding?"
So apparently I can passably do a Meryl Streep and a James Dean, but my Mata Hari needs work because I broke like twig in a gale force. I ripped it off my face, hoping that in the absence of Mata Hari hopefully a Cosette would save me, and sobbed for my life. Someone, I cried in the anguished sobs of the bitterly wronged, had stolen into my room in the dead of sleep, and had inexplicably and in coldest blood cut off most but not all of my eyebrows! The cruelty! The inhumanity! I was but a girl, in the prime of her youth, yet to blossom into beauty, and they faceless They had taken something so irrevocable, so essential my face as a whole! I would never be the same again- I remember as though it were but yesterday the full and bushy brows of an unsuspecting Loraine, a Loraine who did not appreciate her follicular blessings, her hirsute gift, I-
I'm sorry to have to report, and I say this with the heaviest of hearts dear Pielings, that at this time, somewhere between the second chorus of "Innocence! Innocence!" and the first reprise of "The Men Who Come For Little Girls' Eyebrows In The Night", my mother giggled. The weight of this- this being only the absolute end of my life as I knew it, the only good reason I had ever heard for a life of self-enforced nunship- was entirely lost on the woman who had given me life. And to top it all off, despite my painstakingly thought up cover-story, so well conceived in its richness and so brilliantly executed in its delivery, she bought not a word of it. That was the day I learned that I was a terrible fucking liar, and that I should just never try my hand and the noble art of bullshit again lest I end up without eyelashes next time.
Either that, or I learned "Lie Better." I guess you'll never know. *waggles fully fleshed-out eyebrows.*
So that's my tale of woe, and I hope desperately that it did something to cheer up my Brenda since I have neither the airtime to text her nor the capacity to astral project into her bedroom and watch her sleep a la Edward Cullen or Amy Farah Fowler. Don't worry Bren, if this didn't do it, just wait a week and you'll have pictures of me swollen up like a chipmunk to keep you warm at night. If you're really lucky, I might even mime a little video for you to one of the actual Chipmunk songs, but you had better have lost a limb to gangrene if I'm gonna do the Chunk Shuffle for you.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
I'm back fuckers. Yes, it's been a while. Largely, this is due to my stunning laziness and incomprehensible lack of anything resembling work ethic. More over, ow. I hurt. Things, so many things. Just senseless pain, I tell you, when will it stop?! (End Phoebe voice.) Or, to be more specific and less dramatic (and when did that ever get anyone anywhere?), sudden and sharp bloody muscle spasms have made their home in me uninvited as Alanis Morissette is so fond of singing. Every so often- and every day in a new and exciting location in the large piece of real estate that is me- a pulsating cramp will rocket through me like the flesh is actively trying to escape from the bone. Oh, I'm sorry, did I promise the theatrics were over? Well live with it, my DStv has been out for a while now, momma needs her some entertainment. Fancy word-play is all I have.
Anyway, along with that, my hands have also been feeling bizarrely bruised or cramped too. I know, that sounds very "dog ate my homework", but alas it be true. Got myself to ye oldde medicine (wo)man, who dun tol' me not to panic when it feels like those spasms are happening in the convenient spacing right over my chest cavity at the same time I'm coincidentally experiencing a very common arrhythmia much as most of the population will at some point in their lives. Yes, my body is just that vindictive. It actually contrives to throw together symptoms of other things to make me feel like I'm in the throws on acute angina at 3 in the morning. She said she figured some of the new things are side effects from the migraine meds (including, she says, my aphasia. Except that started before I began the Toplep. And when a drooling moron is looking at you in utter confusion trying to remember the word "table", I assure you you want to kill it with fire, not switch its medication.), but had a nurse stick a needle in my tender flesh anyway for some blood. Am I the only one feeling a vampire thing here? Yes? Ok. I am to decide if I prefer the feeling of meat trying to samba in the opposite direction from my personhood everyday, or the migraines, since those pills actually work. I tell ya, I'm praying for operable brain tumour. Also, more pills for my stash for the hands. Just so you know it's a real thing. Really.
I had a sleepover a couple of weeks ago with my friend Andrea. I love her, she wonderfully mad. And by "wonderfully mad", I mean "does the shopping at her upscale Pick 'n Pay in her flowing leopard-print Demis Roussos kaftan with more than a little boob-poppage out the side.
She was taking me to her friends' house, where she was making dinner. She's a vegetarian, but don't let that fool you. (Yes, you read that right, it was intoned with all of the mock-condescension and ire you imbibed it with in your mind. I'm a carnivore, OK?) She's an awesome cook. She bought mushrooms to bomb in her food, and was making a sort of bacon pasta with oodles of cream for the rest of the sane people. I had half and half. Let me tell you something brother: portebellini mushrooms? A fucking revelation. So too are wasabi rice crackers, but that happened much later in my own house on a snack binge. Not important. Important: try these mothering mushrooms, they will change your life and bear your children. They also cost more than the average child does to rear, but fuck it, you'll have portebellini mushrooms.
Her friends were lovely people. Genuinely, just lovely. Some celebrity watching for you though, and I do warn you it is an odd coupling, but this is them, or at least their nearest (and I will say they are pretty close matches) celebrity look-alikes.
You will now live with the knowledge that somewhere out there, Professor Sprout is married to Phil from Better Off Ted. What a lovely couple they are too.
They have two really great kids, plus an older girl from a previous marriage- the boy was about 11, and the girl was a believe about 6 or 7. The older sister lives in the Cape. When we arrived, she didn't look up from her colouring station, but about two minutes after we sat down with our individual carafes of wine, she ambled up to her mother and whispered into her ear. "Oh, apparently this is for Loraine." I got handed a drawing, hand-made with loving care, with her name on and everything. I swear, you've never felt special until a little girl singles you out for a picture. Evidently, she was as delighted as I was, and thusly proceeded to bring me her mother's entire garden. Every few minutes she would come up to her mother and shyly whisper for a flower to be handed over to me, and at my clear inability to hide my delight she would simply go and find more. At one point she was humming into her mother's ear, when she replied "No! You can't give her that, it's your sister's!" I got a picture she had made at school, and Andrea- being ever helpful, the bitch- declares "Oh, well Loraine simply must come with you to Show And Tell on Monday! You can show her to the whole class! And then afterwards, she can come with to Monkeynastics!" Of course this idea was met with zealous approval, and I was then illustrated her room as she unpacked it for my viewing pleasure. Luckily, even though Andrea did her best to remind everyone about Show And Tell at every opportunity and at some point it looked like an unavoidable certainty, (Andrea was snorting wine laughing at the prospect of me standing heads tall above a class of 6-year-olds as the poor child showed off her "new best friend") it came to naught. Largely because Andrea got really busy on Monday with an essay for her art course, which I did nothing at all to discourage.
I'm making these little monsters again.
I once made a little voodoo kit as a sort of a lark for Brenda for her birthday, and someone else wanted a voodoo doll after that, but I haven't made one in a while. I figured I need one, so I made Arturo over here. He's hanging from my siamese cat. If you tug him, you can switch the light on and off.
Oh no, you want to give me an exorcism now, don't you? I swear, it's the same look I got when I picked up a lock of my hair at the hairdressers when I made Brenda's original voodoo kit. Does no one understand irony anymore? It's not like the one I made Andrea with the snippable penis and testicles after her divorce, people, it's not for practical use, OK?
Found this online, apparently in a museum exhibit in Canada:
There is apparently a raging thing online (albeit maybe an old raging thing- I never claimed to be current) about the man in the sunglasses. He looks so much like a bona-fide 21st century hipster in a printed T-shirt with modern sunglasses and a hoodie under what can only be described as French Stewart's fuzzy jacket, that the inevitable conclusion reached by the internet as a whole has been "time traveller." Now, my personal beliefs on the noble art of time travel aside (could totally happen), I want to believe this. Of course, this being the internet and people being the pretentious douchebags that they are, a hundred thousand voices strong immediately shouted "FAKE. You can tell by the pixels." I call that cynical. Can we not be whimsical for a moment? Can we not believe in the wonderful magic of the time-travelling hipster who apparently went back in time in his anachronistic attire to a bridge re-opening in small town Canada in 1941 for even just a minute? I leave it up to you, but check out chick in the back's expression. If she hasn't just been smacked in the face with Marty McFly I'm my own Grandpa.
Then, since I've been AWOL for so long, I thought I'd give you a video to show my penance. Just so you'd know how truly sorry I am. I, being the crazy cat lady that I am, kicked off valentine's day with a cat on my lap and with a Peter Sellers classic in the DVD machine. I decided to do a rewatch of The Pink Panther. I remember I was in the Cape when the Steve Martin version came out- and I am the last person in the world to cast aspersions on the integrity of Mr. Martin, he did give us half of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels after all- and I took my then probably about 13-year-old cousin Benji to see it. In an almost genius marketing move, SABC 3 was showing the original movies on TV at the same time. We came home from 1 1/2 hours of Steve Martin affecting a bad French accent that felt somehow more contrived and less funny than when Sellers does it, and it took Benji about 20 minutes to ask the heart-breaking question of "is this meant to be a comedy?" Apparently, 60's slapstick just doesn't translate.
Either way, movie still awesome, if you needed someone to confirm that for you. Peter Sellers was a hairy man-beast, as evidenced by that one shower scene, something I could probably have lived happily the rest of my life without knowing quite so intimately. But here is what I share with you today, either for the first time, or again, depending on your level of taste: the song written for Fran Jeffries near the end of the movie, and apparently recently covered in English by Michael Buble (not cool, Buble, not cool.) Very addictive little ditty, and dear god does this woman have a hypnotic arse- and I say this as a 100% straight woman who would by the way welcome the chance to prove the statistic in any way possible on a certain Mr. Benedict Cumberbatch if he's reading at all.
Right? And that hair doesn't deviate an inch the whole time.
Quick aside, I've rewatched Titanic twice in the last week, plus Romeo + Juliet once, and some Gilbert Grape in there too. It's been a very Leo kind of a week. When Titanic came out I was 8, and we were the absolute verified last people on earth to see it. By the time Jack bites it and Rose unceremoniously dumps him into the freezing cold waters of the North Atlantic- stupid bitch- I was not crying, I was throwing a fucking tantrum. My parents had to wrestle me into bed. I was immediately head over heels in love with ol' Leo, and I think you'll notice that's a trend that has had some staying power. My dad, being the awesome superhero that he is, went online and found me this Leonardo DiCaprio magazine for tweens from the States and even printed out some photos of him, and to this day that is the single best gift I've ever gotten, just because he went to the effort and thought to get me something like that, apropos of nothing. Someone nicked it years ago, but I found a copy of it at a Fascination Books sale not that long ago.
The reason I watched it twice is because my dad realised he hadn't seen it since 1998, so I watched it with him again too. I cannot believe it has been 15 years since the release, it's too freaky. Kate Winslet was 21, he was 22 when they made it. I'm 22 and I have done squat, let me be the first to tell you. But more importantly:
And then there's the Friends. My dad and I watch TV shows. It's what we do. I find stuff, then I load it up on a flash drive for us and we go through seasons of stuff together, it's our thing. I remember when I first found Friends- we were living in a hellish little house, but the video shop was within walking distance, and they had the whole series on DVD. I painstakingly rented each disc, like 4 episodes at a time, and worked my way through ten seasons. I fucking loved it. The whole Ross and Rachel rollercoaster, Monica ageing in reverse, Chandler being imminently Chandler... when the whole "We were on a break!" thing happened, I was in pieces. I've mentioned it once or twice. You're an astute reader, you've probably picked up on it. My dad, at that time not so much a fan of the TV shows, rolled his eyes and said "It's basically just a soapie. Get over it."
Cut to x amount of years later, and the man sets his alarm for 6 in the morning on Sundays so he can watch East Enders, and once I had him watch Veronica Mars on DVD, he got so hooked he wanted to buy me the third season just so he could find out how it ended. Now he's on Friends, and you'd better believe I bring up every chance I have to throw that little line back in his face- mwa ha ha ha! He's just as hooked as I ever was. Sometimes I worry about him a little, he laughs so hard, and I love it. I've watched it so many times, all those lines are imprinted on my brain, but he's seeing them for the first time.
But more importantly, when he was watching his few episodes before he had to start work this morning, already up to season nine, he looks at Paul Rudd playing Phoebe's boyfriend before he was uber-famous and says "who is that guy? He looks very familiar." I list all of his more famous movies, but none of them hit. We watch a few minutes, and I quip, "he looks like Dirk though, doesn't he?" in reference to one of my favourite people ever, my friend who is rather aptly called Dirk. Now I told you I'm good at the celebrity look-alike game, yes? Cause he goes:
"Oh! THAT'S why he looks so familiar!"
Not sayin' nothing for nothin', but when you're good, you're good. And why do I not have better pictures of my friends on file? But for the record, whenever I picture Dirk, I cannot, upon pain of death, do so without the fedora. I met him with that fedora on, and my mind refuses to remove it. I do not remember what colour his hair is. I'll have to ask him tomorrow.
Happy Valentine's, pie-people, I wish you much confectionary and awesome half-hour multiple camera format sitcoms from the mid nineties. Because I love you.