Archive for the 'alter-ego' Category

Weekend on the Planet

Sunday, June 4th, 2006
  • Walked downtown to see Dr. Ralph Stanley at The Ark on Friday night. I didn’t realize I liked bluegrass music but it was great and I only started nodding off about ten minutes before the end, even though I had to sit in a seat for two hours with no computer or beadwork or anything. Dr. Stanley did the music for the movie Oh Brother, Where Art Thou, which I enjoyed watching (until I fell asleep) once this winter at Houghton Lake.
  • I admit that I have thought more than once in the last year, “oh brother where art thou.”
  • I suppose since I am a musician, I should do a music post one of these days. But not today.
  • Migrated some entries to my “new” blahg.
  • VACUUMED the front and back living rooms, even moved some of the furniture and vacuumed BEHIND it. I HATE to vacuum, especially when I have to move a bunch of cosmic debris to find the floor.
  • Cleaned the kitchen floor for what little that is worth.
  • Started sorting out my fiber arts stuff and making a traveling stash. My fiber arts stuff is still a trenormous rat’s nest of flotsam and jetsam. And, yes, cosmic debris.
  • Lemme see. Did I go to the Westgate Kroger uscan or not? I went today but I can’t remember if I went yesterday. grok grok grok. You old bag.
  • Had a hilarious telephonic conversation with Lizard Breath about dynamite and guns and anthropology and sightings and octowomen and I forget what else. Life, death, the universe, and everything, I guess. I needed that, kiddo.
  • Walked downtown with Jane (not cousin) and Ken and Vicki and Paul and ate on Palio’s roof. Just when we got done eating, it started to *pour*! So we retreated down to the bar for a nightcap.
  • I needed female conversation this weekend and I did get some. I don’t always get enough.
  • There are advantages to having friends of both genders but lately I tend to prefer female companionship. Probably because I seem to need to talk more than usual. Coffee anyone?
  • Planned an all-out assault on the so-called lawn, a mass of moss, dandelions and other weeds. Actually everything but grass. It’s so bad that Chemlawn came to the door one day and asked if I needed help with my lawn “issues.” Yeah, probably, but not from Chemlawn.
  • Weeded the “garden” in front of the house with a few close encounters of the poison ivy kind. At least I hope they were close encounters. No rash yet.
  • We saddled up the jeep and trailer and braved the roads with dysfunctional tail-lights to obtain some more mulch. I love garden stores. Too bad I kill plants.

Vmom’s Itips: feedback

Friday, May 19th, 2006

Yay for feedback! There are people who read this stoopid blahg grok grok who are pretty fluent when it comes to technology and they had comments to make about Volcano Mama and her Internet Tips. grok grok Excuse me a minute. (Froggy, I wasn’t talking about you and no, you can’t use Garage Band right now. Go play on the highway.) Sorry about that rude interruption.

Karen wrote, “um, aren’t ‘application’ and ‘program’ synonymous?” Dum de dum de dum. Hmmm. Good question. Didya do any research before writing that, Volcano Mama? Well, Vmom was thinking along the lines that a “program” is a generic term for a set of instructions for a computer to follow. “Application program” aka “application” is a set of instructions designed for a more specific use. says it pretty well. Vmom thought her intended audience might get confused by “application” alone. Say what? Application? For what? A spot in the assisted living facility? Get the drift?

Then the Marquis (or maybe it was the Grand Poohbah, I wasn’t sure) wrote, “If you subscribe to either MSN or Yahoo as an ISP they provide their own proprietary browser.” “I stand corrected,” says Vmom. “MSN and Yahoo *can* be browsers and are obviously useful to some people as such.” But again, Volcano Mama’s intended audience might get confused by that. They don’t have time for anything more than about one or two mouse clicks. In general, Vmom is not a terrific fan of proprietary software on the web, but that’s just her not-so-humble opinion, inspired in part by what the gang over at WCC has beaten into her rather one-dimensional brain.

Volcano Mama’s intended audience is people who want to use the Internet for very specific purposes. Like emailing their grandchildren or reading someone’s stoopid blahg. They want to get on there, do their business and get off quick. No news sites or flash videos, thank you very much. They do not have time to fiddly-diddle around learning all of the various complexities of using computers and browsers and surfing the Internet. They are too busy going to water-ex and taiko drumming performances and foreign films and classes at the college and visiting their friends at Tendercare and eating corn chowder at Penny’s and reading the newspaper down by the waterfront and cogitating about improvements to their properties. So Vmom is trying to keep it pretty basic.

Anyway, yay for feedback! Keep it coming. One of these days, I’m gonna get off my you-know-what and install WordPress on this here blahg so I can turn on some comments and y’all can comment to your heart’s delight and get into flame wars with each other and the whole works.

And finally, Sam and I were certainly on the same wavelength yesterday as she also mentioned the sound of wind in pine trees in her blahg. Except she didn’t call it a swhooooshing noise, she called it susurration. Her vocabulary wins!

Volcano Mama’s Internet Guide

Wednesday, May 17th, 2006

Volcano Mama’s Internet Guide:

  • A browser is an application program that allows you to sit at your computer and waste time reading my blahg and other websites. Some familiar browsers are Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and Netscape. You can have more than one browser on your computer. I think I have about six.
  • So what the heck is an application program, some might wonder. It is a computer program that allows you to use your computer to DO something constructive (or not). Like write a letter or balance your checkbook or listen to music or read my blahg. Some application programs that I use frequently are Microsoft Word and Excel, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, Quicken, which keeps track of my money (or lack thereof), and Firefox, my preferred browser program (for looking at web pages, right?). Froggy grok grok uses Garage Band and iTunes to record his ribald little ditties and convert them to mp3 files. When he can get his slimy little paws on my powerbook, that is. grok! A browser is an application program but not every application program is a browser. Also, some application programs deal with the Internet and some have nothing to do with it.
  • Okay. What about MSN? Or Yahoo? Are those browsers? Nope. They are simply web sites. Just like ababsurdo. You use a browser to look at MSN and Yahoo and ababsurdo. The difference between Yahoo and ababsurdo is that Yahoo has a reputation for being a “portal” site. That means that it provides links to news and all kinds of interesting and informative facts and stuff (or not) while ababsurdo mainly links to my own rantings and ravings and a few other sites that I visit frequently (or not). There’s no reason you can’t use ababsurdo as a portal. It just doesn’t offer a wide variety of interesting links.

Is that all clear as mud? If not, lemme know and I’ll try to clarify it. Want more? Watch this space for occasional installments in this ongoing series. I don’t know it all but I do know when to call in Michigan Power Rodding. grokgrokgrokGROK!

My Trash or Whose?

Monday, May 8th, 2006

“Well, what about all the trash that’s in the car from all your trips?” Guess who. Hmmmm, lemme see…

  • Four partial bottles of water and two full ones. Not mine.
  • One partial bottle of that ucky blue Gatorade. Definitely not mine!
  • Three books of matches from Yvonne’s Airport Restaurant and one from the Wagon Wheel Saloon. Yes, *that* Wagon Wheel Saloon. Mine? I doubt it since I don’t smoke cigars. Or anything else, for that matter.
  • Two Uniball Microfine pens. Mine!
  • Two mechanical pencils. Definitely not mine!
  • One Albion College pen, bic-style. Not mine! Or maybe it is. I don’t remember who picked that pen up.
  • One red sharpie. Probably mine, left over from YAG days.
  • A roll of scotch tape. Also probably a leftover from YAG.
  • A little pad of car-shaped note paper that looks like it was formerly wet. Not mine. I don’t work for the EPA.
  • A pad of small neon yellow post-it notes. Probably mine, probably a YAG leftover.
  • Two mis-matched KMart type knit gloves. Yup, those would be mine and they were in there for a reason.
  • Two paper clips. Probably mine.
  • Two bobby pins. Not mine. With *my* hair? Why bother?
  • Four little packages of Kleenex.
  • A package of Windex wipes, completely dried out and useless. I probably put it in there.
  • Two ice scrapers.
  • A map of Michigan.
  • Two dust cloths.
  • One of those casette thingies that lets you plug your iPod in to the vee-hickle speakers.
  • A cell phone charger.
  • A Shell receipt.
  • Uncountable particles of dust, dirt, sand, mud, leaves and other organic material.
  • Hair (mine, no doubt) and other crud and corruption.

I dunno. I just do not want to take responsibility for every little blasted scrap of flotsam and jetsam and cosmic debris that inhabits the landfill and all three of the vee-hickles that currently reside on the adjacent street and driveway. Yeah, I have probably left some crap in various vee-hickles. Yeah, I did do a lot of traveling this winter. Not by choice for the most part, although I made the best of it when I could. But I am not sure that I am solely responsible for most of whatever crap gets left in various vee-hickles. Sigh.

It could be worse. I didn’t find any McDonald’s bags. Sincerely yours, Garbage Woman. grook GROK!

Urushiol oil

Friday, May 5th, 2006

Sheesh. My hose nozzles were found and there is even one that works without leaking water all over hell and gone. But how could I forget urushiol oil? Still another impediment to successful gardening endeavors. How on earth could I have forgotten? Can somebody who is capable of identifying poison ivy please click on this link and tell me if this is it?

In the springs of 2004 and 2005, I managed to get whomping cases of poison ivy. Both times, the only place I could figure I had encountered the dastardly plant was in my own back yard. Except that we had never had poison ivy before, that I knew of, and I couldn’t find anything that remotely resembled it in the yard. Not that I am any good at identifying poison ivy or any other plant. But I am bound and determined not to repeat the experience this year!

I did not have my first poison ivy reaction until I was somewhere in my forties. I don’t know if that’s because I had never had a close encounter with urushiol oil before or if I just wasn’t sensitive to it until then. But I am definitely sensitive to it now. A couple years ago, I was wandering around the MooU Mechanical Gardens and I deliberately sought out the poisonous plants so I could *try* to figure out what it looked like in order to avoid future encounters. Right? Not. I still can’t identify it and even though I was standing several feet away from the damn thing, later on I discovered a suspicious looking itchy, weepy little rash on my elbow. It was really hot and humid that day and the only thing I could figure was that a couple drops of that oil had traveled through the air on water droplets. Am I crazy? grokgrokgrokGROK. What a stoopid question!

This morning I was out messing around with the compost, pretending I knew what I was doing with my hoe and pickaxe. As usual, I was barefoot and barelegged, except for my sloggin’ shoes. I looked down. Yikes! There was a vine-y looking plant with three leaves right there by my feet. I don’t *think* I touched it. I came in immediately and washed my feet and legs, then washed the towel in hot water. We’ll see. Sometimes it seems like I just cannot win even one round. grok grok. That’s what happens when you get old, you ugly old bag. grok grok.

Black Thumb Banana

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006

Location: The Planet Ann Arbor. Weather: actually pretty nice. Bank: three trips, number two was because I forgot my debit card on number one :-/ Post office: two trips. Westgate Kroger uscan: one trip, yes, only one. Laundry: two loads. Mood: actually pretty okay. What next: gardening, I guess. Or whatever you call gardening when it’s me that’s doing it. I am a terrible gardener who kills plants by merely looking at them. grok grok. Just call her Black Thumb Banana. grok grok. I always try to blame this on the fact that I grew up spending my summers in the woods, where there are plenty of plants around that grow all on their own without any human intervention. But the truth is that lots of people have beautiful gardens on the shores of Gitchee Gumee. I was just more interested in other pursuits, such as running around with my cousins and other beach urchins, acting like a wild Indian. Yeah, I know that’s not politically correct but when I was a kid I was fascinated with Native American culture and I wanted to *be* an Indian! Preferably as wild an Indian as possible! So 😛

Anyway, it has always been a challenge for me to deal with my yard here on the Planet Ann Arbor. I don’t know the first thing about gardening and this is typically what happens:

  • In March or April, we get an isolated warm, sunny day or two, so I go out there and ramble around randomly, pick up a few stray sticks, rake some leaves. I think to myself, “if I just came out here for an hour or so a day, I could get this place cleaned up. Maybe not filled with beautiful flowering plants, but cleaned up.”
  • It proceeds to snow for a week or so.
  • The YAG spring play comes along and I have NO time to do anything but hang around at rehearsals or on the computer or deal with some disgruntled parent.
  • The play is over, it is now mid-May and I am just about flat on the ground. I inch my head up far enough to look out in the back yard and it is totally overgrown, so I lie back down again.
  • It gets to be Memorial Day and we leave town.
  • When I get back, I have to go hucklety-buck to organize the summer theatre academy.
  • Then it gets to be the 4th of July and we leave again.
  • Ad infinitum ad nauseam.

I do not have YAG this year. It is early May and I have been traveling rather frenetically in and out of town since January. I do not know what to do with my life next or where to start. The yard is not totally overgrown yet. It seems possible to actually make some headway. So today, I put on my nice new sloggin’ around shoes and headed out back to tackle this year’s crop of weeds. I pulled up dandelions and things. I picked up leaves and sticks. I almost stepped on a cute toadie. grokgrokgrokgrok!!! A toadie?!? Can me and Smokie have the toadie? grokgrokgrok frgok! ooh ooh ooh ah ah! There’s a lot more to be done. And then there is the basement. And the shed. And all my fiber art crap. And. And. And. I was alone today and I didn’t have anything but random chores and errands on my schedule so I *forced* myself do something constructive and actually made some minor progress and I think I feel kind of okay. Like even though I can’t quite figure out where I’m going next in life, life *is* gonna go on and it’s gonna take me with it and someday there will again be days when I am so happy and crazy that nobody can stand me. And maybe there’ll even be days when I will make a difference in the world. At least maybe I’ll get the yard cleaned up. Put on yer purple sloggin’ shoes, Black Thumb Banana, and slog on. grokgrokgrokGROK!!

The 2-year-old Summer

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006

Anyone who remembers the infamous 2-Year-Old Summer at the Finlayson Family Old Cabin will probably laugh a little hysterically when I say that it can be a challenge to share a family cabin with, well, a family. An extended one, that is. I do not really remember the 2-Year-Old Summer. I am told that the shores of Gitchee Gumee were persistently dark, chilly, and rainy that summer. I have a few vague little bits of memories, one of which is of me and two other little girls (you know who you are) standing in ankle-deep water wearing little blue Keds tennis shoes. No adult in sight. A flagrant violation of The Rules. Maybe I’ll get The Commander and Radical Betty and Bubs to guest-blahg about the 2-Year-Old Summer some time. I bet they remember it clearly, in big, bright, primary colors. Either that or they’ve blocked it!

We have been alone here at the Courtois Cabin at Houghton Lake for a couple of days. I love it here and it is nice to have the place to ourselves. But the weekend was filled with in-laws and I miss them. It is not always easy to share a living space with extended family members, adult siblings and whatnot, even for a few days. We all run our own lives and have our own opinions and do things our own way. People need varying degrees of space and, even in a place as big as this, it isn’t always easy to get away from all the lively discussion and exuberant activity that is typical of the Courtois family in general. And I know how hard it can be to live with me! But it is worth it to try to make things work out and it is pretty fun with a bunch of people here. As my own family experiences a period of dwindling numbers, spending the weekend with a big bunch of Courtoises reminds me that I am not as alone as I sometimes feel these days. You guys are the best and I’m happy to be a part of this family.

We are heading back to the Planet Ann Arbor in a little while and I am happy to report that the garbage truck came by this morning and the new garbage contraption worked out very well indeed. Tangentially yours, Garbage Woman.

Go Thunderchickens and other Random Stuff

Sunday, April 30th, 2006

A few things, in no particular order:

  • Happy birthday Kathy (my sister-in-law)! Sorry I don’t have a big red, white, and blue tricycle for you but have a wonderful birthday anyway.
  • Yesterday afternoon I did not take my usual walk because I was sitting around on my you-know-what watching a sporting event. grok grok. Yeah, yay for frog jumping!! grok grok. No, Froogy, it was not frog jumping. Sheesh! But it was no ordinary event and all of us here in the Luxurious New Courtois Cabin were totally enthralled as we watched our nephew Jim and his robotics team, the ThunderChickens, win the NASA FIRST Robotics National Competition in Atlanta. Jim used to be a little kid who was constantly plugging and unplugging things and switching lights on and off. He has come a long way from those days and is now a high school sophomore whose role during the robot games was to work in the pit, keeping the team’s robot in top condition. I have to say, watching robots play a basketball-esque game is much more fun than watching big, ugly neanderthals pummel each other on a football field. Go ThunderChickens! World Champions!
  • Thanks to those who sent their own stories about class presentation petrification. It is always good to know that you are not alone.
  • A very special thanks to Bob and Jim for making my dreams come true. Well, nice try, anyway 😉 Sincerely yours, Garbage Woman.

Garbage Woman, Episode 90-million

Tuesday, April 25th, 2006

Yaknow? Those popsicle boxes are boxboard and they go in the *recycling*, not the trash. There *are* some freezer packages that do not get recycled but those popsicle boxes are fine. And random plastic packaging for I do not know what, windshield wipers maybe? Naw, couldn’t be windshield wipers, we don’t ever buy new windshield wipers around here. Anyway, whatever they are, they do *not* go in either of the recycling bins. They go in the trash. Okay? Okay. Sigh.

Sincerely yours, Garbage Woman.

Need a Life, Not a Boyfriend

Tuesday, April 11th, 2006

<keereistgimmeabreakalready>I was walking across the N. Maple/Miller intersection and, of all things, I heard a loud electronic wolf whistle. There were no other pedestrians around and my first thought was that it had something to do with the GG being ridiculous. Except that, as weird as he can be, he is too wrapped up in data and spreadsheets and computers and laboratory instruments to be bothered to obtain an electronic wolf whistle and use it to go out and harass women. I think. Anyway, I ignored it, thinking somebody had just activated it by accident. But then, after I got across the street, I heard it again. I did not even *want* to look at whatever ugly, perverted old man was eye-balling the likes of me. Or maybe some little boys were just getting their jollies by toying with an old bag. Whatever. I do not know who it was. I just kept on walking. Guys, I do not know what is going on lately but can we talk? I am 52 years old. I have had two children. I am not cute. I am looking for a life, not a boyfriend. grok grok grok. Yeah, and she doesn’t cook or clean and last week she tried to use me as a Kleenex. grok grok. Froggy! Into your laundry basket! Now!</keereistgimmeabreakalready>