Friday, February 18, 2011

My Other Ride is Plastic Bertrand. Day Two


Turn Ons: Laying in the most inappropriate spot when you're trying to do something, Meowing for treats, Temptations (the treat, not being tempted), Looking Nice, Boots Randolph, Pee Wee Herman, Meowing at the bedroom door, Chirping at the Birds, Dragging Towels into the middle of the living room and kitchen floors, Being petted all day and all night until your arm is just a stump.

Turn Offs: Strangers, Children, Loud Noises, Large Gusts of Wind, No Treats, Being denied access to the bathroom when you're in there, Not being allowed to crawl up your ass.

Do you know how mothers say that they can't pick a favorite child? Well I can, Bertrand is my favorite cat and I can't lie about it. Bertrand is the only boy of our herd, and he's by far the most feminine. We're positive that he's gay and he's pretty proud of it (and he likes to sit on Dustin's lap way too much. Not that Dustin is gone, he'll settle for sitting with me, but he doesn't like it). He is terrified of strangers and children (especially children) and rarely comes out to see a guest unless they've been here several times before. When he does come out, though, everyone gasps at his regal look...and he loves it. He's such a conceded twat.

When I met Bertrand I was at this woman's house and she was running a shelter our of her basement. The sight was pretty sad, but she was really trying to do the right thing. Bertrand, then Smokey II, was one of the smallest cats and was being beat up by all of the other cats. He was snotty and gross, but something compelled me to take this disgusting little cat home. When I brought him home, Dustin looked at me with this look that said, "Really Jessica?" After a few vet's appointments to deal with all of the parasites and sicknesses, he quickly became a fat and beautiful homo. Vendetta liked him as a sickly young cat, but can't stand him as a robust adult and avoids him at all costs (just like she does with the rest of us).

Bertrand is named after Plastic Bertrand, a French/Belgian pop singer whose most famous song is "Ca Plane Pour Moi." You've probably heard it. His middle name is Onslo and knowing what a rotund cat he was going to become, we might've named him Onslo from the start.

This was supposed to be our engagement photo. Then Bertrand outed himself and I married Dustin instead.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Vendetta, Vendetta, You Are My Friend-Etta. A Five-Day Photodocumentary


Turn Ons: Chocolate Coins, Shoes, Hiding under the Bed, Hitting the Other Cats, Growling, Being Fed Separately from the Other Cats, Being a General Bitch, Black Clothing when You're Ready to Walk Out the Door, and Having her Face Scratched Vigorously (like, a little too Vigorous).

Turn Offs: Cleaning Herself, Touching the Other Cats, Touching People, Having to Share, Having Her Claws Clipped, and Being Nice to People.

Vendetta is the oldest and sassiest of the cats. We adopted her in July of 2006, and she's been thoroughly pissed-off every since. The day that we got her, she touched her nose to Dustin's nose and that was the nicest thing she ever did. We named her after the villainess from the webtoon "Making Fiends," and it has been an incredibly fitting name. Her middle name is LaFawnduh, but I'm not sure if she knows that.

I have a special place in my heart for her because she was the first and was a signifier of a major commitment that Dustin and I made together: pet ownership. This has since been a commitment that we take very seriously. Unless she misses the litter box...then we're just pissed.

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Give a Hoot. Read a Book.

Books I'm currently reading

The Lazy Crossdresser by Charles Anders (is it bad that I'm getting makeup and clothing tips from TGs and TVs? I can't imagine it would be. They put a lot more thought into their appearance than I do).

Wild Apples: The History of the Apple Tree by Henry David Thoreau (ever since I watched "The Botany of Desire," I can't get enough of the history of apples. It's actually pretty fascinating. If you're a big honking nerd like me).

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (who isn't totally taken with the deductions of a genius coke-head like Holmes? I'll bet he was a total fox).

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (This is the first thing of Wilde's that I've ever read. I have to wonder why Morrissey would want "Keats and Yates on your side," while Wilde was on his).

I've downloaded twenty other books onto my Kindle (a device that is completely evil in its ease), includingThus Spake Zarathustra, Civil Disobedience, The Critique of Practical Reason and The Problems of Philosophy.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Tuesday Truth

It seems a rite of passage in so many ways to name crushes. Their school crushes, their life crushes, their celebrity crushes, their shameful crushes, their secret crushes...they're all incredibly important in personal development. They reflect the partners you have now, the way that you see them and the way you love them.

Crushes bring people together in their love of cultural, media, "iconic," and popular figures. Knowing that that girl liked Justin Timberlake in 2005 when I liked Justin Timberlake in 2005 allowed me to feel closer to a person that I didn't know really have a weird common ground.

With all of that touchy-feely bullshit about crushes: sharing them, loving them, knowing them and knowing each other, I can safely say that I was an adult before anyone knew who my biggest celebrity crush was. Even now, only Mr. Dustin and a few others know. The implications of a crush like this (one that I've had since I was a child) is different than just a girl's everyday love for Keith Partridge in 1975.

K.D. Lang.

I guess if you're a lesbian, this isn't necessarily a stretch, but for was always a secret crush. Secret yes, but not shameful.

I remember first seeing her on the Pee Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special. Exactly the kind of show that a weirdo like me would find a same-sex crush. She was wearing a ridiculous blue dress with snow flakes all over it and a pair of weird off-white Beatle-boots. I remember thinking, who is this person? I remember not knowing whether she was a man or woman. I remember not really caring that much, but knowing that she was really rad. Since then (and I've probably seen that Christmas special a few hundred times), it grew from a weird fascination to a bit of a lustful craze and now a silly attraction to a celebrity.

The implication of having a same-sex crush meant that I questioned my own sexuality in a very guarded and closed-door way. I asked myself over and over again if I was a lesbian. I wondered time and time again if I should be dating men or women. If I should be a Dyke on a Bike with a topless girlfriend riding behind me or should I be worried about falling into a heterosexual lifestyle and producing babies and mortgages? It was an incredibly tumultuous and fucking lonely time. No one knew and even now...I'm not sure that they really do.

After all of that searching I found...well, nothing. It's actually not a big deal. I guess I'm bisexual or whatever, but I'm until Mr. Dustin murders me (just kidding!), I guess I'm Dustinsexual. When I was younger and figuring it all out I got caught up in the labels, the stigma and wondering where the fuck I fit on some imaginary polar scale where the faggots were on one end and Pat Robertson was on the other. The truth is I got over it and realized that I could have a super-crush on K.D. Lang and still have a husband.

That's right. I've got it all. Heh. 

They're not all THAT different, are they?
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Monday, February 14, 2011

Breaking Up is Hard To Do...Unless There's a Soundtrack

Having NPR as a "friend" on facebook is both informative and amusing.

Among several Valentine's Day articles featured on NPR's Facebook page, Stephen Thompson wrote, "Bitter Pills for Bitter Pills: Five Essential Breakup Songs."

You can read the article here.

Thompson writes about the five stages of the Breakup and the corresponding songs he's paired with these emotions. Thompson's songs are obscure and hipster-y. Meh.

Thompson's analysis is great, but the songs don't really reach a wider audience when they're completely sullied by hipster beards, knit caps, and TOMS. At some point, too, Thompson seems to lose sight of the notion that this is all in good fun. Why is a fake analysis of annoyingly obscure music so serious?

Jessica's Bitter Pills

1. Denial
Styx "Mr. Roboto"

Styx is really in denial about their being a great band. I saw on one of those VH1 classic specials that the lead singer sings with his son's band. My gawd. This song, however, is pretty great. Wait, maybe this isn't the denial Thompson was talking about. Whatever. I stand by this comment.

2. Pettiness

Wednesday 13 "Bad Things"

A truly fantastic piece of music (not really). My favorite lyrics include, "I'd celebrate your wake/I'd bake myself a cake," or, "I want a car to run over your head/put it in reverse and do it again." It doesn't get much more petty than eating pastries at your ex's funeral. If I were to eat a pastry at my ex's funeral, it would probably be something free of powdered sugar. I want to look my best.

3. Self-Pity

Mortiis "Parasite God"

I have an especially large affinity for any Norwegian artist that wears a troll mask, a mummy costume and adds a bit of a 90's industrial flair to his song where he's bold enough to have an "mmhmm" he's a sassy black soul singer. Anyway, this song is loaded with self-pity. What could be more pitiful than a man who knows that he's caught in the middle of a love triangle between people wants and needs? Black Metal fans got their black metal panties in a bunch when Mortiis went in this direction, but it's a lot easier to deal with than the ambient dungeon noises. Who the hell really listens to that shit?

4. Fatalistic Self-Pity

The Rolling Stones "Paint it Black"

"Paint it Black" might be my favorite Rolling Stones song. Mick Jagger is pretty positive that everything needs to be black. He wants to "see the sun blotted out from the sky." But will I grow basil this summer? Did you even think about that?  

5. Bitterness Masquerading as Acceptance

Marc Almond "Waifs and Strays"

You may not think you know who Marc Almond is until you realize that he was in Soft Cell and he sang, "Tainted Love," that goddamned song you've heard a million goddamned times. Or maybe you'll just wait for me to tell you that. Either way, this song is really great. When I listen to this song all I can think is that there are large drag queens that roam the streets looking for drag queens in training...but in the end, every one's just really desperate. He probably should've used that idea for the music video. I mean, he's wearing a track jacket in this. You couldn't get a blazer or sport coat for your music video? C'mon Marc, you're totally worth a splurge at Brooks Brothers. 

Picking a break-up song is probably as difficult as picking a together song. Always consider this classic,

Okay, don't.

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Polly wanta Jello Pretzel Salad?

Every family function I've ever been to...including showers, picnics, reunions, parole hearings, wakes and christenings have always had a treat that I can't live without. It's a treat that I hate that I love. The Jello Pretzel Salad.

During college, my roommate Laura informed me that this delightful mixture of sweet and salty is a regional treat that whets the appetites of those in Southwestern Pennsylvania and the surrounding areas all the way through Youngstown, OH. I think she is a liar and can't handle that such a delightfully trashy treat would actually find its way to where she grew up.

It's basic ingredients can almost completely be purchased at a convenience store, and nothing is fresh. I really feel like maybe the shelf life of a dessert like this is easily six months, as long as it's refrigerated.

I've never tried to find the caloric content, but it's probably somewhere between that of a Big Mac and Movie Theater Popcorn.

My Gram's Recipe

Jello Pretzel Salad

2 cups Thin, Crushed Pretzels
3 Tbsp. Sugar
3/4 cup melted oleo
1 lg Jello (and here we go with the shorthand. It's a large packet of strawberry jello)
2-10oz Strawberries (these are the super healthy sugary syrup, frozen strawberries)
1 small can of crushed pineapple with juice
8oz Cream Cheese
1 cup Sugar (yes, more sugar)
1 8oz Cool Whip

Mix pretzels, sugar and oleo. Pour into 13x9 pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 7 minutes. Cool for one hour. Dissolve Jello in 2 cups boiling water. Add berries and pineapple. Chill until partially set.

My favorite Jello Pretzel salad story involves my friend Garett's mother, Polly. She's a lovely woman that has not only beaten a raccoon to death with a flashlight (it was killing her chickens, what did you want her to do?), but she's also raised a billion wiener dogs and makes wedding cakes. Anyway, she made some Jello Pretzel Salad on a day that I happened to be over with Garett. I told her how much I really enjoyed this dessert, so she hacked off a piece the size of a floor tile and screamed, "Here You Go!" I looked at it...and for a minute...I actually considered eating it all before laughing hysterically. Garett and I managed to polish if off collectively.

But I still think about the stomach ache that might've been.
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Take a Gamble. It's only celebrities.

I love chatting about celebrity deaths. Why do they always happen in threes? Why do we pretend like a celebrity has had such a great and meaningful career when they're dead/dying (ahem Patrick Swayze and Christopher Reeve)? How does Abe Vigoda manage to stay alive?  With these kinds of questions, I took to the interwebs and was able to make a bet on celebrity death.

I am the worst gambler in the world. Why in the hell would anyone spend money on gambling? Why would you put money in a slot machine when there's a 1% chance you're going to get even a fraction of what you spent? Why doesn't everyone just give me their money and I'll probably not give it back?  Gambling is the equivalent of throwing all of your money down the toilet and flushing. Maybe it all won't go down on the first pull...but chances the second, it definitely will.

Rotten Dead Pool, though, has provided the only gamble I'm willing to take: the one that involves dead celebrities. So, you have a year from the date that you make your picks to have all ten of your celebrities die. Not that you win anything but the notoriety of being a celeb death-predicter, but even that is worthy of a fancy nametag or maybe a custom business card.

My Picks

1Licia Albanese SingerOperatic soprano, La Bohème22-Jul-1913TBD12-Feb-2011
2Beverly Cleary AuthorChildren's author, Ramona Quimby series12-Apr-1916TBD12-Feb-2011
3Pierre Cardin Fashion DesignerInventor of the "bubble dress"06-Jul-1922TBD12-Feb-2011
4Zsa Zsa Gabor ActorCop-slapping Gabor sister06-Feb-1917TBD12-Feb-2011
5Joe Jackson RelativePatriarch of the Jackson family26-Jul-1929TBD12-Feb-2011
6Tommy Lasorda BaseballSlim-Fast shill22-Sep-1927TBD12-Feb-2011
7Lindsay Lohan ActorMean Girls02-Jul-1986TBD12-Feb-2011
8Andy Rooney Journalist60 Minutes' resident crank14-Jan-1919TBD12-Feb-2011
9Elizabeth Taylor ActorCleopatra27-Feb-1932TBD12-Feb-2011
10Slim Whitman Country MusicianWestern singer, balladeer and yodeler20-Jan-1924TBD12-Feb-2011

There's no real science in this for me. I chose a series of old celebrities that I'd actually heard of, and then one wild card. As you can see, my wild card is Lindsay Lohn, but really with the life that she's been leading, it's hard to really even call it that.

I found it rather amusing that in the list of the most picked celebrities, Courtney Love was among Billy Graham, Kirk Douglas, and Fidel Castro (some really moldy oldies) with over 5,000 picks. Does everyone know something about her that I don't know? I mean, being an unattractive hanger-on isn't fatal, is it?

 Lord Have Mercy. To Quote Pee Wee Herman, "I've seen better heads on boils."

Like the sick weirdo I am, I will be waiting with baited breath to see if my predictions come true. I'm thinking that if I will, my business card will have a cat Grim Reaper. That'd be pretty sweet.
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