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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Wherefore Art Thou, Demoncat?
or missing a loyal commenter

Okay, so last year my cavalcade of copious crappy writings were being viewed by a mystery reader named Demoncat who would comment faithfully. I don't know anything about her. For some completely unscientific reason, I choose to believe D-Cat is a lovely young gal. There is absolutely no information available online about her to support my decision. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. I can find no notations regarding gender, geography or general facts. The only thing I do know based on her comments, is English is not her first language.

Demoncat is a shadow.

The thing about a shadow is you tend to take it for granted until one day you look down from your self-centered circle and realize... it's gone.

And you miss it.

Several months ago, I felt a void. Demoncat was gone.

Was it something I said? Have I bored her to tears with my recent lackluster contributions to this bloggity blog blah. Or worse yet, with all the unrest in the world, has something horrible happened to her in her corner of the globe. Please Lord, let this not be the case. I worry about my little ethereal friend.

Whatever the reason, I feel like Peter Pan searching for my faithful, shadowy companion. Feeling incomplete without it.

Demoncat. Demoncat. Wherefore art thou?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

In Which I Owe My Guardian Angel A Big Box Of Chocolates Or Maybe Porn

Okay, so Pittsburgh's been wallowing in wretched winter weather of late. We dodged the blizzard bullet that hit the East Coast, but have been languishing in soul-sucking grey skies and bitter, bitter cold temperatures with a liberal sprinkling of snow and sleet mixed in because winter doesn't blow enough.


Anywho, this morning imagine my surprise when I opened the door expecting to be greeted with a viscous knee to the groin of merciless single digit temps, but instead was kissed by a balmy 34 degrees. Yep. 34 degrees. The double-edged sword temp: warm enough to go without gloves (yeehaw!), but warm enough to sleet (SHIT). The wet roads of my 10 minute drive weren't icy at all from my driveway through the tunnel.

Then I got to the ramp.

You know how sometimes the Universe tries to do you a solid by whispering little warnings in your ear? Turns out you should really listen to that thought flashed in your head. As I approached the end of the tunnel, this flashed through my mind:

"I wonder how the road is on the bridge."

God love her, the Universe tried to warn me. She really did, but did I listen?

As I bear left onto the two-lane ramp to town, I started beelining for the barrier. In slow motion. Why is drama always in slow motion? Somehow I remembered to steer with the skid, then I was skating towards the other barrier, then back towards the first barrier at 90 degrees, then back across two lanes towards more concrete... On the way back to the right in what was looking more and more like a perpetual ping pong game with my beautiful Rita as the ball, instinct took over and I slammed on the breaks, braced for impact and watched in silent dread as the Jersey barrier got LARGER IN MY WINDSHIELD...

Then I stopped.

Perpendicular to the road. Inches from that which would have ruined my morning along with most of my engine. At one point in this macabre ice folly, I recall looking in the rearview mirror thanking the Traffic Gods for being the sole driver on the road. I also remember thinking in my usual genteel fashion, "What the EF?!? How the hell did I not cream the car."

Clearly, my Guardian Angel loves Rita as much as I do, and couldn't bear to see her bashed to Smithereens, no matter how good their music was.

You want to know the weirdest part? I was freakishly calm afterward. Weird.

So, yeah, I owe my Guardian Angel a debt of gratitude, and (depending on its gender) a big-ass box of Godiva chocolates or a lap dance from a nubile chippie.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

In Which My Body Has Decided To Dick Me

Okay, so I'm coming up on the end of my 50th year. Alright, technically it's the end of my 51st year on Earth. A fact that only douche bag, egg heads hell bent on making me feel ancient would dare point out.


In any case, it has been one hell of a terrific year spent traveling with my ever-loving Geo to see our two favorite fellas, Francis Dunnery and the divine Rhett Miller multiple times in multiple cities, meeting and befriending a bevy of beautiful, smart, fun women from all over, reconnecting with old friends and generally having the time of my seasoned life.

For the most part, my main frame held up extremely well with only minor creaks and cracks.

Until now.

Over the last several weeks, my corporal being has staged an all-out mutiny that would make Mr. Christian stand back and say, "Daaamn!". That crazy Bee-yatch is loaded for bear and taking no prisoners. Hip joint harassment, neck immobility, teeth issues, skin anomalies, hijacked hormones... You name it.

You'll feel a slight discomfort
Don't get me wrong. Staring down the barrel of 50 has been one of the most freeing experiences I've ever had. Truly one of the best years of my life, but the minute you click over the fictional halfway mark (seriously, who actually lives to be 100 besides big-ass parrots with huge talons and beaks strong enough to rip a vein from my neck. *shudder* Just add parrots to the long list of crap that freaks me out.) everybody wants a piece of you. And not in a good, "hey sailor, show a gal a good time?" kinda way. Nooooo. Instead every doctor you come across wants to stick some kind of tube up or down every orifice in your gravity-challenged body.

*Ding Dong*

Here's your AARP card and a cavalcade of white coats to completely violate you in the name of science and good health because, you know, it's good for you, dammit! Get those leeches away from me, Dr. Wellsville.

What the hell are you looking at?
 But I digress...

That all said, I find myself unable to ignore the physical revolt happening within me in spite of my indignant refusal to acknowledge my inevitable decay. So this winter has become my personal 50,000 mile check up:

1. I'm back on the chiropractic crack circuit three times a week in an effort to get my spinal column to SHUT THE HELL UP! This also affords me the opportunity to rekindle my torrid love affair with the massage table. Oh how I have missed thee and thine loving caress. (lights two cigarettes Ala Now Voyager)

2. I'm scheduled to have all kinds of nonsense extracted from my exterior along with a complimentary buff and wax. (Thursday is Ladies Day, don't ya know.)

3. Graft flesh to a gum line that's gone South for the winter. It was supposed to be back by now, but then decided it was really nice in Florida and opted to give me the one-finger salute and take up permanent residence in the Sunshine State.
Open wide

This last bit is already done. It's a lovely procedure where the dentist uses an offset baking spatula to stretch ones gum line four feet where it's tacked to a bulletin board while said Doc takes a Williams Sonoma cheese slicer to the roof of ones mouth, smears a little cream cheese and capers on it, tucks it in the cavernous space next to the shivering, naked tooth then pulls the pushpin, letting the stretchy length of gum snap back in place where it is gingerly stitched with a curved upholstery needle the size of your hand.
Mo, Larry ... CHEESE!

Okay, so I exaggerate. The bulletin board was only two feet away.

All I can say is thank God for numbing agents. Lots and lots of numbing agents. In the non-hyperbolic real world, it wasn't that bad. I look like Alvin and the Chipmunks, but the drugs are kicking the soreness square in the arse. The worst part is having to consciously chew only on one side for two weeks and avoid all things crunchy. Of course now all I want is all things crunchy. I swear I can hear the bags of potato chips, pretzels and peanut butter crackers mocking me as I walk through the kitchen.

Evil bastards.

And now I sound like an old fart bitching about every flipping ache and pain. Nice. Next thing you know I'll start  referring to dressers as chifforobes and davenports in a sickeningly sweet Southern accent. ACK!

Behold...a chifforobe, bitch
(oh great. I've just used a word so old the blogger spellcheck didn't recognize it. Stop suggesting cherub! It's not a cherub, it's an effing chifforobe!! P.S.: Bite me.)

So there you have it. My major overhaul has begun. I should be a new person by Spring, but I draw the line at tubes up my colon, Dude. There's not enough wining and dining in the world right now that will make me consent to that. Not. Gonna. Happen.

You know what you can do with that tube, right?

That's what I'm talking about.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Another Reason Why I Love My Penguins

Okay, so it's no secret I adore hockey in general and our Penguin franchise in particular. In my not-so-humble opinion, it's the only sport with a blue-collar work ethic played with enormous heart, intensity and grace. It's physically taxing and at times brutal, but the hard hits, scuffles and broken noses are justified--brought about by honest, intense emotion. Besides, few things are as exciting as a drop-the-gloves, shirt-over-the head, all-out hockey fight.

One of the many things I love about hockey is you never once hear a player with a freshly stitched cheek, two black eyes, and a wad of cotton shoved up his nose complain about his injuries. On the contrary, he's usually chomping at the bit to get back out for the next shift. Battered and bruised, they muscle on, literally giving their blood and sweat for the team. And once the battle is over, they line up to shake hands in a sign of civilized sportsmanship. How could you not love them or this amazing sport? It's a game of passion, of honor and of brotherhood.

And check it out. My Boys of Winter are all about team support, even when it doesn't pertain to their own.

Look at the picture on top. That's a Terrible Towel hanging behind the bench yesterday in support of the Steelers playoff game that was played later in the afternoon. For the record, the Pens handily beat the Bruins and the Steelers defeated the Ravens (sorry Steph) to advance to the Conference championships next week. Sid and company aren't shy about waving the old black and gold terry to cheer on the fellas of football during their post season.


Just like their community outreach. Owner Mario Lemieux (you remember him--the legendary Le Magnifique #66) et al encourage the boys to give back to the community. This year one of their many charitable acts included a handful of Pens players distributing food to needy local families so they could enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

Now wasn't that a lovely holiday surprise.

Let's Go Pens! Love ya!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

In Which Reserved Brits Bring On The Funk, Ukulele Style

Okay, so once again my fantastic crack(ed) staff (AKA, my coworkers) have succeeded in finding another couple of delightfully entertaining videos from the YouTube.

This time it's a couple of iconic songs performed by the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.

Let me say that again:

The Ukulele Orchestra...of Great Britain.

Watching these tuxedoed Brits drolly rock out to Shaft and Smells Like Teen Spirit is absolutely snort-worth fun. Enjoy!

Had Kurt Cobain seen this, even he would have smiled and forgotten he was married to Courtney Love for a minute or three.

SHAFT! Damn right!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

In Which It's Time To Drop Those Cookies And Give Me 20  

Okay, so it's January 5th and you know what that means. Time to get back to the gym.


The last month was hit or miss with me, mainly miss. Like everyone else on this blue planet I had ever intention of getting back to my routine...your routine... ANY routine, but we were on vacation, the holidays were fast approaching, the dog ate my sweat pants...

Now it's over a month and my wack-ass hip joint is absolutely furious with me and won't stop whining. Even alcohol won't placate the crazy bee-yatch. Believe me, I've tried. It's gotten so bad I look and sound like the Crypt Keeper rattling up out of my chair all hunched over and hideous.

I hate him.

Anywho, this week I've started anew. I have to say I love my gym. It's clean, well maintained and cheapcheapCHEAP!


And perhaps best of all, it's not a meat market. People are there to work out. Period. That seems a little redundant, doesn't it? I use a (.) then write "period".

But I digress.

The point is muscle-bound, numb nuts aren't chatting up wafer-thin, bubble-headed bleached blondes in dire need of a hoagie, trying to impress them with their best "which way's the beach" none-too-subtle bicep curl. No one's hitting on anyone. Okay, except this one time early on when this old guy tried to get a little friendly with me. I had to shut him down. Come on. Besides the fact that, HELLO? I'm married. Not interested... he was like, in his sixties and SHORT, like way short, like a wee l'il man from the Irish Isle short. Ewwwwww. And what is it about short dudes trying to scale Mount Murray?!? Not gonna happen, Dude. Not gonna happen.

Again, I digress...

I like to grab my book, pop in my iPod headphones cranked loud enough to block the piped music (seriously bad BAD music they play there) and hop on various muscle ripping machines which will render me unable to lift a flick of lint off the carpet later in the day because... it's FUN and good for you!!

Anywho there are several regulars that I've sort of missed in my, I mean absence. There's this petite woman who is there All.The.Time. Every time I see her, Jill Sobule's song "Lucy at the Gym" runs through my head, except I don't think my Lucy has an eating disorder just an off-putting glare.

She has amazingly defined guns like Madonna, minus a nasty bulging vein or two. She whips those 45lb dumbbells around like a guy. Sometimes I check to make sure she's not packing, if you know what I mean. She's in incredible shape. I think she's in her forties. But Jesus, Good God if she's younger don't tell her I said she was older! She'll beat the living shit out of me without breaking a sweat!!

I fear her.

Then there's this short, handsome youngster ripped like Jesus, who I swear is so into himself he steals a kiss on his own tattooed bicep each time he does a curl. *muah* Mirror Mirror on the wall...

What is with all the tattoos? Seriously. I thought they died down, but Holy Crap I'm just about the only chick in the place outside of Grandma that isn't inked. And I'm not so sure Grandma hasn't got herself a big ole tramp stamp under her baggy velour pants.

Then there's this other perpetually tanned, bald guy who has a prominent shuffle and faraway stare. I'm not sure what the deal is with him. He may be suffering from some sort of neurological ailment, and I feel like a horrible person saying this, but he creeps me out. Big time. When he's there, he's at the gym forEVER. And he always without fail is hanging out, sitting on the machine I want to use. He's downright peculiar. And yet, as much as he creeps me out, when he's not around I worry something happened to him.

Wait..What??? I know. Makes no sense at all. Probably just some residual ex-Catholic guilt.

Then there's Odoriferous Man who reeks so badly he could be a new villain on Batman. Not even exaggerating there. Serious funkadelic happening. Makes me wish odors emitted color schemes so you can see it and give a W-I-D-E berth. He needs a cape and a daunting theme song when he enters.

So, to recap, this week I successfully dragged my unruly mop-topped, bed head, boney ass to the gym twice! Yee Haw!!! I'm on a roll, BABY! Good thing, too because tonight is the first of our monthly wine flights. You know the ones where we sample four full glasses of themed wines in about 45 minutes before we're cut loose to give the city a drunken reach around.

Yeah. That should keep that little bastard hip joint mollified and happy.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Keeping Up An Annual Tradition 
or kissing off the old year 

Happy 1-1-11!!

Okay, so every year Geo and I have a standing date with our long-time buds (and a smattering of newcomers) to gather together at midnight to greet the new year with the traditional banging of pots and pans, uncorking of the bubbly and flipping off the prior year. 

Giving the old year the one-finger salute started way back in the Jurassic era when T-Rex ruled the Earth and Pterodactyls soared in the skies, also known as our College years. It's a stupid thing that happened spontaneously one New Year's Eve and it just stuck, mainly because we're all 12 year-olds.

Some years I cannot WAIT to be rid of...2001 is high on that list. But truth be told, I'm going to miss 2010. 

I turned 50 without falling and breaking a hip. On the contrary, I felt rejuvenated and lighter in spirit. We celebrated 25 years of mostly wedded bliss, had our first Francis Dunnery house concert, I survived SXSW, met some truly amazing women whom I'm blessed to call friends, reconnected with my brother and sister-in-law, and traveled all around the Northeast to listen to the blue-eyed lovely one sing, enabling Geo and I to spend more quality time together than we had in years. 

Dearest 2010: 
Please don't take this photo personally. You know I love you. I shall always think of you fondly. You are one of the best years I've ever had. You will always hold a special spot deep in my heart, but it's tradition. You understand. 
XOXOXO, Murray

Bring it on, 2011. Your power dates (1-1-11, 1-11-11, 11-11-11) show promise, but you have some mighty big shoes to fill.