Field Notes: Song of Myself

I have poked fun at outside entities in previous field notes entries (here, here, here), but I’m going to make fun of myself this time.

It has been a shameful amount of time since I was last here:  I blame political angst (or “That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore,” my new official name for this) combined with paper-writing overdrive.  My mind is dull, and I’m tired of looking at the word “qualitative”(and implications thereof!) on this screen.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that you really can’t take me out in public, as I lack multiple crucial filters.  I can try a bit of explanation:  when you’re an introvert who spends a lot of time in their head already, the things that have been building up join up and then pop out as seemingly bizarre thoughts at apparently random times.  It made sense to me; the problem is, no one can read my mind.  Wait.  That’s good, not a problem.

I was at a medical office recently and had explained that the code for something was “1066.”  I thought I’d picked an easy one, but it wasn’t sticking and kept getting transcribed incorrectly.  As I left the individual’s office and was standing in the hall, I blurted, “Battle of Hastings!  Don’t forget!”

What’s really unfortunate here, apart from yelling about the Norman Conquest in a medical office, is that out-of-the-blue allusions to William the Conqueror probably don’t seem all that odd in the context of everything that has come out of my mouth there from 2014 to present.

My brother joined me for lunch this past Saturday; it could have been two adults having adult conversation in an adult way.  What really happened is (I’m not even going to explain how this topic came up) that I ended up describing the original/cut ending to Clerks:  Dante gets shot at the end of the day.  The problem here is that I talk with my hands, so I was miming shooting a convenience store clerk– when I remembered that there was a children’s birthday party at the next table over.

Red card for lack of filter on that one.

I also accompanied by (poor, long-suffering, you’re thinking at this point) brother into a big box baby store in search of a particular item.  At the time, I was completely dressed for a night out, featuring both glitter on my face and glitter tights.  I’ve never even been in one of these stores, so while he took off in search of his quarry in a businesslike fashion, I put on brakes at a display of car seats and proceeded to translate the price into secondhand clothes, used books, etc.  The looks suggested that bystanders think I have a baby that I strap to the roof of the car as I drive in search of these items to spend car seat money on. (Clarification: I did not realize how much they cost and was surprised.)

Alice has a very nice carrier.  Just want to put that out there.  Not that she’s ever expressed anything approaching appreciation for said carrier:  more like Geneva Convention violations.


I possibly have an outlandish number of pictures of Alice.

As we continued to have difficulty locating the item, I finally asked for help in a request that involved the phrase “child thing.”  I was not referring to children, incidentally.  My brother says I might have passed for a new mother or, more likely, an eccentric aunt (the second is accurate).


With another unfortunate in tow, I went in Barnes & Noble.  Yet another long story, but I was in search of a collected or complete Ezra Pound.  I chose the store as the place to discuss whether buying Ezra Pound in a physical store would cause the employees to think I was a fascist and possibly mad (versus finding a copy online and cloaking the mad-fascist bit in anonymity).

The not-unfamiliar suggestion that I might possibly be overthinking things came up with this one.


Those are the ones that I can come up with immediately, but I really don’t like to skip a day of making a fool of myself.  However, I’m reaching my self-imposed word limit for a post, so that’s all for now.


1066 and All That is a book I probably first read (choke) years ago.  I still recommend it.

More about Ezra Pound (plus a lot of poems) here.

Actually, some background:  Pound came up because of a theory I have about the political race and Godwin’s Law.  At the time, it was a joke.  Now:  That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore.






Field Notes: Physical Therapy

Perhaps I’m stretching with this one.  [ka-ching, thank you, here all week]  I do spend enough time there to fill a post, though, so congratulations!  You can’t always get what you want, and I’m here to give you what you don’t need.


Physical therapy appears to be yet another person/adult thing I don’t know how to do; this probably comes as no surprise.  I was having problems before I even made it to the first session:  namely, I was shifting through t-shirts trying to figure out which ones didn’t essentially read “hi, my name is Weird!”  These days, making a good first impression apparently involves not wearing the shirt that says “I KILLED JENNY*.”

*Note lack of link.  You should know that.  And I also expect you to still be grieving for Mr. Piddles.

I think of science as something largely discovered by philosophers (Thales is still completely valid, right?), so our initial discussion of things involving a lot of Anatomical Terms went completely over my head.  Over time, I’ve learned to deal with this by responding to every remark of that type with, “so, is that good?”

Another conversational problem is that we don’t converse.  I spend a lot of time counting, and he spends a lot of time looking at something on his laptop.  When we attempt the forced small talk at the beginning of the session (he’s very nice, I should clarify), I’ve latched onto football as something I definitely know he likes.  Unfortunately, I’ve managed to screw up football as a topic of discussion constantly by getting enthusiastic about the wrong teams (usually, the only team I knew was playing), confusing winners and losers, and being extremely clueless about bowl games.  I brought up the championship game today (which I didn’t see, but I did check the score) and tried to break the ice by saying it must have been very exciting.  The look he gave me suggested he’s on to me.


A fairly accurate reenactment of my sports small talk.



In spite of my “everybody act normal!” efforts, he still seems to think I’m odd– again, as of the first appointment, when I brought a book.  I knew I’d have to wait, so this seemed perfectly logical.  Also, I always have a book with me.  As I’ve said before, there is always a possibility of a zombie apocalypse.  Do you not want to have a book with you when civilization crumbles?  I didn’t go into the zombie bit there, but I think I’d done enough already  without putting the undead icing on the cake.

I put off laundry a shameful amount of time at one point (it was cold!  exterior stairs!), and I did have to go to my Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem t-shirt, which seemed okay:  nostalgia value, right?  Not so much.  It was a new experience to have someone who was pulling my ankles lose composure and crack up.  I’m adding to my résumé every day.

Today, he asked if my mismatched socks were a style statement.  I had to explain that, this time, they were just laundry-fatigue induced accidents.  I didn’t mention that I have worn mismatched socks before (on purpose) and that now he was giving me ideas.  Of course, I also now have an inverse pair of the ones I wore today, plus one odd one that I assume is a dryer casualty.  All sorts of possibilities!


I am *killing* normal here.


Other things I’m learning:  I’m getting very, very good at counting.  Going up to 10, 15, and 30 are my specialities.  If you need help with that, let me know.  If it’s math more involved than that, call someone else; nothing’s changed with that one.

I am also in the gym portion eight minutes per session, where I have been seeing a show I think is called Meredith (?).  It’s what would happen if you took the 50s and told it to act hip and contemporary but to do a really, really bad job on purpose.  Perhaps you need to watch it for more than eight minutes at a time to get the full effect of it, and I’m misjudging.

I’ve also concluded that physical therapy should come with a masseuse to follow you home when all the actual aches and pains start up.  This has not been forthcoming.

In the meantime, if you’d like to come rub my back, I’m right here.  I’m also taking fashion tips and conversational bits of current sports trivia.

Until then, I will be reading, wearing clothes not suitable for physical therapy, wearing earplugs during Monday RAW/Thursday Smackdown/all football (apartments!), and avoiding daytime TV.



The Smiths and a Grump Walk into a Coffeehouse 

I jumped ship Sunday afternoon and went to my favorite local coffee place.  I was getting cabin fever but had rough luck renegotiating my exercise contract last week (current status:  SIT.  STAY.), and it sounded like it was about to be aerobics time* upstairs.

*Unlike some of my more obvious flights of fancy, I do think that one is accurate; in college one year, there was an aerobics enthusiast in the dorm room above, so I’ve heard this one before.  Me picturing the full-on ’80s Jane Fonda setup is complete projection, admittedly. 

Post image is Starbucks– not the coffeehouse. I’ve undertaken guerilla lyrics-doodling. Yeah, yeah:  get a life. 

One reason I like this particular coffee place is that they generally play good music (read:  music I like) at the perfect volume:  audible, but right at that level where it drowns out nearby conversation without preventing you from reading (or whatever), even though the seating is tight.

Accordingly, I’d gone armed with my current book (A Light that Never Goes Out:  The Enduring Saga of The Smiths, the follow-up to Girls to the Front:  The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution; I’m on some sort of music roll).  I incidentally thought that brooding behind a book that prominently featured the famous disaffected Manchester group might scream “over here!  Single!” without actually having to sing “How Soon Is Now?,” but perhaps Morrissey sends the wrong message . . . . Also, I tend to forget I’m old.  Really, really, super-old.


Credit: Kaineiribas, DeviantArt:

Credit: Kaineiribas, DeviantArt:

I sat down next to a guy affixed to his computer who, oddly, tapped his headphones when I sat.  The Unstated Coffee House Code of Conduct generally forbids that sort of thing, so I was puzzled, and I had no idea what was particularly of interest about his headphones.

I found out pretty quickly.

I can normally tune people out when I’m reading, and, as I said, the music generally is a good cover here.  Maybe it was the pitch of this girl’s voice?  Only the scientists who hunt her down and trap her for further study will have the answers.

Here’s a sampling of what I learned in the short period of time that preceded putting my headphones in (sitting down –> waiting for my order to be called):

*Religion is not the same as spirituality.  Religion is Baptist.

*Saddam Hussein was/is President of Iraq.

*America is not the world police.  (cue me mentally humming Team America theme song)

*Her parents are worried that she is a spinster.  She’s almost 24 already!

*She can take care of a dog, so she is totally ready to start having babies!

*Her parents are worried about her brother-in-law because he hasn’t produced any children yet.  (No, I didn’t understand, either.)

All attempts at further socialization went into the toilet once I hunkered down with coffee, as that’s when my headphones went in.  At first, it was something about the tone of her voice that made her hard to tune out, just on an aural level.  Then it was these– aphorisms?– that kept coming at her companion (and everyone else in the vicinity) that turned into can’t-turn-away utterances.

It was headphones or live-tweeting, and I figured no one could miss me doing the second.  Also, I can’t type that fast.  Or read while live-tweeting, which would defeat the whole purpose of coming to get a quiet cup of coffee in the first place.

I get the feeling it might be a problem.

I get the feeling it might be a problem.

In the end, The Smiths [book] and I had coffee with The Smiths [music].  Party of three, alienated and with a thorn in our side.

Unnecessary bit at the end, by way of seriously lightweight book reviewing:  The review of the book I’m reading now (A Light that Never Goes Out) is accurate; the book is full of information, but the pacing is sluggish, and Fletcher is no writer.  I’m on page 161, and the band hasn’t even formed.  For every great quotation or musical reference, there are pages of so much detail that I end up flipping back.  Clearly, I haven’t read enough to say much more than that.

Girls to the Front, by contrast, is practically page-turning, and it’s interesting that both books cover limited spans of music-time (a briefly-lived band, a briefly-lived movement).  Marcus clearly also did serious and exhaustive research, but she doesn’t exhaust the reader with the weight of it.  If you’re interested in early Riot Grrrl, this is a good one.  As this review acknowledges, the only real thing of note is that she sometimes lets people and the issues that divided them off slightly more easily than they may have deserved.  There’s generally enough context that you can spot these points yourself, though.  

If you just (like me) read Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, this is a good time to pull this one off the bookshelf (where it may have happened to have been sitting for far too long) (cough).  My review of that one is on LibraryThing and Goodreads, for what little that’s worth.