Sunday, January 5th 2014

I have a lot of tattoos, you just can’t see them
posted @ 1:55 pm in [ ]

It’s official: I have a lot of tattoos. 17 and counting as of this writing, in fact. Of course, as someone associated with a tattoo shop, that’s merely “respectable.” As a professor, it’s a shocking number. As a sometime-model and performer-for-hire, I tend to keep the vast majority of those tattoos in places where they are unlikely to be seen by the casual observer or client.

For example, since I’m in my 40s and won’t be modeling bikinis anytime soon, I feel free to have multiple tattoos on my ribcage. I have tattoos on my forearms, but they were done with blacklight ink and only show up under blacklights. (No, really.) So people are often surprised to learn that I have a bunch of tattoos, since they’re not visible if I’m, say, in public and wearing clothes.

Here’s what’s extra-weird about that: once people find out you have a lot of tattoos, they assume that you’re someone who will just take your clothes off for strangers all the time. If you won’t do that, you will certainly describe intimate parts of your body (particularly those you would not even consider tattooing) in great enough detail so as to make actual clothing removal unnecessary.

What’s up with that? Is it some kind of cultural thing, where it is expected that women with tattoos are automatically whorey — that the application of ink to skin also injects Liquid Slut? Perhaps that’s why tattoos hurt: because your moral fabric is being rent in the process, and it’s merely psychic pain you’re experiencing? Is it assumed that only women who were whorey to begin with get tattoos?

For me, my tattoos are expressions of things that are important to me. OK, and I also have tattoos because I’m something of a badass, and it was bound to happen. Having tattoos in part because you’re a badass, however, is substantively different than having them because you’re whorey.

Is it a gender thing, then? Because generally speaking, the same kinds of people who get pervily curious when they find out a woman has tattoos also wouldn’t mess with a guy who had a bunch of tattoos or ask to see ANY of them. I’m contemplating a tattoo in an easy-to-get-at spot that says something like, “I will f*cking cut you.” Perhaps that will get the message across.

Thoughts, gentle reader? Maybe that should be #18?

Saturday, November 9th 2013

More skit stuff I’ve been writing
posted @ 11:01 pm in [ ]

This was also from the “Plague” show.

DOCTOR: (calling toward the door) Nurse, send in the next patient, please!

PATIENT 1: (enters, nervously) Thank you so much for seeing me, doctor. I’m so glad you’re taking new patients. My last physician said he was retiring rather suddenly and referred me to someone else, who wasn’t taking any new patients, and I do need access to a regular doctor, because I often need—

DOCTOR: Oh, fine, fine. What seems to be the trouble today?

PATIENT 1: Well, I think I’ve been suffering from Porphyria.

DOCTOR: Porphyria? Oh my, that’s very rare. Any relation to British royalty?

PATIENT 1: Well no, but I’ve had stomach cramps, and my, uhh, leavings have been purplish…

DOCTOR: Have you been eating a lot of beets, by any chance?

PATIENT 1: Why yes. Just before he retired suddenly, my last doctor said they might help cure my mad cow disease.

DOCTOR: Mad cow disease, eh?

PATIENT 1: I haven’t eaten any beef in nearly a year and it seems to have cleared up. That and the beets.

DOCTOR: Well, it’s probably safe to lay off the beets at this point. Just the same, the treatment I would prescribe is leeches.

PATIENT 1: Leeches?

DOCTOR: Yes, humans really have more blood than they need and sometimes it causes problems. Leeches really help balance the system. Plus, they were used to treat Porphyria a few hundred years ago, when it was a bigger problem, and seemed to work great. If you’ll just follow me into the leech room, we’ll get started.

PATIENT 1: Wait, you want to put leeches on me?

DOCTOR: Yes, that’s the only way they can feed on your blood and drain some of it off for you. (moves toward “leech room,” making encouraging gesture for PATIENT 1 to follow)

PATIENT 1: Uhh… shouldn’t I make an appointment to come back later for that?

DOCTOR: It’s OK, I can set you up in the leech room while I see my next patient, and by the end of that consultation, you should be good as new.

PATIENT 1: Are you sure I need that? Should I maybe just lay off the beets and see what happens?

DOCTOR: Well, you could do that, but then you won’t get the benefit of leeches today.

PATIENT 1: I think I can live with that. I’m starting to feel a bit better…

DOCTOR: OK, then. Make an appointment with my nurse when you’re ready for your bloodletting, then. Have a great day!

PATIENT 1: Uhh, thanks. (leaves)

DOCTOR: (checks calendar/watch) Hey, I’m even running ahead of schedule! (toward door) Next, please!

PATIENT 2: (enters) Hi, doc.

DOCTOR: Good afternoon. What seems to be the trouble today?

PATIENT 2: What I really need is a referral from my primary care physician, but I don’t have one. I’m hoping you can just write me a referral for plastic surgery.

DOCTOR: Oh? Whatever for?

PATIENT 2: I really need to do something about these jowls. (pushes at skin around jawline)

DOCTOR: You look just fine to me. If you’re really worried about it, though, I recommend leeches.

PATIENT 2: Leeches? Those gross little bloodsuckers?

DOCTOR: They are terribly misunderstood, but yes. You see, unsightly sagging is often caused by excess fluid, and leeches take care of that problem by draining excess fluid from the body.

PATIENT 2: I don’t want to be sucked on by gross… things. I want a quick nip and tuck, and I need a referral.

DOCTOR: Oho, be careful how you phrase that! (chuckles) I’d be happy to refer you to the hundreds of helpful denizens of the leech room.

PATIENT 2: Are you going to give me a referral to a real plastic surgeon or not?

DOCTOR: Leeches are nature’s plastic surgeons!

PATIENT 2: I’m out. (leaves)

DOCTOR: (waves bye-bye to PATIENT 2) What an awesome day! I’m ahead of schedule and 2 for 2! (toward door) Next, please!

PATIENT 3: (enters, blowing nose) Hi, doctor. I know I’m not supposed to come to you for something like a common cold, but I am just so miserable, I was hoping you could give me some antibiotics or something.

DOCTOR: Well you see, it’s not really a policy thing. There’s no medical conspiracy about not treating colds, oh no! (chuckles) It’s that colds tend to be viruses rather than bacterial infections. Bacterial infections can sometimes be cured with antibiotics, but viruses can’t. You pretty much just have to wait them out.

PATIENT 3: Isn’t there anything you can do?

DOCTOR: I’m glad you asked. The most effective anti-viral I know is right behind that door. (indicates “leech room”)

PATIENT 3: Wonderful. I’ll try anything at this point.

DOCTOR: I’m so glad to hear that! I have some new leeches I haven’t had a chance to try out yet.

PATIENT 3: Wait. Leeches?

DOCTOR: Nature’s anti-viral! You see, many viruses are blood-borne. Leeches drain out the infected blood and force your body to make more, fresh blood. It should work great!

PATIENT 3: What do you mean “should?” Have you ever tried this before?

DOCTOR: I haven’t had the opportunity, but the theory is really quite sound. And you did say you were willing to try anything.

PATIENT 3: Pills and nasal spray and stuff. Not leeches.

DOCTOR: Pills won’t help your virus.

PATIENT 3: I’d like a second opinion.

DOCTOR: OK, but I don’t think many physicians will see you for your minor virus.

PATIENT 3: (ponders) How much?

DOCTOR: The first five are $10 each, but after that it’s only $5 each.

PATIENT 3: First five? How many typically go on you?

DOCTOR: It depends on your schedule, really. They’re pretty slow and steady feeders, so if you’ve got time, one or two can do the job, until they get full, of course, and then they’ll have to be swapped out. If you don’t have a lot of time, we can put a couple dozen on at once, and…

PATIENT 3: (retches into office trash can) Apparently it’s not a cold anymore; it’s the flu.

DOCTOR: Still a virus. Still leeches.

PATIENT 3: Pass. (gets up shakily and leaves)

DOCTOR: Next, please!

NURSE: (poking head in from “waiting room”) That’s all we’ve got for the moment. The waiting room’s empty.

DOCTOR: I don’t know what people are always complaining about with spending so much time in their doctor’s office waiting rooms. (pauses) But I know what cures it!

NURSE: What’s that, doctor?

DOCTOR: The same thing that cures everything else: Leeches!

(DOCTOR and NURSE laugh)

Sunday, July 14th 2013

Are you as horrified by the Zimmerman verdict as I am?
posted @ 10:50 am in [ ]

Good. Sign this.

NAACP | Urge the DOJ to file civil rights charges

“George Zimmerman has been found not guilty. Turn your anger, outrage, and heartbreak into action. Urge the DOJ to take action today.”

You know what I think about injustice. When one is oppressed, we are all oppressed — we cannot be free as a society, as a people, as a nation, as humans. I for one want our freedom.

As of this writing, the site is busy — presumably because of overwhelming response. I’m going to keep trying. It seems especially fitting to me to sign this on Bastille Day. Let us tear down this edifice of all that is wrong with our society, with our bare hands if need be, and free those trapped inside — ourselves included.

Tuesday, June 25th 2013

I’ve also been writing skits
posted @ 8:45 pm in [ ]

So one of the many things I’ve been doing lately is that I perform in a monthly cabaret show. I sing with the band, I choreograph the dance numbers and often perform in them, I write the news segment, and I do some light comedic acting in various skits. I also recently started writing skits. Here’s the sort of quality entertainment I’ve been contributing.

The Death Panel

PANELIST 1: Good morning, everyone. I would like to call this meeting of the death panel to order, but I can’t find my gavel.

PANELIST 2: Oh, come now. (wags finger) Under Obama’s Socialist Regime, the gavel belongs to us all.

PANELIST 1: Very well. May I use our gavel for these proceedings?

PANELIST 2: I think I last saw it on the desk of that judge who does all the gay marriages. (gasps) He must use it to smash the institution of marriage!

PANELIST 3: That must be why my wife is divorcing me!

PANELIST 1: (looks him over) I don’t know. Maybe. (shakes it off) Let’s see what kinds of cases we’re reviewing today. (flips through some papers/folders) Here we go. First up, we have a sick little boy who may never walk again, due to a degenerative and crippling disease.

PANELIST 2: Can it be cured with stem cells?

PANELIST 3: You always ask that.

PANELIST 2: Well, can it?

PANELIST 1: How should I know? I’m not a doctor.

(ALL laugh)

PANELIST 2: If it can, though, we should probably hand out more free abortions. That way, we can get all the stem cells he needs!

PANELIST 3: You know that there are other ways to get stem cells, right? They don’t all come from aborted fetuses.

PANELIST 2: Maybe, but everyone knows the aborted fetus ones are the best.

PANELIST 3: Well, I can’t argue with that.

PANELIST 1: Very well. I move that we approve little… (checks the papers) Billy’s treatment with stem cells. Any discussion?

PANELIST 2: If it’s got stem cells, I’m for it!

PANELIST 3: Sure, whatever you guys want.

PANELIST 1: Motion carries! (bangs a random object on the table) Now then, we have… (shuffles through papers, finds another) Ooh. Lou Reed needs a new liver.

PANELIST 3: Should we really approve that? I mean, look what he did to the old one.

PANELIST 2: Not even stem cells can fix that.

PANELIST 1: (thoughtfully, as if using the Socratic method) Are you saying that a prominent senior citizen deserves to die?

PANELIST 2: Well, what assurances do we have that he’ll treat a liver we give him with any more care than the one he grew himself? I mean, if a child’s goldfish dies, you don’t buy him a puppy.

PANELIST 3: (puzzled) What?

PANELIST 2: It’s just an expression.

PANELIST 1: I’m not sure we’d have any assurances at all.

PANELIST 2: What about this? What if we give him a liver, but not a very good one? You know, one we wouldn’t put in a healthy person.

PANELIST 1: You are such a softie.

PANELIST 3: Yeah, the biggest softie on the death panel!

(ALL laugh)

PANELIST 1: What about that Slayer guy that died recently? Do we know what happened to his liver?

PANELIST 3: Not really.

PANELIST 2: That would be perfect if it’s available! If not, Lou Reed can have another musician’s liver when they die. It just can’t be, like a folk musician’s or Christian rocker’s liver, or anybody really young. And it has to be someone who’s done at least a few major road tours.

PANELIST 1: I can live with that.

PANELIST 3: (shrugs) OK.

PANELIST 1: Motion carries! (bangs random object on table) Let’s do one more and then break for lunch. (riffles papers a bit) Here’s a good one! We have here an 82-year-old woman, affectionately known as “Granny.”

PANELIST 2: Let’s kill her.

PANELIST 3: I agree. Kill her.

PANELIST 1: She’s not actually asking for anything life-threatening, though… She just needs a new pair of glasses.

PANELIST 3: I don’t care. I don’t like her. Let’s kill her.

PANELIST 2: I can get on board with that.

PANELIST 1: Well, that was easy. I guess it’s unanimous, then (bangs random object on table), and that’s lunch!

Thursday, June 6th 2013

I am a filthy junkie
posted @ 12:30 pm in [ ]

About two years ago, I stopped my daily intake of caffeine. I decided that I didn’t like getting a horrible migraine if I didn’t get my fix. I’ve still had a cup of coffee or tea from time to time since, and it was like a nice boost of energy. I took great care not to drink coffee more than two days in a row, and that the amount was small.

This week, though, it happened. I drank more coffee than that. Iced coffee to be precise. I missed it. And then I missed it the next day, and the next… and now I fear if I don’t drink coffee, the horrible headaches will return. But damn, I missed this buzz.

I gave in to it. I got a pound of coffee and soaked it overnight for toddy. I have a beautiful glass container of insanely intense Columbian coffee in my fridge right now. I poured it, I distilled it, I crafted it. Not only am I back on the bean, but I’m already back to being so hardcore, I make my own.

I’m currently justifying my fall from grace by saying I was always a coffee junkie — it may even be that the deck was stacked against me, since my late father drank it seemingly by the gallon — and that not drinking it for two years was against my nature. Also, I feel better when I have a nice little caffeine buzz on AND I’m more productive.

Oh-kaaaaayyy. I’m Meg and I’m a caffeine junkie.

Monday, June 3rd 2013

Why do they have a Groupon?
posted @ 6:06 pm in [ ]

So I’ll fill you in as I go about what the hell I’ve been doing, but I helped open a small business about a year ago. That means my finances have been alarmingly troubled for a while, but that they’re slowly improving. Which, in turn, means that if I want to go out to eat somewhere where you actually sit down, someone comes to the table to take your order, and there are napkins, I often must turn to Groupon.

Groupon is an interesting concept. For those unfamiliar with it, the deal is that various businesses can offer these screamin’ deal coupons for stuff (meals, entertainment, mouse shaving, whatever) through them. Consumers then go buy an electronic “coupon” for them at a discounted rate, then present them at the business when they go to get their meal/entertainment/mouseshaving. For example, a restaurant that wants to increase its client base can offer $30 worth of food for $15. You buy the $30 coupon, you pay $15 for it, and then you go get your $30 worth of food.

That’s not the fun part, though. The fun part is where you try to figure out why this restaurant had to hook up with Groupon to get people to go there. The best possible answer is, “Because they’re new.” There are lots of other possibilities, though. For example:

• The food sucks
• The seating is atrocious
• It’s a strange, pretentious, expensive place, and it’s right next to the ballpark
• The online menu says they have stuff, that, in reality, they don’t
• The service would be better if it were given by angry howler monkeys
• It’s right next to a better restaurant that has the same kind of food
• It is apparently hiding from the world because it’s ridiculously hard to find, or behind a lot of buildings
• They recently lost their liquor license
• It’s dimly lit in the hopes that you won’t notice that it’s so very filthy
• It’s only accessible by hovercraft
• It’s stupidly expensive without a Groupon and the portions wouldn’t satisfy an unshaven mouse
• They don’t really serve food
• It’s clearly in the wrong neighborhood, for example, with authentic Guyanese food in the midst of an area that thinks mild salsa is exotic and spicy
• They’ve gotten a LOT of bad reviews and/or given the Health Department Inspector salmonella
• It’s very far from everything in the universe, and can only be seen with the Hubble Telescope

The worst part is, of course, not being able to tell what the problem is. Then you’re uneasy for about 48 hours afterwards.

Thursday, August 9th 2012

So it’s been a while…
posted @ 1:33 pm in [ ]

I’m trying to get back to a routine, or craft another one, in the wake of the below mentioned deaths, plus a few others.

I lost my dance teacher with whom I studied for over 10 years, and worked for for a significant portion of that time. I went to her funeral the weekend before Robot the Rock Opera, which I had choreographed, opened. I had planned to invite her. I wanted her to see the traces of her own fingerprints on my choreographies, something only she would really be able to see. Because I’ve been struggling with other grief, I’ve had a hard time keeping up on correspondence, and I hadn’t spoken to her in a while. I regret that. Mostly, though, I regret that she didn’t get to see what I’ve done with the careful training and genuine affection she gave me.

Last year, I choreographed a stage production of Cannibal! The Musical. It was a challenge, and a rite of passage from being a sort of “dance ronin” to taking my place as a company choreographer. The cast were all adults, and few had had any dance experience at all. It was incredibly rewarding to watch some of them start to look like real dancers, some surprise themselves with what they could do. I started Planet X Dance Corps after that experience, to help them keep up their newfound or reawakened skills, and to keep being part of that amazing experience. I’m about to start production again on Cannibal! this year, and Planet X Dance Corps performs a couple of dance numbers at Planet X’s monthly cabaret show, “Hell Toupee Cabaret.” I’m not sure if I’m any better a choreographer than I was at this time last year, but I’m certainly more confident and experienced, and already proud of the returning cast.

I wish I’d been able to handle my own life well enough to be in better touch with my dance teacher before she was gone — without knowing what she had helped me accomplish.

I also lost the professor from college I had who most inspired me to try to be a scholar. He had gone to Harvard Divinity School and wrote me a recommendation for it when I applied. His belief in me allowed me to suspend my own disbelief that I could do it. I did a couple of directed studies with him, too, which I found incredibly flattering, considering how popular he was and how large his classes tended to be. I hadn’t been in touch in years by the time I heard he was gone. I think he knew I had made it to graduation with my Ph.D., but I don’t know if he knew what a profound effect he had had on my educational trajectory.

Needless to say, I’m trying to be better about communicating.

I also still haven’t really gotten past the previous losses. It remains a struggle. But I think writing about some of it here will help. I’ll try to keep it entertaining.

Tuesday, May 31st 2011

More hazards of living at altitude: Exploding yogurt
posted @ 9:40 pm in [ ]

Here’s something funny about living at a high altitude: groceries packed at sea level expand here. For example, bags of chips are like pillows, full of air almost to the point of bursting. Every once in a while, on the drive up the mountain to 10,367 feet, a container will make a popping sound from the grocery bags in the back seat or the trunk and release all that pressure. Usually, stuff stays sealed.

Even though I’ve been living up here for a couple of years now, I often still open the yogurt toward my face, and the force of the unsealing causes, at best, a light sneeze of active cultures to the general area of my face, and at worst, a significant fraction of the yogurt blasts into my eye at roughly the speed of sound.

Why I never learn to turn the yogurt cup away from my face while I open it remains a mystery to me.

Friday, April 1st 2011

The best day of the year to work for a news organization
posted @ 12:22 pm in [ ]

OK, I find working for Oakland Local delightful pretty much all the time. People who haven’t worked for news organizations, though, may not know what a bunch of pranksters journalists are. This is the one day of the year where they don’t have to worry quite so much about being serious, and balanced, and paying attention to AP style, and structure. Today is that one special day of the year when journalistic integrity is suspended and journalists get to have some very silly fun. Today’s stories and daily image are just hysterical.

If you’re reading this on April 1, just check out the front page.

Otherwise, here are the stories. They are not to be missed, regardless of when you get around to reading this. You don’t have to live in Oakland to find them hilarious.

New interim city administrator offers free hugs for a week

Beloved club promoter says she’s ‘cured’ of homosexuality (Queer Oakland)

2012 BART budget: New service, reduced fees, more technology

Oakland to start ticketing, booting bikes

Words of Wisdom (Daily Image)

Thursday, March 17th 2011

This might be why that happens
posted @ 10:00 am in [ ]

I always assumed that housewives reputedly had flings with handymen because the housewives were lonely, tired and bored, and the handymen were convenient. And being men, were slu– I mean, somewhat opportunistic.

That is, I assumed so until today.

Now, granted, I have had very little experience with either housewifery or handymen. The only times I’ve had handymen in my home (and yes, they have all been men) were when I was renting and I had to. After a while, I stopped alerting landlords to problems and just fixed them myself, rather than waiting around for a couple of weeks for the privilege of something getting fixed by some random, often sub-competent, and sometimes smelly, stranger.

I also don’t remember the last time I had fewer than three jobs. Maybe 14 years ago, during the first several days after I had moved to Denver, but hadn’t found a job yet. Although a lot of my work these days is online and from home, I am still more of a homewrecker than a homemaker.

Now, you already know that I live at an altitude where my sea-level-dwelling friends and family would werfel if they came here directly from the airport without overnighting somewhere in between. It snows a lot here, which is not that big a deal in theory, but the snow management and removal around here leaves something to be desired compared to other places I’ve lived with comparable amounts of snowfall. Indeed, this desire is the fertile fodder for many a wintertime rant, which Seth humors. He is from Arizona, and I think, just takes whatever snow removal he can get. Perhaps he has monsoon rants I have yet to hear.

We have a snow blower for the driveway, but early in the season, it required a replacement part, which we had to order, and Jeebus only knows if it ever came in. In the meantime, snow has been piling up here for months. Piling, drifting, melting, piling… The driveway has been impassible to vehicles, and not much more passable to pedestrians, except for Seth, who is part goat (don’t ask). Going between house and vehicle has been quite the ordeal. If only it were feasible to have a small team of sled dogs just for that 50 feet or so, or even a friendly walrus with a saddle. A walrus ride would have to leave one less disheveled than attempts to traverse on foot what I can only assume is a nascent glacier.

Anyway, we finally got a guy with some heavy equipment to come move some of that snow, ostensibly making the driveway a Way where one can Drive once again, rather than an expanse of snowy tundra that might inspire Jack London to write stories of desperate desolation and barest survival upon returning home from evening commutes. As I saw the guy begin to dig into the several-feet-deep impacted ice and snow mixture, I just felt this overwhelming sense of gratitude. It was a little bit like being rescued. In my case, it was sort of like being rescued at the end of a really uneventful version of The Shining, where Jack takes his medication and is just out of sorts and sleeps a lot, but rescued nonetheless.

Now, as someone who knows how to run heavy equipment but doesn’t happen to have any, I think the appropriate way to express that gratitude is to write the nice man a check, say thank you, and maybe offer him a hot beverage of some kind to go. But the power of rescuing is not to be underestimated. It’s a powerful aphrodisiac. Indeed, it’s what makes the most noble princesses put out to whomsoever shows up.

I could absolutely see how the combination of that being-rescued feeling and the equipment being mysterious, plus possibly a bit of lonely boredom, or craving for some strange, or whatever, could make the Guy Who Comes to Fix Stuff just irresistible. I’d say the snow removal guy was at least 15% more attractive because of the rescuing thing alone. And hey, if you didn’t know that replacing a garbage disposal was something an orangutan could do in about 20 minutes, that percentage could multiply quickly.

Me, I thanked the guy for coming and wrote him a check (and no, my phone number wasn’t on it). On the “FOR” line, though, I wrote “Epic snow removal.” Thanks for the rescue, mac.

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