Trapped

It is now 5:12. I get off work at 4:30. I’m still sitting here at my desk. On a Friday evening. Forty-five minutes after most folks get off work, they are eating or drinking or watching Dan Abrams.

I await the arrival of my brother, who thought he’d be here by 4 p.m.

If I’m still here on Saturday, I hope I can sneak a ride home from the Professor as she goes to my house to pick me up.

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Camille Paglia, Guns, & Water

I know she’s a nut, but I love Camille Paglia. I rarely agree with her, but I love her just the same. I know two entries in the same week in my ongoing series of “I read Salon.com so you don’t have to” is a bit much, but I recommend you go over there and check out her essay on Madonna.

Though she doesn’t address it directly, she goes a long way to explaining what the fuck is wrong with “Hung Up,” a song whose popularity can only lead one to shake her head and marvel at the wonders of Payola. There is just no reason that song is popular except that her record company is paying for it to be popular.

Frankly, Madonna hasn’t had a good song since “Ray of Light,” and even that song suffers unless it’s a sunny day and you have the car.

But I love how Paglia writes because she knows how to instill all her subjects with real weight. And I love her because I suspect she’s our own true heir to Nietzsche. One cannot read either of them without marveling at their fierce madness and their love of tendencies most of us work to suppress.

Her role model is Keith Richards. I guess I’m too young to understand what kind of role model Richards might be, though I appreciate his willingness to forgo purses or pockets and instead tying things in his hair. But I think she loves his voracious appetite. I can respect that.

Anyway, reading her writing on something as inconsequential as Madonna’s latest album has me wishing once again I knew how to talk about what I saw on TV the other day.

The guys from Mythbusters were shooting at ballistics gel submerged in a swimming pool. I wasn’t really paying any attention. I just had it on for background noise while I was afghaning.

The first gun they shot was some old Civil War era thingy and, though it failed to hit the gel at various distances, they were picking up whole bullets (shells, whatever) off the bottom of the pool.

But then they started shooting “hypersonic” guns. I don’t know what these are, but they’re big and scary looking. They even had one that could pierce bulletproof glass.

And you know what happened?

Every time the bullets hit the water, they shattered. I guess shattered*, since they were pulling shards of metal off the bottom of the pool.

As they explained it, it’s because the bullets are moving so fast and the water slows them down so quickly that the bullet basically tears itself apart as it decelerates into the water.

Seeing this made me really happy, and deeply delighted with physics.

And this is what I didn’t quite know how to talk about. But when they slowed the footage down and showed the bullet going from one whole fast piece of metal to tiny pieces gently falling over the top of the ballistics gel and the bottom of the pool, it almost felt like art, like some meditation on the ways in which our most sophisticated machines fail in the face of nature. Or on how sometimes speed and power isn’t everything. It was surprising. It made me consider both the gun and water in new ways.

But what’s cool about it is that such failure is not unpredictable. I was surprised to see it, but what physicist would have been?

Which made me a little jealous of physicists.

In general, I don’t like science because there’s too much math, but I make an exception for Physics**, which is really the artsiest of sciences, a field that requires a comfort with the as-of-yet unexplainable, and a field that requires a deep abiding love of metaphor. How can a girl not love a field that says “It’s like this. Say that the tiniest things in the universe were little strings of energy…”? Anyone who loves good storytellers has to love physicists****.

Anyway, water. It’s pretty amazing. And, apparently, hiding just a couple of feet under the surface will protect you from snipers.

*Ha, I lack the vocabulary to even talk about this. But tough shit for you, you’re already this far.
**And the math that goes into Excel spreadsheets. Is there anything more satisfying than finally getting one of those fuckers to work?***
***Could I be any more prone to hyperbole? I doubt it.
****But love them from afar, lest they try to bore you to death with all their talk of fermions and intrinsic angular momentum and the Wigner-d’Espag… whoo, put myself to sleep even trying to warn you about it.

The Shopping List

So, the shopping list for Saturday, which was just

  • Cute bra for under button-down shirts

is now

  • Cute bra for under button-down shirts
  • Shoes for work

Yes, here it is December 2nd and I’m still wearing sandals. Now, living down here means that you can get away with wearing sandals for a lot longer than one might think, but it’s 20 degrees out.

Where, you might ask, are my awesome chunky-heeled black shoes that have served me so faithfully?

Well, after the tragic art accident that covered them in green crayon (I didn’t care. I wore them anyway. I considered it bohemian.), when I switched to sandals for the summer, they were apparently drafted into service as bowling shoe stretchers.

Yes, my favorite pair of shoes, which are warm for the winter and comfortable, with a heel, but not too much, spent months stuffed inside the Butcher’s bowling shoes.

Needless to say, they did not survive.

This would not bug me so much, except that the Butcher claims I said he should use them for that purpose and, who knows? Maybe I did. Was I drunk? On drugs? Deranged? I don’t know.

And, it wouldn’t bother me so much except it means I actually have to go shopping, which I loathe. One item on your list, you can kind of just park near the store you need to go into, run in there, and blindly grab the first thing that seems okay, pay for it, whatever the price, and leave.

But once you need two things, you’re kind of committed to careful consideration of your purchases. Carefully considering something that’s not going to turn me into Wonder Woman or get me laid is just not that much fun for me.

Funny, Even if You Don’t Know Her

My dear friend, the Super Genius, has written a post about various romance novels she might have written. The novels sound funny, but the synopses are hilarious.

Here’s just a sample:

Bodice/Manhood rating: Four out of five ripped bodices, tenderly caressed by the wavering grasses on the fields where they were discarded as she became a women, at his hands that were both in equal measures tender and desperate. Desperate not out of dastardly intent, but desperate…with desire. With the desire of a thousand fires that can be quenched with one drop of her fiercely innocent and innocently fierce love. What I mean is, uh, it should have been rated R probably. For the five ripped bodices and all.

Blech

Well, I was still out of sorts and couldn’t find anything in the house to eat for dinner and so here’s what I had: Raman noodles and marshmallows.

Needless to say, there are no Tums in the house, either, and I could use some after that lovely meal. But I had a fine old time tossing marshmallows to the dog. They’re so light-weight that she was snapping her mouth shut too soon and they were hitting her right in the nose. That was pretty funny.

I’ve given up on teaching her to annoy the Butcher on command. It’d be a useful skill, but she just doesn’t get it. I know she knows she has a name. She just doesn’t get that we have names, too. This wouldn’t bother me, but I’m pretty certain that she knows the Professor’s name, because whenever I’m like “Look, there’s the Professor!” the dog looks right at where I’m pointing.

Whenever I say, “Look, there’s the Butcher!” she comes right up to me and tries to lick me.

So, my new plan is to teach the orange cat to annoy the Butcher on command. I’m actually more optimistic about this plan, because the orange cat is mean, and I just have to believe that it’s a lot easier to motivate mean folks to pick on the Butcher than big sweeties like Mrs. Wigglebottom.