Scratchy Glitter

Observations for the easily irritated.

Category: Stab From the Past

“Write” Prompt, My Stay in a Desperate World

close up of hand over white background

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Well, not quite, but sort of.

I observed National Lipstick Day on July 29 with Watermelon Pink (sure, it’s just gloss, but I’M A BOOMER AND LIPSTICK INTIMIDATES ME), and I am now observing National Beer Day with, yeah, you guessed it.

Sign on side of a van: “Elevators and Escalators–We’re Dedicated to People Flow.” Said van was on the lot of the liquor store, so I’m guessing some people would be flowing soon.

THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD, AGAIN

There is nothing like returning to an area you used to be intimately familiar with after a span of some years. I went back to the vicinity of my work, to do some errands at nearby businesses. I walked through that area for some 25 years on my way to work. In the 2 years since I retired, it has become Not Anyone’s Job to pull weeds out of the sidewalks in front of the houses. And the yards themselves are overgrown with weeds. It’s the first sign of civilization falling, people!

However, Wesselman’s grocery was absolutely unchanged since, oh, 1963. (Disclaimer: The writer of this post was not in this town in 1963. I was either in Chicago or L.A. Big radio markets, you understand. Or you do when your stepfather is a DJ.)  It’s kind of eerie. For one thing, they never got the memo that We Use Body Wash Now, and not a bottle of it can be found. Old-fashioned bar soap can still be had, however.

IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT, AND I DON’T FEEL FINE.

I am absurdly thrilled with the gel-ink pens someone got me for my retirement party, 2 YEARS AGO. It magically makes my handwriting legible. Thanks, Unknown Person!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Restroom News

green leafed plants on toilet bowl

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I apologize to anyone who thought there’d be another semi-lyrical perfume review. Yeah, I should have two different blogs. Nah, I’m not going to do it.

DID YOU KNOW?

The restroom at Schnucks has a unique-as-far-as-I-can-tell dual-flush feature. “Pull UP for liquid waste, pull DOWN for solid waste.” But what if it’s both? Or what if you didn’t read the sign on the wall, which is, after all, behind you, and you already flushed and NOW IT’S TOO LATE?!

AND DID YOU KNOW?

I am old and wise enough to remember the history behind the Charmin Soft vs. Strong debate. Originally there was a super-soft toilet paper brand called White Cloud. The Charmin people bought them out, called it Charmin White Cloud for awhile, then changed the name to Charmin Ultra Soft. The original Charmin then became Charmin Ultra Strong. The other TP companies then had to be copycats and make their own two-different-formula claims, saddling us with a false dichotomy ever since. (Now I’m wishing I’d called the post Saddled with a False Dichotomy. But how could I have known I was going to write that phrase?) (No, I’m not going to go back up and change it. You’re lucky I even proofread these things.) 

IN NON-BATHROOM NEWS

There was a young couple at the bus stop, in black sweatshirts that said “The King” and “His Queen.” Her Majesty’s nobility was in question, however, for verily, she did spit upon the sidewalk in my presence. Whereupon His Highness peered into her face and inquired, “Is that piercing on your nose still open?”

 

The Things That Happen Between Life Events

meal food dish mexican

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The title is how one of my sisters-in-law (they are numerous and aggressive) defined this blog, which she seemed to have a high opinion of. YES, I KEEP ALL POSITIVE COMMENTS IN AN EMAIL FOLDER MARKED “STROKEFEST,” DOESN’T EVERYONE?

Interesting–spellcheck now thinks “email” is a word. It does not feel the same way about “StrokeFest,” however.

This post is brought to you in spite of a poisoned taco. My advice: if the center of your fast-food taco meat is cool, DO NOT KEEP EATING IT. As I did. I even thought at the time, “Well, if I get sick tomorrow, I’ll know what caused it.” So I did. Get sick, and know what caused it. One does not always have that assurance.

COSMO ASTROLOGY ’85

Interior decoration for Scorpio: “Who else but Scorpio would toss a paisley shawl over her TV? Or line bathroom walls with dozens of small framed mirrors? Or buy a funky old dinette set at a thrift shop and paint it lime green? Or make witty collages out of family memorabilia? Or…”

Let’s break these observations down one-by-one:

  1. I don’t think it takes Scorpio boldness to toss a paisley shawl over a TV. Of course, if I tossed one, it would probably slide off. Maybe that’s what they meant–that Scorpio strength of will would keep it from doing so.
  2. Why would you line a bathroom wall with dozens of mirrors, none of them big enough to see yourself in?
  3. I’m glad only a Scorpio would buy a funky old dinette set and paint it lime green. That means we have only a one-in-twelve chance of it happening.
  4. On the other hand, I think more than one-twelfth of the population has made witty collages out of family memorabilia. Even though you run the risk of your family not appreciating your wit. I once made a witty collage for my bedroom wall out of ads which expressed the image I had of myself. I was 14 at the time, and I also made a picture of a flying hippogriff (traced from an illustration in E.R. Eddison’s novel “The Worm Ouroborous,” in case you thought I could draw), with a psychedelic border design made with brightly-colored magic markers, captioned “Fly Trans-Love Airways” (from Donovan’s song “The Fat Angel”–Cupid, get it?), in Lord of the Rings Elvish script. And I wondered why I had no friends.

Speaking of the 80’s, Harper’s Bazaar now tells us that 80’s retro fashion is in (I think for the second time–we’re running out of decades to be ironic about), with “neon-bright colors and oversized silhouettes.” Sure, it’s a change from the undersized silhouettes I got sick of long ago, but why can’t we have clothes that just fit normally?

Vote for me, I’m the Outsider, etc.

Vintage Jewelry: Balenciaga Le Dix

gold pearl and rose gold flower necklace

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Continuing our exploration of “dusky” perfumes, Le Dix was recommended to me as a powdery fragrance with a violet aspect. I don’t get violet, and I get only a bit of powder. What I do get is the scent of my mother’s jewelry box in the late 50’s–one of my earliest memories.

I did not come up with this comparison–I read it in Tessture’s review of this scent on makeupalley–but when I read that review, it brought this forgotten memory vividly to mind. I would paw through my mother’s jewelry as she got ready to go out, struck by the smell of old metal–not exactly pleasant, but certainly intriguing. At this stage in her life, it would have been mostly cheap costume jewelry–my favorite piece was a necklace of some type of seeds dyed bright green, to give you an example.

Le Dix begins with a whoosh of aldehydes, a la Chanel No. 5. I have never been able to wear No. 5–it smells like urine on plastic to me–and LD is blessedly free of that, but it does start out very “perfumey.” (Ironically, this effect, which seems so old-fashioned now, was considered ultra-modern when No. 5 came out in 1921, and was thoroughly mainstream by the time Le Dix came out in 1947.) Then come a few powdery dried-up flowers, then quite a nice sandalwood, which forms the main body of the fragrance. But that tinge of metal persists from start to finish, which makes the scent very evocative to me (the jewel-box effect) but also very dated (all the jewelry in this box is so retro, it could only be worn ironically). So LD is certainly interesting to sniff, but not something I’m interested in wearing.

Le Dix was officially discontinued to make way for the new Balenciaga Paris (which I have not tried), but bottles can still be found online.

FURTHER NOTES ON COSMO

I did give Cosmopolitan magazine a certain amount of slack (though not much, as you can tell by the previous post) for slang-they-think-is-hip. I used to read it quite a bit when I was still their target audience (well, their target audience was never exactly a bookworm in glasses and band t-shirts, but anyway…), and then they thought it was cool to use a lot of French (“be a soupcon more self-protective”) and to italicize everything. However, I must take issue with their use of the term “inspo.” (“So what’s your inspo for this?”) Of course, no one these days has time to say the whole thing, so “inspo” will have to fill in until we come up with the “inspiration” emoji. After all, we already have a “sarcasm” emoji, which has an expression I’ve seen on Nick’s face countless times.

OTHER THINGS I TAKE ISSUE WITH

It is close enough to the election for the political memes to start popping up on Facebook. Be advised that I ruthlessly delete all posts from either extreme. So, whether you think that Christianity is what’s wrong with this country, or you think that the truth can only be found on Fox and Breitbart, out upon you! A pox on both your houses! I feel a bit guilty (“Aren’t I avoiding all viewpoints that don’t agree with mine, and thus perpetuating the problem?”), but there seems to be no one out there who does agree with me, so it’s a guilt I can live with.  Signed, A Radical Centrist.

Inflation Will Get Us All

First off, my thanks to whoever read, um, 37 previous posts on the 13th.

The inflation I speak of is not the financial sort (that would be boring, though accurate), but creeping slippery-slopism in other areas.

FASHION INFLATION

An ad on Facebook said, “We’ve perfected the no-show sock!” I commented, “What’s wrong with socks, that you want no one to know you’re wearing them?” but went unanswered. Yes, I’m the only person who can’t start an argument on the Internet.

Once upon a time, no-show socks (we called them “footies”) were solely worn by women. Now they are routinely worn by men, including fashion icons like Nick. Socks have now become unmentionables, except for…wait for it…WITH SANDALS, BY MEN. This used to be the sole province of nerdy old men, but now young men do it too. I’m not sure what weather conditions would call for sandals with socks. Of course, I’ve asked the same question about wearing a sweatshirt with shorts, and got the answer, “Because it’s cute.” If you say so.

This isn’t inflation-related, but why do the same women who obsess about panty lines not care if their bra straps are showing?

I had another example of cultural inflation, about something other than fashion, but I can’t remember it. Perhaps I will do so in the future.

COSMO ASTROLOGY, 1983

Romantic Rendezvous for Scorpio–“On the deck of an ocean liner, during a storm at sea.” Really? “All hands on deck! Just work around these two people doin’ it!”

I’m Gonna Complain

…inspired by a woman on the bus, who used “Well, I’m not gonna complain” to wrap up a lengthy complaint.

WAR ON WORDS UPDATE

Yes, it’s not just a war on parts of speech. I saw an ad for cottage cheese that said, “A Whole New Way To Cottage.” By which they meant, “to eat cottage cheese.” Because who has time to say two more words? We’re approaching point-and-grunt territory. Speaking of which, I saw a game on Facebook–“Write the name of a band using only emojis and let us guess who they are!” See, a means of communication shouldn’t make me have to guess what you mean. I don’t think the Sour Neon Crawlers could be represented solely by emojis.

Courtesy of Rom: “The erupting volcano in Guatemala is called Volcano del Fuego. As opposed to…?”

Also courtesy of Rom, things that have been forever ruined for me…

“Old Rugged Cross”= “On a hill far away stands an old Chevrolet”

“Ring of Fire” = “I keep a close watch on this heart of mine. I hold my pants up with a piece of twine.”

And the auto-parts place–“When the name is Napa, the quality’s crappa.”

LETTING US LOOSE IN SOCIETY

There is an autistic guy working at McDonald’s (I know this because he says so), who reminds me of myself at his age. He was telling a work buddy, “Yeah, I’ve tried applying for other jobs, but at the end of the interview I tell them, ‘I’m autistic, just so’s you know,’ and I never get a callback.” Oh, dear, as Nick would say. (This phrase inserted for the sake of Nick, whose eyes well with tears whenever a post of mine doesn’t mention him.) Now, I never applied for jobs at fast food places when I was his age and looking. They all knew me as that weird customer. Black biker t-shirts! Big rings! And other stuff that doesn’t go with glasses!

 

 

 

 

 

Freedom Day

I have been retired for a year today. Hmm, have I learned anything? And why do I feel like I should have learned something?

I am wearing the “My Work Number is 911” t-shirt, because it isn’t.

Today is National Donut Day, but I had no donuts. I guess I could rectify that tomorrow.

I am somewhat intoxicated.

Oh, Rom wants you to know, reference our anniversary lunch at Logan’s, that he did not, either, put both steak sauce and something else (ketchup?) on his burger. He used them to dip his fries in, which I personally don’t think is any better, and may be worse.

THE WEIRDEST AD I EVER SAW

This was an old magazine ad on Ebay, for some brand of lipstick. It said, “There’s a little bit of Satan in our satin-finish lipstick.” Because it’s devilishly sexy and stuff. It had a guy in a devil costume lurking behind the lipsticked model. I just can’t see that ad running today. Of course, we have an entire line of nail polish called Sinful Colors, so I could be wrong.

Oh, looking back on my decision to be a Writer (and the accompanying Hey! I might not need college!) decision I made in 8th grade–I didn’t, and don’t, doubt my ability to write, per se. I think I could have been entirely adequate in some magazine-staff or copy-writing position (that didn’t require me to go out and interview people). The doubts were/are about Creative Writing. After all, an agent once told me, “You don’t even understand the basic story-arc.” And how could an autistic person, who can’t understand how people tick, make characters come to life? OK, I haven’t Learned Something.

Speaking of which, the paper recently had something about The Danger of Self-Diagnosis, when it comes to autism. So have I been officially diagnosed? I have been half-diagnosed. I once said to my mother, “That nice lady you had me talk to in first grade was a child psychologist, right?” And she said, “Yes, she said you might be autistic, but we figured out it was just that we didn’t know your eyesight was so bad!” Yeah, that explains a lot. Not.

 

 

Product Criticism

 

On Coke carton: “15 cans! That’s 3 more than a 12-can carton!” Um, yeah, I figured that out myself.

On Pepsi carton: “Tastes great over ice!” Wow! I’d never have thought of that!

I’m sure you’re expecting me to weigh in on the latest McDonald’s controversy. Well, if you’ve heard of it, anyway. Someone is suing McDonald’s because they wanted their Quarter Pounder without cheese, and didn’t think they should have to pay for the cheese. (I am just imagining damages paid for however many cents a slice of cheese is, through a lifetime of burgers.) McDonald’s is maintaining that the sandwich’s full name is “Quarter Pounder With Cheese,” and that therefore cheese is part of the nature of the item, and that the plaintiff could just pick the cheese off anyway.

I’m not sure what justice is in this case, but I can make several points. (Of course I can!)

–Telling someone they can “just pick off the parts you don’t like” is invalid. The juice of the unliked item remains on the burger. My personal nemesis is onions, but even though I like cheese, I know it would melt into the burger and ruin it for someone who didn’t.

–And before McDonald’s gets too snooty, the original patent for the item in 1975 mentioned cheese as an optional feature. And I remember when the Quarter Pounder was introduced (you saw that coming, didn’t you?). You ordered either a Quarter Pounder (in white styrofoam carton) or a Quarter Pounder with Cheese (in yellow styrofoam). I don’t remember when they decided to default to the Cheese option, but it was not always thus.

–And most importantly, how does this affect me? I dislike a bunch of stuff they put on burgers (I was appalled the first time I ever went to McDonald’s as a child and realized they put everything on burgers–who gets ketchup and mustard and pickles and onions?). But it never occurred to me to tell them, “I don’t want the mustard and pickles and onions, and I don’t want to pay for them, either. Subtract 7 cents from my bill.”

All this is making me want a cheeseburger.

 

Stress-Free Writing Experience

…switched to “Distraction-free writing mode” since I remarked upon it yesterday. Apparently they realized they could not promise to eliminate stress, in spite of the feverish sort of enjoyment I usually derive from this. Once I actually start. Anyway, all it meant was they hid the menus at the side, as if I had been stressed out by them before. As if.

Almost done with the second can of Wicked Apple Ale, thanks to wicked Nick, not to mention his wicked wife, who first gave me some to try, though it was the non-wicked type. I soon hit the harder stuff, to quote Bob Dylan.

Today is my 31st anniversary, and Trexa took me and Rom to Logan’s Roadhouse. My steak (medium-rare) and sweet potato (without cinnamon) (they also had cinnamon apples, eww) was very good. Rom had a burger done “medium-well,” which I guess means gray and flavorless without being actually burnt. No wonder he put both ketchup and steak sauce on it.

You know Logan’s serves lots of aging boomers, because the soundtrack when we entered was Bachman-Turner Overdrive and the Guess Who (involving some of the same personnel–they must need the money). Speaking of which, I saw a headline recently–“Millennials Now the Most Frequent Caregivers.” Why? Did Gen-X’ers get tired of our shit?

I must take issue with Logan’s restroom. It had a fake distressed-concrete floor, with real puddles of water in 3 out of the 4 stalls. It made me feel like I’d been kidnapped and taken to the basement of an abandoned warehouse. Well, except that I had a toilet instead of a pail to go in. And they gave me steak. Anyway, why would you want your bathroom floor to look like it was crumbling away after the fall of civilization?

1968 vs. 1984

It was 1968 when I decided I was going to be a writer. I was sitting in 8th grade English class, we were studying 1984, and it struck me–I could do this! Then I immediately started worrying about whether I could do it or not. This was against the background of recently discovering that my lack of math aptitude precluded a career as a scientist. Actually, my 2nd thought after my epiphany was, And I wouldn’t necessarily have to go to college! I suspected even then that I wouldn’t be able to make it through. This did not keep me from trying 3 times.

 

I Solve Our Nation’s Problems

…again.

I dreamed that Rom was elected President, and he wasn’t even running. It was some kind of grassroots write-in thing, kind of like “Who Is John Galt?” in Atlas Shrugged. Rom informs me that, if this were to happen, he would indeed feel obligated to serve. I have more trouble imagining myself as First Lady. I think having the Secret Service around all the time would get on my nerves.

I’M READING OLD POSTS AND NO ONE CAN STOP ME

…since WordPress “improved” their archiving display and didn’t show me all old posts, I finally figured out how to go back to the old display mode, so now I can bother you with more of these. Anyone who whispers that this is a desperate ploy to make up for lack of original material will be shunned.

In March 2013, I had to read training material on “Dispatch Personalities: How To Deal With Difficult Co-Workers,” and discovered that one of the “difficult” types was, well, me. In retrospect, I really wish I’d listed more specifics, so I could tell if someone is trying to “handle” me. (Nick whistles casually; Rom says, “No fair! I had to figure all that out myself!”)

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