It’s October. Halloween is a couple of weeks away. I write Sherlock fanfic. So I asked myself, “Self, what would the classic Sherlock Holmes thinking pose look like on a skeleton?”
Naturally, nothing I wanted came premade, ready to hang. It Joanne’s, Michael’s, Amazon and even IKEA to create it. Even with ample ventilation I feel I will be smelling spray paint for days. It took several passes to get the pieces, especially the hands that dark.
It’s not exactly as I imagined it. And I am not sure, Jeremy Brett, Nigel Rathbone or even Benedict Cumberbatch would think much of it, but I love it.
A fellow slicer posted how he was informed by the maker of her computer that it was no longer covered. He knew nothing was wrong with his computer and it was a marketing ploy, something to get him to buy something bigger! Shinier! Newer! He wisely and humorously ignored it knowing his ” outdated (sorry, I meant to say seasoned friend” was just fine for now.
I wish I could say the same of mine.
I found the receipt, she became mine in 2013. I wasn’t a poor black child but I was, and still am, a far cry from affluent and I never was a tech snob. She was not the newest thing on the market. As a Win7 when the world was fawning over the less than a year old Windows 8, she wasn’t the newest thing on the previous year’s market, but she was more than ready to do what I needed her to do and was new to me. The first time I turned her on and she zoomed to life I knew we were a good match.
But that was in 2013 and with apologies to Barbara Walter – this is 2020.
She was a little for a bit clunky when I finally fed her Windows 8 in 2014, but we worked it out. All the while I was adding new programs and apps and streaming services. I upped her memory, we had our moments of defragg and we checked-disked. Got her a bigger hard drive to move files around. Still, she nearly choked when Microsoft insisted on adding Windows 10 a couple of years ago. I saw the blue screen of death for a moment and my computer life flashed before my eyes, but again, she came through it. She wasn’t champion level anymore, I knew this, but she she still worked out like a contender.
She had been showing more signs of reaching that point since the fall of 2019. But the beginning of the year was the first time she hiccuped in the middle of a file and I lost work. Luckily, I had saved the file recently to an external drive, so it was not a huge loss, about twenty minutes worth of work photoshop work, but it was my first loss. She had begun to loose speed long before then. Having Chrome ask do I want to wait for an application or exit the page had become a regular thing. A few weeks ago I heard the first serious overclocking. The zooming sound a system makes when it’s trying far too hard to do far too much at once. I used to work with computers, I know the difference in sound between a computer that’s I’m hustling, but I got you rush from the I’m getting there, but uh, you gotta give me a min zoom that is too loud and too long.
I am working remotely from home for who knows how long. She does not like the latest apps I installed to to make this happen.And I mean does not like.
Then this past weekend I heard a zoom, a click and a squeak. That is a mechanical failure waiting to happen on the brink of the highest degree. I have no choice. Girl wasn’t getting old, she is old.
“Who you calling old?!” she seemed to say as she glitched, unintentionally giving vercity to the situation.
I was supposed to take two separate trips over the next couple of weeks. Coronavirus put the kibosh on those plans, but it left me with funds to do what I have to.
“You, darling” I sadly said to my beloved system as I pressed Place Order for a new customized new system I configured. “Just hang in there for me a little will ya?”
I’ved duct taped, downloaded, upgraded and “given her all I can, Captain” and she has given me all she can. It long past time I let Della go soft into that dark pixelated night.
Listening to my iTunes, Non-Stop from the Original Broadway Cast recording of “Hamilton” is playing. It’s fitting as I have been on my computer for the past couple of week writing “like you’re running out of time” either for work or personal projects.
Loving that I am writing voraciously. Muse has been nearly excessively generous of late and I hope that I, her obedient servant, am in fact serving her well. She is wicked when takes away her gifts for lack of or improper use. I do not want to incur her wrath again.
Drinking nearly a gallon of water a day on average. I have done so for the past few weeks and I have to admit, other than the increased bathroom runs, it has been beneficial. My complexion is clearer and I actually feel hydrated.
Thinking about Love in the Time of CoViD-19. I was preparing to attend my cousin’s wedding in Boston at the end of the month. As I started writing this slice the word came down that while the wedding/marriage itself, now shrunk down to immediate family only will still happen, the reception afterwards has been officially cancelled. I know it was a hard decision to come to and not made lightly as there are family members, especially the international ones who, like me, now have to scramble to cancel hotel and travel arrangements.
Wondering now whether my trip to Atlanta for 221BCon in April will happen with the Corona Virus scare. I check the event’s social media pages daily. As of this morning the event has not been, nor look like it’s going to be cancelled – yet…
Wanting to behave like an adult. I have plenty of clothes. I don’t need to buy anything for the convention should it happen. I really should choose among the plenty I already have, but I’m also a girl at times and I saw this fabulous outfit online… Le Sigh!
Needing a vacation. We’re in the long period between President’s Day in February and Memorial Day at the end of May, with no government holidays between them. The convention in Atlanta, if it happens, would be a nice break, but it is an extended weekend at best. I want a full out week of vacation at the minimum and no, being quarantined is not a vacation.
Worrying about various friends who are each facing a major surgery over the next few weeks. Two will be close where I can be of help. The others are far in a way that I can’t even pretend about it. All I can do is send good healing vibes, well wishes and prayers.
Procrastinating ironing clothes. I can’t stand ironing. I have clothes in a bag to be ironed from the last time I did laundry a month ago and it’s time to do laundry again, meaning the bag is going to have new additions. I like wrinkle-free clothing, I just don’t like the process of ironing itself. Had I the funds, I would happily pay to have someone come to my home just to iron. Did I mention I. Abhor. Ironing? Maybe later this evening…
Anticipating with much hope that my trip to London, England for my birthday will happen! I’m scheduled to be a panel speaker at the inaugural HolmesCon 2020 and I’m so looking forward to it. Just thinking about it makes me have a banana almost to my to ears.
Reading other slices and later on some fanfiction to take my mind off the above mentioned worry for friends and disappointment of the cancelled wedding. And yes, I’m still procrastinating on ironing clothes. Maybe tomorrow…
And Thanking aggiekesler for this cool format I have used for today’s slice. It’s one I am sure I will turn to again.
08:35: Okay Raivenne, shower, make breakfast, change your sheets, do your slice, get finish the Project B you had wanted done by Thursday evening. but was a much larger mess than anticipated and it’s now Saturday morning. Then review, before you start Project C.
09: 47: Okay Raivenne, you’re showered, the sheets are changed. You’ve responded to the necessary emails. Eat breakfast, do your slice, finish B, review, slice and start C.
14:06: (Two phone calls, a visit from my bestie, and unexpected company – later). Idiot! You have a headache because you have yet to have breakfast and it’s now lunch. Stop and eat.
15:22: (Received all system go response on Project A after email delivery the completed Project B.) 2nd review of Project A. Uh, who approved that addition to Project A – that was not what was agreed upon. Check the SLA.
16:57: Research issue with Project A, intersects with information for Project C, needed but could have waited – fell down rabbit hole.
18:18: Project A satisfied on all parties? Excellent! Now I can do my sli… Wait… WTF! (phone calls and emails ensue)
21:29: (phone calls and more emails later) Come on people! How is Project C missing entire sections? Did someone from 1-800-junk came by and someone accidentally pointed at the files? Is there something a pixel divining rod to find it? FML
22:04: Oh gee, thanks. You lost the day, you’ll get it Wednesday – maybe.
23:28: Guess what is finally being done now? Hell, I didn’t even get to comment on Pi Day! Well, I have now.
Yesterday afternoon, Calliope and Erato went missing.
I was on the main floor about to leave my office building when I realized the two were gone. My right- and left-hand girls were not there! That initial wave of panic set in at the discovery. I blinked looking around stupidly. Of course, they would not be right in front of me, dammit! The girls wouldn’t be lost anymore if they were!
Calliope is a prankster. This will be the second time she’s pulled a disappearing act on me. The first time was bad enough. I thought I was more vigilant, but this time she’s taken her sister with her as well.
Okay Raivenne, breathe, you know the drill.
Step one: retrace my steps. I immediately do an about face, head for the lifts and back to my office. I search the ladies room. They are big girls. Noise would have been made had I dropped them off them there, I innately know this, but still I look. Obviously, I am not surprised to see they are not there. I look to the carpeted floor knowing it for the fruitless labor it will be. Had the girls been seen alone someone would have told me. Pretty much everyone knows those are my girls or knows someone who does know they are mine.
I make my way back to my desk and my work-wife sees my face.
“Calliope and Erato are gone.” I say the words before she can even ask what’s wrong?, all the while hoping beyond hope that by saying them out loud I have not given them veracity.
Calliope has been with me for five over years, Erato has been mine for nearly a year and a half. The two have been near inseparable since Erato joined the family. They have been to Canada, Cuba, Dubai and even Antarctica with me. She understands how I feel.
“Have you dumped y…” She stops speaking seeing I have already begun to do just that as I methodically empty my purse of its contents. I check my trouser pockets, I check my coat pockets. The girls are not there. I know I did not drop them, they are heavy and make noise. Erato once slipped from my finger and I still heard her amidst the din of a crowded street in Manhattan.
“They are gone.” I say forlornly.
She looks at me knowingly, but not having the attachment I do, gives me clarity.
They are not gone, stop looking for the girls and they will appear.
I take a deep breath, put everything back in my bag and head for home.
Because I am the person who occasionally puts things down but does not always remember to pick them back up; especially when in a state. I am patting myself down to make sure I have my metro card and especially my house keys before I get on the subway. As I pat myself down I feel two familiar lumps under my wool coat.
Yes, I checked my purse. Yes, I checked my trousers. Yes, I checked my coat. What I did not check were the pockets of the jacket I wore under my coat.
THAT’S where you two miscreants went!
What? It was completely their fault! No one told them to wind up in the wrong pockets when I took them off as I went to the loo because they love to trap water.
Relieved, I put the girls back on my fingers where they belong, happily text my work-wife of their recovery and finally head home.
Yes, I named my raven head rings Calliope (pink eyes) and Erato (purple eyes) after two muses of poetry from Greek mythology. Calliope is the muse of epic poetry and Erato is the muse of – well, you can guess what kind given her name.
Fellow Slice of Lifer, and friend in real life, GirlGriot recent posted a slice that touched on how classical music once felt “forbidding” to her. I partially understood that sentiment from the perspective of my enjoyment of thrash metal music, something that many still that think I as a 56 year black is crazy for it.
Popular television and cartoon shows were my earliest experience of classical music. I imagine like most inner city Americans over the age of 45, we likely first heard classical music, jazz standards and big band from classic Disney (“Fantasia”), Warner Brothers (Bugs Bunny), and Max Fleischer (Betty Boop) cartoons. There is a reason that for many, many, many years most Americans knew a particular piece of music not as the finale of the William Tell Overture, but only as the theme to The Lone Ranger.
Other than television shows and cartoons as a black inner city girl, born in the early 60’s my exposure to music primarily came from very specific sources: my mother’s record player that only played black gospel music as she did not approve of secular music; my southern grandmother’s radio which only played country music, and the radio that mostly played what was popular at the time (classic and soft rock, and of course disco). Songs on the radio were only heard at friends and neighbors homes as it was not allowed in mine. Everyone regardless of color/ethnicity listened to the same stations for popular music because it was all we had. Sans those who eschewed most secular music of course, what would eventually be dubbed urban (aka Black), adult contemporary radio had become the thing. From the mid-1970s, when such radio stations came into existence until the late 2000s, whether as a political statement or as personal choice, if you were black you mostly listened to 107.5 WBLS (contemporary and traditional R&B), and the now defunct 101.9 WQCD (contemporary jazz) and WKRS (dance, hip-hop and rap) stations.
Yes, they exposed Black-Americans to more or our own music and to artists who may have been marginalized and not broken through the glass ceilings of other (aka white) radio stations, but at the same time it bred a subculture that made it all but verboten to listen to, let alone enjoy, anything else. I distinctly remember standing in queue at a department during the holiday store happily singing along to Billy Joel’s “A Matter of Trust” on the PA system when I was asked why I was singing that and told I should not be supporting their music because “Listen, we don’t do that”.
Excuse me? Yeah, that conversation did not go down well for him at all, and thus the point I wanted to make.
GirlGriot had once felt listening to classical music forbidding. Her story is her own and I will let her tell it. In my case, classical music, world music, and the early emergence of metal were not things I listened to because I was not exposed to them. Though artists who had massive crossover appeal like U2, Eurythmics, Blondie, The Police, Culture Club and Wham! were notable exceptions. While radio stations such as WCBS (music from twenty years ago), WKTU (dance), and WLTW (soft rock and adult contemporary) that crossed genres and remained popular enough, in my then insular world where everyone mostly listened to Anita Baker, Public Enemy, and Michael Jackson on the radio I did not have regular exposure to Bach, Mozart and Rossini. Why? Though the words were rarely so blatantly spoken, other than the guy at the department store, it was implicit we don’t do that.
Then the advent of personal music players and MTV happened.
A co-worker was listening to this relatively new band on his Sony Discman. He was clearly enjoying the music, I asked for a listen. I was told I wouldn’t like, but I insisted. This most definitely would never be played on anything “urban.” I had never heard anything like it, yet I it felt lyrically and musically on a visceral level. I replayed the song and then listened to the remainder of the CD and was shooketh as the kids say now. I bought a copy for myself that same day.
I had just been introduced to four guys whose names were James, Kirk, Kurt and Lars. The song was “Master of Puppets”, the band was Metallica, and I have been a devotee of them ever since.
Still, for a while I felt I had to hide this new love, because we don’t do that. Then I remembered just how pissed I was at the department store guy who deigned to tell me what I should be listening to and stopped hiding it.
MTV introduced me to thrash metal, death metal and grunge by god I loved it. Come 2000, in the middle of the night MTV introduced me to a then little-known group called Linkin Park and I was shooketh once again. By then WWE was popular and my sons were as much into it as I because many of the popular wrestlers of the time made their entrances to the ring with rock and metal music. Because I listened to it and their heroes at the time listened to it, it never occurred to them that they couldn’t. Their generation was not coming up with the subculture of we do don’t do that musically. Their musical choices were as diverse theirs and theirs alone because of that exposure and I for was grateful.
My late-husband came home one afternoon while our sons and I were head banging in different rooms as we were spring cleaning. Every window was open, and Metallica’s “S&M (Symphony & Metallica)” CDs were on blast. We lived in a mostly Caribbean and Latinx neighborhood, he was shaking his head and laughing that he heard the music half a block away and knew it was our house before he pulled up to the curb. He walked up to me and yelled “You’re Black!” Because the cosmos indeed has a delicious sense of humor, his timing was perfect with the song that was playing, and I paraphrased the incoming chorus as I shrugged and sang “Where I play my songs is home!” and continued cleaning to Wherever I May Roam. Unlike the guy in the department store oh so many years ago I knew he was partially teasing because while he liked some rock, he was never a heavy/thrash metal music fan at all but was is his choice that he did not do that, not my sons and certainly not mine.
I was in my forties when I went to my first opera and my reawakening to pieces I didn’t realize I already knew thanks to cartoons. I made me search for more and yet a new musical interest in classical was sprung. It is not my strong suit as metal and R&B. Still, I enjoy it.
Though my first musical love remains Rock and Heavy Metal, they have happily shared space on my iPod with Country, Soul, Video Game Soundtracks, Jazz, Rap, Trance, Classic Rock, 80’s Hair Bands, 70’s horns, Blues, Pop, Movie Scores, Broadway Show tunes, TV Themes and so much more.
And all I had to do was be willing to listen beyond the forbidding listenwe don’t do that.
My penchant for Verbal Diarrhea has reached a new high. Or is that an all-time low? You decide.
The Scene: Where a lot of my early morning pre-caffeinated colorful commentary is created – my morning commute on the subway:
The cast: Two women conversing a little louder than they realized. One nosy Raivenne.
Even through I am heavy metal head bopping to Anthrax on my iPod, my smut monitor suddenly pings loudly – to quickly eavesdrops when the word phallophilia is heard.
I mean it is 6:45 in the blessed morning – who says that? – I must have heard wrong, right? I reach in my pocket, press pause on my music and listen.
Oh hush! Most of you would have listened also for a moment also – don’t judge me!
Sure enough, the two women were indeed speaking on the attributes of a specific person they both knew. I was about to turn my music back up when one asked “Is there a technical word for getting your rocks off looking at dick imprints in grey sweatpants?”.
And I’ll be damned if my not-so-inner Luci-fer and her minions (Sarcasm Siren, Dirty-minded Diva, Verbal Virago et al), did not simultaneously enter my throat and vocalize.
“Medectophalia.” Spews out before I can think to stop myself. Worse, I say it loud enough, that even though I am not looking at them, the two women know it’s addressed to them.
“Sorry didn’t mean to listen in.” I quickly say as they both turn and look at me. Damn my mouth!
“What’s the word?” the one sitting closest to me asks.
Naturally, once those chicks open my mouth and drop the bomb, they immediately depart en masse leaving me holding the detonator. Bitches!
Oh, well – in for a pence, in for a pound. – is one of my many mottos for a reason as I go into pseudo professor mode.
“Medectophalia is a fetish: It is the excessive and uncontrollable sexual desire for viewing the underlying shape of the penis/labium in the crotch region of another person’s clothing. Otherwise known as getting one’s rocks off on moose knuckle and/or camel toe in Urban Dictionary lingo. Whereas the opposite, medectophobia, is the fear of such.”
Now, when I tell you I have NO idea where that bullshit came from, I mean it. While I know for fact medectoPHOBIA is a word, I had no idea whether medectoPHALIA existed.
Naturally, I hear those conniving inner bitches reappear as internal Greek Chorus applauding my aplomb. As always, I am both awed and appalled with how my mind works.
The two women and I then have a lively discussion of technical versus street slang terms we know until they disembark. I immediately Google Medectophalia only to discover the term does not exist.
* My not-so-inner demons and their minions chuckle darkly. *
The path on the bus from my home to the train station leads past several tenement buildings and projects. A part of City life is the occasional appearance of memorials for the recently departed. I’m ashamed to say, they are so much so a part of the scenery that while I look at them, I really don’t see them anymore. At least, until this morning.
This morning as I pass, I actually noticed the memorial, this was somehow different and as I looked closer, I understood why. The large portrait was that of a baby. This life could not have been more than a couple of months if I am gauging this infant correctly. Someone lost a baby. Do we even want to go into all the reasons why the younger a life is when it departs from us, the more tragic it seems? No. It just is.
I was conversing with a woman on the train about the frivolity of some of the rich when she jokingly queried “What happens when you’ve been there, done that?” I got the joke of it, I did and I smiled at it, still…
I think of my sons, my friends, others and myself. We spend so much time a’bitchin’ and a’moanin’ about the things we can’t do, the things we want to do, the things we have yet to do. We wrap ourselves in the dreams of the next big adventure we often barely appreciate the act of the things we have done once they become memory. All the things we’ve already done even the truly regrettable ones, we at least got to do them.
So right now, right now, I keep thinking about this newest angel looking down upon us who didn’t get to do anything but brighten someone’s life for the briefest moment in time and think…
“What happens when you’ve been there, done that?” …
I abhor being at fault, let alone apologizing for it. So I try to avoid being put in a situation where that must occur like the plague.
Even when I’m purposely being offensive in a very mean way with my favorite tool of choice – cutting sarcasm – if I had to go there as the kids say it was very likely you earned it. So I’m not at fault, let alone sorry for hand delivering your just deserts. Granted, I am a Virgo raised by southern women – your just desserts will be served on silver platter with a lace doily and a shipload of mint julep charm, but it will be served.
Words I live by: If you can’t say something nice, say something clever but devastating.
Still, while I am a perfectionist, I’m not perfect. Thus, on those rare occasions I find myself in the position of being genuinely wrong (clutches non existent pearls!), I do believe in falling on my sword.
I have what I call the Sorry Triple A Plan: Apologize. Accept. Act.
Apologize: The actual “I’m sorry” part of this. I try not say I’m sorry unless I truly am. “I’m sorry my delay in response created such problems on your end.”
I prefer I apologize. “I apologize for the inconvenience”.
Accept: When I know it’s my fault, I try to let person know that I understand where I felt I went wrong and register the damage and/or hurt done.
“I was awaiting response from my team. I should have kept you abreast of the situation so you could inform your team, but I did not. I should have handled that better.”
Act: Where what I do speak louder than what I say. I seek to make amends to ease whatever stress/issues may have arisen due to my actions.
“I can offer a/b/c in light of my mistake. What would be preferable to you to work this out and ensure we’re on good ground to not let this occur in the future?”
I ensure I follow through on my deliverables in a timely fashion – if it’s at work. In my personal life I make sure I keep my word on whatever resolution. In either case I do my damnedest to not let whatever it was occur again.
That being said, I don’t wallow in it. I messed, I’ve apologized, we’ve worked it out. Do not bring it up again. No one likes dead horses except the glue factory, let’s move along.
Unless you want me to be clever but devastating, that is.