strange fire

books. poetry. paganism. feminism. queerness. blog.

not undead yet October 31, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 11:18 am

So, here I am in the public library, all decked out in my Death costume (the character from the Sandman comics), looking pretty gothic and foxy, if I do say so myself. It’s a nice change, cause guess what I got for my birthday?


Yep, the birthday was fine, but at about 3 AM that night my glands swelled up like I’d swallowed two tennis balls and I suddenly couldn’t talk. But I went to work anyway. Nothing ibuprofen can’t fix, right? But I ached all over, and my sinuses started acting up, I was so tired I could barely stand, and then I got a fever. I called my mom the registered nurse and she said, “Mono! Stay in bed!” So I did. I had to rearrange all my exams and miss some class, and it turns out I was PMSing at the same time. Fun!

It was a good thing, actually. One of those cosmic two-by-fours to the head. “Massage therapist, heal thyself,” and all that. I was doing too much, stretching myself too thin and not focusing on what I’m here for: studying and training. So now I’ve reshuffled some priorities a bit, cut back my work hours, etc. I feel much better. I’m still going to have fatigue symptoms for another month maybe, which will keep me from slipping back into my old habits I guess.

So Happy Halloween everyone. I’m going to run some errands, read some tarot, and watch some Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere series.


rising from my semi-comatose state to blow yet more of my anonymity October 28, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 4:00 pm

GO CARDINALS!!!! WOOOOOOOOOHOOOOO!!!! ::jumping up and down::

I am no longer a jinx! I was born the day after the last time they won the World Series, the curse is broken! Wish I was back home, my family’s probably going nuts celebrating.

::jumps up and down a bit more::

and now I’m going back to sleep.


happy birthday to me October 19, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 10:43 am

This time last year I was in France, she sighed with nostalgia. 23 was a very good year (cue Frank Sinatra). And if I have anything to say about it, 24 is going to be even better.

I’m giving you all permission to use me as an excuse to eat cake and drink really good wine. Now let’s meme!

I’m going to be a total lesbian and steal the 7 songs meme from my girlfriend’s blog. In no particular order:

  • Thea Gilmore, Even Gods Do.
  • I indulged in a birthday present for myself, the album Where’s Neil When You Need Him?, a collection of artists doing musical interpretations of the works of Neil Gaiman (one of my most favorite writers in the entire multiverse). Neil’s been singing Thea Gilmore’s praises on his blog for a while, so she wrote a moody, noirish folksong about his novel American Gods.

    Bring the Gods
    Line them up one by one
    Turn the coin
    Sound the fife and the drum
    Wreck it down
    Til Kingdom comes back here

    She’s got a smoky, soulfull voice and perfectly captures the atmosphere of the book.

  • Martha Wainwright, Bloody Motherfucking Arsehole
  • I expected this song to be a rocking, furious punk-metal song, but it’s a rocking, furious British girl with an acoustic guitar, and it’s amazing.

    I will not pretend
    I will not put on a smile
    I will not say I’m alright for you
    When all I wanted was to be good, to do everything in truth
    You bloody motherfucking arsehole

  • Mathieu Boogaerts, OndulĂ©
  • Just a cool funky little French song that makes me think of Paris.

    Here and there, by the moon
    Without any firm ideas
    It is a shame
    I never feel the same

  • Voltaire (with the Oddz), Come Sweet Death
  • Another one from Where’s Neil…, about the character Death from Gaiman’s The Sandman comics. According to the liner notes:

    “I’d like to write a song about Death,” said Voltaire, “but I want it to be the most upbeat, uptempo, bouncy song about Death you’ve ever heard.” He did, and it was.

    No eerie skull.
    No scary scythe.
    You’ve a pretty face
    And a warm embrace.
    I never dreamed
    Death could be so sweet
    Til she came for me.

    It’s somewhere between 80s New Wave and ska, like New Order meets the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. I love it.

  • John Wesley Harding, Bastard Son
  • John Wesley Harding is a cheeky bastard. I want to be cool smart-ass with a guitar when I grow up.

    Bob Dylan is my father, Joan Baez is my mother
    And I’m their bastard son
    Though my roots show through I’m just 22
    I don’t belong to anyone
    When The Band was disbanded, I was disowned
    I got a number you can ring me on but I ain’t got no phone
    Got a forwarding address, baby I ain’t got no home
    I got no direction home
    That’s the style of a bastard child
    This is the song of a bastard son

  • Loreena McKennitt, All Soul’s Night
  • One of my favorite artists singing about one of my favorite holidays. After nine years she’s finally releasing a new album next month, and I can hardly stand the anticipation.

    Figures of cornstalks bend in the shadows
    Held up tall as the flames leap high
    The Green Knight holds the holly bush
    To mark where the old year passes by

    I can see the lights in the distance
    Trembling in the dark cloak of night
    Candles and lanterns are dancing, dancing
    A waltz on All Soul’s Night.

  • Sharon Burch, Sacred Wind
  • Burch is a modern singer-songwriter creates folk music expressing her Navajo culture in her native language. It’s a beautiful fusion of indigineous tradition with contemporary styles.


coffee talk October 18, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 11:46 am

Being a barrista affords excellent people-watching opportunities, and provides great and profound insights into human nature. To wit:

  • you can tell alot about a person by how they treat minimum-wage-slaves such as myself. I like older folks because even if they don’t tip, they’re unfailingly nice and usually just want a straight-up cup of joe. Yuppies suck. Saints preserve me from Middle-Aged Ladies Getting Their Second Wind, also known as Soccer Moms Out on the Town. These are the people who want a non-fat mocha but also whipped cream, a bit self-defeating I would think. These are the people who think every coffee shop is a Starbucks and order something based on how sophisticated it sounds, then come back complaining that their cappuccino is nothing but espresso and foam. What they want is a latte, but that doesn’t sound as cool as “cappucino”. They’re the ones who treat you like shit, give you their left over pennies as tip, and think you’re deliberately trying to fuck them over if you make an honest mistake.
  • our customers are mostly foreign tourists, and I’m always nice as pie to them, because I know exactly how difficult it is to get food and drink in a country where you don’t speak the language. We always get Germans coming in looking for beer at 11 o’clock in the morning, which kills me. Lots of Japanese tourists who forget their cameras. The Brits, surprise, mostly want tea. The only ones I don’t like are the Italians, they swagger in and SPEAK ITALIAN AT YOU VERY LOUDLY and they think they invented cofffee (which may be true, I have no idea, but that’s no excuse for bad manners).
  • why do people insist on arguing with me about the prices, on a completely unrelated note? I seriously don’t understand this. Do they think I have some say in the matter? I get paid seven bucks an hour to work an espresso machine. If you think it’s too expensive, go somewhere else. You’re just wasting my time and pissing me off.
  • we do have a few local regulars, mostly the drivers and receptionists who work at the jeep tour company next door. They rock, we give them a discount, they give us a 50% tip. They’re nice, friendly, easy-going. The drivers are mostly men in the 30-50s age bracket, but there’s a woman driver I think of as Calamity Jane, because she’s a cowboy through and through. She’s 40ish and has a soft drawl, wears a wide-brimmed hat and a fantastic brown great coat. She usually just gets a black coffee, always has a wry smile and smart-ass remark. I have an eensy crush on Calamity Jane.
  • Then there’s Creepy Dave; because it just wouldn’t feel like work without some older perv sexually harassing you. Creepy Dave is another driver and has a thing for girls half his age, whether or not they’re legal. He makes my skin crawl. He says my name too much, always giving me lines (“What can I get you?” I asked once. “Is there another one of you?” he replied), winks at me, just….ugh. He’s two thirds total creep and one third loser, always trying to sound cool and hip or whatever. Creepy Dave gives four dollar tips on a 99 cent cup of coffee, which is why we put up with him, but I wish he’d go have his mid-life crisis somewhere else.
  • all in all, it’s probably the best job I’ve had, even though I’m working too many hours. The pay’s good (basically live off tips), I feel very cool working the espresso machine, the view is incredible, and my manager Stephanie has a little puppy dog named Zoe who comes and visits us when it’s slow. And I’ve invented the Nerds smoothie too (strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, and apple juice. Tastes exactly like Nerds candy).

Friday Feminist Five October 13, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 3:20 pm

Five things feminism did for me:

  • Brought me back from the edge, helped me come out, understand myself, break away from my limited, smothering roots.
  • Taught me to truly think for myself, and to trust my own judgement.
  • Introduced me to some phenomenal artists, writers, musicians who expanded my mind and rocked my world.
  • Gave me the confidence and knowledge to travel alone, to risk, to take that leap.
  • Helped me get laid. Okay, I’m being facetious, but it’s true.

Got it from Winter (duh).


a woman’s voice singing old songs/with new words October 11, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 12:30 pm

Hey, I’ve been out a whole three years as of today. Go me! Yes, HRC’s National Coming Out Day activities kicked me out of the closet, to grossly oversimplify it.

And recently I’ve been thinking of Sonnet 13 from Adrienne Rich’s Twenty-One Love Poems:

we’re out in a country that has no language
no laws…

whatever we do together is pure invention
the maps they gave us were out of date
by years…

because that’s how it feels, sometimes, when I try to explain to people about Winter and I. One of my classmates mentioned she was in a long-distance relationship, and I said, “Oh, me too.” She replied, “Are you dating or married?” And I didn’t know how to respond to that. For one thing, hello heteronormativity, nice to see you again, and for another, that just seems so reductive. To boil all the various permutations of human emotions down to Dating or Married. I’ve had “relationships” that involved very strong, deeply felt emotions but no physical expression…and vice versa. I’ve done the Dating thing and frankly, give me a drunken anonymous hook-up in a foreign bar any day of the week.

There just doesn’t seem to be the right words to describe the relationship I’m in, the relationship I want to build, with the usual romantic vocabulary. “Dating” to me suggests a set of activities: wining, dining, flowers and the like. It implies scheduled rendez-vous, a Getting To Know You period full of arcane, unexplained rules (who pays? How soon should you call them? No Sex on the First Date!). In which case, Winter and I are certainly not dating. Unless you want to include transatlantic phone calls and IM messages, since those have to be scheduled, thanks to the 8 hour time difference. As for “Married”, HA! (she said derisively). Even if it were legal, neither of us are particulary big fans of the institution and are perfectly happy to let straights keep that tradition. “Married” seems to put a value judgement on personal relationships–people who are Married (or Civilly Unionized or Domestically Partnered) have real, meaningful relationships, and those of us who are Dating are just doing a dry run. There’s a reason why Bridget calls them Smug Marrieds. Even if the federal government legalized gay marriage tomorrow, even if I want to spend the rest of my life with one person, I would only get married if legal circumstances (children/insurance/whathaveyou) required it. It doesn’t bother me when my straight friends get married, because it’s their business, and if they’re happy, I’m happy for them. But I don’t want any government approval, thank you, and I don’t want to participate in an institution that has far too much historical baggage for my taste. What I want and need from a relationship may be very different from the usual Duties and Expectations of Marriage. I’d rather negotiate that on my own than have some outside societal structure dictate how I manage my personal life. I’ll never be a “wife,” and I won’t have one either.

Which leaves the question: what do I call this person? I use “my girlfriend” since it’s the most common term, but it still causes confusion between “romantic partner” and “friend who’s a girl.” How do I explain this person to my family, who can only think in terms of Dating or Married? Would they ever see a girlfriend/partner of mine in the same way as they’d see a spouse of my sibling? Does she get to be a part of the family even without the priest’s blessing?

It’s just plain silly, with all the diversity of human life on this planet, to expect every emotional/physical/romantic tie to follow one particular standard. The gay marriage fight makes me nervous, because I worry about it taking attention away from what I feel is one of the queer community’s strengths, to create families of choice, to form relationships that fit us, rather than trying to fit our relationships into a heteronormative model.


well, obviously

Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 12:08 pm

Which Jane Austen Character Are You?

You are Eliza Bennett from Pride and Prejudice! Yay, you! Perhaps the brightest and best character in all of English literature, you are intelligent, lively, lovely– in short, you are the best of company. Your only foibles are that you stick with your first impressions… and your family is quite intolerable.
Take this quiz!


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Was there ever any doubt?