The Benevolent Maxpot

•March 8, 2010 • 4 Comments

First of all: yay, Spring! I know it’s only March 8, and although I’m not entirely sure what a Philadelphia spring entails, I’m pretty sure we’re going to get some more nasty weather. But right now it’s 59° and sunny, and loud-voiced business men at coffeeshops are ordering “like, my first chocolate frap of, like, the season,” so there’s room for optimism even here at the Headquarters of the Mean.

(The tulips were from Valentine’s Day. I didn’t think I cared for tulips, but these lovelies brought meaning and hope to February. Husband gets bonus points, and, hell, some clean laundry or something.)

It’s amazing that, despite long, snotty blogging absences, you lot have continued to click on over here for a dose of whatsit. As your sister/child/imaginary friend (looking at you, Gertie)/actual friend/loyal subject/dejected slave/destination for such search terms as “dead man hanging from tree,” “maud nutbrown” and “mom ass,” I thank you. More than that, Max thanks you. The Benevolent Maxpot thanks you.

Max would have us believe that “Maxpot” is another, sleeker term for “Despot,” but frankly, we’re not buying it. “Crackpot” seems much closer to the truth. True, many despots may have frolicked about the palace, sprinkling poop in their collective wakes, but to my knowledge, none of them were composed of six-year-old Jell-O in a fur-encrusted burlap sack. Ahem:

Not that Max has ever had trouble getting the ladies; he hasn’t. Me, I prefer a combination of brains and brawn, and fortunately, I’ve got just the person. Please refer to this unstaged (really) photograph of my charming husband studying Latin grammar while doing the plank.

“Welcome to the 2010 Nerd Olympics! Representing the U.S., it’s Thaaaaaaaaat Guuuuuuuy!”

Crowd goes wild. Wife breaks down in tears. The Maxpot finds bitter solace in his cups.


Sweet, sweet candy

•February 7, 2010 • 11 Comments

I’m making caramel corn for Superbowl snacking. Mmmm, smells delish. I’ll send you some.

Anyway, every fifteen minutes the timer goes off for me to stir it, giving me the opportunity to check on Himself. He’s untrustworthy. He is supposed to be doing a little leisure reading, and he has the PERFECT novel for this pursuit: a novel he’s had enough interest in to check out of the library no fewer than 3 times (nerd potential!), a novel that was given to him recently by a fellow historian of science (nerd generosity!), a novel involving 17th century medical experimentation and references to Leiden and Sylvius (nerd love!), a novel recommended by one of his advisers (nerd approved!). What is the problem here? But he keeps putting it down to browse his Wheelock’s Latin grammar instead and I have to smack him with a rolled up newspaper.

Speaking of papers, he did find this little gem in the metro paper for me last week:

Gor’ blimey. A century of sentiment. Sounds disgusting.

We got about 15 inches of snow. This makes me happy but not satisfied. I want a blizzard, please. Max concurs. Harriet abstains.

GO COLTS! I guess.

Doing stuff

•February 2, 2010 • 2 Comments

I’m supposed to be writing a story about giant killer insects, but instead I’m just wishing that Hulu had a new episode of 30 Rock. Darn you, Hulu. Also sick of all the Lost hype. The show is NOT THAT GREAT. And since my reading audience is primarily my non-TV watching family, y’all probably don’t care.

Back to the insects. It’s a story whose original idea was generated by a friend and me back in October, which is also when I was supposed to write it. Then Halloween passed and creepy stories didn’t seem quite right somehow. I’m trying to get back on track in the new year. Now I’ve got a daily schedule that looks like this:

8:00-3:00: Do stuff.
3:00-5:00: Write.
5:00-11:00: Do more stuff and then go to bed.

I’m doing great at the “do stuff” portion of my schedule. It’s just that pesky “write” part that isn’t working. Since it’s there, though, I may as well write the darn story. Giant, man-eating insects that are a cross between praying mantises and stag beetles? Bloody corpses? What could be better?

Fortunately, it’s past five so I’m going to go make guacamole. Then I’ll sit at the window, sip Jim Beam, and wait for it to start snowing.

Yeah. Doing stuff. Just like my schedule tells me to.

Rubik’s cube; or Where the hell have YOU been?

•January 20, 2010 • 8 Comments

What HAVE I been doing with myself, lo, these many silent months? I might very well ask you the same question.

Well, I can solve the Rubik’s cube in under 5 minutes (quickest time is 3:30, using a non-speed method), which isn’t super impressive, but it’s a start. Otherwise, mostly getting fat and hibernating.

Due to popular demand, here are a few pictures of the apartment.

Not promising anything here. You kids be good.

I got nothing

•October 21, 2009 • 13 Comments

Cute baby?


Drei Finger hoch der Gin, das Glas im Gesicht

•October 19, 2009 • 3 Comments

Except I’ve only got about two fingers in my glass, it’s sitting on the table, and it contains whiskey. And that’s a line from a song; I don’t have to explain myself.

The alcohol is causing me to reflect upon my life. Lo, it has been many years since my youth. Every family vacation a camping adventure. Tent camping, my friends: the only pure kind of camping. I’m close-minded on this score. RVs and pop-ups are fine for old folks, but let’s not kid around. This is serious shit. You there, on the air mattress – get lost. Real campers only use foam, if that.*

Anyway, hours in the car driving to Montana, to Utah, to Maine. Four kids with ten years splitting the oldest and youngest. Cheerios on shoelaces, books, coloring materials, books, Adventures in Odyssey (in the later years), books, whining, and occasionally singing. Probably some Psalty and Raffi. There’s a Hole in the Bucket, Dear Liza, Dear Liza. Mareseatoatsanddoeseatoatsandlittlelambseativy. Found a Peanut. Sweet Violets. Kum ba ya and whatnot.

One song was my Dad’s favorite. Drove my mother crazy, but we kids loved it. And, damn it, Max has got to earn his keep somehow.

This one’s for you, Dad!

*In the interest of full disclosure, it must be admitted that Himself prefers an air mattress due to back considerations. This has been a real roadblock in our marriage, as I have struggled to maintain respect for my otherwise noble and worthy husband.

Piffle and rot

•October 16, 2009 • 2 Comments

I’m in the middle of a standoff with a stinkbug in my bedroom. We had an infestation of them for some weeks – clinging to the screen door, crunching unpleasantly between Max’s jaws, sneaking in and lighting our rugs on fire when we weren’t looking – until the weather turned and they all died off. This one persists. We keep the bedroom door closed to prevent Harriet from her infrequent yet persuasive bathroom accidents on our linens, so the bug can’t be getting much in the way of food. He or she just sits on the blinds day in and day out. I could release or kill him/her/it, but I’m strangely intrigued. How long will he/she/it persist?

Mean Sister, old girl, you may be saying. I think it’s time you got a hobby. Single-player backgammon is all the rage right now, so there’s no shame in indulging in one’s baser urges. Slap out that old game board and get cracking.

Yes, now that you mention it, I AM back into reading 19th and early 20th century English literature – what of it? It’s what I do when left to my own devices.

Also, night-time walks in the rain. I got to try out my new coat – aren’t I smashing? Or as my dear friend and confidant, Jay Nord…, would say, I’m pleased as punch with my own bad self. How I do love that man.


For many of the same reasons, I adore Dorothy L. Sayers. If she were alive, I’d erect a little shrine for her decorated with red paper cutouts and snippets of her hair and simpering fan mail that had been returned unopened, to be sure, but at least gazed upon by her artistic eye. I might even lovingly commit a few murders for Lord Peter to solve – oh, rapturous thought!

I found a copy of The Documents in the Case at a used bookstore (that specializes in mysteries) downtown the other day, and I’ve had her on the brain since. I just finished the book for the first time today and was pleased to note towards the end two broad references to Poe and Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone. I visited one of Poe’s Philadelphia homes just last week, complete with creepy cellar – he wrote “The Black Cat” while living there – and I’m several chapters into The Moonstone. Coincidences? Or am I somehow connected with Sayers’ ectoplasmic literary aura?

It’s difficult to say.