Why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways?

Monday, May 31, 2010

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Honor, Sacrifice, Duty.

On the bottom shelf in my library -- the shelf that holds various oversize coffee-table books -- there is a seldom-opened tome that offers images from the Viet Nam war. about 2/3rds of the way through that book, on the left-hand side, there is a black-and-white picture of six young Marines on a gun boat.

They are tired and sweaty. All of them wear tattered, dirty fatigues and grim, thousand-yard stares, even as they smile mechanically for the camera and brandish their weapons. They are all weighed down by so much more than their overloaded rucks.

The one in the middle is my Da'.

He carries a field radio; the same radio that will be hit by gunfire in less than three months and burn its imprint indelibly into his body. He still carries that radio today -- the straps are still visible if he wears sleeveless shirts (which of course he doesn't, because too many people gawk at the bright pink keloids that mar his shoulders and upper chest). There is a ratty towel around his neck, he wears standard military-issue, black-rimmed "birth control" glasses and his helmet is covered in illegible graffiti. If I wanted to, I could climb to his attic today and pull the towel, the glasses and the helmet out of his footlocker and trace the ghosts of those words with my finger.

My love of books,. my poor eyesight, my affection for bad puns and truly awful dirty jokes and my skills in profanity all come from the man in that picture.

My eldest daughter has his artistic talent in spades.
My son has his eyes and his mechanical ability to disassemble and reassemble anything handed to him.
My youngest child has smile and shows all the signs of having his skill in languages.

He still bears the scars -- physical and psychological -- from a conflict decades and continents away. Those scars can be easily breached by careless words and actions.

Remember those who have served and those who currently serve this Memorial Day.

(I will save my vitriol for those who scorn such service and are utterly beneath contempt for another day.)

Addendum, becasue I can't get the comment to post:

EB -- it's despicable when any Commander-in-Chief -- who bears the ultimate responsibility in sending our men and women into harm's way -- neglects to honor them appropriately. Party affiliation does not matter.

If you're willing to send people to die to enforce the will of the Country, the least you can fucking do is hang around and drop a fucking wreath for those who have fallen.

About the only legit excuse  could accept in this case is an honest-to-God medical crisis.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Revenge con gas. (IOr, Octoboy gets his own back.)

 SnarkGirl (the 9-year-old) and OctoBoy have been at it, hammer and tongs, for days. Everything is worth a fight. This evening, though, he finally discovered the keys to his own revenge kingdom.

This afternoon, they had a particularly rancorous blow-up over K'nex. She destroyed one of his elaborate creations; he pitched a fit. Each was sent to a separate corner to cool down. After the prescribed time-out was served, she went to the kitchen to complete homework, and he went to his room to re-build his machine.

Or so I thought. (To fully explain his vengeance, I need to lay some knowledge.)

You see, the evening rituals in our house are fairly reliable. Around 7:45, we herd the three kids upstairs, and the jockeying for position around the sink (punctuated with a lot of noise) starts, as they brush their fangs. Then each child removes to his or her own bed. Whichever parent is "on" that night takes their own turn at washing up while the other visits each child in turn for kisses, hugs and "good nights!" (as well as last-minute reminders -- "I need my gym uniform tomorrow -- can you wash it?" and wheedling to stay up.)

The parent on bed duty then visits each child for prayers and a final kiss/tuck in, while the other parent takes his or her turn in the bathroom. Ideally, everyone is tucked and in bed by 8:15.

Tonight was my "off" night, so I was brushing my teeth when my eldest daughter came rushing in, gagging and crying, struggling for the mouthwash. She was  followed by a smirking OctoBoy and a husband biting his cheek to keep from laughing out loud.

It seems that, rather than building, OctoBoy was besmirching his sister's pillows. After nightly prayers and while Husband was putting the baby to bed, Octo snuck down the hall and dropped his bomb -- so to speak.

"I farted on your pillows!"

Then he ran for the hills, while she freaked the fuck out.

It was glorious. Truly, he is my son in all ways.

A public service rendered for a friend.

It seems that Gay Cynic has discovered that Ambulance Driver's post on Cycles and More in southern Louisiana has dropped all the way to number six in Google search.


It's my opinion that any company that touts its family-owned, down-home values and yet treats its customers so shabbily has all the charm of a bag of semi-rotted, syphilitic, wart-raddled assholes, slathered in mayonnaise and left to bake in the sun. In addition, those that administer such utterly wretched customer service would probably be pleased to eat said rancid mayo-encrusted assholes on moldy toast.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Are all hippies utterly insane attention whores who feel the need to lecture perfect strangers?

Yesterday was Ginger Beastie's end-of-preschool-year picnic at a local park. The school hired a DJ, there was a peanut toss, sack races....everyone brought their own lunches, and the school provided ice cream treats and entertainment.

It was the "everyone bring their own lunches" that caused the rumble.

Our area is suburban-to-rural; we have a mix of dumb ass city folk who move "out to the country to experience farm life" and then complain about the smell of cowshit, and we have people who get up at 4 to feed their cows before dressing in their Hagar slacks to go to corporate IT and Pharma jobs.  We have stay-at-home Fundie moms and doctor moms and corporate director moms and hippie vegan non-vax moms.  It's an eclectic mix.

Well, yesterday's picnic was...tense, because one of the hippie vegan moms publically accused one of the corporate director moms of blatant child abuse, and told her that she ought to have her kids confiscated by Child Protective Services.


Because CD mom (who took vacation time, left work, ran home, picked up her toddler and came to the friggin' picnic in her suit -- just so the could GO to the picnic with her son -- and had to go back to work right after the picnic was over), instead of packing a lunch, drove through McDonald's and brought chicken nuggets. Vegan mom was terminally offended, grasped her throat and gagged dramatically, and proceeded to launch into a tirade about Big Meat, hormone-laden chicken, body thetans and chicken karma. She actually let her child eat deep-fried, battered nuggets of karmic death and vile chemical mutation!

Now, I'm not a huge fan of Mickey D's, but a) it's her kid, b) he doesn't get fast food often and c) it's HER FRICKIN' KID.

CD mom was not amused, but took the high road and ignored her. VM got louder. Eventually, VM looked like a raving lunatic, hands in her hair, tears on her face while she gave a hoarse, impassioned rant about Mother Gaia and how people like CD (and most of the other moms) were killing children by feeding them white bread, peanut butter and capri sun juice bags. The school director eventually pulled her aside and calmed her down.

Wile this was going on, VM's son -- who looks sort of weedy, pale and unhealthy -- sidled over the CD's son. CD's son palmed him a nugget and a handful of fries, and they went off to wreak havok.

I've never seen a kid inhale a McNugget so fast.


Ginger Beastie and I walked Octo-Boy to school...only to have to turn around and walk right back to pick up some contraband that Sister Meatball had confiscated.

It seems that he thought (it being two weeks from the end of the school year) today would be a good day to bring along his vampire fangs, and wear them for morning prayer.

After all, they say two "Hail Marys" every morning, and the line does go, "Blessed art thou among wolf men," right?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Gas station etiquette

One of the errands I ran yesterday was heading over to the WaWa and gassing up the Imperial Battlecruiser for the upcoming week. It being a Saturday, the WaWa was hopping inside and out -- all 12 pumps were occupied and all four registers inside had lines.

While I waited my turn to pull up to the pump and get gas, I observed two prime examples of genus douchebaggis obnoxii.

'Bag the first: a woman who had strategically pulled her car parallel to two pumps. She was right in the middle of the lane. she was using the rear pump, but was pulled far enough forward that no one could use the front pump at all; there was no way to back into the slot, or back far enough in to stretch the hose to reach a gas tank. She was singularly unaware that this was sheer asshattery on her part. When one old guy asked her to back up a bit so he could fit his Honda in, she cussed him out and told him to "Get sum gawdam patience, ya old bastid!'

'Bag the second:  a young dude sitting at the pump, in his car, on his cellphone. Now, the WaWa really was crowded, and there were three people circling like sharks, waiting for their turns to gas up. Assclown sat in his car chatting away while I waited my turn, pulled up, walked in, hit the ATM, pre-paid for my gas, filled up and got my change. As I was pulling away from the pump, he hung up, walked in and paid for his gas.

If only we were allowed to thwack people for public idiocy.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Parental tryptich

"Mommy! MOMMY! Mooooooooo*gasp*mmmmmmmmmyyyyyy!"

Any parent will testify to the fact that when you hear a child -- any child, yours or not -- scream the word "Mommy!" or "Dahdeeeee!" in a distressed, on-the-edge-of-tears tone, the instincts kick in. (If you ever want to test this, watch what happens in any public space when a small child yells for either parent. ANYONE who has ever spawned will stop, pop up like a prairie dog and look around until the source has been identified and the adult is convinced that the situation is in hand.)

I raced up the stairs to discover my eldest sitting on the hopper, drawers around her ankles, crying. "It's a big, spiky one and I can;'t get it out and it huuuuurts! I need help! Help me push it out!"

Turns out she was a bit constipated, and trying to pass a football.  Unsure as to what I ought to do to help her wrangle that turd, I flat-out asked: "What would you like me to do?"

"Sit on the shower stair and help me!"

Which is why my husband came in ten minutes later to find me and my nine-year-old practicing Lamaze breathing as she pooped.


Octo Boy and I were baking brownies to take on his field trip (which was yesterday). He likes to cook -- particularly to measure things and break eggs -- and so I got out all of my spoons and measuring cups and let him pour out all the various ingredients. While he was doing that, I went to switch out laundry loads. When I got back, he was contendtedly stirring brownie mix in the big mixing bowl.

In the over the went, and a bit over a half-hour later, we pulled them out and got a glass of milk apiece for a round of Quality Control.

They tasted awful. Gaggingly, nauseatingly terrible.

We went over the recipe again, puzzling over what went wrong. Then, he tells me: "We were out of the vegetable oil you usually use, so I mixed these two half and half and used it instead!"

He handed me the bottles of chili- and garlic-infused wok oil and sesame oil.

We made a trip to the store for more oil and brownie mix. Even the birds wouldn't eat those Asian-fusion brownies.


The wee ginger beastie has adopted Biteypants as her very own kitty. Now, he weighs in at an amazingly lard-assed 26 pounds; we think there was a Maine Coon in his woodpile at some point. Despite being the size of a comfortable hassock, he has the most pathetic, squeaky little "meow" ever heard on a cat.  It is (forgive me) a pussy little voice for such a large cat.

She only weighs about 30 pounds, yet she insists upon tucking him up under one arm and dragging him about like he's a stuffed toy, or dressing him in baby clothes and trying to feed him fruit snacks.

As she has gotten older, we switched out her car seat, and out the old, baby seat in the kitchen. We were going to put it out with the bulk trash this morning.

I put the kids to bed last night, and was reading in the living room about an hour later when it occurred to me that Bitey was not at his usual post (laying across the top stair, trying to make me fall down the fucking stairs and hissing at me as I tried to move him with my feet) when I put the kids to bed. I called a few times, and heard a faint "squeak" in reply, and so went looking for him.

She has strapped his ass in with the five-point restraints on the baby seat, and he could not extricate himself. He was lying there, pathetically, wide-eyed and desperate for rescue. (I admit that I considered leaving him there.) 

Predictably, he took a hissy swipe at me as I extricated him, and gave me the pinkeye as he sashayed out of the kitchen and up the stairs to assume his normal position. He took another swipe when I went up the stairs on the way to bed, the ungrateful little twat.

Then he hopped the gate into Her Majesty's room, sniffed at her ears and gave a lick to one of them, and curled up with his fat back braced against hers, between her and the edge of her bed. She sighed in her sleep and rolled over, slinging  a chubby toddler arm across him. I heard the rusty purr start up as I turned to go to my own room.

God help the boogeyman who tries to invade her sleep.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Scenes from the poll.

Yesterday, the 2010 Pennsylvania primary took place -- and hooray for the fact that "Snarlin'" Arlen Sphincter went down like a bargain-basement hooker during Fleet Week! Voting days are always good for hijinks and douchebaggery.

In this case, I strolled down to the polls around 9:30. I was voter #44. The woman a couple of people in front of me was Of Interest.

I should note that PA has a closed primary system. You must be registered as a Dem or Repub to vote in the primary. Independents can vote int he fall general, but for the primaries, they are shit out of luck. (We also have a "sore loser" law -- if you fuck your primary go, you are not allowed to pull a Crist and say, "NYAH! I'm running as an Interdependent and keeping all your donations anyway!"

The Woman of Interest reached the ballot table, and the polling attendant asked the salinet question: "D or R?" WoI huffily replied, "I am an Independent!"

Poll Attendant politely explained things as I laid them out above, and told WoI to come back in November to vote in the General. This was clearly unacceptable, and WoI proceeded to throw an epic bitch fit -- beyond hissy and well into conniption; her rights were being abrogated, the polling attendants were criminals, the Judge of Elections was a shithead (which actually, he is -- but that's irrelevant to her situation) and the police that were summoned were fascists! She was going to file a complaint with the county, state and federal authorities, the UN, the Hague and possibly the Reptile Overlords from Alpha Seti VI.

She paraded out in a cloud of righteous indignation, and voting continued apace. As I was finishing my ballot and running it through the machine, she reappeared and rather sheepishly produced a Voter registration card, which clearly marked her as a registered (wait for it) Dem.

"But I am very Independent-minded!" she asserted as she collected her ballot amid much eye-rolling. As I walked out, the filter between my internal commentary and my "out loud" voice dropped like a lead shield (this happens a lot) and out of my mouth dropped, "Well, the important thing is you got to cause a scene and were the center of attention for a bit. I'm sure it makes up for all the times daddy ignored your pleas for a pony, or some such crap."

She gave me a dirty look and removed to her car.

Ah, well.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Where is the bar?

Saturday morning, we attended commencement. It was a joyous (though long) occasion, made even longer by the fact that the keynote speaker forgot the cardinal rule that applies to commencement speakers:

It's not about YOU and YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS, you droning, monotone asshole.

No one cares. Everyone is there to celebrate what the graduates have accomplished. Your job is to keep it short (under ten minutes, preferably), sweet and congratulatory. To prolong your speech is to piss everyone off, prevent them from acquiring a bit of the hair of the dog (there were some truly monster hangovers amongst the undergrads -- I saw someone barf into their mortarboard)) and delay luncheon reservations (Great Aunt Edna wants to hit that buffet harder than Grant hit Richmond, and she gets dangerously cranky when her blood sugar gets low). All you have to do is hit the salient points:
  • "You've accomplished a lot in four years!" - "Your liver capacities have grown to gargantuan proportions, you've smoked a one-ton bale of weed and banged everything within campus limits."
  • "Your families should be justifiably proud!" -- "That you did not get arrested, maimed or killed during any of your epic 'tarded adventures."
  • "You've got a bright future ahead of you!" -- "Even if you're broke as a mofo and will probably be moving in to mom and dad's basement."
  • "You've invested in a great financial future for yourself and guaranteed yourself monetary comfort!" -- "Even if you're headed in to the worst job market in years and have no applicable skills."
The guy droned on for forty-five minutes. Every time we saw light at the end of the tunnel ("To wrap this up,..." "In conclusion,..." "I don't want to drag on,...") he'd come up with another ten points to mention. AUGH. 

The Chancellor -- wielder of the ceremonial university mace -- was seen to caress the weapon contemplatively on more than one occasion. (I was rooting for her to lay about with it and crack a few skulls.) Finally, three members of the Board of Trustees cleared their throats at once (it sounded like a Rottweiler growling -- and he wrapped up rather abruptly.

Seriously. When you give a speech, plan it out beforehand, so as not to wander hither and yon pointlessly, and time that shit, so your audience isn't ready to rend you limb from limb. This is sound advice no matter what the venue.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A birthday

My eldest, she of the glasses and snark, is nine today. We are off to do appropriately ridiculous things in celebration.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

What's that smell? Pepe Le Pew, of course.

There's an alley that runs next to out house, and another at the back of the property that separates our back yard from the backyards of the houses on the block behind us. The trash  and recycling trucks use these alleys as thoroughfares, and the borough has strict rules about when garbage cans can be set out and where they should be left. The alleys, of course, have developed their own ecosystems -- opossums, one family of raccoons, a feral cat colony and now, as we have discovered...a skunk.

Now, I like cats -- I have three of the contrary little bitches -- but the feral cat colony is by far the biggest pain in the ass. They eat our songbirds and it is impossible to leave the kids' sandbox uncovered without discovering a "surprise." Plus, they're mean as Hell, and they are always fighting, howling and fucking at top volume. Being woken up at 3 AM by a rousing chorus of the feline version of "I Wanna Sex You Up" gets very old, very quickly. (Not to mention the rafts of kittens produced. If God kills a kitten every time you masturbate, I'd like y'all to step up the pace a bit, because we are AWASH in stray pussy.)

There is a little old lady who feeds the feral cats (and the raccoons, and the opossums); she leaves large bags of Meow Mix scattered under the bushes. The smell of rotting and damp Meow Mix is one not soon forgotten. (I imagine it's what Lindsay Lohan's boudoir smells like.) All of her neighbors have gently remonstrated with her, and the local SPCA has even come out to talk to her, yet she persists. Even the local Animal Control officer has had words with her, explaining that she;s not doing them (Animal Control and the cats) any favors, and that eventually vermin will be attracted to the area.

She learned the hard way this morning.

I woke up about 3 AM because the smell of skunk wafting in through the windows was absolutely stifling. The husband woke up as well, and we set about closing windows and grumbling. We settled back in to bed, reminding ourselves not to put the dog out first thing, as neither one of us felt like bathing in tomato juice.

We were awakened by shrieking, cursing and a skunk odor so strong it could be smelled through closed doors and windows. It seems a skunk -- no respecter of his benefactor -- had been lurking about the bushes, and when Crazy Cat Neighbor went out to scatter more cat food, he let her have both barrels (figuratively speaking).

I love Karma.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sharpen up your broadsword...

...saddle up your dragon and put on your chain-mail bikini, because Frank Frazetta -- the absolute bad-ass of a man who gave image to Conan the Barbarian and painted the fantasy worlds of thousands of fourteen-year-old boys, has passed through the veil and gone on to pillage the farthest-flung Netherworlds.

Go hither, wanderer to gaze upon lush landscapes of pale, large-breasted nekkid chicks and enormous, toothsome monsters.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mrs. Chips, neo-hippie pain in my ass, and furry-lover.

I'm pleased to announce that everyone in my immediate family has successfully avoided seeing  the James Cameron ode to Al Gore, Earth Day and "Man is a Gaia-raping beast," agenda-laden,smoking turd on celluliod, "Avatar." While I appreciate LabRat's reasoned and cerebral review, Stingray's profanity-laden evaluation of the film spoke to my fucking soul.

However, my in-laws saw it and loved it. (In fact, my FIL was edging in on one of those pathetic souls who was depressed that Pandora wasn't actually a real place, and that we could never have a true Pandora-like planet ourselves because DE EEBIL RETHUGLICAN CHENEYBOTS WHO HATE THE PLANET would cockblock it into eternity. William would have been able to retrieve fingerprint evidence from my tongue, I held that bad boy so hard.)

Now that it's out on DVD/Blu-Ray, the Verizon is pimping that shit On Demand like you would not believe.  In addition, I discovered that my son's kindergarten teacher -- the one I wish would spontaneously combust? -- thinks that it ought to be a road map to the future, and has been carefully telling her little charges what a special film it is, and how very important it is to see it and to make sure that their parents watch it very carefully, because the Na'vi have the kind of society that we should strive for, and it's the responsibility of all good little children who don't want to burn in Hell to work towards.

Gag me. Of course, I have (characteristically) been less than diplomatic in my response to my son spewing Mrs. Chips' propaganda at the dinner table. I think I've referred to the film as "White Guilt in 3D,"  "Dances with Smurfs,"Furries Vs. Colonial Space Marines," "Curiosity Killed the Kitty-people" and "That Movie with the Butt-kicking Colonel Who Ought to Be President."

Ocotpus Boy let this slip during class. Specifically, he said, "My mom says it's a hippe BS circle-spank, and she thinks you should stick to teaching the alphabet and be quiet about everything else 'cause she thinks you're you're full of it."

Ouch. Predictably, I Got A Call. A rather indignant call. Don't I love the planet? Don't I care what my children inherit? Don't I want to heal Mother Earth? Isn't it important that Octopus Boy learn to work with nature, rather than against it?

No. First of all, the movie is rated PG-13; my son is 6.The film is not age-appropriate. Second, I object to putting money in the pocket of James Cameron, who is fabulous at telling me what I ought to be giving up to save the planet, meanwhile he is busy creating his own carbon footprint the size of Godzilla's tail (or Michelle Obama's ass -- I am not sure which is bigger). Thirdly, the themes and the film and the subject as a whole are a Hell of a lot more complex than can be processed by a kindergartner.

In short, I told Mrs. Chips that my son had it entirely correct: I think she needs to shut up and teach him to read, write and figure, and leave the social engineering out of her lesson plans.

She hung up on me. Again.  Thank God school is out in one month.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Fuckin' Mother's damn Sunday.

Why is it that peope think there is some sort of "cone of silence" around them when they are speaking on their cellphines in public?

Good, sweet GOD, people. I do not want to hear about your herpetic lesions, your odd-smelling discharge, the weeping sores on your private areas how much you drank or how many people you banged while you were in a drunken stupor last night!

I also don't need to listen to you use "fuck," "cunt," "whore" and "shitstain" as comma splices in your conversation. Look, I may curse like a sailor with his pubes caught in the gears of a Mack truck on this here blog, but in real life/public, I don't express myself in such terms.

Particularly in CHURCH.

Mother's day!

There's something heartwarming about getting a hand-made card from your kids, promising total obedience and quiet all day.

Of course, when the "presentation ceremony" turns into a riot, with screeching toddlers, hair-pulling and "mine Mine MINE!" it's even more heart-warming, because that means things are as they always are.

Parenthood is the best damn scary roller coaster ever.

Friday, May 7, 2010

The influence of El-ahrairah.

So, I was sitting at a metal desk, re-reading a departmental memo for the eighth time, waiting for the last few students to hurry the fuck up and get their exams turned in, when I saw something out of the corner of my left eye.

A small rabbit -- brown, not white -- was sitting in the open classroom doorway.  My jaw hit the floor. As I watched, he reared up on his wee haunches and groomed an ear, and then nonchalantly hopped off. He was polite enough to leave a small pile of rabbit pellets as proof that I didn't eat some funky mushrooms, or smoke some Caterpillar-proffered herbs and imagine him.

I glanced that the remaining Usual Suspects, and walked to the door. Peering around the corner, I saw at least six bunnies hopping merrily to and fro while one of the  bio lab Igors desperately tried to corral and capture them.

He was dreadfully outnumbered, and it appeared, outsmarted. He'd almost get one, only to have it get away as he tried to grab another one that got closer... a six-on-one tag match, with losers being placed in to a steel cage!  It was as if they were working together, baiting-and-switching.

I scooped up the one closest to me and walked him down the hall to see what the story was. It seems that Igor had put the bunnies in a low-sided plastic pool (empty!) to chill while he cleaned their pen, forgetting that the little fuckers can hop to the moon when sufficiently motivated. AND he had left the lab door open, so they mad a mad dash for freedom, William Wallace-style, as soon as he turned his back.

As the Usual Suspects wandered out, post-exam, they were pressed in to retrieving the reprobates and securing them again.

Who knew teaching on he bio floor could be so much fun?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

An observation...

The local strip mall has a BJ's Wholesale Club right next door to a Dick's Sporting Goods.

Because Dicks and BJs always go together, right?

A wee explanation

A professor was reading as student paper on social media and the peer communities that form at their fringes. As she was reading, she saw her own (presumably anonymous) blog cited/quoted, and decided that that struck TOO close to home.

So she zorched her blog, and started a new one, on a different platform and with a new e-mail attached.

(After she ran to the can and vomited copiously, with her faithful TA holding her hair back and saying, "There, there" for a bit.)

Bear with her as she moves in, rearranges and gets back up to speed -- and lets her BP drop a bit. Could I ask y'all to SUBTLY spread the word to the Wretched Crew of Faithful?

(Via e-mail, rather than large posts screaming, "She's gone over THERE! *Donald Sutherland "Body Snatchers point* I don' wanna have to zap it all AGAIN.)

A student (not one of mine) gets a happy ending.

It's Finals Week -- with all the pathos and drama that comes with it. I arrived at the appointed time and space for our final, unpacked and watched the Usual Suspects file in and take their accustomed seats. There was much yawning, scratching and overall crabbiness.

I counted noses and came up with one extra. An UNusual Suspect! I did not recognize the young man -- not in a "you're on my list but have never come to class" way, but in a "who the ever-loving Hell are you?" way. He looked exhausted and pissed and generally disgruntled as Hell. I checked my roll again, counted noses a second time, and walked to his desk.

"Excuse me....are you here to sit the 'Principles of Lit Wankery' exam?"
"Naw. I'm here for 'Hard Science With Lots of Math.'Are you the procter?"
"Nope. This is our English exam. I think you're in the wrong place."

Very aggravated, he yanked out his exam schedule. "It SAYS, room 221, Large Marble Hall, 1:15 on the damn 6th of May!"

God Bless Mr. SoccerJock in the back, who hollered (disgustedly), "It's the fucking 5th, fool."

Lost Student blinked repeatedly, and then the largest, most beatific smile plastered itself across his face. "REALLY?" His voice cracked on that one syllable. "I have one more day? I HAVE ONE MORE DAY! WOOT!!!"

Then he practically floated out of the room and down the hall. Whether or not he made good use of his reprieve I have no idea, but he looked as if he'd seen the angel-kissed summit of heaven for about ten seconds.

Mr. SoccerJock put paid to the incident: "At least SOMOENE is getting a happy ending around here, 'cause I am fucked for this here exam."

And yes, he was.

A new home and a loooooong story.

More details later. Check your e-mail!