Phoenix Jones and the Real Life Superhero movement. Is it too late to order that magenta bodysuit in an XL?

It probably wasn’t apparent in my little blurb last week about Phoenix Jones, Seattle’s own superhero, just how fangirl excited I am about his appearance.

Because, obviously, I am.  Hi, have you met me?  Comic-book superhero stuff combined with weird new social phenomenon?  I am so there.

And yet I am totally late to the party, because this is apparently a whole Movement, not just this one guy.  The Real Life Superheroes have apparently been operating globally for about 5 years.  They’re a very loosely organized group of individual humanitarians, social activists, environmental activists, and yes…crime fighters.  They give blood, work in soup kitchens, stage protests, and prevent muggings, all while wearing a costume.

You’d think that would get attention, and it has.  There’s a movie, The Real Life Superhero Project.  There’s a book, Heroes in the Night.  (There’s even an unofficial manual, in case you’re interested.)  And yet…not as much as attention as you’d assume, over the course of 5 years.  I mean, they are wearing spandex and patrolling the city streets.  I’m a comic book nerd and I live my life online, and yet, I hadn’t heard of them until I started looking into this Phoenix Jones dude.

Apparently, despite the flashy spandex outfits, quite a lot of the Real Life Superheroes aren’t interested in personal media attention at all.   They just want to do their part to make the world a better place, raise a little awareness about being kinder to your neighbour, and go home and hang up their capes at the end of the day like everybody else.  The irony of wearing an attention-seeking outfit while eschewing the press seems lost on them, but they’re out saving the world (which is more than I’m doing), so I guess they’re allowed to be a little quirky.

Phoenix Jones, on the other hand, is much more vocal.  And…hands-on.  In less than a year he’s already been stabbed, and last week he had his nose broken while being held at gunpoint.  He seems to think this is all in the line of duty, and is adamant that “Everyone on my team either has a military background or a mixed martial arts background, and we're well aware of what it costs to do what we do."

(Of course.  Because nobody’s ever been maimed or killed because of a cockup in the military.)

Phoenix and his ‘team’ have already been offered several reality TV opportunities, because, OF COURSE THEY HAVE, and I’ve read conflicting reports about whether he turned them down or is “considering” them. 

And, in true comic-book fashion, another Real Life Superhero has already created a public schism by calling out Phoenix Jones for his amateurism, though that persona doesn’t appear on the Real Life Superhero roster, and Phoenix Jones does.  Phoenix Jones has also informed the police that they “shouldn’t listen to” Knight Owl or Captain Ozone, as they’re not part of the team.  So nyah.  I smell Evil Arch Nemesis Origin Story, how about you?

(And does it make it worse, or does it make his message of “people looking out for people” stronger, that he apparently has a 9-5 job and a wife and kids?  What kind of wife is okay with her husband wandering the streets looking for carjackings to stop?  What kind of employer doesn’t care if you come in totally exhausted and covered in blood?  And where can I apply?)

Eccentric do-gooders, or attention whores?  I’m not sure, but they’ve certainly got MY attention.  And I’ll be watching. 

Though I draw the line at the reality show.

 

phoenix jones

Nothing should be able to fly AND inject venom

Because I'm still battling whatever Pollen Fiend is causing my sinuses to be so revolting, I'm totally phoning it in and re-posting something I wrote when not even FoN was reading my blog. But it's pertinent, because guess what I saw crawling their icky selves all over my deck this afternoon? Time to call the exterminators...

I try to be a tree hugger, I really do. I grow a garden that is never that successful because I can't bring myself to thin out my plants; I think they should all get equal growing opportunities. I admire vegetarians (but I can't be one - if we weren't meant to eat cows, they shouldn't be so tasty). I try to buy organic, stay away from chemicals, recycle, reuse, live simply. I think everybody is equal and all creatures should be treated with respect.

Except for wasps.

Bees? See, bees I can respect. Bees are useful. Bees have honour. They don't sting you unless you totally deserve it, and when they do they at least have the common decency to promptly die afterwards. Even spiders, which are creepy and wrong and omigod nothing should have that many legs, have a purpose (eating the mosquitos, which in turn spread the West Nile many hypochondriacs so desperately need now that Chronic Fatigue is out of fashion).

Wasps are like the head cheerleaders of the insect world. Sure, they look pretty cool (look at one up close - most sensibly, one that is dead - and you'll see what I mean. Whoever designed wasps should be working for Porsche) but they're vindictive little bitches and they get more aggressive as the season draws to a close. And they always know to target whoever can do them the most damage.

It's pretty hard to believe in a cosmic balance when there is something that mean out there that can fly and inject venom repeatedly. Not only that, but it has friends. How fair is that?

Go and lay on the couch and feel sorry for yourself, dammit!

On Tuesday I had a minor vent about our ninja office manager and how trying to keep the workplace running in her absence was virtually impossible.

Can I take that back? Floundering around, appearing like an idiot to clients, and spending an hour tracking down one single work order is INFINITELY preferable to listening to her wheeze and cough and attempt to convince people she isn't contagious.

Seriously - my biggest office pet peeve EVER. If you're sick - keep your disease-ridden carcass at home where it belongs, thankyouveryfuckingmuch. I don't need to quail at the sound of a ringing phone, wondering whether you answered it last and how big of a loogie you hawked up onto the receiver.

Also? If I bring home last month's pig-flu-du-jour because YOU "need to work", I'll be pissed.

I mean, at least make it something with some retro cool appeal, like the bubonic plague, or ergotism.

Or leprosy. Now there's a sexy disease.

I feel all headachey and tickly in my throat now. And my fingers feel perilously close to falling off.

Damn office ninjas.

Maybe if she got a job or cleaned up once in a while, y'know?

This afternoon someone walked their medium-sized punt dog past our house and our dog, as per usual, lost her shit. She leapt up on the ottoman that sits under the living room window like she was some kind of hound from hell and barked her fierce bark mindlessly. The window shook. There were hackles.

I try not to yell at her when she does this but it was the end of the day and my patience was wearing thin. So I grabbed her nose in the "mother correction" and glared at her sternly, my "there must be silence" finger pointed skyward.

And she growled at me. SHE GROWLED AT ME.

So I growled right the fuck back.

We're cool now, but still. That was probably one of the 3 times EVER my dog has growled at, or around, me. It worries me. I have a rather short person living in my house who is unconcerned with teeth or growling, who thinks it's freaking hilarious to poke the resident canine in the eye and tease her mercilessly with carrot sticks. (I keep telling him that he's going to lose a finger doing that, but I'm not sure he gets it).

I get it. I get that the poor dog is ignored and underexercised, and there's probably some spring fever mixed in there. I think I'd be doing a lot more than growling if someone only let ME out of the house twice a day to piss, and yelled at me every time I tried to eat something.

(Maybe I should get someone to do that. It might help the diet).

I get it that mostly, this is my fault, but still. The growling is not cool. There were many things about our dog that I took issue with BEFORE we had a kid, and pretty much the instant I gave birth the dog fell to the bottom of the priority list. I feel guilty every goddamn day for that, but there it is.

Next time, I'm getting a fucking basset hound.

Or an iguana.

How to eat for free (if you're an asshat)

Dear Old Screechy Hag Women Seated One Booth Away,

I understand that your meals didn't turn out as you requested. Really, I know the disappointment. But it's one thing to have specific preferences, it's quite another to expect five-star dining from a place that specializes in five-dollar breakfasts.

I mean, look around. Are the words "greasy spoon" ringing any bells? Also, did you notice that it's BUSY?

I'm sorry that the kitchen didn't manage to produce your "well-done toast, extra-crispy bacon, half-scrambled eggs half-over easy" order to perfection. But to send it back, have it redone, while the other person waits for you and then complain that the other meal is cold seems a little, well, STUPID.

And then to have your entire meal comped, and be offered free dessert, only to pronounce it "HORRIBLE" so loudly the poor server actually takes a step back? YOU REJECT FREE DESSERT? I mean, you had minor sympathy from me up until then. But that's just plain wrong.

And then - then! - when the server who is clearly wishing she called in sick today goes and gets you "fresher" dessert, you mutter to each other about how one piece is taller than the other?

Can I speak with YOUR manager? Because I'd like to lodge a complaint. Your excessive complaining totally fucking ruined my dining experience.

Thanks,

The Woman Quietly Glaring One Booth Over

Men: Can't live with them, and you'd think it would be easier to poison them for the insurance money

So I may have whined excessively mentioned yesterday that we're spending a few days in hell hubby's hometown for a belated Christmas with the inlaws. He intended to get the Honda serviced at the dealership and then hit the road. So this morning, he said, "I just have to pack.".

He threw some socks and underwear into a duffle bag, picked out a couple of comics to read while we're there, and announced, "Okay, good to go.".

Really? Okay, just give me a few minutes to pack my clothes & toiletries, pack our son's clothes and toiletries, pack his diapers, butt wipes, formula, bottles (which need to be washed first), snacks, a couple of toys, his Pack n' Play, crib blankets, high chair, snow pants, and infant Advil.

Oh, and the dog's food, dishes, treats, and leashes.

And the Christmas gifts.

NOW we're good to go.

Men.

This isn't a New Years Resolution, because then I would be one of those New Years Resolution People, and I mock those people

I guess it's the New Year coming up. And I guess that means I should get back on the HASAY bandwagon, because I fell off so hard I think I broke a cheekbone.

Sigh.

So ya'll probably want an update, and here it is: I gained 3 lbs in the month of December. I have no idea how I did that. It should have been WAY more.

I think I went to the gym a grand total of four times, and I ate everything - EVERYTHING - in sight. And there was a lot in sight. There was some kind of unspoken contest going on at the office over who could bring the most decadent treats each day. I've been accused of starting the trend, when all I brought was one fucking plate of cookies. My cookies morphed into someone's rice krispie cakes, which turned into shortbread, which became a plate of fudge. FIVE DIFFERENT KINDS. The boss did something nice for a client, so in return she brought two plates the size of my whitewall tires filled with goodies. And everything resided less than 6 feet from my desk.

And - gah! - since I don't arrive at work until noon, people started saving me portions of the mornings offerings. How am I supposed to refuse that?

So, yeah. Three pounds is getting off lightly.

Er, no pun intended.

So now I have to drag my ass to the gym with all the other New Years Resolution People, which is totally unfair because I make this resolution at lots of OTHER times of the year, too. It will be crowded and annoying and I will hate it.

And I have to get back with the "program", that is, Weight Watchers. Which is a fine program and it works but it's, y'know, a DIET. Yes, I know, it's a lifestyle change, blah blah, but it's not really much of a change for me (December is an anomaly), just a reduction in calories. Which is also known as a DIET. I don't really "do" diets, just like I don't really "do" New Years resolutions.

Can you tell I'm kind of dragging my feet this time around?

So, armed with my new Christmas gift Weight Watchers recipe book (which, even though I totally wanted it, and even blogged about getting back on the program, and it came from my MOM who loves me no matter what shape I am, still kind of hurt my feelings. A teeny bit. Yeah, programming runs deep), I shall venture forth into the fray one more time.

One LAST time.

Because I'm not fucking doing this again, I swear. I'm going to get back to 140 and I'm going to STAY THERE.

So, break out your whips and chains, HASAYers. Flog me back into shape, share your inspirational stories, your recipes that don't suck. Casey, lie to me about how much you're actually working out and see if you can find my competitive streak.

Help.

I'm not even going to tell you what I do for a living

Somewhere out there in the blogosphere, there is a post or a comment or something on a message board, in which I swear up and down and six ways from Sunday that I would never - ever! - blog about work.

So this isn't a rant about work.

What? It isn't.

This is a rant for all you other design-field type people out there, who will instantly recognize the person of whom I speak. Why, WHY, in the name of all that is sacred and true, do people hire ask you to design something for them, when clearly they are intent on designing it themselves?

You're the professional one who's good with that stuff, they say, I'll leave it up to you. Then they proceed to tell you "what they were thinking". And then they proceed to shoot down every. single. design you come up with unless it directly matches "what they were thinking". I just want to hand them a fucking Crayola and say HERE, have at 'er, it's gonna end up looking just as good, and then I won't have to put my friggin' name on it.

I finally figured out what they want. They just want you, the professional one who's good with that stuff, to validate them. They want you to exclaim, "Oh! Well what do you need ME for? You can obviously design like Michelangelo - this is just perfect the way it is!". What they DON'T want you to say is, "Oh, um, yeah, that's a good start but...".

(They also don't really like it when you file their sketches in the garbage can while they're still standing there.)

You'd think that after fifteen however many years in the business of being pretty good at that stuff, I would know how to deal with these people. But I don't. I'm also not a fan of the "well I don't know what I want, but I know what I hate, so can you just show me every conceivable design ever invented and I'll rule them out one by one?" people, but that's almost a whole other post.

So yeah. Designers? Feel your pain. People who ask designers to design stuff when they really want to design it themselves and have someone tell them it looks pretty? FEEL OUR PAIN.

In fact, I'm pretty sure I'm guilty of the above behaviour when hiring a designer myself. But that's different, because I'm a professional good with that stuff.

Also, see how this was posted on a Saturday? That's because it's NOT a work rant. It's not. Now stop looking at me, and go watch some cartoons or something.

No more Mr. Nice Guy

Last night I went to see Alice Cooper in concert (don't make me post my high school grad pic again to explain why). I was hoping to have some really awesome story to tell you, like we got to hang backstage with Alice, or we got some cool swag, or I made out with the really hawt guitar player uh, never mind....sorry, honey! Anyway the reason I had such high hopes is that my friend J, which is who I went with, is such a diehard Alice fan that he managed to get an actual phone interview with him for the weekly show he does on the community radio station. I naturally assumed that after their conversation we would all go for coffee or something.

But, sadly, what I have instead is a compiled list of things that made me realize that I'm...well, OLD.

1. I didn't wear the makeup, but I did wear earplugs.

2. I spent a lot of time being inordinately annoyed by the couple in front of us and their constant PDAs. I mean, I get it, you love each other, smoochies, whatever. I don't need to see you grabbing each other's ass THAT many times, and the guy had his arm slung so tightly around the girls neck that it appeared he had her in a headlock. For the entire opening act. All I could think of was the poor girls massage therapy bills.

3. I was stone cold sober, and I was pretty disappointed that they weren't selling coffee. Because I was sleepy. At a rock concert.

4. It wasn't just me, because the entire audience sat stock-still through the opening band (Econoline Crush, who are pretty great and definitely party music). Okay, it was a seated-auditorium type venue, and this town is traditionally pretty stuffy laid-back as far as audience participation, but sea cucumbers would have displayed more enthusiasm.

5. I kind of worried that the stage show was too gory and/or derogatory to women, because J brought his 9-year-old daughter. I'm pretty sure that when I saw Alice in concert 3 years ago, there were no such concerns.

6. Half of the row in front of us left before the encore. That would be the third row, where the alleged 'fans' sit. Getting out of the parking lot quickly is apparently more important.

Anyway we had fun (including the 9-year-old) and Alice rocked (I mean, that guy's SIXTY, speaking of old). It even garnered high praise from J's daughter: "Yeah, I guess it was better than Hillary Duff".

Nobody tell Alice she said that.

And then someone ELSE thought it was actually a good idea

Okay, so, this blog is supposed to be mostly about non-parenting things, and this is something that I wouldn't have found about unless I was a parent. But I maintain that if I did find out somehow without having children, my reaction would have been...pretty much the same.

Diaper cakes. Um, wtf?

I have yet to see an actual diaper cake, so I'm semi-convinced that they're some great big internet hoax. I stumbled across one on ebay while I was pregnant and looking for cloth diapers (because I had yet another grand work-at-home idea about sewing diapers and they'd be ever so popular and in high demand and I'd be making money by the boatload because I would have SO MUCH TIME on my hands to sew diapers *snort*) and I kind of sat back in my chair (okay, I didn't really, because I was already sitting way back to accomodate my girthiness, but you get the idea) and raised my eyebrows. Diaper cakes? Like, it's a cake and somehow garnished with diapers?

How would you even ship that?

No, wait. THERE'S NO ACTUAL CAKE? You're telling me that someone is forming diapers and various accoutrements into the shape of a cake, and then taunting pregnant women with it? Like, here's some chocolate cake for your baby shower - but it's actually just diapers, psych?

Does that seem wise?

You see why I might be thinking it's an internet hoax? Some stoned teenagers were sitting around in their basement trying to come up with the most disgusting combos they could:

"Dude, nachos with spider legs!"
"No, man, hummus with human snot in it!"
"Dude - a cake with poopy diapers in it!"
*high pitched giggling all round*
"Omg - omg - we should totally post that on ebay."
"Omg you're right!"

...and then one of them actually remembered to do it.

An addendum to lollygagging

Okay, I had an additional mental seizure thought. What if the atom smasher DOES make a black hole? And the whole planet doesn't get obliterated, but just ends up like the Event Horizon?

We might all go insane and enter into hellish scenes of depravity with blood, people eating their own arms, and barbed wire. (Which, as an aside, I've always had a bit of a problem with. Why do scenes from hell always feature barbed wire? It isn't intrinsically evil. I mean, COWS live with it, and they seem fairly content). And bad acting, and dramatic music that means you should be shocked every time someone opens their eyes and doesn't have any eyeballs, even though that happened just yesterday at coffee, and the day before at the PTA meeting.

Gah. What's the furthest point from the France/Switzerland border? Looks like Fiji.

We're moving to Fiji!

I'm lollygagging

...whatever lollygagging means. What I'm actually doing, is spending so much freakin' time stalking perusing other peoples blogs and not doing any actual blogging MYSELF.

So lets rant talk about what's on everybody's mind, the 10 billion dollar atom smasher in Switzerland and the potential for black-hole suckage.

I mean - if nuclear physicists are a mite concerned, do they really think this is still a good idea? How do you even prepare for the possibility of a black hole - canned goods, bottled water, and every episode of Star Trek on DVD? (Just in case Geordie once encountered such a speedbump, and might have a brilliant technobabble solution). Do we put on the storm windows and name them 'Black Hole Robert' and 'Black Hole Rowena' as the atom smasher churns them out?

Oh, wait, right. We won't BE HERE.

Or maybe we'll be in the second universe that this 'fake Big Bang' creates, that someone will take home in a jar, and we'll just all be a lot smaller. (Newsflash: Physicists Create Smurf Village. No word on Gargamel's whereabouts).

With all that brain power, can't they realize that NOBODY CARES BUT THEM? Really, nuclear physicist guys and gals, unless there is some kind of military application for black holes (which there might be, if we were at war with aliens, which would mean aliens would actually have to think we're worth their time) or the creation of universes-in-a-jar will somehow make porn on the internet better, WE DON'T CARE.

Now go cure cancer, or figure out how to get reality tv banned, or something useful.

Mere decades away from being Johnny Mnemonic - totally can't wait.

So I hooked up with Twitter last night. Because I am a total nerd whore. Facebook, I still love ya, but you just can't do what this new guy does for me. I mean, at 3am when I want to strangle my child, I can tell a bunch of people who could give two shits all about it. From my phone. Because I am also a lazy whore.

But it started me thinking about what things like Facebook and Twitter are doing to the actual, face-to-face conversations we still have (if, indeed, we ever leave the house and HAVE any). You don't really have to ask, "How have you been?". Or, "What have you been up to?". Because you've been getting updates, in real time, and probably more insight into your friends' heads than you've ever had. Sometimes TOO much, actually. So you end up having really creepy conversations that don't even pay lip service to the niceties, but instead jump right to things like, "Oh, hey, I have a bunch of rhubarb to go in that pie you wanted to make.". Meanwhile you're thinking, um, wtf? I haven't seen this person in 6 weeks and they know about my baking habits??

Oh, right. Facebook.

I was at an outdoor gathering a few months ago, one of those things where it seems like every single person you've ever met makes an appearance, and the tagline for the day was: "Except on Facebook.". As in, "How is Brian's new baby?". "Oh, I haven't seen her....except on Facebook.". "How is Ruth doing after her surgery?". "Oh, I haven't talked to her...except on Facebook.". It seemed a little surreal, but nobody else seemed to think it was odd that two years ago, none of them had even heard of Facebook. I mean - what the hell did we do back then? Actually gossip?

And in two years it will probably be, I mean - what the hell did we do back then? Just use Facebook??

The breakup was mutual. Honest.

I decided to walk downtown yesterday in an effort to counteract the half a chocolate cake I had for breakfast (yes! you read that right. Now shut up). I can't just Go For A Walk, I have to have a destination. Which is silly, because I can just Go For A Run (although clearly, not often enough). I have to Walk Around The Lake, or Walk To The Library, or Walk To Dairy Queen.

Which is a bit counterproductive, but at least I'm getting out of the house. Right? Right?

Anyway. Yesterday I Walked Downtown, to take a look at an outside art exhibition that was going on. It was a one-day thing; a city block had been cordoned off, and all the artists had taken a parking space and turned it into an installation. You got a little booklet with 'parking tickets' that described each artwork, and the artist was on hand to 'validate' your parking with their own stamp. It was pretty clever. But on the way there I started thinking...I found out about this exhibit from some friends who are not artists. There was an invitation on Facebook, and I was not invited. Hello? I used to be an art student. I know people who are actually still artists. How did I not know about this??

Art World, why have you forsaken me??

Okay, so I don't come round as often as I should. And for quite a while there I was busy with a much younger man. And frankly, Art World, sometimes you're just full of shit. I became disenchanted.

But to totally reject me like this...

I know, I know, it's a two-way street. I have to put in some effort too. And I know you find it hard to live in this town. But, c'mon! You couldn't even send me a Facebook invite?? How much effort would that have cost you?

I don't know if we can heal this. To be honest I feel like I'm a better matchup with your younger brother, Craft Community. I know, he's not as 'wordly', but at least he's honest about who he is.

Maybe we should take a time-out. That's more or less what we've been doing anyway. But, y'know...I'll call you.

This is about as deep as I get

In the interest of making this blog more about "me", I've added a weekly Superheroine (see sidebar). I'll post a new one every Monday. My superheroines are just like us, except they fight crime instead of dust bunnies, attend Justice League meetings instead of PTA functions, and look fantastic in spandex.

I feel compelled to point out that I was a comic nerd long before Hollywood ran out of movie plots and began pirating every comic book, video game, and crappy merchandising gimmick available (please, nobody tell me that there is/was/will be a Bratz movie. I'm sure it's true, but to know with utter certainty will force me to perform a murder-suicide and take out my entire family). Ages before everyone else knew who Wolverine was, I had a total crush on "Patch". I sort of blame the A-ha video for making my hobby worse; if I just read enough comics, someone might offer their ink-and-four colour hand and help me into that world.

Don't get me wrong. I'm on board with the cross-pollination of genres. Every first-year art student knows you're supposed to push the borders. And, fangirl that I am, I totally squee when they get it right. I just kind of think some things are best left true to their form. With enough inbreeding, all you produce is mutants, ya know? And not the cool kind that read your mind or shoot lasers out of their eyes. The squalling kind that wear their guts on the outside and should be put out of their misery at birth.

(Okay, that would be kind of cool too.)

Give the Devil his interest payments

Have I mentioned that Paul is a major Metallica fan? Like, rabid, dyed-in-the-wool, card-carrying-fan-club-member-who-never-listens-to-anything-else-except-maybe-the-rare-brave-foray-into-Megadeth-territory? Yeah, still.

Anyway, Metallica is going on tour. Again. Because that's what respectable forty-something parents do, they climb into busses and go on the road and scream about all the anger they don't have, and they release albums shaped like coffins in an attempt to convince us that they are really still all about the death and the pain and the anger, and not about parenting and golf and their 401K. But they are, in fact, in league with the Devil Ticketmaster.

As a card-carrying fan club member, Paul is entitled to four advance sales tickets, which went on sale yesterday at 10am. Yesterday at 10:05 he bolted up the stairs, yelping in a panic, "I need my Visa!!".

"Um, what?" I reply. "You can't. It's frozen."

(See, a few months ago I decided it would be a good idea to get some equity out of the house that is worth considerably more than when we bought it, and do some renos and consolidate some debt. That process was started in May, and I just got the money for it a few days ago. So JUST LAST WEEK we paid off my student loans, my line of credit, and Paul's Visa, which I promptly froze into a block of ice and stuffed in the freezer. For emergencies. NOT FUCKING METALLICA TICKETS.)

"Ticketmaster won't take PayPal! I have like 3 minutes to process these tickets - I need my Visa!!"

"Well use my debit Mastercard, it comes out of my account, and you can just give me the money," I reason calmly. At which point I notice he's taken the lump of ice out of the freezer and is brandishing a hammer.

"I don't have the money NOW," he practically shrieks in anguish, "I only had it in PAYPAL!"

"You can't break that!" I snap, "It's frozen!" ...as if it's frozen in carbonite, not water, and hitting it with a hammer will shatter it's soul forever, or at least the Visa will be a little groggy and useless for a while.

"I have like, 30 seconds!" he bellows, already outside smashing the ice block on our front walk. In his pajamas. As if the neighbours didn't think we were crazy before.

I just grit my teeth as he goes thundering back down the stairs waving his Visa triumphantly. Good thing I went to all that work to pay it down. Because he's SO likely to pay off those charges promptly.

"I am cutting it up now," I say tightly as he comes back up the stairs, out of breath from ordering those tickets online. "Never mind the stupid block of ice, clearly it's ineffective."

"You can't," he says serenely, "I need the original Visa to claim the tickets." He hands it back to me.

I have a mental list of people or companies that are conspiring to keep people in the dark, in debt, or generally miserable. Metallica, Visa, and Ticketmaster just muscled their way to the front of the line. One of these days - I swear! - Security is going to have to ask them to leave.

Nothing should be able to fly and inject venom repeatedly

I try to be a tree hugger, I really do. I grow a garden that is never that successful because I can't bring myself to thin out my plants; I think they should all get equal growing opportunities. I admire vegetarians (but I can't be one - if we weren't meant to eat cows, they shouldn't be so tasty). I try to buy organic, stay away from chemicals, recycle, reuse, live simply. I think everybody is equal and all creatures should be treated with respect.

Except for wasps.

Bees? See, bees I can respect. Bees are useful. Bees have honour. They don't sting you unless you totally deserve it, and when they do they at least have the common decency to promptly die afterwards. Even spiders, which are creepy and wrong and omigod nothing should have that many legs, have a purpose (eating the mosquitos, which in turn spread the West Nile many hypochondriacs so desperately need now that Chronic Fatigue is out of fashion).

Wasps are like the head cheerleaders of the insect world. Sure, they look pretty cool (look at one up close - most sensibly, one that is dead - and you'll see what I mean. Whoever designed wasps should be working for Porsche) but they're vindictive little bitches and they get more aggressive as the season draws to a close. And they always know to target whoever can do them the most damage.

It's pretty hard to believe in a cosmic balance when there is something that mean out there that can fly and inject venom repeatedly. Not only that, but it has friends. How fair is that?