Flying car retro future

I was only vaguely aware of Nora Roberts as a prolific writer of best sellers when a couple of weeks ago @mostlybree on Twitter said something about her science fiction detective series. They are written under the name J.D. Robb and there’s FIFTY in the series so far. How could I resist?

The science fiction elements are a thin but amusing veneer. It’s 20158 and there are flying cars! Mind control and subliminal messages! Hilarious computers that can barely do anything! Space travel including interstellar flight to the colonies (so far, faster than light ship drive hasn’t gotten even a mention! They just jaunt off to Vega 6 or whatever!) There is futuristic slang like “ice” and “mag” and people wear sort of spandex one piece suits a lot!

Notably the romance novel hero guy, Roarke, is very unclear on the meaning of consent, but I skim over those bits or handwave them and it does improve a LITTLE after the first book or two.

More interestingly he and the protagonist, Eve Dallas, are both processing their childhood abuse. Eve has pretty intense sexual abuse survivor stuff going on, flashbacks, nightmares, and so on which often intersects with her work as a homicide detective.

She is also sort of butchy and doesn’t give a shit about anything. Enjoyable in itself! She’s always walking in late to a fancy dinner party covered in blood and bruises after not sleeping for 3 days and honey badger don’t care because JUSTICE. (And Roarke the zillionaire gazes adoringly at her the more she swaggers around with her thumbs hooked into her gunbelt — while Sommerset the butler gets more and more annoyed.)

Their relationship is a big focus of the plot as they figure out over time how to trust each other with more of their backgrounds and their vulnerabilities & drop their need to always be strong survivors, accepting each other’s concern and care. That’s fairly sweet. But that dynamic is even more interesting between Eve and her ever-growing cast of mostly female friends – Mavis the new wave rock star, Nadine the high-powered, hard working reporter from Channel 75, Peabody (raised by new age farm hippies) who she mentors at work. They are all trying to teach her how to be a friend and how to accept their loving friendship! Neat!

The best parts of this weirdly addictive series are the descriptions of fashion. Like, what is both futuristic and classy to the author, or how she imagines the reader, is deeply hilarious and familiar. It is like this 80s retro mall thing, where classy is basically, being on a date, eating a steak at Red Lobster while you have your hair elaborately feathered, spike heels, and a saucy little temporary tattoo of a butterfly on your left hip. Maybe a Red Lobster in SPACE LAS VEGAS. Maybe some hinted to be super racy sex with SCENTED OILS later on in the date a la Rick James “Superfreak”. Incense, wine and candles, such a freaky scene! There are these archetypes that are slightly “off” of retro-futuristic Satanists, Wiccans, computer hackers (“E-men”), glam rockers or new wave musicians, fashion designers, if they were all working at franchises in a 1980s mall. That’s how it reads to me. (I mean this affectionately.)

Here is one of the glorious outfits – I feel compelled to type out a monster paragraph.

“She’s the problem,” Yvette said with a thin smile, and Eve turned and got a full blast of the magnificent Simon.

The eyes caught her first. They were a pale, almost translucent blue framed by thick dark lashes and thin ebony brows that each peaked to a ruler-sharp point in the middle. His hair was a brilliant ruby red, swept high off his forehead and temples and styled to tumble in a snowfall of springy curls to the middle of his back.

His skin had the dull gold sheen indicating mixed-race heritage or complexion dyes. His mouth was painted a deep bronze, and riding along his prominent left cheekbone was a white unicorn with gold horn and hooves.

He swept back the electric-blue cape draped over his shoulders. Beneath he wore a skinsuit of chartreuse and silver stripes with a deeply scooped neckline. A tangle of gold chains gleamed against his impressive chest. He angled his head, sending the long gold dangles in his ears dancing as he set one hand on one slim hip and studied Eve.

I keep reading these characters as gay and Simon might be (he is a bit part, so far, a makeup designer, hell, maybe he’s the murderer) but sometimes they sound hella gay and then aren’t even bi (though, comfortingly, there are bi and gay folks tho no one trans in this version of 2058). First of all who the fuck notices someone’s eye color in this way? Anyone? Is that a thing? Am I just nearsighted and eye-contact-averse enough to find it completely alien?! When I first meet someone I just think “That’s a nice hat” and hope that person will please wear that same outfit and hair style for the rest of their life. I would never study someone’s eyeballs, WTF?!

There’s a lot to unpack in Simon’s description but let’s just contemplate the way it sounds like he has one cheekbone that sticks out further than the other one, and how it has a ridiculous sounding face painting of a unicorn. LOVE IT!!!!

Here’s another description, a bit more low key but it made me laugh as well. It is of a “quietly elegant” bar in Manhattan.

The bar had pretty silver-topped tables, pale blue privacy booths, and clever art prints of New York street scenes decorating the warm yellow walls.
Classy, she thought, glancing over at the long, shiny bar with sparkling mirrors and tuxedo-decked servers.

Classy like an episode of Miami Vice (which Danny just suggested would make a good aesthetic for this if it were a TV show and I can totally picture it)

Back to book 6, and trying to deduce things about the future technology of the world of Eve Dallas. It’s 2058 and there’s faster than light travel, antigravity, cellular rejuvenation, Autochefs that are like weird little microwaves which you stock with ingredients, except most people can only afford soydogs and soy milk and fake coffee probably also made of soy.

Sturdy machines glide through the water

Swimming last week 3 times a day at the hot springs place in Calistoga really got me going. I did (slow) laps in the olympic size hot springs pool, with that feeling that if my ankles and knees would stay strong I could keep swimming forever. Also I realized that because I can really swim again instead of just slowly walking around or doing stretches, the water doesn’t have to be body heat warm, maybe.

Monday I did nearly 1000 yards (a kiloyard? what is this in meters? shall i switch my fitbit to meters???) and then later felt like i was gonna die from the ankles upwards. Today I cooled my jets a little and swam 750 yards. Headphones in, waterproofed ipod shuffle clipped to my beefcake unisex bathing suit strap, feeling like a tireless otter! Trembling afterward. Noodly limbed. Felt fantastic.

I got the KT train slooooowwwwwly going up Ocean Avenue, got out at Castro, and had a burger at Orphan Andys. The naked faerie dudes were out in full force today in jane warner plaza (I have missed them) but then I saw cops pull up 🙁 So wrong… it’s our culture! Get out of the Castro if you don’t want to see some old tanning-bed-leathery guy’s junk hanging out! Have a little respect ffs!!! Annnyway I had to work (yes i worked while having a burger I had so much shit to do!!)

Then I went to Cliffs to get a diamond tipped drill bit so I can drill through the cute but deadly for the root-rot flowerpots which lack a drainage hole. And some cracked mugs that I put succulents into. But… what is this…. in the cliffs window! A hat shaped like a happy narwhal?????!!!!! I tried it on. Then a whale hat. Fun but not quite … somehow not satisfying… I looked up and BEHOLD there it was…. heavens opening and light pouring down like the gayest thing you have ever seen …. at the top of the spinning hat rack – A giant flamingo hat. Well made too with a poseable wire neck & beak, and feathery-furred wings that are flappable. Even before I got the nice bear dude who works there to get it down for me I was belly laughing uncontrollably at how this was going to roll. And yes. It was magnificent. Best thing ever. Bear clerk goes “And you know what else *wink* Inside… inside the hat… it has a SECRET POCKET!” Oh what. Someone saw into my very soul. I mean what could be better. Maybe if it were reversible and the other side was a giant satin vulva I guess. Secret pocket, good enough! “Shall I just cut that tag off for you as I think you may be wearing this out of the store?” “Why yes, ” *hysterical doubling over laughing with tears in my eyes* “Yes please! OMFG I’m never taking this hat off again!” The head and neck of the flamingo are well balanced and you can feel the weight of it bobbing gently.

Bus driver, mouth open: “What… ok now what kind of swan is that you have on your head ma’am” “A swan of ULTIMATE DIGNITY!” “It is that. Well don’t let it fly while it’s on my bus” “I just got it, across the street! What’s gonna happen, someone might stare at me, right?” *bus driver finally loses it and cracks a smile*

most people: (refusing to make eye contact because i am probably a big ol douchebag (true))

a few, good people, kindred spirits: *eyes light up and face splits into a huge grin!!!!!*

I love this hat!

flamingo hat animated

Please please let me not fuck up my legs in some mysterious screwed up way and let me keep swimming and get my legs stronger. I haven’t felt this good since 2011.

Satisfying pocketing up of my red plaid pants

Behold these very amazing red plaid pants! They had a couple of pockets but also had fake front pockets and zippers that seemed to promise pockets but had none. Thanks to the awesome alterations ladies at my local dry cleaners there are now 7 functional pockets, 3 of them behind zippers! They are used to my bringing in jeans to them for the Deep Pocket treatment – partly that I just like having good pockets but partly influenced by the fact that I’m sitting down in a wheelchair lots of the time while I’m out of the house and dont’ want my phone, keys, lip balm, and handkerchiefs to fall out. Anyway, this time they came out giggling and pleased with themselves as they put in a whole EXTRA pocket and also, the pocket fabric is (unasked for, but awesomely) deep purple!

liz in red plaid pants

I have added a spuriously punk wallet chain, which I also find very satisfying.

No one may question my authenticity and I will wear stupid shit like this till the day I die!

Word generator

This pun generator seems amazingly useful for making up words!

Check this out, putting in liberation and subway (Danny’s idea) got some good stuff:

https://www.punchlinedesign.net/pun_generator/liberation+subway

A “represstroom” should just be the new word for an inaccessible or locked bathroom! Playing around a bit, you can come up with distressroom and depressroom!

And an “oppresscalator” is just amazing no matter how you use it — the opposite of an accesscalator! When it’s covered in poop, it’s a grotesqualator! A pee filled elevator is a repelevator!

I may never get anything accomplished ever again other than playing with this.

Dreams and imaginings, super poetic, not

Conversation with my sister.

Me:

oh i just remembered you were in my dream this morning

we were about to have some coffee in a car or something and then the fire department stopped us and said we could not drink in the car as it was a choking hazard and they took our coffee mugs and water bottles

And I cried

Then i tried to twitter about it in outrage but couldn’t get my twitter app to work

we were both going “this is bullshit! and we haven’t had our COFFEE!!!”

Sister:

i had a whole pointless fantasy this morning that i was taking a watercolor class from this guy who only paints half naked women. so in the workshop i waxed poetic about painting mens balls and how important it was to get the effects of light glinting off ball hair.

needless to say i will NOT be taking that workshop

i considered taking the workshop and actually doing this. but quickly discarded the idea.

also: white guy: mostly painting partially clothed women of color gazing into the distance. probably/hopefully plotting his death

I really thought my crying in my sleep about firefighters stealing my morning coffee was going to win some sort of award for ridiculousness but the waking dream of telling off a real life annoying art teacher eclipsed it.

Bad Invention: Menstrual Sneezing Powder

There is nothing like a hearty chain sneezing bout to bring on a flood. And there is nothing more annoying than days and days of bleeding all over the place. OPPORTUNITY!

Why not help your Aunt Flo leave town faster by administering my latest and best invention, MENSTRUAL SNEEZING POWDER. Just snort it copiously on day 1 of your period and maybe the blood will fall the hell out of you, all at once.

It can be a cute little kit with the powder and a pair of maroon underwear and hipster packaging. I can see the cartoon art now as the adorable mascot sneezes herself all the way into space on a big flaming red rocketship. & an old-timey, scrolly font on it kind of like you’d imagine would be on a Victorian era box of snuff.

Also great during labor!

We shall make ONE MILLION DOLLARS with this genius invention. (I have to split it with Beth.)

Coughing works for this too, I bet! So get those sheep-sized tampons ready and smoke a bowl, remembering to inhale mightily.

You’re welcome!!!

Frivolous Friday night post

Some things that I own are extra satisfying beyond spark of joy into soul bonded dragon telepathy. Current favorite object, my tibetan wool poncho in shades of soft blue, purple, and brown, with a hood and wooden buttons and a front pouch pocket, long enough and wide enough to go halfway down my legs while I’m sitting down, over both arms of my wheelchair, and covering my backpack on the back of the chair. Pouch is ideal for phone and a handkerchief and even my notebook and pen (for my observations in and around BART stations.) It is like having a cozy tent in the rain, and, if not too rained on, excellent to wear in the chilly mornings on the couch while I drink my coffee. I got it for 35 bucks in the tibetan hippie stuff store in Berkeley.

Also bonded thoroughly with my Jafa boots (style 2159) with buckles, side zippers, blue jean blue with shiny black toes and heels, and special orthopedic inserts. Jafa and Naot shoes (particular soles) and crocs are the only things my feet and ankles can currently tolerate. And, these boots are so natty, so dapper, lots of joyous detail, no weirdly unnecessary femmy touches just like, fancied up with straps and buckles. Obtained from Citi Shoes on Irving in SF, where I swanned in fresh from powerchairing Golden Gate Park like a tiny hurricane, and experienced a funny moment. The people just leaving were somewhat taken aback by me, my hair, my chair, and my magnificent poncho (cannot blame them).

“I LOVE YOUR HAIR” one of them gasped. The shoe clerk zeroed in on what struck her most. “I love your NAOTS” she said, raising her eyebrows at my amazingly neat, detailed, grey and darker grey boots with businesslike, yet also punk, buckles. As if to imply she — unlike those yoiks — appreciated the finer things in life, and the finer points of my personality. “I’ll be RIGHT WITH YOU.” Sometimes I get followed around stores for bad reasons, like the grocery store security guard suspects I’m going to abscond with a whole mop and some Tide squirreled away in my undercarriage, but in this case I was sized up more correctly as a shoe connoisieur, in other words a good mark. I gazed about me with awe. This was a store to nearly rival Astrid’s Rabat on 24th. Someone understands my painful feet and my desire to have cute as fuck shoes, all at the same time! Oh joy!

The other shoe clerk, a callow youth, approached me. “Can I ummmm help you with ummmmm anything,” he said, rolling his eyes like a nervous horse, wondering if I was about to add some sweet sandals to my hoard of shoplifted under-poncho goods and probably also wondering why a crippled lady needs shoes anyway and if he was going to have to take my shoes off for me or something weird like that. “I’ve GOT THIS. I’m on it. Nope, nope,” said the first shoe clerk lady coming out of the back with a hiss and an eagle eye for her commission. The callow youth melted into the back, whimpering. What can I say. The amazing Jafa boots fit perfectly, she got me the most crazypants german orthopedic soles I’ve ever experienced which also cost the damn earth but, whatever it’s my feet; and also polished up and weatherproofed the boots before I got out of there.

Both the poncho and the boots gave me very good service today in the drizzly cold rain. Huzzah!

Frivolous thrift store news

I had a long day and cannot Think any more and I am definitely getting a cold, but here is my daily report. Warning. It will be bullshit. I had a very pleasant afternoon working from Borderlands Bookstore Cafe and scooted myself home via Buffalo Exchange instead of trying to get on a rush hour bus.

My reversible velvet brocade black and purple paisley jacket is now joined by a vintage 80s Joan Walters reversible purple and purple paisley jacket, sort of …. sort of a sport coat/ fake silk windbreaker? — with pockets on both sides! It fit my criteria of being super extra. It’s a monstrosity of a garment. If only it had more magenta it would be 100% great instead of only 95% great.

In other frivolous “news” I have been kinda laughing all day at Azealia Banks insulting Grimes by texting her at 4am that she smells like a roll of nickels.

Best insult I have ever heard. I keep trying to analyze why it’s so good.

Also making my day amazing: There was a road crew re-doing the curb cut that I keep reporting at Lexington and 20th!!! Not sure why they are doing all 4 corners when only one had a missing curb cut. But, it’s fabulous. It’s been bugging me for years as I go up 20th and then realize that I have to either go out in the street or else go back to Mission (or Valencia) and go around.

Overheard while in the cafe: “Oh that smell? It’s someone cooking meth upstairs in the SRO and when that happens then they just dump industrial floor cleaner all over and don’t really wash it so we open all the windows and put on a fan.” I was vaguely impressed at someone knowledgeable enough to recognize what a meth lab smelled like so I took a deep experimental sniff and then really wished I hadn’t because I basically huffed the industrial floor cleaner so hard that my cold cleared up and a door to Hell itself opened up underneath my wheelchair. Pro tip don’t be too curious about the smell of meth labs and there is probably some deep wisdom here about Grimes as well which boils down to don’t text with Azealia Banks at 4am as she will kick you ALL the way downstairs.

Bad invention: Personalized kleenex!

Lately I keep finding little torn up plastic pouches around the house with Danny’s name on them. They turned out to be some sort of personalized vitamins where each packet says DANNY on it and then a little inspirational saying. The vitamins also, I believe, have an app. I find my partner’s propensity to order weird shit off kickstarter endearing and now it’s like had this unforseen side effect that his domestic litter tattles on him!

Germphobic people! do not read any further! And definitely don’t read that post on my past Bad Invention: The Sockerchief!

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This made me think. I have some lifelong terrible habits and one of them is (from equally terrible allergies) leaving a trail of used kleenexes behind me, like an unsavory rat’s nest, and even worse sometimes it’s because I used a kleenex absent mindedly and put it down on the couch next to me because it still had some life in it (WHAT!!!!?!) and then I use it again in a few minutes OR it gets squashed into the couch cushions or falls to the floor and gets a new life as a dust and lint magnet. Or perhaps worse – it goes into my pockets and then through the washer (I mostly use handkerchiefs nowadays to work around these problems.)

You reap what you sow, and the apple does not fall far from the tree, and karma, etc. so it turns out my son not only also has allergies but also scatters little wads of kleenex around as if it were snowing.

Now we come to our bad invention: Personalized Kleenex! The couch cushion cracks would now reveal LIZ or MILO. How handy for blame, but perhaps also for creative re-use. Inspirational messages (going with the trend on the …. i-vitamins? e-vitamins? could be things like:

Bless the hand that gave the blow.
– John Dryden, The Spanish Friar. Act ii. Sc. 1.

Liberty ’s in every blow!
Let us do or die.

– Robert Burns, Bannockburn.

Blow, bugle, blow! set the wild echoes flying!
And answer, echoes, answer! dying, dying, dying.

– Alfred Tennyson, The Princess.

Sonorous metal blowing martial sounds:
At which the universal host up sent
A shout that tore hell’s concave, and beyond
Frighted the reign of Chaos and old Night.

– Milton, Paradise Lost. Book i. Line 540.

Or better yet – my favorite!!!!

I must have liberty
Withal, as large a charter as the wind,
To blow on whom I please.

– William Shakespeare, As You Like It. ACT II Scene 7.

For use with an app, I think a printed QR code on each kleenex would suffice. Simply remember to photograph each kleenex before or after the blow, and a special uncrumpling algorithm will sort out the code. This could plot the location of your used kleenexes on a map, display them to your friends via a social network; opportunities for buying new boxes of this substance abound – the more you use the more kleen-coins you earn – Machine learning applied based on your past stored e-kleenexr patterns to predict future caches. Personalized, social, E-Kleenexr 2.0 AI as microcurrency – on the blockchain. How can I drive this into the ground any further? WHERE IS MY ONE MILLION DOLLARS?!

Secrets of married life

It is very strange and mostly nice how everyone responded to our getting married! So glad that we ran off secretly so as to keep all that minimal.

Meanwhile, last night we read some very terrible poetry by that lawyer poet mayor of SF, which led us to try and find songs to sing his horrible sonnets to as we obsessed over the meter, and a particular poem about Andreé’s Pigeon which led us to get extremely obsessed with S. A. Andrée’s disastrous Arctic Balloon Expedition of 1897. Tonight after dinner and some excellent pastries and explaining everything about how our day went to each other, I showed off my complex bugzilla queries and Danny is explaining his AMAZING command line email system and fixing a bug in it while also showing me his Beeminder logs.

We are also planning our Vallejo honeymoon cruise since we miss marina life and would enjoy hanging out with the radioactive waste of old nuclear submarines and derelict buildings that are slowly gentrifying into breweries.