Candy Rant

"I killed a rat with a stick once."

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Why Aren't You Thinking Deep Thoughts?

I'll tell you why.

Because you get distracted by meaningless things, don't you? You allow yourself to step into the quicksand of your mind, the place where there are late fees on credit cards and long overdue dental appointments. And old relationships and new dings on the car. And anxiety over your noisy idiot neighbors and their idiot music. And where could you have possibly left your favorite sweatshirt? You haven't seen it in weeks. Is it gone forever? Oh, and in this mental quicksand there are even forgotten pickle jars. Way in the back of the refrigerator behind the lettuce that you were going to eat so you'd be healthy, and less likely to kack early in the game, but which you let rot and curl up like the slovenly pig you are.

Apparently there is also name-calling and self-condemnation in this place. And several cakes you left out in the rain.

Go, take your mind to the fresh layers of the inner self, the higher self, the one you sweep under the rug like bits of cockroach ankles.

Look at the monkey. Year after year. There it is! His face! Every time! You look at it and you expect something else to be there. Like a tuna casserole, or a box of Tide, or, for the love of God, at least a monkeywrench!

But no. It is his face.

I don't care who you are...that shit is deep.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas from Candy, Scott, and Hankie

May your Christmas be as peaceful and cozy and free of burdensome thoughts as Hankie is during his yuletide naps. Which last about 23 hours a day.

Tonight we'll finally put the various disturbing ornaments on our tree, (it's had lights and the German Shepherd angel tree-topper for 2 weeks, but no ornaments) and cozy up with a blazing fire.

Tomorrow? It'll be just the three of us, hiding out with another Duraflame or two, and taking a brief rest from the insane amount of work we've been doing to get the house ready for my family to visit. My dad, mom, sister and niece are flying in from Indiana on December 30th for 5 days. Really hoping my parents do OK on the flight.

I can hardly believe I get to spend my first Christmas married to the love of my wretched life, which has been made much less wretched by his existence. Made, in fact, downright joyful. As taboo as it feels to say so.

If you have a minute, tell me what your plans are, or how they went, or which family member went apeshit, or what cool treats Santa brought you. I'm hoping for the K-Tel Home Liposuction Kit.

Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Holidays Are For Cozy Family Times

Maybe after dinner the whole family can skitter into a nice homey crawlspace or into the hollow wall of a deliciously rank-smelling deli.

Wherever they are, they must not forget to hang up their tiny rat stockings. Santa carries a teeny bag of toys on his sleigh just for them.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

He is Very Earnest About His Walk

In fact, I'll bet he's earnest about almost everything. How could he not be with a last name like that one?

It's obvious that "exercisewalking" is something else that Gary is earnest about, judging from the 2 hairy redwood trunks that reside where his legs should be. Those hiking boots each weigh 64 pounds, so not just any guy can make this rugged trek through the forest. It takes this guy.

Admittedly, he is probably feeling the tiniest twinge of remorse for having just run into Paul Bunyan in the woods, and killing him with his very own axe. And then Gary jumped onto poor blue Babe and wrestled him onto a barbecue pit. 3 quick turns over the flame and presto! A delicious oxen brunch in the forest! An athlete needs his protein.

But with a brisk exercisewalk, especially in the perfect "Keep On Truckin'" pose, he can clear his guilty head and go home to sort his socks, the blacks and the browns and the whites, fresh and warm from the dryer.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


So sad to see this one go.

Why I never got around to reading this literary gem is a mystery too deep for me to ponder.

As is the mystery of how such a treasure could be found abandoned in a sale bin at Waldenbooks for $1.29. I'm certain that it smeared the reputation of that little neighborhood, filled mostly with Golden Apples of Poetry and The Best of Guideposts. It was like O.J. Simpson moving in next door to June Lockhart.

If only I'd curled up with a nice cup of cocoa and read about "A Year in the Life of a Pimp" I might have learned some new complex methods of bitchslapping to use on my students.

Another lost opportunity.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Canadian Humor

Because the news below is too sad, a comic sent to me by a friend in Saskatchewan.

R.I.P., Dan.

I loved him.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Soaked, Then Purged

Is it ironic that I waterboarded a book on interrogation techniques?

Or is this just the Alanis Morrisette brand of irony? You know, where there are ten billion spoons when all you need is a knife, etc. Oh, and then you meet the man of your dreams, and then you meet his beautiful wife? Isn't it ironic? Don't you think? It's like raaaaaaaaain on your wedding day...

Now that I've blown Poptart chunks across my screen, let me tell you about this book.

Back when I owned a bookstore, 13 years ago, the co-owner, Rose, and I ordered all kinds of "offbeat" books. Just to put together a different vibe than the big generic bookstore across town. We ordered from crinkly little catalogs and from companies that didn't even have catalogs, only a guy answering a phone in Montana. Sometimes we didn't even know what the books were about, but had been made curious by the titles. And each time the boxes of new merchandise arrived in our store from their obscure origins, it was like Christmas.

How we thought that a book entitled Interrogation: A Complete Manual could be anything groovy or postmodern or humorous or kitschy is a simple testament to our stupidity. We opened it. We stared at it blankly. We never put it on our shelf to sell, because what kind of shredded up karma would that bring back?

And so, when we closed our store, after it went belly-up in less than two years, this was one of the books I kept, not wanting it to fall into the eager hands of a Jack Bauer wannabe. (Though Jack Bauer was yet to be created back then.) Here I am thirteen years later, with the book still in my possession. I didn't want to throw it in the trash, so I decided to drown it.

As you can see, I felt sorry for it, floating grimly in the kitchen sink. So I brought out the duckies.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Open Wide!

This is not on the Purge List.

This is my pencil sharpener. Domhan gave it to me years ago, and it has been a constant desk companion ever since.

I do not use pencils very often. In fact, almost never. I use fine point purple felt-tipped pens that I purchase by the dozen. However, there are 2 seasons during the year when I need a sharp pencil. They are called "The End of the Semester."

The only way you can fill out the final grade rosters is with a #2 pencil. It has always been this way, except for the last 2 or 3 years I was at the Big Giant University, and they snazzed everything up and had us turn in our grades online. The High School Pretending to Be a College, where I work now, barely has bathrooms, so we're lucky to have a grading system at all.

For me, the bubble forms are more satisfying than the online process. I like to take my pencil, sharpened to the point of a straight-pin, and color in the little vacant grade-bubbles. I relish punishing the students for their astonishing displays of meatheadedness during the semester. The ramping up to this is the best part. This is the moment when I ram my dull pencil into the gorilla's mouth and listen to the delicious grind of the motor as the wood is chewed away from the lead. I can pretend I'm stabbing that student who asked me what a "font" was. Or I'm rapidly swiss-cheesing the forearms of the guy who said "Old people are too patriotic. Because they're just old and dumb."

Ah, the delicious insight and wisdom that pours out of them. Just like the curly pencil shavings from poor Mr. Gorilla's neck.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Disturbing Nativity Scene 1.5: The Nuclear Family

I actually find the striking colors of this one more alarming. Just the little family, all alone, before the wise men got to the end of their Mapquest page, and before they would know the joy of worshipping the pig-in-a-blanket messiah.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Disturbing Manger Scene #1

Wait. Before you say anything, I do not own this one. Even I have to draw the line somewhere. This bordering-on-repulsive nativity set is by a Southwest artist. I do not judge her. Some people will totally dig this interpretation of the scene of Christ's birth. It will speak to them.

As for me? It says one of 2 things:

1. Candy, none of these people have heads. Or arms. Also, they are druids. Headless, armless druids. They are populating the ancient town of Nativitus Decapitatus.

2. No, Candy. This is a display of holy sausages wrapped in tortillas.

I will tell you something else: This nativity set is very expensive. I won't tell you how expensive, because then you will try your hand at making them, and there will be more of these, and that simply will not do.

I wish I had never seen the baby Jesus portrayed as a vienna sausage.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

You Don't Say!

I'm in the middle of a grading marathon. 75 research papers. The following is a quote from one I just finished reading. Please do not ask what the topic of the paper was. Because I never found it. It is probably just way too artsy and over my head.

"Say a person wants a Penthouse magazine. What kind of a picture is taken? Here the women will most definitely be unclothed. This is considered naked."

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

On Emotional Affinity with a Banana Peel

One day this semester, I was especially overcome by the multi-layered stupidity of my students. It was as though the problem was even worse than, say, their parents being siblings and creating the intellectual equivalent of a tree stump.

No, this was deep-to-the-bone stupidity. The kind you get only from some magical force. Like the parent breeding with a mud clod. And not even a smart mud clod. A misshapen one, with crooked glasses and a wonky eye and the compulsion to repeat phrases like "crowbar, crowbar" and "cat piss soup."

When I left class that day, I was so determined not to run into any more students that I sneaked out the back way of the building, down the cement stairwell between the dumpsters and the piles of discarded PVC pipe. I would make it safely to my car without having to interact even one more second with students who could not, after fourteen explanations, grasp the idea of a thesis sentence.

As I stealthily descended the stairs, I looked down and saw this banana peel. It spoke to me. Not out loud, of course. But it said "I am feeling dejected. Abandoned by all that is good. Done in. And you?"

Yes, yes, I said. I am the same.

When I got home I told Scott about the sudden and unexpected connection to the banana peel, and I also told him that if that banana peel was still there on the step tomorrow, I was bringing it home to take a picture of it with his camera. (I have not been able to locate my digital camera since the move west. Or threats like this one would never arise. I could've just taken its picture right then.) After the photo study of poor Lizzie the dessicated lizard, he knew I was serious.

The next day, armed with a plastic Walmart bag, I went down those steps after class, certain that my sad little friend would have vamoosed since our first meeting.

He was there.

And so, the universe spoke to me again.

Yes, Candy, it said. You're now carrying home rotten shit in a Walmart bag, and that's about one step away from living on the street, wearing a torn petticoat and some twigs in your hair and calling out in the night for your lover, Ross Perot.

But occasionally the universe is a poignantly ringing bell, and you must listen to its peels.

Monday, December 03, 2007


I found this ripped up photo thrown in the street in Paris in 1997. Cold, windy afternoon. A few pieces had already blown away, but I must've gotten there just a moment after it landed.

I've always wondered who tore it to shreds.

The bride? "Damn I looked fat. Look how fat."
The groom? "It was her sister I wanted. It's her sister I love."
The maid of honor? "I know she's my only sister. But I hate her."

Or maybe there was no drama at all beyond it being a blurry photo that was discarded. But tossing it to the pavement seems to make more of a statement than that.

Then again, the statement may only be about me, since I felt the need to bend down in the cold to pick up the pieces of these strangers.

Any theories?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

One of Today's Purged Objects

It's 1981. I'm working as a manager at a record store. RECORDS. Our store also has a video rental club. We have about 200 movies in our selection. They are kept under lock and key in a glass-front display case. There are round openings in the glass, large enough to put your hand in to turn over a video to read the back cover, but too small to pull the movie out and steal it.

When people decide on a video to rent, one of us goes back there with our little silver key to retrieve it.

Home video is new and fresh and freakishly exciting. You can watch a movie of your choice whenever you want. In your house. My God. You can even pause it to go pee.

There are many discounts available to those of us who work in the store. Promotional records, big employee discounts on brand new videotapes. Discounts on excitement.

It is time to make a commitment. I will buy some movies. And, oh! Some concert videos! Duran Duran, The Tubes, Def Leppard. I will have my own utopian society in my apartment. But first, the big decision.

Beta or VHS?

I research. I watch both formats. One is obviously superior to the other. I decide. I start collecting movies. They are expensive. It doesn't matter. They're glorious, luxurious videotapes of many of my favorites. Blazing Saddles, Time Bandits, The Go-Go's in Concert (shut up), Annie Hall, everything Monty Python I can find. I buy them all.

In Beta.

5 years later, Betamax goes the way of the Edsel.

And even after the evil VHS is made obsolete by the DVD, I carry those Beta videos around in boxes every time I move. Way into the future. All the way to Phoenix.
And I become aware of the extent of my ass-hattedness.