1. any of a genus (Sphyraena of the family Sphyraenidae) of elongate predaceous often large bony fishes of warm seas that includes food and sport fishes as well as some forms frequently causing ciguatera poisoning
  2. one that uses aggressive, selfish, and sometimes unethical methods to obtain a goal especially in business



If the real thing don’t do the trick, you better make up something quick

I am not a nice person. Ask anyone. Plenty of people will be happy to attest to the fact that I’m a heartless, selfish, cold-blooded bitch. People that don’t like me, might even say nasty things about me…

I am a truthful person. I am a devoted, generous, compassionate person. I am even, at various turns, a tremendously thoughtful and sweet person. But still, I am not a nice person.

For I do not treat everyone with equal consideration. My love, kindness, and care are inconsistently applied. I subscribe wholly to the “small village” anthropological perspective and consciously spare all the good and worthy things I have to offer for a very elect few; those who have by whatever means, earned my affection. Upon these, I lavish all that I have to give. 

Since I am not a nice person, I am deeply disinclined to false politesse. If you ask, or provoke me sufficiently, I will tell you what I think of you, whether it is flattering or no.  If you presume to tell me what you think of me without explicit invitation, I will consider that more than sufficient provocation to tear you to tiny little shreds. 

And I am very good at that, indeed. 

My mother has, for as long as I can remember, called me her “little barracuda.” She meant it with utmost affection, but said fondness in no way belied her stance that I was capable of acts of verbal viciousness that would “leave a body breathless.” My family at large used to sic me on people they felt needed a good tongue lashing; if someone had to be put in their place, I was the one to carve them down close enough to the bone that they would fit in it properly – plus, tears make good lubricant.

I think about this, each and every rare occasion someone mistakes me for a person they can call “Sweetie”  


There is practically no end to the compliments I receive whenever the child is allowed to spend time with the families of her friends. It happens, without fail. People marvel at how polite, well-behaved, respectful, and helpful she is. I am pleased that she takes her manners with her wherever she goes, but I am always a little stymied at how they seem to consider this to be rare, or an accident of fate, rather than a firmly executed plan. Otherwise known as discipline.

Just last weekend I agreed to let her spend the night with a friend who’s mother had already once failed to be sure the child was returned at an appropriate time. It was as much my fault as hers, but more so the child’s, so I was willing to give things another chance to go well. After letting this woman set the time and place of child return, I arrived promptly and was prepared to be polite and genial. This was until I texted the child for an ETA and received a frantic call telling me they were just setting out and it would be nearly a half an hour before arrival. Aria knows how I feel about punctuality (I see it as a failure of planning, intellect, and manners on the order of intentionally dribbling spittle into a person’s eye, to be late) and was duly upset on account of it. When they finally arrived, I was in the middle of a phone call, and delayed from the plans I had made based on the meeting time SHE had suggested, so I was in no mood to be further delayed by this woman. When they arrived and Aria said her friend’s mother wanted to meet me, I was in no mood whatever to be polite anymore. I told the child as much, and she attempted to relay this information, but instead of taking the hint, this person came over to my car and rapped on my car window to get my attention even though I was clearly  on the phone. Imagine, me thinking she didn’t have the manners to be on time…

When I rolled down the window, the mother proceeded to apologize by blaming the children for making her late. My first internal response was “Wait, I was under the impression you were the adult in this scenario, and thus, in charge of your own destiny?” Instead of saying this aloud (though I was sorely tempted) I made non-committal noises of sympathy for her bad decision making which resulted in her having possession of six adolescent children at once. She then proceeded to tell me how wonderful Aria was to have. I smiled and nodded,

“Yes, I expect her to behave when she is a guest. I’m pleased to hear she did.”

“I just don’t know how you do it!”

“Oh, I beat her. You should try it some time!”


This had the intended effect of communicating my scorn for her lax parenting, as well as the bonus feature of ending the conversation forthwith.

Ultimately, a more accurate way of putting it is that I will beat her, rather than that I do. It is absolutely the fact that pushed far enough, she will be faced with the physical consequence of corporal punishment for disobedience or disrespect. Aria is well aware that this is not an idle threat, and because I have always been consistent on this subject, the last time she was actually punished in this fashion, she was 8. She remembers it vividly, and is the first to admit she deserved it.*

I believe people who do not teach their children to abide by rules, respect authority, think for themselves, and be self-sufficient are failing in their most paramount duty as a parent and ultimately leaving their child ill-equipped for life.

  • It is not important to give your child everything they want: it is important to teach them how to work for what they want and to cope with disappointment.
  • It is not important to be your child’s friend: it is important to be a trustworthy support system and arbiter of boundaries and guidelines.
  • It is not important to make everything easy for your child: it is important to help them realize how to face opposition.
  • It is not important to keep your child from feeling bad: it is important to instill empathy

Many of my daughter’s cohorts have been emotionally and intellectually crippled by the way their parents have allowed them a license they are not mature enough to manage. They are unable to understand what it might be like to struggle for anything they desire, to be responsible for their behavior, to respect something other than their own wishes. Aria has more than once expressed horror at the way these children address their parents and treat them with an utter lack of regard. While I find the behavior offensive, I feel that a parent who does not insist upon respect from their child probably isn’t worthy of it.

My child is happy and well-adjusted, in spite of a greater than conventional amount of upheaval in her upbringing, mostly because despite the many changes she has faced, there has remained within our relationship a consistency with regard to boundaries and expectations. She can rely on me to be both supportive and strict, and this frees her from worry over what might happen, should she transgress. She claims to prefer it this way. It’s possible she’s suffering from Stockholm Syndrome at this point…

The vast majority of my interventions involve asking Aria to reflect on her actions, and to draw attention to how she might choose differently in the future. Sometimes it is difficult to get her to attend to how important a given subject is, and the intervention escalates. As she gets older, I resort to that kind of escalation less and less, but I believe that the judicious use of corporal punishment is an indispensable element of sound discipline. In pursuit of that most precious of all parental feelings, child obedience, use your words, by all means. Should more be required, I have a wooden spoon that doesn’t see much use anymore… **



*The offense for which she was beaten (5 hard swats on her bare rear-end) after a multitude of verbal warnings, was an epic screaming fit she threw over my unwillingness to buy her new shoes, 20 minutes before I was about to sing. At my grandmother’s funeral.

**I have never actually used an implement to strike my child, and never would. If I am going to dish out a spanking, I deserve to feel it.


I am feeling it; and how.

I will not explicate the details, but I will say that the most potent feeling I have been coping with in the last few days is this one. That manages to be quite a feat, considering it is in competition with grief, a heart that aches for the woes of my dearest ones, and intense romantic giddiness.

I try not to indulge in the feeling often. To do so is communicated most often as a request to be smited with examples of one’s frailty; to be humbled by force via circumstance. But in the face of what has passed in the last little while, I find I simply cannot rise above, cannot be patient and gracious, cannot do else but feel rage and impotent disgust.

It is sometimes deeply satisfying to say “I told you so,” and sometimes, being right is the worst feeling ever. I can think back on knowing what I have known, having my worst suspicions confirmed, and feel only the frustration with not having pushed harder, insisted more firmly, demanded that I be heard.

And only in this aftermath, while I try to sort through what might come along next, do I have a presence of mind to remember that it is far more important now, to do right rather than to be right.

with the surly people behind the counter at my local convenience stores? i’m accustomed to uppity waitstaff, i mean, i am from here. but this phenomenon is new. i am used to my clerk at the plaid being:

  1. drunk, intoxicated, or suffering the long-term effects of previous drunkenness/intoxication
  2. mentally challenged
  3. toothless
  4. persistently curious about my personal life/plans for the evening
  5. some combination of the above

what i am NOT used to is the not-so-subtly snide mien the handful of cashiers i have encountered lately have adopted.

few weeks back friends lyza, emma, & i wandered over to plaid to obtain milk duds for our popcorn. we were enjoying the fine pre-summer evening with a few cocktails, and we had all confirmed via emma’s snazzy personal breathalyzer unit that none of us should attempt to captain a vehicle of any kind, but we were merely enjoying our time together and the prospect of salty carmely chocolatey popcorny goodness. as we approached the counter, the fellow behind it got this look on his face like he thought our behavior could be favorably compared to dental work sans anesthesia. then, when i attempted to engage him in a little friendly banter to reassure him we were harmless, well…

“can i have one of those scratch its? (aside to e&l) these are really fun. (back to cashier) a friend of mine showed me how to do them. we all take turns. (smile)”

“that’s a riveting story”


like, i wasn’t really looking for approval from this guy, but why the snark? we weren’t being unduly rowdy, we were making a sizable purchase, and, if i do say so myself, we are a group of lookers. what the hell?

then today, i go into the 7-11 so i can grab something for lunch. i decide on a clif bar, some trail mix, and a rockstar. my digestions have been a little off kilter of late so i wanted something relatively low key, but cheap and fast. i bring my whatnot to the counter and this guy gives me this look and says

“you know, there’s no FOOD in your food.”

i’m a little taken aback here so i don’t reply immediately. Then:

“well it suits me.”

“why don’t you go get yourself some crackers, or an orange. a sandwich for chrissakes.”

(pause to think of retort, think of one, begin to walk away)

“i will if you promise to shove them up your ass.”

no one saw fit to critique my purchases at freddy’s.

driving up canyon rd today. there’s a speed trap, accordingly, i do not speed. i’m doing 35 thinking about the chores i have remaining and the show i am going to tonight, when i glance in my rearview mirror to see a black Durango EXCEEDINGLY close to my rear end.

i think to myself “what an asshole.”
he stays menacingly close
i think to myself “what the fuck is his problem?”
there is plenty of room to go around me in the left lane
i think to myself “what the hell does he think he is doing

and then he rams me.

its little more than a tap; frankly i can tell by the skill with which he executed the maneuver that he’s probably done it before. i am stunned and frightened by this. and can only think: he did it on purpose. why would he do that??

i’m not going to stop for this person. this was no accident. and i know full well there is a police van about 2/3’s of a mile up canyon (remember that speed trap i was trying to avoid?) and that is where i am headed.

and then, he races around me in the other lane and takes off. he’s a few hundred yards in front of me when he then slows down dramatically and waits for me to come parallel with him. i look over into the SUV with a “what the fuck?” look on my face and he proceeds to smile and wave. he then peels off to the left and disappears up canyon crest.

i am, uselessly, so freaked out that i fail to look for a plate number. i mean, he was in a black durango. how many of those bloody fucking things are there in beaverton anyway? too many to even credit.

proceed next to hysterical, terrified, bewildered sobbing.

call police. without more identifying information, there’s nothing to be done but for the nice officer to say he’s sorry it happened.

Klaus seems mostly unscathed. still have touch up paint from accident in november, so i may make use of that for the handful of small scratches evident on the rear bumper.

call friends for comfort. one suggests park klaus and his distinctive plates somewhere else. when i mention this is impractical the advice is that i get some pepper spray as this happened so close to my house, they might see my car parked there and decide to come pick on me some more. strangely, this idea IS NOT IN ANY WAY COMFORTING!!!!

took myself to pedicure and mexican food as antidote. dancing later.

has actually, until recently, been a hate/loathe relationship. stumptown is primarily responsible for making me believe that java isn’t necessarily the foulest substance in the known universe, but i’m hardly a fan.

however, i have come to accept, that in it’s time and place, coffee can be a wonderful wonderful thing. or, perhaps more particularly, stimulants can be a wonderful wonderful thing.

usually, i’m pretty careful about when i attempt to harness this power for evil. cause as a person who can taste caffeine (not yummy) i tend to avoid things that contain it. as such, i’m pretty sensitive to it. so, when i have a cuppa at 7pm it is going to keep me cranking all night. and sometimes, when there is homework, or unavoidable chores, i simply must submit myself to this consequence for the sake of the greater good.

that being said, nothing needs to be coffee flavored as far as i can tell. because (with the exception of aforementioned stumptown, plus also haagen daas ice cream bars) all things coffee flavored taste like wretchedness. and so the lesson here i suppose is for me to realize that not all people feel this way, and that assuming that the protein shake is chocolate just because its brown is faulty reasoning. so.


I can effect a variety of maintenance and repair operations on my own car. 


I know. it’s shocking.


I mean, it must be, since the sight of me in front of a car with its hood up, though in no apparent distress, causes men of all ages and stripes to be magnetically attracted to my person and thence required somehow to offer me advice about what I might want to do differently than whatever it is I am already doing, even if what I am doing happens to be the correct thing.



I replaced a headlamp bulb on Klaus today. It’s really an extremely simple process. I can, and have, also replace: brakes, plugs and wires, batteries, tires, dashboard components, various fluids, a gearshift, and even jimmy-rigged an undetectable plexi-glas replacement window. i think it is important to be able to manage these relatively simple mechanical tasks for oneself so as to be extra tough and cool in the eyes of sweaty men-beasts. oh, no wait, actually because people should just be able to handle basic maintenance for themselves no matter what their gender.

yet, no one wanted to leave me in peace to make this repair. at least none of the random dudes at the NAPA on 82nd anyway…

** i am aware this is not a photo of me working on my current car, but you get my point…

Alright, dammit. I wanted this to go better than it did. I wanted the NEW Grand Central to be a place where I could wander in, bowl, have a drink or two, and generally enjoy the close-in SE location. Alas; it sucks. Ass. Hard.

I have some pretty serious nostalgia for this place for totally retarded but nevertheless compelling reasons. And I could not be more delighted with the rehab the outside of the building has undergone since its closure some years back. However, the choads who handled the inside are fucktards to the max.

The general consensus was that this place looked like someone had turned the Doug Fir into a bowling alley with less character and the most wretched soundtrack ever to have blared out of speakers. In the course of the 2 hours we were there we were subjected to: The Human League (tolerable), Barenaked Ladies (awful), Dave Matthews (unforgivable), Lifehouse (ditto), Blues Traveler (likewise), Devo (fine), Ah-Ha (totally acceptable), and Belinda Carlyle (meh). What moron selected this playlist?? Mother-of-God.

The multi-colored runway lights were annoying, and the giant screens should have been put to use in some better way than providing video accompaniment to aforementioned musical ear-rapine. Like playing “The Big Lebowski” and “Kingpin” on a continuous loop. Which is really the only use they could reasonably be put to.

The bowling was ri-donk-ulously expensive, the service was pushy and over-attentive, the whole “VIP” lounge thing was utterly retarded, and even after all that, the fucking bowling mechanism itself had pretty serious recurring bugs which bit into our hour of bowling enough to cause some of our players to be unable to complete their 10th frame. Weeeeeak.

SO! Its back to the Hollywood Bowl which has a comfortably dive-y feel and karaoke. Fuck you GC. Fuck you in all the way down the alley.

P.S. I did manage to come out with the highest overall score for the evening. :}


Mice ate through my console. Mice chewed off the wires that operated my gas flap release. MICE ate through the rubber liner inside my driver-side door (which, to be fair, was covered in chocolate). I therefore hate mice. Even more than before.

Why they are living in the garage at the body shop I do not know. I would think there were better places to scrounge a meal that in a repair garage. Mice are stupid.

I mean, considering the floor of my car is uniformly littered with all manner of taco bell, macdonalds, jack-in-the-box, and burger king miasma, you would think they could find something tastier than my electronic components.


I do NOT however, love the bastards who have had their grubby little mitts on him all these past few weeks. I finally manage to escape the purgatory-on-wheels that IS the Ford Mucous only to discover some day-and-a-half later that someone BROKE the console in the middle of my car and CUT THE WIRES which operate my gas can flap release.

SO when I pulled into the gas station (typically, on fuuuuuuuuumes) the attendent looks at me like I am a retard because the repeated attempts to open said gas flap are unsuccessful.

Now everyone knows I am usually VERY SKILLED at opening my gas flap. In fact, I rarely shut my gas flap. So I find it very distressing indeed when I cannot do so when and whither I will.

They took it back. Ostensibly they are fixing it. They dropped me off at work, so as of this moment, I do not know how I am going to get back to my car, or thence, home.


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