Gone Fishin'

posted 05.19.07

So, um... I checked this page and noticed that I forgot to hang out my "Gone Fishin'" shingle! Bloody hell. I wrote it and thought I'd posted the dang thing! Not only that but my handy cremebruleeATmyrealboxDOTcom address stopped working! You can't reach me through it any longer - it's been made defunct. What a mess.

Not that you were desperately trying to get in touch with me or anything, because there's a way to do that here through the contact form. And you hadn't, so there.

If, for whatever reason, you found yourself anxious on my behalf I'm terribly sorry - I'm a total dopette. What, you may wonder, could have kept me so preoccupied? A new enthusiasm, of course! And I'm afraid it will keep me otherwise entertained for a good bit more. And besides that, I got a new job. "Eek! Brulee, that's self-inflicted change!!!" You're telling me?! But something had to give and it wasn't going to be me. I mean, I'm generous in my way, but I draw the line when they start asking for blood. Things are going well in the new situation - still over worked and tragically underpaid (ain't we all?), but happy with it in general, and so don't have much to complain about really.

I know you could care less about me and want to know what's up with Ume. Well take a wild guess - it's migration season...

The world has spun a bit in the news department - and HOW! Picture me dancing a jig in November! Wow, I may live to see the end of this budding Christian fundamentalist autocracy - it's a good feeling. Nasty war-mongering bastards. I hope they're finally unmasked to the point that the average voter they scared and hoodwinked can even see it. Then if they'd get publicly humiliated, and then run out of office on a rail that's be good too. The chances of that are slim, but post-election I've got more faith than I once did - so I can dream... And whle I sit here dreaming, my friend who got shipped to Iraq is dodging god-damned rocket propelled grenades.

Big news locally is this - you know how I've been joking about bribing the red tailed hawks in the area to stop by our porch and snack on the pigeons? Turns out I didn't have to bribe them, I just had to wait. I didn't actually witness the deed... but it was indeed done... fairly grusome... but highly effective! Nature, red in tooth and claw. And sometimes, that's not a bad thing.

So you people take care of yourselves and good luck on all of your journeys - large and small!


For now...


posted 07.14.06

I officially apologize for not having returned e-mail in eons (an official apology is, like, way better than a regular one, no?). I'm a totally loser - I even forgot to post my last bloggage... (see below, "Tadpoles in the Outfield")

You must be wondering what the hell's going on?! Okay, you're probably not, but you might be just the littlest bit curious...

"Brulee, has Ume insisted that you cease all extraneous activities and serve only her lustful needs?"

No such luck.

"Has Ume finally tired of your online shenanigans and swiped your keyboard?"


"Were you kidnapped?"


"Hired by a multinational to report on the up and coming trends of the American urban dweller?"

Not that I recall.

"Sent on an important foreign policy mission?"


"Told to make yourself scarce after insulting an unmanned high-profile reference librarian in a central branch of the Boston Public library?"


Ume and I have been muddling along, trying to keep up with my new hectic schedule. Busy, busy, busy - that's us. Same old, same old, at a faster pace - I'm thinking I can keep it up for another couple of months. By then, I'll have crashed and burned, or have figured out how to manage more effectively... Wanna lay bets as to which it'll be? There's money to be had on this one, for sure.

In any case, it's summer and hot and still raining a fair amount here-a bouts. The world doesn't seem to be quite so well off lately as our neighborhood - most we've had to contend with is Junior next door getting all manly and buying a Harley. You can tell he's moving up in the world simply by the amount of noise he's able to make while in a sitting position. Car alarms in the neighborhood go off as he toots by - makes him feel all alpha-male and whatnot.

Tragically, earlier this week, someone was killed by falling concrete in one of the Big Dig tunnels. What a total nightmare. Our thoughts go out to the folks effected by that terrible accident. Think the government will finally do something like a real investigation into the problems that have been plaguing the project for years? Now that it's finished.

In the news

Speechless, but not surprised:
240 Possible Bolt Problems in Big Dig (WBUR, 07.14.06)

Plame sues:
Plame sues Cheney, Rove in leak case (Reuters, 07.14.06)

Former CIA Officer Plame Sues VP Cheney (NPR, 07.14.06)

Tadpoles in the Outfield

posted 06.20.06

NOTE: I forgot to post this in June! Oy, so here it is now...

Impermanence! All is impermanence!

Or is that "vanity and dust"? "All is but vanity and dust..." Everything changes. Shit happens. This too shall pass...

I'm full of cliches today. Guess that's what's left when your brain has been striped bare by exhaustion. Snappy little sayings that amount to not much in particular. Hmm... sounds like it's time for Jabberwocky! "T'was brillig..." This is what Ume recites to herself when she's in the dentist's chair. I can't remember more than the first line, sometimes the first two, if I'm lucky. So that's not what I recite to myself when I'm in the dentist's chair. It's more like, "I will not bolt from this chair. I will not bolt from this chair! Why does she have to smell like that?"

Ume's so much more zen about the dentist than I am.

I'm not surprised that I'm thinking about the dentist given my present state. Feel like a drill's going in my head. No... feels more like someone is blowing on a straw that's stuck in my ear and my brain is about to pop... Yeah, more like that for sure. Allergies don't help a great deal in this respect. And the month of torrential downpours aren't perking me up exactly (what's up with all of this rain!). It's time for a little positive visualization (oh come on, let's give it a whirl - can't hurt, might help...). Turn on a little Ruby Braff (I just did, "Stardust"), let's put our feet up and pretend that we're sitting on the Cape without a care. It's sunny, but not hot (I'm sitting in the shade though, delicate flower that I am I even burn in a daydream). I've got no shoes on, the warm sea breeze is tickling my toes - even the in between parts as I'm wriggling 'em and whatnot. It's quiet, but the birds are chatting a bit. There's a beverage of choice at hand in case you're as thirsty as I am after a carefree stroll along the water. There's a book too, in case you want to read. Ahhh, I feel better already! It may be impermanent, but boy, oh boy, it's a nice enough thing to contemplate for a spell, no?

Like today I was contemplating a puddle (there are a lot of those lately). It was a puddle that straddled some grass and the sidewalk. There was a kid in it. He'd tried to jump over it, but came up shy, slipped in the mud and got a bit dirty. He was maybe three and his first reaction was that he was pleased not to have gotten his shirt wet - a moment later, reality sunk in I guess, and he started to sniffle. Poor thing.

That incident got me thinking about the puddles of my childhood (no, not the ones in my diapers, smart alecks, the ones in the outfield of the baseball field in the neighborhood). If it rained enough in the spring, we'd sometimes find tadpoles swimming around in them. It was an odd sort of magic to discover that a puddle could make a tadpole... Sometimes the puddles dried up and I had trouble thinking about the fate of those tadpoles as they were always a favorite creature of mine. I mean, name me something that I can walk down to the local stream and harass as much as I did tadpoles - something that goes through such a dynamic metamorphosis, right under your nose! I love those things! And when it's done, it's a frog. Now seriously, how cool is that?

Moving Right Along

posted 05.27.06

So. We're going through mounds of changes lately, Ume and me. And we're not big change type people - if, say, you looked up, "highly adaptive" on wikipedia, you wouldn't find our pictures.

I can tell there's a lot going on, because the pigeons are back and I haven't even thrown black eyed peas at them! Not once! And they've had babies!!! Ack! Ack! Ack! And I haven't even thrown black eyed peas at them either! I hardly know myself anymore. If I'm not harassing the pigeons, who will?

Next, Flan (my nemesis) will show up and I'll shrug and say, "Oh, it's you." That's no way to treat your nemesis! I've got to get a grip. This is all George Bush's fault, I can tell you that much. I mean, ever since people finally began to cotton to the fact that he's a christian nationalist atop a teetering pile of fear-mongering nasties, well, I've been thrown off balance. All confused and whatnot - that's me. The way things were going, I thought people were never going to get it. And the other night George was stuttering mea culpas, desperately trying to stop the hemorrhaging, "Shucks, I guess I can see now, um, that using language like, uh, "Bring it on!" and "Wanted, Dead or Alive" - tough talk like that, might not have been, uh... interpreted real, um, well in some parts of the world." How about nowhere in the entire civilized world?! It's a little late in the game to show your reflective side, Mr. Down Home Charm. Spare me. The terrifying thing is he said that he's since learned to express himself in a more " uh... sophisticated" manner. True spectacle.

So I'm kind of in an odd place, watching the bizarre-o immigration debate (are the Republican's schizophrenic or what?) and waiting for them to finish up with the desperately poor from Mexico so they can get on with the business of declaring open season on gays. I figure that will be about mid-summer, when the mid-term races have some momentum going (unless they're too desperate and they have to do it earlier).

And the democrats? What the hell are they doing? Damned if I can tell. Maybe it's one of those clever, use your opponent's weight and momentum against them strategies... Or perhaps it's more like "cross your fingers, close your eyes and hope for the best!" I imagine it's all about organization and how mad people are at Republicans vs how disaffected. We shall see...

Interesting that congress gets up in arms about the Executive branch's authoritarian overreaching ONLY when one of their own offices gets searched! HA! Double HA! It's okay when the Executive branch starts tracking every phone call in the country, sure - when they twist and bend the constitution into a pretzel, that's just fine with them - but you poke your nose into a crooked congressman's office and WOW, do they take some notice! "Hey! You can't treat US like that! Even if it's to deflect suspicion from the overwhelming amount of corruption in the Republican party! You just don't do that sort of thing - it's just not polite!"

Pfft! Typical.

And in the meantime, I'm trying to figure out how to walk, chew gum, and use a cell phone at the same time. Which ain't easy because I'm not fond of gum. But hey, I figure I've got to explore new horizons and whatnot - poke at the boundaries of my comfort zones and hope they don't end up overly bruised.


You know me, when life gets nutty, I go looking for distractions - a way to get a break (that's how this site was started!). I've been too discombobulated, so Ume's been feeding me some frivilous reads - some lesbian trash. I'm enjoying the Letty Campbell books by Alma Fritchley - they start with "Chicken Run". When I finish the current one, I'll write them up in the Primer.

In the news

Earthquake Takes High Toll in Indonesia (NPR, 05.27.06)

Oh ho! After the mid-term elections - of course...
Federal Prosecutors May Call Cheney to Testify (All Things Considered, 05.25.06)

Washington Endures Week-Long Political Wrestling Match (NPR, 05.25.06)

Good riddance (round up of articles):
Guilty Verdicts Reached at Enron Trial (NPR, 05.06)

Teens Turn 'Repeller' into Adult-Proof Ringtone (NPR, 05.26.06)

When Tofu Goes Bad

posted 05.22.06

It stinks.

It's one of those foods that, when passed it's prime, somehow stinks more than the sum of it's parts. Like green beans - who would think that such a cheerful looking little veg could harbor such a vindictive aroma? It's like it's saying, "Forget me, will you? Well! We'll soon see about that!" And that's pretty much tofu's attitude as well.

I wonder what the food in our fridge would say if it could talk? Or is that the kind of question one shouldn't start asking?

Keeping up with the Joneses

"Israel has a wall! We need a wall! Any country worth it's salt should have a wall! Without a wall, just any old body could get in!"

What the hell?! They want to build a "border fence" (decorated with razor wire...), some 370 miles long. Oh yeah, that's going to solve the problem... not according to people who are acquainted with it, but hell, it'll make *someone, *somewhere, feel better! As will the National Guard troops they're going to sprinkle there...

As long as there are good prospects here and dismal prospects across the border - people will find a way to get here. Good luck resolving that problem. In the meantime what's next? A moat? Pointy sticks?


Bush's speech on immigration was a clever distraction from the disclosure of the latest creepy news to seep out about the surveillance society we're now living in. Just because the technology allows the government to record every phone number dialed in the US, should they be allowed to? Without a particular reason or court order? According to them, the law is what Bush says it is (god help us), so they're going right ahead and doing it regardless. And it sure lets them intimidate the press pretty good, doesn't it?

In the news

Iraqi Parliament Installs New Government (NPR, 05.21.06)

Ya think?
From the Start, Bush White House Kept Secrets (NPR, 05.21.06)

Montenegro Votes for Independence from Serbia (NPR, 05.21.06)

I'm ready to leap!
Web inventor sees his brainchild ready for big leap (Reuters, 05.21.06)

In case you didn't hear, we had a bit of rain...
Flooding besets region; more rain in forecast (Boston Globe, 05.16.06)

A New Era Dawns...

posted 05.13.06

They said it couldn't happen, but lo! A new era has come to pass... Folks - with one click, I give you the new, improved, Celestial Buffet!

"What's so new and improved? Fraud! Cheat! It looks exactly the same!"

Calm your savage breast, kind reader, for in the new era there are no ads. It's true, look about, see any? If you didn't click the previous link, give it a try and see for yourself. Take a deep breath, not all change is bad - go ahead, click here, and you too will be swept away to a new place.

"But why, Brulee?" You plead. "Why change something that was working so well?"

Basically, I was approached with an offer I couldn't refuse (by a kindly someone, someone sick to death of the ads...) - and so, it's a done deal. Enjoy the ad free space.

And if you'd be so very kind and tell your friends that I'm uprooting, it'd be much appreciated. If you know anyone who bookmarks or links to the Buffet, if you could give them a heads up, I'd be grateful - as precious as you all are, don't want to lose not a one of ya.


I've been bested by a hem! How distressing... It's a so-called "invisible" hem, so I suppose I oughtn't feel too down about it. I mean, invisible hems are like the defcon 4 of hemming - really advanced and whatnot. My sister-in-law told me that I should just use hemming tape, "You fold the hem over, slip the tape in there, iron it, and you're done." Sigh, where's the romance in that?

In a world where craftsmanship has been done in by the bottom line, I feel an obligation to uphold tradition! It's a heavy burden, I know, insisting on maintaining the integrity of the sewn invisible hem - but by god, I'm going to do it! And it's costing a friggin' ton - but no matter, price is but a trifling concern where integrity is concerned (hah!). So I took the pants in to the tailor and you know how much I love doing that.

I know someone who wore a Rolex for ages. She wore that watch all over the place, every day, and one day when I asked her for the time she said she didn't have a clue. "Could you take a look at your watch for me?" I asked, understanding this sort of lapse well - half the time I'm not sure I've got one on until I check. (This morning, I poured my cereal into my tea mug... so yeah, I'm understanding enough about this sort of thing.)

"It doesn't work, we'll have to ask somebody," she answered.

"Oh no! Your favorite watch? Bummer, you'll have to find someone to fix it."

"It's never worked. It would cost me about $500 to get it fixed and there's no way I'm paying that kind of money on a watch," she assured me.

"Um..." I said, buying time while I tried to compute this puzzling statement.

"It's a Rolex, Brulee, they're very expensive. I wear it as jewelry."

"Oh!" I said, getting a little mental traction on the matter.

"Yeah, I live in fear that someday one of my clients will ask me the time."

She worked in an intensely status-oriented industry in New York City (is there any other kind in NYC?). She'd once maxed out her credit cards buying clothes for meetings. "I had no choice!" she insisted. "If you can't outdress the receptionists at these places, they won't even talk to you. And the receptionists shop at Bergdhorfs!"

"Maybe you ought to be talking to someone else for sympathy..." Was my infinitely unhelpful response.

And look at me now! Paying obscene amounts of cash for an invisible hem... Where have my standards gone? The world was a much simpler place, back when I felt free to sneer and make judgments at folks who did anything that ran counter to my finely honed view of authenticity and the American way... Okay, maybe things haven't changed all THAT much. <snicker>

In the news

It just gets better and better...
Report: NSA Collecting Domestic Phone Records (NPR, 05.11.06)

Bush's "approval" ratings hit an all time low...
Bush job approval falls to 29 pct in new poll (Reuters, 05.12.06)

And better...

"President Bush has asserted the right to ignore numerous sections of laws passed by Congress. The scrutiny prompted Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) to call for June hearings to investigate the matter."

Bush challenges hundreds of laws (Boston Globe, 04.30.06)

Interesting, and chilling, book discussion about Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism
New Book Examines Christian Nationalism (Fresh Air, 05.11.06, audio)


posted 05.06.06

So there I was, deeply entrenched in a standoff over a matter of great import... I would not give in (born right, as I was, I come by this attitude honestly). My relentlessness on a particular point was causing no end of amusement and a bit of petty delight in the quarters of my dearest enemies (I have, like, several - see previous parenthetical statement).

A shot flew over my bow in the form of an e-mail from the dissenting faction. I opened it. It had an attachment (nothing like making the opposition stoop to opening attachments when you can damn well say what you have to say in an e-mail...). While opening the attachment, a previously opened doc was momentarily visible on the screen. It was only one word long (I'd been using my word processor to spellcheck something earlier). That one word caused me to pause - a light went off in my head and I laughed. Some air entered my lungs, my mood shifted instantly - the word was, "concede".

I love when I send myself messages. Especially crafty ones. Nothing quite like giving one's opposition whiplash. Leaves 'em wondering what's coming next...

A Day Without Immigrants

There was that huge boycott/demonstration Monday - "a planned work boycott by immigrant workers seeking legalization for undocumented aliens." A bit of muscle flexing to tell the bigots in Washington to back the hell off. In your face, Bill Frist! Guess you and your cohorts will have to go back to picking on gays for your political easy points.

Part of the fight for immigration rights is the new Spanish version of the national anthem... Sigh. The lyrics are different - a bit, dare I say, socialist in their flavoring. Bush thinks the national anthem should be sung in English - I nearly fainted when I heard that. "But M. Bush, you and your party (except for Bill Frist, apparently) are eagerly courting the hispanic vote, no? Why on earth would you hold such an opinion openly? Worse yet, why on earth would you hold an opinion that I agree with?" Nearly fell off my chair when I heard that there's something that he and I could possibly agree on. But it's not really the national anthem, not technically - it's a song that uses the tune of the national anthem to make a statement.

My liberal pals are all into multiculturalism and so saying that I feel that we shouldn't have a bilingual country is like saying that I think Dick Cheney's cute in shorts. I get frosty looks, like they wonder if there isn't an itty bitty fascist lurking somewhere just behind that perky liberal veneer... Maybe there is, maybe there isn't, I'm not telling - but I will tell you this, it's something I've believed for years. Not sure where it started... It's a sometimes delicate topic between Ume and I - Ume, being as she is part hispanic, and a former ESL (English as a Second Language) tutor/volunteer.

"Look, I don't care if people want to speak Spanish at home, or among friends, actually being bilingual is excellent for brain development and all that, and I'm all for it, totally. But as a country, if we want a little cohesion, people should bloody well speak English at work - or at least make some effort. If it's your second language, fine, dandy, marvy, go for it! But speak it." I huff, prompted, no doubt, by the second all Spanish billboard that's appeared at the top of our street this year.

Ume's all compassion and practicality in the face of my most conservative type position, "And most would, but there aren't enough classes offered for people who want to learn! The waiting lists are endless!"

"I know," I concur. "But it's not like I haven't known and worked with people who've lived here for years who haven't bothered to learn squat." Memories of snippy co-workers giving me grief for not knowing more Spanish float piquantly to the forefront of my mind... And it's not like I didn't try, I did learn some, but I insisted that it was more important for them to learn English, than it was for me to pick up Spanish. They chose to take this, not as a practical career suggestion, but as inexcusable cultural snobbery. People can be so touchy...

I'm all for preserving cultural heritage. And in however many years, when there's a hispanic majority in the US, and Chinese has become the language of international business - I'll want to continue to speak English at home and with English-speaking friends, while maintaining my quaint WASP holiday traditions. And when they make Spanish the country's official language, I hope to have the equivalent of the Babel fish to manage the switch. Until then, you'll have a tough time convincing me that people here, even in places like Little Havana, shouldn't have at least a passing acquaintence with the language of the country in which they've been born, or chosen to live.