Words, words, words, art.

The Blatherings Of A Blitherer

Thoughts on a dying hobby…


One problem Nesko and I have been working on, a problem we share, is that we are both not only collectors, but completionists. Which means that if we aren’t careful, we end up with a house full of STUFF. And we’re emotionally invested in that stuff. Which means that right now I’m staring down a LOT of pulp scifi and considering selling or giving them away… Including a bunch of old Zelazny, some first eds. Not sure what I’m going to do, yet.

posted under books, crass materialism, life | Comments Off on Thoughts on a dying hobby…

Like, OMG! Shoes!


I got shoes that fit for the first time in 1994.

I have very wide feet, and prior to that I stuffed my feet into whatever shoes (usually shoes designed for older, adult women who were on their feet a lot… nurses, for example) I could. My feet are actually deformed from this. I used to literally walk on top of my little toe, which was turned entirely under my foot. I know a lot of women who have this problem. In the summer of 1993, I’d gone on a trip with my mom to Australia to spend a few weeks with her best friends who’d moved out there years before (this was back before the internet was commonly used, before email was pervasive, back when Air Mail still existed and my mom would get packs of Onion Skin Paper (translucent!) and write in tiny, cramped handwriting on both sides of the paper, and it was so incredibly expensive to send just a letter, never mind an actual package, and phone calls were arranged far ahead of time and were short because of the expense) and for some reason we went to a discount shoe warehouse place while we were there and I got a pair of cordovan leather lace up shoes that almost fit, and the shoe seller told my mom to look for Dr Martens when we got back home. They were this shoe from England that ran wide, she said, and were very sturdy. Hard to find outside of England, a little pricey, but worth looking for.

We called around and eventually found a pair of 3 hole greasy black leather shoes at, I think, Marshall Field’s… not just any Marshall Field’s, but the one in down town Chicago (which is now a Macy’s because hey, who needs history or continuity?). I was appalled at the price, something around $100. People actually spent that much money on shoes? Really? This is a thing, that people do? But we got them, shoes that fit, sturdy shoes, shoes that didn’t cause pain. They fit like a dream. The actual topography of my feet started changing, to the point where my toes now look like normal toes and not like those weird sausages you find in jars that started out round but turn kind of square from being packed so closely together, and my pinky toes are straight and I walk like a normal human being, and I have better balance and posture and my foot bones don’t ache the way they used to. I wore those shoes until I literally wore them out. I wore them every day for five years, and that wear involved building sets and getting drywall screws and broken glass stuck in the soles and digging them out with pliers, and walking all around campus both High School and College, miles and miles of walking, and walking in the hot summer and walking in the freezing cold (and well salted) winter. The leather got softer and softer and conformed entirely to my feet. I replaced the laces multiple times.

And then one day I was walking across the quad after a rain storm and realized that my feet were soaking wet. Like, sloshing slopping squishy wrinkled feet wet. I’d worn the tread off the soles years ago (and this was back when Dr Marten’s had deeper treads, so that’s saying quite a bit) and now the soles had deep splits in them and every time I walked through a puddle they sucked water up.

And I was heart broken. I actually held on to those shoes for something like 5 years after they bit the dust, with grand plans to take them to some magical cobbler and get them resoled. At one point the company used to resole shoes but in general they don’t do that any more. And no pair of DMs I’ve gotten since them, even the same style, has fit as well or lasted as long or been as comfortable. Maybe it’s because my feet have changed shape, or because I’m older; maybe the quality of the shoes has gone downhill. But I’ve bought, in my life, 5 pair of DM shoes and 2 pair of boots (prices ranging from $100-$150 each) and after that first pair have only gotten about 2 years worth of wear out of them before they start getting really uncomfortable (one pair barely lasted a year. A buckle broke off after a month or two, only, and they became extremely uncomfortable to wear after about 11 months, and I still have them because Christ they were expensive and I hate the idea of throwing out money like that. I’ve gotten more wear out of $20 kicks from Payless.). They just wear down in ways they didn’t used to. The uppers are mostly fine, but the bouncing soles, the flimsy-seeming (to me, anyway) “new” treads, the inner foot bed… they wear out so fast. Most shoe repair places explicitly state they don’t repair/resole DMs because of the bouncing sole/AIR WAIRE. There’s a place in Boston that will resole SOME DMs for $60 if you also pay postage both ways (or, you know, are in the neighborhood and bring ’em in).

So I was kind of excited to see that Dr Martens has a line of shoes and boots with the label “For Life.” They’re guaranteed, you see. If they wear out, they will repair or replace them. That’s exciting! They cost more (The style I love and keep coming back to costs US$95 for “regular” on their site and US$130 in “for life” version) but not that much more, right? $130 is a big chunk to drop on shoes, but if I can wear them for 4 or 5 years, that amortizes out pretty nicely.

Except on top of the premium you pay for the shoes, it also costs $25 in handling fees (and additional postage both ways) to get them repaired or replaced. And damage to the “foot bed” (aka insole or inner sole) isn’t covered. I don’t know about you, but my shoes? Show wear in the foot bed. I have worn through the foot bed and into the filler (the material between the foot bed and sole) in some shoes, which is not very comfortable at all, but shoes aren’t exactly free so I just keep limping along. I don’t know how one would prevent wear in the foot bed, either. Would an insert-able insole be enough protection? And would there be enough room in the shoe for both an insole and my foot? (possibly not)

I’ve been looking for shoes both online and in retail stores for months now. I do not currently have a pair of shoes I can wear to walk or stand for a long distance/period of time, which is severely curtailing my physical activity and outings with my kid. The closest parks/play lots to use are about a mile away and if I walk there and back with Niko, I wind up with pain in my feet, ankles, left knee, right hip, and lower back (I supinate when I walk; the outer edges of my shoes wear out faster than the inner edges. When my shoes get old/worn enough the difference in wear is enough to throw my entire body– feet, ankles, knees, hips, back– out of line and puts tremendous stress on my joints). I spent 20 minutes at a shoe store last night (that doesn’t sound like much time, I guess, but they primarily had high heels, clogs, and boots in the lady section and no smaller men sizes, so I was picking over the same handful of shoes over and over and over) and couldn’t wedge my feet into most of the shoes.

So, you know. The idea of quality, comfortable, fitting shoes with a guarantee is appealing as hell. But I don’t think this guarantee covers the way I wear shoes, and honestly, I’m not entirely confident in the quality level of DMs anymore. So I’m still looking.

It’s really frustrating.

Things are going to change!


For those of you unaware, ScaryGoRound is ending on the 11th, and will relaunch as something new with less of an imposing archive. John Allison does NOT get the credit or attention he deserves, and Bobbins and ScaryGoRound have both been really excellent strips. I’m excited about what’s coming up next.

Nesko has Monday off (Labor Day!) and we are going to celebrate by working our butts off trying to get the new place ready. The ceiling and possibly some of the walls in the bathroom still need to be pulled down, cleaned out, let to air out, and then replaced. I think the sun room is entirely painted. Once we’ve gotten the living room finished (it’s about 1/3 painted) and the dining room finished (not even started) we’re going to start moving stuff over– mostly all of the boxes we’ve packed so far (books, book, books, extra kitchen stuff, board games, books, out of season clothing) and furniture we don’t use as much. Once that’s out, we’ll have a lot more room here and I’ll post some of the extra furniture we have for sale on craigslist (an old but awesome cabinet sewing machine, some small shelves, a bread maker, maybe a rice maker if I can find all the parts, some chairs).

I am so looking forward to the new apartment. It’s going to be really lovely when we’re done with it, and next year we’re going to start work on the common areas (front and back entryway/stairs), clear out the parking area, do some landscaping, etc. It will be a lot of work, but the building is fantastic.

I got my hairs cut on Wednesday. That’s right, I got all of them cut! I don’t know if I mentioned this, but part of my post partum life has included massive hair loss. Just… chunks of hair coming out. This is normal, but not often talked about. I developed two bald patches that are now thickly furred with new hair. The fallen stuff IS being replaced. However, hair is still falling out and clogging up the drains, getting all over the house, etc. So I got my hair cut pretty short and I love it a lot. Every time I get my hair cut I think “Oh! I love having short hair! This is so great!” and then I go through that awkward growing out phase and HAAAAAAAAAAAATE, and then it’s long again and I think “Oh! I love having long hair! This is so versatile! Also if I cut it I’ll have to go through that awkward growing out phase that I hate!” and I keep it long for a while and then cut it again. It’s the circle of hair life, you see.

I borrowed Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance – Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem!, and it was pretty ok. Some of the zombie stuff was tightly integrated to the plot and just really, really worked. Other stuff stuck out obtrusively and was kind of gross-out slapstick. The fact that so much of it was so well integrated made the crap stuff even crappier. I don’t regret reading it and if someone I know has Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters I will try to borrow and read it as well. However, I wouldn’t pay for either of these books. I do want to re-read Pride and Prejudice (Penguin Classics), and luckily for me I’ve found it on Project Gutenberg.

In babby news, he is sticking out his tongue, sitting up, eating peaches (millions of peaches, peaches for free), and generally being adorable.

posted under baby, Chicago, crass materialism, fiction, hair, health, life, moving, packing, review | Comments Off on Things are going to change!

My disgusting vagina money is no good!


I just want to say this to people who claim that there’s no call for feminism any more because men and women have equality:


Also, fuck you!

Because Ketel One? Does not want my filthy, disgusting vagina money! No! Ketel One is for men only!

There was a time when substance was style.
When men were unmoved by the constant current of the crowd.
When they didn’t drink their vodka from delicately painted perfume bottles.
There was a time when men were men.
It was last night.

Ketel One! It is vodka for men! AND ONLY MEN. Manly Men. Not like those other pansy girly vodkas in their delicate (girly!) painted (unmanly!) perfume bottles (probably only bitches and faggots drink that shit, am i rite?)!

As I lack a penis, Ketel One is obviously not for me. It is men only! They have a sign that says “no gurlz alloud.” And it’s really sad, because I loved their print ads, which were classy and interesting and understated.

And then there is Bacardi!

Bacardi wants you to know that I am very, very ugly.

I am fat! I have “lumpy rolls!” I have breasts that don’t look like softballs! I have a hairy mole! I have acne and I wear glasses and I have teeth that don’t look like a picket fence (ie perfectly straight). I have freckles and cellulite! I am a human being with flaws, and apparently Bacardi doesn’t want to be associated with me. If only I were a super hot woman or a man of any appearance, Bacardi would welcome my dollars with open arms. But they do not!

Alas, I will no longer spend my hard earned money on Ketel One and Bacardi. My screwdrivers and cranberry screwdrivers will be made with Grey Goose or Finlandia or some other brand. My strawberry Daiquiris and Rum and Cokes will be made with Captain Morgan’s (and Coke). I am certain they will be glad to receive my appalling vagina-tainted money without casting aspersions upon me, as a non-penis having, apparently non-penis pleasing person.

posted under body issues, CONSUME, crass materialism, fat, feminism, social responsibility, wtf | Comments Off on My disgusting vagina money is no good!

Whole Paycheck


I just got my first paycheck at the new job and, bearing in mind that I worked 2.5-5 hours more than usual (most of my temp gigs were for 35 hours, with some (especially the most recent one) being 37.5 hours) PLUS worked 5 hours of overtime, I made almost twice last week compared to what I used to make per week.

 At the end of this week I’ll have worked at least ten hours overtime, and next week will probably be the same, so my next paycheck will no doubt come a lot closer to meeting that “twice as much as before” mark.

I’m mega pumped about this, but also kind of bummed because I already have places for all that money… places that are not fun. But in a year or so I can do fun stuff because in a year or so I’ll have a lot of debt paid down AND N’s car will be paid off in full, freeing up $500 a month (one of our biggest cash drains).

I have a whole freaking list of stuff I love about this job, stuff that goes beyond fiscal concerns, and I’ll post that later. I need to get back to work now, though.