I would have ruled this world too, if it weren't for you meddling kids!
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
The Dye Ditch


Since I started on my area's history yesterday, something else has come to mind since then that I feel compelled to blog about.

Good ol' Erwin Mills, Durham NC
It opened in the late 1800's and I have no idea when this picture was taken....but believe me, it looked just the same in the 1970's. Both of my grandfathers worked there. I think most everybody from the old crowd worked there at some point or other....either there or at Liggett and Myers Tobacco Co. But anyway....this mill was like, the center of town. My grandparents lived within walking distance....both sets of grandparents.

I spent a lot of time at my grandmother's house growing up because my parents were *lowers voice to whisper* divorced.

Ha ha, back then it was a big deal! I could stand on my grandparent's property and see the mill....and on the back side of my grandparent's property was a ditch.

You really couldn't call it a creek. Sometimes it was almost dried up. Other times the ditch runneth over. But you would find the damndest things in that ditch. Bottles and glass items, car parts, discarded toys, dead animals. And the water was so pretty - it was thick and it would reflect every color of the rainbow when you stirred it around. Sometimes it was just black. Sometimes it was soapy and foamy. Sometimes it was all three in one day. This ditch was landscaped perfectly for war games and we played a lot of war games. You'd hide in the grass next to the ditch until the enemy (usually a cousin) went past, then you'd jump out of hiding, cross the ditch and shoot the enemy down with your stick gun. Later on, as teenagers, we discovered a wooden bench and took into the drain tunnel under the street, below the grate, and sat there and smoked cigarettes. I often wondered if anyone driving down the road noticed mounds of smoke coming out of the grate.
-This isn't my ditch but its somewhat similar. Except mine was a lot dirtier.

My whole point of telling you this....I spent countless hours in that ditch. My hands touched that water many times. My feet got wet many times. I fell in totally at least once. Submerged.

So imagine my surprise many years later when we finally realized this man-made ditch was connected directly to Erwin Mills (later Burlington Industries). It was called the "dye ditch" and that was where they dumped the used dyes to color fabrics and GOD ONLY KNOWS WHAT ELSE. The pretty colors we saw was the dye, I guess. Who knows what the black was? The soapy crap? Who knows? Who knows what the hell all was in that ditch! There is absolutely no telling what chemicals or concoctions I (and my sister and cousins) have been exposed to.

So naturally I blame every little ache and pain I have on my exposure to the dye ditch. I do have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which is manageable, but I blame the dye ditch whenever I tire out quicker than I wanted to. I don't know why I felt the dire need to tell you all about this but I feel much better now. Also, everyone will be much more understanding when the day comes and I arise from the swamps looking like this:

Bloggers, don't you hate it when you compose a post, hit the "Save As Draft" button and it stalls out? You wait awhile and it still won't go through. So you decide you better copy and paste it all onto a Word document for safekeeping. But before you can the screen goes blank like its going to finally go through...then it never does. But now you can't copy and paste either. Finally you give up. Good-bye little post. It double sucks for me because I use a lot of pictures and it takes time to get all that set up. I guess I shouldn't complain. It's free, right?

Monday, November 29, 2004
The Blog That Wouldn't Die


Well isn't this just the cutest thing ever? I could make stuff like this if I weren't forced to compose things in MS Paint with my right hand and me being left-handed. That's why everything I do looks so shaky. There's gotta be a better way. I'm sure someone out there knows what that way is. Do tell.

I went Christmas shopping for a little while and I picked up a few gifts. Where I got hung up on my shopping was the calendars. "OH boy, brand new calendars and I'm gonna NEEEEEED one!" Except there were two and I absolutely could not decide. So what did I do? I bought 'em both! One gets the honor of being the Ghetto Calendar and the other comes to work with me (at which point work will supply us with a calendar but those suck anyway). One of them was a space calendar which shouldn't surprise anyone:

But then there was this other one I just HAD to have:

The Eno River is about as "river" as it gets in these here parts. And its just right down the road. In fact, a tributary of it runs right behind the house. When I tell you I'm out hiking, the Eno is where I usually am at. Some kids at the School of Science and Mathematics here started a project to find what was left of the old Fish Dam Road, an Indian trail from the 1600's. Our local newspaper covered their progress and as it involves my beloved woods, I fell in love with this project. So when I saw the calendar, I just hadda have it!
Here's a link if you're interested in my neck of the woods, literally.
I really appreciate the Eno River Association for preserving as much as they can of the land around here. It's going fast and it makes me sick.

Here's something else just right down the road:
http://confederateone.home.mindspring.com/ - where General Joseph E. Johnston surrendered to General W.T. Sherman on April 26, 1865 during the Civil War. Doesn't it look boring? Well, its sooo NOT boring! Those people have done a super job of restoring the place and there's a nice Civil War museum there. I once saw a map of where the soldiers marched through on their way to the Bennett Place for the surrender and guess where the path took them? Right down good ol' Fish Dam Road.

Here's some Civil War Vets for you:

Just look at their faces. They lived through things you only see re-enacted once in awhile. And every single one of them looks like someone I wouldn't want to tangle with. I don't care how old they are, those old men could have still kicked some ass if necessary.

Sunday, November 28, 2004
Deep Thoughts


- Imagine the "Jeopardy" tune playing.

Sometimes I think the whole world has gone mad. Here's a story for you:
The Vatican, in a supreme gesture of showing the Orthodox church that they are down with their agenda and anxious to be as one nation under a groove....have returned bones from saints who perished in the crusades 1,000 years ago. Huh? I'm sure I should probably be reverently impressed by this but something about the whole thing seems so....barbaric. Isn't this something that Pope Von Ban de Schmeer should have done at Castle Greyskull a few centuries back? It just seems like a very odd gesture to me here in the Year of Our Lord 2004. "Yes, we've made many strides towards peaceful reconcilliation through the centuries but all shall not be forgiven until we get them BONES back, you wretched papal rogue."

He-Man could have solved the problem, if only he'd known.....

Blogger's comments section has really sucked for the last 20 hours or so. I know I should switch to the other comment thingie everyone else uses but when Texas Gurl did it, she lost all her comments. Actually that's just an excuse not to sit down and actually figure out what I need to do to make it happen.

The ghost made an appearance again last night....I think! I would be willing to write this one off as imagination this time, because I was dead asleep. There I was, curled up in the Ghetto Bed, and Miss Kitty was sleeping on her pillow next to me. And all of a sudden I hear a voice ask, more like demand.....Who? Who? WHO? I got awake and when I opened my eyes the first thing I saw was Miss Kitty standing at attention and fur standing on end. I didn't hear it again. It wasn't like an owl "who" either....it was a voice but I can't identify it as male or female. I was still sleepy enough I would have just written it off to dreaming and gone back to sleep if it hadn't been for Miss Kitty acting like she was. So how did it all end? Me and Miss Kitty heading for the couch to sleep, as usual.

Guess what happened to me a little while back? I got a G-Mail account. I was jonesing for one really bad, I WANTED it. Me being G-Mailless just confirmed my status as just an every day internet bum. Then....I got an invite! It was like Cinderella going to the ball. I registered...and yes, they had brendalove@gmail.com available! And it's mine, all mine! I've been divorced for YEARS now, I need a new email address and now I have one of the trendiest email addresses on the NET! But now I'm suffering from the same syndrome as changing from Blogger comments....lackadaisical inertia. I mean, I've had BConklin1@nc.rr.com for a long, long time. I'm registered for all kinds of newsletters and updates and Oil of Olay coupons and all these Princes fromTahiti and Kings of Nuumba are always sending me mail wanting me to open bank accounts for them. I'm IMPORTANT at rr.com. So I'm turning it over to you guys....do you think I should make the leap and change it all over to Gmail? Or keep my reputation as top random email virus recipient at rr.com?

In other World news, Iran is not agreeable to a new nuclear resolution put forward..... http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/11/27/iran.nuclear/index.html
"Iran has maintained throughout the negotiations that its nuclear program is intended solely for peaceful purposes." - can someone please explain that statement to me? Do they mean their nuclear program is only intended to supply nuclear power to its citizens? Also...how can we ask/demand that another nation to give up its nuclear abilities yet retain our own? I mean, I'm not real happy about Iran having nuclear abilities either...but you have to look at it from an Iranian point of view. I'm sure they think WE'RE the most trustworthy ones to handle all the nuclear stuff. NOT.

Anyway, why are we worried about Iran when we really need to worry about Billy Bob Bigloser, who is 12 years old and surfing the internet unsupervised? *shivers*

Well, there's no where to go with this post except for the end of the world, so I'm going to stop. I really, really need to go back to work and stop doing all this fatalistic thinking.

NO! I won't let it end this way! I'm going out on a high note....

So here are 10,000 cute cuddly puppies instead!

Saturday, November 27, 2004
Nerdy Girl


TV Watching Season has been narrowed down to a couple of channels. For some reason, I just don't have any patience with the sit-coms and the reality TV. I JUST DON'T CARE. I don't care about Desperate Housewives or the O.C., though the gang at the office has told me I SHOULD care, over and over again.

All I care about this year is real stuff. Not Reality, but real stuff. I can't seem to expand my horizons beyond the History Channel, the National Geographic Channel, the Discovery Channel, and of course, my Beloved Court TV. There's the occasional excursions to Cartoon Network and Nickoldeon to catch up on my cherished cartoons. And of course we in this household must watch Viva La Bam on MTV on Sunday nights.
- now there's a dose of reality for ya.

I realize this TV schedule is bordering on nerdism. But I don't care! A lot of these channels carry old newsreels and stuff....it reminds me of watching films in school. The Savior of The Tired Teacher....those old school films were good stuff and we watched a shitload of them. It was the 1970's and we were still catching instructional films from the 50's and 60's. I bet the Holocaust films WE watched were 10 times worse than anything that they show kids now. I can remember whenever it was time to study the Holocaust, there would be kids leaving class and fainting in the hallways. Those films etched an everlasting imprint of horror on this girl's mind. Whenever I see kids today idealizing or glorifying Hitler, it makes me want to chain them in a room with those old 1950's films for about a week.
- I left this pic small on purpose.

The drug ones were pretty bad too. Does anybody out there remember one where there was this black guy that was addicted to heroin and they were filming his withdrawal? The bathroom scene....whew! I can't help but think maybe he was being filmed against his will or without his knowledge. I just can't imagine someone signing off on permission to show that footage to the world. More fainting in the hallways during drug study time. I know one thing....this girl has never touched heroin or been in the presence of it to my knowledge.
- dear God.

The health and home economics ones were okay...but the H.E. ones were hideously old. Its like they had a one-time only budget for H.E. movies...they made them, and that was the end of that. I can still remember seeing women that looked like Beaver Cleaver's mother, doing their home-making thing. They would be in bright full-skirted dresses with fresh-permed hair, full face of make-up, vacuuming the floors with their little heel shoes on. They were never, ever without a smile. They baked cookies, they sewed, they budgeted, they never washed "whites" with "coloreds" (even the laundry seemed racial back then). I can remember these movies informing me that a woman is never truly happy unless she pleases her husband in whatever way he sees fit. For a strong-willed girl who could out-think most of the guys in the class, this was a bitter pill to swallow. Thank God I was able to go home and watch Cher pussy-whip Sonny into submission, or I might have ended up with mental problems or something!

But the best of all were the science films. There were bombs, loads and loads of bombs. There were exploding bursts off of the sun. Flowers sprouted and bloomed before your very eyes thanks to the cutting edge technology of time lapse filming. There were failed attempts to fly, microbes growing in petri dishes, sections of ice glaciers falling away, lab rats in exercise wheels, and in-depth explorations of alleuvial fans and fossil remains. There were shitloads of beakers, chemicals, bunsen burners and lab coats. All of the scientists were these egg-head Art Garfunkel-looking guys...there were NO hot scientists. There were no women scientists either, except for Jane Goodall and her chimps.

This would eventually prompt some young woman to question why she had to take science anyway, since there weren't any women scientists. This would result in the "You can do anything if you study hard and put your mind to it" speech. Yes, even though you were a woman it was possible your dreams could come true if you were the very best of the best. I once had a Social Studies teacher tell me, TELL ME, OUT LOUD AND IN PERSON that he predicted that I would become a housewife....and I was furious! Can you imagine what would have happened if he said that to some girl THIS day and time? A news blurb on CNN and a court case, probably. A big old monetary settlement from the school system. You can't imagine how infuriated I was that this misogynist teacher would DARE to judge me and what I was capable of. God, my pulse is racing while typing this....I never got over that one. I could still kick his old-man ass now. I would out him right now on this very blog but his woman-hating ass still lives and breathes!

What was left unspoken is that you MIGHT become an achiever, but everyone would just figure you must be a lesbian, because you won't NEVER get a man going that route, honey. Hmmmph.

Does all this sound feminist? Yeah, I know. But still, these are the kinds of ideas I was exposed to. Maybe it was a Southern thang, but I was right in the middle of the Old School Girls and the Dawn of the New School Girls. There was always that unspoken (and SPOKEN) "you're not quite good enough," or "maybe, if you try HARDER," and then when I was old enough to understand..."depending on who you sleep with." Arrrrgh...I am not going to take this any further.
- And anyway, what does it matter? Nowadays girls have no problem with the concept that all they're good for is sex, and feel inferior if they aren't perceived as a sexual object above all else.
But to just end this....I do suffer from "If I Was Just A Little Bit Better" syndrome...and I'm sure a lot of other gals out there do, too.

Friday, November 26, 2004
Johnny Deppclaus Is Coming To Town!


To kick off the Christmas season....an original rousing rendition of "Johnny Deppclaus Is Coming To Town!"

You better watch out, you better not cry
Put on your best pout
I'm telling you why
Johnny Deppclaus is coming to town

You're making a fist, you're clenching it tight
You'd kill to kiss those lips just once or twice
Johnny Deppclaus is coming to town

With him you wish you were sleeping
You dream about it when you're awake
You just know he's probably bad AND good
An orgasm you would never have to fake

OH! You better watch out, you better not cry
Put on your best pout
I'm telling you why
Johnny Deppclaus is coming to town!

Copyright 2004 Brenda Love

Thursday, November 25, 2004
Thanksgiving Edition


From my Planet to yours.....

Happy Thanksgiving!

I like the Thanksgiving holiday but not as much as other holidays. I like the giving thanks part but I never quite bought into the whole killing the turkey imagery. When I was a little kid I spent a lot of time worried and crying about the turkeys. That didn't stop me from eating them, though. There's something cannibalistic about the whole thing.

And you just know deep in your heart that there was an underlying tension at the first Thanksgiving celebration:

What am I thankful for this year? A whole heck of a lot. Here's a little list:
Being alive. I could very well be dead. Enough said.
My family and friends
My job and that I'm able to make a decent enough living on my own
My material stuff - the Ghetto House, the Ghetto Car, the Ghetto Washing Machine, etc.
The ability to get enjoyment out of the simple things in life.
I love my blog and my blog visitors! Its something I really enjoy doing and I love reading you's
guyses blogs too. Knowhudimsayin? *hugs anyone who's reading this*
I'm thankful for all the good things
I'm thankful for all the bad things because without them, you don't appreciate the good things.

Okay, this shit is getting sappy.

Did you know that every year (since Truman) the President pardons a turkey and allows him to escape being a Thanksgiving meal? I could take this statement and go many places with it, but I'm not going to do it. Feel free to start a flame war in the 'comments' section though. I loooove conflict!

A Blessing for you: "May you always be the smart turkey who escapes the hatchet." I just made that one up!
What do you mean, is that the best I could do?

Have a Happy (and guilt-free) Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Drive-By Concert


Sparkle and I went to see Local H last night and we had a blast! We did what I have nick-named the "Drive-by Concert Experience". See, when I found out Local H was coming I got all excited….only to have the wind taken out of my sails when I realized that they were the opening band. I wasn’t going all the way to Raleigh to see an opening band. Or….would I? You knew I'd break down and go!

Because you see, I have a music problem….and I couldn’t let it go. And I’m so glad I didn’t let it go! We swooped in and swooped right back out the door again. 2 beers and a band, in bed before the 11:00 o’clock news is over…..you just can’t beat it. It was about a 45 minute set and a 45 minute drive one way. We could have stayed for Finger Eleven but we didn't want to. Yeah, I know, totally insanity but welcome to my world. We had soooo much fun!

I’m just glad Sparkle came along with me or we would have NO pictures….since nothing I took came out. Since I got this camera I have come to realize I don’t have a very steady hand. Also the quality may have been compromised because we didn’t use a flash…we were trying to be respectful of l'artiste!

Here's one of the pictures I took...um....this picture makes my eyes feel very, very funny. How can I possibly suck so bad at photography?

Local H is one of those bands where there’s no fuss, no techies fiddling with the gadgetry, they just throw the drum set up there and plug in the guitar and that’s all that’s needed. They roared through their set and we the audience roared right along with them.

"Just let me plug in and we're ready to roll"...

I first saw Local H around 1996 with the Stone Temple Pilots. A guy named Joe Daniels was drummer then. Now its Brian St. Clair. This is the only picture I could get of Brian....we were not in the right place to get pics of him at all. Plus he gets so into his drumming that it wouldn't have been anything but a blur of hair anyway.

"I'm back here....look harder. Never mind, don't, I'm really shy."

The sound was LOUD. Very loud. Courtesy of the Scott Lucas amp. He doesn't have a Marshall amp. He has a Marsha amp.

"Marsha, Marsha, MARSHA!"

Scott decides to come down and jam out with us High-Fivin' MFs in the audience. Is this the new fad among bands lately? You won't see this happening at the arenas.....

So what can I say? We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and rocked out hard for like, 45 minutes. Then we came home. It was really stupid of me to do this because I have been very sick but like I've said before....I have this music problem. When we left I felt bad again and was coughing like crazy. If I get pneumonia, I deserve it. BUT IT WAS WORTH IT!

Sparkle appeared to be having the time of her life while we were there, but she only had one thing to say about it all later........

"You know, that Scott guy kind of looks like Johnny Knoxville." LOL
Up next....Butch Walker, December 4th.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Local H


"uh, we were jammin' over at the house. My pants caught on fire.
We were smokin' a lotta... whiskey, and uh, chicken.
And uh, got some food and...I got some food and came home and got a call, uh...
No wait, i got some calls then, uh, came home, then i got some food.
Came home, got some food and then :::cough::: got some calls, uh...
Couldn't find the fridge for a while and...
Wait, first we couldn't...
we got the food and then...
No wait, first we had the fridge."

Tonight is the Local H show. I'm taking the camera. Hell yeah! Expect a full review tomorrow.

Monday, November 22, 2004
Heating Bill Blues


(Those of you in the warmer climates might not be able to relate to this very well. Those of you in colder climates may get an idea for a new side job.)

The Ghetto House stays pretty cool in the summer.....I don't have to run the air conditioner too much...and we stay cool and the bills are manageable. But in winter....the Ghetto House gets very, very cold. I can't imagine a medieval dungeon gets much colder. And I have gas heat. Trying to keep this house warm in the winter is quite a challenge. Unrestrained gas heat usage for a month can run my gas bill up to $300.00! And our gas company is mean....if you get behind they WILL shut you off. So what's a girl to do? She gets a kerosene heater, that's what!

I bought my kerosene heater a few years ago when the natural gas prices started getting crazy and I fell in love. All I have to do is come home in the evenings and turn the gas up to get the house warm quickly. While that's going on I light the kerosene heater. Then I shut off the gas and let the kerosene do its thing all evening. Sometimes it actually gets HOT in here and I have to shut it off. And of course I can't have it on while I'm sleeping but still....but by doing this my gas bill drops to about $45.00 a month and I've spent about $50.00 to $60.00 on kerosene...you do the math. That's about $200.00 buckaroos saved. I LOOOOOOOOVE my kerosene heater.

But...they eventually need to be serviced. Drained, cleaned up, new wick, whatever. No problem. I know this old man at the hardware store that does this. So I take it to him last year and....he had died. So....um....where else can I get my heater serviced? Answer: nowhere in this town, baby. No one in the next town knew how to do it either. I spent part of my winter last year with gas only and freaking out about it. And its been on my mind heavily since the summer ended. I took the heater apart and tried to figure out how to do it myself....but no-can-do....it is obviously beyond the capacity of my intelligence.

So I'm standing in line at the convenience store about a month ago and hear two guys talking about another guy that does it as a side job. OMG! I jumped right into their conversation just like I was the queen of the world. There was no way I was NOT going to find out who serviced kerosene heaters that they knew. So I interrupted the heck out of them but they were nice about it. Next thing you know I have this guy's name, phone number and would have gotten his social security number if I could have.
- here's the kerosene heater repair man. HA! Do you suppose this man ever worried about a heating bill during his entire life? Doubt it!!!!!

And now I have my heater, ready to roll. I have artillery to fight the creeping fingers of frost. I absolutely cannot STAND being too cold. The kind of cold where you climb in bed and you have to pull the ends of the blankets up around your feet like a sleeping bag so you can trap your body heat. The kind of cold where after you finish your shower, you actually have steam rolling off the top of your head because you're so warm and the air is so cold. The kind of cold where walking around with a hot water bottle wrapped in a blankie is NOT something that looks idiotic.
- this hot water bottle is so cute!

Sunday, November 21, 2004
Dude, War Sucks


I still feel bad! The cough and congestion isn't as bad but I am still running a fever and have killer fatigue. It's getting on my last nerve!!! There was so much I wanted to get done today and still have some play time. All I've gotten done so far is a load of laundry and a bunch of sleeping. I HATE IT!

Here's what I accomplished last night...
- Me as an avatar! As close as I can get it anyway. They didn't have an option for darkness under the eyes or a sneer quite like mine. It's a load of fun though, go and make one for yourself here: http://avatarmaker.abi-station.com/index_en.shtml (thank you, Stew!)

One good thing about being sick - I have been able to catch up on some reading. Here is mandatory reading for all Planet Brenda visitors:
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/_/id/6593163?pageid=rs.PoliticsArchive&pageregion=mainRegion - Seven retired military leaders discuss what has gone wrong in Iraq. This is informative and scary as hell at the same time. One of them uses the term "utopian thinkers" which is a great phrase and one I'll no doubt rip off as soon as the opportunity presents itself.

All of them seem to agree on one thing...there was never a solid plan in place to rebuild Iraq. Bush & Co. really did seem to think that the Iraqis would welcome us with open arms and everything would just work out.

I find myself worried about this war more and more. What's going to happen? Where will it all end? I look at some of Sparkle's male friends and I know in my heart they're going to get drafted before long. And get sent over there and possibly killed and no one is going to do anything about it. Another statistic. There's a lot of apathy about this war.

For one thing, I don't understand why we don't SEE more of it. I was just a little kid when Vietnam was going on but it was everywhere on TV. If we were allowed to watch TV late, the rule was we had to "hide our eyes" whenever my Mom said to. We asked why and my Mother said that it was because it was "that old war stuff" and "stuff kids couldn't see"....so if she said "Hide your eyes" we had to duck down until whatever they were showing was over. Of course you know I had to peek a few times. It was just guys laying on the ground, that's what I thought then. But now when I see those old newsreels I know TV news was serious about showing the horrors of war....and that's the way it should be. I know there haven't been nearly the casualties in this war that there were in Vietnam, but....have you seen any of them? Me either. Not that I want to....but I do think being "protected" from the reality of war is NOT a good thing for this country. Just hide your eyes and duck down....maybe it will all go away.

But...here I am going on about something that others can talk about with a lot more authority than I can.

Whatever. But I can say with authority that war is a waste of life. Fine people who have served before:
- Desert Storm soldier

- Is this guy even 18 years old?? Vietnam soldier.

- Korean War soldier

- World War II soldier

- World War I soldier

- Civil War soldier....this guy is kind of hot, actually. For a 140 years ago dude, that is.

All right already....I'll stop before I have to start posting engravings and cave paintings.