Glory days

15 March, 2015
Rat Fink

Why do I feel so nostalgic this morning? Possibly because I saw one of these while reading the news. I’ve always loved the look of a ’65 Mustang. And now that they’re bringing that classic look back, well, here I am, wanting one. Please send it to me. Rat Fink, Finkleman Street, Finkville. And please fill up the back seat with these. And these.

Seriously, fiends. I don’t ask you for much.

Dad’s toy

I remember, as a kid, seeing Mustangs and thinking they were the coolest, sleekest things — almost as fantastic as the powder blue ’63 Pontiac Tempest convertible Dad drove. I have a distinct memory of this car: Mavis and I lying down in the back seat (circa 1965, before the days of seat belt laws), watching the stars go by on a warm Sunday evening drive home from Grandma’s house. Good times.

I don’t know when the Tempest left us, or what happened to it. I’m sad I never asked while our folks were alive. There’s a blank space in my car memories until 1971, when Dad — obviously a Pontiac man — drove home in this beauty – a brand new Pontiac Catalina. And yes, I’m being sarcastic. :-)

Thank the gods, we never owned a station wagon. At least I don’t *think* we did. Everyone at the time was buying the soon-to-be-ubiquitous Town & Country-style “woodies.” Thank you, no. (However, I did run across a rather funky update on the theme. Fun.)

Our parents threw down a hundred bucks for this gem, which was nowhere close to the shape of the one in the picture, I might add. All I remember is rust, and doors that were almost impossible to open, as each one weighed 6,000 lbs. I was embarrassed to ride in it, and it was about as dependable as a screen door on a submarine. I remember getting sick at school one day (I came down with a bad stomach bug, and the nausea was so bad, I asked my teacher for the bathroom pass, but didn’t make it to the door before passing out; I woke up seconds later with a shoe missing and my arm in the garbage can…humiliating), and Mother couldn’t get the dang car started, so my principal had to drive me home. More humiliation.

I’ll bet you have some fun family car memories. Or maybe some of the not-so-fun, don’t make me stop this car variety. :-) We had those experiences, too.

Happy Sunday!

Update from the front

6 March, 2015
Rat Fink

When it’s been almost two weeks since I last spoke to you, you know stuff is going down. Between DT rehearsals and the war that is turning into nothing short of a national civil rights issue, I’ve been dragging it up to bed early every night, and out early the next morning. Haven’t seen my grandsons in forever, and 21 days out from my show, the cracks are starting to spider out. Time for some Sunday rehearsals.

February made me shiver, and not just because it was the coldest one on record.

But here’s to a brighter March. My cast will improve; it’s always rough during the last three weeks. I’m trying to remember if I’ve ever done a show that hasn’t included the standard weeping and gnashing of teeth for a full month before opening. Not sure that scenario has ever existed — although I will admit I wouldn’t mind experiencing it. :-) We’ve sold 600 tickets at this writing; I hope the 15th anniversary is a success. I’m looking forward to seeing some old cast and crew members, and taking pictures.

The anti-testing fight rages on. And when I say “rages,” I mean there’s plenty of rage — from both sides. It’s become ugly on several fronts, but we must stay the course. We’re making progress, but no huge policy change ever happens without a long, protracted fight. And that’s what this is, believe you me.

I have an appointment today, so I’m not in school at the moment. It’s nice to sleep in until 6:15 and take your time with coffee and reading. And writing to you. I’ve missed you here!

Happy weekend, fiends.

RF, weary warrior

Hey, looky — I’m seven

22 February, 2015
Rat Fink

It’s been seven years. That can’t be right. Holy cats.

On 22 February, 2008, I published my first post here at RtB. During the ensuing years, I’ve been asked a lot of questions about this little venture, and I’ve answered them privately, but can’t recall posting the answers anywhere so my readers (the teeming multitude of about 150 of you, worldwide) who don’t know me personally can see them. Therefore, I shall celebrate RtB’s birthday by listing and answering a few; kind of like, you know, interviewing myself. :-) Behold, the interesting questions and mundane answers:

What does Rockin’ the Bourgeoisie mean? “RtB” means, in a way, “rattling the cages of my fellow regular folks, and encouraging them to think, smile, and especially, talk to one another and to me.” You know I love comment love. I also love the interaction in a somewhat controlled space. While I don’t moderate comments like many bloggers do, I’m partial to having at least some guidelines for conversation. That makes it so I don’t have to check this place every 10 minutes to make sure something totally vile doesn’t upset my friends, or the parents and students who read here on a semi-regular basis.

What’s your blog about? Nothing. (I know I’ve said that here — probably about a hundred times.) This is likely the question I’ve been asked the most, next to Why “Rat Fink?”. Years ago, I read on some writer’s site that blogs without a focused subject are basically useless. Well, there you go. :-D

Why do you call your husband “The Thriller?” Because his name is Michael Jackson.

Isn’t this website expensive? Why don’t you just get a Tumblr or Blogger or WordPress site? I suppose self-hosting a blog could be viewed as extravagant, but it’s really not that terribly costly. In the interest of transparency: I pay $100 and change per year for hosting, and $20 or so for annual domain name renewals (I own three domains, and two are hosted on this server: finkweb.org and the site I maintain for my choirs). The best part is the complete control over one’s own domain space with regard to structure and design, software platform, and especially, (the 100% lack of) advertising. That was important to me, so I chose this route as opposed to the free sites (which are all fine and good, btw).

What’s your “thing” with David Soul? Hahaha. You refer to when I mention his name on the Law page. It’s a silly story, but David Soul (yes, that David Soul — the one of “Don’t Give Up on Us, Baby” and Starsky & Hutch fame), commented here once, on a post in which I wrote several nice things about him, and he behaved like the arrogant, self-important, smug jerk he apparently is. It was definitely a peculiar experience, and therefore totally worth memorializing in some permanent fashion.

What do you get out of writing like this every day? Well first, it used to be every day. Nowadays, not so much, and that makes me sad. I want nothing more than to change that and get back to writing every day, because as fellow writers know, it’s part of your cellular make-up; it’s a huge chunk of who you are. To abandon or even back-burner it is a disservice to your soul.

And here’s a question I just made up:

What do you like most about doing this? YOU. No joke. When I think about my family who have commented here, and the friends I’ve made and reconnected with through this forum, I can say with complete certainty that those relationships are what keeps this show on the boards. That you think it’s a remotely positive experience to click over here every day makes me very happy. So thank you!

All right, as usual: off to get some work done. Happy weekend!

Too much, maybe?

19 February, 2015
Rat Fink

So I lost my mind a bit. OK, a lot. All right…completely.

J’ever experience something that just keeps eroding your sanity ever so slowly, like the effect of water against rock over a million-year time span? Eventually, all that’s left is bare naked nerve endings, and you break like a ginger snap. That kind of happened to me.

Maybe it’s the ongoing deranged senselessness of CCSS and HST in my life and in the lives of my students and colleagues that pushed me over the edge of the Cliff of Insanity; maybe it’s Dinner Theatre madness. Maybe it’s my ridiculous schedule which keeps me away from my grandchildren. I don’t know what happened, but a bell rang and school was out and teacher lost her poop. What was the trigger? you ask. What horrible tragedy befell you? Oh, this:


Every day, I get an email from Groupon, with fantastic deals. 1,000s of deals. It’s always bothered me, that mistake. For a long time, I did my best to just ignore it. After all, it’s an email, people. Seriously. Worry about important stuff. But remember the water-against-rock thing? Seems the moon went into the seventh house, and Jupiter aligned with Mars, and then big bang. I went to Groupon’s customer feedback page and wrote thusly:

 

Please, please, PLEASE fix the gargantuan grammar mistake in ALL of your emails! It makes you look like idiots!

It is NOT: “We’ve got 1,000s of deals every day.”

You either have “1,000 deals” or you have “THOUSANDS of deals.” You NEVER have “one thousands of deals,” which is what your current graphic says, and which, as you most certainly can see, makes no sense whatsoever.

Please fix this glaring error for those of your customers who value proper professional business copy.

Thanks.
L. Jackson

 

Now I ask you: Why the need for so many CAPITAL LETTERS? I actually HATE IT when people overuse that device, and I used it FIVE TIMES in one message. What’s wrong with me? I’m not a meanyhead, and I try to never make folks feel bad. Am I cracking up? And to make matters worse, I received this kind reply:

 

Hi Linda,

Thanks for sharing your feedback with us. I’ll be sure to pass your suggestion on to the right people.

Regards,

Satheesh T
Groupon Customer Support

 

Oy. Rant like a loon, then read a courteous response. Way to crush an ant with a Panzer. Boot to the head.

On a brighter note: I have a wind chill day off school, so at least I can tackle the carload of work I brought home. Maybe I’ll see if I can escape for a bit to go out and visit the Js, too, and perhaps stop by and see Mavis, if she’s up to looking at my face.

OK, off to work. No more insanity from me today, I promise.

Thoughts on a chilly Sunday

15 February, 2015
Rat Fink

Obligatory weather app screenshot of current conditions that everyone who lives in the upper half of the country feels compelled to post on social media.

Cold, you say? Wind chills don’t scare me. (Unless I have to be outside shoveling the walks.) We live in the Great Lakes region, and it gets cold here; I know that. It’s not a big deal for temps to be in the single digits. But for two winters in a row, it’s been unusually cold. I mean, downright close-the-churches-and-schools, brain-freezing bitter cold, with great huge blowing winds that can frostbite a child waiting for the bus within seconds. Crazy, mayne.

Last night, I wanted to order a pizza for dinner, but couldn’t pull the trigger. I felt terrible for the person who would have to deliver it. Am I mental? I just couldn’t do it. So we ate leftover Dunkin’ Donuts for dinner. I am not making this up. Ask the Thriller. In fact, I joked with him that this was yet another reason why we’re so well-suited for one another: I don’t know any other man who would join me in eating nothing but donuts for an entire day. Granted, we don’t do it very often, but I had to admit it was fun. And yes, I was back on the treadmill at 7:00 this morning. Erk.

We won’t do anything like that today…because he finished off the last two donuts with his coffee this morning. Nuts. Back to the old grind. *sigh*

So, this 50 Shades of Grey craziness. May I share a confession here? When the book first came out, I noticed on my Facebook feed that the reactions were of the dreamy, can’t-stand-to-put-it-down variety, like it was a sweeping romance of the Nicholas Sparks ilk.

Hahaha. Yarite.

As the days went by, I began to notice a pattern. Many of the dreamy, can’t-put-it-down comments were from women around my age (let’s call it the 40-60 range). So I did some research on the plot. Um…a novel steaming with BDSM, and moms can’t stop posting about it? Isn’t that a little — I dunno — private? And isn’t it a bit too much info for kids to be reading about on social media?

There we go:  my geezerism is showing. But even if I were “into” erotica (and it’s fine if you are; no aspersion casting here), would I want my sons and daughters-in-law to be reading my over-the-top, drooly posts about it? Eww, people! Keep it to your dang self! *shudder* Now I don’t paint myself as a prude, and I hope I don’t come across as such. I’d like to think I’m a pretty tolerant person with regard to how secks and noodity figure into art (although from the reviews I’m reading, it’s somewhat of a tempest in a teapot, and that by today’s “standards,” it’s not all that shocking). But for real: …and I LOVED the part where he got out the handcuffs and… OK shhh. Just…shhh.

Maybe it’s not even that. Maybe it’s the unbearably annoying theme song — a slowed-down, analog-overdriven, affected remix of seriously, Beyoncé? – that makes me mad. Please stop saying uh-oh all shecksy and pouty-mouth and chin down and eyes up at the camera. Please. We know it’s a naughty movie. Spare us the overlong exercise in glottal attacks.

 

All right, enough of that. What else this morning? Oh, yes. The anti-high-stakes-testing movement is really growing legs in this country. I like it. Interesting what can happen when regular folks decide enough is enough.

Have a great day, fiends, and if you’re in my neck of the woods: stay inside!