Wednesday, January 11, 2017

'Twas The Season

This post was engendered by my thought that, to a fir tree, Christmas must seem a pretty savage and barbaric custom. Originally this post was about three times as long, but I removed some stuff that might have been in poor taste. - The Management

Now that it's 2017, I was just thinking about how weird it is that the year number is always the same as the number of years since Jesus was born. I mean, how do they do that? Personally, I have trouble remembering how many days are in a month -- just when I think I've got it nailed, they go and change it the next month. Whoever they are. Bastards.

But that's not what I want to write about. I thought I'd share my story of the holidays with you, in the hope that if for some reason your holiday story was not as joyous as mine I can make you feel even worse.

This season I have to admit I was a little poorer than I've been the last few years, so instead of buying a Christmas Puppy from the kennel the Boy Scouts set up in the corner of the grocery store parking lot every year, I just swiped the neighbors' Shih Tzu. I figured they wouldn't mind; I already knew they were fellow Christians from the plastic shit they put out in their yard. Plus, no more midnight yap-yap, win-win for Hulles.

I'm not sure how it works in your family, but in mine we always called the Christmas Puppy "Fluffy". So in keeping with tradition, I kept murmuring, "Nice Fluffy" as I stapled the fucker to the piece of plywood. Somehow over the years I managed to lose the red-and-white Christmas Napkin we traditionally used, probably an ex-wife swiped it, so this year I had to make do by stuffing some plastic grocery bags into the dog's mouth. I could still hear it trying to bark however, so I kept stuffing more and more plastic bags into its mouth. No matter how many I stuffed in, they just didn't muffle the sound as well as the Christmas Napkin, so I suppose that next year I should just go out and buy a new one. Grumble grumble, call me Scrooge.

And this year I made the same mistake I always make, I stapled the Christmas Puppy's rear legs to the plywood before sticking the plastic angel up its ass, so for yet another year I had to pry the bottom staples out and pop in the angel. As I did it I could hear my father saying, as he did every Christmas, "Is this plastic angel getting bigger or are puppies' assholes getting smaller?" He would completely crack up, the rest of us would politely laugh, and my mother would always mutter under her breath, "There's one asshole who hasn't gotten any smaller." I love Christmas traditions.

Anyway, I jammed the plastic angel with the light bulb in its head up the puppy's ass and plugged it to make sure it still worked, then I re-stapled the dog's legs to the plywood. I guess I haven't told you about the plywood yet -- one year my dad found the plans for a Santa Claus decoration in Popular Mechanics, so he painstakingly transferred the pattern from the magazine to the plywood by drawing on a grid of squares somehow, then he cut out the pattern in the plywood with his jigsaw and painted it. It looked like Nick Nolte. We used that plywood Santa every year after that for our Christmas Puppy; there are bloodstains on it that probably go back 60 years or more.

Once I had Fluffy securely fastened to old Saint Nick, I was ready to move on to the decorating phase. Normally I go the traditional route and get out the hot glue gun and glue colorful vinyl snowflakes and stars onto the Christmas Puppy, but this year I decided to try something different, so I went to Dollar General and bought eight cans of flocking. Wow, it was amazing. Just hearing the ball clacking around in the can took me right back to the Christmas my dad flocked my mom and set her on fire. At any rate, I cut out little cardboard glasses for Fluffy and taped them on him, then I flocked the shit out of him. I know a lot of people skip the cardboard glasses, but I think it's cruel to flock a puppy's eyes.

After flocking it, I removed the Christmas Puppy's cardboard glasses (and some fur with the tape, sorry Fluffy) and examined my handiwork. I have to say that Fluffy looked a lot like a toilet bowl brush without a handle, which wasn't really the look I was going for. However, instead of pouring kerosene all over the dog to remove the flocking and starting over I just hot-glued a vinyl snowflake to his forehead and called him good. I left him in the kitchen to dry and went into the living room and put plastic down to catch any leaks, then I brought out the Christmas Puppy, stuffed tinsel in his ears, and propped him up in the corner. I arranged my presents to myself around it (a pair of boots and a hand grenade) and... it finally felt like Christmas!

To complete the tableau I got out this little spotlight with colored lenses that rotate so it shines red, blue, green, and white; red. blue, green, and white; red, blue, green, and white; red, blue... you get the picture. I put the spotlight on my Christmas Puppy, and it was mesmerizing. For the next two weeks I watched Fluffy instead of reality TV. Every once in a while the tinsel in his ears would catch the light and you'd swear that the dog's head moved, even though it had been dead the better part of a week.

But all good things must come to end, so just a couple days ago I pried Fluffy off the board (ick, by the way) and removed the plastic angel (double ick). It occurred to me that it was probably good that the puppy had been dead a while -- those angel wings looked like they'd hurt a lot more coming out than they did going in. Then I dragged my Christmas Puppy out to the curb and put him in a pile with the other dead Christmas Puppies for the city to pick up in the morning. I wasn't sure the upstairs neighbor's Christmas Weimarauner was 100% dead so I kicked it in the head with my Christmas boots. I didn't want it to suffer.

Speaking of suffering, I know there are a few bleeding-heart liberal whiners out there who think the whole Christmas Puppy thing is cruel and barbaric. Well, not to worry. After this year puppies will no longer need to suffer at Christmas so the rest of us can enjoy the holiday season. Now that Trump's elected, next year we can go back to using minority children.

- Hulles

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Come Away With Me

Since I'm not currently in a relationship I can say this out loud: Norah Jones is the Sexiest Woman in the World. I feel this very strongly. If anyone should disagree with me, and I can't think why anyone would, I would just tell them to listen to her album "Come Away With Me". If I even hear a couple notes of the title track (which is "Come Away With Me" if you weren't paying attention earlier), I get all gooshy inside and have to sit down on a chair. If I hear her sing "I've Got To See You Again" I have to get up out of the chair and go get a towel to put under me when I sit down on the chair again. (That metaphor would work better if I was a woman, but to go the man route would just be gross.) So yeah. World's Sexiest Woman, hands down. Thankfully there's a towel there.

 As an aside, I saw her poppa (Ravi Shankar) perform live a couple of times. I'm not sure how that even fits into this post, but I'm sticking it in anyway; it's one of the perks of this being my blog.

So I just finished listening to "I've Got To See You Again" a bunch of times, like a bajillion seventeen times but who's counting, and I started thinking what it must have been like to be Norah Jones after recording "Come Away With Me". She made the album in 2002 so it was a while ago, but this is what I imagine she said one evening as she was sitting at home talking to her cat:

"Wow, it was a lot of work making 'Come Away With Me', but it's finally done. Whew. Oh, by the way, did I mention I just nailed down the title of Sexiest Woman in the World?"


"Yup, no shit. Sexiest Woman in the World. I'm Numero Uno....."




"I know, right, now what should I go for? Pole vaulting? Do they even have women pole vaulters? They must. Or maybe I'll take up tatting."


"Tatting, it's a technique for handcrafting a particularly durable lace from a series of knots and loops. Look it up. Seems kind of, well, tame after Sexiest Woman in the World though. Maybe I could give, like, lessons in sexiness to the other three or four billion women in the world. If I got them all to sign up and had each of them send me a nickel I'd have a lot of money, probably. For sure I'd need a bigger place to store all the nickels."


"You know, you're right, there probably is a down side to being the Sexiest Woman in the World. What man is going to want to date me? Well, *all* of them, I suppose, but... okay, that's not really a down side.... DAMMIT! I have this little patch of cellulite on my thigh! I wish I'd written down the number for that cream from that infomercial the other night...."

- Hulles

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Still Crazy After All These Years

I'm not the kind of man
Who tends to socialize
I seem to lean on
Old familiar ways
And I ain't no fool for love songs
That whisper in my ears
Still crazy after all these years
Oh still crazy after all these years

- "Still Crazy After All These Years", Paul Simon

I had occasion to revisit the old blogstead today to look up something related to the Cowboy Junkies, and discovered to my utter horror that, as much as I've said that I'm madly in love with Margo Timmons, the lead singer of the band, I've been misspelling her name all along: it's Margo Timmins. I recall that I used to spell her first name as "Margot", and at one point had to go back and correct her first name; it's sort of creepy that I didn't realize at that time that her last name was incorrect as well.

So I went back and (hopefully) fixed her name everywhere in this blog. Again. It turns out there were a lot of references to her, and of course I had to read the blog posts that contained those references, and some of them were even good. Well, entertaining to some degree at least. Yay me.

And now, having said that, it seems I have nothing else to say. While in the past that hasn't deterred me from continuing to write (see every other blog post), I think this time I'll just stop here.

Still alive and kickin', still crazy after all these years, and still

- Hulles

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Agenbite of Inwit

Today I was humming to myself, doing some mindless chore, when I realized that the song I was humming was "Undun" by the Guess Who. Before I could stop myself, to my utter incredulity and horror I began to sing the lyrics of the song to myself. I didn't much like the song in 1969, and I quickly found that I don't much care for it now either, but for some reason I remembered the lyrics, at least to the first couple verses and the chorus. Gaah! Why did I remember those lyrics, when I can barely remember the names of people I run into regularly? The scene in my brain must have been something like this:

It is lunchtime in the Hulles Brain, and a bunch of twenty-something brain cells are sitting at a table in the Neural Cafeteria with their meal trays.

Ralph: Pretty slow day here. How's yours going, Ed?

Ed: Oh, the usual. Once in the morning, once after He... (glances at Trixie, who glares at him) ...went to the bathroom. Nothing very exciting. Hey, have you seen George and Gracie around lately? George owes me money.

[Uncomfortable silence at the table]

Ralph: Well, good luck with that. George and Gracie were killed last weekend when He had a "couple of scotches". Like four is a "couple". Anyway, it took out most of Accounting. Doris here was lucky to escape with her life, though she was injured some.

Ed: Wow, I'm really sorry to hear that. I'm glad you made it through though, Doris.

Doris, brightly: Five!

[Another uncomfortable silence.]

Trixie: Hey, who's the old dude in the lunch line? I don't recall seeing him before. Is he new to this shift?

Ralph: Nah, he works over in the Arts. I think he just brings his lunch and eats at his desk most days. I'm not sure why he's in here today.

Trixie: How old do you think he is, anyway? He looks like he's about 80 years old. I didn't know we brain cells lived that long.

Ed, grumbling sotto voce: Most don't, thanks to His "couple of scotches".

Alice: Well, I shouldn't say since I'm not supposed to talk about department files, but he's 57. He just has a lot of miles on him, is all. (Lowers her voice.) He is one of the few survivors left from the Great Mescaline Brain Cell Massacre of 1971, but you didn't hear that from me.

All: Gasp!

Alice: Shush, he's coming this way.

[Burt shuffles over to their table.]

Burt, glumly: Hi. Mind if I join you? I'm Burt.

Ralph: Go ahead, sit down. That's Ed there, he works in Maintenance, he remembers how belt buckles work.

Ed: Howdy!

Ralph: This is Trixie, who works in Science. Her job is to remember the chemical formula for ethanol.

Trixie: Hi, Burt. C2H5OH, if you were wondering. Everyone always asks, then immediately talks about something else. But hey, it's a job.

Ralph: And this is Doris; she works in Accounting. She remem--

Doris, chirpily: Five!

Ralph: --bers what two plus three is.

Doris, happily: Five!

Ralph: Thank you, Doris. Alice here works in Personnel, and remembers the name of that creepy guy who comes into the bar and likes to touch He Who Must Not Be Named while he's talking to him.

Burt: Lord Voldemort drinks in a bar?

Alice: No, idiot, He whose brain we're in. We can't say His name during breaks because it sparks a memory and then we need to do our jobs. Jesus, didn't you read the Employee Handbook?

Burt, glumly: Whatever...

Ralph: My name's Ralph. I work in Reproduction and Making Out. My job is to remember what an episiotomy is.

Burt: What's an episiotomy?

[Ralph leans over and whispers to Burt. The girls look away uncomfortably, except Doris, who is busy smiling at her Jello.]

Burt: Jesus! Are you serious? They really do that? But how is that in your department?

Ralph: Well, He Who Etc. likes to trot me out when He's hitting on an OB/GYN nurse or a Nurse/Midwife. It happens more than you might expect. He thinks it might impress them.

Burt: Does it work?

: Ask Ed.

Ed: Har! I haven't been urgently needed by Ralph's department in, well, let's just say it's been a long time. Which is fine, I like it quiet. The pay's the same.

Ralph: So what do you do, Burt?

Burt, uncomfortably: I work in the Music Department.

Ralph: Really? Great! So what's your job then?

Burt: (mumbles)

Ralph: Pardon me? I didn't catch that.

Burt, looking down at his tray: I said, I remember what the second line is of the lyrics to "Undun" by the Guess Who.

Ralph: Sorry, I don't know the answer.

Ed: Me neither.

Alice: I give up too.

Doris, blissfully: Five!

Burt, tiredly: The Guess Who is the name of the band. They were a Canadian pop band of the sixties.

Ralph: Ah, got it. Um, so, do you get a lot of work then, Burt? Is it still a popular song?

Burt: Look, the song sucks. You heard it every fifteen minutes on the radio back in 1969, but He Who Whatever hasn't had to recall the lyrics for it in 45 years, thank God. Which suits me just fine. I hate this job. Sometimes I wish I was a cuticle cell.

[Burt's cell phone then goes off, loudly. The ring tone is, of course, "Undun" by the Guess Who.]

[The entire cafeteria stops talking and everyone looks at Burt, who stands up in alarm.]

Burt: Holy shit! It's the Central Cortex! He's started singing the song to Himself! What do I do? How do I work this thing? Oh my God, I'm so fired!

Ralph: Get hold of yourself, man! Take a deep breath, and when the phone rings you just answer it and say the line that you remember.

Burt: But what if I screw it up? It's been 45 years!

Alice: Come on, Burt, you can do it.

Trixie: Go Burt!

Ed, grumbling sotto voce: Jesus, it's not like an urgent request for belt buckling...

Doris, cheerfully: Five!

[The phone rings. The entire Neural Cafeteria watches Burt with bated breath.]

Burt, flipping open his cell phone: She didn't know what she was headed for...

[He flips his phone closed and pumps his fist.]

Burt: Yes! I nailed it! I did it!

[The cafeteria breaks into spontaneous applause. Burt grins sheepishly and sits down.]

Doris, burbling: Five!

[The ruckus dies down, and Burt smiles.]

Burt: Well, that wasn't so bad. Maybe this job isn't so horrible after all. And you know what? My line isn't so terrible either. It's a little unclear who 'she' is, but who cares, right? Besides, [leans over the table and whispers and points to an older woman sitting by herself at a small table by the window], "Undun" is actually the B-side of "Laughing", an even worse song by the Guess Who. That woman over there has to remember the part of the chorus to that song that goes Laughing, ha ha ha ha ha ha. So it could be worse. A lot worse.

Trixie: I know, right?

Ed: Jeez, really?

Alice: What's a B-side?

Doris, gleefully: Five!

- Hulles

Thursday, April 22, 2010

How Can Something So Right Be Sarong? Part Three

This is the third post in a series I am doing about my headlong plunge into the world of fashion design. Basically, I promised my friend Sandy that I would design a top to go with a sarong I gave to her. This is the saga of that top. See Part One and Part Two for earlier episodes. - The Management

"So how's the sarong top coming?" *snicker*

This is what I have been hearing from my friends, future lovers and disciples lately. Well, the nice and easy answer is, slowly. But like Ike and Tina Turner, I nevah, evah do nothin' nice and easy (or short), so you get a blog entry.

The first bit of news that I have to report is that, shortly after Part Two in this series was written, I decided to seek help from the top. The top of the heap of fashion designers, that is; I didn't really ask the top I'm designing for help because it doesn't exist yet and that would be silly.

No, what I did was pick the best fashion designer I knew -- of possibly two -- and ask her for help. The designer I selected for this signal honor was Christian Joy. The reason I even know of her is because she designs her pal Karen O's costumes. Karen O is the singer for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and I adore her with a fervor approaching slavering rabidity. That is to say, I dramatically cock an eyebrow whenever I hear her voice singing one of the YYY's songs. But this post is about Christian Joy, not about my facial tics or Karen O, so back to topic.

The only method by which I knew to contact Christian Joy was through Etsy, because Karen O pimped her Etsy store in a couple of Facebook entries. So off to Etsy I went. Like I knew what Etsy was. I quickly found out that it was a place to buy and sell handmade items (because I can read, even though reading is apparently hard). Great. All I wanted was a hookup with a designer, not a place from which to sell my handicrafts to housewives in Hoboken or my gewgaws to gay men in Great Neck. But I discovered that, to send a message to Ms. Joy, I would have to create an Etsy account.

Well, why the hell not? I thought. So I did. I now have a fucking store on Etsy. If you want to check it out, go here, but why bother? I don't have anything to sell. My store is empty. The only things I know how to make by hand are bread and love, and Etsy does not appear to be precisely the correct venue in which to sell either of those things. Nothing against Etsy, of course. It seems like a very wholesome place in which to shop for things I don't need and can't afford.

However, armed with my new Etsy account, I could now send a message to my soon-to-be new friend Christian Joy, or Xian, as I started calling her in my mind. What to say in my message? I wanted to word it carefully, so she wouldn't think I was a dork. In other words, I couldn't sound like myself in the message. I also didn't want to sound like a YYYs fan. I figured if I could track down Xian after a couple hours of work, so could the obnoxious 22 year old chick sitting next to you in whatever bar you're in right now, texting on her iPhone and snapping her gum. And it would take her about 4 minutes to do it, if I'm any judge of obnoxious 22 year old chicks. And I am.

So this is what I came up with:
Hi. I find myself in the awkward position of having committed to a very dear (and gorgeous) friend to design and make her a top to go with a sarong I gave her. Since I have absolutely no knowledge of or experience in fashion design, I am totally winging it, but oddly I am enjoying the experience a great deal. Where I'm at is that I have created a design for a silk top (2 designs actually!) but I'm not exactly sure what the next step should be. I'm attempting to draft the designs but it's going to take a while since I am pretty much a kindergarten-level artist. I shall persevere however.

The reason I'm writing you is that you're the only person I know of who does this sort of thing whose designs I like, and I thought you could perhaps give me some advice on to whom I can turn to actually create the garments. I'm okay with designing things but not so confident of my ability to sew silk!

Anyway, thank you very much for your attention, and any help you care to give me will be greatly appreciated. And written about as well, by the way; see [Hulles blog link] for the first part of the story.

Again, thanks. Sincerely, [Hulles]

I thought it was pretty good. I left it sort of open-ended about what I really wanted from her, so she could feel free to say "Hey, just send me the drawings and I'll fucking make it for you!" or something similar; I didn't mention Karen O at all; and I didn't beg and whine nearly as much as I wanted to. "Please help me, I'm just a clueless (albeit cute) straight guy who's trapped in a world of fashion design he never sought to violate repeatedly," or something similar. After some reflection, however, I confess that it might have been a bad idea to include a link to this blog in the message.

As it turns out, it didn't matter. The very next day after I sent her the message, Xian appeared on the cover of Time Out New York, as one of "the most stylish New Yorkers". Great. So of course I have not heard back from her, nor do I expect to. I guess that I won't get to know Xian after all, nor will I become close friends with her, fall in love, get married and have Karen O be the maid of honor. Her loss. Their loss, actually. But I soldier on, though I'm abandoning the use of Ms. Joy's pet name of Xian in retribution. That should teach her a lesson of some sort. And I'm also reducing the angle of my eyebrow cock when I hear a YYY's song, because I'm petty and spiteful like that.

The only other HCSSRBS (see title, duh) news bit that I'm including in this post, is that I bought a Fashion Design Tool, or FDT. See, the reason I haven't made more progress on this project than I have is that I'm fucking broke. Were it otherwise, my lair would be strewn with silk remnants and selvages (selvedges if you're British) and shit, and my fiend Sandy, with whom I am so not in love, even though she's beautiful, funny, caring, sexy, hot, bright, sexy, likes Lesbian porn, and... What? Oh yeah, if I had any money at all Sandy would be a lot closer to having my silken creation caressing her breasts right now. But such is not the case; her poor breasts will have to wait. What I was able to buy was a tape measure, so I could measure her body and get the top just right. Shut up.

My new tape measure is such an awesome FDT, though. It's a Singer brand, it cost about US$2.50 or so (ouch!), it's apparently made of fibreglass, which might be a good thing, who knows, and it's hot pink. Yes, hot pink. So I am currently carting around in my briefcase a hot pink tape measure, suitable for pretty much any task that involves dressmaking. I'm just waiting for it to fall out of my briefcase when I'm sitting in a tavern swilling beer, watching football on TV and grunting and farting with my male pals. Nope. Can't wait.

Sandy is going to owe me big time for this. Big. Time.

- Hulles

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Erotica Is Hard Work

I just finished writing a short story that can best be termed "erotic fiction". No, I'm not going to publish it here, but I thought I would talk about the experience of writing the story in this blog, just because it was so damn weird.

This was my first foray into the fetid realm of erotica. It resulted from a conversation I had with a dear friend. Once again, I heard myself say, "Hey, I can do that." Good lord, when will I learn to keep my mouth shut? Well, we all know the answer to that one, don't we? But what I learned in the process of putting up, as opposed to shutting up, was interesting.

First, erotic fiction is a dramatically different genre than what I now call "placid fiction" (or occasionally, "flaccid fiction"). I've written short stories of various types before, so I thought "No problemo, Hulles!" That lasted about until I set fingers to keyboard to start my brand new porn story.

Hmmm. What the hell makes a good erotic story? Sex, obviously, but how much? Realistic? Believable? Improbable? Fantastic? How much non-sex goes into the story? How long do you spend describing the _____ [insert any of about 38 dirty words here]? I found myself perplexed by these questions and many others like them, until I did what I always seem to end up doing: just saying "fuck it" and writing the damn story.

One thing I had not realized prior to this experience is that, when you write erotic fiction, you have to live it in your mind so you can tell the story. "Well, of course!" you say, "that's how you write anything!" And I answer, "Yeah, easy for you to say, I'm single, I'm a guy and I haven't gotten laid yet this year." [Stifles a small sob and daubs at his eyes with a clean pair of underwear.]

In other words, to write this story I had to live through an evening of extremely intense sex with a stunningly beautiful woman over and over and over again, at least in my imagination. It damn near killed me. My cat Mimi wouldn't come near me the whole time, she just paced nervously in the living room as I sat at the computer in my office typing. Whenever I would finally end for the night and call for her to come to bed, she would dive into the coat closet like a prairie dog on meth and not come out until morning. And it's probably just as well, to tell you the truth. It saved a lot of strain on our relationship.

There was certainly no paucity of strain on my body, however. I'm not sure how it is with you, but when I imagine having steamy sex with someone at the requisite level of detail -- sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and let's not forget touch -- my body starts to go on autopilot. It begins to morph into some sort of single-minded monster can imagine. But on the occasion of writing this story, when the metamorphosis was complete my body stopped, looked around, and said to itself, "What the... There's nobody here! OMG, my chauffeur is insane! I'll just teach him a lesson and make all of his body parts intensely miserable for the next several hours."

And yes, unlike me, my body does say "OMG!" That's why I write and he just shows up and stands around looking uncomfortable most of the time.

I swear, I don't know how people who write erotica for a living are able to do it. All I can imagine is that they must have about 20 lovers at any given time, all of whom show up for work every morning with rumpled hair looking extremely relaxed and blissfully stupid.

Me, I'm going back to drinking skim milk, doing the New York Times crossword puzzle every day and cancelling every one of my 283 personal ads. I can't take the abuse.

Although come to think of it, there is one scene that I still haven't gotten exactly right. It needs some additional research, so if you're a frighteningly hot woman with a taste for the bizarre and enjoy guacamole, send me an email. Previous trapeze experience a plus. YOU TOO can show up for work in the morning looking relaxed and blissfully stupid. And as an added bonus, you will gain the personal satisfaction of having supported the arts to the best of your agility, stamina and strength. Please consult your physician prior to your arrival. I know I'm calling mine.

Ah, the suffering I am willing to endure for my craft. I better get at least a Pulitzer out of this.

- Hulles