Friday, March 30, 2007

For Anne

It was a warm fall afternoon, and Frank the gray squirrel and his pals had already spent a busy and productive day burying nuts in the loamy-smelling yard and tormenting the overweight cats that sat in windows watching them. The squirrels were taking their union-mandated fifteen minute break, and where on another day they would be merry and frolicsome and playfully chasing each other around the elm tree, today they just stood around in a small group and jinked their tails at one another.

"Hey, Frank, did you see the cat in the yellow house on the corner? I had him hopping up and down and foaming at the mouth the whole time I was cleaning out the bird feeder right across from his window," chortled Seamus, the squirrel who lived two trees down from Frank.

"Go on, Seamus, that fat old cat was asleep in the sunshine the whole time and you know it. You couldn't get a vretch excited if you spent the day at it," retorted Frank, referring to a small creature that squirrels know about that is often quite excitable. "Dang, this bite I got last month from some creature of the night that I was unable to see clearly is really itching a lot today."

"You should have that looked at," said Al, an older gray squirrel from down the street. "Hey, check out that squirrel, will you? He must have seen Pirates of the Caribbean one too many times or something! Arrrgh!" He and the other squirrels then made a lot more "Arrgh!" sounds and chittered amongst themselves and twitched their tails derisively at the squirrel walking past them in the yard.

The old red squirrel they were mocking had a scarf tied around his head and a large gold hoop in his left ear. One of his eyes was missing and he was hobbling along painfully until he came abreast of Frank and the other squirrels. But as he glanced with his good eye at Frank, he yikked and leapt backward and hawked a gobbet of phlegm onto Frank's forehead.

"Oi! What the fuck did you do that for, you asshole?" snarled Frank.

The old red squirrel didn't reply, but instead raised a quivering paw and pointed it at Frank and recited in a querulous voice:

Not all round and hard things are walnuts
Not every small brown thing's a seed
Take care on the night of the full moon
Lest the werehamster's bite makes you bleed
A lot from a ripped throat

Frank and his friends looked at one another in puzzlement.

"Arrgh, it sounds lots better in the original Gypsy Squirrel dialect, I had to translate it myself on the spot and I'm frankly a little rusty but I'm pretty sure you couldn't do a better job of it, you cackling jackanapes," muttered the old squirrel. "But what it means is that you've been bitten by a werehamster and tonight's a full moon. You'll go through a painful and dramatic transformation into a loathsome monster then you'll kill and eat the one you love most. Arrgh, there I go giving away the plot again," grumbled the colorful stock character as he limped away. "'Sound ominous,' they tell me. 'Sound mysterious and portentous,' they say. But then they only give me a paragraph or two and spend half the time talking about how bizarre I look, what the hell am I supposed to do, it's not like this is a high-budget blog and I can actually get a chance to do the scene right or anything...."

Frank and the other squirrels looked at each other and shrugged, then Al said,

"Hey Frank, tonight's your big date with Doris, isn't it? I can't believe you got her to go out with you. What do you have planned tonight, scamper behind the garage and have at her for twenty seconds then run off? That didn't work out so well with Amber, did it?" At this Al and the other squirrels dissolved into the squirrel equivalent of peals of laughter.

"Give me a break, guys, she's a nice squirrel -- I have to get her drunk first," replied Frank good-naturedly. "We're going down the block where I have some fermented apples stashed and I'm going to dig up a couple of juicy nuts I've been saving and we're going to make a night of it. In fact," said Frank, lowering his voice conspiratorially, "I might even propose to her if I can work up the courage!"

"Gerroff!" said Seamus. "You old dog you! I never had you pegged for the marrying type!"

"Yeah, this time I'm serious about entering into a mature and nurturing and mutually respectful relationship and I'm going to make it work. I've decided that I'm tired of one-minute stands with any squirrel that has ten nipples -- this time it's love."

"Squirrel love," snickered Al. "It's like muskrat love except smaller and dryer!" And the three squirrels kittered and twitched their tails and went back to work. But if one were to look carefully at young Frank one could detect a dreamy, faraway look in his eyes as he scurried about the yard gathering food....

[Look for "Cry Of The Werehamster: The Next Part" coming soon to a blog near you. -- The Management]

-- Hulles

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Recently I was talking with a friend about being protective. The friend and I were discussing a post in Amber's blog where Amber's male date at the time physically confronted some obnoxious guy who was being rude to a female bartender. The part that interested us about this is the thin line between defending a woman's honor and being considered overprotective. Amber got all steamy hot about the fact that her date physically stood up to the asshole in the bar. I, on the other hand, always seem to get something like, "Oh, grow up! You're just being overprotective. I can take care of myself just fine without you getting all macho and shit." Sigh.

In the conversation with my friend I made the claim that I am less protective of women these days than I was in (figurative) past lives, mostly because I became weary of hearing remarks like the one I quote above. Let the bitch kick him in the teeth herself then, is pretty much where I'm at these days. But since having this conversation I've been reflecting upon over-protectiveness and when I've displayed it, and I immediately remembered La Encina.

To give you a little background, Carmen, my now ex-wife, and her kids and I first started living together when the kids were in (I believe) 8th Grade and 9th Grade. To say the least, it was a pretty drastic transition for me to go from being a single, devil-may-care roué to being a husband-equivalent and father-equivalent to two daughters. I recall more than once wishing I had an instruction booklet. But we all loved each other and I, at least, would not trade that time for anything in the world.

When Isabel, my oldest kid, graduated from high school and Cristina was about to become a senior, the kids and their mom and I took a month-long trip to Spain. Carmen and I had earlier decided that the kids were mature enough to be treated like adults on the trip, and we tried hard to live up to this morally difficult choice. And they were, by the way, and it was a great trip. Most of it.

However, there was one occasion on this holiday I still have nightmares about. Toward the end of our stay in Spain we ended up in Alicante, a city on the Mediterranean, prepared to spend a week in a condo we had rented. To make a long story shorter, Alicante sucked and we decided that life was too short to spend another second in that place even though we'd already paid for the condo so we took the first train we could get to go back to Marbella, another city on the Med that we all loved. And we did.

But the train route to Marbella was circuitous so we had to transfer trains at approximately 1:00 AM in a place called La Encina. On the map it looked like a small town, and we expected it to be a quaint Spanish village like so many others we had seen. Hah.

La Encina, which means "The Oak" in Spanish, was pretty much just a tiny train station in the middle of nowhere. I never did see the oak, but there was a hell of a lot of nothing else all around the station. What it did have at one o'clock in the morning was a crazy woman who walked around and around the station (which was closed) with a poodle following her, talking and singing and laughing at nothing we could see. She had on some ratty top and nothing else. Her nether regions were more or less concealed by a large towel, and with each circuit of the station the towel was arranged differently. I have no idea where she changed it nor do I ever want to know. But my own favorite configuration was when she wore the towel like a breech cloth, except that it revealed way too much of her doughy thighs.

So there sat Carmen, the kids and I on the train platform, watching Breech Cloth Woman and her poodle walk endlessly around the tiny train station cackling away in Spanish. Oh, did I mention there were 3000 18-year-old boys present as well?

It seems that Spain, like many countries, has (or at least had) mandatory military service for males when they reach 18 or so. It was our great luck that their induction was due to take place the next day, so every pubescent male for miles and miles around was standing outside the La Encina train station, half of them drunk. And the only women in site were my wife, my two daughters, and Breech Cloth Woman. "Hmmm," I said to myself.

I should probably also mention that my wife and two daughters were (and still are) extremely hot. So it was immediately clear to me that the prey of choice for the 3000 slavering young males was not going to be Breech Cloth Woman, avant garde fashion statements notwithstanding. I swear, every basic male instinct that man comes equipped with surged through my body: protect your children from predation, protect your wife from lewd and lascivious behavior that isn't yours, and avoid doughy thighs at all costs.

Have you ever seen hyenas attacking a lion? The pack works together, so when the lion turns to slash at one hyena, two that are behind him bite his nuts. Well, I felt much like that lion. I would turn to curse at a few boys that were looking at my wife indecorously and while I was doing this, several more would creep up and start flirting with Isabel and Cristina. ¡Coño! I got dizzy from spinning around to meet the attacks from my flanks. Even Carmen, whose own teeth-kicking abilities are not inconsiderable I am here to tell you, was somewhat disconcerted by the sheer number of boys. But it was scary. You could almost hear the testosterone fizzing in their bodies when the Breech Cloth Woman wasn't around singing and laughing at the top of her lungs.

See, if you're a woman you should know if you don't already that a man's reaction to any male sniffing around his daughter is this: "I know what I was like when I was 18, I would have had sex with a tree if it had a knothole and drill my own if it didn't, so there's no doubt in my mind whatsoever what this young turk is all about." It is a primal reaction that makes the father snarl and claw the drywall and scent-mark the couch. So you get the picture -- I was protective, conceivably even over-protective, at times. And this was one of those times.

Finally, after an eternity of whirling and growling and cursing, our train arrived at about 3 AM and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. It turned out to be premature. The doors to the train opened, and masses of young men surged into the train, carrying my daughters off with them. Carmen and I just looked at each other with disbelief then with resignation, certain we would never see our kids again. I decided right there that we would have to get busy making replacements for them because all we would ever find of Isabel and Cristina would be a small white sock with scalloped edges and a semen stain.

But then we talked it over and decided, in a very poignant and heart-wrenching moment, that the kids were mature young women and wise to the ways of the world and they could probably handle themselves quite nicely without me being over-protective and Carmen being nonplussed. In other words, we had to let go and trust them to be the women we knew they could be.

It only took moments after that to start feeling sorry for the 3000 18-year-old boys.

-- Hulles

Monday, March 26, 2007

"There are some women who should barely be spoken to; they should only be caressed. "
- Edgar Degas

It's only been a few months since I've become a Café Person, hanging out and writing and generally geeking it up (and every once in a while doing some real work) at the redundantly-named Nina's Coffee Cafe. I began going there because it had wireless internet, power outlets and napkins, and I had need of all three of those things. But prior to that I used to think cafés were just for losers. Who would hang out at a coffee shop when the bars were open? Well, it turns out I was right, cafés are just for losers. But you do get the occasional exception that proves the rule.

One exception that I met a while ago was Squirrel Picture Woman. SPW was a lovely young lady that once occupied a table next to mine. She was obviously an artist of some sort and taking a drawing class, because as she sat next to me she was busily sketching small woodland creatures in pencil in a notebook. It was sort of cool though because she was using a laptop and internet searches to find photographs of her subjects which she would then render in a drawing, yet another example of a creative use for today's technology. Every once in a while I would surreptitiously glance over at her notebook and check out her sketches. For some reason, that day she was drawing squirrels.

Eventually, because she was a lovely young woman and I'm who I am, I had to speak to her:

Hulles: "You're drawing those squirrels wrong."

SPW: "Excuse me?"

Hulles: "I don't mean to interrupt, but you're drawing those squirrels wrong."

SPW: "What do you mean?"

Hulles: "Well, your sketches can't really be squirrels because they don't have nuts."

Hey, it's a gift, what can I say? To her credit, at least in my eyes, Squirrel Picture Woman did actually snerk when I said that. I don't think think I've spoken to her since, but every once in a while we'll run into each other and we'll both smile guiltily at the horrible joke that we both recall.

But the real exception to the café losers theory is Emily. Emily is a beautiful woman, and I don't use the "B" word lightly. She is tall and slender, lithe and lissome, and she has light brown hair that naturally curls and she has piercing blue eyes and she is gorgeous to die for. She is what is sometimes called a "natural beauty," in that it does not appear that she goes to a lot of trouble to look good and yet she is always radiantly lovely. Other women must hate her; I'm pretty sure I would. Her best feature, however, is her smile. It is effulgent. Every time Emily smiles, the sun comes out, the birds start chirping, whatever dark clouds are circling 'round my head immediately dissipate and I want to chastely kiss her. And I don't use the "C" word lightly (or often) either.

I first saw her shortly after I started frequenting Nina's and have this note from the occasion: "Pretty girl with Thai tattoo." This is because it was warm weather and Emily had on a [top with string shoulder strap thingies that if I was a girl I'd know what it was properly called] and I could see that she had an excellent tattoo on her right shoulder blade. Since I have ink myself and long ago learned that anyone with a tattoo loves to talk about it and because I was instantly smitten with her I went up and asked her about it. She smiled and.... What? Oh yeah, she smiled and said she had gotten it trekking in Thailand and that she was really proud of it because tattoos were illegal in Thailand but she had talked a guy into it anyway. I can just imagine:

Severely underemployed Thai tattoo artist is lounging around outside his shop chucking baht at a milk jar. Up walks Emily.

Emily: "Pardon me, but I'd like to get a tattoo please."

Tattoo Guy (without looking up from his game): "Whuh? Stupid farang lady, sorry, tattoos are illegal in Thailand." (Curses to himself, resumes baht chucking.)

Emily: "Please?"

Tattoo Guy: "Look, lady...." (Guy looks up; Emily smiles at him.)

Five hours later, Tattoo Guy comes to his senses in a Bangkok jail cell with a blissful smile upon his face, having given Emily a tattoo, his life savings and his milk jar.

It took me a long time after that to work up the courage to engage her in conversation however. This is because I mentioned her to my friend Melissa and M. told me that Emily was a good friend of hers and that she (Emily) was a little shy about compliments. I heard this and made a mental note to never speak to Emily, since to say that I come on strongly is to make such an understatement that it approaches inaudibility. Sharon Stone would blush and stammer like a schoolgirl while talking to me. So I put a sock in it.

But of course I am buoyantly irrepressible. A couple of months ago I just marched right up to Emily and said "Hi, I think you're incredibly beautiful." She smiled and.... Urgk. She smiled and said thanks and we chatted for a few minutes and I don't remember the next two days at all. Since then, however, we have spoken often and recently I was even able to sit next to her and help her write an application for a foreign study program. It was difficult to concentrate while I was doing this, both because her innate radiance made it hard to see the laptop screen and because of the loud crackling sounds made by the other men in the café grinding their teeth. But we got through it.

I've thought a lot about this, and I have concluded that what is so beautiful about Emily is her presence, her aura if you will. It's like her soul shines through, and seeing her makes me happy in the same way that seeing the dark reds and purples and flashes of gold of a strikingly beautiful sunset makes me happy. This is so much the case that a while ago I added an item to my to-do list: "Smile about Emily," just to cheer myself up when I get a little down. And if that isn't a nice compliment I don't know what is.

Part of my original intent in writing this post about Emily was to contrast how I feel about her with how I normally write about women, indefatigable sex dog that I am. I was going to claim that there was no concupiscence involved concerning her, just something else that I suppose I was going to call "warm fondness" or some such drivel. But I soon realized as I was writing this post that that is so much bullshit -- I want her and I to spend the rest of our lives touring the Great Hotels of the World, living on superlative hotel sex and mediocre room service until we both die smiling. Sigh. But I meant well when I started....

I'll end this paean to Emily, which word incidentally I still don't know how to pronounce, with a small anecdote. As a dear friend might say, "Sure, she's beautiful, but somewhere out there there's a man who's sick of her shit." Well, I may have met that man. Emily recently introduced me to her boyfriend, and I was very happy to meet him and he seemed like a nice guy. But I hope that now he is a little more relaxed about the fact that I adore his girlfriend. Earlier E. had explained that he was worried I would take her away from him with my money. Once I brushed the dirt off my sweatshirt from rolling on the floor laughing, I told her he need not worry too much: on the day we were speaking I was smoking recycled tobacco in a pipe because I didn't have enough money to buy cigarettes.

But Emily dear, just so you know, I've started saving my money to take you away. So far I have $1.38, but I'm confident that in time I'll be able to buy you Ferraris and monogrammed Shih Tzus and condos in Montreux, not to mention take you on a tour of the Great Hotels of the World. You'll just need to be a little patient, is all.

-- Hulles

Sunday, March 25, 2007

I'm writing this entry in the tour bus as we drive from Savannah, Georgia to Biloxi, Mississippi. It's 3:38 AM and things are pretty quiet on the bus right now; everyone has passed out from too many Mexican Windbreakers and the bus A/C is struggling mightily to clear the fetid air. Occasionally it sounds like a flock of ducks passing over head, but all in all solitude reigns and I can write this entry.

This tour, the Hulles: Bald As Love tour, is the first one where my blog is the headliner. The Hulles blog has toured before, opening for static and pink india ink, but it's lots different finally having top billing. For one thing, finally most of the groupies are heterosexual women and I don't have to forlornly sift through the spurned and disgruntled lesbians hoping to find a couple that might be convinced that fish really do need bicycles.

Another big difference is that my entourage has grown. It now consists of:

Roadies: Mike, Little Al, Melvin and Sean. Their job is to set up and take down the blogging equipment every night. They set up the wireless network and the big screen monitors on stage and make sure Lucille II, my famous and beloved laptop, is in prime working form.

Bodyguards: Geoff and Big Al. Their role is to prevent rabid fans and creditors from approaching the Hulles person. As the ranks of creditors has swollen, however, I think I may need to add a bodyguard or two. And yes, I am smart enough to pay the bodyguards in cash.

Accountant: Shifty Pete Peterson. Shifty Pete, a former master forger, writes the checks while we are on tour and makes sure there's always enough money for limes, Cuervo Gold and countless cans of Old El Paso refried beans. He is also responsible for sales of Hulles franchise items like T-shirts, baseball caps and stuffed werehamsters.

Handler: Leon. Leon's job is to accompany me when I use a public restroom. He unzips my fly for me , shakes my dick when I'm done urinating, and carefully and gently puts it back into my Hanro underwear and zips me up again. I make him wear rubber surgical gloves, of course, so my penis does not get any germs on it that don't come from pussy. I had to fire the first handler after Day 2 of the tour because he just could not seem to remember that I tuck my cock to the right in my pants, not the left. Good help is so hard to find these days.

Sound Technicians: Sean and Heather. Since I blog and don't really say anything out loud except for the occasional grunt and squeal of delight. we don't have a sound system. As a result, there is never really anything for Sean and Heather to do. I just have them along to provide them with a job since they are putatively my kids and their mothers are mean and vindictive women.

Lighting: Ravenna. Ravenna takes care of the stage lighting at concert time. She's thin as a rail, pale as a ghost and did way too many drugs in her youth. She is seldom capable of constructing or understanding a complete sentence, but she does a nice job with the lights and I can pay her by check.

Aesthetician: Jen. I find as I tour that I need the odd manicure and wax job, and Jen provides these things. Truth be told, I wasn't aware that I needed to tour with an aesthetician until I was informed of this by Jen in no uncertain terms.

Researcher: Good Sarah. Good Sarah's job is to research my blogs while we're on the road and provide me with background information on the various topics about which I choose to write. She also reads and leaves comments on the blogs I follow under my name, and she makes sure that the fawning young female fans that find their way into my hotel room are at least 18 years of age and have no concealed weapons or open running sores.

Well, that's the crew, such as it is. The Hulles: Bald As Love tour started out with morris dancers, but the damn bus was just too crowded with them (plus the jingling of the bells drove everyone crazy) so we cut them out of the act with an Uzi. I wanted to film it so we could relive the event over and over but the Hulles attorney would not permit it.

When we arrive in Biloxi we'll head straight to the arena and set up and do a network check, then we'll head for our hotel and unwind a bit before the show. Usually the caterers set up a spread of some sort for us at the arena but I'm not sure what the arrangements are here. At any rate we usually get to the arena about an hour or so ahead of time except for the technicians, who pretty much live there until the equipment is broken down at the end of the night. We hang out for about a half hour then I do a rigorous routine of hand-stretching and knuckle-cracking to make sure these million-dollar fingers are in shape for blogging. At last, Jen gives my eyebrows a final waxing and it's show time.

After the opening blog is done and the intermission is over and everyone has returned to their seats, the lights dim, the big screens are lit with the Hulles logo and Good Sarah plays some YouTube videos of Brazilian love songs just to get everyone's blood flowing. Then I walk on stage and graciously acknowledge the deafening applause; I myself then gather up all the panties laying around on the stage and toss them into the Golden Panty Box. I find this personal touch thrills the ladies, especially when I stop and theatrically sniff one before dropping it into the Box. But finally I sit down at the custom-crafted desk and begin to exercise that tremendous and mind-boggling talent that a gracious Higher Power has granted to me, the talent to blog my ass off.

As I write my blog post the words appear on the jumbo monitors, and it is most gratifying for me to hear the gasps of amazement as I craft a particularly good phrase and the [eva] gales of laughter as I write something hilariously funny, usually about Garrison Keillor or my colon. But truly, for me and in fact for all of us in my crew, the most rewarding part of every show is the thunderous applause and screaming and stamping that always comes at the end of the show, when I write

-- Hulles

Thursday, March 22, 2007

I'm not sure I'm going to be able to crank out a real post today, but fellow Ladonian Kat Blackthorne created a Happy Equinox Egg for your viewing pleasure.

I really like the little Equinox Egg a lot. And the photo is so Truffaut!

-- Hulles

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Item: The colonoscopy went just fine; thanks to those of you who wished me well. It was actually pretty interesting. I got to watch the whole thing on a TV monitor in real-time. I suffered a little discomfort and in a couple instances some pain, but the drugs were there for me just as they were in the 70's and it was all fine. My stark terror was for naught. And even better news: I did not become enamored of the procedure as I had feared. My nurse Gwen said that there were people who enjoyed the experience excessively, but she would say no more on the subject.

I didn't get a copy of the video because they don't make a video, but I did get pictures. Funny thing, though, no one I asked yesterday really wanted to see them. I found this odd. Maybe it's just because it's my colon and I'm being excessively proud of it.

My plan of writing the following phrase on my ass in indelible marker didn't really pay off, unfortunately:

If you're a cute female nurse, this ass could be yours! Call 7xx-9xx-8xxx and ask for Hulles!

I was sad that it didn't work. It was a lot of work spelling everything backwards in the mirror.

Item: My Brazilification continues. I'm learning more Portuguese, and Casti continues to send me links to Brazilian love songs, like this YouTube video: Marina Lima singing "Pessoa." It is a haunting and expressive tune and I love it. Thanks, Casti, you are the best (você é o mais melhor!).

Item: Just for the record, I made some grammatical fixes to my "Albert And Me And Baby Makes Three" post, and changed the title to the one here (from "Albert And I And..."). I guess my sleep deprivation really did take its toll.

Item: More movie appearances! Yippee! I'm a star! Well, okay, maybe not, but I still think I can give Anthony Hopkins a run for his money for sheer creepiness. If you're Dino De Laurentiis and are looking for the next Hannibal Lector, look no further. If you're interested at all, the two new Chasing Windmills episodes in which I exhibit my method-acting skills are "flight" and "run". In the former, yours truly imitates a meerkat and peeps around a corner. In the latter, you get to see a new acting talent of mine: smoking a cigarette. I actually interviewed twenty or thirty smokers to determine their motivation for this behavior and spent two weeks living among the savage smokers of Minnesota (an endangered culture!) to prepare for this role. It shows, and I hope to win a "Best Cameo by an Evil Stepdad" award at the next Vloggies awards ceremony.

Thanks once again to Cristina and Jadelr for the opportunity to participate in the CW process. I laughed so hard it hurt the last time we filmed. And just as a teaser, be aware that I think I may actually have a speaking part in the next CW episode in which I appear! Gasp! Also, CW is wrapping up the season right now and resolving mysteries left and right. It's all very exciting. I even finally got to find out why I was stalking Steve. Check the newest episodes out if you haven't done so already.

Item: I was privileged to meet my friend Erin's mother and sister last week. I heard this memorable remark from Lindsey, Erin's sister, describing her physical appearance compared to Erin's: "People don't believe how much alike we don't look!" I am going to cherish that phrase forever.

Item: Scott Schwister recently posted an incisive commentary in his articulate blog Higher Edison on societal changes in the Internet age that is very much worth reading. Oh, and by the way he says nice things about my writing in it.... Thanks, Scott.

-- Hulles

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

For the first time in my adult life I'm not totally full of shit. I have a colonoscopy this afternoon, and the preparation for that procedure is pretty spectacular if you've never done it. If you want to know what it's like, try this: watch the movie "The Ten Commandments" with Charlton Heston, and skip to the part where Moses parts the Red Sea and leads the Hebrews out of Egypt, then fast forward it. That will pretty much give you the idea. Particularly when you get to the part where Yul Brynner and his villainous pals are wiped out by a vengeful God.

I found a lady's wristwatch, the head of a G.I. Joe action figure and an old rusted-out car muffler. Who knew?

The nasty stuff they made me drink to clean out my colon is called "Golytely," Someone somewhere has a very sick sense of humor; I'll never be able to watch "Breakfast at Tiffany's" again. You mix up 4 liters of a clear liquid that tastes like axle grease and drink an 8-ounce glass of it every ten minutes until it's gone. I never knew how much 4 liters really was until last night. It's about 12,834 8-ounce glasses. And ten minutes? Ten minutes takes about two minutes, then you have to drink another one. Every time the microwave timer went off signaling another glass was due there was much wailing, lamentation and rending of garments in the Hulles household, of that you can be sure.

I am going to pass along a tip to you if you've never had a colonoscopy before and are scheduled for one. A week or so before the procedure the jovial colonoscopers send you a printed sheet of detailed instructions in the mail telling you everything you need to do. But they neglect to tell you one important thing: make sure you are not running low on toilet paper. I had to end up wiping my ass with my cat. Good thing she's declawed; that is all I will say on that subject.

But now I have a clean colon. I stuck my head up there and looked around, and the walls are shiny and the floors sparkle. It echos in there too, which is kind of cool. When I went outside this morning to get the paper, the brisk breeze blowing across my asshole caused a kind of mellow fluting sound. I found I could adjust the pitch of this sound with my sphincter and happily stood outside in my robe and played Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor" until I found the red dot of a laser sight on my chest. My neighbors must not appreciate classical music, the swine.

So wish me luck with the procedure itself this afternoon. I am terrified of it, frankly. I am not looking forward to having semitrailer trucks and camera crews and gaffers and best boys and the like shoved up my ass. But glass-half-full guy that I am, I intend to salvage something from the horrendous experience -- I'm going to try and get a copy of the video of my colon and post it here for your edification and viewing enjoyment. In fact, I'm confident it will become one of the more popular videos on YouTube this week. Maybe I can get Charlton Heston to narrate it.

But the thing that really scares me about the colonoscopy is this: what if I like it? What if I can't get enough of it? What if every week or so I have to buy a jug of Golytely on the black market and show up in disguise at the clinic and make them give me yet another deliciously exhilarating colonoscopy? It would be a sad and furtive existence, living on the fringes of society, shunned by my friends who read too many tough-love self-help books, attending Colonoscopoholics Anonymous, "Hi, my name is Hulles and I like medical equipment shoved up my ass," losing my blog to some upstart young puke who is much wittier and more handsome than I am and that Kristen Painter is totally hot for, finally being forced to make my own laxatives from dirt and willow bark and shove a bendable novelty straw up my ass in a desperate and pathetic attempt at one more fix....

However, I am happy to report that it seems pretty unlikely that this will be the case, so both you and my cat can breathe a heavy sigh of relief.

-- Hulles

Sunday, March 18, 2007

A number of years ago the notorious Unca Don and I worked on a computer project for a large company in Toronto, Ontario, USA North. I was there in the trenches pretty much full time; Don's role was to fly up every couple of weeks, look around, arch an eyebrow, and leave. It was truly masterful eyebrow-arching, however, and worth every cent of the gazillions of Canada Bucks that he was being paid. My own job title there was Ignominious Lackey. My function was to roam the men's rooms in the building and do shoe checks. If I saw a pair of shoes under a stall door that belonged to a project member I was to swear loudly at them in Canadian and force them back to work. It was an ugly, stinky job and I certainly earned both dollars I made up there.

One of the members of our project team, David yclept, was nicknamed the Fontmeister because he spent the majority of his time each working day fucking around loading different fonts in the laser printer. No one ever challenged him on this because no one was quite certain what his real job was supposed to be. I always speculated that he had been assigned to our project team just in case the team somehow became hopelessly trapped in a snowstorm on a mountain in Peru. We could kill him and eat him and no one would feel the least bit guilty.

Like many of the Anglo Canadians I got to know there, David was very much an anal retentive person. On the few occasions that the team went out to socialize, when David would excuse himself to go to the restroom there was always a slight popping noise when he stood up, and he left a little raised pucker in the vinyl on his bar stool. You get the idea. David was an older lonely divorcee, and socially I was like unto a god to him. I think this was because I had fun when I went out but I'm not positive about this [see my More Dance post for an atypical example of my going out in Toronto. - The Management].

Regardless of the reason, David was always bugging me to go with him to a strip club that he knew of. I kept putting him off, hoping against hope that our project team would become trapped on a mountainside, but finally I had to give in. Thus, early one Friday evening in the lovely city of Toronto your hero -- me -- found himself sitting in his hotel lobby waiting for David to pick him up. You could have sliced the foreboding and ominousity with a knife. But at last David arrived and we departed for the suburb of Mississauga where this gentleman's club was supposedly located.

It took us 45 minutes to get to Mississauga, then David drove around for an hour trying to find the damn strip club as more and more punctuation marks found their way into the thought balloons above my head. He was never able to find it. Finally he admitted defeat and told me that we could go to a strip club in Markham, the suburb in which he lived. At this point you should know that Markham was only about a 5 minute drive from my hotel. If we had gone there initially instead of hiring Sherpa guides and traveling to Mississauga, your hero -- me -- could have been already well on his way to having that "fun" thing that David had heard so much about. But nope, instead I had to suffer through another 50 minutes of inane drivel while we headed to Markham. Sigh.

We finally arrived at the strip club. I emerged from the car a pale shadow of my former self with chattering teeth and a tic in my left eye that I have to this day. The insipidity of the conversation in the car had come close to killing me. But I am made of sterner stuff than most and I rallied quickly at the sight of a building with a neon sign and no windows. "Woohoo!" I think. "Booze! Naked women! Loud music! No conversation!" It was as if I had come home to the Promised Land.

We walked through the door into a blaring version of the song that every strip club in the world plays over and over and that I've never known the name of but that makes me become erect and automatically reach for my wallet every time I hear it. And here I encountered my first pleasant surprise of the evening: the cover charge to get in was five dollars Canadian. Nothing in Toronto costs five dollars when you go out. And in the States I expect to drop at least 25 bucks at the door for your classier ecdysiastical establishment, plus I usually tip the guy in the tux extravagantly to round me up a decent table. So when I only had to pay the equivalent of 38¢ US to get inside this club my eyebrows shot over the top of my head and landed in the back my stylish bikini brief underwear. "Excellent!" I said, rubbing my hands together.

The club was sparsely populated at that time for some reason, and David and I quickly found ourselves a table and ordered adult beverages from a cocktail waitress with a cute ass. She (and it) came back shortly with our drinks, and I got my second surprise: the gin and tonic I ordered cost four dollars. In most places you go to in Toronto that same drink would have cost about forty bucks. I'm exaggerating, but only slightly. So I had discovered another bargain and had found it in that most unlikely of venues, a strip club. As I implied earlier, normally I expect everything to cost about five times what it should in a place like that. Hence, another "Excellent!" and more rubbing of hands. I now had more money for table dances!

And speaking of which, up popped a lovely young blonde who offered to demonstrate her dancing ability for me. As you know, I'm a big fan of dance so I was all for this idea. But I have also been to ten trillion strip clubs around the world and have learned a thing or two in the process. "What are the rules here, and how much is a lap dance?" I asked her cannily. "The rules are that I can touch you anywhere I want to and do anything I want to you, you cannot initiate any contact with me, and a lap dance costs five dollars," replied my new-found angel.

Audible gasp! My eyebrows plummeted further down and landed in my socks when I heard this. Five bucks? Canadian? For a lap dance by this heavenly creature? "I'm staying here forever! Fuck Unca Don!" I thought to myself for neither the first nor the last time.

"Mwoo-hah-hah! Get out of that lacy negligee and into my lap, honey, this could be the start of a beautiful friendship!" I cried enthusiastically. (I might have said "Bwah-hah-hah!" instead, my memory is unclear on this point.) So the blond angel hopped aboard the Hulles train to financial freedom [Whrrr! goes my new metaphor mixer!] and I sighed contentedly and settled in for a long night of nirvanity. Well, it ought to be a word; nothing else comes close to describing my feelings at having a drop-dead gorgeous twenty-two-year-old woman writhing naked in my lap as we laugh and drink cheap cocktails and I toss off urbane and witty remarks ("Nice tits!").

Actually, the truth of the matter is that I really enjoyed my conversation with said angel. She was a university student (although sadly she was not an English major nor had she ever studied Catullus in Latin) who stripped to pay for her schooling and she was a very bright woman and was lively and charming and fun to be with and she had a great sense of humor. It also didn't hurt that buck naked was a good look for her and that she was a good writher. I immediately told her to simply charge me twenty bucks (Canadian!) a dance so I didn't need to do any math and that she need not seek other patronage while I remained on the premises. From the way her face lit up I suddenly knew that These Other Cheap Bastards Don't Tip. Well, too bad for them; I determined to do my own small bit to further higher education in Canada and aid in the survival of this particular species of gorgeous blonde so that they will be fruitful and multiply and spread throughout the strip clubs of North America.

As my angel and I laughed and drank and one of us writhed, I finally tore my eyes away from her and looked across the table to see what manner of trout David had landed. To my astonishment, he was sitting alone at the table watching the hockey game on one of the TVs that I only then noticed lined the ceiling! No shit. There were TVs hanging from the ceiling everywhere tuned to the Leafs game, and David would not even risk a glance over at the stunning blonde that was bare-ass naked about eight feet away from him.

"David, are you okay? Are you not feeling well?" I asked incredulously.

"No, I'm fine, I'm okay, this is great!"

"Well, you sick fuck, you've been bugging me for weeks to take you to a strip bar and now that we're finally here after spending half the night driving around Mississauga and I have the most beautiful woman in the world naked in front of us for a mere twenty bucks and you're watching THE FUCKING HOCKEY GAME?" I didn't say but thought very loudly indeed. So I turned back with a sigh to the business in front of me and resumed nirvanity at the point I had left it.

After a while I turned around again to check on Mr. Excitement. He was still riveted to the hockey game and it finally occurred to me that perhaps he was uncomfortable in this environment. I take strip clubs pretty much for granted these days and have come to feel that having pretty young girls gyrate naked in front of me is one of my God-given rights as an American that ought to be exercised often lest it be wrested from me. But David, it seemed, was not of this school of thought. Perhaps they have different God-given rights in Canada.

"David, are you sure you're alright? We can go any time you want if you're not having a good time." I lied magnanimously.

"No, this is fun, I'm having a great time!" he said.

"Well, let me know whenever you want to go and that will be fine with me. What's the score by the way?" Hockey really does get in your blood when you're in Canada.

After a reasonably long evening of adult entertainment we finally left the strip club and David dropped me off at my hotel. I floated back to my room, visions of sugar plums dancing in my head, and contentedly hit the sack.

The next Monday at work I happened to overhear David talking to some other members of the project team: "Yeah, Hulles and I went to a great strip club on Friday night and we got completely crazy and...." You get the picture, just like I finally did at the time. David merely wanted to appear to others like he possessed a real personality. He wanted his peers to think he was a vivacious and exciting man and a wild party animal and that he was not really the lame Fontmeister that everyone had believed.

Hah. As soon as he was gone I told everybody the real story and we all laughed long and hard at his expense, then when he came back we decided not to wait for the whole mountain thing and simply killed him and ate him on the spot.

-- Hulles

Friday, March 16, 2007

"Sometimes the mind, for reasons we don't necessarily understand, just decides to go to the store for a quart of milk."

- "Northern Exposure"

This post may be a little confused because I'm a little confused. I'm sitting in a café in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, and am slightly depraved. Okay, a lot depraved. I blame this on a lack of sleep but I'm quite sure there are other factors involved. But I need to slam a post on top of the last whiny one because I'm tired of it; plus I want to tell you about yet another fantasy that for a change does not involve being gleefully tortured by Divas. I want to have sex in Albert Einstein's lap.

You see, there is a large wonderfully playful bronze statue of Albert Einstein on the grounds of the National Academy of Science in Washington D.C. within spitting distance of the Viet Nam Memorial, one of the least humorous places in the world (at least to me). The Einstein statue is surrounded by bushes and trees and other green shit; thus it is effectively hidden from casual viewing and you pretty much have to know it's there to find it. But once you penetrate the copse you are confronted with an Einstein that frankly looks mischievous. I like the idea of a mischievous genius physicist. Plus you could have sex in his lap if you wanted to. And I want to.

This dream of mine has much to recommend it:
  • The site is but yards away from the busiest tourist spot in the lap of our great nation (as it were).
  • The statue is reasonably concealed from view, and yet the element of risk is sufficiently strong.
  • Having sex anywhere is swell.
  • It's Einstein's lap, for crying out loud.
One of the reasons I like the idea so much is that the statue is both logistically and artistically accessible, in a way that the Pieta (for example) is not. And no, I don't want to have sex in Mary's lap, or at least no more so than anywhere else, so stop cringing. But I have to admit that Einstein's bronze lap looks awfully hard and lumpy. I would not let this deter me for a nanosecond if everything else was in place, but my fantasy includes two 6' x 6' closed-cell foam pads that I would stack one on top of the other and also a bottle of Moët & Chandon champagne. No glasses, though, we'd drink from the bottle. And by the way, a couple other elements of this fantasy are that STD's do not exist and Jimmy Carter is still President.

I must confess that one of the things that has always amused me about fantasies of this nature is that the sex doesn't have to be good at all. I like that. I don't need to catch the Downtown Train or even cuddle afterwards. We just get the hell out and giggle like madpeople and get to tell everyone that we had sex in Einstein's lap.

So think about it. Once the weather warms up.... This assumes that you are female, of course. If you are male, I promise to write about it well enough to make your toes explode from sheer envy.

-- Hulles

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Poor Hulles.

Last night turned out somewhat differently than I thought it would as the day dawned. But I am nothing if not resilient. I ended up being pretty okay with dancing the Safety Dance for my cat and writing enough notes for 300 more blog entries. Lucky you. If I type really fast I can achieve the Hulles Triceratennial in one out of the two months in Minnesota that are warm and we can all get together and party down and you can go back to wherever you came from saying, "Dang! Hulles was a lot cuter in my imagination! Maybe the [husband/boyfriend/paperboy] isn't so bad after all!" This is a service I like to provide to all of my readers that meet me in person.

But I'm really excited about the notes for the additional 300 blog entries. I was getting down to notes for 80 posts or so and frankly starting to become concerned: "Ohmigod! What if I dry up and start writing about how cute my cat is and people quit reading me and I end up with two readers (who, by the way, will be Cristina and Anne, God bless them both) and everyone realizes how much I suck and they have a huge party of all the people who used to read me and they all get hammered and talk about how much I suck and sleep with each other and mock me even worse than I can possibly imagine in this paragraph?" [As I wrote that last sentence I was laughing to myself: it would be worth it if even one of you described that party accurately in a blog post as long as you also posted pictures. - The Management]

But not to worry. I am resupplied. And if any of you are feeling like you don't know what to write about in your blogs (like, for example, Terri Schaefer) come to Saint Paul and sit alone in an establishment of my choosing for two hours with a pen and a Ladonian passport that has a lot of white space and see if you are not replenished as well. And if you're not, you can write about how much I suck in person for at at least a blog post or two and get that much mileage out of it so the trip won't be a total loss.

I know, I know, I'm betraying just a teensy bit of self-doubt in this entry [insert some emoticon here if you can figure out how everyone seems to be able to type when their laptop is sideways] but I still think I'm hilariously funny and besides I have my cat and a readership that I adore -- right up to the moment they have the party I described above. And who knows, just maybe when you're at that party you'll decide I'm not so bad after all. "Jeez! Maybe Hulles really is a decent writer and an okay guy and he isn't a loser after all! ..... Nah, he sucks, toss me another Miller Lite and let's get naked!"

I hate you.

-- Hulles

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

"They're foreigners, with ways different than our own."

- "Rocky Horror Picture Show" via Erin

A few years ago, my pal Unca Don and I decided we needed a vacation. Unfortunately, both of us were crazy busy so we could only do a long-weekend gig. Where to go? We looked at each other and simultaneously said, "Amsterdam!"

See, Don and I have been to Amsterdam a number of times. For one thing, with the direct flight from MSP it's about the quickest place for us Twin Citians to get to in Europe (it's a Northwest hub). For another thing, Unca Don and I are gentlemen of distinction, and Amsterdam has much to offer the gentleman of distinction. Trust me. I want to reel out a couple more stories about UD and I in the Netherlands, but this one has to be first.

So we decided that Amsterdam would once again be graced with our presence. I decided to fly down on Thursday and fly back on Monday. Unca Don figured he would fly down on Friday and back on Tuesday. But we had enough overlappage to do some serious damage to our health and well-being so we were fine with that. Oh, and by the way, my airline ticket cost $99 -- seriously -- and Don's cost $17,388. He wanted to get the frequent flyer miles.

I arrived in Amsterdam proper via the shuttle train and took a taxi driven by a member of the Dutch Nazi Party to the hotel that Don had booked for us. I'll give him this -- Unca Don has a deft and sure touch when it comes to booking hotels. Ours was cheap and well-situated and all the women who worked at the front desk were really tall and had great tits. What more can one ask of a hotel?

I loitered around the hotel de-jet-lagging for a bit then ventured out onto the street. I love walking in Amsterdam: you hear conversations in every conceivable language, the architecture is interesting, the canals are wet, and for some reason every woman in that city is beautiful, even if they're not originally from the Netherlands. So I strolled and sauntered and did other quaint Keillor-like activities until it was time for dinner.

Since I had the evening to myself, I wandered into a Spanish restaurant and ordered a pretty nice dinner with my flawless Spanish pronounciation and impressed myself greatly. As I ate, I watched the rest of the city do Keillor-like activities on the street below me and grazed on the conversations around me, content as all hell and ecstatic to be in Europe. After I had sated myself on good food and good wine and good coffee, I walked back out onto the avenue and began strolling randomly again.

I noticed an Irish pub that looked inviting and stopped in for a pint and a flirt with the Glaswegian cocktail waitress who had an exceptionally cute ass and looked like Shirley Manson for whom I am totally hot. This was at about 9:30 PM.

The next thing I know, it's 4 AM and I'm leaving a different bar entirely with some surly Netherlander who absolutely had to show me something or other in the Red Light District. I think he had a sister who worked there and wanted me to meet her and have a nice glass of milk with her and tell her about American customs and traditions. I might be wrong about this, I'm not sure. At any rate, surly guy and I walked to his moped a couple blocks away and climbed aboard.

At this point you should know that most times I'm a happy drunk. On the evening of which I speak I thought everything was hilarious and was smiling and laughing and in general was pretty damn glad I was in Amsterdam. Plus, I knew it was going to be one of those evenings where the shit is going to go down and you can either jump in with both feet or you can run and hide. I'm a jumper-inner, as you might suspect.

So surly guy (the Anti-Hulles) and I were speeding down the street, both of us hammered and me laughing hysterically. Suddenly there were blue lights flashing behind us and I heard the European siren thing that you hear all the time in the Anne Frank movie when the Nazis are gathering up the neighbors. "Cool!" I thought. Surly guy wasn't so sure about how cool it was apparently because he started swearing a blue streak in Dutch. The coppers pulled us over in their copper car that looked like a Mini-Cooper and they got out. The officers were both hefty women and I became pretty interested in how they managed to fit into that tiny copper car. The police immediately separated surly guy and I and one of the cops took me about twenty feet down the street and said "(Gibberish)!" I just looked at her winsomely with a huge smile, batted my eyes, and said "Sorry, I'm just a drunken American tourist!" and showed her my passport. She started smiling in spite of herself and just said "Okay, you can go."

Surly Dutch guy was not quite so fortunate. They stuck him and his moped into the Mini-Cooper-like cop car and sped off. I was astounded that everything and everyone fit back into the car, it was reminiscent of the clown cars in the circus ("Cool!"), but it did and they did. "Hunh," I said. "That was interesting." Then I looked around and realized that I had absolutely no idea where I was and it was 4:30 AM and I was on foot. So of course I started laughing all over again and took off walking in some arbitrary direction. I probably walked for 45 minutes or so before I got to a street large enough to have some traffic and, lucky me, a taxi. I hailed the taxi, handed him a matchbook from my hotel because I couldn't pronounce the name of it ("Dyjkker And Theiss" or something like that) and sat back smugly and enjoyed the ride. I got out, went to my room in the hotel, and passed out.

Unca Don arrived around 10:30 AM or so that morning and checked into our hotel. After unpacking, he walked down the hall and knocked on the door of my room. No answer. "Hmmm," says UD to himself, "That's curious." He then went down to the hotel dining room and saw me sitting all alone in the back of the room with a huge cup of coffee and a hangover the size of Rhode Island. He just started laughing.

"Gawd, you look like you were beaten with ox tails with the oxen still attached," said Don. "I can't believe it. The whole flight over I was pretty concerned about you being alone in Amsterdam. I was worried that you wouldn't go out last night and would just stay in the hotel and not have any fun until I got here. What was I thinking?"

"Mmmph," I replied. Eventually I could talk enough to explain the events of the previous night in words of one syllable; by the end of my story we were both laughing hysterically. "Cool! Let's go do the same thing tonight!" So a few hours later Unca Don and I were sitting in the very same Irish pub (sans Glaswegian, unfortunately) hoisting pints of swill and swapping lies.

As the afternoon became evening we sought out one of the coffee shops that abound in Amsterdam and did what any gentleman of distinction does in a coffee shop. We drank coffee. And if you believe that.... I ended up talking to a beautiful Spanish woman and Don ended up talking to a neurotic male British insurance agent. All was as it should be. I always get the beautiful Spanish women and Don always gets the neurotic male Brits. It's in the natural order of things and there's no explaining it, it just is.

Later we went to several other bars and held court and were swell fuckers who everybody liked. One guy, a local, even asked if he could hang out with us. No shit. I was talking to him, trying to make him understand that Unca Don and I were trained professionals and he shouldn't try this at home, when I happened to notice that the Donster was nowhere to be seen. "See ya!" I yelled over my shoulder as I sped out the door. See, my avuncular pal Don was pretty well schockered by this point and there are canals out there.

"I'm coming, Unca D!" I yelled at Don as I spotted him veering around aimlessly. "Stop there! See that thing that looks like a canal? Well, it is a canal and it's full of cold water and if you fall in I'll be damned if I fish you out. I'll sell tickets instead."

"Hyurng!" he said. "Hulles, where are we? Where's our hotel? I don't know where we are!"

"Don, we're on holiday, we don't have to know where we are. This is Amsterdam! They have taxis all over the place and I have a matchbook with the hotel name on it and we have Dutch Bucks! We're Americans, goddamn it, and nobody is going to stop us making asses of ourselves if I have anything to say about it, so come on!"

Neither he nor I could talk the next morning. But we didn't need to -- we could laugh just fine. Some day I'll tell you about the next night.

-- Hulles

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

"I don't feel good."

- Luther Burbank, dying words

These days my pal Unca Don is not the apple in the fruit basket of Selby Avenue that he once was. These days, there is Mrs. Unca Don to put a stop to his madcap hijinks and shenanigans. In fact, if you were to call him right now on his cell phone he would have to stop walking to talk to you so that your words would not be drowned out by the rattle of the ankle chain connected to the big iron ball. In the words of Francis Beaumont, "The sturdy steed now goes to grass and up they hang his saddle."

But such was not always the case. Once Unca Don used to write in the waistband of his hygienic white briefs with a Sharpie, "Property of Unca Don. Drop in any mailbox if found." He used to eagerly await the mail delivery on Tuesday after a weekend of debauchery so he could once again properly house his equipment. What I'm saying is that he used to be a player.

One evening Unca Don and I went to W. A. Frost because Don had a coupon for a complimentary heterosexual encounter if he purchased an entrée. As he ate his dinner and chatted with the Coupon Matron to his left, I was sitting on his right nursing a scotch. Well, not so much nursing it as drinking it; I made sure the scotch was old enough to have been weaned when I bought it.

Next to me on my right sat a reasonably attractive woman with brown hair who was intently staring into whatever it was she was drinking. I observed her for a bit and thought about chatting her up. Then suddenly her head swiveled around like the turret of an M1A2 Abrams tank and I found myself facing the 120mm smooth-bore stare of a psychotic. "Uh oh, Hulles," I said to myself. "This isn't going to be pretty and it will probably hurt lots. Again."

But the conversation started off well enough, I thought.

"My boyfriend thinks I'm too hairy," she said.

I examined the hair on her head and found myself somewhat at a loss because her hairstyle looked pretty normal to me, if a bit tousled. "Ungch," I said as I suddenly realized that she wasn't talking about the hair on her head at all. "Gnnrfw." I had never made strangling sounds before without actually being strangled so that was an interesting experience.

Guys, I know what you're thinking: "Go Hulles! What a great straight line you got! Even on my drunkest night I could probably craft a decent quip out of that one, like 'Let's see it! Hyuk hyuk!'"

Not so. This woman was deadly earnest and scary crazy; you could smell the sweet stench of psychosis from twenty feet away. "Run!" shrieked my gibbering brain. "Fuck Unca Don and leave the tab! Save yourself!" But alas, I was impaled upon the besplintered wooden stake of her cold glittering stare [love that new metaphor mixer!]. I could no more have gotten off my bar stool than I could have swum to the moon. Transfixed by her unblinking gaze, I suddenly realized that this was how she captured her prey in the wild.

Sure enough, as I sat there twitching occasionally and breathing through my mouth she explained to me in great detail how she didn't think she was too hairy, what was up with that, she trimmed herself with a nail scissors once but that didn't appease him, it was really that there was too much of a hairy surface area as opposed to the hair being too long, maybe she should go for the bare cookie look, she could probably wax her vulva but that sounded like it would hurt, what did I think?

"Nnngh," I said, staring at a small pool of spittle on the bar directly below my chin and wondering vaguely where it had come from.

Just then the Coupon Matron squealed with delight (I told you Unca Don had it going on at one time) and the spell was broken.

Don later told me that when I rocketed out of my seat and ran screaming for the door he just assumed that it was a case of being poorly positioned when the aftermath of a Mexican Windbreaker binge came upon me. I should be so lucky.

We found out later that Fanatica (not her real name) was banned from W. A. Frost after that episode. Too late for me, but at least some good came of it.

The next time we encountered Fanatica, Unca Don and I were at a different bar in the same general area (Fabulous Fern's if you must know). I think it was Okra Night. I had just run into a female friend who had brought me over to her table to meet her fiance, something I had looked forward to for a long time, believe it or not. Suddenly and without warning Fanatica was at my right elbow talking to me over the conversation of the couple at the table. I was tremendously embarrassed, and finally apologized and said that I was going to go back and sit at the bar and (by implication) take Fanatica away with me. Their relief was palpable.

As I escorted the briskly chattering Fanatica to the bar, I had to figure out how to dispose of her. I wanted to plant her and have her stay in one place so I could at least enjoy part of the evening somewhere else. What to do, what to do?

Ping! Light bulb comes on.

"Hey, Fanatica, this is my friend Unca Don, noted vulva waxer and braider of pubic hair. I just bet you two have tons of things to talk about."

See, Unca Don, unlike me, is unable to defend himself conversationally. He always politely listens to whatever wackjob happens to be sitting next to him and nods and asks questions and in general encourages said wackjob to stay and talk forever. He usually even buys them a drink. How he has been able to survive this long with his mind more or less intact is something I will never know. But because of all this Don was the perfect person to stick Fanatica with. No sooner thought than done by yours truly. Am I a good friend or what?

Probably not. I left Don to survive or not as he would and found a corner to cower in and drink myself insensate.

Unca Don later told me that Fanatica at one point had drawn sexual positions with stick figures on cocktail napkins to explain what she liked to do with her boyfriend. One drawing in particular was pretty gruesome. It involved Fanatica sort of crouched over with her ass in the air and her head stuck in a corner. "This is my favorite position," she said. "But I'm always afraid he's going to snap my neck."

"I'd like to see that," said Unca Don.

Fanatica laughed.

"No, really, I would," said Don.

We later found out that she was banned forever from Fern's after that night. Again, too late for us, but we consoled ourselves with the fact that we saved countless future generations from the mind-numbing terror of Fanatica conversations.

Don still claims he never slept with her. I remain skeptical, but maybe this time he's not lying.

Want to know something really funny? This story is all true. Unca Don says he still has the above-mentioned cocktail napkin somewhere. If he ever finds it, I'm scanning it and posting it here for all the world to admire. My bartender friends report that Fanatica has been banned from pretty much every bar in Saint Paul and no one has seen her in years.

I like to think that she somehow found some sucker to marry her then tortured and dismembered him and ground his bones into a fine powder and is now a hausfrau somewhere in Saint Paul, sitting at home in her nasty house dress like a spider in a web, waiting for you to invite her to join your book club.

As you value your life and sanity, don't do it! But if you for some reason decide to do it anyway, let me know how it goes, would you? Just morbid curiosity I guess. And find out if she bred. We might have to burn out a whole nest of them.

-- Hulles

Monday, March 12, 2007

We can dance if we want to
We can leave your friends behind
'Cause your friends don't dance and if they don't dance
Well they're no friends of mine

- Men Without Hats, Safety Dance

Item: My Brazilification is still underway. I'm listening to lots of Brazilian music these days thanks to Casti and cK and I'm slowly but surely picking up more Portuguese. I set aside Amado's "War of the Saints" however; the pace of the book was just too slow for me. I need something to be happening when I read a novel. Perhaps it's just a poor translation. However I suspect it's really that it is a product of the sixties and partakes a little too much of the (then) heady new school of writing.

In keeping with my Brazil theme, a dear friend confessed yesterday that she always thought the lyrics of the song "Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats were:

You can act real rude and totally removed
And I can act like I'm in Brazil.

Perfect. Thanks Erin.

Item: Thanks to those of you who wished my brother Leo (who's nearly as creepy as I am) well. I'm happy to report that he still looks better than I do, cancer notwithstanding. Which isn't that hard these days, by the way -- I am overdue for a beard trim by about three weeks. I look like a Gabby Hayes that was left in the dryer too long.

Item: As those of you who have read me for a while know, not only am I madly in love with Kat but I also happen to think she is a very funny writer. My opinion was vindicated last Thursday when her blog pink india ink was "gawkered." If you don't know, The Gawker is a New York City media/gossip publication that is very widely read, and when one's blog is mentioned on this site it is a very big deal indeed. You can read the article that was gawkered here, although I'm still a little unsure about whether or not I am to be lumped in with the blue-hairs she was talking about. Congratulations, Kat. And nice thighs, by the way.

Item: You'll be happy to know that the Ferragamo quirt marks on my shoulders and thighs have almost faded. The ones on my hinder seem to be taking longer to heal. Ah, memories....

Item: In more blog news, Mugshots Magazine has made its debut. Co-founded by Hulles Adjutant Curmudgeon Stephen Blackmoore, the magazine solicits and publishes fiction based on mugshot images put up on the web site. Check out this nascent publication before it gets all old and gnarly and shit and has hair growing out of its ears and repeats the same story over and over. Congratulations Mr. Blackmoore. [Late-breaking news: site's under construction, check back later. - The Management]

Item: RFP's are being accepted for the next Hulles get-together. If you're interested let me know. It'll be another old-fashioned Texas Braincell Massacre I'm sure. I'm lining up the morris dancers tomorrow.

Item: Last but not least I sold an article to Avenues recently. Thanks Michael, you have impeccable taste as always. If you're curious, the corresponding blog entry is Ignoble Drone Am I? Why You Little.... The irony of that piece being published in a print magazine is lost on no one, trust me.

We can dance if we want to
We've got all your life and mine
As long as we abuse it, never gonna lose it
Everything'll work out right....

-- Hulles

Thursday, March 08, 2007

First of all, the title has nothing to do with this post, I just needed a lurid headline to trick you into reading this and that one popped into my head. I don't even want to speculate why that might be the case. Wish I could have gotten the backwards "b" in "Abba" going on though.

Second, I need to run down to Iowa for a couple days and see my brother Leo, who is nearly as creepy as I am. I'll post again on Sunday or Monday. I'm a little disappointed because the timing is good for a particularly funny post right now and all you get is this. But so it goes.

I do, however, have a favor to ask of you: Don't post any fun and interesting and provocative comments while I'm gone! It's going to drive me crazy to be gone for a couple of days and wonder what the hell's going on in the comments while I'm not there:

"Hi Leo, good to see you! How's the terminal cancer? Hey that's great, say, mind if I use your PC and sign on to the Internet? Won't take but an hour or two..."

Although I think he'd understand if I told him I was in the process of arranging a menage-a-1701 (he doesn't speak French). He is a Hulles after all, if only a shoddy counterfeit Hulles who grew up in my shadow.

So this will be a short post, I have to pack my sex helmet, monogrammed tooth dam and Thom McCann quirt (hey, you never know who you'll run into at the Knotty Pine) and get the hell out. But I'll miss you lots.

And don't have any fun while I'm gone, dammit!

-- Hulles

[Sneaks back in to check comments after leaving the first time:] Good. Keep it that way.

-- Hulles

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of a pair of vixens
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of Divas
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

- William Ernest Henley, Invictus, adapted

Well, okay, I winced. And cried aloud. And begged. And pleaded.

It was great.

-- Hulles

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Oh, how with more than dreams the soul is torn,
Ere sleep comes down to soothe the weary eyes.
- Paul Laurence Dunbar

I came to consciousness in a cavernous room lit with guttering torches stuck into holders on the walls and fitfully smoking braziers in the corners. "Alas! Imprisoned by feminists once again," was my first thought upon waking. It seemed I was securely manacled to a large rough slab of what first I took to be white oak, but on closer examination of the grain it seemed more likely to be burr oak or perhaps even live oak, which is native to the southeastern portion of our land and is unique in that it is an evergreen variety. But whatever kind of oak it was it had a plethora of splinters, a trait of which I was immediately made painfully aware because I was stark naked in my shackles.

Looking around the room as best I could I beheld naught but flickering shadows and a massive wooden door whose grain I could not make out. I heard the scurrying of small creatures at the sides and back of the slab to which I was chained, but try as I might I could not catch a glimpse of them. From the scuttling noises, however, I judged them to be rats, most likely Norwegian rats which are native to...

My rodential revery was interrupted by the creaking of the door to the chamber as it slowly swung open on its rusted iron hinges. From the darkness of the corridor beyond emerged two ominous figures dressed in loose fuligin cowls with great oversized hoods covering their features. From their diminutive stature I thought them to be either human women or members of a vicious strain of pinheaded dwarves from the dank forests of Galleria. I hoped for my sake they were pinheaded dwarves.

The two creatures slowly approached my slab. I squirmed uncomfortably at my naked state then immediately stopped this as my pale and clammy flesh was pierced by a score or more of sharpened splinters.

"Who are you?" I croaked. "Why have you shackled me to this slab? Where are my underpants?"

"There will be time enough for your questions later," the shorter of the two figures said in a honeyed voice that dripped with silky cruelty and caused a quiver in my ungirded loins. "But just so you know, we burned your underwear and then disinfected the fireplace. Shub Niggurath, man! Don't you know how to use a washing machine?"

"Great," I thought. "Human women. I am lost."

At that the two females dramatically cast aside their robes. The smaller person that had spoken earlier proved to be a flaxen-haired woman who I judged to be in her early thirties. She was dressed in a black leather bustier upon which eldritch symbols were daubed in a crimson substance that I could only hope was a particularly whorish shade of red fingernail polish. I also could not help but notice to my increasing discomfort and embarrassment that the woman was what the natives of the Sonoma region on our west coast call a "total vixen." Besides the arcanely-decorated bustier she had on black leather hot pants with a small pocket in front that contained a silver mark from Draconia minted in 1634. Her stockings were made of a sheer black silk that made my tongue ache with desire; these in turn led to the tops of feminine footwear roguishly known in some circles as FMBs. These boots were also black, and had dark purple and red piping on the sides and 3-inch titanium heels. The heels on the boots alone were enough to make a lesser man quake with trepidation. I am made of sterner stuff however, as was becoming painfully obvious.

Moving my eyes at random about her body to avoid further betrayal of my rising interest, I noticed that the blonde's shoulders were lightly sprinkled with freckles, her luscious full breasts rose and fell in her bustier with each panting breath, golden baubles adorned her petite porcelain ears, and she was inexplicably wearing what seemed to me to be a lime green golf visor. At that point her moistened scarlet rosebud lips opened to say,

"Knock it off."

To emphasize this the woman smacked her palm smartly with a Ferragamo leather quirt that I had somehow failed to notice earlier. As my passion subsided somewhat I resolved to state her age as 24 should I be put to the question. This was not a woman to be trifled with; I felt certain of that.

My petite blonde succubus suddenly seemed to notice her golf visor. She quickly doffed it and tossed it out of the scene with some slight embarrassment.

"I am Mistress Kristen," she said in ominous throaty tones. "You may have seen my name on a deliciously wicked line of underwear. You will address me as Mistress when I allow you to speak. And this is Mistress Eva, known as Eva the Excoriatrix. She is a wife, mother of seven children, has PMS, and in general is not someone with whom to fuck. You will not address her at all if you value your future reproductive capability."

At these words I tore my eyes from the blonde and stared at the other woman, who to this point I had not noticed in my feverish state. This second woman was a tall full-figured brown-eyed brunette who I observed to be sneering at me with some disdain. To merely call this newly-beheld goddess an incendiary bombshell is akin to saying that the voice of the infamous bard Gilbert Gottfried is only slightly annoying. The woman was wearing a short chain-mail bodice cunningly crafted from tiny circlets of silver; beneath this she had on a black lace bra that somehow both lifted and separated and ultimately did little to conceal her succulent breasts. Her voluptuous hips were encircled by a wide leather belt upon which were set rubies and garnets, and into this belt were thrust two coldly gleaming silver flensing knives. My dusky co-captor was also wearing diaphanous pantaloons as might a houri. and it seemed to me that underneath this sheer confection she sported a black thong that may or may not have had tiny silver studs embedded in it. As I was trying to determine if this was indeed the case by careful scrutiny of her nether regions I heard a menacing growl form in the back of her throat. I quickly decided to avert my eyes.

"Fellate me how you will, I shall never succumb to your wiles, foul creatures of the night!" I cried valiantly. "And by the way, nice tits, both of you. Damn."

"Naughty, naughty boy," purred the blonde demonette. "So flippant. So in need of tutoring...."

At this point my cat licked my face and I sat up straight in bed. "Mimi, go away damn it, leave me alone, I was just getting to the good part!" I moaned in anguish. "There was diaphanous, there was voluptuosity, there was even a Ferragamo quirt!"

Alas, I never made it back to sleep this morning. But you better believe I'm going home for a nap this afternoon. I fully expect to expiate for my impertinence several times over.

-- Hulles

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Recently a dear friend (MIL etc.) of mine posted a blog entry about getting a mammogram. In it she said that her breasts were "dense (densely tissued, not unintelligent)." I liked that a lot because from this it is possible to infer that her breasts are intelligent.

I have not had the pleasure of meeting these breasts personally, but I really enjoy the thought of this friend and her smart boobs:

[Sunday in a coffee shop somewhere in Florida. Slim attractive woman sits at table doing NY Times crossword. Woman has intelligent breasts.]

Woman: [scratches her head with her pencil] Dang! I'm really having trouble with 32 Across!

Woman: [looks around furtively, then starts whispering down the front of her shirt] Psst! Girls! Wake up, we're doing the Times crossword here, no time for napping! What's a six-letter word for 'potion,' fourth letter 'x'?

Left Breast: Jesus, I can't believe you even have to ask that! What the hell is between your ears, adipose tissue?

Right Breast: No shit. If you don't mind, your left tit and I were just trying to mentally retrace Bloom's journey in Dublin from mammary. Mammary, get it? Play on words, Einstein. Bloom is a character in Ulysses by James Joyce, just to anticipate your next stupid question.

Woman: [glances around again, then talks down front of her shirt less quietly than before] Grk! Ftt! Why you little ingrates, I've taught you everything you know! Fork over with the answer or I'll start wearing padded bras again so I don't have to put up with your shit anymore.

Right Breast: Tch, tch, watch your temper, dear. Want the answer or not?

Left Breast: Yeah, without us you'll still be working on this crossword when next Sunday's puzzle comes out.

Right Breast: Yeah! Loser!

Woman: Nnrk! I'm gonna... [suddenly pauses, then smiles slyly] Say ladies, you know, I was just thinking that the last mammogram I had was somewhat inconclusive and I should have another one just to be sure. I wouldn't want anything to happen to you, after all....

Left Breast and Right Breast: [in unison] Elixir! Elixir!

Woman: Damn straight, 'elixir.' Now what's 63 Down, 8 letter word for a 'tar-like substance?'

So my friend is a pretty lucky woman, I think. Not only does she possess boobs, she's got brainy ones in the bargain. I wonder if she'll let me use 'em the next time I do the Sunday crossword:

[Woman's cell phone rings; she answers it to hear:] Hi, it's me, Hulles. Put your tits on will you? I'm stumped on a couple puzzle answers. Yeah yeah, I only like you for your boobs, happy now? Put 'em on already, these minutes ain't free.

You know, this scenario really isn't so far-fetched the more I think about it. As a case in point I almost always end up listening to my dick when it talks. I wouldn't go so far as to call it intelligent, exactly, but it certainly is good at impassioned pleading.

-- Hulles

Friday, March 02, 2007

Sorry you missed the Bisontennial celebration; a good time was had by all. Well, by me anyway. Hopefully by everyone else as well.

I know you're dying to know, so here it is: I didn't get laid. Where I expected to be weapons-free in a popsy-rich environment, the truth of the matter was that we revelers pretty much had the place to ourselves due to the massive snow storm last night. You could swing a morris dancer in the bar we were in and not hit a soul. As a result, no ROTFF for the Puppy D'Amour. Sigh.

There was a creepy old white guy at the other end of the bar from us, however. I thought about asking him for a hand job but hey, I can get that at home.

So the sex helmet is back on its hook in the closet without any additional gold "P"s painted on the side, the monogrammed tooth dam is carefully folded and put back in the drawer, and no one will admit to knowing what happened to the pail of guac. I shudder to think about it. I hope I wasn't doing my Farrah Fawcett art project imitation again.

Of course the morris dancers didn't show either due to the snow. Double sigh.

cK took some photos last night; it's all a little hazy but if the pix are from the part of the evening when I still had my clothes on I might even post a couple if he'll let me. We'll see.

I'll let you know when the next adventure is scheduled and maybe you can all make that one. And if you absolutely can't wait, come grab me at the redundantly-named Nina's Coffee Cafe and we'll practice. Bring warm money.

Late-breaking news: if you want, go visit jeNC17 for her take on the evening. The guy she's talking about is the guy who didn't give me a hand job. Thank God. He probably stole my guacamole though, the rat.

-- Hulles