The Alphabet Julen: F


Fame sucks. It's hard to imagine wanting something so bad that I'd willingly lay myself open to the carnivorous ramora that attach themselves to the famous. Then again, I have no intention of going into the typical glamor fields that'd make me famous: Entertainment, Politics, Crime -- or even the new glamor fields - saying or doing horrific things that end up on the Internet, or attempting to Influence. I used to say that I'd never want to hear my name emerging from Joan Rivers' mouth (she might have keeled over at the horror of how I was dressed, and then I'd feel bad), but I guess I need to upgrade my references now. Even at less prominant levels - within your industry or community, relative fame changes the way people react to and interact with you, and it's often a pity.

Fantasy Football

I was a member of various Fantasy football leagues for over a decade, and I never won. Never! I won my division. I came in second more times than I care to admit. I am great at spotting breakout rookies, and yet I can not win. I've played in leagues with co-workers, with ex-coworkers, with family. I've been the only girl. I've been one of several girls. It doesn't matter - I can not win that final game. I just never achieved that goal before my discomfort with the shear amount of damage done to the players (and the indifference of the league to anything except reducing their liability) killed my interest.


My father died in 2018, and it was hard. He had been living with Lewy's Body Dementia, and let me tell you, that is a mean mean disease. I used to shorthand it for people by describing it as a cross between Parkinsons and Alzheimers, featuring the worst aspects of both. The weirdest thing about that disease is that one of the hallucinations that almost everyone with disease has is seeing people on stilts. My father was the man who introduced me to technology, encouraged my art, didn't have a heart attack for that 6 week period when I was sure I wanted to go to college for puppetry, and shaped my work modes. He found ways to support and join me in my enthusiasms, and never thought I was totally odd.

He was funny. He was smart. He was kind.


Historically, this website has generated a lot of feedback - feedback ranging from demands that I do someone's homework to fantasticly off-base evaluations of what I must be like. There has also been a great feedback, too, of course, but the ridiculous does stick in one's mind.


I am a feminist.

Films and Flicks and Fluttering Images

I used to love going to the movies. I love the dimming lights, the previews, the silly pre-movie animations, the opening swell of music, and the most minor of credits. I loved the collective intake of breath at a pivotal moment, and I love the way a good actor can make you forget you've slunk so low in your seat that your butt is almost ready to fall off to sleep. I miss reviewing movies (which I did for the college newspaper and for a short while on this site), and I miss the Academy of Music in Northampton, Vinegar Hill in Charlottesville, and that carpetted theater in Raleigh. Like so many things age and the Pandemic combined into fewer trips to the movie theater, and more movies playing on much smaller screens.

Also, I still love TCM, even if I am side-eying the rebrand.


I have had many fish over the course of my lifetime - all kinds of goldfish - comets, ryukin, orandas, moors, fantails, non-goldies, redcaps, goldfish plain and fancy - I spent my summers in college trying to map which baby goldfish came from which parents. Not always easy! One of the first things I did when I bought my place in Northern Virginia was to petition the HOA to get permission to put a fishpond in my back yard along with a patio and walkway. That experience, which worked out in my favor, helped cement my plans to never live in a HOA-controlled neighborhood again.


Not. Good. Enough. I demand real snow storms with accumulating inches! If there isn't enough snow to make shovelling my walk worthwhile, it isn't snow. Bah.

Four Way Stops

It's not rocket science people. Come to a complete stop. Evaluate who is also at the stop. Move in an orderly clockwise fashion. Do not crash into each other. Do not wave people to move out of turn in some demented niceness fugue. Do not assume you are the most important person there and everyone knows it. Simple stuff.

Frankie and Johnny

This is my favorite song of all time. It's a murder ballad that is also a historical record of an actual crime AND of the attitudes and culture of all sorts of groups of people throughout the past century plus, with lyric variations to match. And it's fun to sing. I think I've heard over 60 different versions, and those are just the ones that have been put on tape and made easily accessible. I'm still looking for a copy of the one where Frankie shoots Johnny "just right of his thigh".

TV's Frank

I miss him!

Aretha Franklin

I love her. The woman can sing something fierce. She's a touchstone regardless of genre, a towering talent who never let her get swallowed completely by a fame bubble, the one who can unfurl her voice into glory. She sang it all from the Broadway to the Blues, and all stops along the way. For women who grew up in the second half of the Twentieth century, her music is part of the soundtracks of our life - it is the one common voice for widely divergent soundtracks.

Stan Freberg

If I had a theme song it would be, "Everybody Wants to be an Art Director." Freberg is one of those underappreciated modern American geniuses - hysterically funny and remarkably clever, Freberg managed to raise the levels of both advertising and humor, skewering everything and everyone. He's voiced countless cartoons, created some of the best advertising around, and made some of the best radio comedy ever. And his United States of America - that endlessly clever, quotable joy of a concept album, is a gift that keeps on giving.


Sometimes when I look up out of the corner of my eye, the small, fabulously expensive windup frog that loiters on top of my monitor looks just like a head poking around my office door. It keeps me on my toes. I'm lucky to live in a very frog-friendly spot: we get bullfrogs and American toads; two kinds of tree frogs and Fowler's Toads, and several other varieties. I know spring has finally arrived when I can hear them warming up by the pond.


Words I Like

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