Because I Simply Don’t Talk Enough.

So here’s the thing:

I’m turning this blog into a podcast. I bought the domain over at http://www.ClaireDeLunacy.com and I’ve migrated this blog over there.

In addition to the occasional scribblings you get from me here (or, er, there, in the future at least), there will be (God help us all) the Claire De Lunacy podcast. That’s right, a whole hour, every week, of yours truly, with call-in guests (it’s true!), some commentary, and a few new surprises (e.g., every tenth caller is randomly either hugged by a stripper,  hit in the stomach by a large, angry Hungarian, or given the power of flight*).

Every week starting NEXT SUNDAY, MAY 2nd, 2010, I’ll be hosting an hour-long free-for-all discussion covering topics (in no particular order) that I’ve posted here on Claire De Lunacy.

I already have the call-in set up, I’ll be posting the info as we get closer to the big day. In the interim, my dear, sweet friends, ruminate on these topics:

1) The hubbub surrounding Israel Luna’s odious “transploitation” film “Ticked Off Trannies with Knives.”

2) Clash of the Smitin’s: Unnecessary Remakes and Why They Suck.

3) And speaking of Things That Should Not Be™, a whole new slew of, er, Things That Should Not Be™ (got a nomination? SEND IT TO ME…NAO!)

4) LGBTidbits™ (Those of you familiar with my Twitter feed will recognize this topic. Everyone else, just be prepared to discuss the week’s LGBT news. Well, I mean, not SUPER prepared. There won’t be a quiz or anything.)

5) The Super-Fun Book Club of Fun-ness™ returns! Our book for the month of May is “American Lion,” a very compelling biography of Andrew Jackson by Jon Meachem (you don’t have to read the entire book for the first podcast, we’ll be discussing it in general and also you get to sit and listen to me explain how the SFBCOF™ works…I know, I know – does the fun ever START?)

6) Random Review: NetFlix for the Wii Or, as I like to call it, “My television’s desperate final ploy to remain relevant to my existence.” (as ploys go, it’s surprisingly effective)

7) SPECIAL BONUS TOPIC!  CASTING: UR DOIN IT WRONG We’ll be discussing how remakes SHOULD be cast, as well as remakes we’d like to see, and a whole bunch of other nerdy stuff that will make the non-nerdy among you (should you exist) throw up your hands and say “But I LIKE Matthew McCan’tActy as Dirk Pitt!

Eventually, I’ll be taking these podcasts into Audacity to strip out all the “erms,” and “uhhhs” and “Doyyyy” sounds. But for the first month or so, it’s the Wild effing West, baby! (something tells me that we’ll earn our “Explicit” rating within the first ten minutes. I know how you think, Hordelings!)

Each week’s info will also be posted to the web site, so don’t get your collective panties in a bunch if there’s something we natter on about that catches your…ear(?) and you don’t have a pencil handy.

I hope to hear from you, friends. It’s sure to be a fun time, or at least more entertaining than having your pinkie torn off by an iPad thief.**

*No, not really.
** OK, to be fair, some people might get off on that, so I will say it’s LIKELY to be more fun. You sick bastards.
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In Which Our Heroine Attempts to Get Ripa-fied

I am double-jointed.

While this might sound to like the first line of a really sleazy personal ad, it is nevertheless true. As a child, the ritual of dressing in seventy-five layers so I could go outside (a la A Christmas Story) usually involved at least one exchange like this:

MA: OK, sweetie, I think that’s it. Now we just need to put on your mittens and OH MY GOD!

YOURS TRULY: What’s wrong, Mommy?

MA (Hastily freeing my thumb from its position back near the elbow of my many sleeves with a sound similar to a doorstop being kicked – SPROOOOING!): Nothing, honey! We’ll go outside as soon as Mommy takes her nerve pill.

Later in my life, I was taking out the trash (an odious chore made worse by the freezing drizzle that had been falling for four days at that point) when I slipped in the alley behind our house, performing a series of acrobatic and gracile maneuvers not seen since…well, ever. I did the splits, slammed into the wall of the neighbor’s house, and popped my left leg free of its socket. This left me running around in little circles on the ground, making an assortment of noises we shall not attempt to render via onomatopoeia. Luckily, my father heard my cries and, assuming a wandering moose had somehow become caught in the gears of a combine, came running out to see what happened. Sizing up the situation, my father (never a man to clutter his mind with inconsequentialities like medical training, panic or possible disfigurment) said “hold still, I need to look at your leg,” then grabbed my thigh and jammed my leg home like I owed him money. There was a loud TWANG!, followed by a sensation not unlike someone JAMMING YOUR LEG BACK INTO ITS SOCKET. However, moments later, when I’d unclamped my hands from the now-crushed trashcan, I discovered that not only could I walk, but I was pain-free (at least physically). Dad muttered something along the lines of “just like that time I fell off the radar tower” and went back inside to his paper, while I did a little jig and went inside to write bad adolescent poetry about the preciousness of life.

I could go on, but I sense your eyelids fluttering. My point here is, I’m bendy. Not Gumby bendy, but pretty freaking bendy. Which is why, as I grew tired of the Tour De Farce and sought ways to supplement my flagging dedication to daily exercise by adding some toning, I turned to my Fit Friend Laura. Fit Friend Laura, who has achieved a level of health and fitness I assumed unattainable by mortals, is constantly playing in soccer leagues and running 5Ks and scaling Kilimanjaro and things like that. Since she is the E.F. Hutton of fitness, when she recommended the Lotte Berk series of workout DVDs, I listened.

For those of you unfamiliar with Lotte Berk and (let us assume) her method, she is the German dancer who, over thirty years ago, created a method of torturing enemy combatants until they wept for their mamas toning, stretching and sculpting designed to improve flexibility, cardiovascular fitness, and strength all at the same time. It seems that her protoge, one Ms. Lydia Bach, saw how well this method worked on the dancers and decided to share it with the world (at a price, naturally).

All of which led to one Kelly Ripa (she of the teeny-tiny body and washboard abs, perched chirpily next to Regis) incorporating the LB method into her workout, which in turn led to her amazing new look (helped along, of course, by her trainer, personal chef and a metabolism identical to that of a chipmunk).  Like a lot of women, I heard Kelly talk about it and thought to myself, “Jeez, if Kelly Ripa can do it, so can I!”

And I can. Just barely.

There are four DVDs in the series: Basic Essentials, Muscle Eats Fat, Hip-Hugger Abs, and the somewhat disturbingly punnish High Round Assets. Now, I know this will come as a shock, but I decided to start with Basic Essentials and work my way up the pain ladder.

I take it back – I’m not bendy. Or at least not Lotte Berk bendy. After three workouts (you do the workout every other day), I am no longer grimacing when I reach above my head, but my abdomen, long a region accustomed to my profound but otherwise benign neglect, has been complaining strenuously. Thanks to something called the Lotte Berk Tuck, I have achieved a sort of semi-startled posture, in which I am constantly reminded that I could (and should) be sitting up straighter – shoulders back, chin down, “seat” tucked in, abs tight. It’s the physical equivalent of having Ma yell at me for slouching.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I can easily see myself having stronger self-control, based solely on the fear of having to do my workout with too much dinner in me (I keep picturing turkey and mashed potatoes shooting out of my belly button like Thanksgiving plasma, destroying all in its path).

Lotte Berk promises that “in 10 days, you’ll feel a difference, and in 20, you’ll see a difference.”

Well, it’s been six days, and I’ve already noticed a difference. My computer monitors had to be adjusted because they were too low for new, non-slouchy Claire. Someone asked me if I had lost more weight when I walked into work today. My married crush said “I’m leaving Bonehead and running away with you, you latina goddess of exceeding bendyness.”

OK, not that last one.

Damn it.

But I digress. I will say that I feel better, and while I’m sure that most of that is psychosomatic, I can easily see myself sticking with this, especially since it gives me something to alternate with the Tour De Farce. As I move further into my transition, I find myself more and more willing to make improvements to a body I ignored for far too long.

After all, the LB method worked for Lotte Berk and Lydia Bach…why shouldn’t it work for La Barceloneta?

Tour De Farce™ Week 12: The Celebrated Pedaling Claire of Miami County

Epic, isn't it?

So here’s the thing:

I love Autumn. It is my favorite season, falling as it does on the borderland betwen Summer’s sun-soaked riot of nature (red in tooth and claw) and the frozen white silence of Winter’s majesty. Also, being a Sagittarius, my own personal mojo starts to ratchet up with the arrival of the Autumnal Equinox, making me more perky, active, and super-duper annoying to all the Summer signs who are slipping into hibernation mode. Add in brisk mornings, an explosion of arboreal color, and weather blessedly cool enough for making bread, Caldo and other taste sensations, and, well, I’m as happy as an Alaskan wolf that hasn’t been senselessly slaughtered with military-grade weaponry by a bespectacled Valkyrie.

Yes, Autumn is a magical time at Casa Claire, and as my energy levels have stabilized after a very trying month or two, I’m pleased to report that my efforts to complete my virtual ride to Utah have continued!

It is not my intent to attempt to cover all the miles I’ve ridden in this post, so we will be forced to content ourselves with the cold facts of the matter for the nonce.

To wit:

MILES BIKED SINCE MY LAST UPDATE: 180 (9.0 miles/day, with various rates of weekly success, the highest being 45 total miles, the lowest 27 total miles)

TOTAL MILES BIKED SO FAR: 464

WHERE I WOULD BE IF THIS BIKE HAD WHEELS: New London, MO

Having turned to the North in an attempt to avoid descending into the bowels of Missouri (sacrificing a trip to the Mark Twain National Forest in the process), I’ve followed the Mighty Mississippi to the quaint town of New London, Missouri – just south of the famous Hannibal, where Mark Twain grew up, looked around, and got the hell out.

OK, I’m being unkind. From what I remember of a very brief childhood visit, the town itself is quite lovely once one gets past its efforts to squeeze every red cent from its association with Twain.  The ironic thing, of course, is just how much Twain himself would’ve hated the marketing and packaging and cheerfully soulless profiteering being done in his name…but I’ll bet he would’ve written something appropriately scathing about the whole mess, and thus society as a whole would profit. Eventually.

Speaking of Mark Twain, I’ve often wondered if Hal Holbrook‘s boyhood home in Cleveland will get the Twain treatment when he finally kicks off to join the real Twain. How surreal would it be to see a replica of Twain’s life in the house once occupied by the man best known as a replica of Twain? What if Hannibal and Cleveland decide to created inverted “sister” monuments, connected in real time? It boggles the mind! If colliding large hadrons doesn’t destroy the universe, the kitsch singularity created by the “Mark Twain Replica Memorial of the Cleveland Hal Holbrook Mark Twain Memorial” Memorial working in concert with the “Twain as Portrayed by Holbrook inside His Childhood Home Portraying Twain’s Childhood Home, as Portrayed by a Hal Holbrook Impressionist” Memorial certainly will.

But I digress. While Hannibal is but a short distance to the north, pulsing with the sickly green light of unchecked, gluttonous prostitution of its favorite son, New London is not without charms of its own. For example, one may drop into Abel’s Quick Shop for a hot dog (most likely with a Mark Twain theme, e.g. “A Connecticut Frankie in King Arthur Bread!” or some such rot) and soda, or maybe walk to the middle of town where, if one is lucky, one may be mown down by a passing car.

Damn it, I’ve got to start timing these miles so I end up in actual towns with, you know, STUFF.

Coming up next week: Canton, Missouri, which actually incorporates “Show You” into its home page headline. I don’t know about you, but I’m kinda hoping they keep the showing to a minimum.

Tour De Farce™ Week Seven: That Ain’t Wright

Epic, isn't it?

It’s been a long week once again, kids. Between my PC blowing up and a power failure due to The Wind Storm of Doom™, I have had precious little time for this blog or computers in general. However, as one of my less-charming attributes is my occasional lack of follow-through with regard to my plentiful ill-conceived schemes, I have carved out this chunk of time before work on a dark and somewhat chilly Monday morning in order to complete my Tour de Farce™ entry!

To wit:

MILES BIKED THIS WEEK: 45 (9.0 miles/day, Monday-Friday)

TOTAL MILES BIKED SO FAR: 284

WHERE I WOULD BE IF THIS BIKE HAD WHEELS: Altamont, IL

Altamont has a lot going for it, especially if you love church, church-related activities, or activities that are not necessarily religious in nature but are held, by necessity, in one of several thousand area churches. Seriously, the entire take-away chicken industry doesn’t have this many churches!

And speaking of church matters, there are, sadly, no Hell’s Angels in Altamont, IL. Well, at least no formal Hell’s Angels club. My guess is they had a hard time finding a church in which to meet. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there is little to be found in the way of Rolling Stones memorabilia either. My plan is to open a Speedway franchise here and advertise it as “The Altamont Speedway – fast, fresh and, frequently, full of felons.”

One other thing that Altamont has, however, is the Wright house. When I first read about the Wright house, I was excited because I half-expected some sort of tenuous-but-ultimately-satisfying link between the Altamont Wrights and the Dayton Wrights. Much to my consternation, there was no link to be found. Instead of bicycles and man-powered flight, the Altamont Wrights were in the business of medicine, law and ridiculous haircuts. The primary appeal of the Wright mansion, it would seem, lies in the fact that all the stuff they’ve accumulated since it went up in the late 1800’s is still lying around in there, waiting to be ooh’d and aah’d over by tourists. I will say, however, that if laughter is the best medicine, then the mere appearance of Charles Wright I was surely the best curative to be had in those days.

Patient: “Beulah, call for Dr. Wright…my rheumatiz is botherin’ me something fierce!”

[two hours pass as Dr. Wright coifs his hair into the approximate size and shape of an enormous Valentine’s Day Hershey Kiss]

Dr. Wright: “Never fear, good sir, I have arrived with the very best apothocarial and medicinal treatments for your – “

Patient: “BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HAAAAAA! Dear Lord above, Doc, you look like a lopsided ice-cream cone!” (sounds of heels clicking, gleeful dancing) “Who can think about the pain of rheumatiz with that hairdo in the room?”

Dr. Wright: (quiet sobbing)

And so on.

Coming up next week: Sandoval, Illinois, a village that proudly declares itself to be the “Crossroads to Everywhere.” Who knew that the very nexus of the creation lay in Southwestern Illinois?

Nimbus Verbum

This is my Wordle. I shall call her "Myrtle."

This is my Wordle. I shall call her "Myrtle."

So here’s the thing:

My pal Sov posted a Wordle on his blog recently (and if “posting a Wordle on his blog” isn’t a euphemism for something filthy and possibly illegal, well, it should be), inviting others to do likewise and then share the results.

So, here’s my Wordle. I’ve named her Myrtle, and she is made of love, crushed Nerds, and the thousands of words you’ve subjected your poor eyeballs to on this site.

I’m pleased to see “transgendered” right there in the middle of things (there’s some Wordle verisimilitude for you), along with “friends,” “God” and “know.” The only thing missing is Robin Meade, but we’ll assume that Myrtle included “important” as a stand-in for She Who Brings The Dawn.

Go on, then…make your own and let me know how it turns out!

Tour de Farce™ Week One: Cramp-tastic!

Epic, isn't it?

WEEK ONE

JULY 28th, 2008-August 1st, 2008

Welcome to the first installment of Claire’s Tour de Farce™, my epic quest to bike the distance between Troy, Ohio and Salt Lake City, Utah in 39 weeks of hard-pedalin’, sweat-floppin’ action (as detailed here).  If you’re just joining us, you should know that I’m putting in my miles on a NordicTrack AudioRider™ U300 Exercise Bike. This bike has been instrumental in helping me lose a significant amount of weight, as well as improve my cardiovascular fitness. Given that I still frighten small children and attract the odd harpoon, however, I don’t think NordicTrack will be calling for a lucrative spokesmodel deal just yet.

That said, let’s review this week’s progress, shall we?

TOTAL MILES BIKED: 38 (7.6 miles/day, Monday-Friday)

WHERE I WOULD BE IF THIS BIKE HAD WHEELS: Richmond, Indiana (“Where the roses grow!”)

This week’s travels have taken me to Richmond, Indiana, home of (among other things) the ridiculously large, unfortunately-named Tom Raper RV empire.  Based solely on my childhood affection for O.G. Readmore, I opt to stop at Readmore, Etc., a quaint little coffee shop and bookstore reminiscent of Winan‘s here in Troy. As this visit exists solely in my mind, the coffee is perfect and free, as the owner is so taken by my beauty and charm that he thrusts a steaming cup of joe into my hands with tears in his eyes, muttering about Venus and clamshells.

Trapped in Visiting Richmond? Why not check out their official site?

It’s been a while since I’ve done the bike every day…I’ve had some spotty performance weeks in the past few months, sometimes only riding once a week. Thus, the sudden leap back into everyday biking has led to some interesting conversations between me and my thighs, usually right before bed:

ME: “Well, I guess it’s time to sleep. Goodnight, assorted body parts!”

EVERYTHING BUT THE THIGHS: “Goodnight, weird lady who talks to her component parts!”

THE THIGHS: “WAAAH! WE CAN’T SLEEP! WE WANT TO STAB OURSELVES WITH WHITE-HOT BOLTS OF PURE AGONY INSTEAD! WAAAH!”

In related news, my new favorite potential band name is “Everything But The Thighs,” although I suppose that could also describe some sort of KFC value meal.

So, I’ve been stretching, eating bananas, and using my Bene Gesserit mind training for a few days, and I think we’ve got the cramps under control. Next week, we’ll be exploring what one should do when one’s foot falls off unexpectedly. Stay tuned!