Friday, August 27, 2010

Paint Me...

I bet y'all thought I stopped knitting. Not so! I knit everyday. I've made minions for Davis and robots for Trevor (my crochet skills are weak at best and my embroidery faces are terrible!) I've finished dishcloths and I'm plugging along on two pairs of socks. I knit all the time!

Lately, I've noticed that in the past few years I go through these color phases. About three years ago, it was all teal all the time. I was in search of the perfect teal yarn. I found several perfect teal yarns!

Two years ago, it was anything variegated - couldn't get enough of the stuff! But only in sock yarn. This year I'm in a dark charcoal grey phase. I'm loving gray! (And I love it so much that, apparently I can't decide which way to spell it.) I've got enough to make a couple of sweaters so I think I'm starting to fade on the gray/grey.

I'm also starting to fade on the sock yarn. I think I've told y'all but I've got enough that if I made a pair of socks every month, it would last me 17 years. I don't make a pair a month. I wish I knit that fast!

I'm definitely getting away from variegateds, transitioning into those gorgeous semi-solids that I'm seeing everywhere now. I'm in search of the perfect deep garnet red. I want enough to make a sweater. I have a couple of bites of that color in sock yarn and I'm swooning over it! I really want a sweater in that color.

I have enough worsted Malabrigo in Pagoda to make the ever-lovely Vivian (I also have the pattern - thank you Donna!) and I was in love with worsted Mal but now I'm over it and am slavering over Malabrigo Twist! I'm such a fickle girl!

I'm also getting a major case of startitis. I've been pretty good this year, maintaining a fair amount of monogamy to one project after another. The WIP Cup got me finishing 3 out of the 5 things I listed and even before the WIP Cup I was holding fast to my self-imposed WIP Sunday knitting. That's kind of fallen by the wayside and I've cast on a couple of extra sock projects. I've been sort of stops-and-starts with that Inaugural sweater I'm making. I think that sweater is what's giving me this startitis. I only have the collar and the sleeves left to finish it and I always get Cast-On-itis when I'm near the end of a big project. It's like I want an excuse to fling the almost-finished piece aside and start something new. I won't. I'm holding fast.

I've been putting off winding the next skein for Inaugural because that means I have to continue with it. Part of the problem is the color. I wanted a really dark green so I picked Cypress. In the photo it was a very dark forest green. When it showed up, it is black. You can only see the green in certain lights. I'm disappointed in the color. Not that pattern though! It's an excellent pattern and it's not even boring or anything! (It's a touch boring.) The body is stockinette with moss stitch panels so it's perfect for not having to think too much. Maybe that's the problem!

I want to sink my needles into Vivian's cables. I want to have to concentrate on something knitwise. Most things I've done this year are so easy that it's starting to stifle my knitting mojo. I need a challenge! Maybe I'll just cast on for a sleeve? I definitely want to do Viv's sleeves first. A sleeve's not really cheating, is it?

I'm also getting fairly obsessed with the idea of making knee-high socks. I want, like, three pair of knee-high socks. If sock yarn doesn't count as stash, do socks count as projects?


OK, enough of that nonsense.

What colors are y'all into right now and where can I find some silky-soft-garnet-red-not-too-expensive yarn? I don't even think I care what weight, just so long as it's a sweater's worth!

Attempting monogamy, Ruth!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

North Pole (or Santa Declares a Winner and Gets Change for a $20)

Part Two:

Where was I….. oh, yeah – dancing with no top on.

I once had a friend that compared something to dancing and he said I’d be really good at because I was a dancer. It took me a minute to realize he didn’t know my past college history (I was a dance major before I went into the Army) and that he was talking about my job. I said, “That’s not dancing.” He said, “What is it?” I said, “It’s walking around in impossible shoes, twisting myself into impossible positions [one of my gimmicks was that I’m really bendy], wearing improbable clothes and occasionally striking a pose.”

Don’t get me wrong, for the most part, that job was so much fun! Regina had shown me some gimmicks to make money and I eventually developed quite a few of my own. One of the easiest was to walk up sort of next to and a little behind a guy and put my stiletto clad foot on his knee. His eyes would look at the foot and follow it up and I’d say, “Would you like a dance?”. Usually, they just nod with their mouths hanging open. Or, if you think they’ll go for it, walk up to them head on, put your foot in their chest and push them back into their chair, then ask. Again, jaw-dropped nod and you’re set for the next 20 minutes of money-making. (This only backfired once. I had a guy who grabbed my stiletto heel and wouldn’t let go. My foot was on his knee and I’d gently pull away and he wouldn’t let go. I said, “Look, you’re not allowed to touch us and you should really let go of my heel before you get hurt.” He said, “Do I scare you?” I said, “No. Are you trying to?” and I signaled the bouncer who threw him out. Creepy much?)

The money was amazing! I saw how easy it was to fall into that trap and just stay in that job until your looks or your body gave out. Again, kind of like the Army! I know lots of people who joined for college money then got sucked in to the comfort and security that the military gives. But like the Army, you sell your soul for it.

When I first started, lap dances were $5 each. They eventually went up to $6 each, which seems like a nice raise but it was such a pain in the ass – we need to make change for people? Seriously?? Making change wasted time. All the songs were 3 minutes each. That’s 20 songs per hour and if you were moving and it was a good crowd, you could average about 15-18 songs per hour (that’s giving time to move from customer to customer). If you were lucky and had a guy fall in love with you, you could spend the whole hour (or more) with that one person and make even more money. I didn’t much care for dancing for the same person for too long. It was easier money but it got really boring. Also, I did basically the same dance every time so if I got stuck with someone too long, I had to start getting creative and that was always annoying (you mean I actually have to work? C’mon!).

On weeknights, I’d clear $150-$200 in about 4 or 5 hours. Cash. All cash. On weekends, I’d make between $200-$300 bucks. I never worked Sundays (only because it was terribly slow and not worth it), I never worked on my birthday (in any job I’ve ever had) and I always worked New Year’s Eve. New Year’s Eve I’d make at least $500 in less then 4 hours.

But you do sort of sell your soul for it. I’d have to check my brain at the door and not think too much about my job. A lot of the girls were just 21; I was 26 when I started – certainly old enough to realize how stupid the job was. But it was easy and great money and the hours were such that I had plenty of time for school and study. So check my brain at the door I did. I’d bounce around that club with a big smile on my face and act bubbly and brainless and all “I’m just a girl!” Something I always hated on the outside of that building.

Some girls showed up for work all decked out and made up and all they had to do was put on their T-bar (thong) and their nipple glue and they’d be ready for work. (Oh yea, the nipple glue – one of the more retarded parts of the job. By law, you couldn’t actually have your nipples completely uncovered so to get around that, all the dancers bought theatrical glue and covered their nipples with that, then they used blush to dust the glue so it wasn’t sticky. You could see the nipple and it was uncovered but technically it had a cover – so stupid! Also, if the glue was old (it had a shelf life of about 3 months) it would start to peel off about halfway through your shift so you looked like you had leprosy or weird scaly lizard nipples. Not a good look. And going back to the locker room to reapply wasted time which loses money.)

I showed up to work like a schlub. I’d wear baggy shorts and a big baggy T-shirt and sneakers. I’d get ready as quick as I could once I was in the locker room – slap on the make-up, put on the costume, off I’d go. When my shift was over, I’d remove the spackle on my face, put the baggy clothes back on, tie my hair up, pick up my brain at the door and leave. I remember one girl would show up with a long, wavy red-haired wig, green contacts, full make-up and she’d leave that way, too. She told she wanted to make damn sure no one recognized her outside that building.

That happened every now and then. I’d be at the mall or at some restaurant with friends and some guy would see me and he’d get that look like, “Where do I know her from?” and I’d just wait patiently…. Either they’d not remember and move on or they would remember and, if they were with their woman, get that deer-in-the-headlights look like I was going to bust them out. Why would I do that?? I didn’t want the recognition anymore then they did. I’d just smile, roll my eyes like, “Relax, dude” and move on.

I also never wore anything that would get people in trouble later. A couple years later when I was a massage therapist at that spa in Tucson, I could always tell who’d been to the club the night before – that glitter on their forehead was a bitch to wash off. It’s just bad for business. If someone gets in trouble for going to the club, they won’t be able to come back and give me their money!

Another reason I’d get ready so fast was because, apparently, I have one of those faces where people tell me ALL their drama and want my advice. I never understood that as I was never very compassionate about it. I’m usually of the mind that if you don’t do anything to fix the problem then you can’t whine about it and if you continue to whine about it to me, you get no sympathy! And, as I’ve mentioned, a lot of these women had more problems then Ally McBeal and I’m not a psychotherapist and we’re not friends so I don’t care!! If they were friends of mine or something I would understand but for the most part, I didn’t befriend anyone I worked with at these clubs. Too much drama.

I’ve seen girls throw down in the locker room and beat the shit out of each other over a guy or money or just looking at each other wrong. Whenever that happened, they’d get fired. It didn’t happen often but it would occur now and then.

What else can I tell you?

I had another decent gimmick for making money. I’d walk up to a guy and say, “Would you like a dance?” and if they said yes, I’d say, “Would you like it here or in VIP?” because, like Regina taught me, I’m all about the upsell! Usually they’d just say yes or no but sometimes they’d ask, “What’s the difference?” and then I’d lean over and whisper in their ear, “Well, here I’ll make you smile, but up there…. I’ll make you cry.” Then they follow like little puppies. The only real difference was geography and cashflow.

The VIP areas were only a different area of the club. They weren’t blocked off or private or anything! Here’s the layout of Tens…
You walk in and there’s the desk where they take your cover charge, then you pass through a doorway and to your immediate right is a staircase. At the top of the staircase and to the right is the door to the locker room. The rest of the top floor only covers the kitchen below and 1/3 of the downstairs area. There’s leather couches, some tables, a bar at the other end of the top floor and two stages. The stages are one at each end of the upper area, they each have their own pole and they’re at the edge of the balcony looking down on the lower floor. There’s a plexiglass and brass half-wall all along the upper level so drunks don’t fall to the lower part. That upper area is one of the VIP areas and it’s also for bachelor parties and such. We rarely had to dance on those upper stages only when it was super-busy or if there was a party up there.

Back downstairs….
If you don’t go upstairs but still turn right downstairs, there’s the ATM and the bathrooms. The main bar is all along that back wall and behind that wall is the kitchen and the manager’s office. The entrance to the kitchen is at the other end of the main bar – opposite the bathrooms. Yes, they had a kitchen. At 5p, they’d have a free prime rib meal. Prime rib, mashed potatoes and gravy. They also had really good burgers and other bar food available. I ate that free prime rib every time I worked! (They let us eat, they aren’t slave-drivers, remember.)

The rest of the downstairs area/main level was surrounding the stage area. The main stage was a barbell shape with a pole in the middle of each circle that went all the way to the ceiling. The wall opposite the bar was the other VIP area with 3 or 4 steps leading up to it. If you’re facing it, the left 1/3 of it was the DJ booth and the rest of the wall was lined with little… benches? I don’t know how to describe them. They were comfortable seats, wide enough to fit about 2 ½ people. They had plexiglass table/armrests between each seat and each table/armrest had a pole at the end of it from the floor to the ceiling. Again, no “privacy” and no need for it. The only difference was the price. A VIP dance was $11 instead of $6 and for each dance we did in VIP, we had to pay the house $1. (Told you… the owners made money 6 ways from Sunday under that roof!)

This is getting long again so I’m going to tell one funny story about Tens then announce the winner and continue my topless adventures next time.

In the last post, I pasted a video of some amazing pole work. I said I could never do any of that stuff and here’s why. The only way to practice was on stage. It wasn’t like they let us in the club off-hours to try stuff out and I was never brave enough to try out new stuff in front of everyone! The only thing I did that even came close to a pole trick was to use the pole as a support and do a headstand, then the splits with my legs, then curl over to the splits on the floor. There was one girl who was very impressive – she was strong without being too muscly and she would do a handstand on the floor near the edge of the stage, do the splits with her legs, then do handstand pushups!! Loved her!

There was another girl who would take a running leap at the pole and swing around. And when I say a running leap, she would go to the inside edge of the opposite barbell circle and freakin’ all out run to her side of the stage, when she was about 3 feet away from her pole, she’d launch and then catch the pole and just swing around it until physics made her stop. There was a long-running money pool as to when she would miss and sure as shit one day she did. She launched herself, missed the pole entirely and went sailing off the edge of the stage, landing on a table and the two guys sitting there. It was sad but it was also fucking hysterical! Someone won $100 bucks off that dumb girl’s antics!

Now for a winner….
Since this contest involves Dave, I told him to pick a # between X and Y (the amount of comments in the contest blog). He picked and the lucky winner is Yarnhog! Congrats Yarnhog! Email me your mailing addy and I’ll send you your prize.

I know I promised yarn in this post but my camera and my computer(s) still aren’t talking so I’m going to have to figure that out and get back with pic’s later.

Yes, even Santa got lapdances, Ruth!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Pole Position

OK, so this is the post where I reveal the winner of the contest of guessing where I was working when I met my husband. Only it’s not because it’s getting so long that I’m breaking it into two parts. It’s got a ton of back story so you might want to get a snack….

So there I was….

If you’ve been here awhile, you know that I got out of the Army kind of fast. Not in a bad way, no dishonorable discharge or anything, just that when I had a shot to leave, I fucking ran at it! (Also, if this is the first time you are meeting me, it’s probably going to be weird for you – sorry.)

Leaving like that also left me without a job. I had a little mobile home I needed to move from Sierra Vista to Tucson and my old Mustang was busted as usual. I needed money. My friend Gina (the Corporal/NCO of the Orthopedic clinic across the hall from the Eye clinic where I worked) had a girlfriend named Regina. Regina was a topless dancer. She was all, “Ruth! You should totally come to the work at the club!” I said, “Yea, maybe waitress there.” She scoffed, “The waitresses make jack. You need to come dance.” I said, “I don’t know. I just don’t think I could do it.” She said, “It’s no worse then wearing a bikini most of the time and it’s amazing money!” I said, “Right, because the guys want to see the fat girl in stripper heels.” She laughed, “You are most assuredly NOT fat and you’ve been to the club enough to know that the girls come in all sizes and they ALL make bank.”

She was right.

Being stationed at Ft. Huachuca meant being in Sierra Vista, AZ – a relatively small town. There was one nightclub – a shit-kicker bar called Texas Annie’s and that opened shortly after I arrived from Germany so I don’t know what the soldiers did in SV for entertainment before that! Mostly, even with Annie’s, we’d all head up to Tucson for our weekend fun. It was an hour drive away but still worth it. We’d go there to hit the clubs/restaurants/concerts/whatever. When I hung out with the other women that worked at the hospital, we’d often go to The Biz. Ain’t Nobody’s Business was the lesbian bar in Tucson (remember that on the Meddac Softball Team, I was one of 2 and ½ that were straight). And sometimes we’d go to the topless bars. Also, when I hung out with the guys I worked with, sometimes we’d hit the topless bars. One of the strip clubs was across the street from a regular night club so sometimes we’d do both in one night. Not saying this was a weekly event or anything but probably about a monthly event.

So, yeah, I was familiar with the topless bars and their constituents.

Still skeptical, I said, “What if I can’t make [X number of money that I needed to live off].” She said, “Ruth, that’s… if you work 4 nights a week, that’s just….like, 3 dances an HOUR. If you can’t get 3 dances an hour, then yes, you’re right, you shouldn’t be doing it. But trust me – you’ll be fine.”

Regina put me in a bunch of her different outfits to see what looked best on my shape (turns out, that’s a push-up bra and hot pants that only cover half my ass). She also taught me a bunch of the tricks of the trade. (OK, bad wording, there was no “tricking” going on.) She showed me some moves for the stage and some moves for the lap dancing. She told me that when on stage to discreetly look around and see who was really watching me, that’s the first person to hit up for a “dance” when I got off stage. Same for when I was giving someone a lap dance – she said to pay attention to the guy I was dancing for but when my back was turned to see who was watching me, flirt with them and then go take their money. She said if there was a couple (man and woman) to always ask the woman first if she wants a dance, that way it cuts down on the jealousy and drama and oftentimes they say yes! She said when you finish the first dance, you ask right away, “Would you like another?” and if they said yes, to see if they wanted to go to the VIP area. Regina was the queen of the upsell! What else…. Oh, my favorite, “Be nice. Smile. There are a lot of girls who walk around that club like Queen High Bitch and some guys are into that but honestly… most guys… they have the bitch at home and that’s why they are at the club!” Best piece of advice she gave me!

Regina said being nice was, for her, the hardest part. She started stripping when she was 18 (I think she was 24 when I met her). She had to start at the full nude place because you had to be 21 to be topless, which I just think is weird. From a law standpoint, I get it, the topless bars serve alcohol, and the full nude places are BYOB. I think that’s weird, too. BYOB at a strip joint just seems like a recipe for disaster. She told me that the VIP dances there were in these little booths with a slot to put the money in and glass between the dancer and the patron. She said for the first dance she would be really mild and not even go full nude, then usually, the guy would be all, “Um… I was hoping for something… more.” And she’d tell them, “Oh. You must want the $50 dance.” And when the guy balked at the price, she’d tell them, “Look, put the money in the slot or get the fuck out.” And they’d either pay or leave and she could move on to the next sucker.

After all this instruction and education, she took me on my “audition”. Audition. What a laugh! If you are not morbidly obese, are willing to take your top off, and can walk in those heels without falling, you have the job. I remember being nervous as hell. I remember Regina, bless her, standing at the end of the stage and walking me through the whole song, “OK, now give a butt shot. OK, walk slower. OK, breathe!!” What I remember most about that the first time I took my top off on that stage is thinking, “Well. There’s goes the Presidency.” I get off the stage and Regina hugged me and told me I did great! The manager (a woman named Christina) said I had the job. I went to work and made $60 in the next 15 minutes before Christina told me I couldn’t start right this second and had to fill out some paperwork first. (Oh. Yea. Told y’all I was nervous!) I picked a stage name (Daija which sounds like Déjà vu but is actually a Korean term of endearment that means “little pig” – already not taking this job too seriously, right?) and started the next day.

I started at TD’s West (Topless Dancers - I'm embarrassed to say how long it took me to figure out what TD's stood for). I got a great shift because of Regina. Mostly, with the new girls, they have to work the first shift for at least a couple of months. First shift rhymes with worst shift. It was from 12p-5p and it was super-slow, not a lot of guys and the guys that were there were lifers with no money. Circumstances previously stated (house and car issues) had me living with Gina and Regina and riding with Regina to work so she talked management into letting me work the same shifts she worked – 4 nights a week, from 6p-10p (or later if the crowd was good). When circumstances smoothed out a few months later and I got my house/car back, I moved over to TD’s East because it was a bit closer to my house. Then later, still, I got fired. I got fired because I took a week off to study for finals! Actually, I got permission from a manager but he quit or got fired or whatever and didn’t tell anyone he’d given me the time off, so me and three other college students got fired for no-showing. Then I went to Tens and worked there for the rest of my stripping career.

Yes, they fire strippers. There are so many misnomers about this job, I can’t even begin to tell you but, of course, I’ll try. I did that job for 2 ½ years. I never told anyone where I worked until they got to know me a bit better since there are so many stereotypes about that job. People would get all weird and judgemental about it. What are the basic stereotypes? Well, what first popped into your head? All strippers are stupid and easy and they are all drunk/drug-addicted hookers with daddy issues and fake boobs? That’s usually what people think about.

So let’s address them…
Yes, most of the women I worked with had more issues (daddy or otherwise) then Ally McBeal. Yes, a lot of them had fake boobs – the club would even pay for them sometimes if the dancer was loyal and popular and signed a contract to work there for a certain amount of time after the surgery (kind of like getting college money from the Army, right?). Some were addicted to drugs or alcohol. And yes, a majority of them treated being a stripper like a lifestyle rather then just a job.

Plenty of them were married with kids or in long-term relationships. Lots of single moms, too. And lots of lesbians – by my small calculations about 40% (Regina used to joke that it was the perfect job for her/them – they already don’t even like men!) Quite a few, like me, were working their way through school but some lost their way, blinded by the money and the realization that they could go back to school anytime but their stripper looks wouldn’t last forever. Regina was a hell of a businesswoman – she squirreled money away like a…. well, like a squirrel. She used some to buy her truck but the rest she had tied up in stocks!

And the club wasn’t going to put up with any bullshit. For most of my 2.5 years, I worked at Tens. Tens was a bit strange in that it was owned by a woman and her two sons. She won the club in her divorce and her sons ran it. Does that give anyone else the creeps? But they made money hand over fucking fist and they weren’t about to lose their licensing over some triflin’ girl’s habits or issues. There was always another girl they could hire, right?

If a girl left with a different guy every night, they’d suspect her of hooking and they’d fire her. If a girl was caught high or drunk, they’d can her ass so fast it’d make her head spin. You could even get fired for wearing body oil! The oil gets on the stage and the next girl slips, falls, and sues? I don’t think so!

. There’s a two drink minimum with no bottle of beer or anything else costing less then $8 each! They have their own ATM machine which gives them $4 per transaction! Then there’s the money the club owners make from the girls and here’s where we get rid of another stereotype.

When people tell me that stripping is degrading and objectifying to women, I just smile and nod, not wanting to argue too much about a subject the speaker obviously knows nothing about. All the clubs I worked in (or heard about), the girls are “independent contractors”. We got paychecks but they were pittance checks (kind of like those states where wait-staff at restaurants get less then minimum wage because they make tips). All the girls paid to work there. We paid $5 per hour we were there. So say there’s a minimum of 10 girls per shift and 3 shifts per day, that’s $150 per day the club makes just from the girls working there. These girls who choose to work there of their own free will. We also had to give 10% of our “tips” to the bar and another 5% percent to the DJ (that part always kinda pissed me off as those people were making their actual wages plus tips anyway).

I always loved when guys would try to pull some superior bullshit or tried to act like they were in charge. I’d laugh right in their faces and take their money. The women in that bar ran shit. If we didn’t like a way a guy looked at us, they’d get kicked out.

My favorite example of this was when one day when I was working an early shift (covering that shift for a friend) and it was deadly slow. There were like 10 guys in the whole place and so you had to keep going to each guy for every song, “Would you like a dance?”. It got to be a funny game because it was actually a rule to keep moving and keep asking but there was no one to ask! There were two men in suits, one was not getting any dances but was buying all the dances for the other guy. The other guy was firmly entranced with one dancer so no money to be had there. I kept asking Paying Suit if he wanted a dance, he clearly didn’t even want to be in the building. I’d seen him before, always with a client, always buying them dances, never getting any for himself, always treating the girls like we were so beneath him. Finally it got to the point that whenever I’d ask him for a dance, I’d be laughing when I said it because I knew his answer. Finally, he had enough of me "bothering" him so he looked up at me and said, “Are you pregnant?” with this evil grin on his face. I’ve always had a little pooch-belly and it never interfered with my money-making skills so I laughed and said, “No, just fat, but thanks for asking!” Then I pulled up a chair and laid it down for him with a big smile on my face, “You know, no matter how much money, power and prestige you have outside this building, once you cross that threshold you’re just another loser who has to pay for attention. Or in your case, a loser who can’t seem to close a deal without us. You might want to think about that the next time you feel like being rude.” Then I stood up and, laughing, said, “So. Would you like a dance?” He said no but the look on his face when I called him out about using us to close deals was fucking priceless!

Jeebus this post is getting long! Man, y’all think the Army gave me some stories? This job has its own set of crazy tales, for sure! I’m going to cut out for now and finish next time. But I promise, next time, there will be yarn!

Also, here’s a video to keep you entertained. I think it’s safe for work. The women don’t wear anything less then the average bikini would show and it’s more Cirque de Sol then anything else. And in case you were wondering, I can’t do any of this shit! Never could. There was one dancer who could climb that pole to the ceiling and spin like a monkey. She was a tiny, skinny, overly-tattooed, little thing. I don’t remember her name, I always called her MonkeyGirl. I do remember the DJ couldn’t use the strobe lights whenever she worked. She told me that she had done so much crack in her life that she’d developed epilepsy! Crazy tales, man….crazy tales.

Still own the shoes, Ruth!

Friday, August 13, 2010


I'm essentially unemployed right now. The economy has effectively totalled my business.

For those who don't know, in August 2007, Dave and I bought a biz for me to run. We borrowed the money from his parents and bought a recruiting biz that can be run from home. It was stellar the first year we had it, I cleared over $40K working in my basement just 3 or 4 hours a day! My only concern with buying this biz (other then owing Dave's parents) was that the previous owner had taken it down to working with one company. The original owner dealt with about 20, she retired, selling the biz to her office manager - that owner took it down to 5 companies and the man that bought from her took it down to one. I didn't like having all the eggs in one basket.

That basket broke.

The company went on a hiring freeze over a year ago and it still shows no signs of thawing. They are shifting people around and promoting from within and my business is bust. I've had several of the hiring managers call me to say, "I'm not looking but if something comes up..." because they want to leave the company. The company changed their comp packages three times last year and none for the better.

I'm so depressed I can't breathe right most days and I keep thinking how we.... no. How I won't be able to EVER pay Dave's parents back. I keep having nightmares (nearly every night) of being lost or late and also of being deployed to Iraq.

During the day, I look for jobs.

Dave's business (he bought a landscaping biz last August) is doing just OK. It's not doing near the numbers the previous owner was doing but again, that's more because of the economy then anything else. People are opting to take care of their own yards and then there's the schmo's who buy a lawnmower and an edger, have no overhead and undercut our price by, like, half. (We've actually had people in both categories come back to us because Dave does a much better job!) Then there's the slave labor....

Another mom of a kid on Trev's baseball team told me that her neighbor hires a Mexican to do her lawn (that's exactly how she put it). This guy cleans up the poo from their three dogs, mows/edges/trims their front yard and their back yard for the princely sum of..... $15. Are you fuckin' kidding me? The other mom disapproved. She, like me, thinks it's cruel to hire slave labor like that. And then we went on to discuss the illegal immigrant situation and we agreed that they wouldn't be here if people like her neighbor didn't hire them. But that's a discussion for another day.

Anyway, back to me - hah! If I don't get a job soon, I'm going to self-destruct. I have panic attacks some days and meltdowns on other days. We decided in June to shut down my business. It costs money, even being run from home - extra phone, website, etc. From June to July, I lost about 12 pounds. Mostly because I pretty much quit eating. I am so stressed that every time I eat, I get super nauseous. It's not as bad now but June was ugly.

I have all this time on my hands and so I've taken to getting an ass-load of movies from the library. Sometimes I even score brand new releases. I'm on the waiting list for those but they hold back a couple of copies to put on the shelves and sometimes I get lucky.

So I'm going to start doing movie reviews here as well as the rest of the snot I write about. There will be spoilers so I'll put the movie titles at the top of the post each time. If you don't want to know, then skip it, right? Also, I have an unexplainable love for dross. I love cheesy movies and old movies and there's not much I won't watch. You've been warned!

This week:
CopOut, The Crazies, Brooklyn's Finest, Bounty Hunter, The Shield (Final Season), Nip/Tuck (Final Season), The Box, My Sister's Keeper, Adventureland, Wolfman, Armoured, Doctor Who
(Normally there won't be this many but this is what I've seen over the last two weeks or so.)

The Crazies:
This not-a-zombie zombie movie was really pretty good! I love zombie movies and my favorite part is how they explain the outbreak. This movie took steps to insure the zombies didn't look like zombies, because like 28 Days Later (besides Shaun of the Dead, one of the best zombie movies ever), these aren't the living dead. They are live people who are infected with something. The explanation The Crazies gave was entirely plausible and that makes the movie all the more frightening! The characters were likeable and real and compassionate. There was very little gore and lots of jump-out-at-you scares. That's how I prefer my horror films. Excessive gore is, well, excessive and rarely necessary.

Sucked. Don't waste your time. This movie was like a really bad buddy-cop movie from the '80's. And I'm not even sure what purpose Sean William Scott's character served. He was in it briefly to set up a scenario - he stole a baseball card Bruce Willis needed. At the end of the movie, they basically kidnap SWS so he can use his cat-burglar skills to break into the gangster's house and get the card back. So SWS is at the top of a tree about to go in a window, he looks at Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan and gives them the thumbs up, then falls out of the tree and dies. WTF? It's a shame as I really like SWS! This movie was beyond stupid and not even very funny.

Brooklyn's Finest:
Excellent movie! Amazing all-star cast and outstanding performances by all. The ending was very Hamlet in that pretty much everyone dies. It sort of reminded me of Crash in that people you thought were good, maybe not so much and people you thought were bad, also, have another side to them.

The Bounty Hunter:
Meh. It was OK. It was entertaining and Gerard Butler takes his shirt off a lot which is always nice! The storyline was predictable and the characters didn't have a lot of depth but it's worth a watch if you want something fluffy and mindless. The only thing that truly annoyed me was at the ending and it's just a petty thing.... There's a gun battle in a police evidence locker and although there's cops downstairs and there's gunfire upstairs, the place wasn't swarming with cops instantly. Also, if you are in a gun battle in a police evidence locker and you happen to find that much-needed extra shotgun in an evidence box (thank you V. Gotti), I'm fairly certain it would not be a loaded weapon. Just sayin...

The Shield (Final Season):
This show has always been sort of a corrupt-cop-with-a-heart-of-gold show. It's very violent and as graphic as basic cable will allow and it's an excellent show. The last season, they made Vic (the show's lead character) and Shane (Vic's right-hand guy) sort of trade places. All along, you kind of root for Vic because he shows glimpses of these small saving graces and all along you hate Shane because he's a total shit. In the last season, Vic becomes this desperate, narcissistic animal who is only out to save his own ass. Shane, equally desperate, keeps trying and trying and failing miserably to pull his butt out of the fire. The difference is that Shane is trying to finally do right by his small family and Vic, though trying to also save his own family, is mostly out to save himself, his reputation, and make some cash. Amazing show the whole way through. The end was sad and harsh and justice was served - keeping in line with the entire series. In the end, Vic gets his just rewards in the form of a living hell for his character. A slow death, chained to a desk, with constant supervision. Perfect!

Nip/Tuck (Final Season):
I've really liked this show so far. I'm not excited about this last season. So far, it's making me just sick of these people and waiting for it to end. So why am I still watching? I hate not knowing the end of a story. So, I'm slogging through this last season but I'm so over it all.

The Box:
This movie was SO much better then I thought it would be! It was excellent! It was imaginative, well-developed, creative, touching, sad, poignant, redeeming, and outstanding. It is based on a short-story by the same man who wrote I Am Legend - Richard Matheson. It was so good, I went to the library and got an audiobook with a collection of his short stories including this one.

My Sister's Keeper:
This movie is one of those ones you rent when you want a good cry. It was well-done and had an excellent cast. I never wanted to read this book because I knew it would destroy me but I figured I could watch the movie and be only marginally wrecked. I was right. I cried through most of it and I highly recommend it.

This movie was good. It wasn't nearly as funny as the trailers made it seem but it had several funny bits and many touching moments. Totally worth the rental.

I loved this movie! It was creepy and well done! It held true to the original 50's movies without resorting to campiness or too much cheese. Anthony Hopkins was stellar as always (I'll see anything he's in just to hear him speak!) and Benicio Del Toro was a dream.

I have a confession to make. I still have the Matt Dillon Trivia book I bought with my allowance from 1984. I'll watch anything he's in! This movie was OK. It was entertaining and they didn't resort to a too-perfectly-happy ending. Most everyone dies or gets severely injured in this movie. Worth the time of you're killing time.

Doctor Who:
I got this series because I was wondering what all the hype was about. We are completely hooked! The kids would beg to see the next episode and even Dave got into it! I have a huge crush on Christopher Eccelston - such an amazing smile! I'm sad he's only in the one season. We are on hold for the next season, anxiously awaiting.....

Watching all this film, I've been doing a lot of knitting. I have a new camera and as soon as I can get his old computer and the new camera to speak to each other civilly, I'll post some knitting.

Next time I post, I'll announce the winner of the contest. The contest is still open until I post about it.

Swimming as fast as I can, Ruth!