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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

There Goes the Neighborhood....

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet

"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

There Goes the Neighborhood....

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alex say what
As though the car blowing up on Christmas wasn't enough....

Last night around 10:30 I was took Alex down for a shoo-shoo (i.e. to take a leak), and I heard something very...odd. It honestly sounded like (for lack of a better word) Islamic music. That in itself is not too odd; Howard County is very ethnically diverse, and we have a lot of Islamic folks in our community. But it was surprisingly loud. Now we have a fellow across the way who on occasion blares what Bobby and I call ranchero music--you know, the sorts of accordion-centric stuff that they play at Mexican chain restaurants--but Islamic people don't strike me as the sorts of folks who will open a window and blare their music.

Alex was perturbed, as was I, so after he took his shoo-shoo, we went back upstairs. "Someone in one of the buildings across the way is blaring Islamic music," I told Bobby, who looked at me oddly.

I am beginning to believe that being entirely honest about what I perceive is not always the best route. The other day, I was sitting in my parents' kitchen, and a woman crossed the yard, carrying a diamond tiara. "Dad," I said, "there is a woman in the yard with a crown." He didn't believe me! I had to tell him five or six times to go to the door before he'd actually do it! And when he came back, what did he say? "Yes, Dawn, there was a woman in the yard with a crown." Sheesh.

Bobby went downstairs to investigate for himself and came back up a few seconds later. "I know what that is," he said.

"It's not Islamic music?" I asked.

"No," he replied, and he told me that apparently some guy sits beside the dumpster across the street from us and plays a fiddle. He's seen the guy before while walking Alex. "Does he work for the community?" I asked because the maintenance shed is over there and sometimes the maintenance guys will turn on their stereos pretty loud. I could see an older fellow maybe passing idle time playing his fiddle while waiting for someone's dishwasher to break...a little hootnanny but not nearly as annoying as gangsta rap blaring at eight in the morning. But no, the guy apparently just sits there, next to the dumpster...and plays what sounds like Islamic music.

As though some random guy coming into our community to sit beside a dumpster and play a fiddle is not enough, on Friday, Bobby came to have lunch with me at my office, and he noticed something odd. He was putting Alex into the back of the car when a guy walked out of the building across from ours. Normally, Bobby wouldn't have paid him any mind but he was--in Bobby's words--"a squirrel": you know, the sort of person you just have to look at twice. He was an older gentleman with largish glasses. And he was carrying a bucket with a hacksaw and towels.

He came out of one building and went into the one next door. Bobby got curious, so he sat in the car and watched for a few minutes. One by one, the guy went into and came out of each building in the block opposite ours. He then started on our block and began to work his way down. We are the fifth building on our row. When he went into our building, Bobby got out of the car and followed him inside.

Our buildings are split-level: You enter and either go down a flight of stairs to the ground level or go up to the first or second floors. The squirrely guy had gone downstairs to the ground level, and he was bent over and inspecting the locks on one of the doors.

Now my husband is an imposing man. He is a 6'3" hockey player with shoulders that practically fill a doorframe. He also has a rather booming voice. He called down the stairs, "Excuse me, can I help you?" in his meanest voice...and the guy snatched up his bucket and bolted up the stairs, past Bobby, and outside.

Three days later, a car blows up, and we apparently have a roaming, middle-of-the-night fiddle player. And this is supposed to be idyllic and crime- and weirdo-free Howard County. Sheesh. I thought that the people next door's dog was bad!

On a completely unrelated note, as I type this, I have a damp golden retriever curled up next to me. We gave him a bath tonight; we give him a bath every two weeks. This is the point where we begin not to be able to stand his special retriever smell anymore. (What is it with retrievers? They all smell like old, dirty money!) Getting a bath exhausts the little guy, and tonight, he decided to thank me for making him smell all flowery again by pressing against and soaking my leg. *smooches Alex*
  • Oh, the stories you could write with all that's going on around you!

    BTW-I'm leaving Brandon-moving onto better things, I thought as my sister you should know:)

    Love you sis!
    • I feel like I've fallen into one of my stories!

      I read your LJ, so I had my suspicions. *hugs*
      • It's tough, he wants me to take him back....but I told him honestly how I felt-that I'm confused and unsure about us working through it all-then of course I got "Well, isn't marriage for better or worse?" I told him it was up until a certain point and that God had never intended for me to be abused in any way. He told me to think about it, but I'm pretty sure my mind is made up-I'm a happier and better person without him. I love him, I will whether I'm with him or not, but I have to do what's best for me and the babies-and I won't keep the babies from him but I won't have him speaking in a negative way of me to them either, because I have never done that to him.
  • Golden retrievers smell like old money? Heh, well, I guess that's better than either of my shelties usually smelled... (long fur especially puffy around the butt plus being kind of smallish and therefore close to the ground even as adults... I'll let you use your imagination to figure out how nice their scent was ;)) Sox and Pip used to thank me for their baths by rubbing all over everyones' legs, then flopping all over the carpet, clothes on my floor, etc, and trying to dry themselves off on the furniture. Hee!
    • *snicker*

      Yes, that could be a mite unpleasant!

      To me, retrievers in general tend to smell like an old copper penny held too long in the hand. I don't know if it's the "waterproofing" on their coats or what, but I've mentioned this to other retriever guardians and they usually laugh and say, "That's it!" (Tarion? Are you around? What do Loki and Tor smell like?) Alex generates this smell in about two weeks.

      Alex goes nuts after a bath, tearing around the apartment and rolling on the floor. Then he falls asleep, which is where he is now, laying next to me on the couch with his head on my purse. Awwww....

      And why do I suspect that wet Shelties look rather silly? :^D
      • I recall something like an old copper penny scent with the shelties, but I think it was mostly when they came in from the rain... right before that "Eew, wet dog!" scent smacked me in the nose.

        And why do I suspect that wet Shelties look rather silly? :^D



        Well, White Sox just tended to look all pitiful and miserable after a bath (and he was always really funny when he figured out a bath was in his immediate future--he'd wag his tail and act all pleasant, as if he was trying to charm his way out of it!)


        ...Pip looked hilarious when her fluff got all wet and she looked so much smaller! But she was always tearing around and huffing and puffing when wet, so I never really got a good pic of her like that...

        Where would the world be without dogs? :D
        • Awwww....

          Alex gets even skinnier than usual, though he doesn't mind baths. He usually tries to get out once, figures out that the two giant human-things aren't going to allow it, and stands idly after. When he's drying, his ears look like the hair has been crimped, like he's some sort of '80s throwback. Hee!

          I don't have any pictures, though, because I bathe Alex in my underwear (since I get in the tub with him), and I don't think y'all want to see that. ;)
          • I don't have any pictures, though, because I bathe Alex in my underwear (since I get in the tub with him), and I don't think y'all want to see that. ;)

            Haha, yeah, that would be why I personally never took any "in the tub" pics of my critters. ;) (Well, that, and I valued my camera and the canines had a tendency to shake off every three seconds!) Somehow I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who climbs into tubs to bathe critters, though! :D

            My doggies hated the baths, but as they got older, they learned they weren't getting out of the bathroom and spoiled with yum yums until the unpleasantry passed, so they even learned to jump into the tub when I called them. (It was fun watching little Pip climb in and slide down the sloped part of the tub meant for a back rest!)
  • I have occasionally entertained the idea of doing an ethnography of street musicians and buskers, and your fiddler sounds like he could have some interesting stories to tell. But don't let my former adviser, the I.N.P.O.D. catch you calling it "Islamic music." She will point out, vigorously and with hand gestures, that there is no such thing. Islam does not like music and does not admit it into its cultural worldview. There's music from the various Arab and Near Eastern cultures, but that is not Islamic music.
    • Apologies to I.N.P.O.D. I shall have to call it Arab-and-near-Eastern-culture music perhaps? Come up with a nifty acronym?

      I don't know if this guy counts as a street musician. He certainly doesn't have an audience except for hapless people taking their puppies out for shoo-shoos late at night. I think he might just be a nut who happened to choose our dumpster as his personal recreation spot.
      • Sure he counts as a street musician. He's on the street, and he's a musician. He may not make money off of it, but he is playing in a public place.

        Call it Middle Eastern music, maybe. I haven't heard it, so I don't quite know what he's playing. Might be fun to find out, on one of Alex's shoo-shoo trips.
        • It's hard to describe where he's playing, but it's not really a street. It's an alcove off the street reserved for the maintenance people. They keep their equipment there and a big dumpster for old furniture and stuff. In fact, I'm pretty sure that if I contacted community management about him sitting there and playing, they'd be pretty upset about it. It seems like one of those places where management would see unauthorized people as posing a liability risk. Only I don't think that I'm quite ready to spoil the fun of one nut with a fiddle, just as long as I can't hear his screeching inside of the apartment.
          • You could record it and put up some sound bytes here on lj and then Frenchpony can tell us what exactly it is!
  • Wow, that's crazy! There aren't too many weirdos in my neighborhood that I really know of, except my paranoid neighbor who thinks there are weirdos around and so will not answer his front door EVER. *shrug*

    My dogs need baths right now. Too bad it's such a pain to get all the stuff out. I get lazy sometimes and just rub some PetSilk on them - it smells really good! And it leaves my hands feeling soft too. :)
    • You know, I don't know how we have so many weirdos in idyllic sky-high-cost-of-living Howard County. But we do. Shortly after moving here, we were driving to the historic district with my inlaws, and my f-i-l suddenly slammed on the brakes and swung the car around. "I've got to see that again!" he said, and we went back and saw that there was a guy dressed in foam armor, walking down the street with a foam sword, ranting at nothing at all. We also have the fella who rides his bike the wrong way down the highway with "No War!" signs all over himself, shouting at the traffic. o.O

      (Despite all of this, your neighbor sounds like a real weirdie....)
      • Foam armor?! LOL!! See, I don't need to have weirdos in my neighborhood, because I have enough weirdos in my family. O.o (Though college is full of weirdos, but that goes without saying. Even though I said it. What a weird phrase that actually is. /randomness)
  • Ack. Weird fiddle players and strange little nerdy guys with hacksaws and dog smell. Ah, dog smell. And cars going boom.

    Dawn, honestly, you and Bobby should move to WA State. We have lots of scuba diving and beaches and amusement parks and stuff. What do you think?

    • I think that it sounds awesome! I do love Maryland in some regards...and absolutely hate it in others. When Bobby went to Washington State last spring for his job, he remarked how much calmer everything was there than here.

      And our scuba diving notoriously sucks too. :^P
  • Islamic music? We have Turkish neighbours, and two houses away live refugees from Afghanistan, but I can't place that (I think you mean something else). Sometimes they play their Arab music, but we have more unwanted musical pollution from the house music of an agitated and very rude Dutch teen a block away. I actually like Arabic or gypsy music, it's light, natural and very alluring. Hubby has no love for Celtic music, which he has a very ungraceful description for.

    Aren't you certain it is Maglor? He's been away for a couple of days because of our ill Kev, but he's back ;)

    Did you know that cats smell too? I realised that after Mick died, that cats also had this particular smell (just as babies or even we do now), I think with a dog you get used to it :)

    Oh and, we bathe Kev in our underwear too since our wee one makes a sport out of it to get as much water out of his bath during the first minutes ;)
    • Yes, I knew that "Islamic music" was not the word that I wanted, but I wasn't sure that "Arabic music" quite did it either. My ever-helpful music expert frenchpony has informed me that "Arabic" is more accurate. :)

      Come to find out, the fiddle player is Asian. But when I first heard the music in the middle of the night and from some distance, it reminded me of Arabic music.

      I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who strips down to bathe my little one. You told me about Kevin and Niki told me about her dogs...lol!
  • Aside from the weird squirrelly guy (my internal alarm kind of raised its antennae and wiggled them at that), wow! Interesting neighbourhood! Most definitely better than mine. All I get is screaming toddlers, and Bollywood music at ungodly hours of the night. Speaking of music, Islamic music (when it is not being frowned upon) is of a religious nature in its lyrics, with as little instruments in it as possible (none in some schools of thought, only percussion in others) and is often referred to as Nasheed or Naat (meaning poetry, but they've gotten to mean Islamic songs over time) ;-D.
    • Cool! Thanks for the info! I'm learning a lot from this post!

      Come to find out, our strange fiddle player is Asian, but my first impression of the music from a distance in the middle of the night was that it was what I could only describe as "Islamic music" (though frenchpony has given me a more accurate term for what I heard). He's also moving spots now: the hill behind our building or the stairs leading up to the leasing center. He's an older guy and doubtlessly harmless.

      As for the squirrel with the bucket and the saw...that honestly frightens me.

      Funny thing is that our county and our community is supposedly to be very quiet and "normal." But I guess that weirdos show up wherever you go!
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