Sister Betty's Search and Site Map Page
Go to Sister Betty's Home PageSpecial Features from Sister BettySister Betty's EventsShop Sister Betty's StoreSister Betty's JournalSister Betty's Photo GalleriesTesla
Buy this Photograph
Publication Permissions
Sister Betty's Photo Galleries
Videos and Short Films from Sister Betty


03 December 2004 - (Comment)

The first snow of the season is falling in Portland.  See it live by clicking here.

04 December 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
Click for larger image
I have been traveling so much for business that I now believe peanuts and soda constitute a balanced meal, that I should buckle my belt low and tight across my lap even when seated on my own sofa, and that exercise consists of walking down an aisle to a lavatory.  Somewhere in early November I earned Super Secret Agent Frequent Flyer status.  I'm uncertain what this status means as it doesn't make it any easier to find my room in yet another nondescript hotel.

Spending so much time suspended between the ground and the ionosphere leaves me feeling oddly disconnected; I float in a place related neither to time nor distance, arriving and departing without any evidence either I, or my fading destinations, ever existed. 

When I am not encased in aluminum airframes, I've busied myself renovating my upstairs rental unit.  The world would slowly decay to mobile home parks and trashy condominiums if it were not for homosexual men.  We spy decaying houses and see fabulous art deco palaces.  Once we repair a neighborhood, heterosexuals see the appeal, move in, vote for anti-gay-marriage ordinances, and we find somewhere else to live.

I once dated a man who was beginning a six year restoration of a house in San Francisco.  He had friends who moved from house to house, renovating each and then moving on.  After six months of nearly constant renovation I'm ready to be finished.  There simply aren't enough cute men at Home Depot to justify the amount of time I spend wandering the aisles. 

The first snow of the season fell yesterday in big, heavy, wet flakes.  I haven't seen snow in fifteen years.  The cats stood mesmerized by the windows for hours, meowing and screeching at the odd invading flurries.  While locals cursed an early snow foretells an evil winter, I wandered about the city marveling at the accumulating powder.

Crazy Helga took the first snowfall as a sign to place a large, broken file cabinet on the curb.  You can see the snow, Helga and the cabinet on the Live Internet Camera.

If you can't understand today's photograph, click here for the beginning of my latest web project and the answer.

06 December 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
Click for larger image
Crazy Helga.  Crazy, Crazy Helga.

Some people doubt my stories of Crazy Helga until they see her in action.  I submit the following story as reported by the Perfect Gay Couple of Cute Sean and Cute Brian:

Brian and Sean arrived at my house last week for lunch.  Pulling up to the curb, they witnessed Crazy Helga eject Nearly Dead Olaf from her shanty.  Helga hurled an American flag at Olaf, followed by a German flag, and then disappeared inside her house, leaving Olaf on the lawn with the flags.

As the snow fell over the weekend, Helga dragged the remnants of a large file cabinet to the curb.  She painted a swastika on one side and unintelligible lettering on the other, leaving the cabinet in the accumulating snow for the trash collector.  You may still see the cabinet via the Live Internet Camera.

Everyone on the street talks about Helga and three different explanations exist for her insanity.  One neighbor claims Helga was kicked in the head by a horse while living in Germany.  One says Helga endured Nazi persecution during World War II and Olaf was the American soldier who saved her.  A nearby health care professional simply whispers:  "She hasn't been the same since the change."  It took me two weeks to understand this last statement.

Sometimes I feel a bit sorry for Olaf, trapped in the decaying green house with an aging, senile woman.  Other times I worry the last functional synapses keeping Helga across the street will fail and I'll return home to witness her assaulting my front porch.  In a functional society (say, like Canada or Europe or Cuba), some government agency would step in to assist Olaf and keep Helga from running too far astray. 

Helga is a living koan - the balance of knowing how to laugh at the humor in human existence while simultaneously acknowledging the sadness that accompanies it.

07 December 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
Click for larger image
The Pro-Life Anti-Baby Scam:

I am sweeping the snow from my steps this morning when Crazy Helga appears across the street waiving a piece of paper.  Crazy Helga has lived on this street for more than ten years.  She yells:  "Excuse me, are you number 23_____ Street?"

Me:  "No, that is the house next door."

Crazy Helga (standing, waving the note and yelling):  "Well, I have this message for 23_____ Street.  Do you suppose I should walk across the street and slip it under the door?"

Me:  "You could do that."

Crazy Helga (still waving the note and yelling):  "Yes, well, someone called me and said she wanted to leave a message for 23______ Street.  She said there was a shortage of money and there wasn't enough food."

Me:  "Well, that house is empty.  No one lives there."

Crazy Helga (yelling louder):  "I said to the caller 'Why are you calling me?  Is this some sort of scam?'  Then she said there wasn't enough money for food!  I told her 'I am pro-life, the babies need the food, not you!  You are trying to scam me!'"

Me (noticing Helga's hand is wrapped in a dish towel):  "Are you okay?  Did you hurt your hand?"

Crazy Helga (now looking confused):  "I fell this morning.  I am Pro-Life!  Pro-Life!  And no one is going to scam me!"

Me (preparing to go to my garage):  "Well, would you like me to put that note under their door?"

Crazy Helga (angrily turning back to her house):  "No, I would not.  I am Pro-Life and the babies need their food."

10 December 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
Click for larger image
I ratted out an old lady.

Having a crazy neighbor is entertaining.  Having a crazy neighbor who endeavors to turn the street into a junk yard is annoying. 

I don't know whether or not Crazy Helga will understand the summons tucked under her door by the property inspector.

10 December 2004 - Later - (Comment)

In a rare event, both Crazy Helga and Nearly Dead Olaf appeared on camera today for nearly an hour.  They cleared their driveway of ice although they do not have a car and no one uses the garage.
Click for larger image
This prompted me to upgrade the Live Internet Camera.  The image is now super-sized for greater detail.  The camera seems to be less stable in this configuration, but take a look and tell me what you think.

David asked if I would start Helg-Alerts - instant messages sent to users so they can tune in and see Helga.  Hmmm....Helg-Alerts.

13 December 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
Click for larger image
Crazy Helga:  Padawan.

I am packing my suitcase for a short business trip when I spy Crazy Helga pacing the street in her Jedi bathrobe.  Mercilessly patrolling our neighborhood for evil, she sets upon a tree with her broomstick/light saber.  Use the force, Helga.

Nearly Dead Olaf appears to bring Helga inside.  Helga turns on him with the broomstick.  Whack.  Whack.  Then back to pacing the street.

Click for larger imageAttacking Olaf is one step too far.  I call the police and ask them to check on the aging couple.  Sorry, Padawan, but we cannot have you attacking other federation citizens.

13 December 2004 - (Later) (Comment)

Bonus Crazy Day:  After the police drove by, Crazy Helga traded her broomstick for a bright, pink umbrella.

As of 12:30 PM, she has been pacing for at least five hours.  This is an exceptional Crazy Helga Day.Click for larger image

20 December 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

In addition to a crazy neighbor, I think my house came with a ghost.

To begin, I should note that I generally do not believe in ghosts and other such silliness.  I consider the idea that disembodied souls wander the earth waiting to be caught by our Instamatics about as rational as those who believe cancer can be cured by sleeping with a pink crystal on the nightstand.

Back to my ghost...

Several weeks ago I was painting my upper unit.  I had just turned off the lights and was preparing to return downstairs when I thought to myself:  "Self, I've never seen the view from up here."  So, I wandered from room to room looking out at the city.  As I stood in the living room, I suddenly felt very...not alone.  Creepy, spooky not alone.Click for larger image

I went downstairs, locked the doors and turned on all the lights.  This seemed to work.

The cats, however, seem to have a different perspective.  Havana, who is the bitchier of my two felines and generally not inclined to welcome company, has taken to staring at the walls and windows and hissing at the unseen.  Squiggly Cat, who is content just to be fed and sleep, seems not to notice.

A former owner of this house died when he fell from the roof onto the neighboring driveway.  Said driveway is nearer the living room than the other rooms.

Upstairs today turning up the heat for my contractors, I declared out loud:  "Let's get this straight.  I own this house.  You can stay up here or in the attic, but you can't come downstairs."  Instantly, my back spasmed and I nearly fell to the floor.  I struggled out of the apartment and back to my unit.

Ecto-fucker.  I offer rent-free haunting and this uninvited occupant kicks my ass. 

The back spasm might not be the work of a ghost.  Laying on my couch in a very un-ergonomic position for twelve hours playing video games might be a better explanation.  The ghost makes for a better story.

I suppose to prove the ghost theory I'll need a coffeepot and a tape recorder.  I may wait to conduct this test.  I'm afraid the ghost will say:  "Nice houuuuse.....but you paid toooooo much."

21 December 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
Click for larger image
Christopher from Alaska tells me Maine is reputed to have an exceptionally high ghost/living ratio.  He tells the tale that once, while he was boffing one of Maine's adorable men in the basement of an old house, a ghost appeared and helped cook dinner.  To reassure me, Christopher says:  "The ancient Egyptians believed that cats were the protectors of the living, able to recognize and chase away malicious ghosts from the afterlife."  Egyptian cats were more ferocious than my felines.

There is a significant possibility my ghost is Axis Sally.  I will not explain how I know this.  Leave it to me to buy a house with a ghost named Mildred.  Mildred is so frightful even the most amateur drag queen wouldn't consider the name.

It is tempting to laugh at old-fashioned names like Mildred, Priscilla, Dot or Trudy.  However, I have learned never to write to a client until I clearly asked how to spell their name correctly.  Christie Smith can be Kristi, Christy, Christi, or Xriystiphz.  Phonics are of no use when deciphering the letters in Shaniquawanda, Palmoliveolinda, Lubradermina, or Varondalea. 

People with really odd names often seem a bit righteous about correct spelling - like pinched old English teachers who snarled when I failed to properly diagram a sentence.  There are no points for effort here. 

It seems to me a disproportionate number of people with odd names fill roles in government and human resources - two of the most unbendable and hostile segments of society.  Whether you have to speak with Xilin Potohatami to get a tax certificate or Courtney/Kortknee/Kurtkni about firing an employee, you had better get it right the first time or you are doomed.

Upon turning 18, every person should have the ability to choose a new name.  If your parents burdened you with Vereesha Edward Julian Gurtzdaheimer, the government could instantly make you Brad Pitt.

23 December 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
Click for larger image
Holiday newsletters are the hot new trend among gay men.  Now that we have babies, mortgages, ads created just for us, and some other bits of legal recognition, it seems more and more gay men are spending an hour between taking the kids to soccer practice and the Up Santa's Chimney Circuit Party to create "What The Alexander-Diesel Family Did This Year." 

Some of my acquaintances really despise holiday newsletters.  Gay men, however, are rarely content with the average newsletter and send envelopes filled with sparkling paper, funny prose and the rare DVD.  My favorite writers are often people I hear from just once a year.

My father has been writing a holiday newsletter for as long as I can recall.  Each year he would pull out the folding table and the Selectric, hiding in the living room until his effort was complete.  A few days later, he would return home with copies smelling of fresh ink and the entire family would fold, lick, and stamp.  A computer replaced the typewriter in the mid 90s, but the newsletters appeared each year like clockwork.

At the bottom of each newsletter, my father always features a line about each member of the family. 

"Marcia:  Still looks 29 although she's been married to me for 51 years!"
"Michael:  Now in charge of the Navy's weapons development program.  Now a grandparent!"

And so on for seven more lines.  Down near the bottom is his copy about me, the content of which departed from reality the same year I came out to my parents:

"Son #5:  Happily living somewhere, running a consulting firm."

Because writing the truth would just be too difficult:

"Son #5:  We haven't spoken to him in five years, so pretty much nothing to report."

Years ago, this newsletter was an annual reminder of how much my parents disliked my life.  Ten thousand, nine hundred and fifty dollars of therapy later, I could see with compassion how my father worked to maintain the public appearance of the family he longed to have. 

The newsletter did not come this year - a first in my life.  Whether my father stopped writing or does not have my new address, neither matter.  I have traveled far enough that the person listed on line seven no longer bears connection to the person sitting and writing this entry.

25 December 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

Click for larger image
26 December 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
Click for larger image
A smoke dectector is dying somewhere in my house.  I can hear the chirp at ten minute intervals, but I cannot locate the device.  I replaced every battery in every smoke detector I can find and still the chirping continues - frequent enough to remind me of its presence, infrequent enough that I cannot follow the sound to the source. 

It may be in the attic, but it is dark outside and I now only venture to the attic during daylight.

28 December 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
Click for larger image
SBP - Washington - President Bush today blamed yesterday's earthquakes and tidal waves on Osama Bin Ladin while adding Sri Lanka to the Axis of Evil.

"It is clear to this administration that the government of Sri Lanka acted in concert with the forces of evil in planning this attack," said a White House spokesperson.  "We have clear evidence this regime allowed terrorists to damage the tectonic plates resulting in widespread devastation and a direct threat to freedom."

Justice Department sources indicated this attack proved the value of the ongoing "yellow" alert level.  "Look at how many yellow people died and tell me we're wrong," said the Assistant Undersecretary for Homeland Tidal Security. 

Bush Administration officials brushed aside scientific questions about whether Bin Laden or the Sri Lanka could cause shifting of the earth's crust.  A carefully worded White House statement read, in part: "...anyone can see the Enemies of Freedom and Our Way of Life are continually searching for new ways to attack the Homeland - whether that means here at home, our troops abroad, or the lavish beach houses purchased for government officials by military contractors.  Only activist judges or liberal pundits could debate the source of this terrible attack."

In response to what is now dubbed "Tidal Terrorism", the President announced through a spokesperson that he was sending $15 million in disaster relief to the flood ravaged areas and ordering the detention of 13,000 Americans in an unknown location.  Although the spokesperson offered no details as to the identity of the 13,000 Americans, sources indicate the arrests will include all of the Democratic representatives, the Supreme Court, and Ben Affleck.

The President himself was not present for the announcement.  Anonymous White House sources said no one in the government wanted the President anywhere near a microphone when the word "tectonic" would be required.

Copyright 2004 - Sister Betty Press

31 December 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
Click for larger image
I am rarely satisfied by amusement park rides which whirl, twirl or spin me around.  Just when I relax into the motion and enjoy the ride, an unseen operator pulls a lever and shortly I have to stumble toward the exit. 

Once again, our planet is nearing approximately the same spot in its orbit around the sun where it was last year; a spot fairly close to the same place the planet has visited each year for millions and millions of years.  Some quantity of new riders climbed aboard while another quantity came to the end of their ride, perhaps leaving sooner or later than we expected.

The orbit, like the crowds of riders who have left the amusement park and those still waiting at the admission gate, never pauses and each passes into the next without interruption.  We exist as individuals only while spinning about, and then only because we chose to believe in such distinctions. 

The beauty of this carnival ride exceeds the illustrative capacity of language.

Farewell.  Jaa-mata. 

Welcome.  Benvenuto.

Happy New Year.

2004 - A Year In Pictures - (Related Pages) (Comment)
Click for larger image
January: Erika Lopez and Tracey Chapman
Click for larger image
February:  Gay weddings in San Francisco
Click for larger image
March: Dancing for Christians and Hot Christian Boy
Click for larger image
April:  "Ain't my boat no more!"
Click for larger image
May:  MUNI Guy
Click for larger image
June:  Big Fag
Click for larger image
July:  Road Trip 2004
Click for larger image
August:  Crazy Helga
Click for larger image
September:  Homosexual Liberation Army
Click for larger image
October:  Autumn in New England
Click for larger image
November:  Travel, travel, travel
Click for larger image
December: Peanuts as balanced meals


Sister Betty Navigation
Copyright - All Rights Reserved Road Tripping with Sister Betty Railroad Graffiti Trains with Sister Betty Stairways of San Francisco Radiationworks Site Map for Other Nifty Websites RSS/XML Feed