How to Use a Pumice Stone (and How Not To)

Back in 2005 when I started my first blog and began dating Stoker, he had a run-in with a pumice stone. And I wrote a mildly decent post about it (linked, if you’re interested in reading the original), because why not?

It still cracks me up, that pumice stone incident. And I confess that I still find the improper use of pumice stones hilarious, especially when it involves Stoker, as an adorable 22-year-old.

Anyway, so apparently people really have a lot of questions about how to use these little chunks of sandpaper, because that post gets loads of regular traffic.

So, I’m revisiting the topic! And I’m also going to do everyone a solid and share new info, like the PROPER WAY TO USE A PUMICE STONE as well as give you the best clips of the old post here, because it makes a great format and I really like great things. Love the great things. Like, a lot.

Let’s get on with it. Let’s really dig into my in-depth tutorial on using a pumice stone! Here goes:

The other night Stoker scrubbed the inside of his elbow too vigorously with the pumice stone. He was taking a bath, reading his book on recording engineering, and he got this itch on his inner elbow. You know, the soft, pale part of your arm just below the bulge of round joint. I don’t know what he was thinking using a pumice stone there. But he did. He’s new to pumice stones, I suppose and didn’t realize that you should only use them on tough, calloused skin like the bottom of your feet and elbows.

  1. NEVER USE A PUMICE STONE ON SOFT SKIN.

    An innocent-looking pumice stone. Should be fine on my skin, like all over my entire body, right? WRONG.

The itch flared up and the light blue, foot shaped pumice stone was resting on the edge of the bathtub, innocently minding its own business. Stoker’s eyes fell on its white flecked beauty and the idea struck him. He grabbed the light stone and scraped it lightly across the tender skin. It felt good. Deceivingly good. With a sigh, he brushed the skin with the pumice stone, effectively eliminating the itch.

2. WHEN CONFRONTED WITH A POWERFUL ITCH, EVEN WHEN A PUMICE STONE IS PRESENT, DO NOT USE THE PUMICE STONE TO SCRATCH SOFT TISSUE. At first, of course you might slide the pumice stone across the skin and find relief. OK, one soft stroke is fine. But as everyone knows, an itch doesn’t often go away with just one scratch. In order to avoid the inevitable scenario of too much pumice-stone-scratching, do not even engage in JUST ONE SCRATCH.

Later, the skin turned red. Raw. That’s when the whole story came spilling out: itch… pumice stone…I scrubbed it and it was great, at the time. But now it hurt. Like a burn. Poor kid. I truly felt bad for him, felt a little guilty for not warning him about the potency of a pumice stone. Though, when you think about it, I’m sure he knew. How could you not? I mean, it’s like sandpaper. No one rubs their skin with sandpaper, right?

3. PUMICE STONE USE SHOULD BE RESERVED FOR PORTIONS OF THE BODY WITH THICK, TOUGH CALLOUSES, LIKE THE HEEL, THE BALL-JOINT OF THE BIG TOE, OR, WELL YEAH, THAT’S ABOUT IT. And you know, just rub the pumice stone on the callous. It’s not rocket science (although, it occurs to me now, that maybe it is, and I’m just ignorant of the highly complicated process of pumice stone operation. Maybe I should do a Google search!).

So, to sum up, this is a bad idea, even for body hair removal [Note: this statement is not backed by any peer-reviewed studies]:

You want to do that to remove all your HIDEOUS BODY HAIR? Fine. Go for it. But we all know this body-hair removing use of pumice stones was started by pumice stone companies looking to have a new way to market their callous-removing tool.

To be safe, reserve the pumice stone for officially sanctioned (by the Pumice Stone Society of America) pumice stone activities. You don’t want to denude the top layer of your skin in some weird effort to rid yourself of body hair. Accept it! You’re a mammal. A beautiful animal that grew hair for a billion biological reasons, and mother nature doesn’t make mistakes (except for when she does, like accidentally).

If you really want to get rid of your arm hair (and stuff), consider a safer alternative, like burning it off with a curling iron, ah! Wait!

New use of curling irons!

Just a second . . . I’ve got Revlon on the phone now . . .

I Can’t Go On . . . I’ll Go On: The Grief of Loss

So, my cat died four weeks ago. Still hard. I still keep thinking I hear the cat door open and close while the other cats are clustered around me. There are just two, now. The house seems empty without Bastet around.

One night I’d been playing Destiny PVP waaaaaaaaaay too late. Like, till maybe 2 am (shhhh, keep it a secret). And I was probably killing it in the Crucible. Because I do.

Anyway, that’s just some slang to show how IN I am in the hardcore gaming world. (I mean, I’m not. Not really.)

So I finally had the willpower to not play just one more match, and I got into bed. When I closed my eyes, all I could see was the heads-up display radar flashing red at me.

That’s fine. I mean, who hasn’t overdosed before on a video game and while trying to sleep has the jitters from holding their arms too close to their body for long periods of time? Common problem.

But as I tried to sleep, still seeing the game in my head in a sleep-deprived fog, I realized that maybe I’ve been immersing myself in the fantasy construct of the game to numb the painful and loud absence left by my old companion, Bastet.

With my eyes closed, I thought of her. I flashbacked to the vet’s office and holding her as the doctor gave her the barbituate.

And I couldn’t get my head around the fucking idea that she’s gone. And that I held her tight in that moment, and now she’s in the ground and what I knew of her has fled–the light that made Bastet, Bastet. The animation. The purrs. The sounds. The fragrance of her fur. The blinky-eye kisses that she’d give me from across a room.

My sleep-deprived brain settled on the grotesque image of her body, a white skeleton in the ground (though yes, I know it will be some time before that actually happens), a strange entity that bears no familiarity to the cat I knew.

And I suddenly understood elephants. I mean, you know how elephants are said to revisit the bones of a departed family/herd member? I GET THAT NOW (it’s not necessarily true, however, see links). I felt like an elephant, in my head, wrapping myself around the rib bones of my cat, keening about my loss.

Do elephants keen? I could be making this up, this info about elephants. Don’t use this as a source for your biology report on elephants.

This is kind of psychedelic and is likely a result of the black maw of sorrow in my chest and the aforementioned overdose of Destiny PVP.

But let’s all be unflinchingly honest for a moment about American culture–there is no built-in method to channel grief. To deal with grief and the struggle to move on when a loved one passes on.

Bear with me here.

We have a funeral. And . . .

That’s it, guys, a FUNERAL. We close the casket or scatter the ashes and boom, that’s it. Good luck moving on, friend. And then those of us least affected by the death do tend to move on well enough.

But if you’ve lost a lover, a child, a cat or a dog (let’s face it because they’re with us as often as humans), how the hell do you deal? How do you get your instinctive, animal-brain around that sudden, malicious absence?

I say that it’s the old part of the brain that really struggles, because I think it is. I’m sure there’s likely research or info out there to back me up, but this isn’t a research paper. This is my OP-ED piece. It’s my opinion. And I’m saying that it’s the old part of the brain because I think the newer parts of the human brain grasp death, in a way. Those are the parts that comprehend time. The past. The future. The present. And they’re all trying to mix and mingle in the middle of the brain, the part where we live.

But death, death is confusing, and it goes against the old part of the brain, where we live in the now. That is the part of our heads that looks around to find our friend, and then the other parts of our brain are like, “Dude, get a grip! They’re GONE.” And we are like, “What does that even mean? How can they be gone? They were just here! I JUST SAW THEM.” None of this is making sense. But consider that it doesn’t make sense because DEATH DOESN’T MAKE SENSE.

In other cultures, there are complicated funeral rites that sometimes last up to 100 days after the death of a loved one. These traditions aren’t meant for the dead, though it’s said that they are–they’re for the living. They’re designed to channel grief into something meaningful, into a roadmap of how to make it the hell out of the valley of the shadow of death to where you can manage to move on without wanting to collapse in a waterfall of tears, implode into a blackhole of rage and sorrow.

And we have nothing like that. We have our shared American religions that tell us our dead friend or lover is living again with God or Christ. But that’s not really enough. Because it doesn’t involve us in doing something that means something. To help us move from the space of catastrophic sadness and loneliness and “I can’t go on” to the place of “I can deal, I can go on, OMG I don’t want to, but I will.”

In any case. That’s all. I’ve been using a game world to find solace. And it’s working.

I think.

But still. I miss her. So much.

She loved cuddles. And playing “kill the bird” with cat toys. She was HUNTING perfected. Yet, incongruently enough, was also a master of the cuddle-fest.

And see, here are these quotes from The Unnamable, by Samuel Beckett, which is how death and grief feel to those left behind:

If I gave up! If only I could give up! Before beginning, before beginning again! (What breathlessness! That’s right, ejaculations! That helps you on, that puts off the fatal hour. No? The reverse? I don’t know.) Start again, in this immensity, this obscurity: go through the motions of starting again – you who can’t stir, you who never started. (You the who?) (Go through the motions? What motions? You can’t stir.)

You launch your voice, it dies away in the vault. (It calls that a vault – perhaps it’s the abyss: those are words). It speaks of a prison (I’ve no objection), vast enough for a whole people, for me alone (or waiting for me). I’ll go there now, I’ll try and go there now.

I can’t stir.

And then this clip:

I don’t know: perhaps it’s a dream, all a dream. (That would surprise me.) I’ll wake, in the silence, and never sleep again. (It will be I?) Or dream (dream again), dream of a silence, a dream silence, full of murmurs (I don’t know, that’s all words), never wake (all words, there’s nothing else).

You must go on, that’s all I know.

They’re going to stop, I know that well: I can feel it. They’re going to abandon me. It will be the silence, for a moment (a good few moments). Or it will be mine? The lasting one, that didn’t last, that still lasts? It will be I?

You must go on.

I can’t go on.

You must go on.

I’ll go on. You must say words, as long as there are any – until they find me, until they say me. (Strange pain, strange sin!) You must go on. Perhaps it’s done already. Perhaps they have said me already. Perhaps they have carried me to the threshold of my story, before the door that opens on my story. (That would surprise me, if it opens.)

It will be I? It will be the silence, where I am? I don’t know, I’ll never know: in the silence you don’t know.

You must go on.

I can’t go on.

I’ll go on.

 

A Paul Anka Mystery (with Peter Cetera!) Song!

Sometime in the late 70s/early 80s (exact date of song genesis unknown), Paul Anka wrote a song called “Hold Me Till the Morning Comes.” And then he proceeded to record about fifty thousand different versions. Since 1997, I have been looking for the version that appeared on a tape that some attractive Marine made for me during the autumn of 1996 (we didn’t last, as a couple).

But around the turn of the century, the Internet didn’t yet have the answer to every single question I might have, because, well, see for yourself:

Amazon literally looked like an unkempt rainforest back then, didn’t it? No wonder I couldn’t find answers!

(cont.) and so I ended up with the crappy version (from the 1983 album “Walk a Fine Line”) that appeared on the album “Body of Work” that came out in 1998. Confused? You should be. Because I was. And have been, for 17 years, apparently. Anyway, that version sounds like this:

The Youtuber who posted this is a marketing genius. Put Peter Cetera on the cover of your vid and get 239,952 views (5,000 of them are mine) vs. the comparison I’ll make later in this post.

And I knew it wasn’t the right version. Because this version just sounds . . . less punchy. It’s almost like Paul couldn’t let Peter have his moment, there, at the end, when Peter is saying, “Would you love me in the morning?” And Paul is like, “Would you lo-ove me?” over the top of Peter’s vocals. Not great.

I mean, I DO wonder what Paul was doing. And what he was thinking, because even if the critics didn’t love him or the album this song appeared on, he was hella successful. I mean, it’s the sort of thing when writers complain that Twilight sucked and why was it so successful? It’s crap! And then some wiser person, for instance, me, responds, “Yeah, it’s crap. That’s why Stephenie is laughing all the way to her bank account. The account in the bank she OWNS BECAUSE SHE’S UNIMAGINABLY RICH.”

That’s Paul Anka. He had some hits in the 50s, then made a series of business-brilliant moves and even if his voice is “slight” and “a little hard to hear” with “all that talent surrounding it” {link} HE DOESN’T have to be as impressive as Peter. Paul’s smart. And he did a lot of genius crap and now he’s reaping the rewards.

But I digress. That version, where Paul is like, “I will not let you steal my spotlight! I must dub my own vocals over Peter’s shit because he’s the BACKING vocals and I’m the main act!” It’s a crap version.

Amongst the weird vocal blips at the end, there are other instrumental differences as well, which I noticed and didn’t like. Plus I could obviously compare it to the track that was on the tape Matt the Marine made for me, because back then I still had my double-cassette tape deck. It looked exactly like this random image of the precise make and model of the stereo I had back when Matt made me that tape:

This puppy was for sale in Canada for $40. And now that I have no way to listen to cassettes, I obvs. wish I would have known. I could have bought it! And then proceeded to live in the past, where everything is sunnier and warmer all the time.

So, despite years of obstacles and insurmountable blockades by record labels looking to repeatedly release new albums full of bad versions of old songs and not reissue Japanese 45s, the Internet in 2017 wins. Because while it didn’t have the answer to every life-long mystery back in 1999 . . . . {drum roll}

IT HAS THEM NOW. Here is the BEST VERSION of Paul Anka’s hit “Hold Me Til the Morning Comes” (featuring Peter Cetera on backing [backing, dammit, backing!] vocals) :

Here’s that comparison for you: the above version of the song only has like 500 views, because unlike the other Youtuber, they didn’t put Peter on the cover. Or in the title. We need to get a marketing team on this, because it would be great to get that crap version of the song out of circulation!

And for your reference, here is the version I found before I found the version from the Japanese 45, which also features a hilarious (I just have to be honest about that) Euro-version at the end. I guess that one is supposed to be for the discotheques.

https://youtu.be/NTbKlJceLYk

TL;DR — It took me 17 years to find a version of a song that I first heard in 1996. The Internet saved me, finally, from taking the complete mystery to my grave.

Calvin Grotepas Obituary

Calvin Heber Grotepas, 69, of Salt Lake City, died peacefully Saturday morning in Bountiful, Utah at Lakeview HospitaScreen Shot 2013-03-25 at 2.03.31 PMl. He was born to the late Roelof and Magdalene Mount Grotepas on July 23, 1943 in Salt Lake City. Calvin graduated from West High School. He went on to the University of Utah where he studied art and was just a few credits shy of graduating. While attending the U of U he met and married Sally Anderson on September 5, 1969 in the Manti LDS Temple. They later divorced.

For much of his life, Calvin ran presses for publishing companies, including the Deseret Press and Horizon Press. He loved art and printing. Later in life, he worked exclusively on his pottery, developing and honing his skill until it culminated in the beautiful, organic hand-built vases that many see as his crowning work. These vases were partially created as a result of a debilitating muscle condition that made work on the wheel impossible.

Calvin loved his family very much and during his final days, expressed immense gratitude and concern for the people who had loved and influenced him, including his daughters and their husbands, his sister, his nieces and nephews, and Rona and Bill Terberg of Farmington, Utah. His daughters wish to express their love and gratitude for those patient people who never forgot the roots of their friendship with Calvin.

Screen Shot 2013-03-25 at 2.02.46 PM

Calvin is survived by five daughters: Sara Raquel “Kelly” Crockett of Farmington; Aimee Danielle Sanders (Jason) of Littleton, Colorado; Nicole Antoinette White (Stoker) of Lehi; Anjanette Marx (Nathan) of Clinton; and Cassi Brielle Grotepas of Omaha. He is also survived by ten grandchildren.

Services will be held Thursday, March 28, 2013, at 3:00 pm at McDougal Funeral Home, 4330 South Redwood Road where a viewing will be held, 2-2:45 p.m. prior to services. Calvin’s final resting place will be in the Salt Lake City cemetery near his late parents.

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