Friday, December 31, 2004

Sleep is for the Working Class

I refused to acknowledge my bedtime. That happens. I don't know what I did all those hours. Television was involved. Let's see. I watched the last three episodes of Farscape season three -- two-thirds a trinity. There were TLC specials on Lizzie Borden and Area 51, and there were Thank You cards with fancy cursive. Lots of curliques. Peppered with music videos and generous portions of "Unfaithful." 6pm-2am is a blur.

I remember that "Unfaithful" got stupid half-way through, but I couldn't stop flipping back to it. I can't say no to Diane Lane.

So now, poor me, the cats have demanded their morning meal by jumping on my face and raking their claws into my books. Hellish demons, cats. I am completely within their power. They're sleeping hunger off somewhere, minutes after two bowls filled with chow mysteriously disappeared... I fear they've unionized.

What did I do yesterday? I engaged in the big time suck that is Web Surfing. I bought John Wayne stamps because they reminded me of "The Preacher" graphic novels. (They look real sharp on the Thank You cards.) I played Xenosaga on the PS2. And I went to the bank to set up an automatic transfer between accounts so that maybe I won't die in the gutter. That's about as close to a formal New Year's resolution as I get. Try not to die in the gutter. Again.

Here we are. My last day of pretend freedom. I guess that means I'm shackled to the laundry box... or the sink hole.

Or maybe I should sleep off the dregs of my insanity.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Breaking News! - Mark your Calendar

My play exists! And it exists at Center Stage Theater in Santa Barbara, CA.

For information scroll down until you see DRAMATIC WOMEN PRESENTS ShePlays, February 11-12, 17-19. Or go to PresaleTicketing to buy tickets for Opening Night (or any night really. It'll probably require repeat viewings to absorb its full awesomeness. You better buy a bunch of tickets, to be safe).

My play is called "The Science of the Balance of Ultimate Power." Not only does it reach new heights in awesomeness, but it also (hand on heart) will clear your skin of all acne-related blemishes and hard-water stains.

TIMES: Friday-Saturday, Feburary 11-12, and Thursday-Saturday, February 17-19, at 8:00 P.M.
TICKETS: $15 general, $12 students, and seniors. Opening night all tickets $25.

It's an intimate space, black box style, open seating. THE social event of the season. Order tickets soon because it WILL sell out. And then when everybody else is talking about how awesome it was, you'll be sad. And I don't want you to be sad. Because I care about you. I know we don't normally let words get in the way of our true feelings, but there, I've said it. I care deeply and I wouldn't want you to let this exciting opportunity slip through your fingertips.

Do it for the children.

An Early Morning Sentimentalist

My mind is full of lists today, so that's what you're gonna get.

Yesterday I finished playing the game "Syberia II", reading the graphic novel "Preacher: Until the End of the World," and another fifty pages in "The War of Art." I paid a man to replace the band and battery in my watch, bought a couple wall calendars, had blood drawn, got stormed on, and baked an enchilada lasagna.

"Enchilada lasagna" is the best name for it. A multi-themed casserole. It didn't taste bad, but it was -- how you say -- heavy. The tacos morphed into burritos morphed into a 9x13 torte. Flexibility is the soul of domesticity.

The other big list caulking up the brain cracks is more of an introspective, year-in-review, what-did-you-learn, sort of thing. There's the bold bullet points, the boulders: new job, kitten, playwriting... and then there's the Indents, the little items, the pebbles. Enough time and pebbles shape you same as boulders. Pebbles are the authors I read, places I went, things people said... pebbles are the details.

The hard part is keeping the years segregated. Memory is too fluid and arbitrary to lend itself to the list format. But I try anyway. It'll be good to have on hand for when the Alzheimers sets in.

The bright side is my side!

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The One Where I'm Spoiled

My vacation is coming to a swift and painful end. I am simultaneously aware that the next few days are stretched out before me like a big cozy blanket, and that I'm back to my cube farm on Monday.

The rain, uncharacteristically, has been steady for the last three days. Last night our power wavered twice, so I set myself up in the living room with a heavy flashlight and three lit candles on the television. Each candle had a different fruit scent. It felt festive. It smelled rotten.

The lights stayed on for the rest of the night. I sacked out on the couch and read Garth Ennis's "Preacher: Gone to Texas" and most of Stephen Pressfield's "The War of Art." I needed to get the cataract that was "Angels & Demons" out of my mind's eye. And then maybe I fell asleep watching "Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Volume Three." (#1 in the hood, G)

All right. That's enough with the corporate shilling. But man, I love me some Meatwad.

I've got to get some blood drawn today in preparation for another round of appointments next week. Nothing serious. Just check ups.

And today I plan to make tacos. Well, burritos actually. It's just that the word "taco" is a lot more fun to say, but burritos are a lot more fun to eat.

And thus ends the philosophy portion of our tour. The clock chimes eight.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

A Snob is Me

As I mentioned in the last entry, I'm reading Dan Brown's "Angels & Demons." Now I know like, a gazillion people live for this guy and his (slightly less) popular "The Da Vinci Code" but come on, I mean, come on... It's not revolutionary. Tom Robbins has some wacky religious ephiphanies between the covers of his books. This one's just, well, it's average. Not mind-blowing. It's like one of those SAT books (see "Tooth and Nail") where it's a thinly disguised reference book masquerading as an action-adventure. At least "Tooth and Nail" is honest enough to put all the multi-syllabic words in bold and link them to a glossary.

Don't get me wrong. This sort of thing has value. For one, it makes you feel virtuous. You walk away feeling like you've learned something and had a good time to boot. That's awesome! More books should do that. Especially books for kids in junior high, which seems to be the reading level you need to have achieved in order to read this book.

To be absolutely fair, it's meant to be fun. I get that. But then why are so many people fawning over it, cradling it close, making pilgrimages to crumbling churches in Europe just so they can see the cupola where such-and-such happened... It's so they can feel even smarter, without the hassle of actually knowing anything in context.

There's another benefit. The book targets an audience that might never have heard of Bernini or the Pantheon. There it serves a purpose. And as I continue to read it, I feel almost guilty that with each page I want to hurl it across the room. I want to tear it apart and poke its virtual eyes out. And then I feel even worse, because I'm a snob. Only snobs could hate a book that everyone else in the world loves with reckless abandonment.

Since you asked... I hate that everything has to be over-explained and rehashed. Someone might forget who Bernini was in the ten-page span since his work was last explained. I hate that nothing happens. I'm 400 pages in and it's a wild goose chase. Mostly the author just takes the reader on a (action-packed) tour of Italy. Hey, we're virtual tourists! Isn't that veird? I hate that there are hundreds of paragraphs that are two words long. I hate that the word Christian was misspelled once. (Okay that's just nit-picky.) But the biggest strike I hold against this book: I sympathize with the villain. I want the bad guys to win. You have no idea how badly.

Well, I've got a hundred pages left. Maybe something awesome happens right before the end. Like a twist or something. That'd kick ass. Or maybe right when I get to the last page? Some new-fangled brain-washing device activates and my mind cleanses itself of impure thoughts. I'll be sure to keep you posted.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Chiana sleeps.

Patient Zero

I'm alive. Fresh from waking in my own bed after four days of not. We traveled with Vash and Chiana, kitty-corner in the back seat.

Wednesday morning I spent two hours in Urgent Care. A nurse ran a thermometer across my forehead. Then she asked me to change into a backless gown and said, "The doctor will see you shortly." I sat on the examination table and read Harlan Ellison's "Strange Wine."

After listening to my chest and looking deep into my ears, the doctor prescribed cough syrup with codeine and ordered a blood test. The test came back normal. My platelets are still low, that's no surprise, but my white blood cells were fine. While I waited for the blood test results, my endocrinologist called for an update. The whole blood cell count is a formality, there's only a slim chance the amount of Tapazole I'm taking would be a problem, but I'd done the right thing.

As soon as I got home (codeine cough syrup in hand) we left for our Grand Christmas Family Extravaganza. No computers. No updates. Two bereft back seat cats and a purse full of tissue, cough drops, cough syrup, and pills of many colors. That's how the Wise Men did it, right?

Family time was good. No controversy. I spent most of it doped up on one couch or another.

Our trip was secretly sponsored by the Masons. My dad gave me Dan Brown's "Angels and Demons" to read and then with BF's family we saw most of "The Man Who Would Be King," and then "National Treasure." All feature references to the Masons. Hence my blanket statement.

And now it's raining. And BF caught my cold. A lot of people probably caught my cold this trip. I bet I sat next to you in the movie theatre sucking back cough drops. Or maybe I stood beside you in line at Pat & Oscar's. I single-handedly took whole families down, highlighting the inefficiency of flu-shot distribution. It was a political statement. Yeah, fight the fucking power.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

No Creature was Stirring...

The waiting is the worst part. I rather wish I hadn't remembered what the endocrinologist said, especially since the force of the recollection jolted me awake shortly before two a.m. (about 15 minutes ago).

"If you experience flu-like symptoms, go to urgent care."


In all probability it's nothing. There was a coughing child sitting behind us at the theatre on Sunday. I got sick after. That's a strong correlation, right? I'm sure it's nothing. However I can't start my Christmas fun until someone in a white coat checks my white blood cell count. I couldn't even begin to have fun until that happens, which is a shame because it's going to be a long day.

Urgent care opens at 8am. Even if I get in line at 7:30, that's still over five hours away. Five hours of tossing and turning and shallow dreaming, distantly conscious of the cough drop melting in my throat.

Again, I'm sure it's nothing. Just a sore throat and some coughing. Fucking flu-like symptoms. So much for an early start...

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Chiana hides in the bowels of her new toy.

The Skies the Limit

Picture it: Costco, December, 2004. A man and woman stand before a display, discussing intently, sometimes giggling. Around them, passersby load bulk soda flats into their carts and wheel away. The woman runs her hands over the item, checking for dings and missing carpet. The man lifts one experimentally; it isn't heavy. They move the package of refrigerated chicken flautas aside, and stack their co-flats of Dr. Pepper and Diet Dr. Pepper on the bottom of the cart. Together they lift the item high over the side of the cart and set it down. It stands about ten feet tall, towering over the people. They giggle.

A fellow shopper stops to watch. "My cat would approve," she says.

And suddenly, we're those people. The mantle of invisibility is lifted and everyone is watching BF and myself wheel giant cat furniture towards the cashier. The place is crowded and every second person needs to comment. "Don't forget to douse it in cat nip!" "You're going to have some happy cats." "I wish I had the room!"

We skirt the main part of the warehouse, keeping to the edges. It's difficult to manuever a cat skyscraper, make no mistake. I run ahead to find Listerine and various oversized toiletries. Other people's eyes travel up the length of the cart and back down to us. I acknowledge their curiosity with a slight nod and a giggle.

"How come everything we buy makes us giggle?" says BF.

The cashier is short and the barcode is taped to the Penthouse suite. The cashier employs the bagger as a human ladder and for one brief shiny, moment, achieves the desired scanning height.

BF lowers the top of his convertible and we prop the cat skyscraper against the passenger's seat. He ties the tallest post down and I sit beside it, leaning in for support against the wind. Every third driver on the freeway passes us, smiling. Some wave.

Truly, dear reader, we found the holiday spirit. It lives in cat furniture from Costco. Spread the word.

Monday, December 20, 2004

A Day at Play

BF and I saw a matinee of "Caroline, or Change" at the Ahmanson Theatre yesterday. I bought the tickets a month ago from -- a great site for discount theatre in LA. Our seats were "limited view" which means we couldn't always see what was happening on the far right, but that wasn't a problem. The real action was in the audience.

An older couple sat in front of us. The man was friendly. He chatted up his neighbors in good spirits; the woman scowled. Close cropped, moussed auburn hair, heavily rouged, fitted black leather jacket, thin, scarf wrapped artfully around her neck -- probably to hide her wrinkled, puckered flesh... and mean. When they sat, they were lucky enough not to have anyone in front of them. Two empty, perfect seats, which is just and fair because this woman deserved it. Though never speaking loud, she'd lean in close to her husband's ear and whisper. He'd shake his head, sigh, and then switch seats. Or listen patiently. Or look away. The woman rubbed his back with her crooked left hand in wide elliptical arcs, I suppose to soothe him.

It was a sold-out show. The only two empty seats in the whole wide theatre were in front of this lucky, lucky woman. Only... we were in limited view seating facing the far right of the stage. And to the right of these empty seats, sat two people. The show began, the seats were unclaimed, the two people slid into the empty seats.

The old woman bristled. She coughed. She jabbed her husband in the gut and threw up her hands in disgust.

At intermission she made small noises. Of the two people who'd taken the empty seats, the man turned around and said, "Are you having difficulty seeing? I could move one to the right?" And the skinny, old woman ignored him. The man repeated himself and she looked through him. When directly confronted she murmured something about her line of sight being completely blocked by this man's bald head. The old woman's husband assumed the cloak of "I'm not with her" body language. And while the woman continued her whimpering noises, we all laughed at her. I imagined the satisfaction I'd have with just a slight swift flick against the back of her head. And just so the reader's sympathy can't possibly lie with this woman, know that she could see fine. The seats are well-graded and spaced and she wasn't short or hunched over or otherwise visually challenged. Perhaps for vanity's sake she'd left her glasses at home, but that's not our fault. I could also mention spitefully that the old woman was white and the man in front of her was black and the tension seemed especially magnified by the subject matter of the play we were watching. But that'd just be petty and probably libelous, so I'll mention it only in passing.

After the play, BF and I shuffled down to the parking garage. There were more elderly people in front of us and as they struggled with their canes to enter Level 5 North, the line suddenly stopped. We could just see a pair of black boots supine against the pavement. Exclamations of, "Oh dear" and "Are you alright?" followed.

A woman fell. Most likely tripped on a step. It wasn't clear what she'd injured or how long she'd been there. Two men tried to help her up, which some of us thought may have been a bad idea, and BF ran off to find a valet or an usher or an authority figure with a walkie-talkie. It's near impossible to go up in the parking structure. They reverse the escalators and hide the stair entrances, but BF persevered and brought back help. A by-stander called 911. And the poor woman sat there, dazed, cradling her arm, and blinking wide against the light.

BF and I drove home without further incident.

Friday, December 17, 2004


I have this theory that everybody's got a filter. This filter lives somewhere between our mouths and our brain and it spends its time sorting and discarding and suggesting alternate ways of communicating. Society helped build it, but we've got no one to blame but ourselves when it fails.

My filter generally operates at 60% capacity. Lots of damning words (4 out of every 10) fall from these lips -- likewise, from these finger tips. The success of my filter depends on many factors. These factors include: sleep deprivation, hunger, temperature, caffeination, and inebriation. Sometimes my filter fails me out of spite, sometimes indifference, but environmental factors play the largest role.

It's hard to think of specific instances when my filter has failed me, yet I (heh, yet I makes yeti) can always remember how I felt after -- unclean, ashamed, woefully mistrustful of my social skills.

One of the earliest Filter Incidents occured at my sister's birthday party. A friend of my sister (for whom I did not care) presented my sister with a purse. I wasn't particularly filter-full when I said, "Yeah Mary Bell, that's great. And you know how I know it's great? She's got one already." I wish I could say I learned my lesson and never did it again. But then I'd be lying.

I vividly remember a large portion of my childhood, hours after one of these Filter Incidents, sitting at my desk and twitching. I'd be replaying the incident in my mind, my filter having turned on me. It'd scream, "This is what you should have said! Everybody hates you! Hide your shame!" And I'd rock back and forth in my chair, thinking dangerous thoughts.

Now that I'm older and wiser, I'm much better at ignoring my filter. I still shoot my mouth off and feel the old shame, only now I've got the gift of rationalization. Whenever I say something stupid, I can almost make myself believe that what I've said is the best of all possible things that could have been said. I'm brilliant and gorgeous and well-equipped to fight the filter demon. And if rational thought fails, well, there's always alcohol.

I love being a grownup.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

The Ides of December

Tonight I am getting gussied up for the company holiday party. At two I'll go over and help decorate. I'll hang my Stupid Bows and string clear bright lights and listen to the sweet sounds of ocean living. Then I'll race home and tear open my makeup kit and apply goop and powder and straighten and curl and wriggle into tight tight nylons. I plan NOT to put my thumb through the nylons like I usually do, because I only have black nail polish and if I tried to patch the tears with black nail polish I think I'd blow my girlish cover.

BF and I exchanged Christmas presents yesterday. I tried to hold out, I did, but I've got no will power. I bought him anime and video games. He bought me a 17" flat screen monitor. Wha? Where the hell did he hide that? I couldn't stop saying, "But how-- where--? You bought me a monitor?!!"

In order to attend tonight's ball, I must up like Cinderella and finish what I'm working on. Or no makeup for me.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The Joy of Bows

I don't have a lot to say. Mostly because all I can think about is work and how there's no way I'll finish everything I need to do before Friday. But that'd be such a downer. I could tell you how I worked through the weekend or until 7pm yesterday. Or I could go on for paragraphs about stress, but you don't want to hear it. So I'll just say that for some stupid reason, I volunteered to be on the Holiday Party Committee. In my free time, I make stupid bows. Before last Friday, I'd never made a bow. Now I've got 10 to my credit. They're fancy bows too, all dangly and sparkly and bow-like. The first bow I made though, it was like one of those malformed clone creatures in Alien 4. You could see a hint of bow in its amorphous wiggly mass, but really, looking at it made me feel all Dr. Moreau-like. What foul abomination is this? I asked myself. Certainly not a Floral Bow. I took it out behind the shed and put a bullet in its head. So much for a Happy Holiday.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Can I Get An Amen?

From IMDB:
Movie Ordered To Axe Religious References

Hollywood studio New Line have banned proposed references to God and the church from new film His Dark Materials. Philip Pullman's screenplay portrays the church as an institution which is experimenting on its congregation in a effort to remove original sin. But the strong religious material terrified New Line bosses, and director Chris Weitz agrees changes were necessary for the scripts big screen incarnation. He says, "They have expressed worry about the possibility of perceived anti-religiosity. "All my best efforts will be directed towards keeping the film as liberating and iconoclastic an experience as I can. But there may be some modification of terms. "I have no desire to change the nature or intentions of the villains of the piece, but they may appear in more subtle guises."

Why would a studio make a movie based on these books if the studio was afraid of religion? Newsflash, New Line. The books are about religion. You take that out and there's no story. And that's a shame. Because so far -- I'm only half-way through the trilogy -- this is one of the best stories I've ever read.

Too bad New Line isn't doing the Chronicles of Narnia. I hear there's absolutely no references to God or the church in that. (ha) Or how about those Madeleine L'Engle books? No God propaganda in those either.

It's not like their target audience -- little kids -- will even get the religious undertones. They'll be so caught up rooting for Lyra and the armored bears, the subtext'll mean zilch.

Or maybe I'm just one of THOSE people. Maybe I'm saying these things to throw you off track. Maybe I eat kids. Especially unbaptized kids. Everybody knows they're the tastiest.

I'm just sayin'...

Pizza and Wine Make for Good Times

As a belated and preemptive birthday present for BF and me, last night our friend treated us to a wine and pizza tasting. The chef from Pizza Mizza -- my FAVORITE pizza place -- served up choice slices from their entire pizza catalogue while the folks at East Beach Wine kept our glasses full (to the one inch line). A 2001 Sangiovese from Di Bruno was the group favorite.

I was starstruck to meet the Pizza Mizza chef. At one point I found myself gushing about how much I like his goat cheese, mushroom, and red pepper pizza. He asked if I had any ideas for new pizzas and after blushing and saying "I don't know. It's all so good the way it is," I said "Gee, well, I love brie. Maybe something with brie?" Then he told us about how he used to own a bakery in town and one of his most popular items was a lattice-work baked brie. So I said, "Mmm, make the pizza like that. Just a big slab of brie with dough all around it." He asked me my name, I told him, and he said they'd call it after me. They'd have to, since I'm the only one who'd eat it. We laughed and laughed. And no, it had nothing to do with the wine, thank you very much. Or did it...

And then suddenly and without warning, everybody was run over by a truck.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Trixie McNasty

On Friday, February 4, 10am, I'm scheduled for LASIK. I've given the bookish thing a go, now I'm gonna try slut. Because hey, why stop at lasers? Extreme makeover here I come! With a little pluck here and a tiny tuck there, you too can reap the cosmetic benefits of our vain age.

I'm through being limited by prescription sunglasses. I want choice, damn it! I'm sick of seeing the world through a haze of greasy fingerprints. They never come clean! And the constant ring around the eyeball, blocking my field of vision? So stifling! It's enough to make a girl claustrophobic.

It sounds so futuristic. I'm going under the lasers. I'll be like that chick in Neuromancer -- I've always wanted to be that chick. Maybe the doctor'll screw shields over my eyes if I pay extra. That'd be awesome! Then maybe I'd find work as a cyberpunk assassin. I'll carve myself a niche in the cutthroat world of international espionage.

Hey, you don't know. It could totally happen.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

The In-Between

I've been flitting above and around what needs to be done. Sometimes I swoop down to pick low hanging fruit, but mostly I'm too high for science. And tired. But then, I think we're all tired.

Crunch time at work. More doctor's appointments. Submitted my play to two places. Now we're caught up.

After too many pills and needles and vials filled with blood, the doctors (there are four now) decided I don't have Cat Scratch Disease. Whatever it is, it's viral and sneaky and going away on its own. There is still the thyroiditis and pills to keep my heartbeat steady and slow. Normally my pulse is over 100 beats per minute, but the pills drag it down to 80.

I am reading Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy. It's one of those rare series that hook my skin and tug and poke and demand attention. It's magnificent.

It's Sunday. At 10am I went to work. I left at 4pm. I drank too much diet Coke. My head hurts.

There are books on style and structure I've got to read. I put the subject in the wrong place. My sentences are passive. My words don't flow. My outlines suck. It's frustrating because it's not about writing, it's about my ego. I've got to get past my ego. So much of this now is learning how to listen. And rubbing it raw.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm off to celebrate the holiday with my family. Happy turkey day! (Or tofurkey if you're of that bent)

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


The playwriting workshop started with a guest speaker -- the Executive Director of a local non-profit theater. She talked about how we could produce our own plays, about the costs and the process. I got all fired up listening. It really is do-able. I just have to write, save money, and find a director I trust. No problem.

Okay, so maybe there's a slight problem. I don't have a full-length play to my name. There's one in a drawer that'll never see the light of day. There's a couple one-acts and a bunch of ten-minute plays... No dice. Not yet, but it's do-able. That's important to remember.

I'm submitting my ten-minute play out into the world next week. If anyone is interested in reading "The Science of the Balance of Ultimate Power" I'd be happy to share. Send me an e-mail. Yes, I know I've offered to share before and then not shared because I didn't think the play was ready. But this play has to be ready by December 1, because that's the deadline.

"The Science of the Balance of Ultimate Power" is a play about a monster, the mafia, and a human named Henry.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Calling the Homework Fairy

Friday night, 6:30pm, still at my desk. I know that as soon as I stand from my desk, I admit defeat. I admit that the remainder of my work must be completed over the weekend. Precious weekend time is now earmarked for decidedly non-precious activities. I pack my things. I store my laptop in its bag, gather relevant loose papers and slide them in beside the laptop. Then I drive home.

There's also the matter of my ten-minute play. It needs to be finished this weekend too. The deadline looms.

And I've got a ticket to see Matt & Ben Saturday night (aka tonight). This excites me greatly. But it could have come at a better time.

My extremities are freezing. Time to declare this day officially started and get my ass out of the chair. Oh but look, isn't the kitten sweet curled up in my lap? Maybe if I just sit here a little longer, maybe, just maybe, it'll all take care of itself.

Now I've done it. She's purring. I'm doomed.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

An Open Letter to the Blonde in the White Van

Why so full of anger? Why gesture wildly at my car? I didn't hit anybody. It wasn't life and death. I just didn't get out of your way fast enough. Yes, the tail end of my car was partially blocking the "Do Not Block" intersection, but that's what happens when there's traffic. Sometimes you let six cars turn in front of you (because hey, you're a sucker) and then everybody else takes advantage so you go anyway because you know it's now or never -- even though you're mellow you probably oughta get to work eventually -- and the guy behind sticks close though he knows he shouldn't but he's impatient too, so yes, for 15 seconds the intersection is blocked... But? Why scream obscenities and shake your fist at me? What's that gonna do? Remember how I looked at you and smiled? And it made you even madder? That was funny. We were in the same traffic jam. We were both without coffee. We both waited fifteen minutes to go 150 feet down the same street. So why? Why give yourself a coronary? It's just traffic.

This line intentionally left blank.

The Brunette in the Blue Car

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

$0.45/Minute or A Public Service Announcement

My cell phone bill last month was $35. Same as the month before. And the month before that. For the last 2 years in fact, my phone bill has been $35/month. So you might imagine my surprise when I opened the envelope today and saw $157.

Apparently, I didn't use enough of my unlimited night/weekend minutes. Apparently, after you go over your regular limit (which I've never done before) you get charged $0.45 per minute for incoming and outgoing calls. $0.45 a minute for a local call. One incoming call alone cost me $27 - nearly the total of my normal bill.

It's such a fucking racket. First of all, it's my word against theirs that I didn't talk on the phone for 11 hours last month. And as for incoming calls -- which count against your minutes -- they don't list the originating number. You just gotta nod your head and smile.

In the end I've got no recourse. I pony up the money and I make a deal to keep this from happening again. Customer service was nice enough. But damn, I KNOW I wasn't on the phone that much. How can I prove it? I can't. Not unless I keep a ledger itemizing phone calls and nit-picking over every single stupid line item.

Watch your phone bills people. I don't like to be all Conspiracy this or that, but isn't it odd that this happened right after my very large phone company merged with another very large phone company? I suggested my theory to the customer service lady, but it only seemed to anger her. THEY must have been taping the call.

What do I care? It's only Christmas money. So what if I can't afford to buy little Johnny his heart medicine? He'll be fine unless he has to stand. Or walk. Or rise to a sitting position.

Well I'm off to reshape my tinfoil hat. It's lost its edge.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Inspired by Science

they published your diary
and that's how i got to know you
the key to the room of your own and a mind without end
- Indigo Girls, "Virginia Woolf"

Hey, I finally get it! When I first heard the song, what, ten years ago? I didn't get it. I didn't listen to the words. Sure I could sing them (badly) but I never got the reference. Not the forest for the trees.

I hear but I don't listen.

The Indigo Girls was the second concert I went to. The first was Billy Joel and Elton John rocking the Jack Murphy Stadium -- now the Qualcomm Stadium. The year was 1994-ish. To get tickets to my first concert ever, my friend and I camped outside the Wherehouse at 6am. It was cold.* We were first in line, and for several hours the only ones there. I was convinced we were in the wrong place, but my friend talked me down from the ledge. This was not her first concert. She knew to bring blankets and a fold-up chair. I sat on the concrete and huddled deep down in my jacket.

I think the staff took pity on us. After waiting all those hours, they announced that the tickets were being sold on a lottery basis and passed out numbers. Somehow we managed to draw number one. Our seats were 19 rows back, ground-level. They were great seats.

For the concert I streaked my perm'ed hair gray and wore bell bottoms and a beautiful polyester shirt. My friend glued lots of red glitter to her shoes and then wrote "Elton" on the back of her jacket. We'd had numerous thrift store adventures obtaining our outfits. My favorite thrift store was on Fifth, downtown. The city tore it down when they built the new stadium. I'm still in mourning.

We carried around a video camera and interviewed fellow concert goers for fun. I think we were on crack. We fueled each others' crazy. I might have yelled loudly that I was pregnant with Billy Joel's lovechild. And then I may have staged an elaborate birthing ceremony. Hell, it's been a decade. Who remembers that shit? Certainly not the video tape.

I remember Billy Joel was sick. He only stopped playing the piano long enough to hack pieces of lung into his hands. (That's dedication!) Elton John came out onstage and sang the rest of "River of Dreams." I'm sure Elton John is a very nice man, but I wanted to hear Billy Joel. That's why I was there. Missing out on the full Billy Joel experience tainted the night a little. So I bought a t-shirt. It's still in a drawer somewhere. Anytime I like I can trace the journey Billy Joel took to get to me... and then not sing. Hoo-ray.

When my friend's mom spilled beer on me, I decided concerts weren't my thing. Later, in the back of her station wagon, I watched us speed through a stop light. I prayed, silently, that she'd get us all back in one piece. And then I thought about how cute I was going to look in my new concert t-shirt.

The moral of this story is this: if I'd been old enough to drink I would have had a much better time.

* This was before, you understand. Getting concert tickets was a serious business back then. I mean, you could get frostbite! You could get ass splinters! Oh you kids today, I shake my fist at you and your new-fangled modern conveniences!

Friday, November 12, 2004

The Glass Needs a Refill

I'm compelled to write about writing. But I'm not completely committed to examining my opinions on the subject. Not at all. I'd prefer to gloss over it. I'd prefer to let it hang in my periphery, get drunk and let it all float away. However. It's common knowledge that you can't drink when you're on antibiotics. So I guess I'm stuck, firmly rooted in my sobriety.

I don't have much patience for my insecurities. Instead I turn them into jokes at my expense. If I write them down, I give them shape. I give them power. I'd rather keep the shades drawn. I'd rather you didn't know. So I'm conflicted.

This job I have is good for me. It's forcing me to think logically, but I'm not good at it. I know with patience I'll be good because I'm arrogant. It's just that I can't stand being bad at something. Well boo hoo. Let's opt out of reality for a clumsy metaphor.

In my mind's eye I'm at the bottom of a very big hill. It's slippery and sharp and as I try to scramble up the rocks, I cut my hands. Now I'm convinced I'll never make it. My hands and legs are bleeding, bruised, and it's started to rain. I've probably broken a rib. I panic. I stop. I consider giving up. I concoct elaborate fantasies about the helicopter that's sure to rescue me. Of course it doesn't come. Eventually the rain stops and I climb, slowly, deliberately. I make the "serious" face. Maybe I bite off the tip of my tongue on account of clenching so hard. I hum bad pop music to myself. When I reach the top, I'm incoherent and inconsolable. And I've got gangrene. I cut off my leg with a pen knife. Then I cauterize the wound with lava because I accidently climbed an active volcano. And it's erupting.

At least, that's what writing means to me.

A better question is: what possessed me to start climbing in the first place?

Thursday, November 11, 2004

An Addendum

BF's car got a parking ticket this morning. Stupid new street sweeping regulations. We're averaging one bad Thing per day, so this totally fits.

I try not to be -- it doesn't exactly jibe with my sophisticated worldview -- but I'm a pretty superstitious person. As an example, I ordered an Apollo medallion from an honest-to-god psychic website so that I could carry it around. I think it was supposed to bring me wealth and good fortune and prevent tooth decay. I'd requested the Apollo pendant, but the psychic -- who knew better -- sent me the coin version. It sits in my car, awaiting its nobler, grander purpose. It sits like a lump, sad and lonely, probably plotting my downfall.

I like to think -- it gives me comfort -- that the world operates on a principle of balance. So when Things go to shit, like they are, it's bound to flip flop eventually into something that's Not Shit. That's about as far as my hypothesis goes, into the realm of Not Shit.

The simple act of my telling you this, it probably negates all future Not Shit benefits. At least that's how the fairy tales and the fables work. You're not supposed to complain, but rather, suffer in silence, and then eventually you're justly rewarded for your ability to be a push over. Then the story trails off leaving you to suppose that the prince didn't have a wandering eye and that the young maid wasn't a hermaphrodite. But you know the drill. I don't have to tell you.

Yeah, I know. It all falls apart in the second act. And Apollo's just a coin.

Happy Veterans' Day from the Private Sector

Yeah, so. It's all a joke. It's got to be a joke.

I got a letter from my bank yesterday. My credit card's been compromised.

I opened up that letter and I couldn't help laughing. It's like the line in the BNL song, "One Week," "I'm the kind of guy who laughs at a funeral..." There comes a point when everything is nasty and horrible and broken that you've got to force yourself to step back and not take it seriously. You keep it too close and you go mad.

The doctor confirmed that I was having an allergic reaction and now I'm on new pills. They're pretty sure the swollen lymph node is a result of cat scratch disease but we're all waiting (with baited breath) on the results of my latest blood test. Ta da!

I just keep thinking how this could all be worse. And it could, it could be a lot worse. I find myself saying, privately, jokingly: At least I've got my health. Oh, wait...

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Irony is Pretty Ironic Sometimes

I look forward to the day when this blog ceases to refer to swollen lymph nodes or medical abnormalities. Today is not that day.

Now I've got a fucking rash. Probably an allergic reaction to one of the many pills I'm taking. I've been ordered off the current antibiotic to another, followed by a Benadryl/Cortisone cocktail. The rash covers my face, arms, back, neck -- just about everywhere that might be uncomfortable for a rash to be. Sort of looks like I've got measles, but I don't. This is all so much easier when there aren't any outward, visible changes. With this creeping red blotchy hot THING manifest destiny-ing my FACE, my shame is now exposed for all the world to see.

The newest hypothesis, besides thyroiditis, is that I have cat scratch. Course I suggested that two weeks ago after Chiana scratched my throat and it swelled up... So there you are. My cute, adorable, darling little kitten may be the culprit. Or she might not. It's anybody's guess at this point.

Not much else to report. Except I saw the most recent "Peter Pan" live-action remake (excellent) and decided my new favorite actor (shut up) is Jason Isaacs (he plays Mr. Darling and Captain Hook). Not until later did I realize that Mr. Isaacs also plays Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies. Now I totally want Lord Voldemort to kick Harry Potter's scrawny wizard ass. Because the world needs more Lucius Malfoy.

See? Despite all this health crap, I'm still capable of being a world-class flibberty-gibbit. There's hope for this blog yet.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Another Day, Another Backless Gown

As I lay on the table, a pillow wedged beneath my shoulders, the technician squirted warm gel across my neck. I felt it trickle down the side of my face and neck, mixing, sticking to my still wet hair. With my head snapped back as it was, eyes wide, I thought of other places. I remembered standing on a New York street corner, looking through a card table of used books and yellowed newspapers. There I bought a battered, orange hardcover called "The History of Orgies." I bought it for the inscriptions. On the first page there was a hand-written dedication, dated 1963. It wished the receiver luck on an upcoming production of "Yoo Who Yar Har." On the opposite page, a different someone had meticulously copied the same paragraph -- their handwriting, their words exactly, and set the date twenty years later. But why? For good measure I copied the paragraph a third time and wrote in the new date. My handwriting did look a little like the others. Maybe it was fate.

As the ultrasound progressed, the technician pressed the wand into various chunks of flesh, pausing and hovering and smoothing out the wrinkles in firm, tight circles. And then my perspective shifted, dangerously. The side wall became the ceiling, and the ceiling the side wall. From a higher vantage point than possible, I looked down on the technician. I couldn't focus. I thought, I must be drunk somehow. But even when I'm drunk I've got more control than this. Am I out of body? Acidic bile rushed topside, defying gravity and good sense, and I made the technician stop, sit back. I clamped my hands over my eyes and waited for the spinning to stop.

He said, "It's just because you got your head snapped back. Good thing you're not a pilot. Pilots have to deal with this sort of thing all the time."

For the remainder of the procedure I clamped my eyes tight. I did not risk the spinning room. And maybe, just maybe, I fantasized about stabbing the technician through the chest with his ultrasound wand.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Back in the Saddle

Back from the doctor. Back from Burlington. Back to the blog.

The trip was great -- great and short. Tuesday night we went F1 Kart Racing in Braintree. Our department rented both tracks for half an hour each. We split into eight teams of three then donned funky racing suits, helmets and neck braces. My group was Team Bloodbath. On the first track we did an Endurance race, and on the second track it was Grand Prix style.

Wednesday night we all went out to dinner at a fancy restaurant. We were supposed to go on a casino cruise, but weather (winds specifically) did not permit it.

The flight back was uneventful. We came close to missing a connecting flight at LAX. But a little bit of begging and running and two shuttles later, we were squished comfortably on our propellor commuter plane.

Went to see a new doctor this morning. This one specializes in Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT). He thinks I have acid reflux and I don't sleep with my head elevated enough. He sprayed a numbing agent into my nostrils and stuck a tube up my nose and down the back of throat. I was required to make specific humming noises and stick my tongue out. He told me the tube would tickle, but it sort of hurt. But again, I'm a baby. And my teeth are still numb. Then he prescribed two more pills.

I left the clinic with more appointments to remember:

  1. On Monday: Ultrasound on my neck.
  2. On Wednesday: Blood Test at the Lah-bore-ah-tor-EE.
  3. Mid-month: See the hematologist about my reduced platelet count.
  4. Two weeks: Return visit to the ENT.
  5. Dec 1: Return visit to the Endocrinologist.
  6. Meanwhile, start new antibiotic next week and acid reflux medication.
The good news is that my endocrinologist is wonderful. She's been on top of my case since the first appointment, sometimes calling me after hours to check up. She makes me happy.

The doctor's concern -- and I share this concern -- is that my lymph nodes are abnormally large on the left side of my neck. Now, if I tilt my head back, anyone can clearly see the bulge that's developed beneath my jaw. For the most part it doesn't hurt, but it is tender. And on the plane last night, I had a few sharp pains as a result of the swelling being above a nerve.

Words like CAT Scan and biopsy were used today. However, the possibility of cancer was minimalized. I've got two things in my favor: my age -- 27 is young for this sort of thing -- and the fact that I've experienced pain, that generally indicates a viral problem or an inflammation of some kind.

I can't remember if I mentioned this yet, but there's also concern about platelets in my blood. My platelet count is abnormally low. Normal, healthy people have 150,000 to 450,000 platelets per microliter of blood. Last month I was at 122,000. This month I have 86,000. (More info on the test they performed here.)

The most important thing about this entry, is that I say all these things but I feel fine. Except for tenderness in my neck, I feel completely normal. This last month has been a complete surprise. I'd like to believe the lab mixed my test results up with someone else, but that's just not the case. I'm also not thinking about what might happen. I'm just going day to day. I worry enough about stupid, trivial things.

That's me in a nutshell (a mighty big nutshell.) Feeling okay, interested in the whole process, hoping it turns out to be nothing, happy with the endocrinologist. And occasionally contributing to my NaNoWriMo word count. Have yourself a merry, little weekend.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Burlington Take Two

Again I find myself in a hotel room, only a few rooms down from where I stayed in August.

The short version: Left home airport at 11:10 AM for LAX. Connecting flight delayed an hour, so we switched to a different flight that left two hours later... I know it sounds weird but stay with me. The original flight had a stopover in Chicago where we were to just sit on the runway for an hour, and the new flight didn't stop except to land in Boston. So we ate lunch at a "Chili's Too" in LAX and boarded our new flight with no problems. I had the best strawberry lemonade of my life.

Our old flight (1400) is scheduled to arrive right now. So instead of sitting in my hotel room with my things unpacked and orderly, I could still be sitting on a runway somewhere.

The new kitten is adorable. I've taken LOTS of pictures, but seeing as how I'm very far from the digital camera, it'll take me about a week to post them. Let me just say, it was hard to get on a plane and leave her behind.

We're all meeting at 8 for breakfast, so I best skedaddle. Because even with the time change, 8 is still going to feel like 5. Bah.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Show me sexy! (Vash, two years old, Kitty Incumbent)

She's a little wolfman. Perfect for Halloween.

A younger version of the kitten we're adopting. By that, I mean she's grown.

Sucking My Blood

"Last name? ... Date of birth? ... Anything to eat or drink this morning? ... Have a seat."

At 7:05 AM I was in line at the Lah-bore-ah-tor-ee. My Halloween costume was simple. I was a willing vampire victim. I climbed up into the blood sucking chair and offered my arm.

"Make a fist," said a minion of the Count.

She tied a rubber band around my bicep. I caught unwholesome shapes in my periphery, so I looked away. Tacked at eye-level was a fascinating piece of paper. Look! Suddenly the most fascinating piece of paper I ever had occasion to see, right there on the wall. It had ink outlines of different shells. A caption read, "Find three that are the same." I studied it. I traced the curve of each shell with my eyes. I pretended the triplets were harder to spot than they were.

Vlad sunk his teeth into my vein. He drank me dry.

If life's not beautiful without the pain,
well I'd just rather never ever even see beauty again.
The View -- Modest Mouse
I went to Starbuck's. I bought a venti pumpkin spice frappuccino no whip and a cheese danish. I went to work. It seemed like the thing to do.

Tomorrow we retrieve our kitten.

Thursday, October 28, 2004


I'm typing off the last of my radioactivity. I kept waiting for special powers to manifest, but to no avail. I couldn't even stop time. Not even a little. How I tried!

In honor of Halloween -- which seems to be slipping by without notice -- I'm listening to cheesy seasonal music like Griz Green's "Jam at the Mortuary" and Bobby Bare's "Vampira." Really sets the mood.

Halloween is my favorite of all the weens. I've stocked up on creepy DVD's like "Cat's Eye" and "Nosferatu" and "Farscape" Season 4. We've also got loads of candy -- at least since I replenished what I ate in preemptive celebration.

My own private swollen lymph node is like a juicy grape under the skin of my neck. I'm thinking of drawing a face on it for a costume.

Speaking of medical anomalies, my Radioactive Iodine Uptake test was a bust. Results? Inconclusive! Cha-cha-cha! Tomorrow I go in for another blood test. For those playing the home game, that's two blood tests in one week. And I'm switching to a different antibiotic.

Now all I need is a pumpkin and a gateway between worlds.

Perhaps my swollen lymph node is actually a second head, growing out my neck? Entirely possible. I'll name it Ralph. And we'll play patty-cake.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Waiting Rooms

Alert the media! I've just returned from the endocrinologist.

No one can tell me definitively why my lymph nodes are swollen. To be safe, I'm scheduled for a Radioactive Iodine Uptake test for tomorrow morning. Specifics on the test are available here.

Essentially I take a pill (I ingest radioactive iodine) and then return later in the day so that a gamma probe may measure its effects on my thyroid gland. It's not a significant source of radiation, so I won't suffer from anything long-term or hazardous.

The current hypothesis is that I have Graves' disease. Tomorrow's test will prove or disprove this theory.

Another blood test was ordered, and now even more vials of my blood are floating around the lab waiting to be analyzed. The doctor hopes she can find a viral cause for the swelling.

And I retrieved my car from the dealer. It appears to be working and idling correctly, so hurrah. It also has a brand new driver's side mirror. Today's car repair total stands at $327, but most of that was for fixing the mirror -- which I broke five years ago.

Saturday we pick up our new kitten in Los Angeles.

Monday I hop on a plane to Massachusetts for work. The endocrinologist is hoping to have a more concrete diagnosis by then. Hence, the immediate need for a Radioactive Iodine Uptake test.

By the by, BF has been absolutely wonderful through all this.

This is Ten Sticks, signing off.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Immaturity Rears Its Ugly Head

Tonight was not my finest hour. Tonight I yelled at a homeless person.

To be fair, the homeless person instigated it. Excepting the fact that the person was homeless, she said some very nasty things. For one, she was standing in front of the exit to the restaurant and I couldn't pass. So I said, "Excuse me, please." And she got all uppity in her yellow poncho and red plastic shoes. "Well, excuuuuse me," she said. But I could tell she didn't mean it. "Make way for the paying customers!" This exchange was followed by more verbal gonorrhea wherein she accused me of reporting her to the local newspaper and plastering her picture everywhere because we're just the sort of fat cats who pay for our meals. She continued to berate us as we walked past.

It was raining. She and her posse stood in the doorway in their ponchos and blue hoodies in the front of the restaurant. I turned around in the street, soaked now, as she spit invectives in our direction. I looked through her and said, "What's your problem?"

In fact she could have answered, "I'm homeless for one." But she didn't. She sort of blanched, cowered a bit, mumbled an apology, and I felt vindicated. A mature person wouldn't have felt vindicated, but then I make no claims on maturity.

When I said those words, "What's your problem?" I realized that I was prepared to back them up. I was ready to defend myself. And at that moment, I didn't care one way or the other how it'd turn out. I just knew that nothing gave her the right to insult me in any context.

Further down the street a homeless man asked me for a quarter. At first I shrugged thinking I didn't have any change. But when I stuck my hand in my pocket I found three quarters. I trotted back and handed the quarters to him.

I guess I thought I could postpone the "she snapped at a homeless person" karma by giving another homeless person seventy-five cents... which in retrospect doesn't really even out. But then yellow poncho lady didn't have to be smoking weed outside the restaurant and she could have gotten the fuck out of my way.

Update: The dealer kept the car overnight for observation or something. The appointment with my endocrinologist has been moved up to tomorrow, but I've got no way to get to the clinic now that I'm car-less. So once again, I impose on BF. I've offered to buy him Half Life 2 in exchange. Bartering works for us. Also, my lymph nodes continue to swell. Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion! In the next entry I yell at the differently abled!

Coulda Been Worse...

It's 9am. On a normal day, you'd find me at work. This is not a normal day.

I skipped and tripped out of work last night, preparing myself for Fat Burger. Thoughts of the evening's playwriting workshop danced in my head... I stuck my key in the ignition, turned it forward, nothing happened. I smiled. I did it again. Nothing. I started laughing.

I called BF. He showed up and gave me a jump start. The engine stayed on -- as long as I gave it lots of gas. But if, by chance, I removed the key from the ignition, the car would not, could not start again. Not without another jump start.

We managed to get it home, and this morning I called the dealer. You remember, the dealer who fixed it just last Thursday? And charged me $470 for the pleasure? Yes well, now the problem was worse. How can I tell? Cuzthecarwontfuckingstartmuthafucker.

It's only a '98 and not hard used. These are problems it should not have.

With an early morning jump start, I drove the car to the dealer. Leaving the freeway, the "Low Fuel" light came on and the whole mess lurched forward. It wasn't fooling me; I filled the tank two days ago. I prayed to whatever out there might be listening. "Please please please let me help me don't stall not here." On and on.

I pulled up to the Service kiosk and I said to the first guy, "Is this where you want me to park? Because when I turn it off, it won't start again." The man chuckled, but I had the last laugh.

So now I'm waiting for the Service department to call me back and give me numbers.

I'm also waiting for my doctor's appointment. It's in 45 minutes. That lump on the side of my neck? Swollen lymph nodes. Painful, swollen lymph nodes. In the last week, I've taken as many as four different pills a day. I'm not doing that anymore. It's not helping.

On a positive note, "Team America: World Police" is fan-fucking-tastic, albeit, not everybody's cup o'tea. The sets and the puppets were amazing. I laughed and laughed.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Everytime you read a book, an angel gets LASIK.

There are authors I've stumbled upon that I can't imagine life without. I pick a book at random, and then I won't rest until I've digested their entire back catalogue.

Unless it's too good. There are authors whose works are so good, that speak to me so strongly, that it hurts to finish their books. So I procrastinate. I read lesser authors instead. I wash the dishes. I do whatever I have to do in order to prolong the moment of book limbo. I spend a lot of time thinking about the author, but never bringing myself back into their world. I know they'll break my heart with words; it's a self-defense mechanism.

Currently, one author falls into this category: Harlan Ellison. Also, one television series: Farscape.

I know I'm cheating myself out of better moments by doing this. And I will finish each respectively, eventually. But for now I hold it all close and gather the pieces slowly. Soon I'll be ready to binge and purge and get it (mostly) out of my system. But between the now and the then I choose to savor instead, roll it around my mouth, identify, and spit.

Rarities like this, they deserve to be treasured.

Friday, October 22, 2004

But how do you really feel?

Mycarisbetterthanxforasking. $470 better.

Today I've got a doctor's appointment. I plan to show the doctor my neck and solicit his opinion. See, lumps in one's neck are never a good sign. Especially lumps that appear immediately after beginning a new pill regimen. I imagine it's just a lymph node thing. But then I'd rather seek professional help and not just rely on my extensive google search skills.

I've never been deathly ill or broken a bone. I have no experience with this aspect of adult-ness. These repeated trips to the doctor and drawing of blood and poking and prodding are -- even though well intended -- driving me crazy.

And then it's over and in the mail I get "This is not a bill" receipts from my insurance provider telling me I owe $700 for an x-ray and an ultrasound. So I call them and they say, your doctor didn't fax us this form. So I call my doctor and they say we never got that form. So I call the insurance company and they say, "Our computers are down, we'll fax the form later." And all the while I've got more of these "This is not a bill" receipts arriving and ruining my lunch.

Sure, health care is great -- if you're well enough to play the game. God forbid you come down with a serious illness. God forbid you get cancer of the x and it costs $1800 a month to buy pills.

If this is what it's like to be healthy, I never want to get sick.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

The One Where I Anthropomorphize My Car

I voted. I plopped myself down on the couch and spread out all the propaganda (I mean, informative bipartisan literature) around me and my permanent absentee ballot. Together we read through the opposing arguments. I especially liked the rebuttal on the California Children's Hospital Bond Proposition. The lead-in statement said, "Have you ever even HEARD of that guy who's against us? You know, the attorney who HATES children? Like, the guy who wants your children to die horribly medically preventable deaths? Could you possibly WANT that? Well then, the BLOOD of innocent kids is on YOUR hands you selfish mother fucker!"

Possibly I'm paraphrasing.

I voted no for lots of things. I like telling people no. Gives me a false sense of power and control. Also, I didn't think it was in my best interest to vote yes. Democracy at work.

Thank you, George Bush. Thank you for forcing me out of apathy. Thank you, sincerely, for making my dislike of you greater than my proclivity for procrastination.

In other news my car is dying and my body is on the fritz. I've got a service appointment (for the car) tomorrow bright and early which will most likely create quite a dent in my pocketbook.

I don't actually carry a pocketbook. I have a wallet that fits in my purse, but not in my pocket. And I don't keep real money in it. Really just credit cards and expired video rental memberships.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Bits and Pieces

The problem with Quicken is that it remembers. With the click of a button I can generate pie charts and bar graphs, perform calculations, and create income/expense ratios. With the flick of a wrist I itemize my transgessions. Money becomes corporeal. It leaves a record. And its memory is paved with the green blood of commerce, and possibly guilt. Here I'd like to quote the movie "Breakfast at Tiffany's" where Holly is at Sing Sing talking to Sally, the mob guy. Sally looks at her checkbook, and says "It reads like a tragedy."

'Course I'm not really a spendthrift. My money goes to debt. But in my heart, at the end of the day, I'd rather have more stuff than a better credit score. Enter Guilt, stage left.

I dig the rain, flash flood warnings and all. My tires are under water and I don't care.

It appears the creep called twice today and hung up both times. Once at 3:48pm and then again two minutes later. I can only assume it was the creep because the display read, "Caller Unavailable," there were no voicemails, and the person was persistent. A profile is developing...

Monday, October 18, 2004

The Creep, the Conversation, and the Kitten

Some creep keeps calling my cell phone. At first I was willing to forgive him. Maybe he's slow, I thought. Maybe he really does think he has the "right" number. This is also the phone work pays for, so I'm usually feeling generous whenever I answer it. What's worse is that it's tough to screen. Caller ID is useless. It just says, "Caller Unavailable" or "Private Number" for everybody. And it being a fairly new phone, I figure there's an adjustment period where Joe Q. Public remembers to update his address book.

This morning alone I had three wrong numbers. The first was legitimate. It was a woman who had just misdialed. The second two calls were from the creep. He first called a couple weeks ago and I told him the number was wrong. Now I'm recognizing it's the same voice, over and over, asking the same questions. The third time he called back however, he asked if he could, hey, talk to me for a minute. That caught me off guard. I said, "This is a place of business. Is this regarding work? If not, the answer is no."

It made me angry. Why does this stranger keep calling my cell phone? I've noticed several random missed calls which I think were from him. He never leaves a voice mail. And now he wants to get to know me better? Well, fuck him. If there weren't a chance I might browbeat a legitimate caller, I'd love to start answering the phone with a rousing round of creative expletives.

And now I've wasted all this time ranting about the creep. Time I will never get back.

On Friday night I went to see Tony Kushner in a conversation with Jeff Bridges. I can tell you about both men's opinions on politics, but I can't tell you much about Kushner's approach to playwriting. I can tell you about the stupid rambling questions the audience asked in the post-show Q&A, but I can't tell you any concrete details about Kushner's upcoming work. I couldn't even convince myself to stay long enough to get my copy of "Angels in America" signed. It's all about managing expectations. Mine, unfortunately, were playwright-centric.

Saturday morning I drove to San Diego to see my family. My parents are incredible cooks who always serve too much food. I ate and drank and ate until I thought I was going to die.

Drove back on Sunday. Stopped in LA to see the kitten we hope to retrieve in two weeks. She's gorgeous, grey, and 4 weeks old. BF and I took turns playing with her for a couple hours, then we bottle fed her and put her back in her cage. It was hard to leave her behind. But assuming all goes as planned, we'll be introducing her to Vash soon enough and dealing with the fall out of kitten energy.

I keep remembering little details about Vash -- notably his refusal to let us sleep through the night without drama. But back then I was unemployed. I had all the time in the world to indulge his kitten fancies (and dementia.)

I foresee wacky hijinx in our immediate future with a high chance of sleep deprivation...

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Where I Describe a Painting from the Perspective of a Daughter of Edward Darley Boit

We are the daughters of Edward Darley Boit. He is away now. My little sister, Elizabeth, sits on the floor with her doll. It is almost night time. Papa should be home soon. He works at the bank. Mama and Papa collect art. They have lovely China vases all throughout the house. Lizzie's doll is named Sally. Sally has blonde hair, a bonnet, and a long pink dress. The painter comes once a week to make the portrait for Papa. It is Mama's surprise to him. She is going to hang it in the main hall, so that all the visitors will see it when they come in. He has us stand around the library, and not move for a long time. He says funny things and his smock is always dirty with paint. Not all of us face him. My eldest sister, Victoria, is sideways. You can hardly see her face at all! The library is a peculiar place for us to pose. The light is too dim. Mama promised us sweets after dinner if we all stand still for the painter man. They say he's a great artist.

I don't like the way he's drawing us.

Click for painting.

Shhh, Quiet Time

For the whole hyperthyroid thing, I've consented to take a new pill. This pill makes me sleepy. Drinking caffeinated beverages would defeat the purpose -- on account of them making me twitchy. This pill is decidedly anti-twitch. I didn't even take the full dose and I'm close to zonking out right here on my keyboard.

This wasn't a good time to start a new pill regimen. Deadlines don't understand tired. They don't care if I twitch. I haven't felt quite this pressured since I was a student. It feels like I'm writing an incredibly dense essay on subjects I only vaguely grasp and I never went to lecture so I'm puzzling through a friend's notes for clues and the professor is a hard ass who doesn't believe in multiple choice. I would like to sit here and issue a string of creative expletives or maybe cry. Maybe not cry. Puffy eyes are so five minutes ago. I'm nothing if not hip.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Online Petition

In the October 11 entry I mentioned that the Sinclair Broadcasting Group has ordered an anti-Kerry film to be shown on every one of its 62 stations.

If you've got an opinion and it's negative, express yourself by signing this petition.

The link to the petition is from The Earthbound Disco Ball.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

From the Files o' Me

Paparazzi for Sale

years ago the poets wrote
of sacrifice and battling vice
today the talk turns more to rock
the tunes that make our children swoon
morals lost and sins we heap
on paper stars and tinfoil creeps
we make them and we watch them fall
the bloodlust, hypocrite roll call
we send out spies to look for cracks
in polished floors and public acts
they snap perplexed out of context
and get paid well for lies they sell
to impulse press they spell success
in taped affairs and drinks for two

remember that when all else fails
the heights that icarus did reach
were laid to waste by tabloid tales
- By Me, March 2001

Pardon My Rage

First, the link: Pharmacist says he feared 'spiritual pain'.

"A former pharmacist said Monday he refused to fill a college student's prescription for birth control pills or transfer it to another pharmacy because he did not want to commit a sin."

This article fills me with anger. My cup runneth over with white hot rage.

"It's good for a person to be persecuted," he said when asked by his lawyer how the proceedings have affected him. "Really, it helps you grow in your faith."

I want bad things to happen to this man. I want to force his head down a toilet and flush repeatedly. He has triggered a nerve, and that nerve wants to hurt him. I don't generally advocate violence (honest!) -- but I'd sorta like to be in on his "rehabilitation" process. I can't help but wonder, was this an isolated incident? Or will more young women step forward? I can't even speak objectively about this. Fucking self-righteous asswad.

In the process of disposing the day old oil I used to fry chicken breasts... I managed to spill it all over the counter and myself. I assure you, it was comical. I continue to smell faintly of spent oil and fried chicken bits...

Virus R Us

I just got the best virus email. Not the best for content, but the best for subtlety.
Dear user XXXXXX@ephemeralpulp.XXX,

Your e-mail account has been used to send a huge amount of unsolicited email messages during the last week. Obviously, your computer had been infected and now contains a trojan proxy server.

Please follow the instruction in the attached file in order to keep your computer safe.

Have a nice day, ephemeralpulp.XXX technical support team.

Where the prankster failed -- besides asking me to view an attached zip file for instructions -- was signing the e-mail, ephemeralpulp technical support team. Because in this case, I am the support team. Truly, it lost some credibility there.

I especially like the "Obviously, your computer had been infected" line. That's class right there. Only a dumbass would draw another conclusion. Are you a dumbass? And throwing in words like "trojan proxy server," well, it's probably got a little old lady somewhere on the edge of her seat.

We're in for a world of hurt when the virus community starts taking these things seriously. But for now they're just playing with us, flexing their muscles for the big kill. I'm honored to have been target practice.

Monday, October 11, 2004

More of the Same

"Sinclair Broadcast Group, owner of the largest chain of television stations in the nation, plans to air a documentary that accuses Sen. John Kerry of betraying American prisoners during the Vietnam War, a newspaper reported Monday.

The network has ordered all 62 of its stations to air "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal" without commercials in prime-time next week, the Washington Post said, just two weeks before the Nov. 2 election."
from Anti-Kerry film to air without commercials

But... I don't understand. TV would NEVER try to influence my opinion with propaganda... I just won't believe it!

Sunday, October 10, 2004

False-Starts and Safety Belts

I finished "The Longest Journey." Now I've got post-partum game depression.

I made fried chicken for dinner.

I ate too much.

I can't stand to look at my play any longer. I'm sick of thinking about it. I don't want to rewrite it. I don't care if it sucks. I don't care if it doesn't have an ending. It isn't meant to end. It's artsy. It's a sketch now. Not a play. Sketches don't have to end properly. At least that's what SNL has taught me. So there, stupid conscience. You're free. You should take up a proper hobby anyway. Like glass blowing. Or gum chewing. Or boudoir photography.

Saturday, October 09, 2004


I just got back from the post office. I managed to submit my play to a contest. I even remembered to mention in the cover letter that this particular play was a Finalist for the 2003 Heideman Award (through the Actor's Theatre of Louisville). Not that it didn't feel like tooting my own horn -- because it did -- and chances are they won't even read the cover letter, but I don't think it'll hurt. Unless it gives someone a paper cut.

Submitting these plays continues to feel like an awesome exercise in futility. But it's cool, daddy-o.

I practice existential nihilism.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Nothing to See Here

I found my muse in a bottle of Bass. She was trapped like a firefly in a mason jar. I said, "Muse, baby, sweetie, honey. What the fuck you doin' in my beer?" She looked up at me through her thick, green lashes and said, "The backstroke be-atch!"

I'm only taking a break, you see, from writing. I'm not watching the debates yet. First write, then watch.

a joker clad in plaid dress pants
genuflects and rests his case
a princess with a copper grin
dribbles plum juice down her chin
and like the hare, pursues the chase.
the hangman with a heart of gold
with little dreams and little faith
a cross to bear and poker face
takes plain text, makes it bold
and here, another soul is sold                
and liver turns to lace
but once the street that has no name
was looking fresh, was looking tame
an olive branch stuck through his lip
a jewelled dart with a poison tip
who hails from alpha fame
i want to play another game
spat mary moll to daisy dame
there's no one left to blame
a frame within a frame
- October 1999, Me


I just cracked open a cool, refreshing Diet Dr. Pepper. Only, it tasted a little funny. So (obviously) I kept on drinking it. And then I thought to look on the bottom of this freshly cracked carbonated beverage for the expiration date. What did I see, gentle reader?

That's right! Dec 29, 2003 - Ten points to Gryffindor!

My soda is seven in dog years.

Now I'm conflicted. I'm thirsty, but at the same time, disgusted. This day just got a whole lot more complicated.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

On the Subject of iTunes

I downloaded a few more songs... for, uh, research. Yeah, research.

I'm ass deep in the evaluation process. I downloaded "Maps" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, "Time is Running Out" by Muse, "Mr. Brightside" by the Killers, and "A Favor House Atlantic" by Coheed and Cambria. It's all top forty type pap, but it makes me bounce. My secret weakness is bounce.

BF just tsk'ed me. I think it's on account of the twitchy lip-synching and frenetic head banging.

A Sixty Minute Do-Over

The hour between 2 and 3 is my personal Dead Zone. Time slows, stops, stutters, then creeps along, so that nothing is accomplished. If I worked from home this hour would be better known as NapTime. Yet another good reason not to work from home.

I'm trying to write a chapter on a feature with lots of tiny threads into other features. This morning I got three sentences down. But hey, they're frelling awesome sentences. Clear as mud.

I forgot about an upcoming playwriting deadline. Last night I dusted off an old file and reworked parts of a ten-minute play that is submissable. I'll get it out on Saturday, because damn, I actually have to take it to the post office and not just click a button. Oh for the love of analog...

For fun (not profit) I used iTunes to download a song. It's not the most user-friendly system. Here's why: to get an mp3 (which works on my frontierlabs mp3 player) you have to burn songs to a CD then rip them; it's not easy (maybe not possible) to share a song I bought on one computer with another computer not on the same subnet (even though you have to log in and it must store a record of your purchases somewhere); their help files suck, not search-friendly; did I mention the mp3 thing? I'll wait until an album gets cheap and buy it on -- at least until selling used CD's is outlawed... Or, you know, I'll keep checking out CD's from the library and ripping them for my own personal use.

I don't mind paying for singles, I really don't. But at least give me what I want without jumping through hoops. And make the price reasonable. Ninety-nine cents plus tax still seems high when you're not getting any media to go along with it. At least iTunes isn't like Napster. On Napster you have to pay a monthly subscription fee AND then pay for individual songs and albums. Sucks to be Napster's business model.

Monday, October 04, 2004

The Missing Point

My brain, she does not rest. All weekend long I vacillated between manic and catatonic. Lists were made, discarded, and appended. Lists became loops and loops were lists. So many things to do and say and see and write and call and make. So many verbs, so little will. Saturday night, I sat on the couch, staring, worrying, caught up in it. I saw folly in beginning, just knowing I'd fail. I heard a song on the radio, briefly, and the chorus stuck like flypaper.

Bye bye beautiful
Don't bother to write
Disturbed by your words and they're calling all cars
Face step, let down.
Face step, step down.
Coheed and Cambria -- A Favor House Atlantic

I determined to redeem Sunday. When the cat woke me for breakfast at 6:30, I stayed awake. I went grocery shopping, refilled the water bottles, washed the sheets, paid the electric bill, entered books into the BookCollection database. I made a cake and cooked dinner. I watched the first two episodes of Farscape. I took a nap.

I didn't: call my parents, get a tuneup for the car, finish entering books, write, do any of the work I'd brought home, finish "The Longest Journey," visit friends, see the kitten we hope to get, fill prescriptions, read any of the seventy-seven books I bought cheap -- I think this is what set me off. Seventy-seven books? I said to BF, "I'll never be able to read that many. I'm doomed." Or something like it. He laughed and said, "Riiight. If anybody can read 'em, it's you." Okay, so maybe I exaggerated. Maybe I read pretty fast. Maybe I picked something stupid to obsess about. It wouldn't be the first time. And that's what I appreciate about BF. He doesn't let me get away with being a dumbass.

This reminds me, I once knew a girl who bragged about being an English major. She reveled in her quirkiness, peppered her speech with French phrases, expressed herself in non-sequiturs, and wore funky clothes. She was my kind of people, so I attempted to get to know her better. One day, she threw a party. She cooked a vat of spaghetti and we sat around decidedly not spilling sauce on the white carpet. There may have been a minor tragedy when someone spilled red wine, but that's another story for another time. After dinner, we found ourselves in this young woman's bedroom. She proudly explained the uniqueness of her possessions. She showed us her toys, and her art, and the chalk board where she wrote French phrases to herself. I realized then, something's wrong here, very wrong. The girl had no books. Not a one. This English major was living a lie. I learned two things that day: first, never trust an English major who doesn't keep books. And second, crazy is not the same as fun. I also learned -- but am not including it officially -- that red wine and white carpet make pink mess.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

O for a Muse of Fire...

I did a thing. The thing I did, I did it thrice. And now I sit, flushed and happy, lungs lined with dust, arms aching...

Yesterday commenced the thirtieth annual Planned Parenthood Book Sale at the Earl Warren Showgrounds. First I went at lunch, then after dinner, and then just now. I've adopted seventy-seven books thus far. I'm out of control, but not without a plan. For the rest of the year -- the part of the year that is Not Book Sale Time -- I compile a book wishlist in Excel. I strikethrough text to signify the acquisition of said books. The list has grown to three pages. It gives me such a sense of accomplishment to find these books. Today I'm most pleased I found Alan Lightman's "Einstein's Dreams " and Italo Calvino's "If on a Winter's Night a Traveler." Both books have been on my list for some time. Yesterday's prize was William Gibson's "The Seesaw Log."

While I was crawling under tables to sort through covered boxes, a young woman called her friend on a cell phone. She said quietly, "You really should get here. It's a book lover's paradise." My strategy is not to tell anyone until after my first visit. Less competition.

Right. If you find yourself in the Santa Barbara area, 10am-8pm, October 1 - 10, I highly recommend atttending this book sale.

Friday, October 01, 2004

My Heart is Like a Hummingbird...

On Wednesday I went to a health food store to purchase capsules of friendly bacteria - three billion per capsule - so that I might ingest said capsules. As I swallowed the first pill I said to BF, "I am a destroyer of worlds!" This was on account of ingesting three billion organisms so that they might battle the perfidious digestive tract squatters... or something.

Skip with me.

So apparently, as I said in a previous entry, I have hyperthyroidism. This is not to be confused with hypothyroidism. Common symptoms of the hypo- variety include weight gain, lethary, bloating, etc. For my kind of -ism, I get slight tremors, become warm easily, and my heartbeat feels like the gentle flap-flap-flap of hummingbird wings. I didn't know this wasn't normal. I've gotten used to it.

It makes sense though. It does. When I studied photography, I could never hold my hands steady. This made it difficult to shoot the sorts of things I needed to shoot. Consequently, I stopped shooting. I figured I had Parkinsons. Because, yeah, it could happen.

I made an appointment with an endocrinologist, but it's not until December. Good thing it isn't life threatening.

On a completely unrelated topic, did you watch the debate last night? No? Well I happen to have it recorded if you want to come over. We'll make a party out of it. Let us bask in the rational glow of Kerry. Let us hiss at the villain in the blue tie, twisting his moustache, repeating himself for ninety minutes in defense mode. I've got no respect for anyone who watched the debate and thought Bush came off well. No respect. I turned to BF at the mid-point and said, "When Bush wins, can we riot in the streets? Set cars on fire? Things like that? To paraphrase the immortal Limp Bizkit, I'll need to break shit."

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

The Good with the Bad

I was mean to my body and my body was mean right back. Do you want the clean version or do you want it straight up, unfiltered? I could institute a choose-your-own adventure blog. We could pretend together. Let's do middle-of-the-road. Something for everyone.

It started well. After work last night I went for a walk. I even jogged a little. Later, to reward myself, I poured a drop of rum in my diet dr. pepper. Then I poured some more. I kept pouring... and my body decided that it needed all the rum and the diet dr. pepper and the stupid tiny lean cuisine dinner I'd stuffed down my gullet, well, it all needed to make a cameo appearance.

It's not fair. If a person voids the offending contents from one's inner crevices (and crevasses), one should be spared the nausea and achiness of consequential hungoverness. So should it be written. Somewhere. Easily accessible.

And today the city shut off our water at work. They had a good reason I guess. Something about cutting a water main. Whatever. All I know is, the water was turned off at 7:30am and we weren't told until 9:30am. Take note, gentle reader, I wasn't told until after I'd consumed several liters of liquid. Bringing us back to the hangover, the hangover which demanded consumption of said liquid, or else. Water water everywhere, but no functioning toilets. Not for miles. Drastic, wacky hijinx ensued.

Tomorrow I get to go back to the doctor for more nastiness. Blech.

As Gollum might say -- if he were literate and/or real -- the mail stork brought me my ssshiny, precious copy of The Chicago Manual of Style. It is a strong ally in my fight against the unholy, but punctual, Asshats of Grammar.

In honor of this sanctimonious occasion, be warned, I've added a new word to the Lexicon De La Christy.

Thuz: the past tense of they. A contraction of they and was.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

H.R. 163 and the World of Tomorrow

Saw "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow." I liked it. It made me hopeful.

I heard on the radio about pending legislation in the House and Senate (twin bills: S 89 and HR 163) meant to reinstitute the draft. Have you heard about this? There's talk of requiring 18-26 year olds --- men and women alike -- conscripting them into two years of national service? No escape to Canada, no escape to college...

Snopes has a blurb about this here.

They say "probably not." It probably won't happen.

You can read about H.R. 163 here.

Read about S.89 here.

Don't worry citizen, college is overrated anyway. Who needs that analytical nonsense?

Point. And counterpoint.

Farscape marathon coming soon to a Sci-Fi channel near you. The fun begins Oct. 1 at 8am.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Stupendiforous Sonogram! X-citing X-Rays! Undress and Put This On! Oh my!

My computer crashes the same time everyday, which is about now, so I'll have to make this fast, cut it short, and suck it up.

I had a gooey sonogram this morning, but then I'm ahead of myself. First, I changed in the dressing room into a backless gown -- all the rage, dahling -- and then stood my chest in front of an x-ray machine. Then I changed back into civilian clothes and read informational literature in the waiting area. Then they called me upstairs, I changed into yet another stylish gown, and met Alice the I'll-be-doing-your-ultrasound-today Radiologist. I climbed on the table, she draped a sheet over my legs, lifted the gown, then squirted gel on my abdominal region. She asked me to breathe, hold it, then pressed her special wand around my rib cage and my stomach. She's my own personal Radiology fairy -- only instead of wishes, I get to expose my backside. This went on for forever, or twenty minutes, whichever comes first.

I'll get the results next Wednesday. As for my blood test, the lab results say I've got an overactive thyroid. Ha! I prefer the term "precocious" or "gifted" to "overactive." (So I've finally received concrete validation by medical professionals that I'm special.) More tests have been ordered by Dr. K-- to confirm the confirmations. But I'm pretty confident I deserve lots of ice cream whatever happens.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

The Last Thing I'll Do Before I Go to Bed

So the doctor stuck a needle in my arm and collected blood in three vials. I watched him label each one slowly, as he spoke to me. He showed me an illustration of my insides. I made an appointment to have a chest x-ray and an abdominal ultrasound on Friday morning. Now that the pain is gone, I feel like a fraud. However. This isn't the first time random pains have ruined an otherwise fine weekend, and if these x-rays find anything that's curable, I'll be a happy camper.

My new doctor actually talked to me. He sat me down and had a conversation. My last doctor never insisted on a blood test. He wrote all sorts of prescriptions for me, and diagnosed all sorts of diseases without ever examining me. I thought it was strange, but I figured, he's my primary care physician, yeah? What can I do?

The new doctor's office is across from the bird refuge. The vibe is country doctor. That makes me happy.

Although... he's got one of those little fountain statue things in the waiting room which didn't help my bladder after two sodas and a liter of water. Later, when he was pressing in the vicinity of my bladder asking if it hurt I said, "Well, no, but you're making me have to pee." Classic Christy.

Monday, September 20, 2004

A Pod Person is Me

I did something wholly out of character. I just cleaned the kitchen. Not only did I use the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser but I used the grout brush, the Soft Scrub, a new sponge, and I moved stuff to clean behind it. I've obviously been possessed by anti-bacterial aliens. I smell like cleanser.

In twelve hours I've got a doctor's appointment. The pain began to subside midday. It lasts all weekend, ruins my fun, and then just when I've despaired and found a doctor and worried people, it goes away. Probably hiding out in my intestines until the stethoscope and prodding doctor hands go by. It'd be just like it.

The first doctor's office I called said, "We don't have any openings until April 2005. Does that work for you?" The second office, no one answered. The third office, Sansum medical clinic denied the doctor's existence and/or affiliation with Sansum medical clinic. The third office, no one answered. I was down to the last name on my list. Would I never have a doctor to call my own? The phone rang, a woman answered. "Dr. K--'s office..." With little hope I told her of my plight. She said, "Is tomorrow at nine-thirty okay?"

On other fronts, I am still enamored with the game Syberia. Now that I'm playing "The Longest Journey," I keep comparing the two. And I wonder, truly, where have these games been all my life? My biggest problem is that when I start to play one of these games, I don't want to stop -- beauty sleep be damned!

Crusty, droopy, bags under one's eyes is the new black.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

The Localized Abdominal Pain Shuffle

I'd like to get a refund on these past two days, but I'm afraid the warranty is expired...

I wish I could say Friday started well. It didn't. I went into work early, about 7. All through the previous night I'd had a heating pad over my mid-section because of some random pain. By about 9am, the pain was excruciating. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't sit. I stared at my computer monitor waiting for a co-worker to come in, so I could tell him I had to go home. By 10, I rushed off an email to the co-worker who had still not arrived, I hobbled out to my car, and burst into tears.

I called BF and he didn't answer. I forgot he was getting his hair cut. We were to leave at 2pm for his sister's wedding in the Irvine Area.

I didn't think I'd be able to drive. By then I was making these weird animal huffing sounds, guttural and shallow, with an occasional sustained grunt thrown in for sport. It was one of those moments when the left half said, "I'll never make it." And the right half said, "Suck it up. You've got no choice." So I turned the key in the ignition and drove slowly, all the while, clutching my mid-section and groaning.

BF called back just as I was pulling the car onto our street. I asked him to come home.

I microwaved the hot pack and collapsed in bed. I'd stopped crying. (I can't remember the last time I've cried from physical pain. Just so you don't think this is normal.)

BF started looking on the internet for possible diseases I might have. I think he read me the definition for dyspepsia.

At about noon, I felt a little better. We each ate a Lean Cuisine tv dinner. I watched tv. I sent BF out to buy a real heating pad and get gas for the car. We had to leave to drive in LA traffic. There was a rehearsal dinner we needed to attend.

Skipping ahead, we spent a few hours in traffic. We ate too much dinner. Near the end I moved to be close to an electrical outlet and plugged in the heating pad for the remainder of the meal. After the wedding, we announced we wouldn't be joining the family at the Disneyland "after-party," so they asked us to drive BF's grandmother back to Tehachapi. We did. Eight hours and one flat tire later, we're back home at 2am. And can I just say -- nothing is further away than Bakersfield. I will never forget standing on the side of the 58 freeway, watching BF change the spare, wondering how we'd make it home, wondering where we were. And wondering why there was one of those white plastic flossing things where we were standing. For 3 1/2 hours we drove back at 55 miles an hour. Everytime the car bounced in a pothole, I gripped the door handles in preparation to flee. And it took freaking forever to catch up to the bright lights of Bakersfield. No matter how far we went, it always seemed to still be just out of reach.

Now it's Sunday and my side still hurts. I'll probably call the doctor tomorrow. It seems like I should anyway. I kinda need to be able to breathe properly.

Oh and yeah. It was a beautiful wedding.

Oh and yeah. BF and I parked his car -- the same car that had the flat -- in a restaurant parking lot. When we came back, we saw a bunch of people standing around two cars next to his. The wind knocked a giant tree branch onto the roof and hood of the two cars. It narrowly missed his.

Oh and yeah. BF's sister was rear-ended last night or this morning. And other crap is going down too. I sure hope we're getting all the bad luck, so the newly wedded couple can enjoy their honeymoon in Aruba sans hurricane.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Is the internet poly- or mono- theistic? Discuss.

I love the internet. Not in an obsessively jealous, sneakily stalking, Fatal Attraction, Single White Female, Catherine Zeta Jones, sort of way. No. I want my internet to be a free range internet. No strings attached. Come and go as you please, world wide baby.

However. Sometimes the internet tests the limits of my love. Sometimes it forgets to call. Sometimes it drinks too much and I have to hold its hair. Sometimes it forgets our anniversary.

So today I'm creating a laundry list of my grievances. It's nothing personal, internet. I just need a little space.

  • If you post something, assume somebody will steal it. Once, an artist stole my whole website and put it in his art installation. I've had photos taken, words lifted, and reviews changed. I reviewed a web host only to have someone take the review, change the host I was endorsing and repost it.
  • Don't post anything ever. You'll offend twenty-five percent of the population by just existing.
  • Don't make disparaging remarks -- except about yourself. Self-deprecation is a blog prerequisite.
  • Be careful what you write because it never goes away. It's all cached somewhere. A Google search on me returns a performance art piece I wrote nine years ago. Out of context.
  • Take it all with a grain of salt. Or a spoonful of sugar. Or a flask of rum. Whatever.
I wonder what the internet's doing now ... who its with ... what they're doing ...

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Daylight Insomnia

I used to laugh at the idea of writer's block. I thought it was just an excuse for not writing -- an excuse for mediocrity. I thought, there's always something to write. You just string words together and voila. You've got a paragraph. Before you know it, you've got a finished product. No excuse.

And now that it's later, and I've faced a blank page, I find there's truth in "writer's block." Every seven years you grow a new skin. I'm on four incarnations myself. Scratch another notch in the wall.

The cat is crying at the bookshelf.

I also thought, if it's a skill that comes too easily, it isn't worth doing. By transitivity I thought, I get compliments on my writing. That must be my skill. So I shouldn't do it. I should try everything else and see if the skill translates to something else. Saying it out loud, or even here, it sounds silly. But how often do we convince ourselves that we believe in something silly? I see. It's just me.

Today I was bored. I watched too much television. I made dinner. I washed dishes. I finished Syberia. I counted the hours until bedtime.

This is not important. It's just what I did. Isn't it funny -- I mean, I'm amazed by it -- the fingerprint we leave on the language we use. When I'm not shooting my mouth off, I'm listening to the rhythm of what you say. I'm eavesdropping on your conversation. I sit myself somewhere unobtrusive, and I listen to you. You only lack the validation of knowing. And I am rewarded with snippets of exposition. I am gifted with the seams. You keep the fabric.