Monday, May 31, 2004

Pretzels and Squipmunks

My goings on of late have included: wine tasting in the Santa Ynez Valley, slathering on makeup, comparing control top pantyhose to scuba gear, dancing with strangers, attending a wedding at the Fess Parker Winery, and a lot of well, drinking wine. This weekend was the closest I've ever come to going on a bender. But a responsible bender.

Saturday morning we left around ten. Stopped at Beckmen Vineyards for a tasting. The tasting room would have been hard to find if one of us hadn't been before, but there are small signs along the road indicating direction if your group isn't as lucky. From the outside the tasting room looks rustic and clean. Inside there's a counter along one wall where visitors were crowded, high ceilings -- it's an overall light, open space. We bought several bottles of wine based on the tasting. And I pointed out typos in their promotional materials. It's a sickness.

Following Beckmen, we stopped at Gainey for a tasting. Gainey had an established, professional feel. The gift shop -- which sold Gainey products from Artichoke Garlic Salsa to Olive Tapenade to Mulling spices -- was tastefully integrated into the front area which opened onto trellised patios backed against the vineyards. Red and white tastings had been set up in two rooms, the whites in the barrel room, the reds near the gift shop. Visitors flowed in and out of the building swirling their glasses and taking pictures of themselves against the property. We couldn't have asked for better weather. The sun was out, the clouds were few, and the wine wasn't bad. They had a dry Riesling which, without being too sweet, was quite refreshing.

Since there was still an hour before our hotel check-in, we ate brunch at the Chumash Casino. We got tricked into valet parking since there only appeared to be one entrance (next time VEER LEFT). You enter Chumash and the first thing you see, besides security, are escalators going up. On the main floor, you can almost pretend it's Vegas. Bright, blinking lights, tacky patterned carpet, cigarette smoke, and the sound of a thousand slot machines going ker-chunk-ker-plunk-brrrring! Skirting the action, I found another escalator and it took us to the buffet. When we were paying at the register, we saw a person trip and fall off the escalator. I tell ya, they went down like a sack of bricks, a comparison I had never actually seen until that moment. Wait staff and security crowded around the person so I couldn't tell you if they lived or died. But doesn't it make a better story if they died?

I was pleased to see Eggs Benedict at the buffet. And, by the by, egg rolls dip quite nicely in country gravy.

We didn't gamble. Stuffed to exploding, we drove out to the Buellton Rodeway Inn (on the Avenue of Flags, we only saw one flag) and checked in. While the boys waited for me to magically transform into breathtaking, they opened a bottle of wine and watched some television. My only complaint about our room -- and the price was definitely right -- was that the sink and mirror were in the main part of the room. Meaning, in the bathroom itself, with the toilet and shower, there was no sink or mirror. This wouldn't be a problem until the morrow, and only for the ones in our group who weren't morning people. Mwahaha!

Driving out to the wedding at Fess Parker Winery, we hit a squirrel. It got smooshed. Those damnable squirrels and their damnable death wishes! It's a good thing I don't believe in omens or portents, because if I did, I would have had to stop the wedding.

It was an outdoor wedding and it was a beautiful day. The wind was stronger than you'd generally like wind to be, but besides that it was a very nice wedding.

At the reception, there was wine. And dancing. And a bartender named Ramon who knew just what I needed.

The next morning we went to the Firestone Brew Pub and drank a few pints of beer. I may have bought a t-shirt. Many, many pretzels were put to death for the sake of a hungry traveler. Pretzels whose heroic valiance shall be remembered forever.

McDonald's figured prominently in our future. And that evening, after we got back to our respective homes and took naps, there was more wine drinking. I skipped to the end pretty quick, but I sort of lost my taste for it halfway through. It's kind of you not to notice. I guess I should take a shower or something. Or eat. Maybe there are Girl Scout cookies left. Mmmm, frozen Thin Mints.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Field Trip

I'm attempting to avoid the clichéd opening, "Today I ..." or "Yesterday was ..." but alas, this entry will be only 73% cliché free. Cold turkey's not my bag, baby.

So there I was, yesterday, on a staff day out -- click for pictures -- on a bus about 8 AM, kicking back and eating donuts. Here is the day in a nutshell (a really big nutshell): first stop, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels; second stop, tour of Redcat (the Roy and Edna Disney Cal Arts Theatre); third stop, dim sum at the Empress Pavilion in Chinatown (forget it Jake, it's Chinatown); fourth stop, tour of Disney Hall; fifth stop, Foster's Freeze.

Disney Hall was amazing, and the security was impressive, but I was most impressed with Redcat. It's everything a theatre should be. In the same space there's a gallery, a bar, and a cabinet full of books for sale. Books I recognized and wanted to read! It's hip, it's functional, it's beautiful. Redcat, I'm in love. Don't get me started on your gorgeous hydraulics and stadium seating and your spacious stage and your sound dampening and sound reflecting state-of-the-art panels and your two sound systems -- one for films, one for performing arts -- and your tidy catwalks and your ... excuse me, that's me weeping into my tea.

Two security guards later, we sneaked into the back of Disney Hall and watched about a half hour of a LA Philharmonic rehearsal. After a full meal of dim sum, it was difficult to stay fully alert in the Hall's comfortable seats. Forgive me if my mind wandered and my head dropped temporarily to my chest. I know not what I do. We all kept making Phil jokes, a play on Philharmonic, which makes me a philistine. Yuck, yuck, yuck.

All in all I had a great time. On the bus ride home, we drank wine and ate cheese and grapes and crackers. Four kinds of cheese! I was in heaven and I know this because the path to hell is paved with lactose intolerance.

Lastly, honorable mention must go to the tapestries in the Cathedral. I'm not convinced I've ever seen anything so beautiful and intricate. They were just really well done. And you can tell, because words are failing me. I might as well have a line of drool coming out my mouth slumped over in my chair for the level of articulation I'm attaining. The pictures don't do them justice, but click here to see tapestry information on the Cathedral's website.

And that's the end of that.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

If Talk is Cheap I'm a Stainless Steel Hooker

I feel the need to be deep, profound, and completely unfettered by lizard strings. I set up one of them RSS feeds (aka Atom feeds), and here's a link, courtesy of FeedBurner: Subscribe to my feed. Go on, join my inner circle. If you dare ...
The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something. That's the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then - to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn." -T.H. White, The Once and Future King
I want this in miniature, tattooed along my spine. For those old school readers out there, you'll have read this quote before. It captures exactly the thing, so I post it, frequently and with flourish.

And here is a bonus quote:

He had wanted to be a matador, but he had wanted to be a matador more than he wanted to do the things a matador must do, and it should be the other way around. - Barnaby Conrad, Matador
I'll never forget my photojournalism teacher and his fondness for bull fighting. This quote was at the bottom of the syllabus for our first class. I think of it often now, when I'm sitting at the computer, willing the words to fall out of my head. Isn't it much easier to say I'm a writer rather than to write? My answer is an emphatic yes! Talk is cheap. Next thing you know I'll be saying I'm an artificial inseminator for the sake of saying I'm an artificial inseminator because it's a good line at parties. Now that's a sticky situation.

Shame, shame on, shame on me.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Ulterior Motives

Tonight I was privileged to get out of myself and attend a free lecture at the university: Suzan-Lori Parks -- brilliant playwright, poet, novelist, speaker. And she signed my copy of Top Dog/Under Dog, which sent me skywards dontcha know. Instant souvenir, just add ball point pen!

I keep my cards close to my chest so I'm sure you couldn't tell I was disappointed about losing another contest yesterday. Sarcasm is a bitch goddess. But I was, and am. I got home from work, heated up a burrito and drank a Diet Dr. Pepper. I didn't want to get back in the car and return to campus. But I did. Because I never would have forgiven myself if I missed this talk. And it was worth it. I learned that Ms. Parks takes the "lazy susan" approach to writing. She works on multiple projects at a time so each feels fresh when it swings back around. Before the lecture I started reading "Wild Mind" by Natalie Goldberg. I'm on motivational overload. Makes me want to call in sick and put my typing where my mouth is. But that would be unethical. And I'm nothing if not pure of heart and mind and spirit. Which may be why I dreamed of ghosts.

Can I admit to you a little thing? I expend too much effort on comparisons. I see where you are and a portion of my self-worth is determined by how I rate. I know it's wrong and I dismiss it consciously, but sometimes I find myself angry and ask myself why and the reason is: so and so gets to travel and I don't. So and so can afford to buy that useless thing and I can't. I'm just as good as x, blah blah blah. Totally self-defeating and small. That's my worldview in a nutshell. And then there are the sweet people, the ones who are always happy and open and I wish I could be like them. But I'm not. And there are so many larger issues in the world and here I am beating the horse with a pointy stick. Why do I have to compare? Why can't I just be? Someone should do a study. I'm a ball of contradictions. AKA, a nut ball.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Curiosity Killed the Cat

I've got one less page to reload daily, one more rejection e-mail to add to the folder. That's Monday for ya.

But you know, < Participant >, this year we received a number of acceptable entries. And while we recognize the difficulty you have in this field -- times being and you being what you are -- we hope you'll reconsider our contest in the future -- once you find your niche. Until then < Participant > thanks for your entry fee.

Back to the drawing board!

Though, in truth, it's not really a drawing board. It's a messy wooden desk with an oversized monitor on it. And on that monitor, a cat. And on that cat, super sharp claws. And on those claws, my arm blood.

Rum and coke time!

BF is in the other room, applying for Seattle jobs. I'm listening to catchy pop music, because I'm a radio whore, and washing a load of darks. Not at the same time, of course. I'm not a contortionist! Not even a little.

You know what this room needs?

More paragraphs!

Saw a snake last night at the park. Almost stepped on it. I don't know what kind it was, except for brown. And long. And thick around the middle. I turned tail and ran. Now I'm here. And I'm not even going to make a joke about it. The end.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Goth Kid Poetry

by Christy V
My heart is a knife
And it's bloody sharp
Drown with me in silence
In the forever sleep of ages
In the grove behind the high school
we'll summon demons to avenge us
we'll slit the throat of convention
and wade deep in the sweet juice of suffering
Let's slice one another
from stern to aft
peel back the skin and the bone and the pus
and climb into one another
we'll ask a surgeon with a good reputation
not one of those flesh butchers
to stitch us together with twine 
so that our two sad halves 
will be as one
and our blood will flow as one
and our breath will suck as one

Friday, May 21, 2004

Pity Party, Table for One

Ever since I set foot in Seattle, the city has been under my skin. I haven't gone one day without thinking about it. I sit here, I think about it. I go to work, I think about moving there. I see myself buying a house there. I see myself writing there. It's such a pretty picture in my mind.

No other city has elicited such a gut reaction. And maybe it's because I've romanticized this idea of Seattle. Books and coffee, rain, and affordable housing. Not to mention, Twin Peaks and Tom Robbins ...

Circumstance is pushing me in a direction. I could let it continue to push, or I could shift positions. Isn't that what it's all about? Do I let things happen to me? Or do I take the initiative?

Nobody likes an abstract. So here's a solid. How do you work a forty hour week, then come home and write something fresh and exciting every day? How do you handle rejection, week after week? When you choose writing, aren't you really sentencing yourself to a life of waiting? Aren't you that girl on the beach waving starry-eyed to the pirate with a heart of gold? I'll see ya in the next port, baby. But he's lying. It's not a real eye-patch anyway. And that heart of his? Pyrite, baby. (Sadly, when he said pyrite, you heard PIRATE. Is nothing sacred?)

Or maybe I'm just procrastinating. Maybe I'm doing everything I can to keep from finishing my play. Because if I finish it, then people get to judge it. If I never print, produce, or publish it, it's my word against yours. And I say it's brilliant. You've never beheld such magnificence. Take a memo: Dear Pulitzer Committee, I've finished another play. Let's skip the formality and cut the crap. I'm better than Shakespeare. Love, Me. Hear that? That is the sound of no one contradicting me.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

The Erudite Athlete

I enjoy the moment when the outside turns blue and the inside turns orange. When you stand outside looking in, you can't help but feel you're in the coldest place possible. By comparison.

Tonight our walk took us to Oak Park and over the freeway. Last night we climbed the hill up up up to Crestline and down again. It was steep, forcing me to employ a time honored breathing technique passed down from father to daughter for generations which I will now share with you: hee-hee-whooo, hee-hee-whooo. Repeat until nausea totally overwhelms.

I submitted a ten-minute play out into the wide world. I don't expect to hear anything for several months. But I re-wrote the least funny lines and this is an accomplishment for lazy, unmotivated Christy.

In the last entry I mentioned a writer, Christopher Moore. I just read a passage in the book about Santa Barbara and the photography school here where a character drops out -- which is like, so me, having dropped out of said school. It's wild to read about yourself and your living situation in a random book. I probably should have suspected it sooner since the book is signed by the author and a big fat white renewal card is taped over it. Somewhere in the cold, blue evening, there's a hypocrite named Shelley, who exchanges signed books for karma. Or maybe she's dead and the estate donated her book to the local public library. 'Tis a myst'ry.

My favorite prolific teen horror writer, who goes by the pen name Christopher Pike, also lives in Santa Barbara -- according to "The Blind Mirror" book jacket. I have most of his books, including "The Tachyon Web," which took me years to find. Before the Internet took hold, the search involved a lot of actual physical searching involving thrift stores and out-of-print catalogues.

Then there's my prize, "Inventorum Natura." It's a fascinating picture book written by Pliny the Elder and illustrated by Una Woodruff. "Inventorum Natura" holds no connection to Santa Barbara. I'm mentioning it because I spent years tracking it, listening to store clerks tell me it never existed, waiting for the day when the internet might bring us together. And then it did. I love you internet.

By the way, I'm really digging "Practical Demonkeeping." It reminds me of a supernatural Tom Robbins.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

No Talent Ass Clown

I haven't been able to get motivated. For dinner we went to Chipotle and wandered around Borders. I've stopped carrying my credit cards, for better or worse, to limit temptation. But really it just makes me feel poorer than usual. My new glasses came in on Friday, so at least now I have a visual reminder of where my money went.

I'm in a mood. I don't want to do anything. I don't want to walk. I don't want to play any more games or watch any more bad television. I went to the library and checked out Christopher Moore's "Practical Demonkeeping" and that held my attention for an hour or so. It's not that I'm bored exactly. I'm aimless. Unfocused. I let the cat scratch me when we played, so now there are long red scratches on my arms and legs. I'm trying all the usual motivational techniques -- loud music, caffeine, alcohol, big ass burritos, video games ... I've even admitted I've got a problem! But alas, this day is shot and/or defective. I wish I'd kept the receipt.

Last night BF and I went to the beach and spent an hour walking up and down the shore. It was high tide and I waded, ankle deep, out in the water. I felt the sand dissolve between my toes, and the surf swirl around my feet, sometimes up above my knees.

I guess I feel like my life is on hold and I'm not doing enough to fix it. It's entirely my fault. And time is running out. I know what I want, right? Why don't I formulate a plan? Why don't I make a timeline? That voice in your head which tells you what you're doing wrong all the time, do you know it? Mine is entirely too developed. It knows everything I'm doing wrong and it's categorizing it for later. For the unauthorized biography. But really, that voice is a coward. It sits and watches everything from above but it never gets its hands dirty. It says it's got to stay objective, but I think it's a stupid bully no-talent ass clown of a critic. All talk no action. That's my personal floating critic.

Friday, May 14, 2004

I Only Like Surprises I Suspect

This is in my head..

Last night BF and I walked from the duplex up the back way into a beautiful multi-tiered park. This is about a mile from the ocean. I'd only been on the lower levels before not realizing there was more, but BF convinced me to walk up an asphalt lane to the next level. We found a veterans' memorial along a nicely landscaped path, several grassy nooks, lots of lizards, and a Wells Fargo Amphitheatre. As far as surprises go, I don't think it could get any better. During our descent we saw the ocean and also observed a dog agility class and a softball game. It was just bizarre enough to work.

Tonight we walked downtown and visited the comic book store, which is a pretty good distance, walking about an hour at a fast clip round-trip. I kept looking around and saying, "We walked downtown! I can't believe it, do you know what this means? We're DOWNTOWN! We could walk home from BARS!"

For the weekend we're considering a hike up to Inspiration Point, 3.5 miles. Now this is a hike we've tried on several occasions, but never finished. Mostly because I have a problem with hills and stairs and exercise. I tell you what though, I've got mad endurance skills when it comes to good old-fashioned flat surfaces. And everything is flat when you tilt your head.

BF wants to have a Farscape marathon. (Did you catch all the nerd clues tonight? Comic books, Farscape, winded climbing stairs …) And maybe I'll comply, or maybe not. You can't pin me down.

I'm rewriting a short story which used to be called "Doll Face" and is now, "The Machine and Mr. Puppet." And that's the news thus far for "Operation: Short Story (What's It Gonna Hurt?)."

Thursday, May 13, 2004

On Why I'm Not Perfect

I am preparing myself for walkies. The neighborhood is full of surprises which can only be found on foot. Or rather, this is what I tell myself to keep moving. Last night, ten minutes from our part of the duplex, BF and I discovered a cache of amazingly beautiful houses set against the hills, with incredible views of town and ocean. We walked down the street in awe, caught up in the generic throes of materialism and malice. The positive physical good of the walk was somewhat overshadowed by greed - my heart shrunk two sizes that day.

My grandmother died this morning - or last night - the email wasn't clear. Of course it's sad, but she'd had Alzheimer's Disease for the last 12 years. She was also in her nineties. It wasn't unexpected. My mother flew back on Mother's Day to say goodbye. It hasn't hit me yet. Allergies, sure, they've hit me, but not the passing of my last grandparent.

These things come in threes, so what else can I tell you so you'll think less of me? Nothing you can't infer. This blog in one big exhibit for the prosecution.

Let's see, I've never given my cat a bath. (He prefers showers.) I've also never trimmed his claws, but I do let him scratch me regularly. I'm not a good housekeeper. The side mirror on the driver's side of my car has been broken for six years. I'm too cheap to fix it. I check out CD's from the library and rip them, harvest them, for MP3's. And then I don't share. I'm bad at saving money. If I eat too much I just buy bigger clothes. I've never finished a short story I've been proud of, and generally I just don't finish them. Sometimes I'm mean. And, um, I eat babies.

Have a nice day.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Kamikaze Head Butt to the Shin

Vash is in love with the neighbor cat, but alas, it is a love that shan't be. She sits on the porch, and he sticks his paw between the gap, between the door and the ground, futilely attempting to touch. And then I come up behind, pick him up, and rub his tummy. Because that's how I get my kicks.

Speaking of Vash, here is my view of him right now.

Any day my new glasses should come. Any freaking day.

I'm nurturing this dark and unholy desire to write, but the words are all stilted and nervous. So I've given myself permission to write the grandest crap on the planet, maybe that'll help me past the wall. Or maybe it won't. Whatever. No pressure. (And no punch line. Mwahahaha.)

But then there's a couple more hours before the sleepy time, and if I can keep myself from indulging in NeverWinter Nights, something might actually be accomplished.

And frankly I think it's cruel to post on your website that winners will be announced May 1, when now it's May 11 and no updates have been made. Hurry up and disappoint me! I must needs know the outcome! I can only assume the contest in question has already contacted the winners and is waiting on receiving 100x100 *.gif's, headshots, of the lucky three. And they're all having a party. And I'm not invited. I'll show them. I'll have the best party in my head you ever seen.

Lastly, Karen does indeed know the origin of "kamikaze head butt to the shin." I made a grievous misstatement in saying there were only two of us, when in fact there are three.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Meretricious Monday

I lacked energy today. Something about the wind or the other night's earthquake - which I slept through. Or I didn't drink enough soda or I'm still in vacation mode. I've got a world of excuses.

My newest favorite show is "Viva La Bam." Because everybody needs a pirate bar and Slayer to play in their backyard.

The playwriting workshop is over for now. My take home assignment is to finish the first draft. The class starts up again in June. The end of June.

There's a contest I entered which should announce its winners soon. And I hope to be validated. After all, I hate paying for parking. But seriously, ladies and gentlemen …

And damn it all, I got caught up in the ending of Survivor like a little bitch. The proposal wasn't any big shock. I congratulate the betrothed on their imminent bliss and anticipate a long and healthy lifetime commitment - obviously based on deep, genuine affection and oodles of respect.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

What I Did On My Summer Vacation …

These things start well and then taper off, so here be warned …

Wednesday, May 5:

Woke at 4:30am, left at 6am. Stopped a few times for bathroom breaks. Took the 5 to the 99 to the 41. Arrived about 12:30pm and 320 miles later.

We stayed in a timeshare - a townhouse with 2 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bath, fully equipped kitchen, washer/dryer, additional Murphy bed, and fireplace which turned on by flipping a switch. The kitchen had everything - blender, dishwasher, utensils, can opener, basic spices, oven, stove, pots and pans, tea pot, coffee pot, just everything. I felt like a rube saying things like, "Crap, we've got Tupperware!" or "Hold the phone, there's a hand mixer!"

After dropping off our bags and saying hello to BF's parents, we all went and had cheeseburgers at The Forks Resort, overlooking Bass Lake.

Then we drove a little and walked through town and went in the shops for tourists, which were mostly closed since the Season doesn't begin for another few weeks. I fell in love with a tea candle which smelled like coffee with hazelnut and spent the rest of the trip with it close to my nose. The candle is like crack to me.

We went on a short hike out to Willow Cove. I took many pictures - to be linked shortly - and saw lots of beer cans. There's a rumor that the Hell's Angels used (and may still use) this cove for their annual gatherings. Regardless (or irregardless if you're not a fan of spelling words correctly) we did see two bare-chested, Jell-O bellied men tossing back lukewarm cans of Bud Light at the lake's edge. Coincidence?

Somewhere in here was a trip to Vons for more cookies, and coffee drinks from Starbucks.

Back at the timeshare we watched, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and then I went swimming. I love to swim even though after I always want to claw my eyes out of their sockets for the burning. I also hate stepping out of the pool and rediscovering gravity. It's such a joy to be weightless. I dried off and we watched, A Mighty Wind. If Eugene Levy was the star of the weekend, then Fred Willard's "Wha' happened?" was the catch phrase.

Thursday, May 6:
Donuts for breakfast. Left the timeshare at 8am for Yosemite, which is about 45 minutes from Bass Lake.

First stop, the Mariposa Grove to see the giant sequoias. When we got there about nine, the place was damn near empty. We had it all to ourselves. Mostly this was because it's off season, but also because it was before ten.

In Yosemite valley BF's Dad parked his car in the day lot, and we walked to Yosemite Village and bought several sodas and candy bars. Finding that junk food didn't ease our hunger, we hopped a shuttle bus to Curry Village and ate pizza (which opened at noon, I'm skipping some souvenir shopping.)

I led the group to Happy Isles, a nice easy walk down a level path. The water was at a higher level than when I saw it last year. More pictures were snapped and then we decided to hop a log and get a closer look at the fork in the river. A very nice fork. No injuries except for splinters.

The shuttle bus ride to Lower Yosemite Falls was long and smelly. Two stops after we got on, a group of noisy, irritating school girls embarked. They spoke at a level dogs could hear and talked of, um, like, did you see that movie Ghost Ship? Yeah, like it was so scary, I felt so bad for the little girl. Like, ohmigod! At least nobody was farting near my head, as was the experience of other members of our party. Now that's just rank.

The Falls came and went and we walked back to the car. Drove out of the park, and back to the timeshare. I went swimming. We watched, Catch Me If You Can and Survivor.

I hate that Boston Rob.

Friday, May 7:
I cooked breakfast. Eggs, cheese, chili, and sour cream.

BF's Dad rented a motor boat and the three of us - him, BF, and me - went out on Bass Lake for a couple hours. He drove. I dangled my feet in the water. And we're pretty sure we saw a bear. Or at least heard it. Or maybe it was a weed whacker.

Everybody got sun burned. I wore my new REI jacket and it was perfect. Picture taking commenced.

Since it was ice cream weather, we picked up BF's Mom and we went to Vons and each ate a pint of Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Then we tried to go shopping but it just didn't work out.

Next up: I didn't go swimming. Instead BF and I checked out a basketball from the Front Desk and made fools of ourselves, or maybe I only speak for me. Let's just say, I managed to throw the basketball in the pool twice, and the pool wasn't exactly close to the court.

Then I kicked ass at pool. The one with the balls and the sticks, not with the wet. Now pool, that's a game I can get behind.

So then we watched Bringing Down the House, which was both funny and painful as expected. I fell asleep to What Not To Wear, the one with the woman with really long hair who used to be a beauty queen. Nightmares happened. And for dinner we went back to the Forks. And I bought a couple postcards which I probably won't send to my mother and sister like I should.

Saturday, May 8:
I fell down the stairs. Ripped open my leg and bloodied up my big toe on the right foot. Could've been worse. At least I didn't break anything and it looks cool. I'd been lugging stuff to the car when I slipped down the remaining steps. Me make big noise. Go boom.

Left the timeshare at 8:45am, arrived in Tehachapi about 12:30pm, for lunch with BF's grandmother. We ate at a Mexican restaurant, very good, but too much. Full to bursting.

Assorted stops besides, we arrived back home about 7pm, making it the longest day ever.

The end.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

The Heat is On!

When my eyes dilated to big black saucers yesterday I felt like Homer Simpson, "I'm not not licking toads!"

On the morrow we'll be driving to Bass Lake in the vicinity of Yosemite. I don't know what to expect but just in case I'll pack a swimsuit, hiking shoes, trekking poles, nylons, and deodorant. Only four of these things are true.

A swarm of bees just passed over my office. That's something you don't see every day. I was looking outside at all these bugs about two hundred feet away, flying over the bike racks, and then bzzzz they passed overhead in a disorganized typhoon. It was so very biblical.

Time passes ...

When there are things to do, like pack, my brain decides it's sleepy time. Doesn't help that it's warm, not even full strength Dr. Pepper can fight against such a somnolent and soporific lure ...

Now that I'm officially on vacation, I don't officially have to do anything. But I feel guilty if I don't write. So I'll be resorting to longhand for a few days - so what, it won't kill me. So I can't physically write fast enough to keep up with my swirling negativity, I mean awesome cognitive capacity.

I better go do things now. Or I'm gonna be sorry. TTFN.

Monday, May 03, 2004

Big Coke, Small Bladder, Fight to the Death!

I have a suggestion for new car colors: Jaundice and Smeg-a-ma, Godzilla's new arch nemesis. Boo yeah!

I'm drinking an industrial sized Diet Coke from the Super Size department, my second actually. I wear my sunglasses at night on account of my eyes being dilated by a vicious bottle of crazy chemicals. My eyes will never trust me again. Sure we're going for ice cream. Next time you'll tell us we're going to Disneyland, say my eyes. But to reward them, shh don't tell, I bought swanky new glasses. Because Lasik is still a few thousand more than I'm willing to pay. Though my eyes assure me, pay I will - though more in the spirit of revenge than monetary output.

A psychic who also happens to be related to me says I should stop writing plays immediately and shift to short stories instead. I'll chew on it.

Saw "Hellboy" at the three dollar theater yesterday and hot damn, it was entertaining. Definitely worth three bones. Though in retrospect there were plot holes large enough for Sisyphus to push a boulder through.

On that note I'm off to wrestle a bottle of mouth wash and get my crap together for the second to last meeting of my playwrighting workshop. Two days until Yosemite and the grand adventure of May 2004.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

A Night on the Town

Went to a Moroccan restaurant last evening for a friend's birthday. I had high hopes having been to a great Moroccan restaurant in San Francisco many years before. Not that this one was bad … it just didn't compare. Enough with the excuses.

There were 14 of us, which was nice, cozily crowded around a few tables. The waitress poured scented water over our eating hand and we dried ourselves on the white, coarse towels provided. The first foods to come out were soup and "salad." Salad meant several dips including hummus I think, but it was so dark I couldn't make it out. The bread had just left the oven and was tasty. I took off my glasses to avoid the reflection of the one light filtering through a veil and a ceiling fan from further distracting me.

Because I'm not, well, financially comfortable in my life yet, I ordered the cheapest items on the menu which added up to about $25 + tip and tax. For the vegetable plate (mostly rice, a couple kalamata olives, carrots, a squash item, all covered in sesame seeds) and a non-refillable diet coke. The BF only spent a few dollars more for a spicy chicken kebab. I could have chosen not to eat, but then the restaurant automatically charges the guest $15 just to sit there and that doesn't work for me. There were other "courses" brought to the table that everybody shared and they were all right - a meat pastry with powdered sugar on it, and the dessert was a honey cookie, fruit, nuts, with a glass of tea (the tea was also tasty). So yes, the prices weren't exactly reasonable. Perhaps if I'd been paying for dinner and a show, like more than one performance by the belly dancer, it would be all right. But in our three hours at the restaurant, there was only one dance. And not enough food (in retrospect). Or at least, the quality of the food wasn't worth the price when half of what you're eating ends up being rice and carrots.

But then I'm used to splurging by not ordering off the 99 cent menu at a fast food restaurant. Good times are had when I get a $5 combo meal.

Here is a generic observation which bothers me, not about anyone in particular: why is it so hard to figure out how much you owe when it's time to pay the check? Did you forget you're paying for the birthday boy, that only some of you drank the wine you ordered? Now I'm bordering on the petty, so I'll stop, but gratuity was included. Don't worry about it people. Throw down your money and let's scram. It shouldn't take a half hour to settle.

But besides being a tightwad, the evening was nice to spend with so many friends and people I haven't seen for years.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Nostalgia for Sale

Last night was my four year anniversary with BF. Four years ago I tricked him into dating me.

It was all very sudden. We played racquetball with another friend. After racquetball the three of us would go to "Presto Pasta" and have the chicken piccata. It was tradition. One day after racquetball and "Presto Pasta," I didn't go home. I took him to a student play festival, we went to a Grand Opening of a local "Borders," went to a bar with friends, and went to the beach. All in that first night.

Four years ago today we were stopping at a "Jack in the Box" for greasy breakfast. I was pretty sure we'd break up in two weeks and told him so.

I guess it's all right I was wrong.