Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Riding the Wave

I got the job. The job where I get paid to write and edit and be technically savvy. I'm sad to be leaving the realm of comfort and habit, but super excited to be challenged and motivated. I won't be moving but that's fine. This will allow me to save money to move later. Money, you'll remember, is pretty important in my grand scheme.

It'll also allow me to buy Dance Dance Revolution!!!

Excuse me, I meant to say "make my annual Roth IRA contribution."

The playwriting workshop started again -- making this a busy week. The three-day weekend will be appreciated although I'll just end up organizing my coupons and playing video games. Or maybe I'll watch "Clean Sweep." You can't pin me down. I'm a wild thing.

The reality of how much I need to learn for this job hasn't sunk in yet. It flits about my periphery like a ninja butterfly with razor-sharp wings and grenades for eyes.

Luckily I won't be paid based on the quality of my metaphors.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Sunday already?

I guess I should try to dissect this particular block. I should look directly into its rotting, gaping, drooling maw. Buckle down. String words together. And stop procrastinating. It's a recurring theme, when I'm in a waiting or holding period, I can't concentrate. I spend all my time trying not to think in an effort to keep anything from affecting me.

And now with TLC's "Clean Sweep, I've gone from zero to obsessed in two days. Watching people who have accumulated a lifetime of crap, who've attached significant emotional attachment to Things (like I have), and then a tv show comes along and forces them to reevaluate ... it makes for prime viewing enjoyment on so many levels. The fights, the tears, the browbeating, what fun! I can't go a whole episode without wandering the room looking for something to proffer to the gods of clean. In short, I am hooked.

I keep telling myself nothing matters when in fact everything does matter, and matters too much.

We're borrowing "Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando" for the PS2, and I can't stop playing. It fills up the empty parts of my head quite nicely -- the parts that aren't dwelling on TLC's Life Unscripted lineup.

More news as it develops...

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Lessons from a Cat

I didn't intend to disappear. I've been interviewing for a new job, and when I'm not interviewing I'm enjoying the company of this week's houseguest, and studiously not writing. The most complicated thought I can hold in my head for any amount of time is: what am I going to wear? There's nothing, absolutely nothing. So here it is, almost 9:30pm and I'm doing laundry. Not writing, not being social. I'm stressing about my outfit. Stress makes me sleepy. Now's no exception. I've been taking lots of naps and drinking lots of soda. And not writing.

Oh what a lot of things there are to learn!

I'm living in this twitchy sleepy limbo in a perpetual attempt to be charming and thoughtful and not sound too ignorant, when in fact, I just want to curl up with the cat and drool on my pillow.

Speaking of drool, I saw the new Harry Potter movie ...

I think I need to watch television. Dumb things down. Keep my mind occupied. Read or something. Play Kingdom of Loathing. Not think not write and not make myself crazy with wonder and worry. Because it's not important. It's just a thing. Things don't matter. Breathe.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Silly Ninja

The part of me that is never fully awake is fighting off some kind of infection. Something obscure with a very long name in a language everyone has forgot except for one monk in a far off country who has lost the ability to speak in a religious induced spasm of forgetfulness.

I'm pretty sure the back of my skull, where there are two bumps, has recently become enlarged with fluid. Also my throat is infinitesimally sore. And I want nothing to do with writing. And, um, my arms itch.

It's a beautiful gray day and the gentle sounds of happy children are wafting through the box fan in the window. These children just launched into a chorus of "Happy Birthday" so I'm quite sure they aren't ninjas -- unless they're very stealthy ninjas with a penchant for cake.

Seriously, they're singing in unison which is creepy in a child's laugh in a scary movie way. Now they're singing "Mambo #5" and "Barbie Girl." Please make them stop.

Buy Neal Stephenson's "Cryptonomicon". It's good. I have a small obsession with science in fiction. Not to be confused with science fiction, but actually the nitty gritty scientist stuff. A film that straddles the genre is Infinity. It's a sentimentalized account of the young Richard Feynman starring Matthew Broderick. I can't compare it to any of Feynman's non-fiction because really, didn't I just say I'm all about the fiction?

Friday, June 18, 2004

Ants In My Pants

A persistent theme of my post-undergraduate life is this: I should go back to school! I'm smart. I'm wasting my essay writing skills. In the real world, no one gives a rat's ass about essay writing skills. Nobody cares if I know algebra. Back in school they told me I'd be grateful for algebra. Then I should write a thank you note. Dear Algebra, thanks for not being Calculus. Love, Me.

College wasn't depressing and lonely. No, it was full of cheer and glee. I never fell asleep fully clothed with the lights on surrounded by soda cans and textbooks. Never. There were no thirty page psychology research papers or senior honors projects. It was a party 24/7. Maybe even 48/14. That's how good the good times were.

Finally I convince myself I'm not the graduate type. That is to say, I'm poor.

It's ant season and I can't quit scratching. They're everywhere.

Repeating back an address to a customer I said, "A as in apple." After a beat he said, "Did you just say A as in asshole?" Pause, both ends. I laugh, "No, A as in ..." "Cuz that would've been ballsy." Thankfully, he laughed too. Right before I hung up I considered saying, "asshole" into the phone, just to keep him guessing.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Butter Me Up

My sister drew me a picture, a triptych, three people balancing super-sized silverware. One posed against a fork, one in a wine glass, and in the center, a woman walking along the edge of a butter knife. I cut out the knife part, put it in a cheap frame, and took it to New York for a summer. I hid cash I made cleaning houses between the frame and the drawing. I'd be miserable and lonely, sit on the edge of my bed, and look at the drawing. I'd think about the immense surface area a foot would have to cover in order not to get sliced on the blade. It was only a butter knife, after all, but knives hurt. (I learned that when I slit my forefinger on an obsidian blade. Sadly, just two years ago.) And I'd think about the five hundred dollars hidden in plain sight.

I think about the obvious metaphor of a woman balancing on the edge of a knife. I think about risk. I think about the way my sister drew her, looking down, arms out to steady herself, in a long brown dress. She didn't draw a character, she drew a woman with real emotions, afraid to fall but trying anyway.

I haven't named her. She lives on a shelf next to my grandmother's crystal ball and wooden Buddha statue. When I'm contemplating major changes in my life, uprooting the roots, transplanting the plants, I think about the knife girl and the curiosity driving her forward. Sure, the knife hurts like a motherfucker, but it doesn't hurt as much as whatever's in the valley below.

Probably killer death monkeys.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Money Business

I've started condensing my material possessions. In the living room, by the fish tank where live a Gourami and Plecostamus (screw spelling!!!), there's a big pile of crap I'm excising from my life. (Ha, ha, living room) In the home game of "What Not To Wear" I've loaded thrift store summer dresses and plaid and "I'll wear this when I'm thinner" clothes into a black garbage bag. I've created tottering towers of craptastic books, school texts, and bad buggy software. I plan to walk through the tunnel cleansed, pure, and better dressed.

Alas, I'm amassed a ton of Stuff. My new mantra has become: move, move, move. But my runner up mantra continues to be: money, money, money.

It's not the best week to start condensing and organizing. This weekend's houseguest will have to walk lightly ... and carry a sharp stick to kill all the silver fish living in my books. (ha, ha, fish AND living)

What is it about Yu-Gi-Oh that I find so fascinating?

Drove out to Shoreline Park for a walk last evening. It was today's opposite, beautifully blue, warm air, salty smells ... a veritable cornucopia of seaside delight. Kites and children and sweaty ladies jogging, barbecues, and balloons. Summer-esque. Not a care. Not to fear, however, today the doldrums return with exciting force.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Sweet, Delicious Cake

For the last two mornings I've had chocolate cake for breakfast. It helped yesterday's funk. For awhile I pretended I'd make the changes to Must. I don't know how I would have accomplished this since I never actually opened Final Draft ... but pretending is fun. About six I gave up and played SSX Tricky on the PS2, racing Luther for a couple hours, looking for short-cuts in Alaska. Then we watched "Barton Fink" and played connect the actors.

Karen of is in town for a visit. Friday night we walked down lower State Street. In the last few years, crowds have really started to bug me. I guess I'm spoiled never leaving the house and shopping online and generally not having friends who do things. But weaving between scantily clad club people lost its appeal years ago. It's good however to see the parties continue even after I've hung up my dancing shoes. I wouldn't want it all to stop on my account.

Not much else to report. The funk, I believe, was inspired by the wants and the needs and the shoulds and the won'ts. BF suggested we quit our jobs and move up to Seattle and take temporary work. I said that probably isn't a good idea. I've got student loan payments, he's got car payments, and I've got more excuses if you want to hear them. I doubt you do. One thing I'd like. I think I'll see what it takes to apply to one of those writer's colonies. It would be wonderful to have a few weeks to force writing devotion away from hazardous stimuli such as sweet, delicious chocolate cake.

The next playwriting workshop starts again in two weeks.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

State of the Reunion

If I were to distill my life to one sentence, what would that sentence be?

Yes that's right, I've been reading my high school's alumni website. Without further ado, here's ...

Society's Success Checklist:

  • Kids?
  • Spouse?
  • Rich?
  • Skills?
  • Famous?
  • Hot?
What I lack in success I more than make up for in attitude.

It's almost my ten-year high school reunion. Here are some ideas I have for biographical information:

Dropped out of college to work as an exotic dancer part-time until my man gets parole.

Miss April 2004.

Developed a rare strain of cholera, lived in a bubble, and forswore all pork products.

Married my fourteen-year old cousin.

When asked: What's the meaning of life? The bottle was my answer.

I miss high school. That was before I killed that stripper.

Since y'all saw me last I've decided to become the new messiah.

I invented the word: squipmunk. And trag, for trash and bag. And the symbol: Gimo.

I've been looking for love in all the wrong places. Turns out, love is no-no in the convent.

I steal things from your parents.

I'm a certified ninja.

I drink my weight in diet soda daily.

Would you like fries with that?

Remember how in high school like I was totally fat? Yeah, I still am. But now I put out.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

The Walls Have Ears

I'm operating a level outside the place to be ... to write anything of consequence. I'm all wrapped up in Daily Dilemmas, Personal Problems, the Trivial Blah Blah's. The one good thing about Trivial Blah Blahs? It's a passable band name.

I've been sitting here trying to think of something. I keep reloading other people's journals, CNN, other people's forums, on auto-pilot. I don't even read what comes up. Wreaking havoc with other people's stats.

Here's where I get preachy.

I've been thinking about the time an artist stole my diary and used it in his art installation. Boy, was he surprised when I confronted him. And wasn't I surprised when I found this:

Article reprinted without permission just like my diary:

The same dichotomy between a failed individualism and the alienating impossibility of attempting to achieve its ideal is drawn out further in ...(Christy’s Diary), 2000, a computer monitor that presents an endlessly scrolling text taken from the website diary of a Californian college student. In this unstoppable biographic stream, Christy details the minutiae of her personal and college life, full of late night essay deadlines, coffee, script-writing courses, complaints of loneliness, musings about the value of friends and much other undergraduate navel-gazing born of the predictability of campus life. This would be an unremarkable ‘Dear Diary’ if it weren’t for the fact that Christy voices a clear attachment to Rand’s philosophy of life and identification with the characters of her fiction. Of course, translated into the restricted terms of college existence, the fearless independence of Rand’s heroes becomes a recipe for Christy’s intolerance and seclusion, whilst her desire to emulate their near superhuman physical and intellectual capacities drives her to ever greater fits of exhaustion and self-reprobation. Inasmuch as it presents without mediation the authentic voice of its author, the piece is supposed to expose ‘the difficulty to live according to a philosophy based on radical egoism and selfishness.’
From Original Article

This experience made me more cautious about what I post on the internet. The internet, like elephants, never forgets. And it never stops judging. And it writes pseudo-academic articles about my rationale based on some random artist's installation, consisting of a monitor on a table and my content scrolling. Taken out of context and without permission. The key here is "without permission." If he'd only asked I probably would have allowed him to use my work. But he didn't ask.

One more example. Using Google, I found a review submitted under my name. My full name is unique. I don't believe anyone in the world shares it. I had never heard of the product I'd been meant to endorse, but I recognized the review. I had written it for a different product. Someone took the content of my original review and re-worded what I was endorsing. I suppose that makes the forgery more authentic. It's still forgery.

In closing, watch what you say, watch what you text message, watch what you e-mail. The walls have ears. And the only one looking out for your best interest is you.

On a side note, based on the above article I haven't changed much. I'm still a selfish over-caffeinated amateur script writer with delusions of grandeur. Go figure.

The News in Brief

Monday night: Instead of posting I met with my playwriting workshop instructor. What should have only taken fifteen minutes, took an hour and a half. And for her time I am grateful.

Tuesday night: Instead of posting I watched the Triplets of Belleville. Let me preface my opinion by saying I enjoy talking in films. There wasn't any talking. I didn't like it. I hated it. I wanted to hurt it like it hurt my head. I know a lot of people love this movie. I know because they recommended it to me. And I like to think I appreciate subtlety, but not when it's animated. I've got a block and it's mental.

I continue to be obsessed with Kingdom of Loathing. My Pastamancer is now level 4.

A thought to leave you with: if brief and short describe men's undergarments, then concise could mean bra and panties, pithy.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Break on Through!!!

The first draft of "Must" is done. It only took seven hours to stitch together. Only.

I e-mailed it to the workshop instructor and I'll meet with her tomorrow for some feedback.

Now to start "Clancy in a Cage."

As for reading books by Christopher Moore, I checked out "Coyote Blue" from the library. The first chapter takes place on State Street which makes it a fun read. Especially in a game called Spot the Landmarks.

If anyone is interested in reading an early draft of "Must" or "Moss" I'd be happy to oblige. Here's a disclaimer for interested parties: it's morbid.

To reward my fried brain we ate Mexican food and watched "Arsenic & Old Lace." Speaking of morbid ... it's a film that really stands the test of time in the little-old-lady-murderer genre.

I had an incredibly vivid dream this morning. There is a bookstore in Los Angeles which only hardcore book lovers know about. I find out about it one night and go inside. There is a cozy room to the left with armchairs and a lit fireplace. Decorated in earth tones, few books. To the right is a dark staircase, certain portions cordoned off with rope.

My eyes have a hard time adjusting between extreme light and dark, so in the dream I'm feeling my way up the staircase until I come to an open area. I walk through a door and out into a valley. I know the valley is a work of art. I can sort of see the matte background and the fake trees. But it's beautiful and peaceful walking there, passing others who are also in-the-know. The valley gives way to a street scene, and I know we are weaving in and out of the cityscape between the secret world and the real world. I see a vending machine and since I'm thirsty, I go up to it. Two free beers pop out and I resume walking, a beer in each hand.

About this point in the dream I am aware LA has been invaded by samurai warriors. The warriors are destroying the bookstore and chasing everyone outside, where they are butchered. As I am running through the manmade valley, I try to take a few pictures, but the digital camera is too slow and I lose the opportunity. The warriors are on my tail. I feel a deep sadness that what I am seeing will be burned and there will be no record of its beauty.

I meet up with the manager of the bookstore -- she/he has keys to all the doors -- and I run alongside, following the cement joints. Others join us as we run. She opens a door to a conference room and our group goes inside to hide. The walls are thick and it will be hard for the warriors to stage an offensive. It makes sense in the dream. I also remember there are others outside the door who don't make it inside. We know they are going to die, but if we open the doors again, we'll die too. We huddle together, listening to them being slaughtered, wondering where our food and water will come from.

And that's it for today. I'm having trouble wrapping my brain around the present, but it's so damn persistent.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

On a Break I Say

Tee hee. You can take the internet away from the girl, but you can't take the MS Word out of the startup menu.

I had BF turn off my internet access at the router level, so as not to be tempted. But I've been staring at my freaking play for an hour and I'm taking my government mandated ten minute break. Tee hee, again!

For the record, this play has been fueled by Diet Dr. Pepper and They Might Be Giants.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

The "M" Word

I'm writing a short story called "Moss." And my one-act play is called "Must." I'm in an "M" phase. Saturday is the day I'll complete the first draft of "Must." So don't let me talk to you on Saturday. I'll only be procrastinating. I need to be protected from myself. And the whole day is reserved, stretched out, like an infinite chalkboard. And if it means I've got to unplug my Universal Consciousness Cord (a.k.a. the cable modem) I might just. Don't tempt me fate, I've got a plan.

Here's where I knock on every wooden surface in the tri-county area. And there's where I use exaggeration for comedic effect. My muse is a hyperbolic generator.

So I've tried resisting it, but I've been made aware of a new procrastination tool: The Kingdom of Loathing. I'm only a level 2 Pastamancer, but then I did just start today.

I think I've hit my stride with "Moss." But then it'll only clock in at about 1500 words, and it's non-linear. It's like I said to BF when I was driving to work this morning, you know how your skin cells have a life cycle of seven years? What if your brain tissue did too? Every seven years the folds twitch and move about and you get different neural pathways and synaptic leaps UNHEARD of seven years before? So like, my brain is not the same brain on account of the tissue being totally different. What does that mean about my thoughts? Does that make me crazy? Does ECT (a.k.a. shock therapy) and anti-depression medication knock the folds back in place? Riddle me that, world.

Sure, I'm still wearing the ski hat. Why do you ask?

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Earflaps, the Black Death, and A Missing Fluffy

For about three hours yesterday, the neighbor lost his kitten. We walked all up and down the block yelling FLUFFY but to no avail. No Fluffy. On our fifth and final pass through the neighborhood, the kitten let herself in the back door like she hadn't done anything! The tramp. Isn't that just like a kitten?

After a hearty dinner at Fat Burger -- and a delicious, artery-hardening cheeseburger with egg -- I gathered at my Borders temple to worship. And what did I see? Tucked away in the back -- the product of a cheeky monkey -- someone had displayed Camus' The Plague next to T.C. Boyle's After the Plague. In my head I think someone must say "Oh, hey, there's a sequel! Why can't Hollywood leave well enough alone!" Or maybe I just stumbled on the plague table. You know, for all your Black Death needs.

That's essential Christy humor right there.

I have a confession. Or maybe I've already confessed it, I can't remember. I'm obsessed with Dance Dance Revolution, a game I've never played. In my reinvention tour, DDR will figure prominently. And bagpipes, definitely bagpipes. Oh all right, Galaga, you can come too. But you gotta sleep in the van with the roadies.

And lastly, you should know. I'm wearing my writing outfit. It involves white capris, a t-shirt (not specified), and a ski hat which may or may not have earflaps. I desperately want to be a half-assed Ignatius J. Reilly.

And if for some reason you looked at that last sentence and said, hmm, is Ignatius J. Reilly somebody I should know? I swear, you better get thee to the and/or the library and read THIS. Best. Book. Ever. Only, the ear flaps make my head itch.