Friday, October 29, 2004
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,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.
well I'd just rather never ever even see beauty again.
The View -- Modest Mouse
Tomorrow we retrieve our kitten.
Thursday, October 28, 2004
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
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
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!
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
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
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
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
'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
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
I don't like the way he's drawing us.
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
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
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
"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...
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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.
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 half.com -- 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.
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
Monday, October 04, 2004
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
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
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."