Saturday, April 30, 2005

Intervention Needed

I was up until 4am playing World of Warcraft. I started Wailing Caverns at 1:30 or 2am, I don't know. I simultaneously love and hate this wonderful, terrible game. My level 24 Tauren Warrior, Guare, just joined a guild. My other characters are Rilke and Lorca. See, I am so clever because my alter egos are all named after successful writers. I'm on a rampage!

In other news, the Hitchhiker's Guide movie is entertaining. Definitely worth a watch.

Friday, April 29, 2005

For the Record

"These are private words addressed to you in public."
T.S. Eliot - A Dedication to My Wife
I don't want to say the same old thing. I don't want to be nutty or sentimental, or expose my tender underbelly to the world wide web. But I want to carve something here, something like initials between an ampersand, surrounded by a sloppy heart. Something that'll mark the occasion, make it a blue-ribbon moment, a round of drinks on me...

But I can't think of anything.

So I'll say it with numbers.

100's of hours of Diablo, NeverWinter Nights, and World of Warcraft, 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, 1 more payment on your car, 2 cats, 1 bird, some fish, Monterey, Paso Robles, Bass Lake, Seattle, a Santana cover band, Metallica, 6 jobs, 2 schools, a gazillion computers, 15 dogs, 2 apartments, 24 U-Haul boxes, a few speeding tickets, 1 flat tire, and no foot-longs.

Happy five years, Jeremy. You've been a real good sport.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Killer Cats from Outer Space!

There's some sort of conference call I'm supposed to be on at 7am, tomorrow morning, which is seriously going to cut into my sleeping time, or as I like to call it, cat torture time. The cats have got it down. They know precisely one hour before I wake up, and when the clock strikes it they commence torturing. Claws against walls, doors, tails banging against windows, paws repeatedly striking the glass shower door, whatever makes noise... whatever makes me rise from my cocoon of slumber with the water bottle shouting, "I'm bustin' skulls, bitches!" At least that's what it'd translate to if one could translate my prolonged groan into idiomatic English. The cats hide 'til I collapse in a crumpled pile and then begin the beguine again.

Let's see. I've been learning lots about quantum mechanics and superstring theory. I'm trying to come up with ideas for the next play I'm going to write. The current play I'm working on is one-third finished, thirty pages down. The workshop instructor gave me a deadline of June 15 to get it in, but that'll be tight. To make that date I should be writing two pages a night, and that's just not happening.

I ran twelve minutes in a row yesterday, on the treadmill. Who wants to touch me?

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Abstract Appetite

I don't know jack about nutrition. Invariably, the thing I think is safe to eat is cancer causing or mad cow friendly or otherwise going to make me die fat and ugly and alone. So, based entirely on his stint on Celebrity Fit Club, I bought Dr. David Katz's book "The Way to Eat." And hey, it's pretty good.

It's one of those things I should've learned in school. Something useful, like how to play the stock market or how to excel at middle management... or cock-fighting. Because no one should have to learn about cock-fighting on the streets. And wouldn't that be a great school motto? Or a mascot? Or a Lifetime movie?

Which brings me back to crunchy bran twigs and Omega-3 enriched eggs and whole wheat bread (yuck.) To reward myself for being so good lately, I've been supplementing my "daily dessert" with lots of rum. This eating right crap isn't so bad, as long as I've got my buckets of rum.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

From the Archives

September 2004

I sit at a bar in Downtown Disney. It’s the magic hour. My reflection peeks out between bottles of rum. Sweat bubbles up through the foundation I wear. It trickles down, leaving beige tracks that stain the collar of my red blouse. The party hasn’t started and my hair is flat.

The bartender brings me a beer. It is the color of flax; I’ve never seen flax. The glass is cold. A lemon wedge is stuck on its lip. Bartenders usually give me lemon. I only keep it when the beer is cheap. I remove the lemon and set it on the counter. I take a long, deep drink. The bartender brings me another.

My shoes pinch my toes together. The skin puckers and oozes against the thin black straps. I hook my shoe over edge of the stool on which I’m perched. It helps.

Two men take seats beside me. Like me, one carries a large gift bag. He sets it on the ground. They look over the menu, talking, laughing. I look at my watch. I try not to make eye contact. I try to look helpless and small. I pretend I have super powers. I pretend I’m a celebrity. I wait for someone to recognize my face and give me the validation of popularity. It is nice here, I think. I should go.

I pay the tab. It requires folding a twenty dollar bill and positioning it around the check in a lowball glass. I ease off the stool, smooth out the creases in my skirt, and grab the gift bag. The bartender smiles and does a half wave. He got a good tip.

Warning: Opinions

I've been reading about all the bloggers with book deals. On the one hand I think, how cool is that? Talent gets recognized and rewarded and the world is a better place. On the other hand I think, would I pay to read their book when I can read their blog for free? I am skeptical that I would. In general I'm not a fan of the memoir genre; there's no suspense. With a blog, it's instant gratification... dragged out and out and out. Like an Advent Calendar, without the Christian sensibility. If you bundle it up and make it pretty, it doesn't change that I'm reading two-hundred pages about an average person. If I'm going to take the trouble to read a memoir, that person better be pretty damned fascinating.

On the third and final hand -- because I'm not limited by petty things like physiology -- I support bloggers who step outside their genre and go for broke. I might pay to read their fiction -- if it's the stick-to-your-ribs kind. But I definitely won't pay for a trade paperback that consists entirely of blog archives printed on slick paper. Hell, I've got access to a laser printer and Kinko's. What's to stop me from publishing their book myself?

I've read too many articles where it's all treated like a tongue-in-cheek fad. I want them to sell lots of books. I want to buy their books and like them, but I don't think I can. In my bones I believe that translating the ephemeral nature of a blog to book form is cheating.

Then again, maybe I only feel that way because I don't have a book deal.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Breaking My Fast

The key to healthy eating is that if you get hungry enough, just about anything sounds good. Even bran twigs.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Nojoqui Falls - Santa Barbara County Park. April 16, 2005.

Nojoqui Falls - Santa Barbara County Park. April 16, 2005.

Nojoqui Falls - Santa Barbara County Park. April 16, 2005.

Mental Health Improved

I was tired of feeling pissy, so BF and I got in the car and went on an adventure. First we found Nojoqui Falls, which were lost. The short path one generally takes from the freeway was subject to closure, so we took the longcut through Solvang. Driving down oak lined paths and listening to radio static, I was most impressed by the crushed snake on the side of the road, flies swarming in a thick cloud above it. I would have stopped to take a picture, but it seemed disrespectful, and also, the road was curvy and narrow and remote and the flies were awfully thick. It was orange and white and black I think, striped.

An hour later we were at Firestone, drinking a pint. I bought mustard. They have delicious mustard.

Then we drove to Arby's, where I was tempted by advertising. But as luck would have it, the Grande Combo Plate is grand but consumable. We walked it off at "Best Buy," then headed for the dunes.

I had no preconceived notions about the dunes. I'm not sure it even occurred to me I'd be sludging through so much sand, and driving over sand, and sinking into sand... But it was nice, even though all the dunes are preserved and you see them off in a distance as you find the parking lot. They're preserved for the snowy plover and the California Least Tern. And heck, those birds were everywhere. Along with ladybugs.

Because I was unhappy with our first dunes adventure, we drove north a few miles and found another beach with another suggested donation fee but no enforcement. We parked in a sand lot and hiked out to the beach via the convenient boardwalk. It was chilly, but provided ample opportunities to test my camera.

We stopped at "Best Buy" again on the way home, and left empty-handed. Later we watched "Shaun of the Dead," and drank and rum-and-cokes and by the end of the day, I'd cured my pissiness. The end.

The Rancho Guadalupe Dunes County Park, April 16, 2005.

The Rancho Guadalupe Dunes County Park, April 16, 2005.

The Rancho Guadalupe Dunes County Park, April 16, 2005.

The Rancho Guadalupe Dunes County Park, April 16, 2005.

The Rancho Guadalupe Dunes County Park, April 16, 2005.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Present: Tense

Everything is thin today. Thin and cracking. I am forcing myself to breathe and mentally wrap up all the broken nouns and thrust them through the mail slot that is my subconscious.

It's little things. Like the girl at the gas station on the cell phone making gestures. She was making a show of backing up and I thought she was leaving but it turns out she was really talking to her friend and maneuvering her death machine and I got in the way. I would have apologized -- there's no reason for us all to feel rotten -- but she never paused from shrieking into her palm and throwing nasty looks. Hey, I know it says PSYCHIC on my forehead, but you can't believe everything you read.

Is it hormones? Is it caffeine? Is it my play? Is the psychotic character I'm writing taking over? Or do I just need a full night's sleep? Everywhere I go, there's too many people and they all want things. They want to stand where I'm standing. They want to get in front of my car and slow down. They want to tell me what I'm doing wrong. And I'm not in any kind of mood to do anything but set my mouth in a line and clench my teeth, reminding myself that people are dying, children are crying, concentrate... Maybe tomorrow, if you're good, you'll get to see the dunes. And a waterfall. And Best Buy. And no one gets anything from you that you're not prepared to give. If you're good, that is...

Thursday, April 14, 2005

"...and it's contagious..."

I highly recommend the musical stylings of Regina Spektor. I'm listening to "Us," "Ghost of Corporate Future," and "Chemo Limo."

While I'm at it, I also recommend the Dresden Dolls' "Girl Anachronism" and "Coin-Operated Boy."

And lastly, I recommend that if your cats misbehave, you should immediately threaten to send them to Wisconsin.

They'll know why.

Making Light of It

I had a lot of anger today. Nothing specific, you know, just the deranged lunatic work inappropriate kinda anger.

Maybe I'll lobby to change my job title to Rogue Agent. No reason.

I skipped the gym after work. First time this week. My excuse was that I need to write a bunch of pages before Saturday and I've been slacking. I'd like to try out my camera on Saturday, but before I get to do that I've got a little matter of a play to write. Or at least five pages.

I'm not in a rewriting mood.

I'm listening to the Chenille Sisters & James Dapogny's Chicago Jazz Band, "Whatcha Gonna Swing Tonight?" I'm hoping I'll quit taking myself so seriously with the appropriate background music playing. There's a lot of harmonizing coming out my speakers right now, and a lot of jazz. I'm pretty sure that despite their happy bubbliness, the artists are pure evil. There's just something a little off about their version of "Button Up Your Overcoat...or Satan Will Eat You and Grind Your Bones to Dust"

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Kazoo Woman

There's a loaf of bread in my windpipe.
My teeth are straight and shiny, but they don't meet
Chaos is a good word
Slide screw smack
banshee in my ears
scream my exotic parrot
the thread that holds it, in the cat's mouth
she smells like fried chicken
goes crazy for straws
I ate a taco.
my frontal lobe is jack-knifed
I'm on strike.

Monday, April 11, 2005

She's Got the Look

It messes with your head to finish "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," at nine o'clock, Sunday morning. Cats mysteriously appear on top of the shower door and you crave grapefruit. Not that these things wouldn't happen anyway, it's just convenient context.

I wanted to see "Sin City," but I've been too lazy to leave the apartment. I slept for four hours in the middle of Saturday. I woke once to BF shaking me. I said, "Leave me alone, I have mono." He didn't believe me, so I said, "Yes I do and you will be sad when you find out you have it too." He let me be after that.

My Skechers are broken, so I'm breaking in my hiking shoes. It stretches the boundaries of business casual, but I am now the only one in my office qualified to deal with hiking emergencies.   What's that? There's a rockslide in the kitchen? Two programmers trapped? I'm on it!. That's job security, right there.

The play is slow writing, but I think about it constantly. There's another workshop tonight, which means I get to see horrified looks on all the ladies' faces again. It's a cross between wide-eyed disbelief and uncertainty. It's a "Let me get this straight..." look, scrunched up face, head swinging back and forth or set in stock still puzzlement. I feel like I've given away lots of clues about the upcoming plot twist, but no one's guessed it yet. Next time I write, I'll probably have to write the twist. Maybe that's why I'm stalling. I don't want to let the ladies' stand on solid ground. I want to keep them in this lovely anticipatory limbo.

Sunday, April 10, 2005


Before I forget, please Vote for George. Use the power of the internet to sway our local lunch reviewer election. It may be the only time your vote counts for something.

You have until Tuesday, April 12, 5pm PST.

A palm tree outside my apartment, earlier in the week. I call this one: Testing the Circular Polarizer.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Shampoo Commercial Dreams

We've had mostly beautiful weather lately. It makes me want to abandon this chair and run to the beach, hair streaming, arms spread wide to embrace each happiness molecule, sand in my toenails, and a song on my lips. I want to free the camera from its bonds and go on safari. I want to see rolling hills of grapes and stakes, and picnic. Or drive, top down, baseball cap and a ponytail, along the coast, seeking better shops and shores.

But, you know the drill. I was weak, didn't write. I read Jim Thompson's "The Killer Inside Me." I played video games on Tuesday. I slept early, mindful that I was cheating myself.

I read on CNN that Congress may extend daylight-saving time. It's such a stupid tradition. Oh gee, electricity is too expensive, let's participate in a mass delusion encouraged and orchestrated by the federal government instead of finding cheaper and more efficient energy alternatives! Sure, that sounds fine! Besides, the electric companies can recoup their daylight savings time losses with air-conditioning costs in summer! Everybody wins.

The attack cats are in rare form this morning. I've had to separate them. Chiana discovered my electric toothbrush last week. I caught her chewing the end, so I hid it in the medicine cabinet. Then I got the bright idea to cover it with one of those plastic covers. I came home from work and the toothbrush was on its side, the cover gone. We still haven't found it. It's probably under the refrigerator with the rest of her prizes. Today Vash and Chiana have been playing gladiator tag. It involves pouncing, kicking, running, tearing across every surface, attacking, hissing, crying, then seeing me approach with the spray bottle and pretending nothing's wrong. There's nothing quite like the shrill sound of a kitten crying when you're trying to write a play about torture.

If it weren't for "The Garden State Soundtrack," I'd be sitting in the living room, blindly changing channels, thinking about how much I suck. At least now I get to sit in this comfortable chair and think about how much I suck.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Closeup of The Metal Fan. March 31, 2005.

The Metal Fan. March 31, 2005.

The Metal Fan: Explained

A co-worker's last day was Thursday, and we all wanted to do something special. Because he can't sit still without a fan blowing on him and he loves heavy metal music, the Metal Fan sorta suggested itself. We bought rhinestones, epoxy, beer stickers, and metal magazines. I decopauged the crap outta that fan. [Fear my l33t Mod Podge skills.] Sadly, no one I worked with had ever heard of Mod Podge, so I spent far too much time preaching to the people about the wonders of this clear-drying uber substance. And we bought him good Tequila, in case the Metal Fan fell flat on its face. But then how could it... it's the Metal Fan!

The photos were taken with my new camera, which I love. Love. To the point where it makes me forget why grammar and spelling are important. The ebay seller didn't send me the right USB cable but I've got other ways to get my pictures. Magical ways.