Thursday, June 30, 2005

Beer Me

Louie, the blue parakeet, saw the vet on Wednesday. He was, if you remember, attacked by Chiana the vicious kitten a week ago. The vet said Louie should live if he makes it through the next few days. He's got some antibiotics and lots of heat, which the vet says helps. So there you go.

I applied for four jobs tonight. I'm smug about that...

... though I continue to be angered by how my current place of employment is dragging out the layoffs. We've got two site meetings scheduled for next week. And I tell ya, it is hard to buckle down and get stuff done. It seems I'd much rather stare at the cubicle wall or make frequent restroom visits or talk to my co-workers in hushed tones about the latest rumors. By now, we know we're closing. We just don't know if we'll be offered relocation packages or just cut loose.

To keep my mind off it all, I'm resurrecting the dirty limerick as high art.

All the jobs I'm applying for are in Seattle. I've given some thought to applying to the University of Washington, Masters program in Technical Communication. I know someone who went through it, and he speaks highly of the experience... I'm just not keen on going back to school. Too much debt. Too much time. But oh, it'd launch me from the ranks of partially trained technical writer like nobody's business.

Eh. There's so many unknowns right now. Part of the fun is dreaming.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Fancy Free

I wrote a two-page play last night called, "The Bread King." This is newsworthy because 1) It's the first thing I've written in several months, and 2) It's the first thing I've submitted to a contest since last year.

I figured that if I couldn't be bothered to write two pages, there wasn't much hope in maintaining the fiction I could ever be a writer. Although my current job title has the word writer in it -- capitalized even -- it's not quite the same. For one, it's not nearly lonely enough. I picture the writer's life as being conducted in solitude, half-deranged from lack of human contact, unwashed, and malnourished. The best writers probably suffer from horrible skin rashes, eczema, and the like. I bet they even eschew showering on moral grounds. I mean, why bother, right? It's not like they ever go outside or anything.

I'd give my left nut for that kind of freedom. But hey, that's just me, glorifying the lifestyle again.

Jer and I'll be seeing the musical version of "Wicked" this weekend at the Pantages Theater in LA. It's one of those things that sounded like a much better idea a month ago... along with, isn't it about time we take advantage of our excellent credit rating and buy a rear-projection television?

P.S. After all the pomp, I found a shade of lipstick that no longer makes me doubt the pure intentions of the cosmetics industry. Three cheers for Revlon ColorStay!

Monday, June 27, 2005

On a Break

I'm taking a break from Warcraft. I had a falling out with some of the members of my guild, and realized I'm taking it too seriously. I've got better things to do than police fights between fifteen-year old boys in an online game. At least I hope I've got better things to do.

It's not easy though. I barely survived yesterday. It required a lot of television viewing to see me through the tough times. And two artichokes. But the artichokes aren't important. What's important is it's been 24 hours since I last logged in, and I may or may not have the shakes.

I'm surprised the media hasn't gotten hold of how addictive this game is, and how our already troubled youth are succumbing to the dangers of online play. Seriously, you sit down to play and, without being aware, six hours pass. And what do you have to show for it? A sore butt, blood-shot eyes, and a knack for killing quillboars... Sign me up!

On the bright side I added some numbers together, and if I get laid off at the end of July or later, I'll be okay financially until 2006. We won't be living the high life or anything, but we also won't go into debt trying to pay our bills. I feel better already.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Nothing to See Here

Awesome. One of the HR reps is crying again. Followed by the very distinct: "I didn't sign up for this."

Oh and that job I applied for on campus? Totally fell through. How fortunate that there's still a week and a half until the powers-that-be tell us what's up.

Thank Jeebus there's such a strong market for partially trained technical writers. Oh, wait...

Louie, the Blue Parakeet

I open the screen door, and put my key in the lock, twisting and pushing the door knob, shutting the screen door behind me. I always look down when I enter, to make sure there aren't any cats performing the home version of Operation: Enduring Freedom. So it's not strange to look down and see carpet, first thing. Today I see a white plastic ring.

I think: What'd they break this time?

As I pick up the ring, I realize, this is from the birdcage. And, with growing horror, I look to where the birdcage usually sits, at the top of the tallest shelf in our apartment. Nothing.

My eyes shoot to the floor where the cage lies on its side. The water feeder, empty, seed scattered everywhere. No bird. No kitten.


Vash mews nearby. I imagine he's saying, "Don't look at me. I didn't do it."

In the distance I hear a chirp.

I scan the walls, the posters, looking for feathers, blood, viscera. I pick up the phone and call Jer.

"I can't find Louie."

It wasn't a surprise. The kitten has been increasingly inventive in her quest to liberate the bird. I've had to throw up more and more obstacles, but she keeps studying the situation, waiting for her chance to strike.

I walk into the bedroom and hear a scuffle. I turn the corner. On the other side of the bed, I see Chiana sitting next to the bird.

"I found him," I say into the phone. The next thing Jer hears is, "Chiana, no! Stop it!"

Chiana starts to circle Louie. She reaches out a paw to bat him. I grab Chiana and throw her into the bathroom, shutting the door firmly. I can't tell how badly the bird is hurt.

I hang up the phone. I gather the pieces of the birdcage, refill the water, and the seed and approach Louie. Louie doesn't look all that bad, but he isn't flying. I offer him my finger, he hops on. I place him in the cage and close him in the bedroom. He's alive at least. I leave the curtain open, so he can look outside.

The kitten races out of the bathroom when I open the door. Vash continues to cry in the hallway. I start up the vacuum and suck up the spilled birdseed. The vacuum makes horrible noises, but it does it a good job.

I guess that's what we get for housing the Circle of Life in a 2 bedroom apartment.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Sage Advice

Because of the news of impending layoffs, a co-worker mentioned to his boss that morale is low in the office. In response, his manager said, "You should work from home then."

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Apply Myself

I think that I'm afraid. I've asked myself the question, "What do you want?" and all I know is that I don't want to answer. I want everything to freeze. I want marvelous things to happen, but I don't want to do any work -- which explains my anger in the earlier entry. A part of me is growing that wants to sit back and let life happen, let the moon rise, and the earth spin, and the wind chimes knock against one another and just sit there. Drop out. Not fight.

I stopped writing months ago. I quit working out. And I can't seem to summon the motivation to start again. I don't see the point.

What do I want? Who the fuck knows? I want to be selfish, I guess. I want to stare at the cobwebs on the white, white walls and listen to the neighbors slam their trash can lids around and feel the breeze on my shoulders. I want to hide, hole up in some mid-range hotel and order in. As for the rest of it, I don't have an answer.

Except maybe I'd like to ask that yapping dog to please shut the fuck up.

Expounding on the Subject of Me4t Begz0rs

My anger is expressing itself in new and unusual ways. Take Warcraft for example. The moment another player begs for money, my pulse rate rises. I see red. I clack back a terse reply, usually just, "no." But sometimes, sometimes, they *really* piss me off and I've got to let them have it.

If you're not familiar with the game, here's how it works: everybody starts the same, with nothing. You have many opportunities to obtain money. You can kill humanoids, you can sell items on the Auction House, or you can sell items to vendors. Need some silver? Kill some harpies. It's not rocket science.

So last night a level 15 hunter is begging for silver to repair his weapon. First of all, hunters have pets that can attack for them or they usually have a ranged weapon. Secondly, he can fight a level 7 harpy, unarmed, and get his money quick enough. So when I suggested, politely, that he do just that, he replied, "Yeah? And what level are you?" Only he spelled all the words wrong. I told him I was level 11 and that I haven't had any trouble. That shut him up.

Frelling ridiculous. Later I was standing around and a warlock ran up and asked me if I was rich. When I said no, he wanted to know how I could afford the enchant I had on my weapon. What am I supposed to say? If I say yes, in the next breath he'll ask me for money, so what's the point? I'm not giving it. I earned it just like he's got to earn it.

Then I feel uncharitable, but that doesn't last long. I let a member of my guild borrow five gold and I'm never going to see that money again. He borrowed the money to learn a skill he dropped a week later because he was bored.

I think this touches on a deeper problem -- in the game, in life. I cannot stand when people think they deserve something just because you have it and they don't. I've been plenty jealous, but I'm not going to beg someone to give me something I didn't earn. In the game especially, there's no famine or drought or layoffs. There's no outside factors except how you choose to play a character. I want to shout, "Get a job!" simultaneously aware of what that says about me.

But that's it. I'm tired of people begging. Asking is one thing, understanding the mechanics of a *loan* another. "You've got too much anyway, I don't have to pay you back..." Screw it. Money in the game represents the amount of time I've invested in a character. How irresponsible does a player have to be not to have any concept of that? What kind of world are they living in, where that's ok?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

I Do Believe in Fairies, I Do, I Do

I watched Peter Pan again last night on digital cable. The thought of not growing up is so seductive... fighting pirates, maneuvering jealous fairies, being sweetly eaten by mermaids...

Yes, as revealed in an earlier entry, I still have a crush on Captain Hook. If happy thoughts make you fly, I wonder what impure thoughts about a devilishly evil pirate get you?

I need a t-shirt that says, "I heart villains." Desperately.

Monday, June 20, 2005

The Lipstick Conundrum

Sometimes I wish I read chick lit. I wish I were that sort of person. The sort that buys trashy paperback novels from the checkstand at the grocery store or seeks out the aisle of pink covers nestled among the other genre fiction. I wish I could suspend my disbelief long enough to fall for the strong, intelligent heroine too blind to see love in the form of a chisel-chinned stranger with a mysterious past and a biting wit. I wish I could rely on the happy ending, the ultimate embrace, the deus ex machina of the heart... but I'm not that kind of girl.

I wish I knew how to find lipstick that didn't gather in the cracks of my lips. I wish lip liner solved that problem. I wish I knew the secrets other girls know, the things we absorb but no one takes the time to teach. I wish I knew how to accessorize, how to keep my hair from going flat, how to roll nylons up my legs without putting my fingers through the material. I wish I could find a bra I like, and that places like Victoria's Secret didn't creep me out. I wish I could walk in heels. I wish, sometimes, that I'd go shopping with my girlfriends, and we'd coo about the salesmen and we'd try on crazy things and laugh and gossip vicious gossip and I'd buy clothes from the Gap and they'd always have my size.

There's so much I don't know about being a girl. And sometimes, I say only sometimes, I wonder about that other world where it comes au naturale for the double X chromosome. I wonder, where do I fit? Where's my role-model? And why does wine stain my lips a darker shade of red longer than any lipstick I've ever tried?

I guess those other girls can have their polish and their powder. I've got video games, alcohol, and books. Most days I'd say that's a fair trade.

Sunday, June 19, 2005


Well, I did it. I applied for a job on campus. I got the blues out of my system yesterday, all-at-once-like, in a fit of snot and dribble. Today my eyes were swollen and puffy and disfigured but at least I wasn't sad anymore. It's more like, been there, done that, what's next? Bring it on, Mr. Universe -- or rather, oil me up, because I'm ready for the swimsuit competition.

Saturday, June 18, 2005


Today was about dark places. I watched most of "Wings of Desire." I tore open a box of tissues. You know, didn't leave the house, behaved poorly, tried to keep my mind on light, fluffy things. Played with the cats, watched music videos, heated up a can of soup, and now I'm listening to music. It feels like I've lost something special, something that I've absolutely no control over, and no matter what I did or didn't do, there's no way for it to end differently.

How do you fight what you can't see?

Friday, June 17, 2005

The Status Quo

In two and a half weeks, I'll find out whether or not I've been laid off. How's that for fucked up?

When directly confronted about our future at the staff meeting yesterday, the HR representative burst into tears.

That's never a good sign.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Stop, Drop, and Roll

Things are weird. It's just a whirlwind of nastiness out there. Jobs threatened, car crashes, terminal illness, you name it, I can six-degrees or less it. I know it usually blows over, but there's always that lingering shadow of a thought: what if it doesn’t?

My situation should reveal itself in a month, and everybody else is used to this sort of thing. I'm in the private sector now, be afraid, work harder! There's no government funding to fall back on... but we've got the lion's share of melodrama. Infinite melodrama.

Suck it up, kid.

So it's not Friday yet, in case you were wondering. I wish it was. I scheduled a smog check for bright and early tomorrow morning, and insisted I sit and wait for it to be done. Last time I dropped off the car and came back a few (more like 8) hours later to be informed that they hadn't done it. "Our smog guy never showed." Thanks a bunch, asshole. So of course, being the loyal consumer that I am, I'm taking the car back to them. I don't know why. I think it's because the phone number was within reaching distance. And I'm lazy. Hey, at least my expectations can't get lower!

Warning, WoW update: I bought a mount last night for my level 35 Tauren Warrior. Huzzah! Although the purchase itself was bittersweet, because now my guildmates know I've got lots of gold. And this has turned them all into me4t begz0rs. The end.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Feed Me, Seymour-opoulos

I'm waiting for Jer to get out of the shower so we can drive to Camarillo for Greek food. It's the Ventura County Greek Festival today, and I'm craving everything. Especially those donut things with honey that I can never remember the name of. And the regular stuff like gyros and dolmathes and all that, of course. The biggest problem (besides starvation) I have right now, is deciding whether or not to bring my camera, but I think that'd be too much of a burden. I just want to fork over a few bucks and stuff my face until I can't stuff it anymore. I don't want to worry that I'm wasting a photo op.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

A Novel Idea

I've been reading "House of Leaves". For the last year, it's sat on my shelf. I pick it up from time to time, then put it back because it's one of those books you have to be in the mood for. It takes time, it takes commitment, it requires your undivided attention. And last weekend, the stars aligned and I began to read.

To give credit where it's due, I started thinking about it again after seeing Defective Yeti's review. I'm already familiar with Poe's CD "Haunted," which I listened to for several months straight last year, so I felt like I'd had a head start. (The author of "House of Leaves," Mark Z Danielewski, is the brother of the lead singer of Poe and the CD and book are intertwined, sort of.) I read a passage last night that was lifted directly out of the book and into Poe's "Hey Pretty," which was a nice surprise. I'm constantly amazed by the layers in this book, how the author manipulates your awareness at any given moment and directs your attention from one level to another.

And the author creates such a wonderful atmosphere. It's the first time in awhile that I've been really and truly absorbed in another world. The style reminds me of Lovecraft, but there's so much more.

One week ago I was on the Valley Floor Tram Tour, an open tram that bounced and sputtered its way across Yosemite Valley. Jer and I sat in the last row and I sat at the edge, aiming my camera in all directions, shielding the sunlight with a shaky hand, slamming the eyecup into my face as the tram hit yet another pothole. None of the pictures turned out, but it was worth a shot. Pun intended.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

From the archives: Chiana on my parent's couch, Thanksgiving, 2004. They're coming home today!

Friday, June 03, 2005

This shot was taken from the car, as we waited in three hours of traffic to get into the park, Memorial Day weekend.

You Will Be Mine

I found the lens I want: a Nikon Fisheye 10.5mm.

If only $600 would magically fall at my feet like in tales of old.

My digital camera is fabulous, don't get me wrong. But I miss the effects of my 18-35mm with digital, because digital magnifies everything by a factor of 1.5. So now I've got a very fine mid-range lens, instead of a super wacky bendy edges lens. Can you imagine how cool my Yosemite landscapes would look if everything was super bendy? Well, take my word for it at any rate. It'd knock yer socks off.

Jer is bringing home the cats tomorrow! They've been staying at my parent's house with my parent's cat and my sister's dog. And they're not so good at sharing the attention with other animals. So hide the plastic bags, close the closet doors, and properly dispose of your Q-Tips, because they're gonna be pissed.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Home Sweet Home

It's bedtime, and I'm home. The laundry is done, the alarm is set, and I'm ready to work my one day this week, which happens to be Friday. Jer and I had an incredible time in Yosemite. We saw a bear, four deer, and an assload of squirrels. We rode bikes all along the valley floor, hiked in snow to the top of Sentinel Dome, and ate an excellent meal at the Mountain Room, Yosemite Lodge. I'm sunburned, itchy, and a little greasy, but in a good way.

I took over 600 photos. Most of them are crap.

We were lucky. It was a banner year for precipation in the valley. The waterfalls were in full force. One of the many highlights of this trip was sitting at the base of Bridalveil Falls, ankle deep in water, staring up into the falls, buffeted by sheets of water, soaked and grinning, then to hobble down the path, barefoot and drenched as passersby looked simultaneously shocked and excited. And only a few hours before, we'd watched a young man slide down the side of Sentinel Dome, using his jacket as a sled, skidding across a thick layer of snow. Words don't do it justice. At least the ones I'm using.

Trailhead to Sentinel Dome, covered in snow. May 31, 2005.

Reflection in Mirror Lake, Yosemite Valley, May 29, 2005.

View outside the Wawona Tunnel, Yosemite, May 31, 2005.