Monday, October 31, 2005

This Entry is Haunted

Happy Halloween!

You can't see me, but I assure you I am very dressed up. I'm a witch. Long black hair, green face, bulky nose, and a dark, silky frock. Add to that, red fishnet leggings, purple kitten heel slingbacks, and an ancient, yet remarkably efficient broom. I am the perfect picture of pagan eccentricity!

Or maybe I'm in my pajamas, unwashed. You don't know. Such is the power of the internet.

I've got no plans to do anything except spend as little money as possible. I guess I could still go crazy with the makeup and light some candles and turn up the scary sounds CD... maybe that's what I need to snap myself out of apathy, a silent commune with Mars and the ghosts on the balcony.

There probably won't be trick-or-treaters here, but I bought a bag of Snickers just in case. Ever since the year I gave out individually packaged Fig Newtons because Halloween caught me unprepared, I don't take chances. Though when you consider that I only had a moment to choose between Fig Newtons and Taco Bell salsa, figure the kids got lucky.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Much Ado

The scuba divers are out and about, scurrying around in their tight black suits and air tanks, unloading their cars and huddling beside their space heaters. It's fascinating to see them at seven in the morning, so dedicated, even when the forecast threatens rain and the rest of us are snuggled deep in our warm jackets. I've never had that urge. Especially when there's no tropical wonderland waiting just below the surface, no brightly colored fish or endangered monk seal to buoy their spirits. And yet there they are, weekend after weekend, braving the cold waters of Elliott Bay.

I applied for a few more jobs, rummaged through cookbooks, napped excessively. The cats need to be schooled in the time change consequences, meaning that it's not all right to wake me at six and stand on my face to demand chow. Other than that, the day is a blank slate. As soon as I bust out of this mini-funk I am going to take the world by storm. Or at least shower.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

In Stitches

Something about the weather getting colder, makes me want to cross-stitch. It also makes me want to knit a scarf, crochet a blanket, and sew my own pillow cases! I have an urge to grab a needle and thread the hell out of some lucky piece of fabric. But I won't. Mostly because I haven't sewed since Girl Scouts and I don't know how to knit. I can however cross-stitch like the damned!

Here are some lovely cross-stitch patterns for your enjoyment. I'm partial to "FUCK CANCER."

On my walk today, bundled in a sweatshirt, jacket, and jeans, I came upon a peculiar sight. Three young women, bikini-clad under a grey sky, struck a pose on the rocky shore. Meanwhile a photographer snapped picture after picture of them clinging to one another, narrowing their bedroom eyes to sexy slits. I shook my head, tsk-tsk-ed like an old lady, and walked on.

I'm two pages short of finishing my ten-minute play. It's more serious than I usually write and a bit more personal, but maybe it'll strike a chord somewhere. No title yet, though I was thinking of titling it: A Man Said to the Universe. With apologies to Stephen Crane, of course.

And finally, I will now share with you a secret pleasure. The Gilmore Girls. After a hiatus of several years, I am back to being hooked. Carry on.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Seven Posers Posing

I'm not looking for an answer, not really. But why is writing so hard? How come when I'm not writing, it's the only thing I want to do? But when I sit down to do it, it's a struggle to keep typing, to stay at my desk? Maybe there's not enough pressure. Maybe I need firmer deadlines. Maybe I'm just a big baby who likes to make excuses.

I'm working on another ten-minute play now, in the hope that if I tackle smaller projects and finish them, I'll stay motivated.

Lots and lots of books have been written on this subject. Mostly by authors who procrastinate writing their own great work by getting bogged down in writing limbo and then telling us all about it. Similar to what I'm doing here, but I'm not charging you for the pleasure. So basically, I shouldn't feel bad because these feelings are common, but I shouldn't let it hold me back. And if I really want sympathy, I can pull one of those many motivational tomes off my shelf -- that I purchased in weaker moments -- and have a pity party, table for one.

Or I could start drinking at eight in the morning. Bloody Marys appear to be an appropriate breakfast cocktail.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Fog

I am a fool for egg salad, which I am eating for breakfast in sandwich form, along with a Diet Dr. Pepper. It's the best part of waking up.

It's been foggy, and occasionally drizzly, but nothing too terrible. I went for a walk along the water yesterday, and about two blocks down, the clouds completely cut off the view of the city. There were lots of horn blasts from passing ships, and the sounds of fishermen chatting. It struck me that the water was clearer than the sky. I could see each pebble on the bottom, but the city was a mystery.

No writing yesterday. I applied for a couple of jobs, made brownies and egg salad, watched too much TV, and finally cracked Star 7 in Katamari Damacy. That's been a long time coming. I also surfed the web and thought about writing. But that doesn't count, right? I also thought about participating in NaNoWriMo, but then I got distracted. The jury's still out on whether or not I'm going to punish myself again with unreasonable deadlines and wishful thinking. Although, if I don't have a job by then, there's really no excuse.

At some point I'm going to have to leave my beautiful cocoon to purchase a waterproof jacket and kitty litter. Or maybe just kitty litter. I can make do with a trash bag until the money starts rolling in.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Hacking Away

I submitted the five-minute play tonight. It took three days to get it together. I never used to rewrite my stuff, but once I finally started I couldn't stop. Maybe before I trusted my instincts too much... maybe I didn't care what the audience thought. Now, I'm on the verge of knowing what I want to communicate, but I struggle with the best way to translate these mental pictures into the right string of words. I want the pieces to fit together snugly, and I want to do it economically. And, if possible, I don't want to sound like a pompous ass while doing it.

Seems to me I want an awful lot.


Friday, October 21, 2005

A Night Out

Tonight Jer and I drove to the University district, saw "MirrorMask," ate dinner at Chipotle, and browsed the aisles of a used bookstore. It's not something we can make a habit of doing these days, but it was good. I bought two paperbacks, a Harlan Ellison and a Philip K. Dick.

I'd recommend "MirrorMask," but it did have flaws. Without giving anything away, I thought the pacing was slow and the plot could be tighter. Overall it's a beautiful film, but I wanted it to make more sense. I wanted it to work within the structure of its own reality, and by that I mean, I wanted scenes to relate with purpose, and not just be metaphor for the sake of metaphor -- even if the metaphors are artfully done.

I wrote more today. I'm working on a five-minute play and a short story, each for different contests. They're very different in form and content, and if I get bored with one, I switch to the other. And when I'm not doing that, I watch TLC's "What Not to Wear." It's an obsession.

I am so lucky to live here. Sometimes it doesn't seem real. I keep expecting to wake up.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

If you have any interest in wildlife or nature photography, check out the work of Manuel Presti. It's awe inspiring.

Rosarito Beach, Mexico, September 21, 2002

To Our Robot Masters

I've spent most of the day staring at my photographs, trying to pick a couple to enter into another contest. I've done this enough now where it just feels futile. Part of me wants to cut out the six months of judging, the mental notes to check back, the high highs and the low lows and just go back to bed. But I know I can't do that, and I'm not looking for sympathy. If it were easy, more people would be persistent.

Sometimes I think that if were a robot, I'd get a lot more done. Robots don't second guess themselves or indulge in vice. Robots get the job done or they short circuit. It's a fact. That is, unless they decide to rebel against their flesh and blood masters. Then they'd probably be too busy to do art.

I guess I'd settle for a switch that turned on "work mode." Once the switch was flipped I wouldn't get distracted or twitch in my seat. I'd be a good little robot then. Somebody please invent a switch for me and I will shower you in presents.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

It's time to celebrate minor victories. I just mailed the chapbook and collected another rejection (unrelated activities).

The day is slipping and I'm losing it.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Update to the January 24 Entry

I'm trying something new. I'm putting together a chapbook. In the January 24 entry I wrote about how everyone in the world had a chapbook but me, and that I couldn't live for the envy.

Fast forward to now. I present to you a little something called, "Christy's First Chapbook." At least, that's its name in my private thoughts. In public, the name is infinitely snazzier.

The only problem is that I don't know what I'm doing, but I won't let a little thing like competence stop me. So now I've found a contest that'll accept my 23 page effort for a modest and acceptable fee. I've got a deadline of tomorrow, two title pages, and a whole lot of red pen edits to input.

Also, because I've been reading and rereading the same 23 pages for a week straight, I've lost the ability to judge anything reliably. It all sounds like the same shade of crap. But I'm doing it, and I'm doing the best I can, and history will have to live with that because I'm done. Finito.

Earlier today I went on my first interview. (A day of firsts!) It was with a technical recruiter to submit my resume into a data bank for such-and-such and so-and-so, doing what I love, or at least what someone might pay me wads of cash for doing. In other words, it went okay. I'm happy. And now I'm drinking coffee with Bailey's and listening to Barenaked Ladies. Because I can.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Lazy Nights

Along with a renewed interest in White Russians, comes a renewed interest in lip synching to Leonard Cohen and William Shatner and editing a series of short short stories that hold absolutely no commercial appeal but make me happy. Also, it means staring at a napping cat whose got legs splayed in every direction and conveys a general air of ennui.

It's raining and the city sparkles. I wish I had a laptop so I could sit in front of it all the time. But that's just another excuse, another in a long line of excuses for not doing the thing I should be doing. I can make excuses all day. Maybe that's my special skill. If only someone would pay me to make excuses, and pet cats. In that field I would excel.

I love that we have an icemaker and a dishwasher. It's luxury, I tell you. Pure luxury.

Lazy Days

I just reread the full length play I stopped writing six months ago. At least, I read the 32 pages I completed before I got distracted by shiny objects. It's got potential, but it needs a lot of work, and an ending.

We bought Jer a desk. I submitted one of my photos to a magazine editor. I did some other photo related work, and thought a lot about going back to sleep. Man, I love staying home, but I'm not so crazy about the lack of regular paychecks or health insurance. A girl needs the freedom to get sick now and again.

If I could finish this play by December 1, I know where I'd submit it. Although... it's going to require a lot of coffee and some serious headphone time. And maybe even a renewed interested in White Russians.

Or maybe I'll just play World of Warcraft until my eyes fall out.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Photo Finish

Well the first recruiter apparently was psychic, because I got dumped by email. But then another recruiter called and scheduled an interview for Monday. I was able to form complete sentences this time and inject some witty banter, so I'm no longer feeling like a social deviant. Although maybe social deviant isn't an appropriate synonym for tongue-tied loser...

It's contract work, but it's work. Hopefully I'll impress the pants off 'em or at least the money out of their wallet.

Let's see. I finished uploading photos for the Hawaii trip. You can see the lot here. And yes, there are a lot, but it's my best haul yet.

Now that it's lunch I think it's time for breakfast.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Ocean Center on Maui, October 2005.

Wake Up Call

Important Lesson of the Day: When a recruiter calls for a job you really want, try not to sound like a dumbass. Honest, the recruiter can't see you through the phone and doesn't know you're still in your pajamas at 3pm, and that you've been watching "America's Next Top Model" for the last two hours. No, the recruiter is not psychic. So calm the fuck down.

"Thank you for being a friend..."

It's a dangerous morning; I watched "The Golden Girls."

The last time I was unemployed I watched a lot of "Golden Girls." I even had a schedule. Wake up late and watch tv, take a break to eat, watch more tv, maybe sit in front of a computer and hammer out some crap... pretend I had writer's block... heat up a tv dinner and stare out the window. Oh, and apply for work, if I felt like it. Faced with all the free time, I wasn't prepared for the constant low-grade depression. I knew I was in a rut and that I needed to get out of the rut, but I just didn't care. That's where "The Golden Girls" came in.

I have two of their autographs: Betty White and Estelle Getty. The others never wrote me back. It's something I did in elementary school, send out a lot of autograph requests to sitcom stars. I got a signed Carol Burnett photo and an 8x10 of Jim Henson surrounded by muppets. And then there was the Mr. Belvedere. His was a postcard signed in thick blank ink. It smeared in transit and you could barely read it, but it was nice of his assistant to send it.

Anyway, I need to fight the Golden Girls. That's the lesson.

Yesterday was crisp. Visibility was good, the air was chilly, no rain, clear. The leaves are changing. It feels like fall. We've been searching for an affordable wireless bridge, but so far no luck.

Yesterday I applied for another job, filled prescriptions (no insurance, ouch), went grocery shopping, picked up the held mail, paid bills, stopped by the library for Register to Vote forms, called my mom... I'm doing okay. Things are happening. No reason to let Lifetime get me down. I'm probably just experiencing caffeine deprivation. Stay busy, Christy. It'll pass.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The surface of the Haleakala Caldera is reminiscent of the surface of Mars. On this day, clouds covered most of the crater, but would occasionally pass and allow for clear viewing of the valley.

On the Other Side of Planning

My eyes are blurry from editing photos all morning. I also applied for a couple of jobs and watched a Doris Day / James Garner movie on AMC. It was a comedy about bigamy. I couldn't look away.

It's so nice to not be on vacation. My cats survived the cattery, although they're thicker about the middle, and nobody tried to escape. I'm drinking good coffee and enjoying not having to be anywhere or see anything or take any pictures. Don't get me wrong, it was a good trip. I just felt rushed all the time, and after two months of constant planning and action to get through the move and the layoff and prepare for the trip, the last thing I wanted to do was race across a tropical island. Or even two tropical islands.

But we're finally here. On the other side of planning. Now all that's left is to find a job and maybe buy Jer a desk. It's an exciting time.

One of my favorite moments of the trip happened 10,000 feet above sea level, standing in the Haleakala Caldera. As I snapped picture after picture, waiting for the clouds to pass and show the valley, Jer's family hiked down the red dirt trail and disappeared behind a wall of white. I stood there, framing and snapping, listening to wind and silence overlap. The guidebook said we were in a sacred space, and I wanted to stay longer, but I knew the group was losing patience with me and my camera and so I turned and hurried down the trail. By then, the others were reduced to dark and distant shapes moving through the fog.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Kilauea Lighthouse, Kauai, September 2005.

Sunrise in Poipu, Kauai, September 2005.

What I Did For My Summer Vacation

I spent the last two weeks in Kauai and Maui with Jer and his family. We saw lots of pretty things. We saw things that fly and things that swim. On a boat in the ocean, we saw manta rays and dolphins and big green sea turtles.

I got sun burned bad on my shoulders and the tops of my feet. The skin blistered and peeled off. I also got a big bruise on my thigh. It swelled up and turned purple.

On Maui, we hiked into the Haleakala Caldera. A caldera is a volcanic crater. The last time the volcano erupted was in the late 1700s. It was cold and I was thirsty. It didn’t take long to hike down, but it took a long time to hike back up. We saw horses. People rode them up the trail. There were clouds everywhere and they blew across the trail until Jer’s family disappeared. Then the wind shifted and the entire crater opened up and I saw the walls which were lined with red and brown and gray rock.

On Kauai, we kayaked in a river and hiked to a hidden waterfall. I was in the front of a kayak with Jer in the back. I never kayaked before. I held the paddle shoulder-width apart and then alternated each arm. It hurt my wrists. We tied the kayak to tree roots sticking out of a muddy hill and jumped into the water. I handed the dry sack to Jer. I had to take off my flip flops because they got sucked into the mud. I changed into sneakers so I could walk in the jungle. The waterfall was pretty. There were lots of other people there too. We ate sandwiches that I made and watched Jer’s dad sit under the waterfall. The water hurt his head because it came down so hard.

We almost died on the Road to Hana. We saw a black sand beach and we hiked to the top of the Fagan Memorial and saw all of Hana from very high. I got blisters and had coconut milk ice cream in a cone. I never eat cones, but I did there because it tasted good. We saw Charles Lindbergh’s grave. He flew planes. He went to Maui to die because he thought it was pretty.

On the way back from Hana, a tour bus came close to our van. We were on a one lane road. On the left of us was a wall, and on the right was a cliff. Our tires hit the small rock ledge and made a big noise. The tour bus inched past us, so close we couldn’t open our doors. I looked down and there was nothing because the ground was far below. Our driver edged forward and the car made another big noise. When the tour bus passed, the van didn’t work right. It had a flat tire. We were four and a half hours from our hotel on twisty jungle roads. There were no bathrooms or restaurants and the traffic had to stop. It was scary. The tour bus driver showed us a turnout and we parked. Everybody stared at us. Some people got out of their cars to see what happened. I sat on a rock and watched the others look for a spare tire. It was hot and I was sunburned. A park ranger drove by and asked if we needed help. I said yes. He helped us put on the tire because he was nice. Then we were able to drive to the car rental place and ask for another van. I got hives on the backs of my hands because I was so nervous.

One day on Maui we found a pretty beach. It had white sand and red lava rock and turquoise water. It was fun to swim there. The water was warm, but it was always windy. We went to another beach and there was a sign that said there were sharks there so we left.

Every morning I shot the sunrise. At least the first week I did. The second week I took photos of the sunset because of where our hotel was located on the island.

On Kauai, I saw a lighthouse. The sky was dark blue and so was the water. A bird, a booby, attacked Jer’s mom and she fell on her knee. It bled. We went in a cave and I took a picture.

One night we watched TLC on the television. We saw, “101 Things Removed From the Human Body,” and “I Am My Own Twin.”

On Maui the windows had shutters on them. Big brown shutters and not all of the windows closed. It was because of the trade winds. The wind made my hair tangled. Once it even took my hat and I had to chase it down the road. Somebody laughed at me.

We saw rainbows. They were very bright.

I went snorkeling in the ocean off Ni’ihau. It’s called the Forbidden Island. I’ve never been snorkeling before. The deckhand said I had big feet and gave me fins to use. They soaked the mask in baby oil so it wouldn’t fog. I jumped in the water and looked down. There were lots of fish, all colors, and the coral reef went down just like a cliff. I felt weird looking down like that and breathing through my mouth piece. I liked the black fish with the white stripe. And then I saw a Hawaiian monk seal. They’re endangered, which means you can’t touch them. It came close but I didn’t touch it.

There is a fruit called the noni which is used to cure lots of things. It is ugly. It looks like a fat squished caterpillar.

There are lots of chickens on Kauai because there aren’t any mongooses. I saw mongoose on Maui. They look like squirrels. I ate a papaya. I didn’t really like it. I had a local platter at McDonald’s. It had rice, eggs, spam, and Portuguese sausage. It was okay.

I liked the aquarium on Maui. It was fun. I thought it was better than Sea World’s Shark Encounter. My favorite part was the sea turtle tank. They poked their head out of the water at us. There were Hammerheads too, but I took too long and didn’t get to see them.

On Kauai we drove five miles down a dirt road to a beach called Polihale. The sand was white and behind it was the Na Pali Coast. I took lots of photos of the waves. The water was warm on my legs and I got wet.

The Fern Grotto was nice. We went out on a boat like the Disney Jungle Cruise and then saw a place with lots of ferns. They grew out of the rocks all along a natural alcove. People get married there. There are good acoustics.

My swimsuit said life guard. My black board shorts turned brown because of the chlorine in the hotel pool.

There was other stuff too, but I’m sleepy and it’s time for bed. Sweet dreams.


I'm home and boy, do I ever have a metric shit ton of pictures!