Archive for March, 2010

Soup’s on!

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

First off, what is this business about Ricky Martin (formerly of “Menudo” – a band I know nothing about and a soup you could not pay me to eat) being gay and that being news? How in the hell is that news?

I knew it.

You knew it.

“She Bangs”?

Please. He was probably referring to a lesbian he hired to fixed his roof.

The guys at this restaurant were very impressed with my ability to eat an omelette and a chile relleno.

Moving on, let’s talk a little about ‘natural’ deodorant.

When someone mentions to you that they’ve switched to natural deodorant on account of the whole Alzheimer’s thing, what they’re really saying is “Sorry I stink like b.o.”

And I tell you what, I’ve been applying this overpriced Tom’s of Maine 24 Hour Odor Proetction Crystal Confidence in Wild Garden six times a day, and if the garden consists of nothing but onions, scallions, and garlic bulbs, then it’s working. Otherwise? Not so much.

In other words, sorry I smell like b.o., Mexico.

If you are one of the few fortunate enough to know me in multiple media dimensions, then you might already know I complained about this deodorant issue on Twitter last week and was informed by someone else on Twitter (because that’s how it works, apparently. At least for some folks. I guess they sit around all day searching the topic ‘natural deodorant’ or “Cabo” or “Moms who love Satan” and respond to those people who happen to mention that stuff all day long. As for me, I am terrible at tweeting back. I send one shot out into the dark – usually in the morning – and call it good. Occasionally I realize people have put forth an effort to communicate with my incommunicado self, and I try to reciprocate in kind, but it’s always a day late and a peso [or thirteen] short.)

The full moon the other night. Not a horrible shot considering the crappiness of my digital camera.

So anyway, this helpful Twitter-writer-backer lady sends me a link to a rather technical article with pictures of molecules and atoms and stuff I purged the second Chem II was over my senior year in high school. Despite my ignorance, I could still piece together enough to feel that it made a rather salient argument that crystal deodorant works sort of or barely or not at all because of aluminum.

That’s right, friggin’ aluminum.

Natural aluminum, but whatever.

Natural aluminum or nuked aluminum, isn’t it all aluminum?

Meanwhile, all this silence and stinking and wild garden promises have me thinking…who really cares if I get Alzheimer’s anyway? I mean, I certainly won’t care. If you know anyone with Alzheimer’s, they seem fine with it. Sure, they think you’re their mother who died in the 1940s or some friend they had in grade school, but they also seem happy to see them (you) again.
What’s so bad about that?

I have some friends who have passed on that I would love to see again. Who does it really harm if 50 years from now I think you’re them? Maybe you could even embezzle some money out of me for the trouble? It’s win/win.

Newspapers for Gringos

I never miss a chance to catch up on the crack reporting in the Gringo Gazette.

Digression aside, the moral of the story is that when I get home, it’s goodbye natural deodorant and hello Soft and Dri or Secret or Teen Spirit or whatever powerful toxic tube I can get my hands on first. Hell, I may even go whole hog and see if I can’t find some of that spray can deodorant my grandma used to use. I remember when I was a little girl (and before I actually needed the stuff), I’d sneak it out of the medicine cabinet in her bathroom and apply it just because I was so impressed by the shocking cold sensation in my armpits. Seriously, that stuff was made with freon or something. It was crazy.

I remember once I even convinced my brother to apply it shortly after swearing him to secrecy, just because I thought that he, too, needed to experience first-hand the horrors awaited us when we got old. And I didn’t even know about shaving or the cost of a good haircut and color or Alzheimer’s Disease yet.

Hell, there was a time that I used to figure out that I’d be 27 years old in the year 2000 and that was mind-blowingly old.

A nice doggie (one of a pack of four) on the beach the other day. The black and white one dug a big hole next to my towel (and all over my towel) and settled in for about half an hour.

And now, 27 seems like a baby.

Which I’m sure 37 will one day too.

Unless, of course, I get Alzheimers. In which case I’ll be 27 again.

No need to worry. It all works out in the end. It all comes out in the wash. Except b.o. That stink is indelible.

Europe: I’m looking at you.

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Glad tidings of great joy

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

(Don’t get too excited about the flamboyant title. It’s sarcasm.)

So as I sit here at my concrete breakfast table (working on some All-Bran con Pasas, a little something you gringos may better know as Raisin Bran. It’s the little differences…) in my concrete house after a relatively restful night on my concrete bed, it occurs to me that this house can never burn down. Or have its furniture rearranged.

Woman at laptop

Here's another example of self-timer and me looking a bit haggard! Wow. Technology is amazing.

Seriously, as much as I appreciate the fire resistance factor – particularly since witnessing a real blazer not too far in the distance. It lit up the horizon around it pinkish orange, turned the rest of the sky black, and brought in no less than a dozen fire trucks up from Cabo. – the bed is located precisely where a shaft of morning light gets you square in the eye at 7am every day, and if that isn’t reason to move a bed, I don’t know what is.

So anyway, back to the subject line, in recent comments there has been some bafflement as to ‘how are they so many pictures of me if I’m alone?’ and a cheeky solution or two has been offered up as well.

At first I thought, ‘Hey! My commenters are being punk asses!’ but then I realized that it was just the unintended consequences of bliss. Ignorance, of course being bliss, you couldn’t help yourselves.

That stated, please make sure you are seated when you read this next line, because I’m pretty sure – especially those of you that are super technical and run websites about Google Wave or work as Network Administrators and/or all three – your mind is about to be blown: The camera companies have taken it upon themselves to create a feature called SELF-TIMER and (get this) it allows you to place said camera on the corner of a planter or trash can or window sill or counter top and (brace yourself) run into the frame (I know!!!), and Voila! A beautiful Mexican self-portrait. Or whatever.  Fill in the blank with respect to your own location and looks.

Concrete Mexican house interior

Concrete table, concrete floor, concrete couches. Even the thing the non-working TV is on is concrete.

Moreover, I’m 99% certain this feature has existed since before I was born, as I have a distinct memory of group self-photos in my earliest childhood.

Perhaps that’s why I’m so good at it?

I’m an early adopter.

Living life on the bleeding edge.

In other news, there isn’t much other news.

Weather remains perfect.

Said fire in town.

After several weeks of curiosity and creative imaginings, I learned that the item sold for $18 pesos (about $1.50 US) as El Vampiro at one of the downtown taco shacks is not – as I envisioned – a bloody, bat meat creation, but rather a beef tostada. Ummm… What?

That sucks.

That’s totally boring.

What else?

Woman with yellow laptop

Me. Again. Similar but Different. Seriously, I would feel like an egomaniac asking friends to take all these pictures of me. And I prefer to isolate my egomania to the blog. It's less cringeworthy and perhaps more effective that way.

I only have a week left, which is kind of freaking me out.

I guess you could say I’ve gotten attached to the beach across the street and the sunny 80 degree days and productive work schedule and, yes, even the solitude.

And I want to see at least a few things (La Paz + their beaches, El Arco and the related Playa del Amor – which you have to take a kayak or glass bottom boat or some other mode of transport to) before I’m out of here. What does that mean?

Well, first that I need to rent an overpriced car, and second get a hotel room for a night or two, and third that the furious pace needs to slow down. And mostly that unless some elves come and write the book for me while I’m alseep (and listen up, elves! You’d better do a good job this time. No derivative plots about taking down the Keebler guys from the inside. The whole bit about sabotaging several batches of E.L. Fudge cookies and seizing the Hollow Tree was, well, dumb. Especially in a sci fi book about the future of food and humanity.), I’ll still have a couple weeks’ worth left once I’m back in Washington.

El Arco Cabo San Lucas

I didn't take this picture, but I wish I had. And maybe I still will. There's another a week left yet!!!

That stated, somebody crank the thermostat in the sky up over there, okay?
I’ve become accustomed to sunny, 80-degree weather, and I’m not going to reacclimatize easily or without some serious bitching. Let that serve as a warning to those of you who read this regularly, as well…

p.s.

I went and opened the back door of this place just now, and a bunch of ash and burned up palm fronds blew in.

That was a serious fire last night!!!

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Going Jack Torrance

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

I once had a friend.

He was an ex-boyfriend, actually, but we became and remained very close friends for more than a decade after our split.

Then he died.

I may be losing my mind, but at least I look good doing it.

But that’s not the story. The story is that for many years, he worked for the Swiss postal service (oh, he was Swiss, by the way), a duty he called ‘going postal.’ I could never fully discern if he understood what we meant by that, but it always amused me either way. You’d be talking to him on the phone, and he’d notice the time and announce, “I need to go postal.” or “Time for me to go postal.”

So anyway, I bring this up because originally, this was going to open with a quote from the artist Guagin, but I decide to cut instead to the chase with a full confession that THIS SOLITARY CONFINEMENT SH*T IS MAKING ME CRAZY.

You heard it here first: I am beginning to tilt in the direction of a Stephen King novel. And by that I mean my mental state, not what I myself am working on.

Mexican desert finches keeping me up all night

That tree behind me is one of the main desert finch stomping grounds. I may have to blow it up.

Seriously, how do people do this?

It’s a real double-edged sword.

I’m getting lots of work done.

But I’m starting to really wish someone else was here so I could chase them around with an axe through a snow maze.

At least it’d be a change of scenery.

Hell, I’d play Big Wheel with some evil dead twins or chat with the mildly intimidating Lloyd for hours if the opportunity arose.

Yeah. All work and no play make Vanessa go something something.

In other news, and to make use of what’s already been typed:

“Go on working freely and furiously and you will make progress.”

–Paul Gaugin

Note that progress does not mean that you will have ultimate success or that said product will be viable. That stated, I agree with Monsieur Gaugin wholeheartedly. I have made progress.

The accidental homewrecker upon the magic stairs.

I have not stopped to edit jack sh*t (despite my pledges to myself to the contrary), but as of today I will have written seventeen chapters. Out of 30. 57%. Heinz 57. (I don’t think I’ve ever tasted it, but how can there really be 57 flavors in that? What is it anyway? Some kind of ketchup? Barbeque sauce? Besides, who would even put 57 ingredients in something? That’s absurd. What, do they think we’re stupid?)

Anyway, as I mentioned, 17 chapters assuming I lather, rinse, repeat as usual today. So there’s that.

I think I saw a movie on Gaugin once. He was the one who went and lived in Central America and the Carribbean in kind of a strange and primitive manner when that was totally unheard of and super uncivilized for a European, right? And he may have looked like Keifer Sutherland?

Meanwhile, greetings from Day 18.

Out of 26 days.

Well, 26 complete complete days, if you’re counting only complete days.

Which I am.

woman with guitar on crazy couch

Playing guitar, trying not to stare directly at the psychedelic sofa, and slowly turning the color of the walls in this joint.

The reasoning for doing so – as I barrel toward the end of this time – is the dawning realization that  30 chapters in 26 days is too much.

Especially as it seems that every weekend (last week being on Sunday, this week being on Saturday) my brain goes on strike, and I don’t even get a whole chapter done. And I have an increasing desire to at least see a little of the area (La Paz, Cabo beaches, etc.) before I’m gone. And not be here next Saturday night when the owners are around.

So I figure if my brain is going to be non-cooperative, it may as well have some fun.

To whit, the two lost days have sucked big time. Last Sunday I was in a total funk (hormonal, in hindsight), and on Saturday the interruption was caused by my landlord.

I’ve mentioned him before. And I’m pretty sure I mentioned that I wasn’t a big fan.

sunlit ocean

Beautiful ocean on a sunny day. I will say, the weather here kicks some serious ass.

Now I’m less of a fan.
Let’s just say it’s not worth the time to explain in detail, but in general it has to do with widespread inadequacies in the rental situation and rust stains and motor vehicle issues topped off with his coming over here Saturday to announce that he’s apparently getting a divorce and I – the woman renting this house who doesn’t particularly enjoy his presence and has spoken to him a collective 40 minutes in the nearly three weeks I’ve been here – is in some part the cause.

Yeah, you read that right.

He basically interrupted a short-term rental tenant on a Saturday morning to blame his impending divorce on her.

I mean…what???

Apparently the Mexican wife thinks it’s a ‘set up’ that I’m staying here and is upset, and has moved out, and left their two and ten-year old boys behind, and (he implied) thinks we’re having an affair.

I’m not even going to get into the last part of that sentence because, to be completely honest with you, it makes me feel ill, and it’s too early in the morning to be all nauseated.

Mexican desert finch

One of those bastard birds.

However, if Senora Einstein wanted to check her facts, I would pose but one key question: “If it’s a set up, why in god’s name have I paid you guys all this money?”

Hell, I think I’m the one being set up.

Anyway, lame and unwelcome and unwelcoming and gets my mind wondering why is he telling me this? Is it to be like, “Hey baby, I’m single now.”(And note: I may be going The Shining crazy over here, but not that crazy), and if I have to hear one more word about it, I’m going to run out into the yard and bite the head off of one of these noisy ass desert finches Ozzy Osbourne style.

Actually, I might do that anyway.
Those f*ckers have ruined my sleep for weeks now.

They let out these blood curdling shrieks at all hours of the night that wake me from a deep slumber and scare the living crap out of me and they make this other noise like a jackhammer and they then launch into what I can only assume is a mating call at sunrise (roughly 6:30am) every morning, and I”m over it. They’re dead to me.

Done.

Fini.

Kaput.

tan woman eating

Eating some banana bread I made (and without any way to measure and no baking pan and in a Celcius oven...but still it worked out. Must be the magic stairs) and totally matching the walls. You see it too, right???

Those babies’ days are numbered. I’m taking them out Mexican drug lord style, whatever that means.

Anyway, that reminds me, the other day I was talking to Grady, and I was trying to figure out how long he’d been staying at the casita and he was like, ‘I’m not staying in the casita, you live in the casita.”

And I was like, “No, I don’t live here. I’m just visiting for a few weeks while I write this book.”

And he’s all, “”You have always lived in the casita.  I should know. I’ve always been here.”

And then I looked at some pictures of myself and noted that I have started to match the walls of the casita in an apparent concrete Mexican shack/human chameleon spooky-ass oneness, and I realized that Grady was right.

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If Only

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

I’d take it all back.

If I could.

If only there was some way to undo it.

Some way to travel in time and warn myself.
Check the can a little more closely.
Get a second opinion.
Slow the pour.

Kiss Me I'm Irish t-shirt

I did not go out in public in this shirt. Or go anywhere for that matter. I battled the modem until around 9pm when I did an abs workout. Exciting.

If only somehow I might have realized that what I thought was coconut milk was actually some kind of horrible, artificial white sugar and MSG-based tempura paint concoction used in Pina Coladas intended for brain damaged tourists.

If only I could slow time and go back to the moment I dumped the entire, vile contents of said chalky chemical sludge into my otherwise presentable Pad Thai creation.

And if only I could have resisted the temptation to taste it.

You know.

Just in case.
Somehow.

If perhaps.
By some miracle.

It was edible.

Edible or even choke down-able rather than the horrific Reeses’ Peanut Butter cup on acid that assaulted my mouth and left a burny aftertaste that lasted about an hour.

Oh, the humanity…

It can really only be described as a crime against my taste buds.
An abomination. And a potential blitzkrieg on my digestive system.

Make no mistake.

It was hard core.

A cry of despair rang out in the Mexican desert tonight, I can tell you.

There’s a Turkish proverb I very much appreciate: “No matter how far you have gone on a wrong road, turn back.”

I'm Irish

I would assume it's obvious, but here's the back in case you were wondering.

I get that, and needless to say, the vile mess is in a trash bag now, but still…
I mourn for what could have been a night free of beans and avocados and tortillas…

But alas.

Duped by my own stupidity.

Yet again.

This being St. Patrick’s Day you may wonder, ‘Hey? Where’s the corned beef? What about the cabbage? Or the Guinness?’

Well, if you’re sporadic about reading my infrequent posts, you may be interested to learn that I’m in the the middle of goddamned nowhere Mexico poisoning myself on cheap cocktail mixer-based pasta dishes while trying to write a new book in record time. That’s what happened!

Sheesh!

Speaking of poisoning, I would just like to say that I have now been brushing my teeth with tap water for two weeks, and I am fit as a fiddle. Not so sure about the double shot of MSG now swirling through my veins, but I can rumble with the best of South of the Border bacteria and come up a winner.

In other news, all things technological have gone to hell in a hand basket.

Yahoo thinks I’m a spammer and is blocking me in kind.

Pretty woman sitting Indian style

I swear, it's like I cannot take a bad picture on these stairs. I might need to buy this concrete shack just to have long-term access to them.

Not every day, mind you, just in 48-hour chunks during which I have to write them and plead my case and then they let up for a day and then, you guessed it, start blocking me again.

I can receiveth, but I cannot giveth.

And I’m really bad at those ‘guess what warped letters these are to prove you’re a human’ puzzles. And they don’t work anyway. I still get a message that I’m blocked even when I finally slog through the painful alphabet test six times. And it’s aggravating. And a waste of my time. And I hate to waste time. And I have a few candid thoughts for you Yahoo mail: Bite me. Suck it. Go to hell. Yo Mama.

But that’s not the worst of it.

Oh no.

Far from it.

That was the worst of the technology struggles until yesterday when it was trumped. The stakes were raised when my laptop gave me the message that the “USB device is drawing too much power and the port will be shut off.”

Ever since then, the modem is totally shot to sh*t.

And it was kind of a POS (not to be confused with Point of Sale, from my old background in debit/credit card processing) in the first place, so saying it’s shot to sh*t is really saying something.

It will log on for 2.3 seconds and hang up…27 times in a row.

And each time I log in, I have to type a password, and then I’ll sit there and hit ‘send, send, send’ on an email I wrote perhaps an hour ago, but 2.3 seconds is not enough time for it to go through and…argh.

Trying again…

Blonde woman with glasses

I need a haircut.

Oh, and I had to buy a new USB cable for the damn thing. The old one had a slice in it (given to me that way) and the wires were frayed (probably the source of the problems) and kept shocking me once in a while when it would land on my thigh (and yes, sweat was involved. What can I say? It’s really hot here.)

Anyway, the guy charged me 150 pesos ($12) for a cable that would run for $2.99 in the US, but I was at my wit’s end, so I paid it.

You can’t find anything in this country.

He knows it.

I know it.

He could smell the desperation coming off me like Pad Thai made with pina colada mix.

So what could I do?

That’s right.

Give the man what he asked for and thank him for the fleecing.

And listen to a pitch about how I should bring my blankets down to be cleaned by his super-size washing machine.

But the thing of it is – through no fault of Daniel at the Neptune Laundromat and strange array of computer parts shop – now it still doesn’t work.

The modem itself seems to be fried.

And is in the freezer right now.

Pink sunset

Here's a pretty sunset from the other night.

Chilling out.

Composing itself.

Taking a breather.

Cooling its heels.

Hopefully soon to acquiesce to my will that it work.

As this blog is already a day late thanks to its antics.

But whatever.

It’s still St. Patrick’s Day somewhere.

Right?

p.s.

The worst of it is, the smell of that horrific meal is still lingering in the air.

And it kind of smells like Easter.

Easter is now totally ruined.

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Never say never

Monday, March 15th, 2010

Three months ago, if you’d have asked me if I’d have been content to drive around in a stuffy, weird-smelling pickup truck listening to nothing but Mexican oompa music on a spotty radio station, I would have said hell no.

Green ocean wave

I love the amazing jade green color when the sunlight hits the waves just so.

But due to the circumstances that are my life (and certainly my choosing, at least in concept. See: Life is like a box of chocolates for the potential depth of that statement), there’s only one station that comes in – AM or FM – on the truck radio, and that’s all it plays – jangly, lively Mexican music that is almost exclusively about amor or  ’don’t forget me’ or ‘kiss me’ or ‘remember me.’ This, in turn, is dotted with the very occasional WTF offering like George Michael’s “Father Figure” or The Backstreet Boy’s “I Want It That Way”.

Those are the moments that I find particularly thrilling, in that memory lane/clash of cultures kind of way. Yay English! And – seeing as I went through a George Michael phase in Middle School (who didn’t???) – yay Father Figure, a song to which I actually know the words. Truthfully, to my shock, I know a surprising amount of Backstreet Boys lyrics. That I can’t explain so well. Collective unconscious?

Anyway, mostly it’s just me and the truck and the dust and the loud noise of the not-so-awesome power steering and the cranked up strains of Mexican music.

And so it is.

Me before my hamstring-destroying deep sand run yesterday.

Well, except at 6pm when they do the news. In Spanish. And I catch every tenth word. Which is roughly the same as understanding absolutely nothing.

So in contrast – and although I wouldn’t exactly say I enjoy said Mexi tunes –  on a sunny day when it’s warm out and the light hits the ocean just right and you feel kind of free and independent and generally good about life – there is a certain infectious, exuberant ebullience to the liberal (if not excessive) use of brass instruments and accordions and words about love and loss.

And it’s kind of growing on me.

Or maybe that’s just the tequila talking?

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