Archive for September, 2010

The Spell is Broken

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

The curse lifted.

The drought over.

<<<insert euphemism of choice here.>>>

In other, joyous, news: I am working on the new book!

Yes! It’s true!

After about three bad (or simply not appealing enough to get me to knuckle down for reals) ideas and false starts and carts before horses and gimmicky contrivances and so on and so forth, I have settled in on a story I’m excited to tell. Yay! As much as it’s hard work, there’s nothing quite so rewarding as building a whole world that didn’t exist before you made it up. And in that spirit, I am headlong into finding the voices of the varied narrators and key characters and the world in which they live and getting it all down on my trusty (but acting a bit flaky and crashing here and there and generally scaring the crap out of me) MacBook.

The first 100 pages are the hardest (at least for me) because you don’t really know the people and personas yet, and you’re still finding your way in that regard. It’s probably why I’m bad at short stories: I really like to understand someone (their back story and hopes and dreams and fears and screw ups and motivations and procrastinations and mental glitches) before I write them, and short stories just don’t allow for that. Nor is it necessary. And yet the process of creating all that – and for a dozen or more characters  is a lot a work. However, if the first 25 of the first 100 toughest pages are any indicator, I’m off to a good start. And that makes me happy.

And will probably make my sub-par blogging even worse, although I’ll try hard to make sure that’s not the case.

Admittedly, I have no travel planned and nothing much to report, but I suppose I could always start drinking heavily or hanging with the wrong crowd.

Or just make shit up.

You be the judge.

I suppose we’ll just have to see where the next day or two takes me…

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My Free Renter’s Screening Questionnaire!

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

I got to thinking about it, and once the crime scene restoration people complete the total tear-down and rebuild of my friend’s condo, she’ll probably want to rent it again. This time, perhaps she’d be better off armed with a tool for weeding out the kind of people who might possibly damage, destroy, or die in it.

Twinkies and Pabst Blue Ribbon

Breakfast of Champions...and bad tenants.

In case you find yourself in the same boat, I offer it for your own landlording profit and pleasure.

PLEASE COMPLETE WITH BLUE OR BLACK INK

True/False

  1. Alcohol is one of the four major food groups.
  2. After killing a prostitute, I keep her body around for a few weeks and do “stuff” to it.
  3. People often describe me as being “exactly like” Kurt Cobain, Chris Farley, Janis Joplin, John Belushi, Judy Garland, River Phoenix or Marilyn Monroe…only worse.
  4. I like to store meat and other perishables in the bathtub.
  5. Everything tastes better with cocaine.
  6. Suicide is a perfectly reasonable solution to an IRS audit.
  7. Donkeys make great pets!

    Donkey and baby donkey

    Oh my goodness, that really is cute!!!

  8. They tried to make me go to rehab, and I said no, no, no.
  9. A couple pieces of newspaper scattered on the carpet provide a perfectly reasonable substitute for a cat litter box.
  10. I see dead people.

Essay section:

1. What are your feelings about the ‘sport’ of dogfighting, particularly offering it inside my condo?

2. How many times in your life have you woken up in a dumpster and why? Please describe any additional occasions in which you actually felt relieved to find you were still alive, despite the circumstances.

3. Breeding roaches: good thing or bad? Discuss.

4. Level with me here: we both know you’re not a doctor, so please reassure me that you’re not planning to run a back-door abortion clinic out of my home. The rumors have me a little worried.

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What doesn’t kill you…

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Any astrologists out there? Is there something super misaligned with the stars right now or something?

Although it doesn’t directly impact me, per se, it strikes me as supremely odd (and awful) that at a time of notable disharmony, distress, and gastrointestinal rioting in my life, my dear friend in Bermuda is both:

Hazmat

Send in the clowns...

a) on the island without electricity (although thankfully Hurricane Igor didn’t actually hit them.)

b) processing the horrific news (and property value ramifications) that someone was found dead in her Seattle condo this morning…a week post-mortem. And yes, she knew the person, and no, I don’t know the details, and holy hell, can you imagine the smell!?

I have a set of keys, thereby making me high on the contact list, and I realize I probably shouldn’t blog about it, but I seem to be on a roll of offending and alienating and saying things I shouldn’t, and hell…it really is a good story in a sick and twisted way. I already knew the place was evil and poltergeist infested (this serves as the link to that claim should you wish to see it), but now it’s double-haunted.

I guess the moral of this little post is to say a) it’s important to remember that there’s always someone with bigger problems than yours and not get too overly ‘woe is me’ and  b) I really feel bad for whomever has to clean that place up. Maybe my poor friend will get lucky and a meteor will just nuke the condo to kingdom come (sparing all neighbors and their pets and her good Kitchen Aid mixer, of course). Somehow I suspect she’d prefer a nice, fat insurance check to the actual reality. And as long as I’m making wishes and praying on her behalf: let’s throw in some electricity and a sunny day.

Oh, and a hazmat team and some Glade Plug-ins.

Amen.

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That’s Enough of That

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Okay.

That’s it.

I’ve now completely had it.

Last night I had anxiety so bad that I really didn’t sleep. Maybe I slept half an hour here and there, but then I just woke up again. The first time it was the cat’s fault, who isn’t even supposed to be in the room – let alone on the bed or on me – but I had left the door open because of the situation from the night before with the atomic farts rising up from the dog from his post under the bed and the related trips to the bathroom he had to get up to take, and I had to open the door to facilitate. So anyway, I slept like shit, and at one point I thought I might puke but instead laid on my arms until they fell asleep (although no other part of me did), and it took every ounce of strength and willpower to get my thoughts to switch to something positive and calm the fuck down and stop freaking out…and then the anxiety would come around again and good god, it was awful.

I have an entire Blackberry filled with self-portraits of me and the dog. It's at a point where he sees the thing and starts ducking out of the way.

And the thing of it is, generally speaking I’m not an anxiety person. I’m pretty sure the only other anxiety attack I’ve ever had was the morning I flew to Iceland on the start of the three-month trip covered in this blog. That was caused by the mass fear of leaving my job in order to travel alone and was I making a colossal mistake and what would become of me and all that.

Now it’s more like dozens of little things have gone wrong or awry or are unclear or unknown or simply out of my hands. I think it’s more like nothing is going right, except – as far as I know – my health. So I’ve got my health. And a head full of my own teeth. And rounding out the trifecta, the love and support of some wonderful friends.

Otherwise? I am a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown or maybe in the middle of one. How does one know? Does playing The Sims 3 for ten hours a day four days in a row and finding it more enjoyable than your own life count as a symptom? If so, point me toward the nearest padded room and inject me with something nice and sleepy.

Sleep doesn’t usually elude me, and last night as I lay there tired, but unable to sleep, I found myself wondering: if life is so short, why is the night so freaking long???

But d is life really so short? Or does it just feel that way when you’re working at a job you hate or on vacation or actually asleep? And yet sometimes it is terribly short: cut off early and unexpectedly and while things were just looking up.

Enter a thought experiment I’m calling Project Brain Tumor. It goes a little something like this: my birthday is just three days after my friend who passed away in January, and she was eight years older than me when she died. So what if I knew – unequivocally – that come October 13th I would have just seven years, three months, and ten days left to live? Or even just seven years (because let’s be real here, those last three months were totally hosed) left on the clock?

I'm also very fond of the "dog visible in back seat while driving" pose. I take several of them every time he's in the car. Sometimes he wedges his face between the door and the seat and pants, which is good comedy, if you ask me. Moreover, it's a real art to capture a moment where we're not only both in it, but both look good. Okay, fine: where I look good. The dog is a supermodel.

Would I be sitting around playing The Sims 3 all day while simultaneously kicking myself for my laziness?

Would I be so afraid to make some hard choices and tough decisions and execute the orders necessary to unshackle myself from my own self-imposed limitations?

Would I worry so goddamned much about money?

Would I try so hard to help (or, worse yet “fix”) people who are broken or miserable or just plain unhappy or would I step back and realize it’s their life’s work to fix their own shit, and it’s okay if they resent me for that hard truth?

Would I do a better job at facing my own shit?

And would I start now?

I guess we’ll find out, because Project Brain Tumor is the filter through which I’m going to run everything for the next few months. Life is both incredibly short and painfully long. Sometimes it is literally so hard that we have to wonder what the goddamned point is and if it’s worth it to keep on trucking, and other times it’s so spectacularly wonderful we can’t imagine how we could have ever had the other thoughts.

Add to that, as Americans (and those of you who aren’t – as I know there are a number of you – will have to just let me know if the same rules apply) are part of a culture that works so hard trying to impress one another through money and looks and achievement and ‘success’ that most of us never even really learn how to stop and assess who we are and what matters to us. Most of us never get the chance to do that. Maybe there are glimpses of “Is this really my life?” or “Why am I doing this?” or “I’m HOW old next month?” but then the mortgage or the kids or the car payment come tromping along and add the reason – or what passes as reason anymore – for the ignoring of one’s real bliss or calling or truth and on it goes.

My friend has these Louise Hay cards in her bathroom, and I always randomly pick one from the stack whenever I’m there. Yesterday’s said something like “I answer only to me: The only critic in the whole world you have to answer to is the one looking at you in the mirror.” And it’s so true. It’s easy to forget it’s true, but it’s still jarringly true when you read it. As long as things aren’t straight between you and you, nothing else will ever be right.

So in the spirit of honesty, I don’t entirely know what I should be doing right now, and I am about as far from having a plan as a person could be, but I know a few things I shouldn’t be doing. So off to step away – far away – from this laptop for a few hours and see where my distress and discontent takes me: quite possibly to deal with the pile of mouse feces surrounding my stuff in the garage.

Nonetheless, as once brilliantly stated by M. Scott Peck, “The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”

p.s.

I nuked a black widow spider – and probably several hundred thousand brain cells – off the face of the earth with a can of Raid Wasp and Hornet killer yesterday afternoon, and have felt like hell ever since. Not only did the stuff get all over my hands, but I pretty much stood in a fog of it for six? seven? minutes waiting for the widow to die. I tell you, she was one tough bitch: walked around on the ceiling for what seemed like forever (and this was with Raid literally rolling down the sheetrock like a waterfall I hosed her so much) and then did a very nice lowering of herself into the general vicinity of my face (which sent me running away screaming, even though I’d dressed myself like a bee keeper for the event.)

Anyway, the point if this is to say that a) almost immediately after dosing her with the Raid I felt horribly guilty for killing an innocent creature, even one that could take out my cat if he was stupid enough to try to play with it and b) maybe I got some kind of toxic poisoning that’s contributing to my brand new mental illness?

c) Maybe that’s just an excuse.

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$#@&%!!!!

Monday, September 13th, 2010

If there’s anyone who knows why some people can no longer see the blog (again) on Internet Explorer (again) or why it’s making their browser crash (oops. Sorry. Again.) then could you let me know what I need to turn on or download or upgrade or tune in or turn off or drop out in order to make it all better and play nice, can you drop me a line?

Real message in a bottle

Apparently someone found this for real on March 5th. That's kind of cool. Maybe I should write up my web site woes and put it in a bottle, drive to the beach, chuck it in, and pray for mercy? How disappointing would that be for the poor chump finding it?

Or even if you’d just like to make general suggestions as to what I could smoke, drink, and ingest so that I no longer care?

Of course, if you’re using Internet Explorer right now, I suppose you can’t even see this message in a bottle to be thus moved and step in.

In that case, sorry for crashing your browser and maybe consider a switch to Safari or Firefox?

At the same time, seeing how far WordPress has come as a web page utility, and how cave man Neanderthal “me rub stick make fire” my own knowledge is, and how there are all these beautiful templates out there that I would like to use instead of what I’ve got going on, but am too afraid to load and risk completely f*cking up the blog as we know it forever and for good, I have resolved to buy some hosting and set up an additional website (unbeknownst to you) to play with and break and figure this technological juggernaut out for once and for all.

So help me God.

Or Bill Gates.

I'm trying to understand why people do this. The only message I would put in a bottle would be something about how I'm stuck on a desert island and talking to a volleyball and my split ends are out of control, but only if it were actually true. Otherwise: why bother?

(Or whomever one is supposed to pray to when endeavoring technological feats that are way out of their league. Al Gore? Steve Jobs? Satan?)

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