Thursday, September 30, 2004

Straight Boys Are Delicious

I think I mentioned, a couple of weeks ago, my little crush on the guy who works for the architctural firm which owns and occupies the building our office moved into... I don't know if he's an architect or an office manager or what, but I think he's awfully cute. He's short, and a little bit round (a cuddly rather than a slovenly kind of roundness), with warm hazel eyes and a lovely profile and a sort of mouth that looks like it could sneer enchantingly (which is harder to do than it sounds). I couldn't really tell if he was straight or gay, but there is a slightly feminine softness and vulnerability about him that I find really attractive; and so I started making up little fantasies about him.

Not sex fantasies, mind you, but rather relationship fantasies. Though I don't know anything about him other than his first name (Lucas, isn't that cute?) and where he works and the fact that he has an utterly enormous dog that he brings to work with him, I nevertheless imagined all sorts of boyfriendly activities: going to the movies with him, curling up with him on the sofa and watching TV, shopping at IKEA together, introducing him to my family at Thanksgiving... those kinds of little fantasies.

So yesterday when I found out that he's married to his boss's daughter, who also works at the firm, I was a little bit dismayed... only a little bit, since this is by no means the first time such a thing has happened. I'm always falling for straight boys. In fact, I've gotten into the habit of assuming guys are straight if I find them attractive; when the risible Boy Meets Boy was on Bravo last year, I picked out the three straight boys immediately, simply by choosing the three I found hottest.

The big hair was also a giveaway... for some reason, cute gay boys as a species don't like having big hair; but I'm a sucker for big hair. And little gold hoop earrings. Offbeat fashion sense. Wire-rim glasses. Certain kinds of softness, especially around the mouth and eyes. And a lot of other things that I don't find very often on gay men.

So I find myself wondering, do I find these straight men attractive because they're straight? Am I self-destructively focusing my energies on the unavailable? Have I internalized some sort of homophobia, in the proper sense of the word, believing straight men superior to my fellow gays? Have I somehow identified myself subconsciously as female and therefore respond to features which are biologically geared to attract the female of the species?

Or do I find them attractive because I like certain things in a man, and there are more straight men who fit my paradigm than there are gay men, simply because there are lots more straight men in this world than gay men? Is it all, finally, just a numbers game?

Like I said, I like softness, vulnerability, certain "feminine" characteristics that are actually rather rare in men, straight or gay. But I like the hardness and strength of a man, as well... it's the balance of supposedly masculine and supposedly feminine qualities, I guess... a masculine physicality and feminine behavior, perhaps? Or is it just certain degrees of androgyny that interest me?

I'm just not emotionally attracted to the hard and aggressive type of male that I suppose is typical in both straight and gay (physically attracted, perhaps... they can push my buttons and turn my crank... but I wouldn't want to marry one); in straights it is usually found in the athletic paradigm, the hard-edged, competitive, boisterous, belligerent type of behavior that I loathe; and in the gay world, I find that I dislike the sharp, brittle, effete qualities that gay men frequently display, qualities that one might characterize as "effeminate" and which I characterize as "shrill," but which are really just as hard-edged, competitive, boisterous, and belligerent as your typical fratboy jock or gun-totin' redneck or corporate shark, the only difference being the subculture in which the subject lives... the high-pitched screams of a club queen are no different from the low-bass grunts of the deer hunter, only the milieu is different.

So I suppose it's not that I am attracted to straight men, per se... it's just that I am attracted to qualities that few men are likely to display, and that these and all other qualities are more frequently found in straight men because straight men are more frequently found, making up at least ninety percent of the male population (though here in the Bay Area it's probably more like seventy-five or eighty percent).

And really, it's easier having little crushes on straight men, because there is one big and completely impersonal reason why they wouldn't be attracted to me: I lack a vagina (I was going to say "and breasts" but that's not as true as it should be). Gay men have all sorts of reasons to not return my affections, which tend to reflect poorly on me rather than my gender... I'm not good-looking enough, I'm not muscular enough, I'm not thin enough, I'm too sloppy, I don't like to dance, I don't bother about my clothes, I live with my Grandmother, I'm getting old, I get my hair done at Supercuts, my teeth are all fucked up... and let's not forget my all-time favorite, that I'm "emotionally unavailable" (I still don't know quite what that means... though I suspect it's a euphemism for the preceding reasons but makes the other guy sound less shallow).

Whatever. I'm going to continue to have my little crush on Lucas, despite his married-straight-guy status, just as I have continued my little crushes on Kyle at the sandwich shop and Jeremy at General Service, after finding out that they were straight. An attractive young man is always pleasant to see and think about and talk to than someone who isn't attractive, n'est-ce pas? And someday I am going to get a crush on a boy who turns out to actually be gay (like I did with Shiloh), and I'll maintain the crush even after I find out that he's not remotely attracted to me, because it's the same thing as a straight-boy crush, after all. And if I keep up this practice long enough, the numbers will rack up the right way and somebody might just like me back... and then all hell will break loose.

I just hope that when that day finally comes, I'm still young enough to do something about it.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Another Quick Note

It seems like it's been a while since I last sat down and wrote a long, thoughtful, intelligent post here. But my brain just isn't up to it these days. I was just glancing over the previous posts on this page yesterday and realized that I'd been reading the same book for almost two weeks... and I just finished it this morning, making it exactly two weeks since I started rereading The Vampire Lestat. For the fourth time. A book that took me a couple of days to breeze through last time I read it. Dommage!

But then, I am kind of tired. Aside from all the physical labor that I've peformed over the last couple of weeks, the Depression is sapping my energy to a great extent; however, I'm not feeling the emotional rollercoaster that usually comes along at this time of the cycle... I guess I'm just too busy to feel unaccountably sad or suddenly giddy. Or maybe I'm becoming accustomed to the rollercoaster and am improving my ability to cope. In fact the only way I can tell I'm depressed is that I want to sleep and/or masturbate all the time. And I do mean all the time... when I'm driving, when I'm eating dinner, when I'm sitting here right now writing this: all I want is an orgasm and a nap.

Despite my lack of energy, the last few days have been filled with a multitude of minor accomplishments... accomplishments so minor that I have to really think about what it is I've spent so much time on this week. I mean, purchasing and installing both a mailbox and a wireless doorbell at the office sound like such simple, quick pastimes... and yet I probably spent eight solid hours on those two problems alone. It took me almost two hours to set up our serenity fountain, having to wash the little stones individually and then adjust the pump over and over again. Then there were phone calls, regarding the telephones and an old ISP we no longer use and finding out how much longer the Post Office is going to take to start forwarding our mail so I don't have to keep visiting the old office every day. Just a thousand little things that don't seem like much, but which suck the life out of me nevertheless.

Then there was almost an entire workday spent shopping for office furniture, where we bought sixteen really nice chairs but couldn't find a conference table to put them around... I envision our next meeting with the board sitting in chairs grouped around a chalk outline of where the table will be when we finally get it. And the more I think about it, the more I like the idea. But as amusing as that image is, I'd rather have a conference table, and am getting very frustrated by my boss's lack of motivation to do what I want. He just hates spending money, is all, even when it's not his.

Then there was a lot of AA stuff... my regular meeting on Tuesday, and then my General Service Meeting on Wednesday (which had a shitload of clerical work involved, copying some handouts and creating a sign-in sheet, as well as just showing up), and then my sponsee asked me specifically to meet him at a Thursday meeting that I occasionally attend. So I guess I'm pretty sober this week.

I decided on a whim to take Friday off... there wasn't anything I had to do at the office that couldn't really wait until Monday (except for everything on my To Do list), and I was tired, and I have comp time up the ying-yang from the extra hours I put in over the move, so I just stayed home and watched one of my new DVDs, Camp.

Movies about incredibly talented young people in the performing arts always exhilarate and depress me. I've shared here before that Billy Elliot always makes me weep buckets and reawakens the dead desire of my youth to become a dancer; and now this movie comes along, all these amazing kids singing and dancing as if it were the easiest thing in the world. It made me want to get up and sing and dance myself... to take dance classes and voice classes and drive myself like a madman up onto a stage to express my joy in song and dance before a crowd of adoring onlookers...

... and when I do get up, and sing like a dying frog and dance like a drunken hippopotamus, I just want to rip my throat out. No matter how many classes I take, I'll never be able to jeté my topheavy, inflexible, and now overweight thirty-six-year-old body across a stage; even if I trained and trained and trained for volume and control and pitch, my voice will never be more than a tinny mediocre instrument. And sometimes that makes me terribly angry and horribly sad.

I accept that these are not the talents that God gave me... and I try to remember that I do have great talents of my own, that I can write and I can think and I can perform the mysterious alchemy that is drag. But, as my sponsor always reminds me, accepting it doesn't mean I have to like it, and some days the burden of the talents I possess seem a poor substitute for the talents I've always wished I had.

Still, it was a wonderful movie. It really captured the wonder of youth, the conviction that everything you do is life-or-death important, that newness to life that makes every low-point unutterably crushing and every triumph heart-burstingly spectacular. And the music was fabulous, and the choreography gorgeous, and the characters (if a tiny bit two-dimensional) completely sympathetic. There was never a moment where I groaned with disbelief (as I did when watching Fame, a film in which gritty realism and Broadway fantasy couldn't quite separate itself out), nor a moment where I found myself rewriting the script in my head.

When I was done lying in a puddle of my own tears and despair in the living room, I took Grandmother down to Southland Mall for an evening of shopping. She is going to be flying to South Carolina next week to attend my nephew's graduation from boot camp, detouring back through Texas to visit her one remaining sister in Hereford, and so needed some new clothes for the trip.

And so there went six hours of my life. Shopping with Grandmother is fun, but it's incredibly tiring as well. She's not a good shopper: she doesn't know how to scan for her size first (and she wears an difficult size, 22WP), then worry about cut and color afterward; she doesn't take my word that there's nothing in that corner of the store that she'd like, she has to go and see for herself (or more precisely I have to laboriously push her wheelchair through the crowded racks so she can come to the same conclusion); and she can't ever quite divorce herself from her prejudices about what fabrics are seemly for a woman of her age and station, refusing point-blank to wear jersey or cotton of any type.

On the other hand, I discovered, while there at the mall, the perfect place to go when I'm feeling fat and ugly: the Food Court. I've been obsessing lately (as I tend to do on my low cycles) over those fifteen extra pounds, worrying about the little rolls of fat under my arms and around my gut, with my self-esteem down in the basement in general and then in the sub-sub-bomb-shelter-basement after watching Camp, and was starting to hate my body; but after a few minutes of sitting there with the Grandmother, eating a Hot Dog on a Stick and sipping lemonade while watching absolute herds of utter heiffers stampeding around me, I felt a little better about myself.

I must admit that I felt vain and shallow for comparing myself in such a manner, denigrating other people's weight problems in order to alleviate the feelings around my own weight problem, but "vain and shallow" felt better at the moment than "fat and ugly." I'll take what I can get, even if it is just a quick-fix.

And now I am preparing to get ready to put myself together for the Living Sober Fall Follies tonight. After all the various dramas over evening gowns and eBay, I finally figured out an outfit that will look good and go with the number I chose and doesn't have to be bought or altered or anything. So that's a worry off my mind... and I have been actively worrying about it all week. The Living Sober Follies is the only show I really look forward to for months in advance, and I always want to bring my A-Game to that show... so I tend to obsess a bit about the fabulousness of my costume and the excellence of my musical selection. But now that it's here, and now that I know what I'm going to wear and what I'm going to perform, I feel I can turn over the outcome and just show up.

But it starts pretty early, I want to be to the hall by 5 p.m., and it's half-past twelve now... figure an hour to get showered and shaved and packed, an hour to get Madasin in Pinole and return to the office, an hour and a half to get into face, and a half-hour to forty-five minutes to get to San Francisco, find parking, and get to the hall at 1800 Market... I guess I'd better get cracking if I'm going to make it. If you're in the SF Bay Area and free tonight, do stop in at the LGBT Community Center this evening at 6:30... it'll be a great show.

Have a super-duper-fantabulous weekend!

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Shell Shocked

I'm not willing to write right now, but I feel like I ought to anyway. Eight days of silence are too many. And if I can't sit down and write, just because I'm mentally and physically exhausted, just because my world has been turned upside-down and shaken, just because I have so much else to do, what right have I to call myself a writer?

So here I sit in my new office, at my old desk and old computer, forcing myself to write:

I feel weird sitting here in this new place... the novelty hasn't worn off yet, and I just feel like I've sneaked into someone else's office and don't really belong here. I've been unpacking slowly, but no matter how many of my personal tchotchkes I scatter around on my desktop, I just don't feel at home. Perhaps I should jack off in each of the corners or something, to mark my territory.

The move was unbelievably chaotic. I spent so much time and energy packing, and then moving (one of the movers was cute, but not all that cute), and then rearranging everything when I discovered that my computer-generated plans wouldn't work out in practice, and then getting the necessities all set up...unpacking the things we needed immediately, setting up our computers and printers and such, and wrangling with the phone company and the wiring people about getting our phones turned on correctly... that I came home unbearably exhausted every evening all last week.

Most evenings when I got home I fell asleep immediately upon achieving my room, and had to be wakened for dinner. And sore! I didn't go to the gym all week, but I don't really think I needed to after all that physical labor. My hands are wrecked, all these cuts and tears and abrasions all over them from box edges and runaway furniture and packing-tape guns (but my nails didn't break, at least).

And that was pretty much what my whole week was about. Over the weekend I spoke at an AA meeting in the City and then went out to brunch and did some shopping; then I stopped in at Cookie's house and watched her and some other friends making Art (in the form of a short horror film); the next day was church, and then I had a show, Cookie After Dark, and I brought my Daddy to see it (I'll post pictures as soon as I get them).

It was really neat sharing that part of my life with him... he'd never seen me perform before, had never even seen me in drag, except in photographs; he told me after the show (dining at Baghdad Cafe) that he was very impressed with my realistic illusion and my performance style, and that he is very proud of me. If I could weep with makeup on, I would have, I was kvelling so (something about the eyeliner and loose powder clogs the ducts, though, so no tears).

And now here I am, unable to summon up the energy to go on and on about the trivial minutiae of my life. Instead, I am going to go to the hardware store and buy a mailbox and a padlock for our security gate... and on the way back, there's a furniture outlet I want to look in on. So, I guess I'll be back sometime soon with something more riveting than a picture of me, typing.


Monday, September 13, 2004


The next few days are going to be ridiculously busy, so I doubt if I'll have time to do any updating. But I have a little time now, before I leave for work, so I thought I'd jot off a little something to keep in practice.

My weekend went fairly well, all things considered. Saturday was a bit of a struggle, getting from one place to the other and accomplishing all I set out to do. Traffic was a bit of a bore, but at least the heat-wave has finally let up and the weather was very nice.

I started the day off with my new housekeeping regime, tidying and dusting and vacuuming the living room and foyer; I've set aside two to three hours of each Saturday morning to do one part of the house in rotation, from bathroom to living/dining room to kitchen to my own room and laundry; that way, every part of the house gets cleaned once a month (purists would have the whole house cleaned once a week, but let's be realistic, okay? Two people who don't cook much and sit down to pee leave rather less mess than, say, a family with children).

After that I got my goods and chattels together, an hour behind schedule, and set out to pick up Madasin from her inconveniently remote fastness in Pinole. On the way back I had to stop at Frederick's to pick up yet another Dream Corset, which seems to be turning into a wardrobe staple for me; the theme of Alameda Imperial Coronation was "A Night at the Moulin Rouge," so of course everyone was wearing corsets on the outsides of their gowns, and since I'd promised to lend Angelique my black corset for her outfit, and also wanted a larger size for myself so that it would close completely at the back, I had to get a new one.

After getting into face and then getting ensnarled in an inexplicable traffic jam on the way to Union City, we managed to arrive at the hotel just in time to get Angelique into my smaller corset and arrive in the hall with just enough time to sit and relax and catch our breaths before we Walked. My gown was fucking with me, though; I'd jerry-rigged my burgundy satin gown with the train (which I totally can't fit into anymore... I couldn't even get the zipper over my waist, I had to pin it closed under the corset) with a similar-color scarf wrapped as a halter bodice, the rigging hidden under the corset (which I'd had to buy a size too large because Frederick's at Hilltop never has the exact size I want), I felt very uncomfortable.

Besides which, the dress kept slipping counterclockwise (as all of my dresses do lately) under the loose corset, and by the time I walked during the presentation of our Court, the train had worked its way around to the side... although it looked good there, the mobility of my costume was very disconcerting; in situtations like that, you need the confidence provided by the security of a gown that stays where you put it.

We left Coronation at the end of the first act, and with little difficulty got ourselves changed (I love changing clothes in parking lots) and then over to the City. Parking in the Castro was a nightmare, of course, but I found a spot only eight blocks from our destination, on my old stand-by street where I always find parking (I'd tell you which street, but I want to keep that parking-space for myself... I'll just say that it's got the same name as the place I was born, and that's why I figure it's lucky). We got to Harvey's in plenty of time, and it was nice to be able to just take it easy from then on, nowhere left to go, nothing left to do but give our little turns on the stage and enjoy the fellowship of friends old and new.

The fundraiser was a lot of fun... great performers, a great audience, a great venue. Pictures were taken, and I hope to have copies soon, but I don't have them now to share with you. My favorite part of the evening was standing outside (it was much too hot inside) and chatting with friends while dazzling my eyes with the passing parades of incredibly cute boys. The show itself was pretty secondary compared to the eye-candy outside. I wished I'd had my camera with me so I could get little snaps of some favorites... I'm going to look into exchanging my cell-phone for one that takes pictures so I can keep these serendipitous sightings forever.

It was a long day of drag, but completely worthwhile... even though I didn't get home until after two and only got five hours of sleep before I had to get up to go to church on Sunday. But what the hell, being sleepy in church is simply natural... and being sleep-addled makes it easier to ignore the whole I-hate-Christianity thing and just listen to the wisdom that is at the base of the added-on superstitions.

And as a bonus, our waiter at brunch was unbelievably adorable, tall and slender and pretty, the softly girlish (rather than shrilly girlish) kind of young man that arouses my protective instinct along with the instinct to defile, with honest blue eyes and the cutest little butt. He had beautiful hands, too, his nails much better-kept than the average waiter's... and the way his red-blond hair curled behind his ears, and the soft voice... I just about fell in love. Something tells me that I am going to be brunching at the Baker's Square on Willow Pass Road rather more often in the near future.

The rest of Sunday I slept and read (The Vampire Lestat, I'm working my way through the Vampire Chronicles in order) and watched a movie (Vatel, a little-known costume epic that was immensely enjoyable despite Gerard Depardieu), relaxing as much as I could from the rigors of the last few days and preparing for the rigors of the next few days. I had wanted to work on my newsletter, work on my novel, and go grocery shopping, but after I woke from my after-church nap it seemed the wisest course to stay horizontal instead. It was really quite pleasant. I feel prepared for the week that's coming.

Today at work is going to be all about boxing up loose articles and throwing out paper-recycling and other refuse; I spent much of Friday at the same task, with Caroline's invaluable help, and though we stacked up one side of the kitchen with boxes of paper and crap, there's still a lot more to go. After work I am taking the Grandmother grocery shopping (every now and then she feels the need to go into the store and look at what's there), which is always a time-consuming epic. After that, I need to work on my general service duties, especially the newsletter that needs to be in the mail by Wednesday night.

Then tomorrow I have to pack up the electronic equipment, disassembling all the computer workstations and carefully wrapping all the phones and printers and whatnot for the move. Everything has to be ready to go before I can leave the office tomorrow... everything. If I have to stay up all night packing, I'll stay up all night packing. The movers come on Wednesday and finish on Wednesday; and there will be no putting off or coming back to finish something afterward, we are required to turn in our keys when we're done.

So Wednesday will be the move itself, with my boss in situ at the old office, keeping an eye on everything, and myself in situ at the new office, telling the movers where to put things. I don't really know how long that will take, but I am braced for an eight-or-more-hour day.

I am also braced for the movers to be unattractive, but I hold out a candle of hope that they won't be... so far, there have been an unusual number of cute men involved in our move: the young man who works for the architectural firm that owns and occupies our new building, and who has been letting me in and out all week, is adorable; one of the realtors handling the transaction is so cute that even my straight male boss noticed his cuteness; and one of the guys who came in to rewire the office for our telephone needs was as cute as a button. So here's hoping for some cute movers; but I don't think my luck can hold out for so long.

After the movers have finished, I will have to hie over to Kinko's to do my newsletter, printing and folding and labelling and stamping a hundred and fifty copies. Then Thursday will be all about unpacking. But it will be more relaxed, as there isn't as big of a hurry to unpack. Still, I'm sure I'll be too exhausted by then to write much. We shall see, though... sometimes when I have a lot to do, I become very energetic, as if my body is rising to the challenge and producing more power.

Anyway, if I don't get to talk to you again in the next several days, have a wonderful week... and may your days be filled with cute boys!

Friday, September 10, 2004

Light Housekeeping

I woke up today feeling a little more energetic than usual... very nearly "tweaky," truth be told — just tweaky enough to look some HTML code square in the face, so I made a few long-overdue changes here on the page. A couple of pictures, some upcoming performance info (which I will try to keep updated), and two Vote-for-Me links in the right-hand column. I have some more pictures I need to add (like Madasin, who is becoming an increasing presence in this blog), but I have to get them and scan them first.


To my drag-queen (and -king) and tranny friends, please go to Trashique and post a picture (or two) to be rated... it's a brand-new website, and it looks like it can be a lot of fun with more people involved. And to my GLBT-blogging buddies, I encourage you to sign up at Freedom Forum, it's a great directory for GLBT blogs (and if you have sufficient high-speed connection and a decent sound system, it has lots of music and talk-show goodness... or so I'm told, I have DSL but no sound at work and great sound but antediluvian dial-up at home, so I haven't really been able to listen).


I've got a busy couple of days ahead. Today I have to pack up the storage rooms at work, separating out the trash from the keepers and putting every remaining loose object into a box. The movers won't move anything that is not furniture and is not a box, and so much of our stuff is floating around loose. Thank God the heat's letting up a bit, it's so hard to do physical labor when it's hot.

Then tomorrow, I have a lot of drag to do, starting with the ISE (Alameda County Imperial) Coronation at 6, then a fundraising event sponsoring Deepa Swamy & Kenneth Benton for the AIDS Marathon in Hawaii; Cookie Dough is putting the event on at Harvey's at 10:30 (I hope I can stay awake that late), a venue I've never performed... though back when Harvey's was The Elephant Walk (I'm seriously dating myself here), I used to "perform" badly there, getting drunk and slightly disorderly on spectacular happy-hour martinis. The Elephant Walk was, at one time, the only bar in the Castro that made a proper martini.

So if I'm going to get anything done, I'd better get started. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 9, 2004

Begone, Blues!

I'm sick of this shit... the heat, the aggravations, the disappointments... I've had enough. My plate is much too full right now, can I please get a doggie-bag and save some of it for later? Well, I seem to be handling it, perhaps it's not too full... but I'd really rather not have to deal with it all right now. I'm busy, OK?

Moving has begun in earnest at our office this week... we have until next Tuesday to pack everything up for the movers, who are coming on Wednesday. During that time, I have to get our phone service transferred to the new address, send in change-of-address forms to all of our accounts and to the post office, order new office-furniture to accomodate our larger premises as well as replace the telephones which needed replacing anyway, arrange for our leased equipment (namely the photocopier) to be moved by the lessors as is required by our contracts, order new stationery with the new address, and pack up not only my own desk but also the storage room, mail room, and the center office... as well as conducting the regular business of the union, which doesn't show any signs of letting up.

Mostly I'm just throwing things away and making phone-calls at this point. I cleared out my desk-drawers yesterday, which was like an archeological dig... I hadn't realized how long I've been at that desk until I started pulling out the drawers. I mean, I know I've been working at this job for nearly six years, and that I've been occupying that desk for five years, but to actually see five-year-old check stubs and photographs and correspondence really put those five years into a new and much longer perspective. It made me feel ineffably old. And out of six drawers, I only filled one banker's box with stuff to keep, and a whole garbage can with stuff to throw away. God knows what I'm going to find in the rest of the office.

All of this unaccustomed activity, coming on top of the accustomed activity, is unravelling my sanity. And then yesterday we went and looked at the new office space again, and I discovered that the arrangement of furniture that I spent six solid hours figuring out on Friday (using my 3-D Home Designer program to create a simulation of the office and all of our furniture) is not going to be possible because of the locations of light-switches, which I hadn't noted in our first walk-through, and because the contractors made the handicapped-access door in a different part of the main room than I had been told... so now I have to completely rethink the arrangement of several different areas.

On the other hand, I am actually enjoying the challenge of this move... the creation of the simulated environment and the arrangement and planning of furniture has been an immensely satisfying project, and arranging for the move of services has been kind of fun, too... but the actual grunt-work of packing, not to mention the extreme pressure of a looming deadline, these I could do without thankyouverymuch.

The fabulous and wildly expensive gown I ordered last week, and whose arrival I have been anticipating with great pleasure, finally came yesterday. And it didn't fucking FIT... not only was it way too small in the bust, which I expected but thought I could handle (breathing is highly overrated), but the hips and waist were too small, too. And the eBay vendor has a no-return policy. I was so upset I actually wept a little.

But then I got out my measuring tape and measured the gown... I could understand that my waist might be a bit bigger than it should be, but I know my hips haven't grown, so I wanted to see how the dress conformed to the size chart on the vendor's pages. And it did not, it was four inches smaller in the bust, two inches smaller in the waist and three in the hips, which pissed me off completely. I mean, the vendor cautioned that the chest-measurement just under the bust was smaller than usual, and cautioned to allow some "ease" in measuring, and so I erred on the side of caution and rounded my sizes up to a sixteen; but two or three inches is not "ease," it's a whole size difference. The dress was labeled a 16 but measured as a 13/14 by the manufacturer's own size chart.

I wrote to the vendor, explaining the measurement difference between the dress and the chart; and they are willing to exchange it for a larger size, which eases my mind somewhat... but they probably don't have that same dress in another size, and I really had my heart set on that dress. The disappointment is almost unbearable.

On top of these two really big deals (yes, I know, a dissapointing mail-order dress isn't really that big of a deal, but it's more upsetting to me because I was so looking forward to it... moving my office was expected to be a bore, but this dress was expected to be a dream-come-true... and while I know that expectations are just disappointments under construction, I have to allow myself to dream a little), there have been a host of minor irritations — two chipped nails, a wallet "lost" and frantically hunted for (making me almost an hour late for work) and which turned up in plain sight the next day, various inept service personnel behind sundry cash-registers, sandwich-shops that close right when I'm getting hungry for lunch, printer jams and recalcitrant fax-machines and stupid errors while writing checks for the office that made me waste three sheets of checks (which then had to be voided), technical difficulty with both of our phones at home, a minor but infuriating argument with the Grandmother — and one major disappointment with a person that I can't talk about here, in respect to the other person's privacy.

And then, all of this is underscored by a crushingly unpleasant heat-wave — which people who live in other parts of the world would pooh-pooh as standard summer weather (Ninety degrees in September? Big freakin' deal, they'll say in Arizona or Georgia or Wisconsin) — but which we in the Bay Area simply cannot handle, accustomed as we are to a more temperate clime.

So enough already, sez I. Enough with the irritations, enough with the disappointments, enough with the goddamned heat. I'm done.

In other, more pleasant, news: though my scheduled depression is here with me, and coloring my ability to handle the pressures and disappointments I am experiencing, it is not sapping my strength and my will quite as severely as it has in the past. It has, in fact, responded quite well to the simple expedient of One-A-Day vitamins (Active Formula with ginseng and extra B-Complex). My energy levels are up, and though I feel unaccountably sad or unexpectedly giddy every now and again, and though I do certainly feel spiritually lethargic and mentally uncreative much of the time, it's currently quite manageable.

Nevertheless, this is a stopgap measure until I can get my finances under control and can afford to spend money on homeopathy and/or psychotherapy. I can use simpler, cheaper tools to keep the depression at bay, but I know that it has to be addressed more aggressively in the near future. Still, it's nice to have a handle on a solution, even if only a temporary one... it's progress, and progress is good.

So, on that note, I wish you a lovely day, and am determined to have one myself.

Tuesday, September 7, 2004

Lost Weekend

Goddess, I'm a wreck! This heat is fucking killing me. All this weekend I couldn't do anything except lay on the living room floor watching television, playing video games, eating popsicles, and suffering. It was one of the worst wastes of time I've ever experienced over a three-day weekend.

It wasn't a total waste, of course... I did get some laundry done (three loads to be exact), and I watched some good movies with Caroline on Sunday afternoon (Spirited Away and Cowboy Bebop, both excellent bits of anime, and the latter had a soundtrack that totally got me wet). But I didn't do any writing, I didn't do any housecleaning, and I was really looking forward to doing some of these over the long weekend. Three whole days off, and I just watched television... and for most of the time, I wasn't even watching the television programs, I was simply staring at the colors and pictures as they flashed by in hyperspeed.

I am sometimes amazed by the amount of crap that is on television. I know I shouldn't be, but the sheer volume of crap is just stunning. I only have seventy-five channels on my cable, and at least fifty of them I never watch at all (news channels, sports channels, foreign-language channels, documentary channels, local access channels), and on the channels I do watch there is only about 25% of their programming that I will ever sit through for an entire show.

But if I had digital cable, I'd have five hundred channels to choose from, and probably not many more that I actually watched... maybe twice as many watchable compared to six times as many overall. So if you consider the four hundred or so channels for which I would have no use, and then the 75% dreck-rate on the channels I do watch, it just boggles the mind to think about how much utter crap that all adds up to.

Of course, one has to take into account one's own tastes... I suppose there are a lot of channels and shows that are not, in and of themselves, crap — but I don't like them, so they may just as well be crap for all the good they do me.

Nevertheless, there I was, absorbing the crap, so sapped by the heat that I didn't have enough energy to even read a book or browse the internet... I just lay there, pushing the remote's buttons and occasionally getting up to eat or drink or pee or go to sleep. On Monday I varied the routine by playing my now-antiquated N64 video games, getting through the childhood portion and the first adult quest of The Legend of Zelda and the Ocarina of Time (for about the seventh time) in about three hours.

Every once in a while I would go into my room and try to write in Worst Luck, but nothing would come out. I got so sick of looking at that last paragraph where I was stuck that I seriously considered scrapping the entire project.

But I realized that I was worrying too much about forcing myself to a stopping-place, and letting that prevent me from furthering the story or sharing what I already have. I have to struggle against the urge to make it perfect the first time. So I posted what I had, and figured I could edit a little when I do get to the end of the chapter... I guess I married myself to the structure of parts of chapters being the only thing I posted on the Worst Luck site.

But then I reminded myself that the whole point of putting it in a blog was to gain forward momentum... and just because something isn't part of the story yet (I should be writing out notes when I have ideas for later and posting them along with the sections), or just because it's not a natural pausing-place in the narration, these are not important enough to stall the progress.

So I am going to henceforth be a little more focused on forward movement in the story instead of on form and perfection, which can and should be instituted after the first draft is done... I keep forgetting that the Worst Luck blog is a first draft, not a finished novel. So I am going to do the parts as first-draft, then edit the parts together into chapters that will be posted whole and separate... and then when the whole thing is done, I'll start revising it into its finished form.

The other point of putting it in a blog, of course, was to get feedback on the progress, to have people out there reading it and letting me know when I am getting too far off-track, or too self-indulgent in description, or too lazy about momentum. So please do go visit Worst Luck and tell me what you think.

In the meantime, thanks for listening to me bitch about heat and television. I'd better get back to work... today I am assembling fifty bankers' boxes for our move, and it's almost as restful as origami, if one were making cranes out of thick cardboard. Then I'm going home to take yet another shower, I'm all hot and sticky and I can't stand it!

Have a super day!

By the way, I just noticed the date-stamp... today is my grandfather's birthday! He would have been 101 today. He was a wonderful man, maybe not the nicest or the most enlightened, but he was remarkable: he cheerfully shouldered far more responsibilities than his pampered upbringing prepared him to handle, and he accomplished more than anyone could have expected of him.

I miss him a lot still, even though he's been dead for seventeen years and was non compos mentis for another five years before that. I'd show you a picture, but I've never scanned one... there's a project for me, as soon as I unearth my scanner and get it set up again.

Thursday, September 2, 2004

The Size of the Sighs

Bonjour, M'sieu Tristesse! I don't know what it is today, but I feel horribly sad. Yesterday afternoon I did, too, just a little, after I got home from work (and overate all afternoon and evening as a result: three hard-boiled eggs, two peach popsicles, some potato chips, three or four coconut macaroons, quite a few cashews, a dinner of leftover Chinese food, and the top fourth of a quart of Dreyer's 50/50-Bar ice cream which I shoveled into my face straight out of the carton with a soup spoon until my teeth started to freeze); but today it's almost overwhelming.

It was even worse when I was at work and couldn't just curl up in bed with the rest of the ice cream, I had to just sit there and deal with it while answering phones (without snapping "What the hell do YOU want?" when I did it) and preparing for the first board meeting of the school year (which went unusually well).

The thing is, I am only having the physical sensation of sadness: that squeezy feeling in my chest and nose that comes right before I start weeping about something. But I have nothing to weep about. Besides the weepiness itself, I feel pretty good about everything (except those goddamned motherfucking asshole clitcrack Republicans)... I have enough energy to do my work, and I'm getting things done — I even like the outfit I have on, and my hair looks good. But when I sit still, when I'm not working and not eating, that overwhelming sadness just washes over me and leaves me feeling desolate.

Granted, I am completely broke yet again because I just had to have that $170 dress (it's so fucking fabulous, I tried to resist but couldn't, see it here) and so I'm living on my credit card again, which is kind of depressing; and then I'm not losing any weight, and after a week of dieting and exercising daily I actually gained a pound and a half, which was kind of depressing (and after last night's binge, I'm probably all the way back up to 215 by now); and let's not forget the Republicans... I try not to think about them, but there they are, ruining the world.

I had to eat my dinner on the back deck this evening so I didn't have to hear George Dumbass Bush jacking his asinine jaws on television. What I did hear sent me scrambling out of the house as fast as my big ol' feet could carry me, my dinner plate in one hand and my cranapple juice in the other, my phone-book-sized September Vogue tucked under my arm (my only other choice was to throw the television out of the window, and the Grandmother after it): in his opening remarks, Dumbass claimed credit for bringing the recessed economy he'd inherited up to a peak of prosperity.

Perhaps I missed something, but didn't this recession start with Dumbass, and isn't it still lingering?

Maybe he's talking about his own family's economy, which is getting fatter by the minute. I know my prosperity isn't peaking... I haven't had a raise in three years, not even a cost-of-living adjustment, and yet I paid more taxes each year.

Fucking Republican assholes, encouraging personnel outsourcing and raping the environment so the rich can get richer and the poor can go fuck themselves and the rest of us just sit here bewildered by debt; they don't even have a half-assed economic theory like Reagan's "Trickle-Down" to give us something to talk about over coffee... they're just distracting us from it by belaboring hot-button emotional issues in hopes that we won't notice what's going on.

Fucking shitcrumb motherfuckers. No wonder I feel depressed.

Well, I'm not going to let Dumbass and his cuntcrust coterie ruin my day. I'm going to go read Vogue some more and think about how fabulous I'm going to look in my new dress; maybe I'll think up more disgusting compound words while I'm at it. I hope you're feeling better than me, and don't let the assholes get you down!