Wednesday, June 29, 2005

What It's Like

Unemployment alternates between sucking and ruling. It rules insofar as I have all this time in which to write and sleep, my two favorite things to do in the world; but it sucks because I not only have no money, I have no superstructure to give me a feeling for what I'm supposed to be doing next.

I've been trying to make myself write every day... and it worked for a couple of weeks, I got a lot of really solid work done on Worst Luck. But this week, when the work is being done but the product isn't up to snuff, I get discouraged and upset. I started work on "Chapter 7 Part 1" on Monday, I started work when I got up at ten and went at it in stabs and spells until midnight, when I couldn't sit any longer; and the whole thing just went all out-of-control. So on Tuesday, since I couldn't see what was wrong with "7.1" but couldn't get past the blaring fact that there was something definitely wrong with it, I went back and polished the two parts of "Chapter Six" and posted that as a complete chapter.

Once that was done, I read over what I'd written on Monday, and finally had to just throw it all out. There was gratuitous sex and pointless description and everybody's dialogue sounded mean and angry; and I tried out this conceit of looking at the developing situation from the murderer's point of view, not naming who the murderer is but sort of giving a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what was really going on.

I finally decided that the conceit was just cheating, fudging the rules of detective fiction. But at least the courtroom scene was worth salvaging, and a few bits of good description, so though I deleted it from the Worst Luck blog, I saved it as a text document so I can scavenge its parts.

This is only a minor setback, but it was kind of painful, having to throw out work. It's not something I'm accustomed to doing... I'm the Queen of the First Draft, in college all of my papers were written all-of-a-piece and took very little conscious development; once I write something, it exists, and afterward only requires a certain amount of editing and polishing.

But the experience of blogging has taught me to relinquish lost work, when the computer would crash before I could save, or when Blogger's server would go down just as I was posting, or when posts would simply disappear for no apparent reason. When faced with the need to either replace the writing or give it up to the ethers, I learned that some writing is important and some writing isn't... and when it's important, re-writing it is good exercise.

I'm going to give myself a day to think about "Chapter 7" without writing anything, maybe it will percolate in the back of my mind and take on some weight and direction. In the meantime, I need to deal with real-world issues: doing some laundry, washing some dishes, finding my digital camera so I can take pictures of the jewelry I want to sell and get them posted on eBay, sorting through my books to see which of them can be sold, and so on.

Not being able to shop hasn't been as difficult as I feared it would be. Though I frequently shopped myself into a financial hole while I was working, the joy of the purchase outweighed the broke-ness that followed; but now, the indefinite nature of my broke-ness drains all the joy out of the purchase. I gave in to a shopping urge the other day and popped into Blockbuster to get a video, and bought Blade Trinity (the scrum-diddly-umptious Ryan Reynolds, all buffed and butch, duh-rooool!)... and I didn't get the slightest thrill out of the purchase. I actually felt a little bit ashamed of myself.

But it's the structure of having to be in a certain place at a certain time that I am really starting to miss. Though I have a sort of routine here, where I get up around nine and go to bed around twelve, and do a bit of writing every day, I don't really know what day it is sometimes, and I feel sort of drifty and unfocused much of the time. I mean, today doesn't feel that much different from yesterday, or tomorrow, and it's difficult to focus on real-time issues like appointments and bill due-dates when real-time doesn't exist for you.

Dissipation: that's what this feels like. I feel like I'm sort of dissolving and floating outward like a graham-cracker in a bowl of milk.

And when they're over, I'll think of these unemployed days as a blissful Elysium. Some people are just born to complain.

So anyway, I think I'll go do some laundry now, make an appointment or two, and take a nap. I hope you're having a lovely day, and I'll talk to you again soon!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

The Interview from Heck

So I haven't posted here in a while... I posted some new over at Worst Luck (Chapter 6 Part 1 v2 and Chapter 6 Part 2), but then I just emailed my two loyal readers instead of posting here about it. So if you want to know when I update Worst Luck, leave a comment there so I know you're interested, okay?

But I wanted to post something here before I go back and finish "Chapter 6." In keeping with my current Meme Theme (because all of my good creative energy is going into Worst Luck, I don't have any to spare here), here's a very amusing one I got at Green Duckies and would love to share with you.

It especially touched me because this meme asks you to pretend you're on a job interview. I am looking forward to going on job interviews someday soon, and they do ask the oddest questions, so I need the practice to keep on my toes. This interview is surreal to begin with, so the answers are not serious. Except about the clowns. But even if they're not serious, they are entirely true (well, the hat story in #12 is somewhat exaggerated). So anyway, enjoy...


The Fake Interview Meme

By Beth via Dana Marie.

1. Which constellation in the night sky do you identify with the most? Give me a synopsis of the mythology of that constellation, the correct coordinates in the sky, and the reason why you have chosen that constellation. Corona Borealis, whose primary star, Coronae Borealis Gemma, is located at RA: 15h 34m 41.26s and Dec: +26° 42' 53.2"... this constellation represents the tiara worn by Ariadne when she married Dionysos.

As you will no doubt remember, Ariadne was the princess of Crete who helped the Athenian prince Theseus escape from the Labyrinth after slaying the minotaur (she gave him a ball of string). Since this pretty well pissed off her father, King Minos, she had to run off with Theseus, who told her he loved her with a love that would never die. On the way home, however, Ariadne was "lost" on the Isle of Naxos... anyway, Theseus said he looked for her, but you know he'd never admit he was lost himself... so he abandoned her on the shore. While she was sitting there on the beach feeling sorry for herself and wondering what it was she did wrong, Dionysos (the god of wine and of theatre), noticed her sitting there and looking ever so pretty in the sunset (sunset lighting is the most flattering), and decided to marry her and make her a goddess. Which just goes to show, Greek men will break your heart, but Greek gods are da shit.

And finally, I love this constellation because it represents a tiara, and tiaras totally give me a boner.

2. What do you think of the color yellow? I'm in favor of it, but I think it should stay in its own neighborhoods; I mean, I like yellow, I support yellow's right to exist peacefully and enjoy the same civil rights as me, I just don't want yellow to move in next door to me. That doesn't mean I'm a bad person, does it?

3. My team lead needs to have the skills to tell me stories, complete with hand gestures. Go. Unfortunately, the only hand gestures I know are nonfiction. But I can tell you a story about how fictional hand-gestures cause colonic prolapsis. You want to hear it? I thought not. (PS: link not safe for work, children, or sensitive stomachs... it's sooooo gross!)

4. What is your opinion about clowns? Do you hold the same opinion about clown shoes? Clowns scare the shit out of me (seriously... I mean, don't even). If I see a clown, I will cry. But it's really the clown face that bothers me more than the clown shoe... yet, where there is a clown shoe, can a clown face be far behind? I would be inclined to run from a clown shoe before the clown face could catch up with it.

5. Which member of The Beatles was your favorite? Why? The mythical Fifth Beatle. Because he's always changing, and change is good. Speaking of which, do you have any change you could give me? I'm saving up for a one of those fancy dildoes molded from a real porn-star's cock, and they're kind of expensive.

6. Can you build an ark if there was a flood? Would it float? No, of course I can't; isn't that what we have immigrant laborers for? And, therefore, obviously, No it wouldn't float, since I didn't build it. Things which do not exist cannot float. Duh.

7. Follow-up to the ark question. Which ten species would you NOT take in pairs on your ark? "Species" is so specific, can't I pick a phylum or a genus? It would save so much time. No? Oh, wait a minute, this is a trick question, you said pairs... so as long as I bring more or less than two, it doesn't have to be none? No? It has to be one or none? Well, why didn't you say so to begin with? God, you're annoying. You'd think someone so picky would be able to dress himself better.

Okay, so ten animals that I would have only one or absolutely none of on the Ark. And I am assuming that I am not so benighted as to bring animals on board that can breathe underwater or float indefinitely? Okay, how about:
    1) domestic cats, I'm sorry, I know you have a cat and you love cats, but I just don't like them and would rather see them all drown, even this one you have a picture of on your desk;
    2) there are too many spider and insect species to choose from, so I can't say those since you stipulated it has to be a species and not a genus or phylum, so I will say the Daddy Long Legs spider, because those creep me out more than any other kind of bug;
    3) clowns aren't a species, but you can bet your flabby old ass I won't have any on my Ark, and that includes mimes, too;
    4) rats, they stink and are icky;
    5) squirrels, just to show them that they aren't any better than rats just because they have big eyes and fluffy tails;
    6) rabbits, I hate rabbits, unless they're cooked... they think they're so damned cute, with their soft fur and their floppy ears, but they're just big rats, too, and they stink;
    7) lemurs, fuckin' creepy, with those big staring eyes and those little pinchy fingers;
    8) tarantulas, there's just no reason for tarantulas;
    9), 10)... whatever. I'm sick of this bullshit. Do you have any cookies? Or heroin?
8. What is the cure for cancer? Presymptomatic Suicide. The cancer can't get you if you're already dead, now can it? And then, if you killed yourself before you had children, eventually the gene that predisposes one for cancer would die out, and cancer would be cured forever! Don't you want to do your part to cure cancer forever? Why not? What kind of selfish bastard are you?

9. Without the aid of a calculator or paper & pencil, what is the square root of 1,234,567,789? It's 35136.416849189389135155124817826. No, I didn't use a calculator! Are you accusing me of cheating? You wanna step outside and say that, mister? I didn't think so, ya punk-ass beyotch.

10. Tell me your thoughts about sprinklers. The kind that pop out of the ground and spray in all directions are really scary and mean, but the ones that go chuk-chuk-chuk-chuk-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch are cool. And the ones that swoosh back and forth like an upside-down punkah are pretty cool, too, so long as you can jump over them in your underwear. What do you mean, you don't know what a punkah is? You must be a Class-A moron. Everybody knows what a punkah is!

11. If you had a choice between being able to fly and being invisible, which would you pick? While flying would totally reduce my commute time and obviate my problematic road-rage, I'm far too much of a voyeur to pass up invisibility. That would be so fucking cool to spy on people when they don't know you're there, watching them have sex and listening to them talk unguardedly... you'd get the best stories for novels, and you'd never have to buy porn again.

12. What do you think about hats? I like hats, but hats don't like me. They make my ears stand out and emphasize how big my head is. And then, this one time, a hat bit me. Swear to god, it had teeth and everything. I was just sitting there minding my own business, dropping my acid and not doing anyone any harm, and this big-ass straw boater just walks right up to me and bites me on the leg. Can you beat that? Fucking straw boaters aren't even fashionable anymore.

13. Here's a scenario. Aliens have just invaded the planet and are colonizing in Minnesota (because they are crazy - you know aliens, never doing enough research about weather patterns). They have decided to not kill all humans and earth creatures and look for employment. How would you coach an alien in selling banking products? What? Wait, am I applying for a training position? In a bank? I thought I was interviewing for a game show. Well, fuck me with a stick!

14. Do you participate in Internet forwards? Do you believe that sending the email actually gives you good karma? Internet forwards are bad karma, dude. I mean somebody has to forward them, and I guess if you forward them you want your friends and family to help you bear the load of your bad karma, so you tell them it's good karma to send it along. But, dude, you just totally lied, and that's bad karma, too. So just don't do it. Unless there's a picture of a puppy in it.

15. Have you ever dreamed of monkeys ruling the world? If so, please describe the dream in detail. Be specific about the differences if monkeys were creating policy. No, I never dream about monkeys; but I do frequently dream I can suck my own dick. That's how I know I'm dreaming... sometimes I'll be in this dream and I wonder, is this real? So I try to suck my own dick, and if I can reach, it's a dream. In more ways than one, if you know what I mean, nudge-nudge wink-wink. Spoogetastico!

But if I did dream about monkeys ruling the world, they would not have policy, they'd just shove us in cages, make us play the cymbals and dance to a hurdy-gurdy, and throw crackers at us. It would be totally hot.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Wednesday's Child: the Following Tuesday

Something unfortunate has happened at Worst Luck: I was looking up a reference on Yahoo! and discovered that my creation of a new Protective Custody block has to be re-done completely. See, when I created this fictional newly-remodeled chunk of SF City Jail, I was working from one incorrect supposition and some information that was fourteen or fifteen years old.

My first problem was that San Francisco is a city and a county, and though the police department is run by the City, all detainment is operated by the County... so there is no such thing as a City Jail, on which I had been searching for references. So once I got that sorted out and searched for references to protective custody in the County Jails, I came across a lengthy document about the treatment and housing of transgender inmates, who are not to be housed in "Protective Custody" as they had in the past, but rather in a "vulnerable population" area that includes effeminate gays and too-pretty straights. Oh, and the SF County Jails are not divided into wards or blocks, they are divided into "pods" (which sounds too 70s to me, but I wasn't consulted).

Much of what I'd based the "Protective Custody" fiction on came from my old friend and former roommate Jason, who was arrested in San Francisco for misdemeanor possession of drugs and then extradited to San Jose for the parole violation of possessing drugs. I visited him in both places, and based my Worst Luck scenes on his sketchy descriptions. But that was almost fifteen years ago, and things have changed.

Aside from the fact that the phrase "vulnerable population" wasn't in use fifteen years ago, the gigantic and rather nice-looking County Jail #8 hadn't been built yet, either (it's that odd silver building with the undulating front which sits beside the freeway as you exit San Francisco on the Bay Bridge). The "Protective Custody Unit" used to be situated in the Hall of Justice building on Bryant Street, but now I find the "Vulnerable Population" is in the new building. And while, since Worst Luck is my own created world, I can very easily put the Vulnerable Population Pod back into the old Hall of Justice if I wanted to, with only minor editing, the fact remains that all booking is done in the new building, not in the old.

Then the document about transgendered prisoners created new problems for me. This document outlined policy changes that are better than the place I created in my imagination, and it behooves me (as a GLBT person as well as a supporter of law enforcement) to make the world of Worst Luck better than real life, not worse. Another problem is that transgendered or otherwise vulnerable people are not placed in Vulnerable Population when they are charged with a violent crime... and so Danny charged with murder and Kiki serving time for soliciting would not have even met; Danny would have been placed in today's "protective custody," which is more like solitary confinement.

So now I have to completely rewrite all of the jail sequences in their entirety: I can recreate Protective Custody any way I like, but it has to be recreated because it's simply too big and inclusive as I've written it; and either Kiki has to go, or I have to come up with some reason for Kiki to be in Protective Custody. I just don't know which way to go. Bother and buggery-fuck.

In the meantime, though, I posted a very nice scene yesterday, "Chapter 6 Part 2"... it's a single scene, much shorter than anything else I've posted so far, but I really liked it and felt it stood well alone. So go give it a gander.


To finish out this post, I was tagged by Dana Marie to play this meme. This is a cross-pollenation meme, so one starts off with a bit of business: Remove the blog #1 from the following list and bump everyone up one place; add your blog's name in the number five spot. You need to link to each of the blogs for much cross pollination of the other blogs.
Next, select four new friends to add to the pollen count. (Not obligated to partake... which is good, since I doubt they will... well, maybe they will... one lives in hope): I tag Vince, Paul, Gina, and Tom

And now for the meme itself:
Five Things I Miss About Childhood.

1. Being smaller than other people. I stand six feet, three-and-one-quarter inches in my socks (that's 1.9 metres for my international friends), so only pituitary freaks are any larger than me. I'm the tallest person in my family by several inches, and taller than almost all of my friends as well. I've met people over the years who are taller than I, and I usually develop serious crushes on them... if it weren't for painful memories involved in the game, I would be a total basketball groupie just to be around whole teams of men among whom I would be considered a runt.

I cannot be held in anyone's lap, I cannot be completely surrounded by a hug, I cannot have that wonderful protected feeling of standing in the warm shadow of someone who is substantially bigger than me. Spooning is always someone's back to my front instead of vice versa, and cuddling means me cuddling someone else. And while I am by no means averse to these, in fact I could go for some spooning and cuddling right now with a nice man of any size, and while I enjoy the strategic and psychological advantages of great height, I do miss being small sometimes.

2. Mother's Rice Pudding. This was a taste sensation! It was soothing and creamy and chunky and comforting and deliciously good. I have no idea what was in it, though... raisins, and cinnamon, and of course rice, but that's all I know. I asked Mother for the recipe a few years ago, but she has absolutely no memory of how to make her special rice pudding anymore; I'm not sure I can forgive her for this loss. Fortunately, I'd watched her making her special Fried Egg Sandwiches, so I can recreate the only other truly memorable dish in her limited repertoire.

3. Flicks. I don't know if you remember these, or if they still exist somewhere in the world, but they were a chocolate candy very like Hershey's Kisses, but flatter, which came in cardboard tubes wrapped in shiny foil. Grandpa used to always buy these for us, and aside from the fact that Grandpa gave them to us, the whole tube-instead-of-bar issue made them very glamorous. Oh, look! You can still get them!!! God bless the internet!

Still, I bet they don't taste as good unless Grandpa gives them to you; and I suspect they'll seem small and tasteless in comparison to my memory. Grandpa's presence, my smallness, and an unsophisticated palate were, I expect, parts of the "thereness," the Gestalt of Flicks.

4. Blond Hair, Lots of It, and All On My Head. I've never really reconciled myself to being brunet, nor to having body-hair, even though I've lived with both since I was thirteen... twenty-four years of brown hair all over the place and I've never got used to it. And I don't think anybody ever really reconciles himself to a receding and thinning hairline. While I would never willingly give up the pleasures of my adult body (though I wouldn't mind it going back to a previous shape, say twenty-seven or so), I would happily take back my prepubescently glabrous skin and thick dense head of shining straw-colored hair.

5. Impossible Dreams. It seemed perfectly plausible, when I was five years old, that I could become anything I wanted to be when I grew up... a butler, a magician, a tap-dancer, a girl. That Santa and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy existed seemed entirely rational.

I'd forgotten about that one, that I used to say I wanted to be a girl when I grew up; so why was anyone surprised when I turned out to be gay? They should have been surprised that I only became a drag-queen instead of a full-time transvestite or operative transsexual. But this was all before I knew anything about gender reassignment surgery or transvestism as a lifestyle, I don't think I'd heard about "sex change" until I was a teenager and didn't know about drag until I was an adult.

I actually believed that I could just turn into a girl somehow, perhaps through divine intervention, and so I prayed to God and Santa (who I couldn't ever quite tell apart) and wished on stars and wishbones and eyelashes and birthday candles for this change. I also believed I could obtain magical powers in this manner... when I said I wanted to be a magician, I didn't mean a regular guy who performed tricks of illusion and sleight-of-hand, I wanted to be a magician who performed real magic, like on Bewitched.

I would fantasize about it endlessly, but it wasn't just a "wouldn't it be cool if..." kind of fantasy, I was actually planning on these things happening and was very excited about this future in which all things were possible. It was a terrible and painful disappointment when it was finally made clear to me that my dreams were impossible.

I'd figured out the truth about Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny on my own, and the lies I was told to bolster these fictions made me deeply distrustful of adults, not to mention destroying my belief in God; and I'd clung to my fantasy future much longer than I should have, and therefore could neither enjoy the mundane present nor make realistic plans for the actual future. I really think I would have had a better childhood if I'd been given a better grasp on reality by adults.

I have long felt that it's wrong to foster a belief of the impossible in children. Encourage their imaginations, yes; encourage fantasy by all means! But don't make a child believe a fantasy is real, don't tell lies to make them think Santa Claus and the rest of that ridiculous pantheon exist. It's not that hard to explain to them that some things are possible while some things are fantasy, and that fantasy is good but it is not real.

Nevertheless, it was lovely while it lasted, this belief in the impossible, this expectation that, if I really wanted to, I could be anything at all. I do miss it, but unlike the rest of the items on this list, I wouldn't have it back at any price.


That wasn't as hard as I'd thought it would be. I didn't have a very nice childhood, and there's really not much I miss; as the title indicates, I was born on a Wednesday, and as we all know, Wednesday's Child is Full of Woe. So it was quite pleasant to go back and think about the things that were good, or at least that I wish I still had. Plus, I found out where to get Flicks! I call that a worthwhile expense of time and energy.

Well, it's back to the salt-mines with me; I need to start working out the necessary changes to Worst Luck. And see about finding a job. And do some laundry before my room starts turning back into a cave of horrors.
    [P.S. 2:45 p.m. ~ More bother and buggery-fuck... I started searching through the SF City website, specifically the Police Department and the Office of the District Attorney, they're very informative: the there is no District Attorney assigned to Homicide, there is one DA and a passel of ADAs who work on various crimes; the Homicide detectives are a Detail, not a Division; the Crime Lab is no longer in the Hall of Justice, much less in its basement, it was moved to a whole other goddamned building in Hunters Point in 1999! This information negates so much of what I've written that I am going to have to make even more changes! Details! Gah!

    But you know, I wouldn't have done the writing if I had waited on the research, because I would have kept putting the research off. So now that I've done the writing, I can focus my research on specific problems. So it's all good.]
Have a frabjous day, calloo, callay!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Meme a Little Meme

Another day where I don't really have anything to say... but I have gotten into the habit of posting here when I want you to go read another installment of Worst Luck. I posted "Chapter 6 Part 1" on Thursday (but tweaked with it a great deal after posting); and since I've put this new section in Chapter 6 instead of Chapter 5, I went back and edited Parts 1 and 2 into "Chapter 5 (Complete)"... though I fudged the date because I wanted "Chapter 6 Part 1" to remain on the front page. I also added a navigation bar so you can read all the completed chapters without hunting for them in the archives.

So having said that, what else? Nothing I really want to talk about... so I did another search for "Survey Meme" and found the following Random Survey/Quizlet at bzoink (beware of pop-ups), created by will2dye4:

Meme! Yay!

When was the last time you...

...ate something? I just had a Krispy Kreme doughnut. It made my tooth hurt.

...called someone? I seldom ever dial a phone, it's a weird phobia I have. So let's see, what number did I last dial? According to my cell-phone, the last time I called out was to phone my sister on the 13th, to see if she was coming to Yountville with us as planned (she was not).

...sent someone an email? Yesterday I sent an email to Cookie Dough, and another one to my Daddy. I don't send a lot of emails, either. Considering how much I like writing, you'd think I'd be more communicative.

...regretted doing something? That doughnut was fairly regrettable. But for a real live "I really wish I hadn't done that," irredeemable-and-avoidable-stupid-action regret? I can't honestly think of one.

...felt truly happy? Yesterday, when Grandmother told me how much she appreciates everything I do for her. And I felt truly happy earlier in the day when I pondered the satisfaction of getting so much work done on my novel. I am truly happy fairly frequently, even when I'm depressed... though I tend to not remember those moments when I'm depressed.

...cried? Let's see... the day I found out my boss had been reading my blog where I'd said regrettably nasty things about him and had a bit of an emotional breakdown (here's a link to the story of that event); and though I regret saying the hurtful things, I don't regret what came of it, so I didn't count that as a regret above.

...laughed out loud? Something else I do frequently... but a real good belly-laugh? Probably while watching television, some commercials really tickle me.

...gave someone a present? On Monday, I gave my former boss a CD I'd burned for him of Ella Fitzgerald songs I thought he'd like. Now that I'm broke, burned CDs are my favorite gift to give!

...laughed at someone else's expense? I tend to not find that sort of thing funny, and if I do, I'm too much a gentleman to let it out. No, I take that back: when my niece does something stupid, and then discovers it was a stupid thing to do, I feel it my avuncular duty to laugh at her so she remembers the lesson she learned. And then she reacts amusingly, too, so everybody wins.

...went to church? On Sunday. I go most Sundays. But I'm having a hard time coming up with a more descriptive phrase than "going to church." It gives people the impression that I go there to worship, while in fact I only go there to escort the Grandmother. But while I do frequently enjoy the sermons, and do spend a good deal of my time there praying and meditating, I am not a Christian and feel dishonest allowing people to believe that I am a Christian.

...were really scared of something? Last time I looked at my bills-pile. My car registration is coming due, and it's horribly expensive because I forgot to pay some parking tickets; and I still owe my dentist a last payment for that root-canal, and we're halfway through the month so I'm going to have all my regular bills (car, insurance, health-care, cable, eeek) due in another two weeks, and one of my credit cards is over limit, and I have less than three hundred dollars to my name, and even if I sell everything I have to pay next month's bills, there will be a month after that, and what if I can't find a job, and eeeeeeeeek! Scary shit, Vern.

...contemplated suicide? Same as above. I'm having my depression again, and I find that when I'm depressed, suicide always presents itself first as a solution to all of my fears and worries. But while I always think of suicide, and sometimes even contemplate various methods, I never want it. It's a permanent solution to temporary problems, and would be wildly inconsiderate to those who love me and even more inconsiderate to those who depend on me. I hope that by talking about it, always letting people know when I start thinking that way, I will be able to keep it in perspective as a symptom of an illness rather than coming to believe that it is a true desire. A lot of depressives and manic-depressives have committed suicide over the years because of an inability to tell the difference between a chemical urge and a true need, and I don't want to be one of them.

What if... were the last person on earth? I would be very lonely. I would probably give in to my suicidal contemplations rather than spend the rest of my life completely alone... though I would definitely go through all the stuff everyone left behind, first. I suffer from insatiable curiosity about people's stuff, and have to force myself to not go through dressers and medicine cabinets when I'm in someone else's house.

...everyone found out your deepest, darkest secret? I hope they'd tell me what it was. I don't think I have a deep dark secret.

...AIM didn't exist? Who? What? Oh, instant-messaging. I don't like instant messaging. It moves too fast, and all those abbreviations drive me mad. I'd rather talk on the phone, it's easier... and you know how much I dislike talking on the phone.

...microwaves didn't exist? We used to wonder what was so special about microwaves, and now we wonder how we lived without them. But I remember how we lived without them: we had to reheat our coffee and leftovers on the stovetop, and TV dinners took forty-five minutes to an hour. We don't really use our microwave for anything else, so it's not really a big deal.

...we drank all the world's freshwater? We'd all have to pee, really really bad. And a lot of species of fish would go extinct in the space of one afternoon. Then we'd have to find a way to filter the salt out of salt-water, or the urea out of our pee. Or just wait for it to rain or snow or something. Fresh water isn't really all that hard to come by, it's just that people have the bad habit of overpopulating places with a limited local supply.

Do you consider yourself to be...

...religious? No. I distrust religion on principle, the way I distrust fad diets... lazy-minded people get hold of a good thing and corrupt it into evil. I'm brilliant. In fact, I am a low-end genius, with an IQ of 143. But I still do stupid shit all the time.

...funny? I do think so, and people tell me so all the time. But I find if I try to be funny, I'm not.

...handsome/pretty? No, I don't believe I'm either handsome or pretty. I'm okay, reasobably attractive and maybe even cute from certain angles, but I do not rely on my looks for anything. Not as much as I'd like to be. I'm pretty good at figuring things out, but once you get into the terminology and the really involved shit, I just shrug helplessly.

...a Democrat? No. I don't even think of myself as a "liberal" anymore. I think the Democratic Party and the word "liberal" have lost their meaning. I'm more of a progressive socialist (with a lower-case S, it's not the same thing as a Socialist, which has unfortunate Soviet connotations).

...a Republican? I used to be registered Republican, back in the Reagan/Bush-Senior era. They had a glamor and a gravity that I admired, and their conservatism was allied with the preservation of personal wealth and a healthy economy, which I believe is a good thing; but when I got a little older, I saw that it was all just window-dressing for corporate piracy. Now the Republican Party throws hokey pseudo-hillbillies into the public eye, and its conservatism is allied to the preservation of traditional values and morality, with which I do not agree in the slightest. And it's still just window-dressing, fairly transparent window-dressing at that, for the greed of amoral corporate raiders. Abraham Lincoln is probably spinning in his grave.

...poltically moderate? Political moderation is more dangerous, in today's climate, than radical liberalism or neo-conservatism. There is no room for moderation, anymore. I believe in moderation in all things, but the political climate of the US has been forced into this divided-camp paradigm in which moderation has devolved into center-seeking and vote-pandering. Moderation will not be achieved by center-seeking, it must be achieved by consensus-building, and consensus will not happen until the pendulum swings so far out of the center that moderate people become fully disillusioned with the rhetoric of whatever side they're on.

...moody? That depends on how you define "moody." Moodiness is usually defined as being in a bad or gloomy mood all the time; but if by "moody" you mean that I have all sorts of moods and run the gamut of moods without warning, then yes I am. My moods change ten times a day.

...generous? Again, not as much as I'd like to be. I have the urge to be gracious, giving, and generous, but then I am struck by the fear that if I give too freely of my time, energy, and goods, I'll be left with nothing. So I try to be generous, which isn't as good as being naturally generous, but is better than being completely selfish.

...rude? Never intentionally, I hate rudeness. Still, I will sometimes do something rude without thinking... 'not thinking' is what makes rudeness possible in the first place.

...irresponsible? A little. Once I take on a responsibility, I am quite responsible; but I will do almost anything to avoid taking on responsibilities.

If money were no object...

...what kind of car would you drive? A Jaguar, I think a nice new S-Type in Topaz with the Champagne Contrast Piping interior. But if money were really no object, I wouldn't do much driving, myself: I'd have a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce Silver Cloud, preferably in chocolate-and-gold two-tone. And one seriously hot chauffeur.

...what are the first five things you'd buy? A penthouse apartment (with furniture of course, but those are multiple rather than single things), the biggest diamond I could lay hands on, a silver fox coat, a Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud in chocolate-and-gold two-tone, and a pug puppy.

...would you invest in the stock market? No, I would have people who do that for me.

...would you donate money to charities? Again, my people would see to that. But I would be more likely to set up a scholarship foundation, as well as attend fundraising galas, than donate money directly to charities.

...where would you go on vacation? All the way around the world, starting from San Francisco Bay and heading west, with stops at every port that looked interesting, on every continent including Antarctica, in my own fabulous yacht. One of these yachts, I think, something in the two-hundred-foot range.

Could you live without...

...TV? Probably, so long as Tom Welling agreed to come over to my house so I could revel in his beauty at least once a week.

...the computer? I could, theoretically, but I'd really rather not. How could I participate in all these mindnumbingly useless blog memes without my computer? And what about my porn? And I never would have become a writer without a computer, I didn't ever think to write until I was given access to one.

...a microwave? Easily. In fact, our microwave broke down a couple of years ago, and I really didn't miss it. We got it repaired, of course, Grandmother uses it for all sorts of things like baking potatoes and warming leftovers, but I really only use it to reheat coffee. I haven't had a sip of wine in over ten years, so apparently I can live without it, quite easily. I miss it sometimes, though, all the glassware and terminology and snobbery. Depends on what you mean by "love"... your general agape or familial or fraternal love, I don't suppose I could live without it. But romantic/erotic love? I've lived without for quite some time. I don't recommend it, though, it's kind of painful. But not as painful as rejection, so here I sit.


Now it's your turn. And if you aren't going to do the meme (or even if you are), go read the latest at Worst Luck, and leave a nice comment so that I won't be tempted to tweak with it any more. In the meantime, I'm going to go watch television for a while and think about the next section, in which Varajian & Spevik come to an understanding and Danny is arraigned for Murder 2. Have a lovely day!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The More You Complain,The Longer God Leaves You Here

Hello, friends! I have been away from the computer for a few days... well, not really "away" as in "without access"; the computer is still here, and I'm still here, and the DSL is still here. Rather, I have had so much to do the last few days that I haven't had any time to write, and only barely enough energy to read my (wee tiny handful of) emails and blogs.

On Saturday, after writing the previous post, I went to a party to celebrate a friend's five years of sobriety; it was a great party, and I had a wonderful time. I should have called it a week (like "call it a day" but longer) after that, but how was I to know that my depression and the heat were going to get together and make me miserable for the next few days?

Sunday was a driving hell... I put nearly two hundred miles on ol' Miss Jane; not a terribly long drive in and of itself, if I'd driven it in one direction on a freeway I wouldn't have been exhausted. But it was so much back-and-forth, on streets, in traffic, in glaring dry horrible heat... my weekly 25 miles route from home to Daddy's in Concord to Walnut Creek for church; then while Grandmother and Daddy were in class, I went to a few shops to see about getting gifts for a party I was attending in the afternoon; and then after church, the reverse route back home to drop off Grandmother and Daddy and Ariel (my niece... you remember her)...

...then I stopped at Bay Street in Emeryville to buy the gifts I hadn't managed to find out in Concord, and after hunting Bay Street for a store that carries gift-bags, I had to drive on to the giant new Target in Albany, where I found the cutest gift-bags you ever saw; then it was up to El Sobrante (25 miles from home, Emeryville and Albany being stops on the way) to attend a party celebrating Dalton's graduation and Dakota's birthday, where I had another really good time... despite the fact that it was far too hot and I didn't take time to change, so I was still in a dress-shirt and my chic but not-very-practical wood-heeled Giorgio Brutinis...

...then I had to go home to Oakland in the Sunday Afternoon Backup (when all the Sheep who left town during the Friday Evening Backup turn around and come home, all at the same time) and pick up those I'd dropped off; then a drive halfway back the way I came on I-80 to El Cerritto, where we were meeting my sister for dinner at Macaroni Grill in celebration of her birthday (which was Thursday); after that, it was back out to Concord via Highway 4 to drop the Daddy off at home, then the same twenty miles back home on 680 and 24 to dear old Oakland, where I fell into bed without even turning my computer on. My feet were swollen and bruised from standing around in my snappy little GBs, my hands hurt from gripping the steering wheel for so long, my shoulders were just killing me, and I had indigestion and the beginnings of heat-prostration.

So on Monday I had planned to just sit here at home, recovering from the unaccustomed activity and working on the next portion Worst Luck (during all that driving, I had decided that the next portion shall still be Chapter 5, and had figured out how to orchestrate a change in time and pace). But it was not to be... first, JB at the office called and reminded me that we were meeting for lunch at Everett & Jones (the best barbecue in Oakland) to celebrate my former boss's birthday. After that, I went back to the office and spent some time chatting with everyone and doing some bookkeeping. Then I went grocery-shopping, which was difficult and boring (but at least there were some cute boys in the store). And all this time I was absolutely fainting from the heat, struggling under the weight of my depression, and still weary from my Sunday exertions.

Then, just as I finally struggled home with my groceries and dinner for the evening, intent on stripping naked and laying down in front of an electric fan with a lemonade popsicle and a cold facecloth, Grandmother asked if I'd be willing to drive her down to San Jose right away... my Aunt Terry was about to have an emergency appendectomy, and Grandmother wanted to be on-the-spot. Well, it's the familial thing to do, and of course I'm always willing to drive Grandmother anywhere she wants to go (even when I'm not willing, if you see what I mean). So after a quick refreshing shower and a fistful of Advil, I bolted my chow mein and got back in the car to head down to San Jose (about forty miles).

Which brings me to my greatest complaint: driving with Grandmother can be such a trial. The hospital my aunt was at is just off Bascom Road, and we were told to take the Bascom Road exit from I-85; however, like most roads in San Jose, Bascom is so long that it has exits off of several different freeways; we got off too soon, taking the Bascom exit off I-880.

Well, I know this little trick of San Jose's, I've done it more times than I can count, so I just kept driving up Bascom Road, assuming (quite correctly) that I would eventually cross I-85 and there would be the hospital. But all the way up Bascom Road, Grandmother was begging me to stop and ask directions. I of course refused... it's one of my few typical male traits, along with having to hold the remote control, but I refuse to ask for directions until I'm so lost that I don't even recognize the names of the towns we're passing through.

Still, she kept nagging and nagging and nagging, so finally I called Information, which connected me to the hospital (which of course costs money), and I asked for directions... and no sooner had I explained my current location to the receptionist at the hospital than I was crossing I-85 and there it was, big as life, exactly as I said it would be. Grandmother was unrepentant, saying it was worth the money and effort to know, even for a second, that we weren't lost.

Then when we got into the hospital, of course nobody who worked there knew anything... the front desk was operated by a rent-a-cop who clearly hadn't finished high-school yet and couldn't spell the name "Robert" (the tenth most common name in the US) without careful coaching; the nurses we encountered had only one piece of information to share, that visiting hours had ended fifteen minutes ago, though when pressed would give us inaccurate and unhelpful directions that Grandmother didn't understand but thought she did.

And since Grandmother was in her wheelchair, I was still technically "driving"... and she showed as much faith in my abilities there as she had in the car, demanding that I ask for directions and that I repeat everything twice and that I go see what's down that hallway we just came from, flinching every time we stopped or started and grabbing the arms of the chair every time I turned a corner. By the time we found our final destination, the O/R Waiting Room (with the kind assistance of a passing civilian who overheard me trying to summarize for Grandmother all of the tidbits of non-information we'd been given by all the idiots she'd insisted on asking for directions), I was absolutely seething with fury and frustration.

Though her micromanaging is irritating, the thing that really grills my ass is the lack of faith she has in me. When she goes somewhere with her son, my Uncle Ralph, she never asks where we are exactly or why we're taking this route or whether or not we're going the speed-limit or whether he knows exactly where he's going and can explain it to her. She barely even looks out the window, perfectly content and perfectly safe. When he pushes her in the wheelchair, she relaxes and enjoys the ride, rather than gripping her chair-arms and letting out little squeaks of terror whenever we come within a yard of the curb or knots of people. She has complete faith in him; and that faith is well-founded, he's a responsible and capable man. But she has absolutely no faith whatever in me, despite my continually proving myself to her as a crack navigator and fairly intelligent person.

I know there's nothing I can do about it, that no matter how many times I arrive safely at a destination she will not believe I know what I'm doing. I try to not get upset about it, try to accept it as a condition of Being Grandmother, try to humor her, try to keep the whole thing in perspective. But I was too exhausted from driving and too worn out from the heat and too emotional from depression, and found it nearly impossible to refrain from hitting her. I managed, but just barely.

So anyway, we lurked around the hospital for a few hours with my cousin and her husband and Aunt Terry's friend Pat, perched in an uncomfortable chair reading a Nora Roberts novel (Hot Ice, it's interesting and I love the writing-style, but there is far too much effort spent on the romantic tension and not enough on the actual plot... I keep wanting to yell at the characters "just fuck already and get it over with!" but they don't listen) and trying to pretend I was somewhere else.

Then we drove home, and though Grandmother didn't nag me nearly as much (we weren't in as much of a hurry, and she wasn't as worried about her daughter), I was still tense and irritable... and so, after another hour in the car, we got home and I went to bed with knotted shoulders and an incipient migraine and didn't even turn the computer on.

On Tuesday, we had to get up at the crack of dawn... we were driving to Yountville, a country town some fifty miles north of here, smack in the middle of the wine country, and had to be there at 10 a.m. So there I was with a headache, depression, and muscle-fatigue on top of six hours of sleep, with another long drive on a hot day to look forward to. As you can imagine, I spent most of my morning prep-time sucking down coffee and praying for patience, acceptance, and a generous heart.

So we got out to Concord, the morning traffic only adding an extra ten minutes to the twenty-minute drive, and picked up Daddy. And as we drove up to Yountville (I had written down careful directions from Yahoo! Maps, which I gave to Grandmother so she could pretend she was navigating), I mused on the differences between Daddy's deafness and Grandmother's deafness: Grandmother doesn't hear things if she is chewing or coughing or still talking, or if you speak facing away from her, and it's irritating because she often will ask you a question when you're in a different room or will cough or chew or keep talking after asking the question, thereby drowning out any possible answer so you have to repeat it; Daddy, on the other hand, is just hard-of-hearing, but over the years he has gotten where he sort of tunes out during periods of silence or when people aren't talking directly to him, so that although he can hear me speaking in a normally projected room-size voice, I nevertheless have to repeat everything I say because he was, almost without exception, not listening... and that's even more irritating than not hearing.

I faced the fact some time ago that my issue with having to repeat myself is my problem, not theirs... it's a hurtful echo of my childhood when I feel that people aren't listening to me. I hate not being listened to more than anything else. So when I am always repeating myself with Grandmother and Daddy, I try to remember that it's just their ears and their age and their deteriorating hypothalami that are operating this issue, not them ignoring me on purpose or out of indifference. But I still react emotionally, violently even, I can't seem to get past that.

So in the hour and fifteen minutes it took to drive from Concord to Yountville (Yahoo! claimed it should only take an hour and two minutes, but I don't think they calculated the sheer numbers of ass-hats littering the roads that morning) I simply gritted my teeth and dutifully repeated everything twice; sometimes my temper got away from me and I snapped, but mostly I managed to just repeat the words without displaying the rage.

Our purpose in Yountville was to tour the facilities of the Veteran's Home. Daddy is planning to sell his house (if I might call a double-wide prefabricated aluminum box with wheels in its foundation such) and move there, and Grandmother and I wanted to see what the place was like; we both know Daddy can be impulsive, and will view things through rose-colored glasses, so we wanted to see if the place is as nice as he said it was.

And much to our delight, the place was even better than he'd led us to believe. The grounds are beautiful, the buildings are immaculately kept, the facilities are exceptional, the level of service was what you'd expect from a cruise-ship, the people are lovely and happy and kind. It was almost too good to believe... hell, I would happily live there myself, if it weren't for the complete lack of cute boys (the only attractive males I saw the whole time I was there were on a prison work-furlough crew clearing brush around the theatre complex).

After an excellent lunch in the really quite lovely dining hall, we left our very informative tour guide and drove back down to Napa, there to discover the location of a Church of Christ. Daddy wants us to come visit him once a month at least, and Grandmother wants him to go to Church of Christ rather than attend generic nondenominational Protestent services in the chapel on the Yountville grounds (which also provides services for the Catholic, Jewish, Anglican, and Latter Day Saints faiths), so I thought we'd kill two birds with one stone and find a Church of Christ nearby.

So Daddy looked online and found two Churches of Christ in Napa, which is the next town down the road from Yountville. One was on Orchard, and the other was on First Street, but he hadn't brought the addresses or directions with him. So since I knew that First Street was a freeway offramp, I got off there, and planned to drive First Street in one direction and then in the other until we found it. Simple, no?

Stop and ask for directions... here's a gas station, stop and ask... what street are we on now?... why did you turn left? Grandmother carped the entire time. Daddy was just as difficult, repeating over and over the information that he'd gotten, that the church was "on First Street near Highway 29 in the center of town," but he didn't know if it was the Highway 29 we'd come in on or if there were an "Old 29" or "Business 29" or if the "center of town" was Old Downtown or some other, more truly central, part of Napa. Such were irrelevant, since my oft-repeated plan was to simply drive the entire length of First Street, on which we knew the church was situated; all I could do was try to distract them by pointing out the lovely Victorian buildings and lush flora of Napa.

The church turned out to be on the right, less than a block from the freeway we'd come in on, and I had chosen to turn left off the freeway quite arbitrarily, but still don't see why that's a problem. When you don't know exactly where something is, you look for it, systematically and in a spirit of open inquiry. But I guess I was wrong, because the next few minutes were spent bitching about how the church was right next to the freeway and we'd "wasted" all that time "getting lost" in scenic Old Downtown Napa. I tell you, if it wasn't so hot outside, I would have just parked the car and walked away from it.

Well, anyhow, the church was found, the minister interviewed, and everything settled. The whole thing could have been done on the phone. I practically had lockjaw from clenching my teeth, and I was so sleepy I could barely keep my eyes open, so we went on home after that. Another hour in the heat and the stupid-people-everywhere traffic and the "is this the right way? Are you sure?" only interrupted when Grandmother nodded off.

When I got home, I locked my door, turned on my fan, ate a popsicle, and watched Have His Carcase on VHS until I fell asleep. But I didn't feel good, even after the nap, even after the shower and the quick dinner, even after the AA meeting. I just felt crappy, and when the time came to actually go to bed, I couldn't get to sleep for the tension in my shoulder and jaw and the carousel of resentments that kept spinning through my mind.

But now here I am, feeling a little better after a good night's sleep, and determined to stay home and not do anything for anybody except myself. I don't care if the house burns down, I'm not leaving; I don't care if we're attacked by aliens, I am not getting in the car and driving anywhere.

I'm just going to sit here and complain... actually, I guess I'm done complaining, having gotten all of the above off my chest. It was exhausting, too, I've been at it for nearly three hours and my shoulders hurt again. So I will just sign off, do a couple of strictly-for-me in-home errands (like finally making that psych appointment so I can get to work on this despression shit), then maybe go back to bed and read, and then maybe get up again and do some writing, and then maybe nap and snack for the rest of the day.

Thanks for listening, and have a super cheerful day!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

"Meme" is Bloggerese for "Filler"

I don't have much to say except that I finished Chapter 5 Part 2 last night and am already in the planning stages of the next section... though I'm not sure if it should be "Chapter 5 Part 3" or "Chapter 6 Part 1"... maybe I'll write it first, then decide where it goes. Faithful Worst Luck reader Dana Marie of Green Duckies even read it while I was making my last edits (as did someone else who went on about Kept and his theory that Devonric has done internet porn); in honor of her devotion, I have lifted a meme from her website in order to fill out this blog entry. Like her, I did this meme a year or so ago, but the answers do change from one moment to the next... and even if the answer is the same, I will naturally say it differently.

31-derful Questions!
(with apologies to Baskin-Robbins)

1. What time did you get up this morning?
10:40 a.m. I woke up a little before ten, though, and just lay there thinking and stretching and yawning and enjoying not having to go anywhere. It was lovely!

2. Diamonds or pearls? Why can't I have both? But if I have to choose, I'll take the diamonds. Girl's gotta sparkle!

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Uhhhh... shit, I haven't been to the movies in eons. The last movie I saw in a theater was Kinsey, way back in early February.

4. What is your favorite TV show? I'll have to go with DM on this... CSI, the original. I really like all the characters, I am in love with Greg Sanders (played by Eric Szmanda) and would happily marry any of the men on the show (with the reserved exceptions of Dr. Robins and Captain Brass, who nevertheless would do in a pinch), and I love the mystery-solving mechanisms of the show.

I don't care for any of the other CSIs, there are too many actors who bug me... David Caruso of CSI: Miami and Gary Sinise of CSI: New York both make my skin crawl and always have.

My uncle, who's a retired policeman who has actually worked as an evidence technician, pointed out to me all the things that are wrong with that show: like the way the forensics team goes around talking to suspects, which simply isn't done; or the one crime-lab having every piece of multi-million-dollar equipment known to forensic science just lying around the office. Maybe they do it different in Las Vegas than in Oakland, with their much higher municipal budget?

5. What did you have for breakfast? Bread-and-butter, a favorite that is definitely not on my diet... but then I'm not really on my diet. On the other hand, it was twelve-grain bread with Fleischman's, so it wasn't as bad for me as it could be.

6. What is your middle name? Eugene... I try to keep it on the down-low, though, OK? I know I can trust you.

7. What is your favorite cuisine? Italian, probably. I love Chinese food, and I love "California Cuisine" (which, like Postmodernist Deconstructionism, can't really be defined, but you know it when you see it), and I really quite like good ol' Murrican cooking like meatloaf and mac-and-cheese and chicken-and-dumplings. But my favorite restaurants are Italian restaurants, and my favorite food-words to say aloud are Italian words (gnocchi Bolognese, fettucine alle vongole, bistecca puttanesca, etc.) so I'll go with that.

8. What foods do you dislike? Avocadoes, celery, boiled greens, endive, fried oysters, items from what I call my Grandmother's "Texas Dirt Farmer Menu" (the aformentioned boiled greens along with black-eyed peas and cornbread... I don't object to these latter two in and of themselves, I just don't like the way Grandmother cooks them), and any part of an animal that wasn't a muscle (with the single exception of foie gras)... I once left a Chinese restaurant because I found "Pig stomach with blood cubes" on the menu; a traditional peasant dish, but I simply couldn't remain in the same building with something so lurid.

9. What is your favorite chip flavor? It's a toss-up between salt-and-vinegar Lays and lime Lays. I bet they'd taste really good tossed together, too.

10. What is your favorite CD at the moment? I don't have a favorite at the moment... but in the car, my "Happy Songs" iTunes playlist is in the CD-player:
    1. "Get Happy" - Ella Fitzgerald, The Harold Arlen Songbook
    2. "Queer as Folk Theme" - Murray Gold, Queer as Folk Soundtrack (British)
    3. "South Of The Border" - Keely Smith, Keely Sings Sinatra
    4. "It's Raining Men" - The Weathergirls
    5. "Comes Once in a Lifetime" - Carol Burnett
    6. "Goody Two Shoes" - Adam Ant
    7. "I Am Woman (Dance Mix)" - Jessica Williams, Trick Motion Picture Soundtrack
    8. "The Lonely Goatherd" - Julie Andrews and Children, The Sound of Music
    9. "Walkin' on the Sun" - Smash Mouth, Fush Yu Mang
    10. "Groove Is In The Heart" - Deee-Lite
    11. "Funiculì, funiculà" - Luciano Pavarotti
    12. "Walking on Sunshine" - Katrina and the Waves
    13. "Old MacDonald" - Ella Fitzgerald, Whisper Not
    14. "I Am What I Am" - Respect, Queer as Folk Soundtrack (British)
    15. "Long As I'm Here With You" - Sheryl Lee Ralph, Thoroughly Modern Millie
    16. "A Little Less Conversation" - Elvis Presley & Junkie XL, Elvis: 30 #1 Hits
    17. "Here's to Love" - Renee Zellweger & Ewan McGregor, Down With Love Soundtrack
    18. "Big Spender (Wild Oscar Mix)" - Shirley Bassey, The Remix Album
    19. "Rock Lobster" - The B-52's
11. What type of car do you drive? I am proud to drive a 2002 Ford Focus SE (there's a picture of my sweet Miss Jane in the column to your left)... I was pleased to hear recently that Ford Motor Company has told the American Family Association to go bugger itself, and made the AFA back down without budging an inch on its nondiscrimination policies or its sponsorship of gay cultural events and support of gay rights. Yay, Ford!

13. What characteristic do you despise? Intentional Ignorance, and its inevitable outcome, Complete Lack of Empathy (which in turn lights the way to Crime and Cruelty).

14. Favorite item(s) of clothing. I love a full-length beaded evening gown with furs and jewels... but my real favorite clothes are a ringer-tee and shiny basketball shorts, which are what I'm wearing now.

15. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? Can I just say "Europe" and sort out the actual itinerary later?

16. What color is your bathroom? Blue and white and pink, mostly. The tile on the floor and walls are antique white with navy blue insets; the tile in the bathtub is white veined with light-blue; the paint and porcelains are all antique white (and by "anitque white" I do not mean the modern color Antique White, but rather white things which have mellowed with extreme age, to which we had the paint carefully matched); the shelf-liner is pale aqua green; the towels and things are mostly rose-pink, but we also have some towels in sage and some in a blue-green-white stripe. The rugs are dark pink, the shower-curtain is white with green leaves and pink roses, and the curtains are light rose-pink and ruffly (and I hate them).

17. Favorite brand of clothing? Most of my clothes are from the Gap, but I prefer Ralph Lauren for men, women, and home, the couture and the prêt-à-porter, even the Polo and Lauren licensed brands (I just can't afford any of it).

18. Where would you retire? Here? And barring here, anyplace with lots of hot naked guys, a beach-front gay resort or something? I look forward to one day being a Dirty Old Man.

19. Favorite time of day? Tea-time (that's four p.m. for my non-Anglophile friends).

20. What was your most memorable birthday? My 24th; my mother gave me a large check for my birthday, so I bought a fabulous new gown and took all my friends out for drinks and dancing at a club that used to be in San Jose, Club St. John, where there was a huge and fabulously mean comedian at the piano-bar. We drank champagne and had a delicious time. Then we went to Denny's for breakfast.

21. Where were you born? Fort Ord, CA... but it's not there anymore.

22. Favorite sport to watch? Wrestling. Preferably nude erotic domination wrestling, but I'll take regular Greco-Roman/Freestyle without complaint. Hell, I'll even watch professional wrestling, so long as the sound's off.

23. What fabric detergent do you use? Tide. I don't know why. I frequently wonder how Grandmother came up with her brand preferences, but we have always used Tide.

26. Coke or Pepsi? Coke by default, I just don't like Pepsi... but I don't really care for colas all that much. Actually, I'm getting where I don't like soda-pop anymore. I love Stewart's Key Lime soda, and various sparkling mineral waters (especially Pellegrino), but in general I prefer juice, lemonade, or iced tea when I need a refreshing beverage.

27. Are you a morning person or night person? Night-time is when I come alive... which makes it difficult to sleep when I have to be on the same nine-to-five schedule as the rest of the world.

28. What is your shoe size? Eleven in men's, thirteen in women's.

29. Do you have any pets? Sadly, no. But I want a pug.

30. What did you want to be when you were little? A butler, or a tap-dancer, or a magician.

31. What is something that you would like to do, but have never done? Live in somebody else's body for a little while. Like maybe Brad Pitt (aside from the fun of touching myself all over, and seducing half of West Hollywood, it would afford me the sterling opportunity to slap the shit out of Angelina Jolie).


Well, that was fun, as always. And it took up enough of my day that I can go do something else without feeling like I ought to be here writing something. So I am going to go wash some dishes and then lay down and read a little while. Or maybe I should put in one of these low-impact aerobics tapes I found when I was cleaning my room, and see about twisting off a few unsightly pounds... yeah, that's what I'll do!

And you, unless you're doing something more important (though I can't imagine what), can go read the latest installment at Worst Luck (which, incidentally, is the first of over five million things that come up if you search "worst luck" at Yahoo! [though it comes up #29 out of three million at Google... I'd better work on that]).


Wednesday, June 8, 2005

And Words Spew Forth on the Righteous

I've just been a writin' fool these last few days. Emails and blog-comments rather than posts here at Mannersism, but most of my writing has been at Worst Luck... I combined and finished off the first draft of Chapter Four, and have posted the first part of Chapter Five since last I wrote here.

It's wonderful being able to devote so much time to my writing, but I am going to have to start concentrating more on the job issue... I'm just about out of money. I have all my bills paid for this month, but with only about eight dollars left over, and a little bit of wiggle-room on one of my credit-cards. It's a very uncomfortable feeling.

I am going to start sorting through my jewelry and books to find things to sell at eBay and local buy-and-sell stores (I need to drastically reduce both collections anyway), and I think I'm going to register with a temp agency for the time being instead of focusing exclusively on finding a permanent job right now... but also keep looking for permanent employment, step up the job search to a daily ritual instead of once or twice a week checking on the boards of the two companies I want to work for as well as the two job-search-engines at which I am registered (Yahoo! Hot Jobs and Bay Area Job Finder).

Pardon me if I'm rambling, but I'm very sleepy; after going to bed last night at my unemployment-usual two a.m., I got up really early (7:30) this morning to help my sister move before going to lunch with JB and AM from the office, and afterward we did quite a lot of window-shopping. I fell in love with a sofa at Restoration Hardware (it was so comfortable I didn't want to get out of it), and I keep thinking about it; I also got a little jeweled elephant (it was 75% off) and some stationery cards with pugs on them (have I ever mentioned that I love pugs?) and a jar of face-cream that I totally can't afford but after trying the sample I couldn't continue to exist without it (l'Huile d'Olive [that's olive oil, in case you don't know French] Radiance Moisturizing Cream from l'Occitane en Provence).

And now I'm just writing because I need to write but I can't concentrate sufficiently to do any work on "Chapter 5, Part 2." I think I shall take my sleepy little brain out to the living room for some soothing television, or maybe I'll just get in bed and watch a video or something. I don't know. I don't care. Too sleepy to care.

Talk to you again soon!


Friday, June 3, 2005

Kickin' Ass & Takin' Names...

This has been an unusually productive week. In the last seven days I have accomplished so many things that I've been putting off for months and even years that I occasionally have to stop and just marvel at the degree of achievement.

I've already told you about the cleanness of my room. I haven't quite finished it yet, I need to put up those new shelves as well as assemble and install the new chest-of-drawers that I bought several months ago, and then bring in all of the clothes and books that I cheat-cleaned by simply taking them out of the room; but I have finished the laundry and the dusting, and I successfully waged war on the mildew spot on the floor. And every time I walk in here, or wake up in here, or just look up from whatever I'm doing in here, I am somewhat taken aback by the cleanness... I don't think I can stress this enough, but this room hasn't been really clean in over four years, and so the cleanliness still startles me.

Then on Wednesday I had a really productive day. Starting the new month off with a bang, I installed my DSL modem and SBC-Yahoo! DSL account, so I can now surf to my heart's content without tying up the phone line (the fact that the beefcake just pours in from Most Sexy Guys at the speed of light is a mere bonus). Once I had that finished, I drove down to Caroline's auto-body shop, where I had been with her the day before, and I got the right-side-view mirror on my car replaced... after two whole years of driving around with duct-tape holding it on. The fact that it only cost $65 and took ten minutes to install made me feel a little stupid to have put it off so long, but no use crying over it now.

Next, I stopped at Home Depot and bought a new shower-head, something I've been meaning to do for weeks but kept forgetting about, since Home Depot isn't really one of my daily shopping venues. Then I stopped off at the office and did some bookkeeping work and visited with JB and AM. Then I went grocery shopping, then I picked up dinner, and when I got home I put-away and served and otherwise wrapped things up; then I rested on my well-deserved laurels.

Thursday, yesterday, I was exhausted from the unaccustomed activity as well as the continuing rattling cough that has plagued me all week (cold? allergies? I still don't know, but I find it unexpectedly pleasant to know that I can see a doctor if it doesn't clear up on its own); I nevertheless sat down and really concentrated on my writing, and I finished off "Chapter 4" of Worst Luck! I'd been working on "Chapter 4, Part 2" in drips and drabs all week, since right after posting "Part 1" in fact; and I'm not sure I like how the pacing is coming out... but I feel super to have gotten so much written in one day.

I also managed to catch the second episode of Kept while I was waiting for my marinara sauce to simmer the frozen turkey sausage into cooked form, and the show was considerably more entertaining than I thought it would be. I find Jerry Hall an unexpected delight with her funny mixture of English and Texas accents and her scattered "darlings" and her age-inappropriate hair; and after one episode, I have a favorite and a second-favorite already. The two really good-looking guys are vapid assholes, and the really nice guys are both unattractive and short (remember that Ms. Hall is over six feet tall); some are rather odd-looking, and the rest are simply odd.

"Nice" and "handsome" only seem to intersect on Jason, my favorite, and Devonric (who is better-looking than Jason but takes my second-place because he seemed too reticent about dressing up, I don't think he'd like being kept). If I had to choose a third, it would be hot baldie boxer Frank (there are no profile links, you have to play the "Hot or Not" game on the VH1 website to see all the contestants).

And the activities continue! After I finish here, I am going to go wash some dishes and take out the garbage, and then I have to prepare for a drag show. Later on this evening Caroline and I are driving up to Cotati to meet with Candie Swallows, and then from there to Guerneville to perform at a new club that recently opened in the place formerly occupied by the Eagle. I have no idea what this is going to be like, but it's kind of exciting to try out a new venue, to fly by the seat of one's pantyhose in this manner.

Then on Saturday I'm taking the Grandmother to a dressmaker who will hopefully be able to reproduce the blouse model that Grandmother loves but which is no longer manufactured. It's sad when the only blouses you like are made by one company and sold in one store, and then when one or both of them go out of business you're just SOL; Grandmother hasn't had a fully satisfying new blouse in years, and now she's been driven to have the old model custom-made (I can't wait to see the look on her face when she finds out how much custom-made clothes cost).

I don't really have any plans after that. But I'm sure stuff will come up, and I will most likely report it to you, my darling reader, as soon as it does. In the meantime, go ahead and read "Chapter 4, Part 2," or just wait for me to polish and tweak it together with "Part 1" into "Chapter Four (Complete)," which should take a week or so (assuming that I don't get a job or some other inconvenient pastime).

[Or it might take less than twenty-four hours... here it is faster than a speeding bullet, Chapter Four Complete... this unemployment shit rocks]