30 September 2008

Stupid Random Questions You Don't Have To Answer

If you were a sexual position, what would it be?

Can you literally put your foot in your mouth (or toe to your nose)?

Name the last time you were absolutely certain you were the a-hole and still didn't apologize for it:

How do you keep score?

In which way(s) do you exact revenge?

Which super power would you rather have: Math genius or a Grammatical hawk-eye?

Of the forty or so hours you are paid for, how many of them do you actually work?

How loudly do you laugh when you're alone?

Grant or Gable?

Coffee cans under the porch or in the mattress?

Hot or cold?

Hard or soft?

Right or left?

If you could be anyone in the world, dead or alive, in any era in history, would you choose to be you?

If you could be with anyone in the world, alive or dead, in any era in history, would you choose the one that got away?

What's the best thing you ever did that you didn't get credit for?

Where in the world would you rather be right now and with whom (and, yeah, it can be anyone, alive or dead, etc.)?

It's only Tuesday, but do you already have plans for the weekend?

Well, what are you waiting for?

29 September 2008

De-Plan

Sunday was my first book fair. [Golf claps.] Let me tell you, book fairs, no matter how small, are a lot of work. Even if you are simply attending one, they are a pain. Still, we do them, support them, attend them and, at the end of them -- as we rub our sore feet and aching backs -- we all wonder Why?

I scrambled around at the last minute to get everything done, no so much because I'm a procrastinator (okay, some of it was), but because my life has (as previously noted) radically changed in the last two weeks, and I don't have the free time or energy I once enjoyed/took for granted. By the way, did you know Mercury is retrograde? Yeah. That puts a hitch in anyone's giddy-up. You don't have to be a follower of astrology to buy it. Trust me, it's the only thing in the stars I look out for. Look it up and welcome yourself to an Ah-HA! moment.

As Mercury Retro/Murphy's Law would have it, poor Kinko's screwed up my banner twice. First, the S wasn't capitalized in the book title. The second time they did it in the wrong pink. End result: Two banners for the price of one. They are nice at Kinko's.

Side note: My booth only cost $60. I spent quadruple that on "supplies". I over-hostess everything.

In spite of my efforts, I went to bed rather late on Friday night. Yes, it was a Friday night and one is supposed to break curfew on a Friday night, but I am in desperate need of sleep. The plan was to watch the debate, give myself a pedi and hit the hay at a respectable hour because Saturday morning I'd be up early to do Sunday's laundry and run the aforementioned errands. When the alarm goes off five hours after your head hits the pillow, it's going to make for a very long day.

I fought the urge to nap that afternoon by going to Starbucks. Yes, my eleven months of Starbuck-sobriety ended this week (you may want to buy their stock again). I am no longer caffeine-free. Wednesday, I broke. Thursday, I went in again. Saturday, it was strictly medicinal so I could finish everything and stick with the early-to-bed plan for sure this time.

Let's just say God's been laughing at me lately. A lot.

Now, when a man calls you from the middle of a Long Island wedding in the midst of a demi-existential crisis, you take the call. After the call, you might even send a reminder text that you are going to bed extra early because the alarm is set for six. After a text or two more, you feel it is appropriate to confirm that pumpkin hour has arrived and sleep is imminent. You kind of think that's that. But, thirty minutes later, when The Clash rocks out from your 'Berry, you kind of wonder WTF? Because you are a caring individual, you answer. It's noted this will be a short call. An hour later, however, you are really wondering WTF is up with the both of you? He can't tell time and you think dozing while he carries the conversation counts as half-sleep points. Finally, you end the call when the math skills kick in and you realize that the alarm is going to go off in four hours. At this point, you know you are totally screwed.

I had this idea to vlog some of the book fair. Whip out the Flip, just for giggles, starting with the early morning wake up call. Surely, there would be some humor to be had. Instead, I hit the snooze button in my sleep, as I've been known to do, and woke up an hour late. Fugme. That meant a power shower, turbo blowdry, extra spackle on the dark circles and no pit-stop at Starbucks. It was all I could do to manage my wheelie-milk-crate-thing and floral arrangement. The camera would have surely been a casualty. Trust me, all that you missed was my hair going from a slightly attractive style considering the unfortunate-for-me cut into something truly tragic, which I had to wear all day, including during a stock interview for a local cable access channel. Sigh. I have got to learn how to politely say no.

After the end of a truly long day at the end of a terribly short weekend, I was supposed to have dinner with my friend/colleague. He and I both admitted to being tired but so didn't want to flake on each other that we danced around the subject for a good five minutes under the guise of "deciding" where to dine. Finally, we were able to pull the plug. I've never been so happy to have a last minute cancellation in my life. I adore my friend, enjoy spending time with him, but wanted nothing more than my ass in yoga pants, feet up on the sofa with dinner in my belly and Dexter and Trueblood on my TV. I didn't even have the energy to crack open a Guinness. I had to save that for plucking out my contacts, de-spackling my face and flossing. Tonight, I will make it to bed before midnight. I don't care who calls.

26 September 2008

What Do I Want?

There's nothing more annoying than standing in the middle of the kitchen thinking, "What do I want?" Or at the video shop holding a stack of DVDs muttering, "What do I want?" Holding up the rest of the bar rhetorically asking the mixologist, "What do I want?"

Sometimes the answer comes. Sometimes a friend fills in the blank. Sometimes what you end up with is a bit of a let down. Sometimes, you figure it out only after it's too late. But, usually, the question just lingers. Endlessly. Like someone else's flatus. And it's as annoying, confusing and stomach-churning as that.

I've found that it's easier to define what I want by articulating what I don't want. Addition by way of subtraction, if you will. Quite frankly, I don't want any BS. This is why I'm still single and have such a *stellar* career.

Every day, I find myself asking, "What do I want?" Maybe I'm asking about life, or what I will be getting from the grocery store. Generally, I get to the nugget by pushing away what doesn't do it for me. Over time, that process has evolved, and now I'm getting better at seeing what I actually do want. Finally. Took me fricken long enough.

So, to put it quite simply...

I want to stay up late, call my own shots, love all-consumingly, laugh too loudly, eat right, exercise 'til it hurts so good, create create create, learn to paint and sculpt, live in Ireland, learn Italian in Tuscany, eat Oreos in Kyoto, be a good friend, improve my vegan cooking skills -- especially in the dessert arena, take up falconry, knit a bitchin' blanket, drink Absinthe and not go bat shit (a phrase I keep hearing in reference to the beverage, which kind of keeps me from trying it), duet with Bono, have lunch with Dominick Dunne, make my grandfather proud, let my dreams come true instead of wondering if they will, have Chuck paint me, hold my headstand in yoga longer, learn to play the guitar, harp, cello, or all of the above and swim with the dolphins again and again and again. I don't really want a lot. Just the best parts. The BS can be used to fertilize the flowers.

25 September 2008

Happy Pills?

Maybe it's the Midol I took before I wrote this post, but I'm feeling much better about things. A bit more relaxed. Dare I say at peace? Well, let's not push it. Resigned might be more the case. In any event, I feel better. Insert exhale here.

I'm still totally sleep deprived. Haven't been to the gym in over a week. Still need to get a banner made for the book fair on Sunday. (Want to run bets that will get done and it won't be me, a Sharpie and a white garbage bag on Saturday night?) I have 250 emails in my inbox to get through (no joke). Invoices to do. Bills to put in the post. You know, a bunch of life to deal with.

All that aside, I've surrendered to the long drive, the lack of free time and how quickly things pile up. How fast things don't get done. How rapidly the days pass. Yeah, I'm just cluing into all this. Remember, I was spoilt by working from home in yoga pants for ages. All good things sure do come to an end.

It seems as though I'm adjusting, just like everyone said I would. Adapt, evolve or end up in the loony bin. Yeah, yeah. I'm still thinking it might just be the Midol, though.

24 September 2008

Leaves Are Turning

Spring and Autumn are my two favorite seasons. They both involve sweaters and the probability of open-toed shoes (remember, I live in SoCali; sandals are a staple). I suppose I like change more that I let myself believe. And I can feel the change already. Last night, I wrapped myself up in a sweater, feeling the crispness new to the night air. Mornings are a bit more brisk than they were a few days ago. This is just a taste, though. Just when I put away the window fans, Indian Summer will come a-knockin'. Somehow, I never enjoy that flashback. But I do savor the first hints of season change.

Everything's changing, though, not just the weather. The economy is in the crapper. My hair's gone hooey. I've bowed and taken full-time, full-fledged-employee employment, my first job of this variety in nearly a decade. Everything is unfamiliar. Twilight Zone-like. Then, I watched Suze Orman going berserk on "Oprah" (which I now view exclusively on TiVo), ripping the American wallet a new one. She's spooky. As much as she bugs me sometimes -- and she does bug; I much prefer the financial stylings of Jean Chatzky -- she was right. This is America's wake-up call. An ugly one; painful as a four ayem wake-up call after falling asleep at two. Brutal. And by no means am I being flip about this. You are talking to a chick with no nest egg.

And while this is really scary, I'm kind of excited by it. Perhaps it's just a lack a sleep and the delirium thereof, but I think we can turn it all around. We, as in all of us. Wake up to how corrupt, greedy and selfish our economy, and the people who've run it (into the ground), have been. But, we the people are a part of that. We are complicit.

But what are we doing about it? It seems like we are waiting to see what "they" will do. Haven't we figured out yet that "they" don't have a friggin' clue? And "they" are just fine. Their pockets are lined. They'll be flying on the private planes of the ousted CEOs and under the shade of those platinum parachutes. "They" suck! So, it is down to us. Hate to break it to you, but we are on our own.

It's hard to do something when paralyzed with panic. How does one make a change when there's so little to work with? Really, I'm asking you. But that effing Suze Orman scared the bejeebus out of me, and now I'm examining my options. Happily (or delusionally), all I can see ahead of me is a clean slate. Granted, it's a tiny little blackboard, like the one the girls carried in "Little House on the Prairie", but it's my petite slate, replete with a stubby piece of chalk with which to draw a plan. I'm still going to be hard pressed to give up the cable, no matter what Jean or Suze say. I already gave up Starbucks, new clothes and shoes, and junk dudes, too. Shouldn't I have one little bit of joy after my long days in the beach cave? I think so. My storage unit, however, must go. Netflix...buh-bye (I don't have time for it anyway and still haven't watched "My Kid Could Paint That", which I've had for a month now). Certain other little online subscriptions must end, too. See you later IMDB Pro. Love you, Publishers Marketplace, but I must go back on the free lunch. I already let Salon expire. I never got over them dropping the gossip. I still miss The Fix. And, I'm buying whatever three-ply, double-roll toilet paper is on sale. It's the little things, they say, that add up. Which means it's time to stir-fry the tofu at home. Ooh, or I'll make a big batch of soup to stay warm on these newly chilly nights. Ha! The bay leaves are turning now, too.

23 September 2008

Not Sure What's Next

I'm kind of not sure what's going on with me. Perhaps it's a pseudo-corporate rebellion, a compulsion or obsession. All I want to do is listen to words of Trent Reznor and look at the art of Chuck Connelly I long to buy. When my hair grows out, I totally want him to do a portrait of me. If you are familiar with his art, you'll know there's no vanity in that desire. No telling what the end result would be, and that's the part I like best. (And, if you're still wondering what to get me for Christmas, there's another idea.)

Maybe I'm tapping a different creative vein. Since I'm stuck in re-writing purgatory right now, I can't move on to something new. This isn't a bad thing. Not this time. It's actually fantabulous. My "baby" is getting some attention, so she needs to be nipped and tucked. Hollywood likes it tight, you know. But, that means my creative brain can't move forward. It's revving in neutral, wheels spinning, and I'm beginning to jones. My right brain needs a fix, and bad. Picture Ewan McGregor in "Trainspotting". Not the nude scenes, but the part when he's going through heroin withdrawals. Not the worst toilet in Scotland scene, the one with the creepy creeping baby. Well, Ewan-as-Renton writhing in the bed is my creative lobe aching to move on to something new, but minus the profuse sweating and awful wallpaper.

Two more stories are brewing in my brain, and I've had to press pause. There's nothing worse than that. It's like cutting off circulation to a limb. The creative equivalent of all-dress-up-and-no-place-to-go or blue balls. It's pathetic. And you begin to panic because you are afraid that when you go to reach for it, it will be gone. You'll catch a glimpse of its back as it walks away from you, holding its middle finger high. Therefore, you can't let it all go. You become something of a "chippy", using just enough not to get sick. Because I can't tap the vein I want or give it what it needs, I've started using Reznor and Connelly as my Methadone. Their art is so visceral I feel like I am in the creative process when I listen to it or look at it. It's kind of groovy. Though, listening to Nine Inch Nails after midnight isn't highly recommended. It's like having a venti-triple-shot latte. The nights have been productive, but the mornings are rough.

With Trent and Chuck serving as surrogate mothers for my next two pieces, I'm not sure how they are going to turn out. I hope half as eloquent and interesting as those two gents are. But, I think the romantic-comedy in the hopper will be a tad outside the box.

22 September 2008

Katie Holmes Meet Betty Boop

So, the idea was to take a little more off than usual. I wanted all the sad, damaged ends amputated. I knew it would be a fair chunk and that layers would be involved. This, after I had whacked off several inches in April to get rid of the layers. Sigh. Because I like to live on the edge and keep my hairstylist on her toes, I thought I would throw in some bangs for kicks. This, after I spent so much time growing them out.

I'm finding that I grow bored quite easily now and employ inconvenient means to entertain myself.

The end result of the cut, however, was a tad unexpected. My hairstylist didn't do anything wrong. She did what I had suggested. But, this is an example of how terms can be relative, because I left with a Katie Holmes layered bob. There's nothing wrong with that, except it is very Spring '08 and, when I where my Chanel shades, I really look as though I'm attempting her "look" (sans the bad 80-90s fashion she's trying to rock).

For the record, this is the shortest my hair has ever been, excluding the crop top I was born with. I could kind of deal with that, happy to play around with it until it grows into something else. But I live and work by the ocean and am cursed with this sort of indefinable wave to my hair that refuses to stay completely straight or go into a full curl. The sea air tends to make my mane expand, which is so not a beauty bonus. When it poofs and begins its semi-curl, I now take on the appearance of Betty Boop.

This cut probably wasn't one of my better ideas.

When you have a hairstyle like this, every ensemble takes on a costume-y feel. It makes wardrobe choices the more challenging. Since it's so short, ponytails are no longer options. The gym is going to be interesting when the sweatfest begins. It's only hair, I know. It will grow. In the meantime, I'm left to struggle with a round brush to manage hair that's still in shock.

I really should've gotten my passport photos taken last week.

19 September 2008

Spokesperson/Translator Wanted Full-Time

I never thought I would actually want to be like Sarah Palin, but I do. I know. You must be shocked. I totally am. But, I started thinking: Wouldn't it be great to have a spokesperson following me around to translate? Someone paid to take the foot out of my mouth and give it a pedicure. Where do I get one?! How much do they cost?!

I mean, that's better than a housekeeper or a personal trainer. I would live with dust bunnies and thimples if I could have someone smoothing all the feathers I tend to ruffle. I could just blurt away and not have to worry about the consequences. The Spokesperson/Translator would make everything better. I imagine it would go a little something like this:

POLITICS

ME: I think you are a friggin' idiot for saying something like that.

SPOKESPERSON/TRANSLATOR: What Ms. Miller actually meant was that you are a unique thinker with an interesting perspective. She finds that quite impressive.

ME: Seriously. You should get a refund from your college.

SP/T: With your impressive mind, the institution of higher learning that you attended must be honored to have you as an alum. They should set up a scholarship in your name.

ME: Douche.

SP/T: Weren't you the one to stop The Bridge to Nowhere?


SOCIAL GATHERINGS (Within 5 minutes of arriving.)

ME: South Park nailed Scientology. Like, who really buys the whole Xenu thing? Why not believe in the Easter Bunny? At least he's the kind of guy to bring chocolate.

RANDOM FRIEND'S FRIEND: I'm a Scientologist.

ME: Travolta, is that you?

SP/T: Mr. Travolta, let me assure you that Ms. Miller appreciates religious freedom and embraces diversity. Her comments were pertaining to the level of artistry, creativity and tongue-in-cheek humor of the show that, at times, boarders on genius. And, you have to admit, the whole Tom Cruise/closet thing was pretty well done. M&Ms?


WORKPLACE


ME: You know, if you just read the email and answered the questions I put in there -- in English so basic that it barely qualifies as first-grade level -- this whole process would go a lot quicker.

SP/T: Ms. Miller enjoys collaborating with you and hopes the working relationship will be long-term.


Imagine all the vodka-soaked debates a Spokesperson/Translator could repair. The relationships that would be saved. The verbal equivalents of floral arrangements sent to colleagues you insulted without even meaning to, let alone the ones you did intend to affront. This could be the greatest accessory ever invented; to always look good, even when you sound like an utter moron. I would pay just about any price for that. But, if we don't start paying attention to the policies instead of the spin, it's surely going to cost us all.

18 September 2008

I Spy With My Slightly Blinded Eye

Yeah yeah. I know you are sick and tired of hearing about how waking up early and working a real job is killing me. Well, it might also be blinding me.

Night before last, as I was readying for bed, I went to remove my eye makeup and, as I was smearing the mascara around, I felt an unusual sting. The sting quickly turned into a burn. I thought that, perhaps, I poorly timed my eye-closing and got a little of the remover on my eyeball. Totally in the realm of possibilities. Motor skills are first to go on me when exhaustion sets in. As the pain increased, it occurred to me that the pad itself felt a little different. Finally, I looked at it with my one good eye, and the slightly blinded one, and realized I had mistakenly taken a Sally Hansen Zero-Bumps pad (meant for *ahem* wherever you wax) rather than my Almay (which is actually meant for your eye area).

Now, it's not like those two jars are sitting next to each other in the cabinet. Uh uh. Two different doors. The containers aren't even the same color. And they certainly aren't applied to the same places. It was a total Miller moment.

Sigh. I'm so not adjusting well.

17 September 2008

Thankful For The Little Things

The economy is simply terrifying these days. Each morning, as I listen to the news, I cringe a bit more, waiting for what might be next. The ripple effect of all this will soon be felt by all of us (though many are feeling it already). I am sincerely frightened when I think about how this is going to affect us as a nation. Recession. Depression. Whatever they want to call it, it ain't going to be pretty. But, I'm a bit of an optimist. One to look for the silver lining in any dark cloud. This situation is no exception.

I've been rather financially "challenged" off and on for some time now. Well, mostly on. That's what happens when you change careers at a bad economic time (anyone else remember the end of 2000 and 2001?), and the career is more like demi-employment (freelancers know what I'm talking about). To say I'm behind in my financial goals is an understatement on par with professing the economy is fundamentally sound.

Today, I realized that, after all my bitching and whining about being broke, my lack o' cash might actually have been a blessing in disguise. I might've just dodged a mighty big, fat bullet. I don't have investments. I don't have a 4-0-whathaveyou. Before, I thought that made me sound rather pathetic. Today, I couldn't love my little ING account more.

They always said be thankful for the little things.

When you don't have much, you don't have much to lose. I always thought that was a fabulous way to look at life. Live for the moment and go for it. It sounds different now. Though I feel an odd sense of relief in my sorry circumstance, I think of those who are trying to support their families, afford gas and food. Hope that no one gets hurt or sick. Pray to God Mother Nature doesn't throw in a monkey wrench. Wondering the same thing I do: How did we get to this place?

Now, we all have to start over. Do a great big reboot. We're in this together. Together, we'll make it through. And, if you need any advice on how to live on zero budget, I'm here to help.

16 September 2008

Driving Gloves

I've made this mistake before. The last time I had a long commute, I got in the habit of listening to punk rock on my way into work. I love it. It's a better jolt than caffeine. However, it can make you a little agro on the road. Honking horn. Flipping bird. That was then, though. Now, I'm a Buddhist. I'll just chant for those stupid asses.

I also arrived at the office a tad "intense". I was ready to go. Ready to do something. My co-worker suggested listening to jazz instead. While it's an art form I appreciate, to me, it's better heard in the evening. In the morning, I want more.

Another side effect of punk tunage is speed. That can be a problem. I was born with a lead foot. The first thing I learned to drive was a motorcycle. I like to go fast. I like to feel the road. I lean into the curves in my car. Listening to a hard, heavy beat and a raucous serenade, looking ahead at an open stretch of undulating highway...I dare you not to go eighty. Heck. I'm just trying to stay under fifty. (It's the posted speed in most of the area I barrel through...I have the most difficulty where it's not.)

I'm being challenged all sorts of ways with this new gig. Wake up early. Be on time. Keep an eye out for the fuzz. Sheesh. That's a lot to ask from a girl first thing in the day. I might soon be going back on the Starbucks -- though I've been on the papercup wagon nearly a year now...really don't want to blow it.

The drive home, however, is taken at a slower pace. As the sun sets into the Pacific, I chat with friends as the road unwinds me home. I'm too tired to work the iPod, and the BlackBerry has speed dial.


Play with speakers set to 11.

15 September 2008

Loitering and Sauntering

Don't tell anyone, but I actually watched Lifetime. Well, we all will next year when "Project Runway" hits the channel. However, I got sucked in by the Chanel movie. Not particularly good, except for the clothes. I love me some Chanel. Not that you could tell. As I write this, I'm sitting in a Gap tee and track pants. Don't worry. I'm not in public.

Coco is a hero of mine. So is Anais Nin, Edith Head and Dorothy Parker. I like irreverent, groundbreaking, trailblazing women. Especially if they have a hint of hussy about them. I should've been a flapper. Prohibition would've been a bitch, though.

I'm not too much of a clothes horse, but there are certain things I do adore. The chicness of Coco's creations. The classic lines of Edith Head. Sadly, I've come to find that curves get in the way of some of the styles I love. The booty is not a friend of the simple sheath or drop waist. The fitted waists and full skirts of the fifties work. They just aren't practical for everyday living. But, when I look at the styles of Chanel and Head, their innovation and timeless grace, I stand in awe. Then go to my closet and cry.

My computer doesn't judge my attire. Words don't know what I'm wearing. Maybe that's why I'm most comfortable with them and write best when I have something soft on.

Most of my contemporary writing influences are men. Not sure why, but it's just worked out that way. Irvine Welsh and David Sedaris are the two at the top. But the two in my heart are broads. In the best sense of the word.

The wit of Dorothy and the descriptive prose (not porn) of Anais are the marks I regularly miss in my writing life. But, they keep me striving. I doubt I will live up to their level of mischief, either, but a girl can try. The lives they lead are as much of an inspiration as their words. It deepens the context of what they typed or let drip from their fountain pen. We have it almost too easy now. It's hard to have moxie in the wireless age. I think even that can be ordered online.

I've been known to buck convention on occasion. I did burn my bra (in college at a bonfire, and it was my best one), but I put another on the next day (I fight gravity like the enemy it is). But, I wonder what trails are left to be blazed? Which rules haven't been broken? What new direction can one travel? What might I offer the women who will follow me, even just those of my kin? I got to step in the shoe prints of Susan B. and Gloria G., have my eyes opened by Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou. I feel like a dilettante in the shadows of these great dames, loitering and sauntering my way through womanhood. Slowly, I'm finding my way. In a good pair of heels, Chanel shades and a Gap t-shirt.

12 September 2008

Change Is Good?

I'm having a bit of a freak out. And I need to put this into perspective because, unlike the Gulf Coast of Texas, I'm not having to pack up my belongings and loved ones and head for the highlands knowing that I will return to a life changed. This, so shortly after the anniversary of Katrina and September 11th when we all saw our worlds altered into a "new normal" (and some are still suffering through that change). No. I'm not dealing with anything that catastrophic. I'm simply starting a new job and will have to commute for the first time in about a decade.

This is a bigger deal than you might think. I will be working an hour away. Not an hour-stuck-in-traffic kind of way. An hour to get there on a good day. The only route to work is PCH. PCH is a beautiful stretch of road overlooking the Pacific where the slightest disruption causes a major fustercluck...and you are going to be there for a while. You are basically trapped. There are very few outlets to help you get back to civilization. We are heading toward mudslide season. This is going to present many obstacles. (And I'm not talking the standard boulder-in-the-road.)

The first challenge for me is morning. I have to be in the car, engine on, by nine ayem, no later. (Yeah, I was able to swing a ten ayem start time...they know it's a sherpa-requiring schlep.) I'm generally still at the gym at nine ayem. And this week of test-driving the new schedule proved to be a huge failure. I'm scared.

The next challenge is having to think about lunch. Lunch is not something I generally obsess over, but delivery isn't really going to be an option in my remote location. I'm going to have to pre-plan that. So, not only am I going to have to be up, dressed and in the car much earlier than I have been in ages, I'm going to have to be dressed (including hair done and makeup applied...must make that distinction, as it wasn't really required working from home), in the car with lunch prepared. This is going to be hard.

Now, I can hear most of you saying, "Hello. Welcome to the real world, honey." I know. But I've always tried to avoid the real world. I'm a misfit for it. I am astounded at the people who are able to do this kind of thing every day and have actual families and pets and they all remain alive and functional. My hat is tipped in your direction. Me...I'm stressing out because I'm having TiVo issues and realize I'll never make it home in time for happy hour. And dry cleaning. I'm going to have to deal with dry cleaning on a regular basis again. That's just another ball for me to juggle, schedule, plan. Ugh.

Remember, I'm a writer. My head is perpetually surrounded in a creative fog and I prefer to keep vampire hours. This makes "real world" life an unnatural thing. But, I am determined to master it. Rise to the challenge. After all, I'm a grown up. It's time I started acting like one. Or putting on the facade of one. Proper full-time job. Direct deposit. Dialing 9 for an outside line. I think I can handle this. I'm buying a backup alarm clock this weekend, though. Just to be safe.

11 September 2008

Getting Good Head

(Right now, every guy I've ever "known" who has sworn he never reads/will never again read this site has read the title of this post and is thinking, "I bet this is totally about me." No. It's not.)

As I mentioned in a previous post, I treated myself to a new showerhead this week. And, as I mentioned in that post, it's not that kind of showerhead. I have the worst water running through the rustiest pipes that my landlord is too cheap to repair. It's not really what you want to be showering in. It's not exactly good for my hair, or my skin, for that matter. And I was beginning to notice the effect.

Now, the obvious reaction would be, "Well, get off your ass and get a filter, you ding dong." Yeah. I had one for a number of years, operating off the same filter until it was so clogged with what-have-you that water wouldn't come out of the nozzle. (I guess you are supposed to change the filter from time to time...yet another thing on the to-do list.) Since Gelson's, The Gap, Ann Taylor Loft, DSW and CVS don't carry water filters for your shower, several months (cough *two years* cough) passed before I ventured to Bed, Bath & Beyond with a coupon and picked one up.

Yes, I am that lazy/busy/pathetic when it comes to getting the little things done for myself. I'm a writer; what do you want? If I've got free time, I'm writing through it.

This week has turned into a fustercluck proper, and yesterday was the first opportunity I had to enjoy the benefit of filtered shower water at length. There are few daily tasks I look forward to more than the warm baptism of my shower. Sadly, most of them are hurried through in order to beat the clock. But, yesterday, I was determined to take my time. Rather than slapping around the lather of my hand-milled French soap, or shuffling around shampoo I overpay for, I finally got the chance to indulge in the thick rain of the new showerhead. A nice switch from bearing the needle shards of my old one. It was glorious. And it's going to make taking power showers that much harder. I'm going to have a hell of a time being on time for the new job. Damn.

Is there a difference? Yep. My hair is softer and smoother (less flyaways...hate those damn things). And my skin, which was always pretty soft because I slather it in cocoa butter, is even silkier. The filter is also supposed to help keep your shower cleaner (reduces scale), but I guess I'd actually have to clean my shower in order to notice. Hiring a maid is on my to-do list. I'm a writer. If I've got clean time, I'm writing through it.

In case you are curious, I got the Culligan Clear Promise. It's good 'head.

10 September 2008

Vampire Weekday

I love my gym. It is the mecca for all things strange. It's like a continual, bizarre parade of endless, post-modern performance art. You never know what you are going to witness. And, in my nearly eight years of going there, I have seen some sights. My personal favorite is the man who puts the strap of his Walkman MP3 in his mouth and dances about in a fencing manner through the back weight room. Once, the Walkman smacked him in the face when he got a little carried away. He quickly recovered and resumed his ballet. He's not the wackiest, just the most reliably entertaining.

The gym has the typical random professional athletes, random bodybuilders, random actors, random whack jobs. There are a few normal people, too. The odd ones are just more fun to watch. And when you have an hour to kill on the cardio machines, you have a good perch and plenty of time to check out the membership.

A few years ago, I had a thrill when I found a Lost Boy in my gym. I nearly swallowed my gum when I spotted him standing there on the steps to the back room. Jason Patric. Yum-me. Let's face it, The Lost Boys is early girl porn and Jason Patric -- with those eyes, that jaw, those lips and in 501s -- is a girl-porn star. And I get to sweat next to him occasionally. It's not a bad way to start the day, my friends and neighbors. He perspires in such a pretty way. I, however, do not. At the end of my sixty-minutes, I'm more of a red-faced, drowned rat with a ponytail. And it always amazes me the guys who will actually flirt with me when I am in that state. But, that's my gym for you. A bounty of strange rangers.

(I need to take a brief tangent here...not too long ago, I was upstairs on the stretch deck and Jason was there, too. Our mats were across from each other. I was doing my thing, he was doing his. I was taking my time. When he was finished, he put back on his shoes, got up from his mat and headed down the stairs. Then, a flash caught the corner of my eye. This chick had gotten up from where she was stretching and threw herself on the mat where Jason was nanoseconds before. It was far from graceful. I think she kind of hurt herself when she landed. It was spectacular.)

So, yesterday, I was bopping around doing upper body when another fanged wonder appeared in the distance. I couldn't be sure if it was him at first, because I'm only wearing one contact this week. (Long story.) I didn't want to squint-stare, so I lost track of him when I was doing my lats (I can't believe I just wrote that). But, as luck would have it, he came right up next to me when I was doing my biceps and shoulders (I can't believe I wrote that, either) to do his biceps and shoulders (somehow, it's only weird to write workout lingo when it pertains to me). He was on the side of my "good" eye, so I could see him clearly. Stephen Moyer, the delicious, you-can-bite-me-anytime vampire from True Blood.

I was trying not to stare at him through the mirror, because that's just rude. But, Nine Inch Nails was on the iPod (again), and "Ruiner" was playing. I nearly drew blood biting my lip, trying not to giggle as Trent whispered in my ears: "How'd you get so big? How'd you get so strong? How'd you get so hard? How'd it get so long?"

Really. That was the true scene. You try keeping a straight face and proper form with hot vampire actor on one side of you and Trent Reznor inside of you...your head, I mean...saying such things first thing in the AM. It was perfect.

And you wondered why I wake up early to workout.

09 September 2008

Nice Genes

I saw on the AP wire that gene testing is on sale. Now, I won't spend more than $75 on denim (I'm super effing cheap sometimes), but, for the price of an iPhone (the expensive one that works), I can have my DNA spun and a tale of my ancestry and potential diseases told. And I so want to do it! (Wondering what to get me for Christmas? A gift certificate to 23andMe would be lovely. Thank you.)

You have no idea how this fascinates me. I don't geek out on much, but DNA makes me want to don a pocket protector. I've often considered my gene pool a murky swamp, what with my asthma, allergies, Epstein-Barr, the ulcers that healed only to morph into severe gastritis (I preferred the three ulcers)...the list goes on. We haven't even tackled what "runs" in my family that I have so far avoided. Surprisingly, even with all I've got going on, I function sans meds (if you saw my allergy panel, you would think they would have moved me into a plastic bubble), sans caffeine, too (except for the trace amounts in my organic green tea; the EBV is back under control). I'm kind of an anomaly. I've stumped my doctors more than once. So, health-wise, I would love to get a full panel on what made me who I am today, and what I might want to keep an eye out for tomorrow. An ounce of prevention and all that.

I know a fair chunk of my lineage, but I'd like to get the rest of the story. I know I come from a strong beer drinking lot (that would be the English and German strands of my DNA already determined through other sources). I assume from my love of champers there's a bit of Gaul to go along with my gall. I wouldn't doubt some Russian as well, as my penchant for the vodka might hint. I was already told by a Belfast man that, if I were Irish, I would come from a Scottish clan of horse thieves who fled to Ireland to avoid prosecution (i.e., death). That sounds about right and would explain my love of men in kilts, a death-inducing allergy to horses (call it karma), and why I feel so safe in Dublin. Love of Guinness would equally be accounted for by my aforementioned beer-drinking roots mixed with taste-bud evolution.

Do I buy into this wholeheartedly? No. It's right up there with getting my astrology chart done, my handwriting analyzed or my palm read. Being a California chick, I'm into all that. It's meant to be fun. Any insight is a bonus. Enjoy the parts that fit, blow off the rest. Still, I'm hoping for a big DNA reveal. Like being a part of a royal bloodline. I think tiaras are fabulous and would like an excuse to wear one all the time.

08 September 2008

Better Late than Whenever

So, I'm test-driving the new schedule I'm going to be on, and trying to work out the kinks. So far, no good.

This is the one week to get it down. The dress rehearsal and dry run all rolled into one. All I have to do is wake up early each day and fit in the gym so I can make this new life work. Outside of that, I have only one thing set on the calendar...and that one thing was today. Next week, I'm going to have to start commuting for the first time in a long time. This isn't going to be easy. I'm naturally time-challenged in the morning. I believe writers are derived from the vampire bloodline. Not only can we suck the life out of you but, for the most part, we'd rather write through the night. Daylight has it's purpose, but it's not really enjoyable until noon or later. Thus, I have to get myself sorted for this new pattern. I can no longer abuse the snooze, have a shower for lunch if I get a late start to and/or from the gym, and pajamas won't be appropriate attire on the days I just can't decide what to wear. I really have to get my shizzle organizzled.

The alarm was more or less respected, but I got a little sidetracked on the way to the treadmill. Damn that internet. It's such a time suck. With the amount of carbohydrates I consumed for dinner last night, there was no way to bow out of the gym gracefully. You play, you pay.

Since I'm still on an artistic high from Saturday night's concert, I listened to The Downward Spiral as I attempted to undo dinner. Listening to Nine Inch Nails is almost as good as going to the gym a bit miffed. Adrenaline. It's awesome. One doesn't really watching the clock when listening to Trent, so I went a little longer than scheduled. While I adored Reznor before, after Saturday, I am even more enamored. He is so effing good on stage. His voice is incredible. His band is tight. The light show was dazzling. He played the xylophone, which was unbelievably hot. And the passion. Oh, the passion. There's something about the way he threw things around on stage that made me go weak in the knees. So, I kind of got lost in fantasy land as I relived a few special moments. Sigh.

I was kind of excited to get home because I had purchased a new shower head yesterday. No. Not that kind of shower head. Please. I got a water-filtering kind. I was dreaming of a long "rain+full spray" dousing, free of chlorine and other junk. Unfortunately, because of all my dilly-dallying, it was a power shower and a rush out the door.

Arg. I was five minutes late for my meeting. But, I called ahead to let them know.

The meeting went way longer than I had expected. Don't you hate that? I figured it would be thirty-minutes. An hour, tops. Two-point-five later, I was weak from skipping breakfast and dying for lunch. And by then I was fed up with rushing around. I just wanted to eat and watch Oprah. It will be one of the last times I get to see her not on TiVo. So, I took the few remaining tasks I aspired to do today and moved them over to tomorrow. This is my last week of, "Meh. Whenever." And I think I'll make the most of it.

05 September 2008

In the Dark

I found myself sitting in the dark last night. Not because I was depressed, or even trying to look like I wasn't home (which I have done...don't ask). No. I was just too lazy to get up and walk the less-than-five-feet to the switch. It's not really even a "walk", but a step and a lean with a reach. What was even more disturbing is that, at one point, I stared at a lamp and thought, "Is there a way to set that up on a remote?" Criminy. That's like a step away from a Clapper.

Sitting there, watching bad Bravo in order to avoid any more of the RNC (though I did catch the end of McCain's speech when he stumbled over the word "illiterate"...awesome), I internally whined that it was getting dark so early now. Summer's over, for all intents and purposes. Soon we will "fall back" and it will start getting cold and I'll have to pack up the window fans (which will bring on a dose of Indian Summer and I'll regret putting away the fans), then it will be all closed-toed shoes and dry-cleaning and it will be dark at four-thirty and...I started humming that Billy Squire song. And then I was really bothered because I was sitting in the dark singing "In the Dark", wondering how the hell that song, of all songs, popped into my mental iPod?

The damn song wouldn't leave my head, so I got up and turned on the light. Then I went to my turntable and dug through the vinyl under it. It's been a while since I've gone that far back in my collection to where the albums I received for birthdays and Christmasses dwell. Past the good stuff and beyond the Go-Go's, I stumbled over Men At Work, Journey and nearly wet myself when I saw the Air Supply. How the hell did that not get lost or left behind? And where the hell did I get a Dokken album? [No, really. WTF? That one is still baffling me. I did have a roommate once in college...hmmmm. Geez, I hope that's it.] Then, I flipped a little further and there it was. The Billy Squire album we all had to have.

This was during a musical low-point (no offense to Billy). Punk rock wasn't that readily available to suburban kids in middle school (though, the cool kids with the older siblings "borrowed" their Pretenders albums, and we had all heard the Sex Pistols). This was right before everything changed, just as MTV was born, but not everyone had it yet. Sigh. Musically, it was a period where we were basically churning our own butter and wearing the same calico print.

I lifted the lid of my turntable and took off the Bowie "Young Americans" LP that resides there, then I put a needle to Mr. Squire for the first time in decades. Flashbacks of skating to "The Stroke" at the local roller rink filled my head. Drinking "suicides". I was rexing down memory lane backwards. [Ironically, a few years later, we would take over the same rink as a Saturday night "club", playing punk and alternative dance music. It was tragically fabulous in a young-and-desperate-for-culture, suburbanite way.]

Perhaps it was nostalgia, but I have to say, the album still has some legs. Or, at least the first three tracks do (that's about as far as I got before the phone rang). It's amazing how the lyrics come flooding back to you. And, I'm telling you, "My Kinda Lover" is so going on a long-drive playlist. It's beyond 80s awesome (which I think would technically be "rad" or "bitchin").

I have a feeling that this weekend, I'll be getting a little revenge on my loud neighbors with a Journey sing-a-long. Or, maybe I'll whip out the Wham! or Duran Duran. Actually, I'll probably be concert-deaf. Nine Inch Nails this Saturday. A little musical redemption. Forget Air Supply. You want a love song? "Closer", baby.


Ladies and Gentlemen, Billy Squire:




This is the uncensored version of "Closer". Not suitable for work or PETA.

04 September 2008

I'm Just Going to Say It

I can't take it anymore. All these cries of "sexism" whenever Sarah Palin is asked a question -- or a question is asked about Sarah Palin -- are giving me PMS...Palin-McCain Syndrome (my friend, SB, came up with that one...thanks for the loan). Here's a bit of advice for the McCain't campaign: Don't name-call the question or question the asker, JUST ANSWER THE QUESTION! How hard is that? Unless someone is asking what brand of tampon Palin prefers, it's not a sexist question. And even that wouldn't be a sexist question. It would be a stupid question.

I guess I'm supposed to be impressed with Sarah Palin just because she and I share the same reproductive organs. And, if I'm not, then I'm a sexist, a misogynist or just a bitter woman, a member of the "angry left". Please. Give my IQ some credit. I am to the point when every time I turn on the TV and some pundit (and more than a few are women) is crying sexism because Palin is being scrutinized, I have to pop a Midol. Come on. John McCain picking Palin was sexist. You can't tell me she was the best candidate for the GOP VP. You can't. It was a cheap ploy that now all women are supposed to rally around and embrace. It disgusts me.

Let's talk about how pro-chick Palin really is (and I'll skip her anti-choice stance): Sarah Palin's speech was written by a man. A MAN!!! Are there no female GOP writers that could fill her mouth with party rhetoric? What all the pro-Palinites are cheering on is a bunch man-words coming out of a woman's mouth. Is that something to rah-rah about? That, to me, is misogynistic and sexist. She has turned herself into the political equivalent of a ventriloquist's dummy. Yeah, I said it.

And don't tell me Palin is being picked on or is unfairly singled out because she is a woman. Do we forget the beginning of the campaigning when Barack was mocked and maligned every time he stepped outside, called Anti-American, accused of being a terrorist? Remember how the right-wing media treated him? How about Michelle Obama being called unpatriotic? Have we so quickly forgotten the button passed around at a Texas GOP event that asked if we could still call it the White House if he won? So don't come crying to me about unfair questions or treatment. As a woman, I'm going to tell you to knock it off, grow up and if you can't take the heat, get out of the election.

Instead of focusing on her speech, why don't we listen to Sarah in her own voice here. This is a candidate on a ticket for "Country First" who was a member of the Alaska Independence party in 1994 (the GOP denies this because she never officially changed her voting party from Republican to AI, but the AI says, yeah, she and the hubby were members). That was 14 years ago, pretty far in the past, so just admit it and say you changed your mind. That's a woman's prerogative, no? Like saying you'll be an advocate for special needs children...after you cut funding for that in your own state. I guess it really is easy to change your mind, your policies and opinions...depending on what the speechwriter feeds you.

In my opinion, Sarah Palin is a shady lady. And that's not sexist. That's me being polite. I'm sure there is more to come out of her closet. Look what we've gotten in just a week. And, I'm just going to say it: I'm still doing the math on Trig.

03 September 2008

How to Surrender

There comes a point when you shouldn't give up, but you need to let go. That point is sharp, like a cosmic bayonet, and it pricked me good last week. That's when I decided to finally surrender.

First there are tears. Tears are necessary, but being broken or crumpled on the floor in heaving sobs is not. That’s optional. Sometimes, it’s helpful, but it's not a requirement.

Stillness is key. Let yourself and the room be quiet. Peaceful. Light a candle if you have the energy. Sit in the dark if you'd rather. Then, take a breath, open up and say, “I surrender.” Repeat as necessary.

At first, your mind will still race, fear will take hold. When that happens, say, “Stop. I surrender.” Let go of all that you were holding on to. The worry, the fear, the pain. Say those words each and every time your mind starts chattering. When fear creeps up on you, brush it aside and remember that you’ve surrendered. And breathe.

The thoughts, the endless thinking, the living in your head is not keeping you from sinking; that's what drowns you. When you surrender, you float. You are buoyant. When you surrender, you are in the moment and only the moment. That’s all you have. That’s all there is. Soon, you find that your mind has grown quiet. And you realize how nice that silence is. Occasionally, another negative thought or feeling of dread might come. By then, you know what to do. You’ve surrendered. There is no need to figure anything out. Life will unfold on its own. All you have to do is let it.

02 September 2008

Palin in Comparison

While a picture might say a thousand words, I'm having a hell of a time coming up with one.

It's not the bikini that bothers me. It's not even the gun. It's not the apparent can of malt liquor held in the hand of the smoking man. It's more than that. Maybe it's all of it. Or maybe it's just that I can't think of an occasion where a bikini and a rifle are required. Is this how the Palin family goes fishing? I mean, there's shooting fish and a barrel, but come on... [UPDATE: Okay, I was duped. I'm told the photo was Photoshopped (and the person who did it should get a job at Vogue). I suppose I should have known better but it sort of seemed to be Palin's style, don't you think?]

As a feminist, I don't have a problem with this photo. As a feminist, I do have a problem with Palin's gender being used as a deflector for her ineptitude. Some women are playing the uterus card in her defense, and that's driving me bonkers. It's kind of embarrassing. As a woman, I want and expect equal treatment, not something "special".

I caught Congresswoman Michele Bachmann on CNN last night (I accidentally watched Larry King) and this broad said that Palin's two years in office gave her more executive experience than Obama and Biden combined. Why? Because it's in girl years? WTF?!? Palin is completely inexperienced. There is no arguing that. She might be popular. She might know how to sell a plane on eBay, but that does not mean she should be in the running for one of the highest offices in the nation and a potential heartbeat away from the Presidency. She is not the best candidate for the job. And, if she is, the GOP is truly in trouble.

Less than a week into her nomination, there has been skeleton after skeleton stumbling out of her closet. She announced her daughter's pregnancy not when she accepted the VP nom, but under the cloud of Gustav. That's just shady. I don't want her 17 year-old daughter dragged through the mud. Nor should she be thrust in the political spotlight. The brouhaha has nothing to do with her daughter, their family values or Palin's parenting; it has to do with Palin's ethics. Something her uterus can't hide. With TrooperGate coming to light right after her accepting the nomination, one would think she would be more forthcoming about anything else that might be deemed controversial. (Do they not have a PR team and media training in the GOP budget?) The announcement of her daughter's pregnancy was supposed to diffuse BabyGate. Now, I'm really not one for internet rumor or conspiracy theories, but there is a bit of hink to this story. And, if Palin's story is true, it does kind of question her decisions as a mother whose water had broken and chose to risk infection and the baby's health to hop a plane home. But I'm just a single gal with no kids. What do I know? (Um, enough to head to the hospital once I leak amniotic fluid, especially with a pre-term, high-risk pregnancy. But that's just me.)

Some are saying this just isn't fair; if Palin were a man she wouldn't have her parenting skills or morals challenged in such a way. And why isn't Biden under such VP scrutiny? Well, his daughter is twenty-seven for one thing. But, imagine if Barack's daughters were older and one of them were withchild. You think everyone would go easy on him and his family? Please. McCan't's corner is even trying to blame Obama for the backlash. Did you see Obama's response? Well, look here. Off limits. I agree. Which is why I'm not using the daughter's name in this post.

What bothers me is that safer sex is not mentioned in this story. Last I heard, HIV and STDs were still rampant. What is Palin's stand on sexual education? Abstinence or death/disease...or, if you are lucky, you'll just get knocked up and go into an ill-fated, teenage-shotgun marriage and parenthood? That's not the kind of pro-female politics I look for. That's not hope. That's not change. That's just sad.

Gender can't help but play a role here because that's the card McCan't played, but it shouldn't be used to shield questionable ethics. Palin shouldn't be able to avoid the hard questions because she is a "lady", or a mom or a grandmother. I didn't burn my training bra for that. But we need to take the privates and private matters out of this and focus on the politics. Trust me, there are sure to be a few more issues she'll want to skirt. Oh, come on. You had to see that one coming.

[UPDATE: Funny or Die spoofs the bikini photo in their Gina Gershon spoof. Enjoy.]

See more Gina Gershon videos at Funny or Die

01 September 2008

Labor Pains

I just got out of a shitty situation. And that has put me in a precarious position. But, instead of getting in a mood or a panic, I can't wipe the silly smile off my face.

You know those circumstances that you so desperately want out of, but you don't have a plan? The ones where you hold on, hold your breath and wait out, holding out until something better comes along. You hope for a smooth transition, an easy escape, a graceful exit, wanting to avoid acrimony or catastrophe -- even at a high cost to you and your sanity. You spend your time trying to find the bright side, clinging on to whatever is positive about it, no matter how miniscule, to make the suffering a little less soul-draining.

Yeah. That's been the last year of my life. But, fuggit, now I'm free!!!

I'll admit, my first reaction was indeed panic. But that only lasted a few hours. I had a tiny pity-party for one, but it so halfhearted, it wasn't even worth uncorking wine. The fear was simply a knee-jerk reaction. One of pragmatism. Perfunctory. Something that needed to be done just to get it out of the way. Once I did, the dread disappeared and the grin moved in.

"You seem fine. Really good," my friends have said. "Actually, you look great. You're, like, relaxed and...breezy."

It's been a long time since they've seen me. The true me. Not the one bogged down by BS. It's been sort of a mixed reaction of, "Who are you?"/"Where have you been?". God bless my friends. These are the people who regularly talked me off the ledge, let me vent, cheered me on and held my hand. They were going through the wringer with me. Or, more like I was dragging them along. I owe them a few rounds. To start.

When you're in such a sucky situation, it can grow ominous. You feel cornered to a degree. You aren't really rendered powerless. You know what your options are. It's just that they don't always seem very attractive. Besides, you are strong. You can tough it out. Deal with it until you can pack that parachute and make the leap. Sometimes, though, you need a shove before you find the guts to jump. And in that moment of freefall, you regain perspective. Observe your options. And realize what a dope you were to put yourself through all that agony. (And your friends, too.)

Rebirth is just too cliché. Renewed sounds like a skincare plug. Re-energized is vaguely reminiscent of a fuzzy, pink bunny. But I do feel a bit of each. The anchor that was weighing me down for the past fifty-four weeks (yes, I was counting), has finally been cut loose. I can breathe. And I can finally move on.