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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Something Resembling a Vicious Universe

Once again, I'm looking for a job. I think the Universe is trying to tell me something. What is it, do you think? I feel like my entire life has been a series of moving and looking for a job. I mean, except, of course, when I was a child and lived with my mom. At that time, I was pretty lucky to have some kind of something resembling stability. Since I turned 18 and left home, I've had nothing of the sort. An insistent roller coaster ride. That's what life is.

Yes, yes, I know I should count my blessings. At least the country I live in isn't in uproar and we're not constantly wondering what our national boundaries are, like some countries. Or are we? I mean, is the U.S.-Mexico border, really a border? And what about that hilarious U.S.-Canada border?

The borders, they're just laughable. I can't help it. Right now I feel like busting up. It's all a bunch of pantomiming, this false sense that there's a division between Mexico and the U.S. Take, for example, when Stoker and I were coming back from Cabo San Lucas. In the airport in Mexico, their customs consisted of a line with some men in something resembling an official uniform, who told us to push a button, one person at a time. If the light flashed green after you pushed the button, you were okay, move along. If it turned red, you were not okay and you had to be searched. Stoker and I split up and went in different lines. Green for me, okay, go ahead. Red for Stoker, not okay, bludgeon him on the head. Just kidding, they're not that serious about customs.

They opened our bags. Actually, I think we switched the bags before they looked through it because Stoker had the bag with all our dirty laundry in it, and no one wants to air their dirty laundry in a Mexican airport. Ha ha. The officials did something resembling a baggage search, and whatever we had in there was okay. No drugs, no fruit, no illegal firearms, that sort of thing. So they let us go free, much to their dismay. They were so hoping for the chance to detain some unlucky American.

Yeah, so anyway. The job search is promising. I'll keep everyone updated. Perhaps the next thing you'll know, I'll be some top record executive raking in the dough.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Rock City: Not So Rockin'

I hurt my back on Friday. I was at work, lifting a case of water, and I twisted while lifting. Something you shouldn't do. But who knows that kind of stuff? Really. Is it so strange to think that my body is invincible? Aside from all the typical aches and pains that I regularly complain about to Stoker or my mother, I'm in good health. And I think I'm tough and buff and athletic and all that stuff that's not true about me anymore, but has essentially carried over from my youth, which ended at 27 (an aribitrary age that I picked by virtue of it not being 28). So I pick up a case of water, hefting it around like it's not a struggle, like it weighs about the same as my kitten, Sobek. But it doesn't. And I twisted (everyone told me after it happened: no no no, you shouldn't twist while lifting. Never, never do that).

So I tweaked something in my back and I was down for the count. Well, not really. I kept lifting things and working and trying to sit or stand, neither of which were very comfortable. Once I got home, lying down also wasn't comfortable and 800 mg's of Ibuprofen didn't seem to help, nor did the intermittent icing and heating.

This all led me to call my boss at 9:00 pm (Friday) to tell him I wouldn't be working on Saturday. Then I went to the grocery store to get some more powerful drugs, which they don't have at a grocery store, but I hoped perhaps they had started selling Lortab as an OTC without my knowledge. They didn't. But while I was there I picked up some other groceries. Then I went home.

Surprisingly, the walk did me good. My back felt somewhat better. Or maybe the 800 mg's of Ibuprofen had finally kicked in.

So the next day, Saturday, Stoker had off. And he had Sunday off too. And I had Saturday (called in*, remember?) and Sunday off. Hmmm. What does one do in a case like this? (I know, the average couple usually has the weekends off together. This hasn't happened for Stoker and I since we got married and moved to Arizona. I swear it.) One goes to Chattanooga. I know, you're thinking: why wouldn't you go to Chattanooga? It's obviously the thing to do. And you're right. So we went to Chattanooga.

We did all the things you would do in Chattanooga. We went on the Incline Railroad, a legendary railroad car that goes up a very steep mountain, known as Lookout Mountain (which, as they tell you while you're riding in the railroad car, is the southern most tip of the Appalachian Mountain range). And we went to Rock City.

What is Rock City, you might ask? Well, if you've driven anywhere in the south and especially if you've driven along I-24 towards Chattanooga, you've seen the billboards and barns imploring you to See Rock City. So we did. I imagined, from Stoker's description (based on what others had told him and what he'd read on the internet) and from the brochure, that it would be something akin to Zion National Park. If you've seen the brochure for Rock City, you'll notice that it mainly features cool images of giant boulders that you have to squeeze between and a cool waterfall and a great view of the valley below. And certainly there are those things.

Except the waterfall is man made. And the neat swinging bridge isn't quite as cool as the brochure makes it out to be (I know, that's the purpose of advertising). And there are freaky fake gnomes everywhere and all the places have fairy tale names. Literally. One of them, I think, is actually Fairy Tale. And there's this horrible section of the path (the path is paved with flagstones and it's pretty much the only way through it), a tunnel, wherein there are tiny scenes depicting gnomes mining, all lit up with black lights, and ocean coral glued to the ceiling. There are also scenes from fairy tales, like Hansel and Gretel, also lit up with black lights. Did I mention this portion of the path is freaky? I'm not quite sure why it's there or what to make of it, save the creators are trying to acheive some kind of Small World type of thing. Why? I don't know. They should simply embrace the rocks of Rock City instead of trying to be a theme park.

All in all, I'd have to say save your $15 (yes, that's the price of a measly walk through a freakish garden) and go to Zion National Park if you want to see a real wonder of the world. Admission to Zion's is much cheaper and it's all real. Seriously. My complaint is that the natural beauty of Rock City hasn't been exploited so much as it's been turned into something carnivalesque.

I'll allow that someone with children might get a kick out of Rock City. I guess that's the only time I could potentially justify a visit. Even then, I'd skip the freaky tunnel. Had I gone through it as a six-year old I think I'd come away a bit frightened, and probably would have had nightmares. Yes that's right. Nightmares.


*Interestingly, in Nashville they call it "calling out" when you call in sick. In Utah, where I'm from, they call it "calling in."

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Crazy? Yes, please.

Owing to my dramatic personality, I broke up with one of my friends. That's the deal; I basically sent her a long goodbye in the form of an email. Who does that kind of thing? Often, I can hardly stand myself.

I thought my days of sending emails in the heat of the moment -- usually at night -- were over, because now I'm married and I generally sent those kinds of emails to boyfriends who were either breaking up with me or had already broken up with me, or who I was in the process of breaking up with. I'm a stayer, so they were usually breaking up with me, something I'm very grateful for because otherwise I might be with one of them still. And I'd rather be with Stoker, who, as expected, is still perfect for me.

But just because I'm married does not mean that I don't need friends. I may not need them every day and may not call them as often as I did when I was single. But I love them, still. And in some ways I wish I could call them as often as I did when I was single. But that would be pathetic. Part of the problem with that is also scheduling. When I have time to call them, they are busy. When they call me, I'm either working or having a rare moment with Stoker (who works between 60 - 70 hours a week; another reason I need my friends: I get lonely) and he comes first, naturally. And were my friends married, I'd expect their spouses to come first.

Anyway, I guess the thing with this friend (who I essentially broke up with) is that I had deluded myself into believing that she put as much importance on our friendship as I had. We all know that relationships are give and take. When one person feels like they're giving more than the other, something's wrong. And the both of you better address it. This kind of thing works better when it's an intimate relationship because it's weird to have two friends discussing a relationship. That's the beauty of friendship. You don't have to do things like that because you both obviously feel like things are going well. You don't have to have a DTR. Or a state-of-the-union. If a friendship isn't working, you both just fade out of each other's lives without much being said. It just happens.

That's why everyone who knows anything thinks friendship is a beautiful thing. It is the relationship that is chosen and not held together by marriage or biology. It exists purely for itself. It is completely voluntary and when it goes sour it is such a sad thing. But for all these reasons, that it is voluntary, that it is not held together by anything except pure will, it is the relationship that is not so much discussed. You don't go to counseling if it's not working. You don't usually say to your friend, "This isn't working for me," or "You don't call me enough," or "I want out," or "I feel jealous about your other friends," because if you did, you'd seem somewhat cuckoo.

Which, I guess is what I must be. Because basically I said many of those above sentiments to the friend I broke up with. But I'm a jealous person. I get jealous over the stupidest things. I suppose that's because I inhabit the world of ideas. I think about things. And my moon is in Scorpio, a very jealous sign. I didn't say to her you don't call me enough. Or I want out . . . at least not in those terms. I said I'm leaving. And I said this isn't working. And something about feeling jealous.

I know I look like a very small person. And I feel like one. And I feel sad, like I've lost my best friend. But she was probably only my best friend in my head and not in her own perception of the relationship. Because a best friend would have behaved like one. A best friend would have been aware of me, and so often she wasn't. And maybe I'm blind or simply ignorantly patting myself on the back, but I thought I was aware of her.

I'm full of shit, aren't I. You'll notice that's not a question. The thing is, I have many friends that I keep in touch with. None of them ever made me feel like I'm not quite as important as their other friends. But in this friendship, I nearly always felt that way. And perhaps that's just my perception. But that's the only one I have.

I'm going to go now and have my pity party by myself. I've been very depressed lately. Depressed and stressed. My job is ending soon and I don't have another lined up and to top it all off, this sick Egyptian I work with asked me to be his assistant and that just depresses me more. He's always borderline sexually harassing me, I'd have to be insane to consider taking his offer of being his assistant. Yeah right. But that's the only lead I have on a job. And then in my great, dramatic way, I go and end a friendship. Who the hell does that?

Monday, September 18, 2006

JJ's

In a few minutes, I'll be heading to JJ's. It's my new favorite place. I should always have a favorite place. It makes life worth living.

JJ's doesn't look like much from the outside, but inside it's gorgeous and clean and chic. They have coffee, espressos, energy drinks and my favorite Steaz Green Tea Sodas. And to nibble on? Imported chocolates. To read? A plethora of magazines (to buy).

Unfortunately, it's frequented by the rich college kids who bring their Mac laptops and set them up on the coffee tables and listen to itunes while they conduct "research" on the internet and write their fifteen page papers that are very important and pressing. They have to, you know, write those papers so that they can graduate and start out as CEO's of major corporations.

I'm being sarcastic. What those students probably don't know is that they'll start at an entry level position, maybe making $12.50 an hour, where they'll slowly work their way up the depressing corporate ladder. Or they'll look and look and not find a job in their chosen field and so they'll work for temp agencies while they wait for a law firm to hire them. Or maybe that's just what happened to me and I'm a cynic.

It's just depressing. I get so depressed looking at them with all their expensive clothes and computer gear and ipods and bags and taste. They have no idea what they're in for. Unless they know someone. Because it's really about who you know, not what you know. If they only knew . . . .

But anyway. I have to hang out at places like JJ's because I'm essentially single, again. Single while being married. Because Stoker works 15 hour days and even on his days off he wants to go to into the studio for some reason. Isn't that weird? Hmmm. Maybe he's not really going to work . . . .

Just kidding. Now I'm getting depressed. Again. Seriously, he has a demanding job. He does work. And very often I go into the studio to see him and hang out. I was there, just last night, after I left good ole JJ's. I sat in the studio while he recorded this pretty good, though somewhat pathetic, guy, who is convinced this album is going to be HUGE. Maybe it is. You never know. It's not like bands know their album is going to be HUGE while they're making it. Right?

Sigh. I'm leaving.

The Pope, Muslims and a Delicious Stew of My Thoughts

It’s been blogged to death, and covered so thickly in the press I think the general public is in danger of suffocating. But I have to put my proverbial two cents in (in case you haven’t been able to tell, I love the word proverbial. Yes, I just love the idea of things being proverbial) regarding the poor Pope and the angry Muslims. I can just see him, poor Mr. Pope, offering an apology and having it not be enough. No, the angry protestors won't rest until he's given up a pound of flesh and perhaps a pint of blood. And I can just see the protestors violent at the suggestion that Islam promotes violence.

The cool thing about America is the freedom of speech. At least, the idea of freedom of speech, which in this annoying global society isn’t real at all. And probably, on lots of levels, it’s not a one hundred percent guaranteed freedom in America, either. Were it real, groups like the ACLU wouldn’t actually exist. As an aside, I typically hate the ACLU because invariably they take a side and it’s usually the side of the minority (which is good, if you’re the minority they’re representing). But anyway, I don’t want to open that can of worms. My point is that freedom of speech is golden. I think people should be able to say what they think without fear of being sued and be able to print the truth, whether it’s what I agree with or not, without fear of enraged protestors rioting in the streets.

Ultimately the beauty of living in this cold, cruel world is the diversity of opinion, culture and beliefs. Somewhere in it there is room for the warmth of understanding that occasionally happens between different cultures and various peoples. Even within the Muslim world there are different factions and groups with varying degrees of orthodoxy. What I don’t see is how the Muslim agenda of converting the entire world or killing them is any different than say, Hilter. Or the KKK. Or any group of people that wishes to eradicate another group of people because of race or ideology. So if the Muslims succeed in killing all non-believers, there would still be the different factions within Islam. They don’t have one great Islamic leader.

And what would happen without diversity of religion and ideas? Boring.

So about the Pope. I respect his intentions (see the full transcript of his speech). I doubt he knew the ramifications. And I don’t think it’s fair to try to blame him for violence or deaths that may occur as a result of rioting, angry protestors. If that logic works, then you have to say that smokers are responsible for global warming and all manner of smog, and that when a commuter kills someone in a fit of road rage, it’s the fault of everyone else on the road because they are there and so on. Everyone has the chance to choose. People are culpable for their own actions.

About the rioting Muslims. They are quick to anger and they are quick to find any excuse to riot, protest angrily, bomb, and kill others. The Pope’s apology was not enough for them, and I kind of think it will never be enough because the point isn’t to make him submit, but to have a visible reason to be angry at Westerners and infidels. So they have a scapegoat about why they’re angry. I understand being angry and annoyed about something someone else said, things public figures say, or the things that are sometimes printed about my religion (which is misrepresented in the press quite often). But I don’t riot. I get pissed and then I let it go.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Thoughts on "On Beauty" pt. 2

Moving right along with my contentions or complaints, whatever you want to call them:

2) Smith uses big words for no apparent reason. And she uses obnoxious adverbs to describe how people say things. Words like gnomically, which you think you’d be able to figure out from its context. But no, you can’t because it’s an adverb, describing the way in which the son, Levi, has said the following, “‘Nothin’, Dad. It’s just what it is’” (22). Yes, I know what a gnome is, but what the hell does a gnome have to do with how the kid said what he said? Any normal person would resort to a sad, over-used word like didactically or sententiously because the average person would have a glimmer of what that would mean.

Another awkward word she used was proscenium. Does anyone know what that word means? Is it the new slang? I had to look it up, but I feel that were she a careful author, I could have figured it out (again) from the context. No such luck. This is the sentence it came from, “Howard came out from behind the proscenium and into his marriage” (11). I’m not sure what she means by that. Does Howard live in a theater? I mean, I’m just basing that assumption on the definition of the word. Maybe the OED has a different definition for it. I have no idea, as the OED’s online dictonary is not FREE (stupid OED). Or perhaps she means ‘curtain’ but wanted to sound intellectual and so used an archaic word.

3) It bothers me when a man tries to write from the female perspective, and vice versa. Smith attempts to describe the world as a man views it. I don’t think she can. Although, you’d think what with the whole male-gaze thing going on, it would be easier for a woman to get away with writing from the male perspective. In Smith’s case, I don’t think she achieves it. At least not in the first 45 pages. For example, Howard is talking to his son Levi, who is “topless to the waist”*, when “Levi released a deep, vigorous laugh that in turn flexed that extraordinary stomach, creasing it like a shirt rather than real flesh” (23). Let’s be honest, would a man who is not gay look at another man’s naked stomach and think to himself, “That’s extraordinary.” Let alone the man’s own father? I’m just saying. The detail of the boy’s stomach would be a tad more fitting were it a told from a woman’s perspective.

But maybe at the end of the book, the big twist is that Howard is really a woman who has been masquerading as a man.

The thing is, I don’t fancy myself a critic and I don’t want to be critical of this book. I want to like it. But I can’t. There’s too much that offends my sensibilities. And I don’t want to be critical because she’s at Harvard. And so many other critics** praised the pants off the book. Perhaps I’ll discover that all these things I’ve complained about are tools the writer is using to convey some important message. If that were the explanation, I’d have a difficult time not scoffing and saying that’s bull-shit.

In the event that Zadie Smith and I become real good friends someday, in the future, I’ll tell her I had jet-lag when I tried to read the book. And I was on prescription pain-killers for a root canal I’d had recently. And when I wrote this blog entry, I’d mistakenly thought I was supposed to take the pain-killers with alcohol. And then I’ll apologize profusely, should she ever discover that I was the cruel blogger who lambasted On Beauty***.

I might keep reading in the hopes that it gets better, or I become more forgiving. Then again, I might throw the book away. Or give it away, along with David Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty One Day. Yeah, I didn’t like that one either.

[see part 1]

* Yes, that’s how Smith describes it. It’s redundant right? The definition of “topless” pretty much refers to ‘to the waist.’ Unless you’re topless to the collar bone. Or the nipple. I mean, what gives? Or is it simply a British-ism? That’s another thing, later when Howard is in the motherland, he starts calling things fags (cigarettes) and jumpers (sweaters) a lot. Out of the blue he’s suddenly extremely British. A tool? Or the author’s insecurity?
** They were paid off.
*** In my dreams. I’ll never have the honor of meeting
a published author. That is an honor, right?

Thoughts on "On Beauty" pt. 1

I bought a book yesterday. On Beauty, by Zadie Smith, who I had never heard of until that moment. I began reading it today with an open mind and much hope of a good novel. Frankly, I’m disappointed.

After a little research, I’m somewhat daunted to have the (perhaps uninformed) opinion of the book and her writing. She is: a) a British writer (I foolishly worship the British. It’s their accents); b) 3 years older than me (this proves that I’m lazy. On Beauty is her third book. How many books do I have? None.); c) she’s a Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard University; d) when I Google her name, there are 1.35 million results (compared to the paltry 85 when I Google my name).

So, how can I find her writing so crappy when Harvard adores her enough to bring her into their flock? With all the acclaim, how can I think she sucks? I don’t know. That’s the point. I’m confused.

Let me explain why I think the book is so terrible.

1) In the opening scenes, after the emails from the oldest son of this family, there is some kind of secret argument going on between the husband and wife. Or perhaps it’s not secret and I’m just daft. What happens is that the reader (me) can’t really tell it’s an argument because there are lots of metaphors and conversations. Smith seems to be attempting to capture the familiarity and intuitive way a family works. She does a lot of describing of the small, unimportant details (or, I would think they’re unimportant), like every single action a character engages in while speaking.

At one point the mother, Kiki, has been arguing with her husband and starts talking to the younger son. Suddenly she bends at the hips. The author is about to launch into a description of how Kiki is retying her head-dress. But the structure of the sentences in the paragraph is incredibly awkward. Maybe I’m wrong but we read one sentence at a time. You can’t just cut stuff off. In the middle of an idea. It’s uncomfortable to read. How she bends at the hips. Then tips her head forward and releases her hair. Personally, it would have been smoother to combine those ideas, so the reader isn’t left with this image of Kiki bending at the hips for no good reason.

Plus Kiki and Howard (the husband), are immediately at incredible odds with each other. Suddenly Kiki is asking Howard why he’s displaying so much animosity towards the family. And we, as readers, have no idea where her indignation at Howard has come from.

Or, it could just be me. Maybe I’m the only one who didn’t know why Kiki was angrily throwing stuff into her bag out of the blue and saying things to Howard in short, clipped sentences.

So far, the only thing beautiful about this book is the cover, which is indeed classy.

[see part 2]


Monday, August 28, 2006

Imaginary Conversations with Bastet

We’re going to Utah on Saturday to visit family. I’m excited about that. I’m a homebody, for those of you who don’t know that about me.

The strange thing is that I’m a homebody for this home here, now, the one I’ve made with Stoker and our two cats. I’m nervous about leaving it behind. Nervous about leaving the cats. We’ve arranged to have a trustworthy friend (Kevin) take care of them, but I’m the kind of person who projects my thoughts into their beautiful little minds. Perhaps, I think, they’ll worry. They’ll wonder when I’ll come home. They’ll be waiting for me, to see me, to have me open the door and come inside and feed them a tiny bit of tuna fish as their evening dinner. And I won’t open the door for many days. Will they worry? Do cats worry? I know, I know. I’m ridiculous. But that’s me.

I wish I could call them up and talk to them. Tell them that I’ll be home soon and have them understand that I haven’t left for forever.

Bastet: Hello?
Me: Basty?
Bastet: Yes, this is Bastet. Who is this?
Me: It’s your mom. It’s me.
Bastet: Ah yes. Where the hell are you?
Me: I’m in Utah visiting my mom. How are you doing?
Bastet: I’m starving. Where’s my treat?
Me: Kevin is supposed to be stopping by to check on you and give you your treat. He hasn’t been there yet?
Bastet: Kevin? Who the hell is Kevin? I haven’t seen anyone all day. I’m hungry and Sobek [the kitten we adopted] is bugging the hell out of me.
Me: I just wanted you to know I miss you and that I’ll be home before you know it.
Bastet: All I know is I miss my treat. Man, I’m starving.

Bastet has an attitude. I’m sure that if she could talk she’d say things like ‘hell’ and ‘damn.’ Perhaps a well-timed f-bomb when Sobek startles her. No, I’m kidding. Bastet is very regal and classy. She’d never stoop to cursing. But I do.

I’m not quite sure why I made her so unfeeling about our relationship. I suppose because it wouldn’t be funny to read about a cat telling her owner that she misses her. It’s much more humorous to have the relationship seem one-sided. But I know she loves me and will miss me. I like to think, anyway.

As this weekend approaches, I feel myself becoming more anxious, nervous and stressed. And I don’t want to go. At least, a part of me doesn’t want to. Like I said, I don’t want to leave the cats. I worry about the most impossible things happening. Like that Kevin won’t be able to come by and feed them because he gets in a car accident or something and so the cats starve. My mind goes so far as to supply images of them trying to scratch their way through the pantry door to get to their food. Or, the apartment burns down and no one is around to care enough to rescue them. Or there’s a tornado. Or an earthquake. Or some kind of enormous gas crisis and the airline can’t buy gas to fuel the plane and so we’re stuck in Utah.

It’s ridiculous. I know. Where do I get these ideas? Don’t ask me. A friend told me, recently, that these are things I can’t change so don’t worry about them.

But she’s wrong. I can change them, right? I can simply refuse to travel ever again.

Stupid, real stupid.


Monday, August 21, 2006

Steal this Car Stereo!

My truck was broken into last night. I found it this afternoon (see flickr site for photos). What do you do?

Because I was disoriented, I probably touched everything inside. Obviously I was crying, but out of frustration, not because I was sad. I was enraged. I wanted to destroy something, or more accurately, the someone who had done this.

At first I thought I’d forgotten to lock my doors, but then I noticed that the lock had been broken out. The console was ripped out, the vent was on the floor, the change from the ash tray was everywhere. Why hadn’t they taken that? I wondered. Several of my cd’s in their plastic cases were still in the door pouches or boxes (who knows what those things are called). I guess the bastard thief doesn’t like Van Morrison, Of Montreal, Garth Brooks or Beirut. All the stuff from my jockey box, or the case beneath the arm rest, was strewn everywhere. I wonder what he was looking for (I’m stereotyping, the thief was clearly male. Girls don’t break into cars. Right?).

I called Stoker and cried to him on the phone. I’m under the impression of myself that I’m not one to cry often. So when I tell you that I was crying, I rely on the fact that you know this about me and you know that I was unusually upset to be crying. Stoker knows this. And he understood that I was crying from rage and frustration. Not because I missed my stereo.

Though I do. What is life without talk radio or music? Just an angry internal monologue of my thoughts, being annoyed that I’m hitting every possible red light, being annoyed at the stupid school bus full of stupid children throwing trash out the bus window, angry at the line of traffic keeping me from my destination—Starbuck’s to turn in an application, to get another job, to earn extra money, to rid us of debt, to pay for the small life we live. The not even middle class life we live. Why steal from me? I have so little.

And what I have, I have paid for. I have earned. This is why I’m enraged. This month is my last payment on the truck. I was feeling thrilled to have that out of the way, to be planning other places to spend that money. So what happens? Murphy, that bitch, tosses a proverbial wrench in the works.

Or I could not let it get to me. As I write this, the event is hardening into my past, a thing to take care of. A thing to let go. And with it the anger. But not the lesson.

Or you’d think I would have learned from my last lesson, from the last time a car stereo was stolen from me. You would think I would be a miser about keeping the faceplate of that stereo close to me. Yes, I let my guard down and it was destructively taken from me. What I’m worried about isn’t the stereo. I’m bitter that the rest of the truck was damaged in the theft.

But at least the bastard didn’t break the window to get to his meager prize of my five-year old stereo that will probably get him, at the most, $50 from a shitty pawn shop. That’s a generous estimate.

The cop dusted for finger prints, but I’d touched too much in the truck for it to do any good. When I found myself at the crime scene initially, I was so distraught I didn’t think the police would dust for finger prints, or even care really. I figured that if I did call the cops, they’d take the report and not really look into it.

The strange thing is that before this happened, I took the stance that government shouldn’t interfere with people’s personal lives: if some loser wanted to take drugs, let him! It’s a personal choice, I thought. And I don’t take drugs. I just figured the war on drugs was a waste of police time and tax payer’s money. But now, now I blame this theft on drugs. And I say let’s throw the loser drug users in jail. Drug users don’t work (according to the cop). They get money for drugs by stealing. They steal from me and other average people who work hard within the system to pay for their small lives.

I’m really frustrated about this.

Also, I say to hell with pawn shops. I blame them for the dross of society. They encourage crime. I’ve always thought that you could judge a town by how many pawn shops they have. And this theft only reinforces my negative opinion about pawn shops.

And I’m tossing into that lot, Payday Loans, Check n’Go’s, EZ Loans and all businesses of that ilk.

The ironic thing was that when I got to Starbuck’s, because I did go there with the console and all its pieces hanging out, “Me and Bobby McGee” was playing inside. When I left, some Carly Simon type song about greeting the day with a smile was playing. It was depressing.

Friday, August 11, 2006

John Denver: Relief During Troubled Times

In light of recent events in the world, I am doing three things:

1) Listening to John Denver. He calms me. Reminds me of home. Makes me feel comfortable again, and relatively safe. I love the song “Fly Away.” It reminds me of my sister.

2) Obviously the world is a dangerous place and feeling safe is more about your state of mind and how prepared you are for an emergency, rather than actually being safe. Dangerous things are unplanned for, generally. Even when a person puts themselves in a risky situation, they try to do it safely, like with rock climbing. It’s not safe to climb up the face of a rock wall, but you still give yourself safeguards (most climbers do. The ones who don’t, die climbing at some point)—ropes, harnesses, anchors. In light of these things, I’m figuring out how to be prepared for an emergency. For Stoker, for our cats, for me. I have some water stored up and something of an emergency kit with extra clothes, medicine, blankets, matches, etc. But I know it’s not enough. I heard an ad on the radio today for a web site maintained by Homeland Security. I’m looking at it, thinking about what I need to do to become more prepared.

Being LDS, emergency preparedness is not a new thing. Growing up, my parents often went to a place called the dry-pack cannery something something, where they helped dry- pack (I guess) and in exchange, they received a discount price on dry-packed food. This food was stored in (surprise) the storage room in our basement along with other sundry items, such as our dress-up clothes and Christmas decorations. Also, regularly, as in monthly, leaders counseled having at the very least, a 72-hour kit ready (for the mathematically impaired, that’s 3 days) for emergencies. What I didn’t realize then was that meant my mom had to have enough stuff for her five daughters, her husband, and herself. That’s a lot of stuff. It was a good thing we had a storage room.

When I got into college, the same counseling from church leaders persisted. In wards full of single people living in apartments and student housing, we were counseled to be ready for emergencies. Where was I expected to keep it? In my small closet? Obviously I didn’t do anything about it. I figured in an emergency, I’d find my way home, whether in a car or by bicycle. Or on foot. This was dumb thinking. 1`

And I can't get by on that anymore, being that my mother’s house is 1600 miles away. Plus I’m 28 and responsible. For Stoker, myself and our cats.

Whatever you are, Christian, agnostic, Buddhist, peace of mind comes from being prepared for anything. You can’t know what will happen, but you can do your best to be ready for what might come next. Leaning on the government, your church, your parents, doesn’t bring the satisfaction of knowing that you have done whatever you can to be ready.

3) And finally, I’m listening talk radio, trying to make sense of what’s going on. I prefer Glenn Beck, who, in Nashville, is on 1510 AM in the morning. It used to be that when I missed him, I could catch him at night on XM 152, but for some reason the jerks stopped carrying him. They’d be wise to go back to airing him. He’s insightful, funny, and seemingly, really genuine. I’d counsel anyone to listen to his show.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Arresting Intelligent Development: Fox's Fall Lineup

This really gets me.

Anyone who really knows me, knows I'm a huge fan of the series Arrested Development. Not a fan in the sense of, crazy, stupid time-waster fan who creates a web site devoted to the show or any of the actors/actresses in it. Not like that. No, I just love the show.

I don't have an enormous dvd library. I have a few dvds (good dvds like Annie Hall, Manhattan, American Beauty and Harold and Maude [which actually belongs to a friend of mine. It's not my fault. I tried to give it back to him several times.]). Among my small collection is one season of Frasier and two seasons of The Simpson's. I also have both seasons of Arrested Development, with plans to get season 3 when it comes out on August 29th. Of the three television shows, I have watched Arrested Development the most. That I even own it is testament to my loving it. It should feel lucky. Lucky that it’s in my collection.

Stoker and I have found innumerable moments in our lives that can somehow relate to a comical or quotable phrase in Arrested Development (such as when Lucille says, "If that's a veiled criticism, I won't hear it and I won't respond." You can use it for just about any thing, from conversations with annoying co-workers to breaking awkward silences). It informs our lives almost as much as our religion. Does that sound psychotic? Or perhaps, crazy? Maybe it does. But I don't think of myself as an Arrested Development fundamentalist. I just worship the show in my spare time, that’s all.

So, what gets me is that the series wasn't renewed for the fall. In fact, last season was cut short. I don't know what the problem is with the retarded powers-that-be at Fox. I'm sure they'd say they gave it a fair shot. They gave it three seasons and it didn't turn into some shameless cult thing like American Idol. Their problem, then, is expecting every show they air to draw as many inane viewers as the embarrassing spectacle that is American Idol.

I know, I know. American Idol is like the ultimate American dream. It's the king of all game shows. It's the game show that never ends for the lucky final contestants who go on to riches and fame and a prolific recording career or sponsorships or something equally enriching and exciting. I just find it vulgar, that’s all. It embarrasses me. It embarrasses me to see artistic expression like singing, turned into a glittery spectacle. It embarrasses me to see, or rather to know—since I’ve never actually watched it—that there are horrible singers putting themselves out there to be ridiculed, laughed at, and verbally decimated by Simon and the viewing audience. In that way, in that some people know they suck, but they want to get on television at whatever cost, I see that American Idol is no different from Jerry Springer. It’s all trash.

Arrested Developtment is gone and what gets me is that Fox’s fall lineup consists of a bunch of crap. Crap that I feel pretty certain doesn’t, or shouldn't, get ratings as high as Arrested Development; crap that isn’t visionary, but is instead the recycled tripe of debased 1980’s television fare like Married with Children (The War at Home); crap that is essentially C.S.I., 24, Law & Order, Alias and E.R. all tossed into an Oster, pulverized, poured into a glass and served like it was something different, something new. But it’s not. It all tastes the same. It all sounds the same. The characters are all the same. (House, Bones, Standoff, Justice, Vanished, et al).

So finally, a show arrives that is insightfully funny, innovative, clever, witty, and that allows itself to be watched over and over again because of its deftly layered humor. It bursts upon the tired scene of lawyer/cop/doctor/FBI agent dramas, and exhausting and embarrassing “reality” shows, and what do they do? Essentially, they leash it and then as though punishing a bad child, take away its freedom (by cutting the number of episodes last season) and then in a final act of violent discipline, completely sever it from its friends. Me and the rest of the devoted fans and viewing audience. We should be happy, I guess is what they're saying, with drivel like Happy Hour and Standoff.

Monday, August 07, 2006

South Beach Diet Novices, et cetera.

We started the South Beach Diet today. And I feel pretty strange. Kind of tired. I suppose I’m not eating enough. But the good news is that I feel thinner. If that’s possible. If it’s possible to be thinner the first day. I’m sure it’s all in my head.

It’s not like Stoker and I need to lose much weight. If the scale we bought today is accurate, I weigh about 125, which is probably a decent weight for a girl with a relatively athletic build. When I started working a desk job (when I began keeping a blog), I gained a few extra pounds. Mainly noticeable around my waist. I’d just like to lose it. Plus I’d like to ingest less sugar and keep a healthy diet in general—hence the sugar purging. Stoker would too. We both figure it’s best to start now and try to maintain a good weight, rather than gain a lot of weight later because we drink Dr. Pepper and Coke and enjoy Lay’s potato chips. And chocolate chip cookies. And frozen pizza. I’m coming up on my thirties—a frightening prospect—and I don’t want to blimp out.

Speaking of blimping out, I heard the most awful commercial during a talk radio program, Dave Ramsey I think. It features an alarm siren and a voice saying something like, “Attention swimmers, please vacate the pool.” And then some swimmers say there’s a pair of thunder thighs on the loose, or the like, and those are dangerous. I don’t even remember what the advertisement was for. But it was disgusting, conjuring up grotesque images in my head of a pair of thighs, sans a body, floating in a pool. I mean, the commercial wasn’t even funny. Just awful. Who wrote it? Who writes that kind of crap and what were they thinking? Where were their parents?

After having worked in advertising myself, all I can think about when I see or hear terrible ads is that some copywriter somewhere wrote it, and I imagine their train of thought, how they got to the end result. Usually I think they were bored in their cubicle, hating their job and the deadline, feeling stumped for something good or classy, so they resorted to the dross floating around in their brain—hoping that if it truly sucked it wouldn’t get far down the production line before being pulled. That’s where I think ads like “loose thunder thighs” come from. Lazy writers, lazy bosses.

Another ad that got me all riled up was a La Quinta Inn billboard. It says “La Quinta Inn, Spanish for free high speed internet.” I’m not sure why it bugged me so bad, perhaps because I could imagine myself coming up with it, thinking it was clever but knowing it sucked. With the Spanish speaking population so high in the U.S. and many average Americans knowing enough about Spanish to know that La Quinta doesn’t mean free high speed internet, it just seems like a bad call on the advertising manager’s part to let it go to press. It’s a cheap language ploy. It’s like they didn’t want to simply say, “La Quinta Inn. Enjoy free high speed internet with your stay.” Because that’s not clever enough. They wanted to push themselves, demonstrate a sharp wit, but lacking that, leaned on a weak crutch.

I’m a super critical person, I know. It’s difficult to be around me for some people. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to be around me. Especially when my blood sugar is low. I’m really dragging here. Yesterday Stoker and I ate lots of carbs, in anticipation of today. I had several Krispy Kreme donuts—they’re better here than in Utah—and a baked potato and a Mountain Dew Code Red mixed with lemonade, and then later, a 32 ounce Dr. Pepper. In an attempt to be a tad healthy, we also had salmon with the potatoes. I’m not big on fish, you know. When you live inland, it’s tough to get good fish. Unless you go fishing yourself. I don’t enjoy fishing. Gutting them, you see. It’s given me nightmares in the past. So, I’m training myself to like fish. It’s a long road.

Friday, August 04, 2006

A Live Update from Nashville, TN

Recently in the news, Stoker and I got a new kitten. We adopted him for $100 from the Nashville Cat Rescue, via Petsmart. Supposedly this boy, who was named Ken for reasons beyond me, had been treated for fleas. Stupidly I took this at face value.

When I got him home and secured away from our ‘resident cat’ Bastet, I noticed fleas in his incredibly blond fur (which hereafter will be referred to as ‘buff’, should I have occasion to mention it again). I’m not sure if it’s one hundred percent accurate to say, but I’ll say it anyway, in Utah we didn’t have problems with fleas in our cats and nearly all of our cats had been strays. Maybe I just never saw the fleas, I don’t know.

But that’s one of the big problems I have with the south or mid-south, whatever you want to call it. The humidity makes it prime for millions of bugs to flourish. I’m not kidding. Some of the scariest bugs I’ve ever seen and I’m what you might call a bug-lover. At one time, during college, I considered becoming an entomologist. That was back when I was na├»ve about bugs. The bugs in Utah are generally small and non-threatening. That was before I’d encountered a cockroach. Damn the cockroaches! They scare the hell out of me.

Anyway. Sobek*, as we named him later—choosing to stick with the grandiose Egyptian pet-naming tradition (though, I must say, after being at my job, plagued by Egyptian history day in and day out, I’m weary of Egyptian anything)—had fleas. Obviously I freaked out. I hurried to the nearby Petco and bought some stupid flea shampoo. It didn’t work because Ken (as he was known then) went ballistic when I tried to give him a bath. You have to keep it on them for about 5 minutes. That wasn't going to happen. And being a novice at animal grooming, I avoided washing his face and ears, the spot you should wash first because the damn fleas hide inside the ears as soon as they’re threatened. Apparently. I tried a stupid flea comb (also purchased at Petco) and that didn’t work on his short hair and bony body. But I had a grand old time picking a few fleas off him with my fingers and drowning them. A tip: you should use soapy water for that. In plain water the fleas just swim around looking for a way out. They’re survivors, you know.

That night I couldn’t sleep. I was thinking about the fleas. Succumbing to buyers’ remorse, which is horrible because the kitten was sweet and needed a home and Bastet needed a friend. I itched everywhere, thinking in my sleepy, delusional state that I had fleas and the bed was full of fleas. I was worried that our apartment was going to quickly become a breeding ground for fleas. The next day after work, I went to the vet and got some Frontline. Two doses: one for Bastet, one for Sobek (as he was now called). Two doses were $30. I also bought some flea spray for the apartment. That was about $20.

Did I mention that the kitty bed and kitty food for Sobek was about $18?. And the flea shampoo and book Kittens for Dummies was about $28. You should be keeping a total.

So I sprayed the entire apartment with the flea spray. The Frontline began working immediately, paralyzing the little bastards. By my count he had about 15 fleas, but some of them might have fallen off into the carpet. I’m not sure. I also washed the bathroom towels, the comforter and bed sheets and any blanket he laid upon. Stoker thought I was going nuts, I’m sure. But I wasn’t. I’m the wife, the protector of hearth and home, or at least hearth and apartment (we have a fireplace). I was simply being radically practical.

At some point in the few days we had him, Sobek hurt his paw. He began limping. It turned out to be an abscess. Stoker fretted. He couldn’t sleep. He adores Sobek, you see. Which I find adorable. On Saturday, Stoker and Sobek went to the vet. They sedated him, lanced the wound in his paw, drained it, flushed it and sent Sobek home with antiobiotics. This cost $118.

Have you kept track? I haven’t. Until now. My rough estimate is somewhere in the neighborhood of $330.

But he’s worth it. At first it was hard to think so, because I hadn’t bonded with him. But we’re good friends now. And he and Bastet, while getting off to a rocky start, are learning how to play together. She’s not so lonely anymore. We got Sobek so her days weren’t spent in so much solitude. Now they chase each other down the hall and it makes me happy.

In other news I’m looking for a better job. A job with higher pay and benefits. Stoker is doing exceptionally well at his job as a staff engineer. I’m really proud of him. The other day I met a woman who is either a pathological liar, or she leads a completely unbelievable life. She claimed that the first three season of Alias were based on her life. True? Or delusional? It’s hard to say, isn’t it.


*No, he does not resemble a crocodile.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Goodbye Wildoats

So, yes, I quit.

Suddenly. It's strange, too, walking out of a place like that, when you hadn't planned on it. Liberating. A tad dramatic. But I couldn't help it, really. I was walking out to escape the drama. What drama? you ask. Something similar to what you find in high school.

You see, I take the blame for opening my mouth and saying what I did. I can do that. But the way it was handled: ridiculous. I figured before it could balloon any more out of proportion, I'd leave.

I'll spare you the suspense. What I said was that I think bisexualism is sort of a cop out, an excuse, an unwillingness to choose one and stick with it. Well, all I actually said was that I think it's a cop out, I just thought I'd elaborate on the idea while I was here, writing about it. And then I said, "See, gays, who have picked what they are, I can get behind that because they've made a choice and that's great. But the bi-thing, I can't get behind that." And the whole "get behind that" was a joke, sort of, an allusion to the William Shatner/Ben Folds/what's his name punk guy song. I was joking a little as I said it, because that's my way. I'm a big joker, sometimes.

Anyway, I thought she'd get it. But she didn't. And in the first place, I stopped saying what I thought about the bi-thing because I didn't want to get into hot water or hurt anyone's feelings. But she egged me on. Seriously. This is a better detail of how the conversation went, with my commentary in brackets:

Me: Do you like guys or girls? [This is not an offensive question because probably a good 50% of the people at Wilds Oats are gay or what have you. And I was asking her because I thought she would like to go out with Stoker's co-worker if she was straight, because I thought she was cool enough for that. And I didn't know what her preference was, but it could go either way.]

Her: Well, it could go either way. [See, she wasn't offended by the question.]

Me: Oh, so, that's how it is, huh. [With a very joking tone, because I'm a joker, you know.]

Her: What do you mean?

Me: Nothing, it's just that . . . no, nevermind. [Here you can clearly tell that I was trying to back out of the conversation. I know what can happen when I say the wrong thing.]

Her: No, what? Say it.

Me: Well, I don't know, I've always just thought that the whole bi-thing was a cop out, you know, an excuse, so you don't have to choose. I guess it's always seemed more about sex, than love, to me. [In a very humble tone, like "I'm not stamping on your ideas, just tiptoeing around them," as though to figure out what they are without scaring them off like small animals.]

Her: Yeah, well that's what a lot of people seem to think, but that's unfair. I mean, certainly there are girls who say they're bi and fool around with it, but only to get guys because they think guys think it's sexy and hot to have two girls together. They're not really bi, but all that pisses me off. Anyway, bisexualism isn't all about sex.

Me: Really? I'm just saying that's what I've seen. That's based on my experience, [or rather, what I've observed in people] you know, so I don't know what else to think about it.

Her: I just think it's about more opportunities for love. [Or something like this. This is all paraphrased, since it happened yesterday I don't remember every word of the conversation.] I've certainly dated more men than women. [She's 21, by the way.]

Me: Hmmm, yeah. Well, I guess I did have a boyfriend who, I found out later, was bi. And he was really good and loving, so, I think for him it was more about love than sex, I'd forgotten about that whole thing. So, I guess it's possible that it could be about love and not sex.

That's about it. Anyway, I thought my last statement was diplomatic enough, that I'd relented a little and allowed for the possibility that my opinion was wrong. You see, I wouldn't have said a damn thing if I hadn't thought there was a rapport between us. I'm not entirely a bumbling idiot, you know.

But, then next thing I know, she's coming out of the front office, wiping her eyes like she'd been crying. I asked her if she was okay and she said something about how she just can't talk about that subject because it always ends up that her feelings get hurt, or something like that. By "that subject," she meant bisexualism. At that point she was counting my drawer, because she's an assistant manager. I said to her, "Wait, what? I thought we worked it out? I told you about my ex-boyfriend and that I thought it could be about love and everything. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hurt your feelings." But she didn't seem to listen. She left to talk to an old employee who had quit, but was doing some light shopping (a member of the now split band, Neutral Milk Hotel. But, she was never nice to me. And I'm sure she'll be even less nice to me now. I'm 100% positive the ass. man. told her this story and painted me as a horrible, intolerant bigot).

While on my break I thought a lot about how screwed up this stupid world is. I felt bad about hurting her feelings, obviously, because that wasn't my intention. I thought about an old friend (no really, he's old. Older, anyway) and how he would have had the wisdom not to say anything at all, that he would have made the girl just feel loved, because he has this kindness about him, this benevolence that glows in his face. And I wished I had made her feel loved, not judged or whatever, and I wished to have the wisdom he has. But I know, as well, that his wisdom is hard won, that he's lived a lifetime to have it. You don't get that at 28. You get it by living and letting life make you smooth, not a crochety old jerk. Sometimes I think I'm halfway down the crochety old jerk road.

After my break, I went back into the store. I knocked on the door to the front office to find her. Someone else was in there, the guy who does the money and deposits. I could see her behind him, and I asked for her. He said she's busy verifying the deposit, was what I needed important. I just said no and walked away. Who knows if she was really verifying the deposit, but that was ridiculous. She knew what I was there for, to apologize MORE, and I wasn't about to beg to give an apology. My hell.

Anyway, to make all this short, when the service manager arrived, this girl was obviously getting petty about everything and so she told him I was five minutes late. I know this because the first thing he said to me was, "Can you get here at 7:45 from now on? Just be on time?" And I said sure. So, in short, all this bothered me. I fumed about it at my register and about how the girl was being passive aggressive (as though I had done her wrong by having a damn opinion), doing everything I needed her for, like for returns and stuff, very curtly and business- like while somehow managing to ignore me. So, I left. I told the service manager I was sick and left them all to their stupid devices.

I went back today, at 7:45 (yes, I was even early), thinking it had all blown over. Probably. The assistant manager didn't say much. At one point she went through my line (because I was the only cashier there and she desperately wanted some tangerines) and asked if I was okay. Hmm. Maybe she was completely unaware of yesterday and how she'd treated the situation and jilted my attempt at an apology and everything else. Other than that everything was fine. I could deal with the ignoring and all that.

But then, around 10:00 another cashier showed up and began acting strangely. I had thought this girl was my friend. I asked her if she was mad at me, and then she pulled all this stuff about how I had offended and hurt the other girl's feelings and that I judged her and by judging her I had judged this girl too because she was also bi(!) (I had no idea, seriously. Very unfair) and it made her feel bad and awkward and unfortunately, lots of people at Wild Oats are gay or bi and so I shouldn't go around saying stuff about how I think it's bad or whatever. I got really annoyed. "What is this? High school? It's completely unfair that she told you and totally misrepresented me. Did she tell you the other stuff I said and about how I tried to apologize but she hid from me in the office?"

I fumed some more at my register. Then I quit. I said a few goodbyes to the people who had relatively unpolluted and friendly views of me, and I walked out. As I drove away, feeling strange and liberated, "The Feel Good Program of the Year" by Goldspot played on my car stereo. It was like, so like a movie.


Author's Note: There's more to the story, I had to cut it short, it was getting too long. And more about my opinions, which are still not very represented here. If you even care, check back later.


p.s. I can't believe I wrote that stupid letter to TRUE. It's so embarrassing. What was I thinking? And then to post it on here? I must be mad. Seriously.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Sick of TRUE Ads

So, in a frenzy of irritation, I whipped up a quick email to the people at TRUE -- that stupid relationship site who claims that they're all about something like: "Live. Love. Learn." Yeah right. I'm so sick of their stupid ads staring at me everytime I log into myspace or my hotmail account. Is anyone else feeling this? I mean, they're getting sluttier and sluttier. And yes, I felt this way about sluttiness before I was married. It has nothing to do with being a married woman. It has to do with principles. And it has to do with the fact that it bugs the hell out of me that they try to look like a good and classy relationship site, while using sex to sell their services. Hmm, sounds a little like prostitution.

Yes, I know, they all do it. 'They all' meaning every business out there. Pretty much. Magazines. Victoria's Secret, and oh yes, I'm sick of their slutty ads too (their bras aren't even that good. I've had better). What a whorehouse they are. I'm serious. I've had it up to here with it all and I'm this close (imagine my thumb and finger a millimeter apart) to severing all my ties with the outside world. I have neither television nor the internet, at home. So, all I've got to do is stay inside now and I won't have to deal with it any more.

Here's the letter. Let me know what you think. Oh geez, I hope I spelled everything right. I know no one will read it. At least, not anyone who matters, with any power. But what else can I do? Stop using the internet? I'm this close to doing that. Believe me. I am. I'm not kidding.
(To be read in the Comic Book Guy's voice [from The Simpson's].)

Dear TRUE,

I simply want to let your company know that I find your ad campaign deplorable and offensive. Your motto, "Live. Love. Learn." has absolutely nothing to do with the images plastered all over every single internet site I visit. The two, your logo and the images you couple it with, are completely unrelated. And they're disgusting. Yesterday I saw one of a girl leaning forward in what I can only call lingerie, as though if I joined your website, I'd be subscribing to a great big fleshpot of nearly naked women. Oh what fun that would be. Yeah, you know what, your ads MAKE me want to join. I mean, it's like pleasure island once I get in, isn't it?

What bothers me is that I can't change the channel, you know? I log in to my hotmail account and there's an ad with a girl in a string bikini asking me, "Naughty, or Nice?" And I have to ignore it. And I have to think about my husband logging into hotmail or myspace seeing the exact same half-naked woman looking at him, asking the exact same slutty quesiton, "Naughty, or Nice." What does he think? I wonder. The problem isn't him because he's exactly how he should be, a man with God-given urges and desires, which I truly appreciate when it's me and him. But I can't be there 24/7 and while he's a very good man, he's also a man. That's what you're counting on, though, isn't it? Your company doesn't give a damn about families. Or husbands and wives. Break 'em up, right? As long as you get rich doing it.

The problem isn't the service you provide. Because if it's about single people, great. But you don't seem to care about the demographic. You think, hell, we'll just blast the entire public because there's no way to just reach single people. And you think, we'll go for the lowest common denominator: sex. Great, that's just great, beacuse sex sells, doesn't it. So what you really provide, under the guise of a relationship site, if I'm to believe the slutty blonde asking me, "Naughty or Nice." is something akin to a brothel. Some kind of whore-house or huge orgy site. Right? If that's the case, why don't you just drop the "Live. Love. Learn." and call it what it is? We both know you have nothing to do with loving or learning if all you can shove in my face is a girl bending over in her black negligee.

Thanks.


Okay, final note. I'm sure Stoker behaves himself when I'm not around. I trust him. I just hate thinking about him seeing slutty girls on magazine covers and the internet and walking down the street, because I know he does. It's just not fair. That's all. I'm a baby about it, too. Sigh. But that's what life is all about. Loving and learning. Right? And forgiving and growing and writing angry emails to companies and your congressman and such.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Environmentalists and Wild Oats

I thought I might as well tell you, it's going to be a while before I get the internet at home. What that means for you is that my posts will be infrequent. But you can change that by giving me some money for my monthly internet bill. Or donations. Whatever you want to call them. I'm a non-profit organization, so it would count as a write-off. Or something. Maybe I'm a for-profit organization. I don't really know. Contact me for details.

But seriously. I've been meaning to do a post about working at Wild Oats, but I hate writing at the library. It sucks. Honestly, the only interesting thing about my job at Wild Oats is me. And my perceptions of Wild Oats and all the cr-a-a-a-a-zy customers. Yeah, they're crazy. Convinced they're saving the environment by getting paper, not plastic, and by purchasing Seventh Generation biodegradable toliet paper and whatnot. And then they leave the store with their paper bags and Seventh Generation toliet paper*, heading for the parking lot and their giant Hummers and Escalades and Yukons. I'm serious. The highest concentration of SUVs in Nashville, other than Music Row (where all the studios are, for the uninformed), is the Wild Oats parking lot. And what do their SUVs consume? Gasoline. That's right. And where does gasoline come from? Petroleum. That's right. And why are these customers currently so enraged about the fact that Wild Oats STILL offers plastic bags for groceries? Because it's a petroleum by-product. That's right. A few days ago I had a customer inform another, obviously naive customer, that plastic bags are made from petroleum. He was very upset. He must have read that enlightening article in Vanity Fair's green issue (did you see it? Oh yeah, it was great. It had George Clooney, Al Gore and Julia Roberts on the cover, amongs others. Oh, you didn't know? They all have Phd's in environmental sciences and teach at UC Berkeley, Stanford and Harvard in their spare time).

Anyway, folks, I'm not a scientist myself. And I don't know that much about oil or where exactly gasoline comes from. Or plastic bags. Because I'm also not an environmentalist. Yet. I'm working at Wild Oats, you never know, they may convert me. But I do know that SUV's get around 18 miles to the gallon. I don't mind. I'm into double standards.

Oh yeah, that Vanity Fair green issue. Printed on paper. Where does paper come from? Trees. Maybe pulp farms, if your lucky. But how do they get paper from trees? Paper mills. What do paper mills do? Pollute the enviroment. Aaah. The cycle. It's beautiful.




p.s. The author makes no claims that any of the content of this blog is a fact.


*If they really want to save the environment, they should recycle their toliet paper. Because where does toliet paper come from?




Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Wild Oats

Soooo. I'm working at Wild Oats. Yeah, that's going good. It's kind of embarrassing, you know, but at least I have a job. My plan is to keep looking for a better, more appropriate job while I have a job. Sounds like a good plan. See, the problem with plans is that I never follow through with them....

And Stoker. I hardly see him. He's at the studio nearly every day, and usually for 16 hours or something. But I stop by there and say hello occassionally. It's like we're dating again. But the studio thing is going well for him. We think they're going to hire him. At least, that's what the studio manager told him today, and he's not a sleezy scam artist, you know. But you find those types here.

But I like Nashville better than Phoenix. It's good here. Really good.

Monday, March 27, 2006

I Say: It's My Birthday

Like the song. Kind of. The one that goes, "You say it's your birthday! Well it's my birthday too!" You know the one I'm talking about. Anyway, that's what the heading refers too, for all you illiterates.

I'm 28 today and so far only ONE of my friends has called to wish me a happy birthday (thank you, Christie B.). Jason, who lives in Seattle, mentioned my birthday on the phone last week, so that counts. But the others, who I've now sworn to forsake, are in the dog house.

I only have 7 minutes left here, on the library computer (which keeps taking up MY time to tell me I should log out because my time has almost expired). So let me just tell you that I've had a good birthday, inspite of those who've forgotten me. Stoker gave me the music-gift that keeps on giving, an XM satellite radio receiver and a subscription. Possibly the best gift one could give the obsessive music-lover. And my parents gave me some money, which will probably be spent on more music, despite my gross need for new clothes and shoes.

Also, Stoker made dinner for me yesterday (he's working ALL day today. The life of the poor intern). And he made brownies because we're not big cake fans. It's been a good birthday. Now back to the job hunt.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Nashville: We Have Arrived

I made a special trip to the library, just to do a new post. We still don't have the internet at our apartment, and I don't know when we'll ever have it again. Maybe when I get a job, because, yes, I'm looking for a job. Again. It seems like all I've done in the past 2 years is look for jobs. Moved to Salt Lake from Logan. Looked for a job. Moved to Mesa from Salt Lake. Looked for a job. Moved to Nashville from Mesa. Looked for a job.

And while some view the job search as a beautiful new opportunity to recreate themself and re-evaluate who they are and what they want to do with life, I see it as painful. A tormenting look at my life, a realization that I'm not where I want to be, not even close. The biggest problem with it is that I don't even know where I want to be. I can't decide.

Recently I read an article in the liberally biased and egocentric New Yorker about Bill Gates and his mission to change world health. It was good, aside from the heaping spoonfuls of guilt they dumped on Americans (crap like, "Americans don't care about dying African children," as if I have the resources to take care of Africa, as well as myself and my family and my neighbors and the poor Americans who approach me in parking lots looking for money because they don't have any teeth and whatnot. And "Governments should pay for public health care." As if every citizen's health is in the government sector, and not one's own responsibility. Well, don't get me started. Anyway). What I got from the article in spite of the stupid blame-game, is that Bill Gates does what he wants. He's ambitious. He's a go-getter, like my brother-in-law, Jason (who made this adorable web page about my nephew, Jackson) and like Stoker -- who's been a veritable slave driver this week about me getting a job (no, is that politically incorrect? He's been helping me and doing a good job at it. I just like to joke).

Bill and his wife don't waste time, it seems. They do constructive stuff with their free time. Unlike me, who plays Xbox instead of writing the book I'm not destined to finish for at least ten years. Xbox, a fun, exciting time-waster, created by Microsoft, Bill Gates' behemoth company whose tentacles reach into every part of my life. It's true, I'm writing that book on Microsoft Word, believe it or not.

So in short, I say, damn Bill Gates, you're everything I am not.

I'm just saying that for drama.

So, Nashville. Yeah. The day we were supposed to pack our moving containers in Mesa, it rained. All day. No rain for 143 days, and on the 143rd day, it rained. And then, once we got here on Thursday, March 16th, it didn't rain. All weekend we had nice, balmy weather. We slept on air mattresses in our sleeping bags and had no furniture, or pans to cook with because I was accidentally stupid and packed them all. Then, on Monday, the day they were supposed to bring our containers (we did that whole ABF thing) so we could finally have pots and pans and a bed and a couch and most importantly, entertainment -- it rained. Poured. And ABF said there were safety issues and couldn't bring us our containers until the rain let up. Oh Murphy, you do tease me.

But yes, we have our furniture now and it's like we never went without it, or suffered at all. And finally our Xbox is restored to us so we can waste our time in fantasy lands, accomplishing nothing of value. Today I think I'll buy a new game, with the few dollars we have to last us until I get a job.

And hey, I LOVE Nashville. Our deck overlooks some grass and a small forest. The other day there were plump, gray squirrels running across the lawn and folicking with the birds. It's quiet and cozy. It's like a dream.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Breaking the Silence

So, I've had a lot of people begging me to do a new post. And I can understand why they're begging me, I really can*. But here's the truth, I've been too busy. I hardly find a spare moment for myself these days, let alone to do a post for you, my many, many fans. Plus we got rid of the internet at home and so any time I want to use it, I have to go to Luis's coffee shop or Stoker's school. I have thought of you, often, my fans, and I've even written some posts, but haven't gotten around to transferring them from my hard drive, to the thumb drive, to an internet near me. And I can't do it here.

Here I am at the coffee shop. There's this guy sitting at a table near me using his laptop, with one of those portfolio briefcases on the table by him (Luis's shop is really, really cool. If you live in Mesa, you must come by). I'm not sure why he has it. Maybe he carries it with him everywhere, like a security blanket. Anyway, this lady came in, real chatty, obviously friends with Luis. She sees the portfolio on the table and asks if she can look through it. The guy says something to her that I don't hear because I'm not listening, nor am I interested. (I'm moving soon, not getting attached to anyone is my goal. What a wimp, I know). I think he says something along the lines of, "If you don't mind. . . " Something. I don't know what. So then she's looking through the pictures, commenting on them and whatnot. I look over and see one of the photos as she turns the page and it's some kind of black and white female with red lingerie panties on (I hate the word panty, I only use it here for lack of a better term). She says something like, "Oh that one's good . . ." And then I see her turn another page and it's another female, this one's nude. Some kind of banal comment, some kind of pandering to the artist. Turn page, repeat.

And you know what I'm thinking? Lame. That's what I think. That's why I'm writing this, so I can complain about stupid art. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I can appreciate that this man sees beauty in women. What with all the crap in the media right now about men being secretly gay and all that (see Willie Nelson's new song), I really appreciate that there are still men in the world who like women. But now I feel uncomfortable around this guy and I think that that woman was most likely full of crap. And jealousy. And a bunch of other confusing emotions. Isn't it strange? Women, well, most women, live in this constant state of wanting to be desired and wanting to just be human and nothing else, not an object of desire. At least that's how I feel. I want to be appreciated for my strength and my mind, my sense of humor and accomplishments, and sometimes I want to be noticed for my physical beauty. If I even have any. And it's funny (and a little annoying), but I felt attractive and desirable right up until I got married. Then, suddenly, bam, I'm dumpy and homely. The kind of girl no one notices. And I know it's me. It's in my mind, it's some kind of psychological hurdle I've got to get over. Who knows if I will.

Remember that episode of Seinfield when George wears the ring just to get noticed more and to be more desirable to women? It works, doesn't it? Well, I don't think it works for women. It's the opposite, I think. Not that I want to be sought after, because obviously I'm wearing the ring to ward off evil, as it were, and because I want everyone to know that I'm committed to Stoker. But I still want to feel good about my appearance. Which goes back to the problem of my mind. Someday I'll get used to all this. It's a strange transition, no one really talks about why the first year of marriage is hard, but I'm thinking it has more to do with getting used to yourself in this new state of mind, rather than getting along with your companion. Stoker and I get along great and I adore the hell out of him. It's the rest of the world, outside our little circle, that makes it tough.

Anyhoo. This started out being an address to my many, many fans. How are you? Talk to me. I'm doing great. I quit my job at the Desert Botanical Garden. Last Wednesday was my final day there. I will miss it, in a way. I wrote a post about it, but it's on my thumb drive. We're moving to Nashville around the 13th of March (the Ides? I'm not sure. I think that's the 9th). It's stressful as hell, it really is. I think I'll have more time to do things for myself now that I'm not driving back and forth between Mesa and Phoenix and Mesa and Gilbert a million times a day. I'm hoping to really dig Nashville. At least we'll be there longer than 8 months, so I won't have to feel transient the whole damn time. The problem with Arizona, besides the dust, the million days without rain, the complete lack of weather, the dumpster outside our bedroom windows, the traffic and +1.5 million people, has been that I knew I was leaving. So I never fell in love. Not real love, anyway. I'm hoping to fall in love with Nashville. Real love.



*I've been reading Salinger, can you tell. I know, it's annoying as hell. But I'm a sponge, I can't help it. I really can't.