Thursday, April 19, 2007

Work Sux

So, I edited this author’s manuscript and sent it back to him. He looked over the changes and chose to either accept my changes or reject them. I just think it’s funny, the changes he rejected. From my perspective I tried to save him from sounding stupid. I imagine that from his perspective a lot of my changes destroyed his coolest tricks. You know, he reached into his big bag of tricks and pulled out the most inappropriate words to describe things and thought that was a cool trick. Like when the kids say wicked to describe something cool. Or when Michael Jackson sings: “I’m bad, I’m bad, you know it.” And Michael means, I’m so cool I grab my crotch in public.

So I get all huffy and don’t want to adjust my changes. I want to keep them because I tried to protect the author’s image and he doesn’t get it. When he says he sits at his computer screen, I say, take out screen, you don’t need it. You don’t sit at your computer screen. You sit at your computer or you sit in front of your computer screen. But I guess I was just getting technical. He’s right. I’m wrong. How did I even get this job? I suck as a copy editor.

He’s thinking to himself, “I’m the one who wrote this book, I know more than you.” He’s thinking, “I wrote this book. What have you done?” And he’s right. What have I done? He’s thinking, “I have a doctorate. What do you have? A bachelor’s? Ha. Ha ha ha ha. That’s nothing.” And in a way, he’s right. What good is a bachelor’s these days? Ha. Ha ha ha.

He’s telling me certain words take an object and I’m saying, "We use Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition, what are you using?" He’s saying, "I learned this in the late 60’s, when I was in college." And I’m saying, "Wake up man! It’s 2007. Language changes, man! The only thing that’s the same from the 60’s is weed, man! Let’s have a joint! Yeah!"

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Sanjaya, I Bid You Good Riddance!

Somehow I got sucked into watching "American Idol" this season. We figured out that we get a few basic channels with the antenna, and often I flip on the television while I stretch and do my weights in the evening*. Fox comes in the best. Is that any surprise?

Anyway, tonight Sanjaya got voted off. Do I care? No, he was annoying. His big, thick, girlish eyelashes; flashy, insistent smile: and abnormally white teeth. Honestly he seemed really sweet, yet obnoxious at the same time -- something ingratiating about his confidence. And the way he sang. Something about it made me want to smack him and yell, "Faker!"

Cheer up, Sanjaya! I'm sure you'll do fine without American Idol.

He really will, don't you think? Pretty much any of them could pursue their own thing, now that their names have a little cultural capitol**. So, even as they cry and sing their last song, we all know they'll go on to make albums, their own clothing lines, and their own colognes and all that schlock. Is schlock a word? I don't think I made it up, I'm not that clever. But I'm not sure whether or not it's a real word that means what I think it means. Inconceivable!

*I mean pump iron.
**Once their contracts run out. They sign contracts when they get to a certain point on the show, don't they?

Not that an Exorbitant Raise is Necessary . . . a Small One Would Do

Suddenly, I feel no satisfaction with my job. I’ve been working here since December and at first I was floored to have a position as a copy editor. But then my friend, Hotbaugh (aka Baughtronic, Kiki, CBG, Tofu, Baugh-baugh, Baby Cakes, Hotcakes, HEC, Honey Cakes, et cetera), blabbed her salary to me (I begged her to spill the beans), and now, it’s funny, I feel no job satisfaction. The polls say morale is low at the Nicole headquarters.

I’m reminded of an article I read recently in the New Schmorker about poverty. It was a bunch of crap. The most important thing I remember about it is that if you surround yourself with people in the same economic bracket, you can be happy. But, say your neighbor gets a new boat and you see it, you’ll feel unhappy. They’ve done studies on this. Not that they needed to, you know, because anyone intrinsically knows that it’s difficult to watch others have more than you.

Anyway, it’s the premise of lots of movies, books, and lore about witchcraft in certain Native American societies, and now it’s the premise of this blog entry. The point isn’t that I’m jealous of Hotbaugh’s salary or anything. For hell sakes. I’m really glad for her. She actually deserves more, and the funny thing is, she feels like she should be paid more. I do too. I also think I should be paid more. I mean, my big question is WTF?

Part of the problem is that I’m relatively new to the workforce. I put off entering it for as long as possible. In fact, because it’s so miserable, I might postpone this misery, leave the workforce and go back to school to get a totally useless PhD. What do you think?

Ok, so I’m new to the workforce. It makes sense that I don’t know what kind of salary I SHOULD be making. Plus, maybe Nashville salaries are lower than Salt Lake City salaries. How can I possibly know (the answer to this lame question is research. Of course, but why waste time researching that? The answer won’t lead to job satisfaction. Or will it?)? What gets me is that my mentality is “what I should be making” and not “Sally forth! Carve out your own destiny! Demand the salary you want! Capture the American Dream!” And by carve out my own destiny, I mean shrug off the cubicle life and do something else.

I forgot to mention that part of the desperation I feel about the job is the mindless slaughtering of writing as art. It kills me that people who don’t seem to respect the beauty of language write books. How can that be?! I feel as affronted as Mark Twain was by Fenimore Cooper’s cheap, quick literature.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Hot Grandpas

So, Baughtronic sent this photo to me a while ago. She was photo-shopping it for her grandma. If I were her grandma, I’d ask to have it blown up to poster size and hung above my bed. I don’t know what that means. The point is, it’s weird to see a photo of your grandpa and think, “Whoa, he was hot. I can’t believe I have hot ancestry.” That’s exactly what Baughtronic thought when she saw it. I know because she said so in the email that accompanied the picture. I mean image. I mean photo*.

I guess the surprise for gorgeous people like me and Baughtronic would be to see old photos of our grandfathers and find that they were ugly, bucktoothed creatures with
asymmetrical faces and humps on their backs. You hardly expect beautiful people to have ugly children, but it’s not so strange to find ugly people with the occasional beautiful child. At least, I’ve seen it happen.

I’m sure all this can be measured mathematically. There are times when beautiful people have an ugly child. If you look back far enough, you’ll see that one of the genetic lines was muddied by an ugly parent. If an ugly child has two beautiful parents, you might just check out the extended family. Is one of the beautiful parents the ONLY beautiful member of the family? Then it only stands to reason that the ugly gene popped up in the beautiful couples offspring. That’s how genetics work, after all. And plastic surgery can't alter genetics. Or can it?

Wow. I can’t believe I’m writing this. I had no idea I was such a strong supporter of beauty eugenics. The point is, I have a hot grandpa too. And a hot grandma. Boy, was Sarah a looker. The problem is, the man I call grandpa isn’t my biological grandpa. Who knows what my biological grandfather looked like as a young man. I only saw him once, as an old man, and if that had any bearing on how I look now, I’d be bald and wrinkly.

My adopted grandpa was a looker and a real sweetheart of a man. When I finally get a digital image of him, you’ll see. Hot grandpa.

*This hilarious joke illustrates the tension between a photographer and language. Does it cheapen the art to call a picture a ‘picture’ and not an ‘image?’ Or, when it’s not a beautiful photo of a man in a cable sweater with pigeons perched on his arms, should it even be considered art?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Name-dropping in Nashville

I'm not sure how legal name-dropping is on the blogosphere. No, I don't like that word, but what else should I call it? I don't know if I even spelled it right. Anyway, name-dropping is never appropriate, unless you're calling home to tell your mom and dad how well your husband is doing, so they can stop fretting that you're going to be poor* for forever. That’s a good time to drop names.

But I’ve been around some name-droppers here, in Nashville, and it’s irritating. One reason it’s lame is because often I don’t know whose names are being flung about to gain credibility. Just to prove a point I like to flaunt my ignorance, losing any credibility I might have, in order to make the name-dropper feel the fool. I don’t know if it works. But it halts conversation enough to make us all feel lost and stupid. What can I say? I don’t listen to country any more, so there’s no point in pretending I know who they are and there’s even less chance of me quickly studying up on them.

Except when Stoker works with them. That’s when I bust out the old and do my homework. And then I call home to tell my mom. I give her the details, the important ones, that make it look like things are going great here for Stoker (because they’re not super great for me. At least I’ve got a job in my field, though. Did I tell you people with English degrees don’t make much money? Yeah, they don’t). This week Stoker landed work with an impressive producer, who shall remain nameless, but whose former engineer recently took an absurdly high paying job with an absurdly enormous name in music.

I’m telling you all this, so those of you who have been worrying about me eating Top Ramen for the rest of my life, can maybe feel a bit comforted. Because I’m not going to call you up and drop the names, but it also looks like I might not be eating Styrofoam noodles for the remainder of my days (not that I’ve been eating that crap anyway). Maybe I’ll be able to shop solely at Wild Oats someday! Wild Oats my ass.

By the by, if anyone with dreams of making it in the entertainment industry reads this,
take my advice and don’t be a name-dropper. It’s an alienating practice. Unless you’re the spouse of someone trying to make it** and you want to call home to reassure your parents. In that case, name-drop. But don’t be surprised if you have to explain to your parents what the names mean.

Anyway, thanks for all your help Steve!

*Yes, poor. Isn't it funny to think of yourself as poor? Anyway, I don't really think I'm poor, except when I'm honest about it, I'm in the lower economic bracket. But I've always felt like I have enough. I guess when you've been a college student for nigh on 8 years, you get used to not having very much. It's great!

**I’m not saying Stoker is making it. He’s not. We’re not. We’re just hanging out. Having a good time in Music City! Yehaw!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Weather Report: Nashville, Cold as a Witch's _____

I feel cheated. Ripped off. Faked out. Et cetera. For about two or three weeks in March, we experienced a warming trend. A hideous testament of global warming. But I loved it. It had me shoving my coats, gloves, scarves, and jackets into a storage bin. Temperatures were getting into the high 80s (at least that’s what my internal thermometer said). Suddenly it turned viciously cold, plummeting into the mid-20s at night and the 30s in the day, with arctic winds frosting things up (these are all my personal estimates, and I’m sure this sounds fabulous to people who live in Minnesota, but I’m in Nashville). A hilarious in-your-face swipe at the global warming theory*.

What do I want to do when it gets that cold? That’s right, sulk. The wind is cruel and terrible, burning my ears and making my eyes tear up when I try to ride my bike or run. So, there goes my training.

I don’t know why the quick weather change has got me so down in the dumps, but it does. It really chaps my hide.

*What gets me about the global warming theory is that scientists (whoever they are) seem to expect things to stay the same. They expect their expectations about how, when, where, why, and who (?) to be met by Mother Nature. Fools.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Future Headline: Frozen Dinner Kills Woman

I’m suffering here. Normally I’d come home from work and run or ride my new bike. Today I’m trying not to vomit. I loathe the word vomit, but my other options are throw up, retch, or puke. None of them are pretty words. Ugly words for ugly deeds, I guess. Not that throwing up is really a deed. It’s an involuntary action, except in the case of bulimia. And in that case it’s a dirty deed. Done D-I-R-T cheap. But at a cost to your health, so really, why do it? Is it worth it in the long run?

When your stomach feels like mine, induced gagging sounds like a good idea. SOUNDS. But is it? No*. I tried that once, when I was feeling sick, and it hurts. So, I’ll just wait this one out. Though I don’t know how much longer I can stand it.

My neighbors—whoever they are—are cooking something terribly smelly. Stinky. Vomity. I can’t even begin to describe it. To quote myself: ungodly. That’s what I told Stoker in a text message and I like the way it sounds. “I feel like throwing up. Especially every time I breathe and smell the neighbors f*#!*!g food smells. I can’t even describe it. It’s something totally ungodly. Like pig fat salad.” I don’t know what pig fat salad is, but it sounds horrid and makes the bile rise. It sounds like something that would make me vomit if presented with a plateful. I think I stumbled onto the pig imagery because the offending odor has a hint of a meat-smell to it. Boiled meat. Or something. Boiled AND THEN fried. This is my imagination running wild because honestly I can’t see how vegetables could smell this bad. Unless it’s cabbage. Now there’s a thought. Maybe they’re boiling cabbage. Making sauerkraut perhaps.

Think of an apartment complex with indoor entrances to each apartment. The kind with one entrance to the building, and then a hall or stairway, and then doors. You know the kind? Incidentally, that’s not the kind of apartment I live in, but bear with me. Now think of the typical smell in the hallway of a complex like that. It’s usually a bunch of awful cooking smells, mingling and hovering there for days. A stench, if you will. That's the kind of smell seeping into my apartment through the heating ducts. Now you know. Would you want to vomit too if you were already feeling sick?

My stomach-ache is a result of two things. First, against my good judgment, I heated and ate the frozen dinner I’d left in the fridge at work. It had been in there since last week sometime and I mean, it still looked alright. Ha ha. Famous last words. The kind of words you see in a public health brochure: “Just because food looks alright, doesn’t mean it’s safe to eat it. Millions of tiny microbes and bacteria live on that food. Beyond the vision of the naked eye, these microscopic creatures can do a world of damage to the delicate human body.**” If only that had been posted on the fridge at work to remind me of the dangers of rotten food. Instead we have this ancient, typed (on a typewriter, no less) sign saying something forgettable, like “Don’t leave your food in here for very long. We’ll throw it away.”

So the dinner hadn’t been frozen for several days, but it was still cold, and I’m lazy and didn’t want to find something else to eat. I ate it and it’s poisoned me. If I don’t make it out of this alive, promise me you’ll come to my funeral.

The second reason I feel sick is the cooking smell coming from my neighbor’s apartment. I hope it’s a cooking smell and not really the decaying smell of a decomposing body. What if my neighbor died and no one has noticed?

*I don’t know where this rhetorical style is coming from. Question, then answer. I think I’m delirious from the stomach ache. Oh great, now my stomach is trying to trick me into eating. It’s sending me mixed signals. Now it’s hungry. Now it’s upset and wants to throw up. I think it’s trying to trick me into eating so there’s more to upchuck. Oh, new word. Anyway, maybe some cake and ice cream. Something sweet.

**I made this up. No citation necessary.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Get Me a Whig or Something

It just dawned on me. All this time I’ve been saying my hairstyle hails from the 80s, but really, I look like an elf. Or a Julia Roberts-Tinkerbell a la Hook. Just give me a green tunic and some earth-toned tights, maybe a bow and arrow (if we’re going with the elf look. I don’t think Tink bore arms, not in the versions I know, anyway), and some pointy ears. Actually, my left ear is already pointy, so I’m half way there! [Insert clever comment about fairy dust.]

Monday, April 02, 2007

Monday, Monday You're a Big Fat Meanie

Oh man, I'm so depressed. I don't know why. Because it's Monday? Probably because it's Monday. "Monday morning you sure look fine, Tuesday I got travelin' on my mind." It just so happens that Monday has more songs about it than any other day of the week, and it does because it's the crappiest.

I would say shittiest, but I'm trying to cut back. Stoker was recording me the other night, singing this song we wrote together (I suck, as we both know), and I messed up and said, "shit," and Stoker kept playing me saying it over and over again in my headphones. It sounded like . . . shit. It was terrible. I sound terrible when I swear (AND when I sing). So, I've decided it's OK to write swear words, but not to say them anymore.

By the way, about that thing I said up there, the thing about Monday having more songs written about it than any other day of the week? I made that up. It's not a fact. I'm sure I could research it and everything and come up with some statistics showing that it is fact*, but who has the energy to do that? This keyboard kind of sticks and my fingers get real tired from typing.

"Monday monday, can't trust that day, monday monday, sometimes it just turns out that way."

I prefer "California Dreaming," if you now what I mean. Mondays are typically tough for me because I can't sleep Sunday night. Who knows why. Probably because on Saturday I sleep in an hour later than usual, on Sunday I often take a nap, and the whole weekend I eat like crap. I don't eat crap, but if crap could eat, it would probably eat the kind of stuff I eat on weekends, like Zingers, more cheese than is necessary, and lots of Dr. Pepper (I've stopped drinking it during the week). I'm sure all those things in combination disrupt the bio-rhythms or circadian rhythms or whatever term you prefer. Maybe if I got a body suit of health magnets or something. Feng shui. Something alternative, because I'm really into that . . . whole thing.

And to close, a little shout out to my hero Stoker, who bought me a mountain bike on Friday. Yeehaw, Stoker! Let's ride**!

*"Faith is a fact . . . . Ha ha. I almost said faith is a fact. Faith's not a fact . . . . . I'm going to prison because you don't know what a blooper real is?!!!" George Bluth Sr.
** Bikes.