Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ten Things I Loved About Nashville. Eleven Things. Er. Twelve. Twelve Things.

Occasionally I will think, "Holy crapola. It's so sweet to be back in Utah." And then I smile indulgently and look at the snowy peaks to the east and the deep blue sky and do the success baby meme move, without the sand.

Really, I have no regrets about leaving Nashville. Sometimes I remember it fondly as a period of my life that I'll never get back. I think of how naive I was back then. How untried and untested. I laugh to remember. "Ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha!" This is known as my Lydia moment. Lydia from Pride and Prejudice? Right? The Colin Firth version. Stupid, naive, egocentric Lydia . . . oh Lydia. 

Anyway. It's great being in Utah. Nashville was great. I loved it until it was time to move on. And now I'm here and I can look back and think, "That was an awesome time." There are things I will miss. Let me number them.

1. Fireflies. Probably the most amazing insect out there, fireflies never get boring. They don't. You can have seen ten thousand fireflies and still, that first one of the warm season and bam! You're transported to the woods where the sprites and nymphs dance in a magical circle to a tune supplied by a lute playing satyr. Something like that. Or, you know, you just feel like a kid again when you see them. I love you fireflies.

2. Cardinals. A perfect burst of color. Gorgeous. Lovable. Cuddly cardinals. No, kidding. If ONLY birds were cuddly, that would be phenomenal. Like a cat with wings. Who doesn't want to hug a bird? That's MY question. So anyway, I don't know every bird of the continental United States, but the cardinal is one of those that just kind of surprises you. Their plumage is this brilliant shade of red, and so often you see it against a backdrop of green and it's surprising, fresh, and beautiful. I'm sure it feels exactly like spotting a toucan in the jungle. Exactly.

3. Billions of trees. I did love the forests and trees of the south. But I don't think you can have that sheer number without the humidity. Maybe I'm wrong? I don't know. I didn't deal with humidity well, so if that's the case—no trees without the humid climate—then I'll go for fewer trees. I appreciated the green. But you know what? It didn't last. The middle of summer and lots of stuff died and turned brown, just like Utah, but you got the drab brown AND the humidity. Unfair. Anyway. So, loved the forests.

4. La Hacienda Taqueria. So, apparently my friend Emily's FAVORITE Mexican restaurant in Salt Lake just got busted for smuggling drugs on the side. They were THAT authentic. And my favorite Mexican restaurant is in Nashville, and I'm wondering if that "tortilla factory" in the back is really, well, you know? Because it's THAT authentic. Truly amazing. It's on Nolensville Pike by Thompson Lane. So if you're visiting Nashville and you think, "Hey, I'll sample the local fare," of course the logical choice is La Hacienda, or La Hac (with an S sound) as Stoker and I called it. It's A-MAZ-ING. Really. Stoker loved the molcajete and I loved the bistec ranchero or bistec la Mexicana. But EVERYTHING on the menu is superb. If you go, say hello to Maria, Chava (his nickname), and Gloria from me. I miss them. Really. They were like family.

5. Tornado warnings/watches. Kidding. I don't miss them. They happened too often and I sincerely had lots of nightmares about tornadoes. And we had some pretty bad storms and floods while living in Nashville. I keep thinking that it would be ironic to have sort of escaped the south without a bad tornado only to have one here. We live in a very windy area of the Salt Lake Valley (I can see a huge windmill by Camp Williams from my window) and I curse the wind. All my life I looked at that windmill on the way to grandma's, but it never hit me the way it has living here, that the windmill is there because this part of the valley is a veritable wind tunnel. Yeah, and there's that huge paragliding/hang-gliding cliff right over there. Duh. Stupid wind.

6. Being "in the South." It was kind of cool. The culture there is different from that of Utah and I enjoyed the experience of the region. I could go into it more, but I won't. Maybe another time. Suffice it to say, it was cool.

7. I never really mentioned this, I think, but I worked for the Methodists while living there and that was also great. Religions and their history are super interesting to me, so that was a very cool thing to work for one of the major American religions and learn about it. I don't miss MISS it, it was just cool and good for the time I was there.

8. I sorta miss a few people. But it's good to move on too. I hope I can keep in touch with some of them, though I have no serious expectations. Well, I mean, there's always Facebook and Google+, right?

9. Vanderbilt. Corbet was born at the hospital there, through a midwife group, and they were great. If I have another kid, it would have been cool to go there again.

10. Owl Hollow. Charlie's shooting range. I don't miss it as much as Stoker, but I figured I'd include it on his behalf because he keeps mentioning how much he misses it. It was truly a fantastic place to go waste some .22 ammo. And sometimes I'd see cardinals in the trees.

That's it. I suppose I could come up with more, but ten is such a nice number. No, I don't miss the music industry even though I had a LOT of celebrity sightings there. And right as we were leaving Nashville, Colin Firth was coming to town to do a film there called Stoker's something or other. Yeah, it sucked that I missed that. I'm sure I could have gotten him to sign my copy of Pride and Prejudice or something. Right? Ha.

I just thought of another.

11. The really old plantation style houses and all the moss-covered low, stone walls. They were beautiful. There are a number of roads that take you through some extremely gorgeous, wealthy, and old areas. The road that takes you out to Loveless Cafe, to name one without actually naming it.

12. Oh yeah, and the Meetup group. There was this quirky, lovely Nashville Writer's Meetup group. I adored it. I met a load of fascinating people who I hope to never forget.

The End. For reals this time.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The "New Look," Facebook Timeline, and Blugly

Is it just me or are other people sick of the "new look" shiz? Yes, shiz is my family-friendly way of saying that FCC-forbidden look alike (you know, the one that ends in T?).

I log in today to write this post and am greeted by the most hideous interface I've ever seen. Google thinks it's cool. I have no idea who's telling them these lies. Their designers? Their IT department? The entirety of Google is probably an IT department that has no concept of beauty (not to say that all IT people are like that, just Google's, maybe?).

Anyway, in case Google and Facebook missed it, THEIR NEW LOOKS are shiz. No one likes them. I represent the everyman, the everywoman and if I don't like it, NO ONE DOES.

Change for the sake of change is merely a nuisance. Don't they get it? EVERYTHING in our normal, day to day life changes, constantly. We can't stop it. It flows and ebbs around us like an annoying tide when all we want is for our sand castles to stay put. We spend hours and hours building them. We get everything just the way we want it. And what happens? The damn tide comes in and washes away our efforts.

We want some things to stay familiar. Google, you know that our mail accounts AND our blogging accounts could stay the same and no one would complain.

Most likely. 

Things that stay the same, especially when they work, are nice. Comforting. Like a Seinfield episode after trying to get into Suburbagotory. Suburgatory*? I have no idea. But there, you see how annoying that title is? It's supposed to be cute and clever all wrapped up into a perfect cupcake, while really, it's just difficult and annoying and NOT Seinfield. 

That's what this new Blogger is. Blugly. Blooger. And not Seinfield. It's trying to be clever. Like Suburgatory but without Alan Tudyk. Therefore, I shall call it Blugly. Or Blooger. And you will know that I mean Blogger.

And that's what the stupid new Facebook Timeline ("timeline, timeline, timeline" [those are echoes. Echoes of horridness]) is. Crapline.

And the new Gmail look. It's now called Crapmail, for those in the know. Because, why? Because it's shiz. It bites. It blows. It sucks. It's crappy crap. It's like an irritating little animal that once offered cuddles and comfort but now all it does is the majority of derogatory verbs. Look, I'm down at the very bottom of this NEW AWESOME Blooger screen and my neck is getting a kink in it. Instead of having half a window, I have a whole window, and it's that embedded crap kind of window where you have to use a scroll bar to move down. It used to be that when I got to this point, I was still looking at the middle of my computer screen and I didn't have to press return a hundred times to get some white space on my page so I wasn't blowing my neck out (you can blow your neck out these days because of computer screen wear and tear. It's true).

So what do I have to do? Blugly Blogger and Google and Facebook make ME adapt to their fancy. For some whimsical reason, they've adopted the mantra of constant improvement. It's like the new corporation, where it's all about profit margins. So rather than continue to give a good profit, the modern corporation gets the consumer addicted to their product, then slowly proceeds to cut corners until that sweet iPad you spent ten gajillion dollars on is now a fancy slab of cardboard with some dust in the middle pretending to be a processor.

In this metaphor, the profit margin is the addiction to "new and improved" and despite no complaints (most likely), these companies that I once loved (well, Google anyway), they feel it their duty to continually make improvements. For what purpose, I ask?

Google, Blogger, and Facebook are my heroine. But they're losing me. I'm considering going back to Hotmail, or transferring my blogs to Wordpress. I hate Wordpress. Why? Because it wasn't Blogger. And I hated Hotmail because it wasn't Gmail. But now that Google's been messing with it, they aren't Gmail and Blogger either. They're some ugly piece of shiz that's supposed to look neat, white, and streamlined.


And also, I will throw in the Timeline version of Facebook. And the horrendous new Gmail look (oh wait, I already mentioned it, oops!). Even though I plastered Google with vitriolic feedback, they still made me switch. It looks just like this ugly, crap Blogger posting page. What's the point? So when I'm blogging, I feel like I'm emailing and vice versa?

This is called hubris. Get over yourself, Google. I was in awe of the space elevator plans, but now I just think you've impaled yourself on your own sword. Pride goeth before the fall, and I can see this giant toppling. Sadly, I want them to topple. They've messed with my mail account and now my blogging world. They've GONE TOO FAR!!!!!!!!!!!

*Yes, I know they have Alan Tudyk and I love him, but that doesn't make the show a shoe-in for the most awesome show award.

EDIT: Oh. Huh. Looky here. A button to revert to the old look. Ah. Brilliant. Much better. Anyway. Still. I know they'll force me to change to the new look, just like they did with Gmail.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pregnant Women Are Smug and Single People Are the Smuggest of All

It's time I tackled the huge chasms between those who are single, married, pregnant, or with kids already.

I know. It's a monumental task, but I need to do it.

See, I just stumbled across this gem:

And it's funny. Quite. I laughed. I said, "Holy shiz, I said all that crap when I was pregnant." And I felt a little sheepish about that.

But let's just start right away. I was pregnant. I almost don't even care to go into it because it's so obvious, I mean it was _ _ _ _ ing hard. That's right. The only thing harder than BEING WITH CHILD for nine months was actually HAVING the child.

Have I told you yet? I had a birth-plan. I was going all natural and that went quite well until the moment I got to the hospital and everything went south. Not to say I hold a grudge (against the hospital or Murphy [who sabotaged my plan the minute I made the plan] or the midwives who suggested after hours and hours of not progressing and double-contractions, that I have a C-section). I don't. Everything worked out in the end.

Let me just say that the reason I said any of the cliche things was merely because I felt like a moron the majority of the time. For me, anyway, when it became apparent that I was pregnant, I felt foolish and silly. And even though it may seem smug to say, "I don't care, as long as it's healthy," well hell. That's really what you're thinking. The other option, saying something like, "A boy, dammit, and if it's not, I will seriously be pissed," you'd just sound like a spoiled child, especially in light of all the people you most likely know who are going through fertility treatments.

You're pregnant. You're grateful to be pregnant. But you're also scared to death that you're going to mess something up, either nutritionally or genetically, that will cause permanent damage to the baby. Smug or not. That's how it was, for me. 

So the song, it's funny. I laughed. And I agree with them when they say, "Like I don't even care, I was just asking to be nice," or whatever about the smug reply that they've picked a name, but they're not telling. Hilarious.

I did that. Partly because the name I wanted to use was so universally reviled by my mom and siblings that after they successfully browbeat me into not using it, I was simply tired of having to tell people and experience the odd insecurity and vulnerability of sharing the hopeful name of my future child. Weird, eh?

But after I experienced some people NOT telling me (people related to me, not mere strangers) the name of their future kid (while I was also picking a name out and sharing with said people), even though they'd picked it, I stopped holding back the information. I realized, holy crap, the ONLY reason anyone asks you what name you've picked out is to be kind and try to show them that you care. You don't do that because you're interested in crushing them with a snide comment about how "nice" the name is. Well, most people don't ask for that reason.

So, really, NOT telling someone the name you've picked out for your kid when they ask is kind of similar to slamming the door in a person's face when you've invited them over for dinner. Of course, there are probably people you'd like to shut out and slam the door in their face, and that's OK. I say do it. Also, don't tell the bastards the name you have picked out.

Right then. The little song. I like it. I'm just dissecting the issues presented in it because that's what I do. I over-analyze. And then my blood pressure sky-rockets. And then I feel better because I've internalized everything.
And is it possible to have a favorite commercial star? Because I love the chick with dark hair. I've seen her in some commercials and she's great. I also like the girl from the Toyota Venza commercial who says, "Whaaaaat? That's not a puppy. That's too small to be a puppy." And I love this classic line from the same commercial: "I read an article online–well, I read the majority of an article online." She's great.

ANYway. The song is fun. I have nothing against it.

But I decided to write about this subject before I saw it, when I'd just seen the title and it reminded me of Bridget Jones' Diary, the book, and how Bridget hates going to dinner with her married friends because they're all smug and she's just a singleton and Cosmo (Kosmo?) is so damn smug and says hurtful things to Bridget.

I love that book and the movie. And I was a singleton too, once. And then I got married. And then I had a kid. So I've pretty much been in all the situations where there's smugness.

Let me just say, as a person with a kid, people without kids seem smug to me now. And when I was married, almost ALL my single friends seemed smug.

What gives?

Alright, I'll tell you. I have this all figured out.

I think smugness is just a product of not being where someone else is in this crazy thing called life*. So, you're not married and you have friends who are? They'll seem smug to you, especially if you long to be married. You have five kids and have a married friend with no kids? The child-less friend will seem smug to you.

Maybe not. I don't know for sure. I do know that I have quite a few single friends who've drifted away from me, like almost immediately after I got married (and these were the only friends I invited to my wedding–we kept it small), and they all seem kind of smug to me now.

Like I'm the idiot who got married and left. And now I have a kid. Why even talk to me? I'm, like, lame, now. I don't care about going to shows and being right in the music scene and I don't dress cool any more. I can't hang out and chill and therefore, as a friend, I'm useless. Because, like, you can only have friends who are in the exact same situation as you are, otherwise, you can't even relate to them. Right?

I've no idea if they think this. It's what I think they might be thinking because it's how I feel.

So, am I the smug one? I don't feel smug. I feel like an idiot who decided to grow up because that's what I'm supposed to do (incidentally, I prefer it. I'm not saying I hate my life. Love it. LOVE). And now I'm a square. And the single friends are cool and they're always having a good time, with loads of friends surrounding them at all times, coming and going, with no one permanent to care about (spouse) or take care of (kid) but themselves and so they can drop everything at a moment's notice and fly to France or where-the-hell-ever.

If I want to go to France, I have to plan months in advance, save up, buy tickets for me and my husband, and either take my son with or try to coordinate with in-laws and siblings over who will watch him for us while we're gone. And my trip to France will cost three times as much because I can't just stay in a youth hostel, especially if I take my son.

Or couch surf or what-the-crap-ever they call it.

Does that sound smug? Crap no.

Anyway. My point is (one of them), is that it's dang funny to call married people and pregnant women smug because they're easy targets. They have something. You can always make people who have something the butt of your jokes because they're lucky and they possess something to protect them or hold onto when the crap hits the fan. You can't make fun of single people. They're single. It's just them against the world.

They're basically nude.

I was single once. It was hard. I felt nude. And vulnerable. And I wanted to be married, like badly. Because I'm a lover (even though I appear to be a fighter. It's a ruse). But I never really thought that married people were smug. Although I did get sick of hearing stuff about "when are you going to get married?" as though I was chasing suitors off right and left.

I was. Actually.


My advice to everyone who thinks other people are smug is: don't think that. It's crippling. I miss my single friends pretty badly. Short of stalking them, I don't really know how to reignite the friendship. Can you do that?

I'm sure they don't miss me. The majority of them don't slow down long enough to notice. It's been hard to forge new friendships and foster them and all that because I have a husband and now a kid. So I rely on my old friends and I'm thankful for the ones who are single who still make time for me and haven't let the fact that I'm married stop them from asking me to carve out some time for them.

Hell yes, I'll carve out some time for them. I did when I was single and I will now. I love their freaking guts. And you know what else I love? Over-analyzing. At 11:20 at night. And cursing. Like a sailor. I love that too.

*Favorite stupid line of all time. I use it whenever I can.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Everyone, My New Book Is Out. It's Called Feed. Go Buy It.

My most recent book is up in the Kindle store. I put a link in the side-bar. It's damn good. Damn. Good. I'm telling you. I had a blast writing it, which is, as far as I'm concerned, the sole indicator of a book's worthiness. It's true.

Yes, it's called Feed. I loved the short story–"Life Feeds"–so much that I expanded it into a novel. And then I shortened the title. And then I designed the cover. Both of which may or may not be mistakes. See, I was in the bookstore today–always a grueling experience, but lovely at the same time because books are beautiful and I love them–however, today I stumbled across this book:

Notice the title? Yes, precisely. It was published in 2002. Similar premise, although the intended audience of this book is teens (also, similar cover, as mine has a head on it as well). Anyway, I got the book so I can read it rather than resorting to suicide.

My book cover:

The other is a National Book Award finalist. And Nick Hornby read Anderson's Feed and apparently liked it enough to write about it in the Believer (which I used to read, and if I've never mentioned it, let me just add that Nick Hornby is one of my author-heroes).

So, my triumphant moment has sadly been reduced to ash. And dirt. And the back of an ugly bald head with the word feed emblazoned across it.

Not that my triumphant moment is that grand. Really. If I think about it. I know what I should do is pretend that I'm a freaking brilliant author. With loads of talent. And feign awesomeness and joy and exude the air that I've arrived when I put a book up in the Kindle store. Because that's success, right?

It's like I'm having a tea-party with imaginary friends, while others are at actual tea in a book shop in London with their agent, a publisher, and a movie studio executive who's trying to option the book for a major huge screenplay that will outdo the Hunger Games and Twilight combined.

"Now who wants to take their top off?" George Bluth, Sr.

I'm not an actress and I'm not very good at faking it. I have the worst poker-face, as I'm sure I've mentioned before and the one time when I had a damn royal flush–yes, no lie ROYAL FLUSH–everyone saw it on my face and on my cousin's face because I leaned over and asked him which I should go with, the straight or the flush (I was very bad at poker), and they all folded. So that amazing moment was deflated by my bad poker face. Once again.

Yep. Bad actress. Right here. Everyone. Look at the bad actress having tea with imaginary friends.

Honestly, I can't pretend that this is what I aspired to. But it's what I want, otherwise I wouldn't put the book up and sell it on my own. I'd be writing query letters and plying my goods at agents, trying to get noticed by them, the keepers of the red carpet and the velvet rope and all that jazz. I don't love them. That's why I'm not doing that. Their rejection letters or even less than that these days, they're lack of response, also has the power to crush writers, especially the ones with bad poker-faces who can't hide their disappointment.

And so I'm going it on my own. And if you enjoy my blog, you'll surely go spend .99 cents on my little book. And if you like it, you'll go back to Amazon and rate it. That's what I need. And here, on my blog which IS awesome, I'm not afraid to ask for it.

Honestly, I expect M.T. Anderson's book to be good. I don't begrudge him/her the name. Great minds think alike, right?

But my own Feed isn't a young adult novel. So please don't expect that. The hero is an awkward engineer and I love him. I hope you will too.

Monday, April 09, 2012


So here's my big question of the week. Is it that hard to not be a dork?

Something set me off on this philosophical musing but I can't remember what. I have some serious concerns, however.

Here are some ways that people surprise me with behavior I can only label dorky. Also, dorky is a really ridiculous word if you use it more than twice in a blog. It suddenly looks absurd. Is it even English?

A) I can't remember what happened, but don't hold an eternal grudge against me. Like, say I said or did or DIDN'T do something that bothered you. I no longer remember, plus, remember, for a while there I was pregnant and if you've never been around a pregnant woman OR equally, if you've never BEEN a pregnant woman, well then you wouldn't know, would you. I will tell you. Everything is a bit more insane when you're pregnant. You can't rely on the normal course of things, like the sun rising, the sun setting, etc., because pregnancy throws all that to crap.

So say we had an appointment and I forgot, WAY back when I was pregnant. Might have been because I was pregnant. And you might not have known, because, if it was in the beginning, well, how could you have known? I wasn't tell everyone. Or, say I, in an attempt to be polite, returned a book to you before I finished reading it because I didn't want to forget. Well, might have been because I was pregnant and I was trying to sell my house and you had no way of knowing that because I was keeping that shit a secret. So, really, let's bury the hatchet. I didn't know it would destroy the mutually decent feeling between us and I couldn't really explain at the moment.

Yes, so there is that. Pregnancy. Wow. Really rough. Not that I think a person should just be able to use that excuse carte blanche, because that's annoying. But I'm using it here. Because. It's true.

B) There was something else. Some things. Hard to remember. Not enough sleep. Baby keeping me up all night. Memory shot to hell.

Oh yes. Please. For the love. THE LOVE. Don't let your dog crap in my yard. That's right. Yes, for sure we share the same teensy plot of land in front of our houses, but maybe you can either pick up the poop like responsible people do (with the inside-out bag) or you can monitor your dog and restrain him from pooping on my side of the lawn. See, I have a kid, and when summer comes, I'd love to let him play in the grass, but with your dog crapping all over it, I don't see that happening.

So. Please. Don't a crappy crap neighbor. Don't be a total dork and make me loath you.

I should probably go talk to this neighbor. I just hate confrontation. Is there a passive-aggressive way to deal with this? I mean, besides writing about it here?

C) Don't be a dork and ignore me like this is high school. I know. I was just talking about being passive-aggressive, so how I can make this type of request? I'm not sure how it works, but I'm doing it.

So yeah, maybe I always liked you way more than you liked me. How am I to know? Let's just not play games and accept stupid FB friend-requests and then proceed to ignore any other communication. For the love. That's just stupid. Unfriend me, because I don't care THAT much about it, and so I'm not under the illusion that the lines of communication are open and we are friends, or, um, I don't know, write back?

I mean. Really. Facebook. I get it, I understand that it's easy to forget to do something (see A, for example). I'm just saying, why even HAVE Facebook if you're never going to use it (and that leads to me getting paranoid because you haven't acknowledged me and I want to write a little rant like this).

Wait. I actually know the answer to that because I'm constantly threatening to delete my account and then never do—I don't use it enough and I'm always putting my foot in my mouth and offending someone. But still, I don't delete it. Because I might miss out on something awesome. Like, I don't know, suddenly Facebook gives everyone a free Mac or Ipad or something. Or the great Millennium is first announced on Facebook. That could totally happen.

And that is why I want to delete my Facebook account (but haven't). 

Hmm. That's it. For today. I guess. Wow. I usually have so many more complaints. Welp. Now I feel mysteriously satisfied and empty. Like, I could just go through the rest of the day totally mellow, despite that had to wake up every two or three hours last night and am therefore very tired and head-achey.

Huh. Who would have thought. I only had three complaints today. 

Amazing. Huh. Well then. I guess I'll just go over here, in this corner. And sit. For a while. Huh.....