Wednesday, December 31, 2008

You KNOW You Didn't Bring That!

It started out as any other day at work. I arrived, tossed my purse and sweater on my desk and hit the kitchen to make myself a cup of tea before going in to get third run out the door. I put my tea bag into the water, and opened the cabinet to discover we're out of Splenda.


Luckily, i keep a tupperware container of loose Splenda on my desk in case we run out. So i traipsed over to my desk to retrieve the bowl, only to discover that someone had already plundered it. They left me about a spoon and a half. It's been a few months since i've had to use that emergency stash, but i happen to know i've only had to use it ONCE since i brought it. . . That was enough to ruin my day right there. I ended up having to use sugar, and i dislike sugar in my tea.

On a whim, i decided to take inventory of the stuff i normally keep on my desk but don't always pay attention to. I discovered i was also missing:

Some hot cocoa, some tea, some cereal, my package of gum, my last fiber one bar, my gingerbread coffee creamer and a can of tomato soup. Mother FUCKER!

I don't get these people. What is it about MY stuff that makes them think it's okay for THEM to consume it?! Am i someone's fucking mom? Do i buy groceries for them? NO! Splenda isn't cheap. Neither is the other stuff i buy. And just because it's there for months on end (like the can of soup), doesn't mean i'm not interested in eating it at some point. It DOES, however, mean that i fully expect it to be there when i finally DO decide to eat it. Do these people not understand that taking something from someone's desk is fucking theft?!

I hate, hate, hate people who do this!

Naturally, i went off on some people. I'm pretty sure it was Mrs. Staypuft (not her real name, obviously, but believe me. . . the name should paint a pretty accurate picture), who had the nerve to play innocent. Bitch. She better hope i don't replace the coffee creamer with Milk of Magnesia or some other form of colon blow next time. That'd teach her.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Part One

I was dead and i knew it. I could recall all the minutiae of the life i'd just lived, even the things i thought i'd forgotten, in vivid detail, with a vague nostalgia, but devoid of most of the poignant emotions i'd experienced while living through them. Sure, i'd miss living that life. I'd been happy. For the most part. But here is where i found myself, standing in a crowd of people i didn't know, about to share with them a fate i couldn't have imagined a few minutes ago.

The place i was in was sort of a landing station. People sat around at picnic tables, some talking in low voices amongst each other, some staring straight ahead, some were praying quietly to themselves, but no one was displaying any kind of intense emotion. There was an air of anticipation, and i felt a little keyed up as i surveyed the recently dead. I walked past groups of them, catching snippets of conversation that meant nothing to me, and i let them filter out of me as easily as they'd drifted in. I could tell some of them had been here for days, and some were new arrivals like myself. Across the courtyard, i could see the door to . . . wherever it is i was supposed to end up. The door and the building were nondescript, and i knew this courtyard was just a waiting area for that nondescript building. I took a seat among some of the speculators.

"I hear that most people die in there," one man said nervously.
"Horse shit, we already dead," scoffed an older man. When i looked at him, i had the feeling he'd been blind during his life, but he was not blind now.
"No, it's true!" the first man insisted, "I hear that most people are too scared to move, and they just. . go away. You got to run once you get there if you want another chance."
"So what if we do go away? God will not let any harm come to me," a small girl said, a bit defiantly.

With no cue, half of us from the table stood up and began making our way toward the building. Conversation halted, envy and apprehension warring on the faces of those remaining as they watched us depart. I turned to look back at them again, and they'd already forgotten we were ever there. As i turned back toward the building, the nervous man nudged me.

"When you get there, run. It's the only way," he whispered out of the side of his mouth, his lips barely betraying that he'd spoken at all.

I nodded, not certain whether i was humouring him or whether i planned to take his advice. I supposed it would depend on what i found there.

My eyes had little difficulty adjusting to the vast dimness in the building. Once inside, we were herded through turnstiles as though we were getting on the subway, only there was no subway on the other side of them. On the other side was a city-sized system of conveyor belts. I had no time to stop and goggle, as the crowd kept pushing me forward, closer and closer to the platform that led to the first of the conveyors.

People were stepping on to the conveyors. A few stood, but most of them knelt down. It was difficult to tell what they were feeling by looking at them. As the eleventh person stepped on, the conveyor started moving. Most of the riders stayed in their crouched positions, but the few who'd remained standing took off at a dead run and leapt at a conveyor moving in a different direction. I was fascinated by the leapers and didn't notice the fate of the crouchers. I decided i'd be a leaper myself just as it was my group's turn to step onto the conveyor system.

Like the few in the last group, i remained standing along with the nervous man from the table. Everyone else in my group was a croucher, and i ceased paying them any mind, suddenly nervous about my ability to jump to a different conveyor. Which one should i take? Where did they lead? Were they really any better destinations than where this one was going? I had no time to ponder these questions as the conveyor started moving. Do or Die, as the expression went. I did not laugh at this humourless joke i'd made to myself as i took off at a dead run. I chose a conveyor close to mine and leapt, surprising myself by making it easily. The sprint hadn't even winded me. I didn't look back at my thwartd fate, but forward at the one i'd chosen at random. I decided to crouch when i saw the sharp turns and dips i would be taking. At the end of the ride was a big, black empty. I had no time to panic before i felt myself falling. I didn't feel myself land, but i wasn't moving anymore, so i opened my eyes and took in the world around me.

I was in the grass, but why was it so tall? I could barely see above it. I opened my mouth to call out for help, and was surprised by my own voice.


I closed my mouth and immediately wished i'd never opened it in the first place. I'd attracted the attention of a girl on a swing set that'd been too big for me to notice. She jumped down off of the swing set, rocking my world for a brief moment as she bounded forward and scooped me up. She swung me sickeningly up above her head to show an adult i presumed to be her mother her new pet.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Part Two

After a brief return to life as a frog, i found myself back in the courtyard of the recently dead. I shied away from the memories of my few painful days of life under the care of the little girl who meant well, but had no idea how to take adequate care of me. It was a slow, painful death that began as soon as she'd picked me up.

I thought of returning to my table, but decided against that and walked directly toward the building. It felt wrong, and as i passed, all conversation stopped and curious, fearful eyes bored into me. I looked down at the door, my hand hesitating on its handle. There was no noise behind me, and i could feel the weight of the multitude of stares crushing me, pushing me through the door just as surely as the crowd had done the first time. I nearly fell through the door after i'd opened it.

I looked around me, this time noticing that the conveyors were controlled by people. I wanted to go through the turnstiles, but they would not turn. I was approached by one of the conveyor workers. She was a neatly dressed woman in her middle years, wearing a blue oxford shirt, khaki pants, and a yellow hard hat. I wondered briefly what the hard hat was for.

"It's not time yet," she told me, her voice expressing that this was something i should have known without being told.
"What is all this?"
"I can see that. But what IS it?"
"What you're doing is Samsara. You're choosing rebirth, and all the misery and death that accompanies life."
"You're saying i don't know how to be happy?"
"I'm saying you're chosing Samsara."
"Where do they all go?"
"The belts? To different lives, of course. Why are you asking me questions you already know the answer to?"

I pondered that. It was true, i WAS only asking the questions i felt would be answered in a predictable, unthreatening way. I was not asking where the crouchers went. I wasn't asking how many times i could be reborn. I wasn't asking about an afterlife or my soul. I continued not asking those questions. After a few moments, the small woman went away to take up her position by the initial conveyor. People began crowding in behind me, and the turnstile let me through at last. I pondered the woman and her remarks as i stepped onto the conveyor. When it began moving, i sprinted and leapt, this time in the opposite direction.

I opened my eyes to find i was holding a baby in my arms. I was disconcerted a moment, thinking i should have been the baby. I realized that this woman's life (my life now) was truly in its infancy. We'd not been really living before this moment, merely going through the motions. She (I) felt the life in our arms gave us a reason to really live, and she (I) was born with our realization.

Part Three

I stepped back into the courtyard of the recent dead, feeling numb from my latest brush with death. I recalled eleven months of intense joy and love as i watched my baby grow from a helpless mass of flesh and bones into a tiny personality, unique and cherished. And, as it turned out, tenuous. I recalled the death of my baby daughter with that same detached nostalgia, but no real pain. SIDS, they'd said. I decided if my baby wasn't going to wake up anymore, then i didn't want to wake up anymore either, and then i swallowed a bottle of sleeping pills.

I saw my best friend from high school from my first life sitting alone at one of the picnic tables. I went to sit and wait with her, already contemplating my next jump. I smiled at her, and she smiled distractedly back at me, no spark of recognition in her eyes. I put my arm around her. She continued to not recognize me. I felt sorrow over this, as i realized how much i'd missed her in the few lives i'd lived since i'd seen her last. Maybe i looked like my most recent incarnation, and that's why she didn't know me. I couldn't be certain, i had no idea what i looked like just then. I kissed her cheek and stood up to go wait by the doors for the call.

I didn't wait for the conveyor to start moving this time, i jumped straight down to the belt below me. This one ran through a stream, and by the time i arrived at my newest identity, i was sopping wet. Once again, i was slated to begin life midway through.

I smiled around at all my friends and loved ones who'd taken the time to throw me this party. It wasn't just a party (though everyone loves a good excuse to drink and frolic), it was a public show of support and acceptance from those i was most afraid to reveal my true self to. The rainbow cake was as tall as me, and this widened my smile. Where the HELL did they get a cake so big?! I turned to say thank you to my boyfriend, and i was surprised by my feminine but unmistakably male voice. He walked over to me and put his arms around me and murmured words of love into my ear. I was confused. Is this how it works? Am i gay because i'm so accustomed to being a female that i couldn't break out of the role long enough to fit into my new identity? If the world knew, would that make it easier for it to accept me? I suppose it didn't matter. I was here, and i was happy, and i was ready to live again.

Part Four

I contemplated the frailty of both life and happiness as i made my way back out into the courtyard. I'd had one evening of real life with my family and friends before it was snatched away from me by ugly people with uglier feelings. Apparently the world wasn't big enough for my murderers and another gay man. I absently reached back to feel my head, nominally surprised when i found my skull intact. Moments ago, it was not.

My contemplation was interrupted by quiet weeping near by. I turned my head, astonished at the sound of real emotion after all the numbness. As i made my way toward the source, i saw a young woman clutching a boy who was taller than her. He held her too, with that familiar look of detached pain on his face. I knew this woman, and i approached her, almost embarrassed to interrupt her grief, but unable to stay away. I looked around, and everyone was staring at the woman and the boy with undisguised envy.

"Don't be sad, you have your son with you," i told her gently, putting a comforting hand on her shoulder. After saying this, i realized that could be why she was so sad. She looked up at me, rubbing at her eyes and nodded at me.
"I know. I love my son, but i miss my daughters terribly," she said.
"You don't want them here. You can always see them again the next time?"
She smiled sadly, and she hugged me. "We aren't going to have a next time, we're Going On."

I wanted to ask what she meant by that, but we received the call, and made our way to the door once again. I lost her in the crowd and didn't see her again until we were on the conveyor. Before i jumped, i saw that she was crouching down in her son's arms, all traces of sorrow wiped from her face as though it were never there. She looked peaceful, if not happy, and then I saw what she meant. She was not going to jump. I noticed this time around that i was the only jumper left, and i felt like i was missing something. I had no time to contemplate it. I turned and made my leap. I landed on my conveyor as a small movement caught my eye. The small, well-dressed woman in the hardhat was looking at me thoughtfully, shaking her head. I had no time to contemplate that either as my conveyor dipped and then plunged straight down.

It was a long ride, and i noticed more and more neatly dressed people in yellow hard hats working along the way. It occurred to me all of a sudden that this Samsara was man-made and man-sustained. How?! Why?! The uncomfortable questions i'd been avoiding thinking about all came crashing down about me, and i staggered under their weight. How could this have escaped my notice? I had no time to contemplate that either. I wished i could jump off of the belt, and then i was plunged into my new life.

The sun was just cresting the horizon, and i stretched my arms and yawned, enjoying the feeling of the sun on my body. I couldn't see or move, but i was undisturbed by this as i exhaled an enchanting scent that was also a call. I felt the pressure of the bee landing on my open face and gathering pollen off of me, and the joy of fulfilling my purpose flooded me as i basked in the warmth of the sun. The feeling of unity with my surroundings inundated me, and i felt myself swelling into ripeness. I felt unspeakably beautiful, though i'd never seen myself, nor had any desire to.

Part Five

The sensations of sight and sound were strange and almost unwelcome when i found myself back in the courtyard. My joyous existence was cut short, literally, by a pair of garden shears. I recalled my slow death by starvation as i was deprived of both light and nourishment from my mother plant. I brought joy to someone with my death, and i tried to take solace in that. I avoided thinking of my shriveled body being tossed out when i was wrinkled and no longer attractive.

So much waste in all the lives i'd lived. So much sadness and waste. I wondered for the first time if the brief spikes of joy were worth all the pain and loss i experienced every time i lived. The neatly-dressed woman took my hand and sat down with me.
"It doesn't have to be like this, i think you know that by now," she said matter-of-factly.
"Why are you all doing this?"
She shrugged. "You don't have to choose it. Nobody does."
"But what about The Plan he's supposed to have for us? What about
the conveyors. . . the Samsara? You're with-holding God from people! They deserve to know!""
"You still have free will. You have to choose him. And people do know. Some sooner than others," she said, looking pointedly at me. She got up and left me with my thoughts to make my decision. My thoughts returned to the pains and joys of my collective experiences with life. It wasn't worth it, i decided, and then i got the call.

I drifted toward the platform, my thoughts everywhere and nowhere. I felt peaceful instead of numb. I stepped onto the conveyor and i crouched down. I couldn't resist the urge to look at my co-riders. I saw the jumpers and i felt pity for them as i rode toward the light i'd never noticed before.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Disease

She was in the throes of the disease and she knew it. She could feel it roiling around in her head, struggling to escape. The knowledge that she wouldn't be able to hold out against the compulsion to spill it out on the next hapless person ate at her, conspiring with the disease to weaken her already diminishing resolve. She didn't want to succumb to it, but she also knew it was the only way relief would come. Sweet relief.

She excused herself to the restroom and shut herself in among the empty stalls and sterile-white walls, locking the door, to take refuge in the solitude.
No one here, no one to infect, she thought weakly to herself, knowing the solution was only temporary at best. It wasn't fair to the others and she knew it, taking up the facilities like this. People would wonder why the door was locked, since the restroom was not a one-seater. No matter. It was for their own good. They didn't understand the burden she carried.

"They will soon enough!" the diseased laughed at her and she froze with her back against the door. Is it self-aware? Or was her mind playing tricks on her?

"You could pass it on to one person."

She slid down the door, drawing her knees up against her chest, and laid her head down on her knees. She had promised she wouldn't pass it on to anyone.

Just one! It's enough to make you feel better, and minimal damage done."

She began rocking back and forth numbly. It had a point. It wasn't like she was going to tell EVERYONE, right?

"This is too much to carry around inside your own head. It'd be better for you to share the burden. Your best friend would gladly help you, and then you could support each other."

That made sense. She knew she was rationalizing, but she was past caring. She didn't even jump at the sharp rap on the door behind her.

"Is everything okay in there?" she heard concern fighting irritation in her best friend's voice from the other side of the door.

"Fine! Just fine, i had to clean up a bit of a mess," she called back, standing up to open the door. She inhaled deeply and fought down the guilt of what she was about to do. The lock slid back with an audible click. No turning back now, she thought, as she composed her face. The disease plastered a smile on it for good measure.

Her friend pushed past her and looked at her strangely. "You don't look too good," she commented critically.

She sighed inwardly and gave in. "I'm fine, really. But you wouldn't BELIEVE what Jessica just told me!"

Her friend looked eagerly at her and leaned in closer. She closed her eyes, opened her mouth, and the disease flew free from her mouth, into her friend's ear, infecting her mind. Relief and guilt inundated her as she drew her friend in and shared the gossip.

"What?! That whore!" her friend exclaimed, giddy with the same burning desire to spread the gossip that she herself was just fighting with. The intensity of her friend's eyes made her blurt out the thing that had tormented her only moments ago:

"Don't tell anyone, okay?" She could see the struggle beginning behind her friend's eyes. She felt a little pity for her friend and knew that her request was futile.

"Oh, no! I promise! I would never! . . ." The protestations went on. It was like her friend had heard her earlier, similar oaths and was parroting them back at her, a cruel reminder of her own broken promises. She remembered uttering them and truly meaning them. The disease, she shamefully admitted to herself, was stronger than her.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I stopped listening to the radio a couple of years ago when i got an iPod and was given the option to listen only to music i enjoy, and i do not watch MTV or VH1 or any of the other television-based music channels out there (if there are any more). My recent music sources would've been fairly well limited to new releases from bands i already like if it wasn't for Ryan. He's the one who springs music i've never heard before on me.

A few months ago he im'd me this video for a song called Electric Feel. The video itself was fun to watch, but the song was absolutely atrocious. He said he didn't like it much the first time he heard it either, so i gave it a few more listens to see if it'd grow on me. It failed to do so. I don't know why, but it just sounded cheesy as hell to me. He, on the other hand, liked it a lot, and i received more exposure to it when he was over at my house for the weekends. I still didn't like it any better for the extra exposure. I believe he did tell me that MGMT sang it, but it was information i did not retain.

A few weeks ago he played another song by them for me called The Handshake. It was kind of lucky that i didn't remember it was the same Electric Feel people as i tend to reject music by artists whose songs i've heard before and dislike (not one of my better personality traits, but there it is anyway). I was in love with The Handshake before they even started to sing, and after he played it he sent it to me along with pretty much the rest of the CD.

I must say, my first impression of this band was WAY off. It's been a very long time since i heard a band that made me feel like a teenager again, but this one definitely does. By making me feel like a teenager, i mean i can sit and listen to this CD (repeatedly) while doing nothing else and be entertained. It gives me that sense of undefined longing/anticipation that i remember so well from my early teens. . . that feeling that something was going to happen, though i couldn't say what it was, only i desperately wanted it to.

The Handshake remains my favourite for its dreamy, underwater-like qualities. It makes me feel like i'm sinking away underneath gentle effervescent waves when i close my eyes. Its climax (for me) comes at the end, and it pours goosebumps down my spine and arms when it does.

Time To Pretend (once i got past the annoying hook at the beginning) is a close second. It brings a delicious feeling of melancholy resignation over how life should be vs the way it really is.

The rest of the CD doesn't bring about any particular poignant emotion in me. It's milder, but still stirring and complex. I love this band.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Video Message Blogger

Yes it's a free(ish) country, and your blog is your blog to do with as you see fit. Unfortunately for you, that also means i get to rant about it if i dislike it. So i'm now going to bitch about the Video-Message Blogger.

If you're one of those people who finds themselves posting a blog with several videos with a few sentences in between them exclaiming that you think this video says exactly what you want to say, then perhaps you aught to just comment on the video itself and forgo the "blog" altogether. Maybe embed it in a bulletin, if you feel the need to share. But if you have something you want to say, SAY IT! Don't get something/someone else to do it for you. It just makes you look like you can't articulate your own thoughts.

There's nothing wrong with doing that, i suppose. I'm not even sure why it annoys me so much.
Maybe it's because if i wanted to watch videos, i'd cruise over to Youtube. It doesn't bother me at all if there's ONE video or a few pictures thrown in to emphasize or illustrate a point (example: The Mad Goat's Moment of Zen is fine with me).

But when it's [video] Omg, this expresses how i feel so much! [video] and this one is so expressive it's exactly what i mean [video] and so does this one omg! [video] and in conclusion, [video] omg do you see what i mean?

Congratulations, you've said absolutely nothing, and taken up a bunch of my time in doing it.

"So skip the blog and don't read it if it bothers you so much! And for the love of God, quit whining about it!", you may be saying to yourself right about now. And, in reply, i say 'reading' it is a bit of a stretch; it's more like 'watching'. I do skip those blogs now. And fuck you, I'll whine all i like.

The Ethics of De-Friendsing Someone

Are there any?

Say it's someone i don't personally know, and never rly got "close" to. Do i send a message explaining why i no longer want to see their annoying updates and bulletins?

What if they're the people-collector types?
Do i de-friends them and hope they don't notice? I doubt they'll miss me out of their 6000 "friends".

What if they're drama-queens? Is it okay to just snub a drama queen?

I've been de-friendsed with, and i never lost any sleep over why it used to say 88 and now it says 87. I didn't obsess over who let me go. I'm probably making too much of something yet again, but i'd like to know if there's a right way to kick someone out of your online life.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Bah-Humbug? You Bet!

Stop reading if i've written this one before. I know i've explained it to people before, but i simply can't remember if i've posted my feelings here or not, and i haven't the desire to sift through everything i've written to find out.

I'm just gonna come right out and say it. I do NOT like Christmas. I'm not one of those Jesus Is The Reason For The Season types, and if you are, that's fantastic, i really hope you actually feel that way. No, i'm much worse. I'm one of those trite-sounding Christmas Has Become Way Too Commercialized people. Have i lost you yet?

The idea of Christmas is an appealing one. It's families gathered around trees, drinking their hot beverages, reminiscing while kids frolic from gift to gift, eyes open in wonder and thrill at Santa's generosity. Or maybe it's a quiet night-time scene with a couple sitting by the open fire with the lights off and the tree lit. Or maybe it's a darkened living room with the tree lit, the stockings silhouetted against the burning embers of the fire of a few hours earlier. Peace. Quiet. Happiness. Anticipation. Desires fulfilled.

Christmas Pictures, Images and Photos

For those who make this ideal Christmas their reality, my hat is off to you.

To me, the ideal of Christmas has been corrupted into rushed shopping, over-spending one's budget, and the pressure to appear happy and wealthy enough to fulfill all one's loved ones' desires. In short, this:


As December 25th approaches, people are freaking out because they still haven't bought anything for Barb and John, whom they don't really like all THAT much, but they know they got them something this year and don't want to appear unthoughtful or stingy. There are people out there who aren't happy, but because this is supposed to be the "happiest season of all", they feel the need to put on the happy face. To me, it's all pressure to be what Corporate America has dictated the season should be.

If it were up to me, my family wouldn't buy me Happy December 25th gifts. I'm old enough to go out and purchase something if i want it. I hate having to think of something i want for Christmas because i might be difficult to shop for. I hate having to ask people what they want for Christmas because i find them difficult to shop for.

If it were up to me, people would send Christmas cards, gather if they could, or call if they couldn't. They wouldn't save gift-giving for one day a year, they'd come across something that made them think of me (whether it be in December or March), and send it because they were thinking of me. I'd much rather receive a gift because someone thought of me than because it's the official Day To Give Gifts. It would take the pressure out of gift-giving (especially for those who couldn't necessarily afford it in the first place), and make it much more meaningful. Wouldn't a gift be more special to you if you got it out of the blue with a note that said, "This made me think of you, i hope you like it" than if you received a gift that was just something-anything because that person had to come up with a gift because they didn't want to be the cheap jerk that didn't buy you anything for Christmas?

I guess what i'm trying to say is Christmas is for children. Buy your kids all the things they want for Christmas, because you love them, and it's fun to play Santa Claus. But Christmas for adults should be materially minimized. Bah-Humbug? Maybe. But i can't help feeling this way. So if you're a family member of mine reading this, and you're having difficulty thinking of something to get me for Christmas, then just don't get me anything at all! I promise i won't be upset.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

You Can Pick Your Nose, But . . .

I was reading a blog by Jacob about Thanksgiving, and i was struck by this line:

We all in some way or form feel the need to want to "stay close" or "in touch" with our relatives. Why? Is it because you like them and/or share common interests and ideas?

It got me to thinking about the concept of family. Most people i know get along well with a couple of their family members, well enough with more family members if exposed in small doses, and not well at all with the rest though they pretend to for the sake of peace. I was thinking it would be nice if one could get on as well with all the family as they did with the ones they got along with the best. It seems unfortunate that one can't pick one's family members at times.

. . . which got me thinking. What if you COULD pick your family? Imagine having the ability to surround yourself only with people you like, and who like you in return. Gone would be the maternal complaints that you need to settle down and start having a family. No more disappointment from your father that you didn't go to medical school, or become a famous defense attorney. Sibling rivalry? Never again! Your siblings would be supportive of your endeavors, or you could opt for no siblings at all. If you didn't want to work, you could fix yourself up with rich parents and live the socialite life. The possibilities are endless!

It seems like a good fantasy on the surface, but there's one glaring flaw: Just because your new family of people you like are fond of you doesn't mean they'd be fond of each other. Imagine you've picked Martha Stewart as your mom and, say, Gene Simmons as your dad. I can't see those two getting along at all. While they'd think the world of you (assuming they never found out you were the one who paired them in the first place and started resenting you for making their lives miserable), they'd drive you insane with their constant fighting and bickering.

The other major problem with the idea of family member selection is: your current family. Whether you like them or not, they had a major role in shaping you into the person you are today. If you changed your family, you'd also change yourself. Could be a good thing or a bad thing (how would you know till you did it?), but would that be okay with you?

Being around people you dislike or don't get along well with can be an exercise in character building. With the family, it's also an exercise in patience and respect, and in the building and maintaining of relationships. These are the people who keep us from being one dimensional with their nitpickiness and their criticisms. We may not always like what they have to say, but sometimes there's truth at the core of the unpleasantness of what they're saying. Not always, but sometimes.

So i don't know if i'd pick my family members even if i could. Would you? Who would you pick?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

What I'm Thankful For, Today and Every Day

A list, in no particular order. . .

My dog. He's alive and annoying and adorable and i love him to distraction.

My Husband. Like my dog, only bigger and with less hair. (Just kidding, honey, you know i love you!)

My Stepson, Ryan. I'm always happy when he's here, but he's home today, when i didn't think he would be. I love you too, Ry, even though i never say it.

My Nana. She's home and thriving, but she's still having a hard time. Don't worry, Nanana, you'll get used to that thing. It doesn't change who you are.
I love you.

My Aunt Trisha. She's there keeping my Nana sane (sometimes) and helping her with her difficulties.
I love you.

My Sister. She's cooking dinner today for those who want to be there. Don't worry, San, one day they will want to be there, too; i hope before it's too late.
I love you.

My Other Sister, Angie. Though we're not really family, we should have been.
I love you.

My Little Goat Brother. He broke his leg, but it brought him home from the Gulf. Your future wife rocks, Goat! I wish i could be there.
I love you.

All of my friends and family. I'm not nearly as good to you guys as you are to me.
I love you all.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fudge vs. Fuck

Anyone know one of those people who says "fudge" instead of "fuck"? "God bless America" instead of "Goddamn it"? "What the crap?" instead of "What the Hell?"? "BS" instead of "bullshit"? It's obnoxious.

Ever gotten a look like you just slapped someone when you actually use one of the words instead of substituting the PC version of it?

I confess, i don't understand the compulsion people feel for word substitutions. The heat of emotion you were feeling at the described moment was completely lost when you told people about that "a-hole" who cut you off in traffic. Seriously, if 'asshole' is the word you're reaching for, why not just use it? Otherwise, there's a whole smorgasboard of nonexpletives out there available and ready to be used. How about 'jerk'? 'Jerk' conveys how you feel about the person who cut you off in traffic without making you sound like you're afraid the FCC is hiding behind a bush waiting to slap you with a fine and/or piece of duct tape for saying 'asshole' when it's perfectly obvious you really wanted to.

It isn't that i disapprove of people who don't want to curse; quite the opposite, it's difficult in this day and age to be one of those people and i have a lot of respect for non-cursing folk. But these aren't the people you usually overhear using words like 'bee-yotch' when referring to a female they don't get along well with.

No, my problem is with the people who insist on self-censoring with similar sounding words. Think: 'frickin' instead of 'fucking'. At that point, why not just say 'fucking', or omit the expression altogether? "I asked you to take out the frickin trash half an hour ago!" doesn't pack the same punch as "I asked you to take out the fucking trash half an hour ago!", so why not just reduce it down to "I asked you to take the trash out half an hour ago!"?

Half the time, the things people are saying are just as ugly as, if not uglier than, the words they're cutting out. Do they think it'd hurt their coworker's feelings any less if she heard em say "I wish that fat beyotch would wash her stanky hams so she'd quit funkin' up the washroom" instead of, "I wish that fat bitch would wash her stanky ass so she'd quit funkin' up the bathroom"? (Someone said this about our secretary on Thursday.) They're not making themselves look like the better person by removing 'bitch' and 'ass' from the discussion.

Words are powerful. Think about the words you want to use, choose them carefully, and your point will seldom be lost on someone. And maybe, just maybe, you'll also save yourself from sounding like a jackass because of how you're saying something, if not because of what you're saying.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Brain is a Bad Eighties Radio Station Stuck on Repeat

Lately when i wake up in the morning, the very first thing my brain does is pick up in the same spot of Michael Jackson's "Bad". It's agonizing! My waking routine goes something like this:

Alarm sounds.

I get up and turn it off (on autopilot).

My brain starts playing (at full mental volume) "Nooo wants to BEEE deFEAted! Showin' how funky and strong is your fight. . . It doesn't matter who's wrong or right. . ."

You get the idea. It's been happening this way for weeks now. WEEKS! I get in the shower and sing loudly in my vain attempts to uproot this unwanted morning soundtrack from my mind and supplant it with something more palatable. Unfortunately, my brain is rebellious at that time of the morning, and it knows that i fumble for control over it like Helen Keller with a Rubik's cube. As i struggle for dominion over its processes, it skips around from one song i hate to another song i hate, for most of the duration of my morning shower.

This tainted love you've given, I give you all a boy could give you!"

"What's new, Pussycat? WOOOAHWOAHWOAH!"

"We're caught in a trap. I can't walk out. Because I LOOOVE you too much baybeh!"

"Why, why WHYYYYYY DeLIlah!"

"We built this city on Rock and ROOOOOOOLLL!!!!!"

"When the children cry, let em know we try!"

The moment i give up, it reverts right back to Mr. Jackson belting out his idealized version of a fight. Ultimately i triumph once i get out of the shower and into the living room. My secret weapon of mass disruption: iTunes. Not, fair, i know. But i do have to show my brain who's boss every now and then.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Longer-Than-Necessary Prelude To The Story Of Why I Hate Squirrels

I woke up on the retarded side of the bed this morning. When i was assembling my lunch before i left for work today, i pulled out four slices of ham (1 point), some lettuce, a wedge of laughing cow cheese (1 point, and a delicious substitute for mayo on a sammich), an apple (1 point), and a can of Amy's cream of tomato soup (2 points). Yummy soup and sammich day at work, perfect for the dreary drizzly kind of day it was already shaping up to be :D

Except that I completely forgot the bread. Way to go, Einstein.

So lunch time rolled around, and Steve and Jessica decided to eat at El Amigo (which i jealously tried my best not to think about. . . nope, no thoughts of chicken gorditas here!). That worked out well for me, because El Amigo is in the shopping center next door to a grocery store where i could go in and score some bread while Jessica picked up their bags of Mexican tastiness. Yay, plan in place, we set out for Scherrerville.

We took Jessica's new Honda Pilot so she could show it off to me (bonus: we didn't have to use MY gas). While i was playing around with the seat warmer and some of the other gadgets, she swerved violently onto the right shoulder. Startled, i looked around trying to see what she was trying to avoid. . . there were no obstructions in the road, and we were the only ones driving on this street. Noticing me looking around, she said, "I almost hit a squirrel. Poor thing, he's gotta be getting cold!"
Without thinking, i kind of snarled at her, "You should have hit that fucking thing!"
She looked at me, nonplussed. "Why?"

I just stared at her. There was no possible WAY i could have missed telling her the Why I Hate Squirrels story. So that's all this lunchtime story is: a prelude to the Why I Hate Squirrels story.

The Story Of Why I Hate Squirrels (may they all die in a fire)

It started as a scritching in the wall of my bedroom in that primitive apartment on S. 76th Ave., which I dismissed in the beginning as a tree branch dragging across my window. I was working the midnight shift in those days at my current job, and the sun light streaming into my 90+ degree bedroom was hard enough to try to sleep through without this annoying scritch-scritch making my life difficult. It would stop after a few minutes, and just as i was finally dropping over the edge of sleep, it would come again. Scritch. Scritchscritchscritchscritch. Silence. This couldn't be a tree branch.

Over the course of the next couple of weeks, the scritching became more or less continuous. It now sounded like i had a family of huge mice (I had to think to myself "huge mice", because "rats" made me want to run screaming from the place never to return) living in my bedroom wall. The scritching gave way to gnawing noises, and occasional tussels punctuated by injured animal noises were becoming a regular thing. If i pounded on the wall, they would stop making noise for a couple of hours, but eventually this ceased to faze them at all and they would carry on regardless of how much i pounded and yelled. I took to trying to sleep on the couch during the day, but my couch was nothing more than a two-recliner loveseat that even I am too short to comfortably lay on for very long. Uncomfortable couch or sharing a bedroom with a family of some variety of rodent were the only two choices i had at the time. My step kids had a bunk bed in the other room, but for some reason i just didn't feel right sleeping in either of their beds, so i returned to my own room, unaware of the surprised that awaited me there.

I walked into the room to see a dark spot on the wall that hadn't been there before. It was a hole. So the bastards had finally broken through, i thought, as a tiny head poked through the wall, and after seeing me, withdrew back into the safety of its lair.

That was a squirrel head!

I had squirrels living in my wall! I was both relieved that it wasn't rats after all, and exceedingly annoyed at the undisputable evidence that there were indeed rodents living in my wall. With the last vestiges of my denial dispelled, I took a folding TV tray and propped it up against the hole in the wall so that they couldn't come through while i slept, then laid down to make the huge effort it now took to sleep through all that scritching, scratching, gnawing, fighting and general ruckus the squirrels relentlessly engaged in.

Over the course of the next few months, the squirrels broke through the wall in numerous places. The whole wall underneath the window was rapidly on its way to becoming one big patch kit. I would come home sometimes to find nothing wrong with the wall, and sometimes i would come home to several more holes in the same day. Snow and rain came through the holes into my room. We'd called the landlord several times, and though he did his best to make repairs and keep them out, they always returned. The last thing i wanted to do was lay poison in there, have them die in the walls, and cause a stench. I thought the noise and wall breaches would be easier to live with than the smell of decaying rodent, though not by much.

One afternoon after i'd finally gotten to sleep, i thought i felt something gently land on the foot of my bed. I'm a pretty light sleeper. I sometimes dream so vividly that it wasn't unusual for me to be asleep and dreaming, thinking i was awake. I ignored the gentle landing as i'd ignored so many other times when my dreams startled me awake. Then the darting movements began, and i opened my eyes to see the thing i'd been dreading over the course of the last year or so: a squirrel frozen in mid step on the foot of my bed, contemplating me with its beady black little eyes and walking on me with its dirty, potentially rabid little paws. I screamed before i could bite it off, and the squirrel leapt for the portal to sanctuary, the bushy tail disappearing behind it with a little flourish. I shakily gathered my blanket and pillow and went to sleep in Ryan's room.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Missouri: The Show-Me [Your Tits] State

The funniest thing happens once you cross over the border from Illinois to Missouri. You don't notice it right away since this border is smack-dab in the middle of St. Louis, and the only things in your sight are the rush-hour traffic you didn't leave early or late enough to avoid, and the pretty arch glittering in the late afternoon sun.

But once i left the distractions of St. Louis city limits behind behind me, i began to notice it: Missouri sure likes its porn! It started with a billboard.


Simple, inobtrusive (and by that, i mean it's just text with no. . . more visual description of services offered), but attention grabbing. Okay. There's an adult video store ahead, no biggie. I drove on to find this gentle reminder


with a little more information. Ah, there's an arcade included! Score! Nothing really struck me as odd about it. . . i mean, everyone needs something to do on a Saturday night, and this place doesn't really have all the entertainment options of a thriving metropolis. I drove on again, without giving it a whole lot of thought until a few miles past the Arcade, i spotted another one.


Two, within fiftyish miles. The longer i drove through Missouri, the more porn shops i noticed. Some were small, simple establishments, discreetly advertised


while others wanted to make damn sure i noticed them


Some were blunt, cut-to-the-chase, and boringly named


while others were blunt, cut-to-the-chase, and a bit more creatively named.


Some were considerate to the needs of their clientele and were conveniently located next to overnight accommodations


while others considered the budget and disability needs of their customers.


Some were completely unremarkable in any way at all.


One of them even appeared to have multiple locations (or the owners had the same idea and are completely unaware of the other).


This one occupied an entire strip mall.


This one catered specifically to the early birds.


It would seem everyone in Missouri is open and okay with the porn industry and the fun it can bring. Except these guys.


But they clearly appear to be in the minority.

I'd never seen so many public opportunities for jerking off in one state in my entire life! I took these pictures from my car while i was driving home from Oklahoma, so if the quality is amiss in some of them. . well, i defy you to take better pictures while trying not to wreck. One thing is certain, though: if you're traveling through Missouri and you're lonely, you have no one to blame but yourself! Opportunity has kicked in your door and given you a lap dance.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Hypocrite, or, I Hate Hospitals

Nobody likes hospitals. They're depressing places full of sick people, rude CNA's and doctors in too big a hurry to answer your questions in a satisfying manner. They're also full of sad, anxious, praying family members who want nothing more than for their loved ones to get better, and for the staff to at least fake like they give a rat's ass about the fact that they're suffering. If the staff can't manage a good caring facade, i'd settle for her not acting as if a request for past-due medication is the inconvenience of a life time.

It's the praying family members that make me a little distraught. I do my best not to burden my extended family with the specifics of my beliefs and lack of beliefs, though i'm sure they're all aware i'm not a Jesus person. Several times over the course of yesterday and today, though, i've been joined hands with for prayer. These aren't your supper-time hurry-up-and-pray-so-we-can-eat kind of prayers; they're long, specific entreaties to the lord Jesus to fill the OR with his presence and guide the surgeons' instruments, and for his healing energy to course through her, focusing on where she needs it most, and if it please you, lord Jesus, to bring about a miracle to rescue her colon that she may live a complete life with her family, Amen.

As a non-Jesus person, to say that this was awkward would be a colossal understatement. I stood there uncertainly clutching a strange man's hand, looking down with my eyes open, trying to decide if this was an appropriate display of respect for another person's religious support of a sick person they care about, or if my involvement in the whole business was a high form of hypocrisy. I was conflicted over it for some time after it happened, and the more prayers i joined in on, the more conflicted i became. I didn't want to decline the invitation to pray with them, as that would've been uncomfortable and the last thing Nana needed before her surgery was distress.

By the last prayer i participated in, i decided my nonJesusness didn't matter; this was about Nana and the bolstering of her spirit, not my awkward feelings. I was truly touched that so many people had taken the time and energy to come to my Nana's room to pray over her and show love and concern for her. After all, my hopes were reflected in their prayers: that she be healed swiftly and that the surgeons find that small chance that her colon could be salvaged so that she could dwell as an intact person with us for many more years. I think sometimes hope is just another less specific form of prayer, with different (if any) intended recipients and i think that's okay. I don't think the Jesus people would've minded too much.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


The night air was close and warm, the shore not far off, though i couldn't see it in the starlit darkness. She swam a bit further out than me while i stayed back, hesitant and a bit afraid with one foot buried up to the toes in the security of the sand beneath me. I heard her swim back to me, felt her take my hand.

"It's okay, i won't let you drown," i heard her say with laughter in her voice. She didn't need to say that, i knew she wouldn't let me drown. Nevertheless, i couldn't help being afraid.

"We can stay here near the bottom, if you like."

"I like."

She laughed at my silly fear and drew me a little more firmly on the sand. I could now stand with both feet flat on the ground, and the water barely cleared my shoulders. I heaved a gentle sigh of relief. I wanted to learn to swim, i really did! But the initial plunge was terrifying to me. I knew that one foot farther, and the sand would only be inches away from my feet, but the sea might as well be bottomless if i couldn't touch the ground and keep my head above the waterline.

I felt her gently probing fingers on my chest, pushing me gently back as she swept my legs out from underneath me. I lie just at the surface of the water, not really floating because of her hand on my back keeping me up. I could hear her soothing voice telling me to relax, and i did my best. Really, it wasn't so bad, this laying at the water's surface. The sea rocked me gently on its bosom, stroking the length of my body gently with its lapping waves, urging me to let go and be one with it.

I looked up at her and she smiled.

"Stay relaxed. My hand has not been supporting you for at least five minutes, and you're staying up just fine. I'm going to step back and float next to you."

Panic threatened to seize me, and i felt myself sinking. I closed my eyes and forced myself to breathe calmly. "Not yet," i said, thrusting the tremor from my voice. She nodded, but did not return her hand to support me. Gradually, i eased the tension in my shoulders and back, and let the sea carry me once again. I felt her move away from my side and down toward my feet.

She took my feet in her hands and pushed them together, closing my slightly parted legs. She began rubbing my feet gently. As she worked her way from my toes to my heels, she trailed her fingers up to my ankles, running the palms of her hands along my closed legs. Back and forth, she rubbed my legs gently, concentrating at the areas where my legs met. I held my breath, my heart quivering in anticipation as she worked her way up my calves and toward my thighs, always gently, brushing her palms over me.

My skin flared with heat where her hands touched me. I could feel the sea around me growing warm with the heat her hands left in my skin. She was halfway up my thighs when i could no longer contain my excitement.

"It's happening, isn't it?" She only smiled at me, her gentle touching the affirmation i was looking for. She ran her hands across my buttocks and over my nethers, up to the middle of my belly and back. The sea warmed me, helping my legs forget, helping me forget. She withdrew her hands from me and let the sea finish the job she started. I felt the gentle caresses of the water, molding me, reshaping me, every change a pleasure building towards ecstasy. She lay back in the arms of the sea next to me, her reassuring presence keeping me still as the changes she wrought in me came to their climax.

"It's done," she told me unnecessarily. I could feel the warmth subsiding, and the pleasure bleeding out of me into the sea. The sea accepted my emotion, taking its due payment for its help in my becoming.

"Can i look now?"


I flexed my knees, feeling the power of them. The water was too shallow, but i didn't move just yet. I looked down at what used to be my legs. In their place, scales glittered so brilliantly back at me that at first i could not discern the colour. I moved slightly below the waterline and saw that from my navel down had become a deep ochre, with crimson tips. It was the most beautiful fish i'd ever seen, and it was me. I touched my scales, and they were tough like armour, but smooth and supple. I would become nothing's dinner.

My heart sang with joy, but my joy was fettered by the shallowness of the water. Where i once felt safety and security, i now felt hemmed in and trapped. I felt her take my hand and guide me toward deeper waters. I left my fear upon the sand.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Confessions of a Bad Communicator

I'm a terrible communicator. I'll be the first to admit it, though it's something most people in my life already know about me. Some take it better than others, but there it is. I could really stand some improvement in this area of my life.

In this day and age, there's really very little excuse to be out of touch with friends and family.
Busy signals are practically a thing of the past, as i don't know of any mobile plan that comes without call waiting. With the advent email, instant messenger and the proliferation of cell phones, getting in touch with someone is easier than ever.

So what's my problem, you ask? (Okay, maybe you didn't ask, but since it's the point of the blog i'm going to tell you anyway.) My problem is most people in my life don't communicate the way i prefer to communicate. I have three prefered methods of talking to people. Number one is unequivocably face-to face. I'm one of those people you have a hard time getting away from when talking to me in person. My second and third runners-up methods are instant messenger programs (like AIM) and text messaging. For friends, neither of these are particularly problematic as most of them use one or the other and a couple of them (bless them!) use both. It's awesome! It allows me to give and receive information without having to talk about the damn weather or traffic or a whole plethora of other small-talk topics i generally don't care about. IM has the added bonus of freeing me up to do other things while i'm using it. Check email, read blogs, surf the net, cook dinner. . . IM is great!

My family, on the other hand, prefers to use the telephone and email. I'm decentish with email. It may take me a couple of days, but if someone emails me a question, i will usually answer it. I'm awful with the phone. I don't know what it is about the phone, but i absolutely HATE talking on it. Whenever it rings, i cringe and groan at it as though it's going to stop ringing and apologize with a little "Maybe some other time, then?" as it retreats quietly back into my purse.

I don't know why i hate talking on the phone. I've never had a job that required me to be on the phone for extended periods of time or anything like that. In fact, i used to love talking on the phone. I could be on it for hours. I'm not sure when that changed. I think it's awkward silences and small-talk i'm afraid of. I feel like i have to have something new and interesting to say when i call people (or when they call me, which is usually the case). Unless the weather is unusual, i just don't like to carry on about it. My mother in law (i love her very much) is the worst about calling with absolutely nothing to say, so she just talks endlessly about the weather. Meanwhile, i'm on the other end numbly uttering a string of "Uh-huh's", feeling guilty about desperately wanting to pass the phone off onto someone else.

I know people call because it's the only way they can spend time together sometimes. I understand and respect that. I really wish i were one of those people who could call and talk for hours, but i'm just not good at it. I know small talk doesn't bother others like it bothers me, so i know they wouldn't mind hearing from me even if i didn't have anything in particular to talk about. So i guess to those of you in my life i don't communicate much with, i'm very sorry. The flaw is with me.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Acai Berry, My Ass!

You know what's really pissing me off right now?

The Acai berry diet. Not the diet specifically, but the ads being used here on Myspace to promote it. They throw up a Before picture of Star Jones next to a current After picture of Star Jones with a little caption underneath that says lose 25 pounds in 30 days or some crap like that.

Hello?! Do the Acai berry people think we've forgotten that Star Jones lost her weight via bariatric surgery?! And let's face it: she lost a HELL of a lot more than 25 lbs.

On another occasion i saw a current picture of Kirstie Alley being passed off as a 'before' picture, and a picture of Kirstie from the late 80's/early 90's being passed off as an 'after' picture. Same caption, Lose up to 25 lbs in 30 days.

Again, that's way more than a 25 lb difference, and i highly doubt Kirstie's found a way to start life older and become younger as time progresses. Her weight loss roller coaster is a famous one, and last i checked, she was using Jenny Craig, not South American fruit pills.

Then there's the ones where they just throw up pictures of random celebrities: Jennifer Anniston, Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Jessica Simpson, Kate Winslet. . . All with a simple caption: Lose 25 lbs. Like ANY of these women need to lose 25 lbs! And i seriously doubt that the Acai berry is making up any of their diet or supplements.

I mean, isn't it false advertising to throw up a skinny picture of Angelina Jolie and a Lose 25 lbs caption? Doesn't that kind of insinuate that Angelina endorses or uses their product?
How do the makers of the ads get away with blatantly lying to hundreds of thousands of young, impressionble teenage girls?

Edit (from
Açaí has an exceptional content of fats, including oleic acid (56.2% of total), palmitic acid (24.1% of total), and linoleic acid (12.5% of total),[2] and also contains a high amount of beta-sitosterol (78–91% of total sterols).

Doesn't sound like it'd make a good dietary supplement at all.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

What Do These Things Have In Common?

What does this fish


and this bag of seed


and this brick of cheese have in common?


How about. . .this pumpkin


and this hand weight


and 5 of these?


Or this?


You got it! All 50 pounds! Which is exactly what is now missing from my ass as of 10.9.2008! I don't know how to say Thank You to Weight Watchers without sounding like a testimonial, so i'll just thank my leader, Jen, and my sister San for getting me up off my ass in the first place.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


We were in one of those radio station dead zones as we drove through the middle of the New Mexico desert. I had my choice between Spanish channels (which all sounded the same to my monolingual ears), country stations (which all sounded the same to my alternative-oriented ears), static and the very occasional classic rock station.




John McCain: "Me gustaría mencionarles sólo un par de cosas, y en primer lugar, un poco de franqueza. Como bien saben, estamos.....

Great, you can't even get away from politics in the middle of the desert, i muttered to myself as i changed the station.


Well I'm goin' back as soon as I can raise the cash
Cause Canada is not a place that I wanna had in my past
Canadian women Canadian clubs...

Ugh! Somehow i just couldn't believe there was country music in Canada. Especially Tom T. Hall. I petulantly decided i was never going there as i turned the dial again.


I want you smothered want you covered like my Waffle House hashbrowns
Come quicker than FedEx never reach an apex like Coca-Cola stock you are inclined
To make me rise an hour early just like Daylight Savings Time

Yay, Bloodhound Gang! This station couldn't be bad! I decided to leave it here for a while. I noted my mother in the driver's seat next to me shifting uncomfortably as the sexual innuendo poured out of the speakers thick as molasses in the Arctic circle. Good. That's what she gets for dragging me to this Hell-hole in the first place, i thought spitefully. I could be attending the birthday party of the most popular girl in school, but NO! Instead, we're driving out to the middle of nowhere for a stupid retreat. What the hell are we retreating FROM, anyway? HE'S the one who retreated from US with that slut who was only three years older than me. I glared at my mother, silently blaming her. You don't need a spiritual retreat, you NEED a face lift. . .then maybe you could keep your man, i thought venomously at her. Somehow she always drove the ones i liked away.

Instant karma paid me a visit and ruined the sanctuary i'd found on the radio dial, punishing me for my unfair thoughts. I cringed when
i heard the familiar chorus from that awful Argent song.

Hold your head up. . WOAAAH! Hold your head high. . .

"Who chooses this crap, anyway?! How do you go from Bloodhound Gang to THIS", i burst out, shattering the silence of the last six hours. My mother arched her eyebrow at me and turned the radio off.

"We could always just talk, you know," she pointed out.

I cursed my forgetfulness as i pined for the CD collection i left sitting on the couch out in plain view, positive if i left it there i would remember it as i walked out the door. I sat there, not even looking at her. The minutes ticked by, and she shrugged her shoulders.

"Have it your way," she sighed, trying to sound indifferent. She switched the radio back on.

. . . results may vary.

I heaved a great huff of teenage frustration as i redoubled my efforts to find something tolerable to listen to. We still had another two hours to go.

Week 32 Topic:
Results may vary...
bonus points
(hard, 2 points): Incorporate a trip to Canada.
(easy, 1 point): Include a Blood Hound.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Up The Beach

The day was beautiful and clear, and we sat in the shade of the building i lived in on the beach. He sat there with his arms around her. He was so important to her, and i could see it written in her eyes and all across her face like a book left open in hopes the world would read it and understand. He was telling me of his woes. He had worn a tux, but not at the right time, he was telling me. He was wearing the tux now, but he wished he'd worn it last night. I told him that if i was her, i wouldn't have cared what he was wearing. . . i would simply have been happy he was there. He looked at me as though i didn't understand, but it was he who did not understand. I looked at her to see if she understood, but the book had closed. She was now afraid the world would read and misunderstand. Four tears rolled down my face, the only indication of my sorrow for her, but he didn't notice. He was trying, again, to explain how things would be different today, right now, if he'd only worn the tux last night. I looked at her, infinitely sad that he couldn't understand what his explanations were doing to her. She now wore a mask of her own face. I couldn't bear it. I got up and walked up the beach. I could hear his explanations perfectly, though i walked farther and farther from him. He had been wearing jeans and a white tee shirt, you see. White! he exclaimed to me, the heavy emotion written in his eyes and all over his face like a book left open in hopes i would read and understand. I understood. My heart was breaking that he couldn't understand. I looked at her, and i could see a pool of tears collecting under her. She was now wearing a mask of someone else's face. She doesn't care about the white teeshirt, i pleaded with him at the top of my lungs. He couldn't hear me because i was now so far away. I could hear him perfectly, but he could not hear me. I sighed and continued my walk. They were specks behind me, and i could hear his heart breaking in his voice. She was drowning in the tears shed by eyes that were no longer hers, eyes that she'd changed in the desperate hope to escape the pain he couldn't help inflicting on her with his own pain. I couldn't walk any farther.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Initiate

I clutched my books tightly to my chest as I saw my peers walking around the halls, glops of shaving cream clinging to their clothes, hair, backpacks and books, and looks of humiliation on their faces. I shuddered a bit and averted my eyes, thankful it hadn't happened to me. Yet. A wedgie or a paddling could be lurking behind any corner.

I'd seen the flyers and heard the morning announcements all week long: Hazing of freshmen will not be tolerated!

"Yeah, sure," I thought sardonically to myself.

My destination loomed ahead of me, Mr. Kascmarek standing at the door as we filed inside.

"Top o' the mornin' to ye, ladies!" he said to us, smiling brightly.

"What a dork!" I thought to myself, unable to keep from smiling back as I ducked into the safety of my Astronomy class.

"It's not even morning anymore," I heard one of the other girls complain to her friend, rolling her eyes toward the ceiling. Last class of the day on the last day of the first week of my freshman year, then I could escape to the refuge of my bus.

I didn't hear a word Mr. Kasczmarek said that period. I nervously watched clock, mentally rehearsing my plan and sweating being recognized as an unconsecrated fish. Luckily, I had a secret weapon. All I needed was a few minutes alone in a bathroom to put the plan into effect. Ten minutes till bell time, I got up to ask if I could use the restroom.

"Feminine emergency," I whispered urgently to him. He nodded his uncomfortable permission at me. I gathered up my books eagerly and headed for the door. I poked my head out to scout the coast; it was clear, so I made for the closest bathroom. Empty! I dumped my stuff on the floor, fished a can of shaving cream out of my purse and started applying it to random parts of my body. I was gloating smugly at my own genius when I heard a toilet flush, and with a sinking feeling in my stomach, I remembered too late to check for feet.

"What is this?!" I heard someone demand behind me. I whirled around, my heart leaping into my throat to see a senior girl looking out of a stall at me in wry amusement. For the first time in my life, I wished the girls' bathrooms were doorless like the boys'. The bell rang, and my heart sank from my throat down into my shoes. I was screwed.

The girl positioned herself between me and the exit and was joined by two of her friends after a few moments. I stood there lamely with the can of shaving cream in my hand, wishing I could trip and fall into one of the cracks in the floor and disappear forever.

"Looks like we've got a clever one," one of the newcomers commented.

"Let's go, Einstein," she said, hauling me out of the bathroom by my upper arm. Three boys stood outside, obviously waiting for their girlfriends. They took one look at me and burst out laughing.

"Oh, that's too much! We've gotta do something special for this one," one of the guys said.

"We have to make an example of her," the first girl said, glaring at me, "and I have just the thing." She pulled two rolls of saran wrap out of her backpack and brandished them a bit. I stared uncomprehendingly. What they were going to do with THOSE?


"Fucking perfect," I thought, squeezing my eyes shut against the laughter bombarding me. What kind of person sits at home and thinks up this medieval stuff to do to other people, anyway?! I struggled a little in my saran wrap bonds, trying in vain to free myself, since it was becoming increasingly obvious no one else was going to do it. I felt like a witch tied to the stake as I hung there, plastic-wrapped to the flag pole.

"You could have at LEAST left my feet on the ground!!" I yelled bitterly at the retreating backs of my personal group of persecutors.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Bonnie Situation

That's right, folks, it's time to rant about work! Here's a little background info on the situation:

I am CONSTANTLY being audited by several government agencies and by my own company. Once a year, it's the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Once every two years it's the Board of Pharmacy. Twice a year it's Department of Health and Human Services. And once every trimester it's my own company. My own company is the most critical audit we go through. They nit-pick EVERYTHING with the idea that if we catch it ourselves, an outside agency won't get the opportunity to. It's a pretty sound philosophy and works out well, but it's a really gruelling experience.

I was audited late last month by my company. My company employs a team of 6 people who do nothing but travel around to all the various labs and perform these audits. . . we call them "Auditors" (clever, huh?). Anyhow, there's a new addition to the auditing team, i'll call him "Joe". Most new auditors are really tough. I don't know if they're trying to impress their boss or what, but my lab drew the unlucky straw and we got Joe.

Now, for the situation itself:

He spent two days turning my lab upside down, and he found violations a-plenty. I was able to find documentation to negate some of them, but at the end of the day, there were four i couldn't talk him out of, one of which was the daily machinery checks the first run (midnight shift) people are supposed to take care of.

Now, it is the general feeling of the first run folk that since it's the busiest shift, they should be excused from being responsible for the more fluffy chores. To a degree, they're right, but opinion over what constitutes "fluff" is always the subject of heated debate. Machine checks is something they'd rather not be responsible for, but they know they can't use the machines until they've been checked for accuracy and proper function. So there's been a silent, passive-aggressive battle over machine checks since. . . well, ever since i can remember. The usual tactic: "forget" to "enter the data into the computer". Everyone knows this is code for "fuck you, i was 30 minutes late today and i didn't wanna be bothered with it", but because the other technicians will vouch for the fact that the machine was checked and functioning properly, but due to the lack of time the data was not entered, it's hard to discipline.

Up till now, the usual procedure is i'll document the days the checks were missed on my monthly audit (did i mention that i have to audit myself once a month?). Once the audit is complete, i hold a staff meeting to let people know what they need to work on. Every month, machine checks are on that list. I give the techs a stern talking-to, and the checks aren't missed for a few weeks. Then the passive aggression sets back in.

Joe The Auditor, being a pretty clever guy, saw the pattern almost immediately, and suggested that i assign each machine check to a specific person, in order to better track the errant employee. From there, he suggested, i could administer "counseling" as i saw fit. A "suggestion" from an auditor, of course, is just a polite way to say "directive". "Counseling", of course means "write them up". So, under orders of the auditor, i gathered the techs together and divided machine checks up among them. They, of course, argued, harangued, complained, and made a general fuss about this new policy, as they could see exactly where it was going. Unfortunately, this came from over my head, so there was no help for them. I probably don't need to mention that they did not see this as the result of the half-assed way they generally do the checks in the first place (key idea here: consequences they brought upon themselves). They saw it as me picking on them.

Two days later, "Bonnie" missed her check on one of her machines. Bonnie was the most belligerent of the objectors to the new policy, and required the most convincing that the policy was not intended to be directed at her personally. My boss noticed Bonnie's omission and called me into her office where she told me in no uncertain terms that she expected me to make an example of Bonnie. Fantastic.

So i already know where this is going to go. Tomorrow, i'm going to go in with my "verbal-written warning" that i'm going to deliver to Bonnie. She's going to roll her eyes, call me a fascist (or some other dramatic, non-vulgar term she happens to come up with at the time), demand to know why i'm chastising her when [Insert name] does [insert transgression] every single day and gets away with it. After my many attempts to reign in her tantrum, i will have to bring my boss in, where she'll turn into the righteously indignant employee that i'm singling out for ill treatment, and demand some action be taken against me or she's calling human resources.

The whole business will take more effort and energy than the five minutes it would have taken Bonnie to just run the check on the machine in the first place. But somehow, it will become all my fault. She will be completely incapable of seeing that if she had just done the check in the first place, this conversation wouldn't be happening. I don't understand how it is adults can't take ownership of their own mistakes/misdeeds and take steps to correct them. I don't understand why the need to blame and pass the buck persists past childhood.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Unwelcome House Guests

They arrived on the doorstep of their new temporary home. It was perfect! Humid atmosphere, just like they loved; uncrowded, little competition for space and resources; warm, but not hot; and best of all: free! They'd just squat for a while before they were either discovered and evicted or crowded out once they had too many offspring. Then they'd move on.

They moved in and began making themselves comfortable. First, they blocked up the draftiness; they didn't want their babies getting sick! Mrs. was already expecting, and didn't want her first children dying of exposure. Thinking of exposure, they remembered to turn the temperature up. As long as the place was still a bit drafty, there was no need to make matters worse by freezing!

Then they took over the food and resources in the house, fattening up and putting things to work for them. Before they realized it, they had a nice little colony to keep them company. Loneliness problem solved! They'd have all the entertainment and entertaining they could ever want.

And then some. They'd only been there a couple of days and they were already feeling a bit cramped. The draftiness was gone, and the temperature was sitting at a slighty-warmer-than-cozy 102°. No matter, they'd invite a few of them to start scouting out for their next place. The couple sighed at the lovely new place, vaguely nostalgic about it as though they'd already left. They turned their thoughts to the future, excited about how quiet it would be compared to this place. Not all of them would make the move, of course; they themselves were already past their prime. Ah, well. This would be the perfect place to die, if they weren't evicted first.

It started as nothing more than a tickle in my throat that made me want to clear it constantly. I could tell that it annoyed people immensely, but what could I do? Then the fever and congestion set in; I couldn't breathe without effort, and certainly not through my nose at all. I got a sinking feeling in my stomach to go with the stuffy feeling in my head and chest. Yep, I had a cold. Man, I hate being sick! "I'd better wash my hands," I thought, "before I spread it to everyone else."