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.