Hello, Failure

Of all the enemies of literature, success is the most insidious

Monday, March 31, 2003

Failure of the Day: Brain and Brain, what is Brain?

I am accustomed to (if not quite comfortable with) my brain's particular brand of failure... I spent about 3 minutes last night unable to understand language. Chris said a sentence to me and I had no idea what the sounds meant, so I repeated it back to him phonetically (it was "I did battle with a bug" I think) but I had no idea what he was saying. I was concentrating really hard but it seemed like there was some fundemental disconnect going on and I couldn't re-route. It was odd. After a couple more seconds I could understand words again but it left me in a very weird mood...I built a little fort in my room and sat in it reading by flashlight for about an hour, craving orange jelly beans.

For some reason, none of this really worries me. I don't actually think this is the next phase of my MS or anything, mostly, I think because it's really just unimaginable and also, MS doesn't really focus on just the cognitive like that. People have trouble with memory but according to the literature and stuff, it's not usually serious. Granted, the course that my version of MS has taken is so rare as to be almost entirely outside disease literature anyway, but still, it just doesn't seem MS-y to me. It actually felt like how I imagine it is to be autistic: total sensory overload. I had been flipping between a terrible movie and Inside the Actor's Studio, kinda surfing the Net, and doing the Sunday crossword puzzle while Chris was running around with the feather duster and listening to a movie VERY LOUD. I was thinking about 800,000 things and I think I just overwhelmed my circuits. After an hour in my fort in the dark, I felt great. I wonder if I shouldn't always keep a nice cardboard box in my closet for just such occasions...I just love being in those itty bitty spaces.

Anyway, I've got to spruce up ch 6 of PowerPoint and re-read the section of my novel I'm reading tomorrow night. It seemed like it would be just right when I first picked it but I haven't looked at it since, so there's always the chance that today, it's true sucky nature will be revealed to me.

Friday, March 28, 2003

Failure of the Day: Titles

First, to business, if anyone is interested:

At the notorious Theatre Spanganga, April is Man Month, featuring a variety male performers and a star-studded live
production of Reservoir Dogs...Which is why we thought we'd kick it off with a night of perforrmances by some of the
most brilliant artitsts to grace San Francisco (and international) stages.This evening of performance by an all-star
showcase of women artists and writers promises to tickle your mind, your fancy, and if you're lucky, other, more
tangible body parts. Our cast will enthrall you with a thrilling combination of storytelling, poetry, comedy, and fiction.

The all-star lineup features Alexis O'Hara, Beth Lisick, Heather Gold, Tarin Towers, and Nancy Depper.

Chick Nite
Tuesday April 1
Theatre Spanganga
3376 19th St. @ Mission
8 p.m.
$5 and up sliding scale (pays the artists and the gallery), No one turned away for lack of funds.

That's me, tacked on at the end. The good news is that I've found a muchly appropriate section of my novel to
read on Tuesday. The news that you may take or leave at will is that I believe I have finally successfully named
the damn book. That this is the the eleventh title I've come up with should not disuade you of my sincerity that
this is THE title.

To wit, the new title is "Whateverectomy." Catchy, right? I've really only had three things removed from my body
but I've removed a great deal more from my life so it seems appropriate in that sort of touching/ sort of callous
way that seems like more or less the current rule of the day. The down side is that title evokes images of a bright
orange book jacket with fat white lettering. At least it's a distinct improvement from the image of long-haired-girl-
sitting-forlornly-on-windy-bed that seemed to pop up for all my other titles.

Ah, crap. Just in the span of time it took to write that last sentence I've come to hate the new title. How much worse
could I be a titling things? None. None more worse.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Failure of the Day: Bedmaking

And I'm sorry, I am. Chris likes to say "The only thing that is making this long separation bearable for me is knowing that you are making the bed EVERY DAY." He made the bed on sunday before he left and I told him that I have been sleeping on the couch to ensure that his tidy bed remains pristine. Today I told him that I've been living in his car so as not to mess up the apartment while he was gone.

The truth is, I slept in the bed on sunday night and have not made it since. Chris knows that the first time I will make the bed this week will be about 10 PM on friday night (he is due home about 15 minutes later). He is sadly mistaken about this though; my plan, in fact, is to get into the bed at 10 PM on friday night. That way, I won't have to make it at all.
My favorite application of of a new but already out-of-date cliche: The next time you curse in public, you now should say, "Pardon my freedom."

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Failure of the Day: Sportmanship

That's stretching it a bit, I know; not even Dale Carnegie himself would insist that you have let your guest always win at board games. And isn't it just a little insulting to function as though courtesy were tantamount to forgetting all your skills? After all, I do know that "sizery" isn't a word, and it especially isn't a word on a triple word score square. Plus I only won by 4 points. Still, I couldn't help but feel a twinge of worry that I was being a wee bit rude. In my defense, I didn't shove my ass in Jeff's face and sing "I am the WEEEEE-NER!" as I usually do with Chris.

Lovely day overall.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Failure of the Day: Telephones, Shoes, Banks

After waiting all yesterday to talk to Chris, when he finally called, I couldn't hear a thing he said. He thinks this is because the phone is hotel room is maybe not so good. He thinks that because he has never had to talk to himself on the telephone. The sad truth is, he is a low talker. He is generally soft-spoken, and it gets worse when he is on the phone. Maybe tonight, he will have had a little more to drink. That usually does the trick.

This afternoon, Chris's mom took pity on me and came into the city to take me out to lunch at the cafe at Nordstrom. She is a woman after my own heart, so we ate quickly and spent the rest of the afternoon trying on shoes. I haven't bought a pair of shoes in some 10 months, so I am understandably jumpy. The withdrawl! Nordstrom was kindly having a shoe sale and they had the shoes I wanted on sale for $33. Lovely black platform slides. Did they have a size 6? No. They had a similar pair that were not on sale and I couldn't quite justify spending $60 on shoes that will look ridiculously dated by summer, so I passed. But then in the mall, I found the identical shoes on sale for $25. Did they have a size 6? No. I had to settle for buying pants at a discount store on Market street.

Upon returning home I found various bank statements in my mailbox, all of them laughably incorrect. One included a check for $2600, that although tempting, didn't really seem worth cashing if it meant having to go On The Run. I spent a good portion of the afternoon on the phone with them geting that straightened out. The on to another bank, who tried to transfer funds from one account to another incorrectly, resulting in quite a wide variety of overdraft charges. Luckilly, that nice woman who set up my accounts last week gave me her card and even remembered me when I called ("Oh! The woman with all the curly hair!"). She got it figured out and I'm squared with that bank again. I can only marvel at my own maturity, navigating so ably through my various financial institutions.

And now, I've got about 4 hours of work to make up.

Monday, March 24, 2003

Failure of the Day: Prose

I suppose it means that I've re-established myself in SF officially: all of a sudden, I have a reading next week. Saw Tarin at Jeff McDaniel yesterday, and she booked me at her gig next week. Which is lovely and I appreciate the props and all, but I've written a grand total of 4 poems in the last 3 years. (In my defense, I've also written a novel.) I'll be reading with her and Beth Lisick, which means they will be busy demonstrating with how ironic and clever they can be (and they can be VERY ironic and clever) while I will be sober and ennunciating. I'm good at being sober and ennunciating, I know, but I fear it doesn't pack quite the entertainment punch. Not such a fine line between literature and show biz, it turns out. I'm about 90% comfortable with which side of that line I fall on, usually, but I imagine I'll spend much of the next week living in that other 10%.

The upside is that the prospect of reading some part of my novel to an audience has brought what needs to be fixed in my novel into sharp relief. I read a couple chapters out loud to myself last night, and after a couple of weeks of thinking it was largely OK, the problems became plain as day. This is a good thing. After all, you can fix it if you don't know what's wrong. The other upside is that this will do an admirable job of distracting me from my week of corporate widowhood. Odd are, I'll read the first chapter at the show, and I've got a butt load of work to do to bring it up to some sort of second draft snuff. But after seeing Jeff (and Jan Richmond, the poet/novelist who read with him yesterday), I've got inspiration coming out of my ass. And that's pretty much why I missed San Francisco to begin with (kung pao chicken notwithstanding): there are people here whose writing is good, and it raises the bar for me. Now, I've only to meet it.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

Failure of the Day: Self-Sufficiency

"The supershuttle came and took my baby away"...needs work, even as a country song, I know. Just goes to show you that reality doesn't always lend itself to art. (If only the slammers would hurry up and learn that.)

Now I've got my lovely apartment to myself untill friday night. I've done some hustling to fill up my social calandar for the week so I don't get a little batty, so it's looking to be a pretty OK week despite. I also have sole custody of Bevmo, our fish, and Mr. Silverman, our ficus tree. The poor things should be very worried for their very lives; I am notoriously bad at keeping things alive. It's emabarassing because there really is only one bad possible outsome (it is dead) and a whole spectrum of good outcomes, all of which do not culminate in the death of my charge, but I always manage to land squarely on that one bad outcome. I have murdered many poor fish (RIP Fluffy, who I accidentally boiled), and I have managed to kill even cacti, which I previously (mis)understood to be more or less impervious to even the blackest of thumbs. Not so. I guess we'll see if my newfound "I'm a very fine married lady" maturity translates into better fortune for those lower on the food chain

Today I will venture out to Berkeley on BART to see Jefferey McDaniel read at Cody's. He is about the best poet who still walks the earth in my opinion, and the odds are good that I will run into folks I know. Should be an OK day.

Chris lands in Florida at about 11 PM his time; He should call at some point during the hollow husk of the Acadamy Awards to prevent my catastrophic imagination from screaming plane crash! plane crash!

Didn't I used to be less neurotic? (probably not, but I'd like to think so.)

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Failure of the Day: oh, crap, it's me

So. Dinner. Here's the thing: I told Chris we were going to Tia Margarita. I insisited. I put my foot down. And then we checked the mail on the way out. I had two parcels waiting for me--the "Up Yours Bush! I'm keeping my right to choose" mousepad I ordered, and a fat envelope from from Melville House Press, where I had submitted my poetry manuscript earlier this month. big fat envelopes are No Good. It means they've returned the ms to you. The rejection letter was actually very nice and didn't seem to be a form letter ("We read with great interest; it is a strong collection but..."), but it was a rejection nonetheless so I was a little mopey. Not overly mopey, I don't think; I didn't cry or stamp my foot and wish professional bankruptcy on them or anything, but I may have pouted for a minute or two.

Chris took my hand and we walked to Clement street and turned right. Tia Margarita is to the left. To the right: Ernesto's. "Girls what get rejection letters," he said in the poorest grammar imaginable, which we favor as English majors, "should have the spaghetti." I protested. I did. "But my shame!" I said. "My SHAME! My myriad of blog readers (all 3, of which he is one) will think I am a big fat cheater!" Chris laughed and offered to go to Greco Romano and I agreed. But you have to walk past Ernesto's to get to Greco Romano. And I looked into Ernesto's as we went by, Ernesto's, our Favorite, the restaurant of the Wooing when we first started dating, where I first saw him order tortellini alfredo and pick out all the peas and knew it was Love. It was almost empty in there, at a little after 6, surely a prime dinner hour if a little early. I may have slowed my pace some to look. "I am kind of in the mood for pasta, " Chris said. Does anyone need to be told where we had dinner?


Later last night, having recovered my from my fit of gratitude for my stay of Mexican food enough to trounce him at Srabble ("ozone" triple word score, double letter score on the z) Chris was flipping through the chanels and found a station that ws playing a movie called "Bullitt." I uttered a phrase, the power of which I grossly underestimated. I learned subsequently that this particular phrase seems to be some sort of Universal Male Kryptonite; it knocks that Y chromosome right out of whack. Chris's mouth fell open, and he had to mutter repeatedly to himself "She's just tired. She doesn't mean it." Then he walked into the bedroom and fell immmediately to sleep: such was the power of this phrase.

I will tell you the phrase but beware! if you are in possesion an a Y chromosome, have a soft place to land nearby; I accept to responsibility for injuries caused.

"Steve McQueen is Stoooopid."

Friday, March 21, 2003

Failure of the Day: Booze Slurpees

(It was going to be "imagination" and followed by a long rant on why the war on CNN is somewhat disappoiniting because the effects just aren't as good as those in movies, and that might only be due to the fact that we don't have a wide-screen TV, but I don't feel like returning to Our Regularly Scheduled Grimness yet. For those who miss it, Chris will be in Florida all next week, and I guarantee that will make me dour as hell.)

Instead though, lets talk about Mexican food. It's hard to be a strictly conceptual eater, but most of my existence is centered in my mouth and if a kind of food doesn't seem like somethnig I would like, a person who wants to get me to try is going to have to go to extreme measures to get me to open my maw. Many have tried. Only two people to date have succeeded. Because of those two people, I now know the pleasures of pineapple (thanks, Nana) and burritos. I was peer-pressured into finally trying a burrito for the first time when I was 31, and I had one of those "Where have you been all my life?" kind of moments. But my foray in Mexican food stopped there. I've been to Mexican restaurants before on dates and such and I managed to move the stuff on my plate around enough so that it looked like I had eaten a bit of it, but I never really did. It doesn't help that everything has this sauce on it that is the color of clay. The color alone makes it seem gritty to me, so conceptually, I just can't get behind that that sauce.

So there is a restaurant on our corner called Tia Margarita, and it's suppsed to have good food and exceptional margaritas. (Have I mentioned that I don't drink either?) Chris really wants to go. I know this because I am intuitive and in tune with his needs and because last week when we were picking our Friday night dinner place, he said "I really want to go to Tia Margarita." I said "Sure!" in a tone of voice that anyone else on earth would have thought meant "sure!" but that Chris knew really meant "I want spaghetti again" and so we went to Ernesto's for the second week in a row. (In my defense, I have been a super good sport about always ordering pizza from Round Table, which is his favorite, instead of from Milano's, which is my favorite and clearly and objectively better.)

But now it's Friday again, and Chris is getting tired of spaghetti. I can't in good conscience make him eat any more pasta. And Tia Margarita is probably a very good restaurant. And he really deserves those booze slurpees after spending all week wrestling with the protesters who continually threaten to shut down the bay bridge and seriously fuck up his commute. And they will probably be able to make me something without the clay sauce.

So OK! Tia Margarita! I'm psyched! I'm pumped! And just to prove that I'm not just writing all this so Chris will read it and say, "no, no we don't have to go!" I promise to include a full restaurant review in my next entry.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Failure of the Day: L-Shaped Boys

It has come to my attention that my blog entries have become altogether too grim. Chris got weepy at yesterday’s entry, and that won’t do. As a result, today’s entry is a cheerful sing-a-long!

The Ballad of the L-Shaped Boy

The L-shaped-boy has an innocent face
But he hogs the bed every night.
He wants to cuddle
But it makes a muddle
He takes up all my space!

The L-shaped boy is sweet, it’s true
But his knees are very sharp!
He crawls into bed
And he bends his legs
Then my butt is black and blue!

Not long ago, I married him
And I don’t regret a thing;
Though I love his soul
He must control
His long and pointy limbs!

When we wed, we accepted our duty
To cherish, and love, and honor
But in bed it’s true
He is so rude
His name should really be Rudy!

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Failure of the Day: pick one

I remember when the first Gulf war started, at 3:30 on a Monday afternoon. I was out of work, having recently been fired from my job as the receptionist at the radio station KMEL, the worst job I ever had. I was sitting on the floor of my teeny studio apartment listening to KUSF on my little white plastic stereo. I don’t remember who was DJing at the time but it was a woman. We all knew that on the day the war started, everyone was meeting at Powell and Market streets at 5 PM. The woman on the radio announced it. She said “We are at war” and I think I started to cry because I had never heard that phrase before.

Today, I am sitting in my apartment, listening to KUSF, and everyone is meeting at the corner of Powell and Market streets at 5 PM. I have Cable this time, so I don’t imagine I’ll get the news so late as to hear it first on the radio. I also don’t imagine I will cry at all: no more shock of the new…also, I’m not that moist and idealistic (and healthy! God, so healthy!) 24 year old anymore.

And the thing is, I don’t actually want to write about the war. I’m saturated enough with it. I want to write about my continuing extreme flip flops about someday having a damn baby. Some days, my desire for it lives like an independent entity in my chest, and other days, I find the idea nothing short of loathsome. I’d love to write about that. But every time I sit down, the only thing that dribbles out is useless politics. It drives me nuts, the rhetoric garden that grows in my head. I used to be acquainted with a guy who got his degree in Rhetoric from UCB, and he seemed nice enough at the time, but looking back on it now, I think “Jeez…that guy must have been AWFUL.”

And another thing: it goes without saying that I’m incapable of experiencing the world without filtering it through the vastly discoloring lens of myself. I am, like everyone, a slave to subjectivity. So I am wistful about the day Gulf War 1 started because it was a full four months before I had to look up multiple sclerosis in the library. (The out-dated definition scared the shit out of me: “Life expectancy: 20 years” that might be an optimistic prognosis when you’re 64; it’s NOT when you’re 24.) Generally speaking, the first half of 1991 was a pretty terrific time for me. I was thin. I was dating a really adorable if illiterate drummer.

By the same token, 2003 is a pretty damn terrific time for me. I can't complain. I love my husband. I love my work. I'm not going to Powell and Market this afternoon. I think I will just sit in my room and enjoy these last 4 or so hours of relative peace.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Failure of the Day: Errands

For some reason I can't manage to get my ass to the post office. It's 2 blocks away. It's not raining. I'm still just sitting in my chair.

Yesterday, I managed to get a good bit of editing done during work hours, buy cigarettes and a loaf of bread, become so outraged at Well Fargo for being incredibly rude to me and wanting to charge me $3 a month for the privlege of opening a savings account that I went to BofA and set up all new banking accounts with them for no other reason than the lady at the desk was nice to me, and stop by H&R Block to star gathering information about paying taxes as an independent contractor.

Today, I've managed to take a shower. I've also edited my ass off and wrote a good portion of ch 13 of the Word 2003 book (which I think I'm allowed to say now because the fact that the MS Office update exists is posted on the Microsoft web site). For some reason, that's about the extent of what I'm capable of today. I am a one-woman lumpen proletariat. Heavy on the lumpen.

Fuck the post office. That's what I say. I am Punk Rock., so I say fuck the post office. Hey, PG&E, you'll get your money when I'm damn good and ready to give it to you. You got that? I'm going to make the pesto sauce mix we got this weekend and have dinner and then work on my novel. The post office? What post office? Today, there is no such thing as the post office. So there. Success of the Day: Selective myopia.

Monday, March 17, 2003

Failure of the Day: Ralph Nader Voters

I was thinking yesterday that I would go to one of the anti war protests. I haven't been to one since the first Gulf war because that was the last time I was physically able to walk from the Embarcadero to Civic Center. It's still mighty difficult for me to walk that far, remission or no, and the organizers of such spectacles have never cared about accomodating the "walking disabled" (note to The Left: disabled does not only mean wheelchair), and I hold a grudge against them for that. I have had some sour, sour experiences trying to work with with even such beacons of enlightenment like Bay Area Coalition for Our Reproductive Rights and NOW.

This time though, I want to go not because anyone has a shred of a chance to stop the war but because I have something to say. And while everyone else will be uselessly trying to get the attention of our "Tommy"-like administration, I want to get the attention of the protesters. I want a sign that says "Congratulations, Nader Voters." Now that a ban on later-term abortions has passed the senate and will almost certainly pass in the House, it will be delivered with a blood red rose to the desk of the Anti-Choice president who they said was no different from Gore. Nader voters, largely white and middle-class, and in my experience, overwhelmingly male, have that luxury. They will never be forced human incubators; they will never have to be pregnant against their will. And as such, I suppose they are right: No difference. Lucky Them.

I can't say with any confidence that had Gore won the election in the supeme court instead of just in the popular vote that we would not be about to kill a lot of people. I really don't know. But it's possible. I know I'd be a lot more comfortable with the decision in the hands of someone who is not a religious zealot anxious for the Rapture. I know with some certainty that Gore would have vetoed the abotion ban, though, as Clinton did, twice.

An editorial in today's Salon sums it up nicely http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2003/03/15/nader/index.html (Subscribe to Salon while you're at it.)

So thanks, Nader voters. You are doing a great job of pointing out just how important the differences between the candidates are.

Sunday, March 16, 2003

Failure of the Day: Movies

Didn't manage to get to to Daredevil; the cycle of shame spirals on. Nice weekend otherwise though. The highlight of which, embarassingly enough, was trying on glasses frames. I've had the same pair of glasses for 10 years now and they are in surprisingly good shape, but I'm a little tired of them. The guy at the frames store thought my frames were totally hip and wacky and went on and on about how after wearing a pair like these, everything else would seem really boring. They are just big black plastic ovals, and they are Medi-Care frames for chrissakes; governement issue, literally. At the one OK'ed frame place where I went in 93 to get these, they had a choice of these and literally four others, all of which were wire frame, "Bill Gates/serial killer" specials. It was a fine example of the kind of luck that I tend to have: I really really wanted black plastic oval frames, which are what my Nana wore. These were, in effect, my dream frames.

So the guy at the frames store, in an inspired fit of commissioned salesmanship, started hauling out all manner off $400, French, cat-eye frames in various fetching shades of purple and yellow; they looked truly divine on me, and I had a swell time trying them on. Of course, when I buy new frames I will spend only a tiny fraction of that price and get frames just as lovely because I am a very, very good shopper. And I am not so easily flattered by men in bad ties trying to pull of some sort of pseudo-doctor Optician routine.

And tomorrow I am back to work; I am anxiously awaiting my fed ex'ed copy of the second beta of the Top Secret Software Update I am working on. I am clearly very powerful and important. More anxiously, I am awaiting my damn paycheck; only the second one in six weeks. After this, I should be back on track and I will be a good deal less nervous about having money and can get on with the business of being nervous about how to handle my taxes now that I am an independent contractor. I do feel very grown up: I need an accountant.

Saturday, March 15, 2003

Failure of the Day: Failure

Might as well just say it: nothing went particularly amiss. The people at work are still largely dumb but yesterday their dumbness was played out in public so I was not the only one who stared at my computer in awe at the fact that they are still employed. That's really all the gratification I need: knowing I am not the only one who sees it. I myself just about finished the one project I am managing; I was a full week ahead of schedule on another project so my boss gave me another book to update for someone else who was falling behind and now that book is a week ahead of schedule too. Not that I have any expectations of being told in some fashion that I am doing a good job; I have long since put that fantasy to rest. This is a strictly No Feedback/No Consequences office. You never hear when you have done an OK job, and you certainly never hear when you have sucked (witness UG and UGH). Rather you work in your own personal vacuum, which I suppose is some sort management philosophy, although not a very good one.

Not that I am hunting for kudos or anything. I remember when I my old professor asked me to read his novel in progress and give him some feedback. His lead character's wife had recovered from breast cancer after some sort of surgery and the prof pointed out with some pride the scene in which the character ("Harry," I think) made a big, silly-yet-endearing sexual play for his wife. "He still desires his wife, even after the cancer!" my prof said, touting Harry's overall goodness. But I tried to explain that a guy doesn't actually get points for that, loving his wife for more than just her capacity as a breast-delivery mechanism. That makes him NOT an asshole, but it doesn't make him a hero or anything. You don't get credit for merely not being an asshole. It's not a mark on the plus side, it's just the absence of a mark on the minus side.

Likewise, in a job, you don't actually deserve praise for merely not fucking up. I think you have to go above and beyond, as they say. But when you don't get it then either, you had better be good at taking your own private satisfaction. Fortunately for me, I love my work. It is satisfying to have chosen this thing, copy editing, gotten hired, and work at it every day, trying to getter better and better at it. I like doing it. I read and correct errors for a living. In the Nancy world, that's about as good as it gets and as a result, I am a private-satisfaction-generating machine. But I also feel lucky: I chose my profession, I am well-suited for it, and I am reasonably well compensated for it. Not many people, I think, can say that. And that's why it galls me that other people are so oblivious to their own fortune a to squander it daily by A) sucking at it, B) taking it for granted, and C) not even considering that thier own failures affect their co-workers. I know how many out-of-work editors there are out there right now, and it really does make me nuts that these fuckwads have jobs while other, clearly more skilled peolpe don't.

I am spending way too much time thinking about work. Especially on a saturday. So: I think we are going to see DareDevil today, finally. It's truly scandalous that we haven't seen it yet. or it would be if it weren't, by all accounts, a bad movie. But it is about a guy with a cape, and that makes it de rigueur in this little marriage unit. And I'm all for it: goofy entertainment + raisinettes = a rollicking good time, as far as I'm concerned. Off we go.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Failure of the Day: Rain

Ah, Irony. Only after I move away from Seattle do I have my run-in with idiopathic precipitation. I finished work early and decided to take my daily walkabout in the Haight. I took the 38 Geary to Masonic and was waiting for the 43 when BOOM! Thunder, lightning, wind, rain, the whole show. I had to turn around and come home. Now I'm stuck at home watching middle-aged, rich, white, male celebrities debate the war while a middle-aged, rich, white, male anchor feigns objectivity. And it's doubly gross because the guy arguing my side is Bill Maher, who has NO credibility as far as I'm concerned, ever since he sold it to the loathesome PETA (which will certainly taste my wrath in a future blog entry).

I can only hope I will spend at least some of this afternoon writing. The mantra: "Writers are not people who think about writing. Writers are people who write." makes me physically grimace.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Failure of the Day: Hair

Have I mentioned my hair? It's usually something of a conversation piece; I can't recall the last time I left my house and NOT had someone say something about it. This was perhaps understandable when it was green or pink. But it's usually just brown and it's been brown for some time now. And still, still, old women on the bus, homeless men, punk rock chicks, and 6 year old girls alike are fascinated by my hair. All of this sounds horrifically vain, I know, but it's not that I think my hair is fascinating, it's that...well, the thing is, my hair is curly. That's not really such a big deal, I know. But my hair is really, really curly. It makes these Shirley Temple riglets all over my head and down to my back. Fine. That's what it does. I can't help it, and god knows I've tried. I've been trying to straighten my hair for as long as my arms were long enough to reach the top of my head. It's no-go. My hair insists, so to speak. It refuses to not curl. So it goes.

If you tallied up all the sentences I've said in my life, the sentence I have said more than any other would have to be : "It's not a perm." This is usually met with shock and sometimes outright disbelief. (Like the woman who insisted that she was a hairdresser and she knows that hair does not naturally do what my hair is doing. I had to admit the possibility of someone sneaking into my house every few months and perming me without my knowledge or consent to get this loon to shut up.) These are complete strangers, keep in mind. I am not inviting these conversations.

None of this is to say that I hate my hair or that I spend any vast amount of time lamenting it. Generally I think my hair is OK. The way I see it, my hair and I had a war, and my hair won. I accepted defeat and moved on. It's just that all these people, these elevator co-passengers and corner market clerks and what have you, they need to talk about it. They need to voice it. They need conversation about my hair. And I am generally a courteous person, and I can't very well tell everyone to fuck off a couple of times a day, so I let them touch it when they ask (and they do, they do), I tell them the brands of mousse I favor when they ask, I nod sympathetically when they complain that their hair loses a perm after one day. When they look at my pale skin and ask me what I am mixed with to get this hair, I explain that I am just Jewish and then wait for them to stop looking confused.

Ah, well. Today I have to wash my hair.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Failure of the Day: Food

But that's only because I'm hungry. I just went for my daily walkabout in my gorgeous Chinese/Russian/Irish neighborhood, and that's an unwise thing to do when you are hungry. The Russian meat markets! The Chinese Delis! The Irish...bars. Not that there's a shortage of Indian or Mexican or Italian or Greek restaurants within 5 blocks of my apartment. And one can't ingnore the best hamburger joint in town either, which is 4 blocks to my right. This is no place for a girl who is supposed to be watching her cholesterol. I need to learn more recipies that rely heavily on olive oil. And garlic. And curry. Fuck me, I'm starving.

Monday, March 10, 2003

Failure of the Day: Trivia

Needless to say, Chris and I made up and are as nauseatingly lovey-dovey as ever. Had a lovely weekend with Paul, culminating with our first go at the local Pub Quiz since coming back to SF. We love Pub Quiz. Chris and I both made very serious sacrifices in what we choose to remember in order to excel at trivia games. He nuked every last detail of knowledge he may have ever learned about geography so that he might have more room in his head for character actors from the 1950s. He now knows everything about Strother Martin but can't find Chicago on a map. I myself am a great strore of all manner of random crap (I once was able to pull the name "Nancy Lopez" out of my ass to win a trivia game), but am utterly unable to tell my left from my right. Both of these examples are 100 percent true.

So imagine our shame at coming in 6th at Pub Quiz, especially considering that the winning team was comprised of mooky frat boys who named their team "Just Bomb Iraq Already." I flubbed a question about William Hurt, to whom a good portion of my early 20s was devoted. Chris missed a Star Wars question! Paul missed a science question. It was absurd. Absurd! I am at a loss to explain it.

As for the rest of the weekend, we saw the DaVinci and the Splendor of Poland exhibit at the Palace of the Legion of Honor, which had many many spectacular painings and one truly godawful one. We went to Tommy's Joynt for the first time since being back, did not see Metallica there, but ate a good deal of meat anyway. I am hungry again just thinking about it.

Today, Paul camped on the couch and was riveted to a variety of DVDs while I continued to loathe UG, who as expected, cried BABY as an excuse for delivering her work 4 days late. (The tot didn't seem to keep her from going shoping instead of delivering the work a mere one day late.) Ah, what a happy life it must be to be so content and mediocre. To never have to try! To never accept blame! She proves me right about my realization of sometime ago: I would be so much happier if I were only more stupid. At least then I wouldn't be surprised when I lose at Pub Quiz.

Saturday, March 08, 2003

Failure of the Day: Marriage

Fighting with Chris. I can't help but remember my favorite high school teacher telling us that in a marriage, each party should be prepared to compromise 75 percent of the time. Suppose so. For us, though, I think we're each compromising about 45 percent of the time (even though it feels like 75 to each of us, I'm sure), and that last 10 percent is kicking our asses.

We'll make up, of course. We were SURE when we decided to get married and we were 35, which makes a difference. And so, the only thing that really changes when you get married under these circumstances is that fights are more serious and less dangerous. When you're just dating someone, you always have that "is this THE fight? The fight to end all fights?" thing floating in your head. Now that is not so much a concern, so we are freer to let our pissed-offness run freely. (With one exception: We don't raise our voices. Ever.)

And so now it's the odd saturday when he works, and Paul is coming over to keep me company while I launder. Later Chris will come home and we will work things through. I am less pissed than merely annoyed (it's been 15 hours since the Incident That Started It All). I am hopeful that the tension that began mounting when we moved back to San Francisco last month will begin to loosen its grip on both of us.

Friday, March 07, 2003

Failure of the Day: Work

I am an office girl. I don't actually work in an office (I am a telecommuter) but in addition to spending damn near ALL my time working with the behemoth software called Office, I keep office hours. I didn't used to. I have had my job for nearly three years but before that, I was unemployed for nearly 10 years. I was a professional Cripple, and I billed my life to the government. I am less of a cripple now, therefore I am paid for work, therefore I live by the workweek. And therefore, Fridays have regained their hallowed place. "TGIF!" I shout. I shout it today especially. It's been a long week. The physical location of my place of employment is nearly 800 miles from where I sit, but my work nemeses always manage to make themselves felt. Technically, I am their boss, this husband of wife from the bowels of Hell; I am the project manager, they are working on the project. They generally do what is widely if secretly acknowleged in my office to be a piss poor job, and they take a damn long time to do it. They have a baby, which tends to mean they have an excuse. they should introduce the tot that way: "This is our excuse, Junior." because of the Excuse, they can miss as much work as they like and cannot be fired. None of this is explict of course; the emplyee handbook doesn't say: "Employees with demonstrated fecundidty are exempt from the requirement to show up, perform adequately, and complete their tasks in a timely fashion." But it's clear enough.

Let me make this clear: I am not a person of many prejudices regarding humans. I have plenty regarding food and poetry and certain Star Trek species, but humans are far too complicated to make snap judgements about. That being said, I must tell you that the wife of this unholy pair is the single ugliest individual I have ever seen. The first time I met her, I had to stifle, literally, an impulse to gasp. Ordinarily, people who don't fit traditional standards of beauty become more attractive as you get to know their personalities, but her personality is comprised only of smug self-absorbsion and vastly misplaced vanity. It's the damndest thing I've ever seen. And so, she is known in my head and among my friends as The Ugly Girl (UG). UG is a fercious blogger and kept detailed records about how she monitored her fertility in order to ensure conception and thereby extract a marriage proposal out of her witless boyfriend, who had steadfastly refused to marry her for many long years. Her blog goes into great detail about this.

Of course, I should not know any of this. I offer in my defense only that I at some point developed a perverse fascination with the spectacle of her. So my revulsion is my own doing, I know. She is that hangnail that you poke because it kind of hurts but it kind of feels good, kind of hurts, kind of feels good. I gawk in horror, but I gawk nonetheless.

All of this is really just an overly long intro to my explanation of why TGIF has the resonnance it does for me. I have spent the better part of the day trying to wring work and status reports from them so that I can in turn make my weekly reports to the World's Largest Software Company. UG so far, refuses to acknowledge my emails at all, whereas UG Husband (UGH) sends long, gramatically nonsensical emails that do not answer my question but that are full of information that I do not want or need.

This weekend, I will hang out with Paul, who is visiting from LA, poke Chris in the stomach with my finger for a little while, and hopefully have some Chinese food.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Failure of the Day: Writing

And on days when it is warm outside and ice cold in this bedroom cum office in my apartment, a person's thoughts necessarily turn to the novel I am failing to make brilliant.

It might not be my fault. It's possible that the idea at the root of this novel is Not Good, and I was doomed from the start. But of course, since the idea for the novel was mine to begin with, it comes back to being my fault again. The people who know me are certainly tired of my cries of "But I'm NOT a novelist!" I'd like to think that because my poems are actually quite nice and usually easily published, I can be forgiven for writing a lousy novel. I can't. Writing a novel is startlingly different from writing a poem. That probably seems obvious, but it is a fact I managed to overlook. I *KNOW* how to write poems: I have a nifty bag of tricks and literary gambits. I am a novelistic pauper though; my pockets are empty.

Even as I write that, I don't believe it completely. There are portions of the novel that are very good. It's only lousy as a whole. But that's pretty much the ballgame, don't you think?

Ah, well. more later.
Hello, Failure! here you'll find the worthles thoughts of one woman who knows that failure is not only an option, it's a way of life.