Hello, Failure

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

Thursday, July 31, 2003

Failure of the Day: Time, Brain, Lungs

Trying to make up some of the hours I missed from vacation. OTSI finally came through with a nice, big, time-consuming project and I'm trying to get as many hours packed into this pay period as possible. My efforts were complicated yesterday by my weekly writing group, which I met with for the first time. A terrific group from first impressions, and their feedback on chapter 15 was invaluable.

Between my weekly and my monthly writing groups, I can look forward to getting 5 chapters a month workshopped. Which of course gives rise to a question…should I wait the five months before sending my ms to folks I plan to send it to or just get the chapters that I think need the most help spruced up and send it sooner? Beats me. Either way, I feel a great yawning chasm of work gaping before me…

I am also battling a low-grade cold that has been taking baby steps forward for about the last 3 weeks. I'm torn between taking a day off from smoking now and possibly nipping the thing in the bud and smoking my lungs out in the hopes that I can coax it into a full-blown version of whatever it is and then get it over with by taking a day off from smoking. The thing is, I'm not sure taking a smoking break now will stop the thing in its tracks and I'm trying to avoid more than one day without cigarettes. It's very complicated.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Failure of the Day: Dentistry, Steven King, OTSI

The dentist chapter is going a little better after finally getting some very helpful input from Chris. I may yet put the chapter to bed in my lifetime. He suggested that I read Steven King, who apparently is very good at describing things. I was doubtful…but also desperate. I am happy to put aside my literary snobbery and just learn from somebody who knows what the hell they're talking about. I myself am not a huge fan of ole Steve; I've only ever read Firestarter, which I thought was y'know, fine, but almost all the people who I respect the most really, really dig him, so I know there's something going on there even if I don't get it. I read most of Season of the Werewolf last night, and I'll be damned if the reader doesn't have a precise picture of both the physical and mental state of the characters. A handy trick, that.

On the work front, my "employer" OTSI is going through another one of those periods in which everyone in the Redmond office is too busy to so much as answer my emails asking if there is anything for me to do. It's irritating. And stupid, and entirely indicative of the way the company is run. My boss, Joyce, knows everything there is to know about technical publishing, but sadly she is utterly clueless when it comes to running an office. How else to explain everyone else having to work both days this weekend to meet a deadline while I have nothing to do? All she needs to do is tell me what needs to be done and I'll do it, but for some reason, she prefers to make Employee A work 80 hours while Employee B works 0 hours instead of taking one minute to split the work. And meanwhile, my hours are slipping away…

Christ, I need a new job already.

Monday, July 28, 2003

Failure of the Day: Oh, Right. The Grindstone.

And so ends our delightful little Vay-Kay. I didn't have as much time off from work as Chris but then again, even when I'm working I wear pajamas all day so I can't really complain. Well, I can, but I won't, at least right now.

So I'm back to the routine of scrounging up as many billable hours as I can, shvitzing my arse off at the YMCA, and struggling with the Dentistry chapter of my novel, which I have been working on for nearly the entire month. I am grateful to Martin Amis's Experience for helpful pointers in this area. He seems to be the reining authority on literary mouthwork. I confess to poking no small amount of fun at him in the past for having the audacity to index his memoirs, but that very index has turned into quite the useful tool.

I also have quite a lot of time to write as Joe birthday present to Chris was Star Wars Galaxies, which I gather is something of the shit. Chris chose to be a Wookie and wanders around on Naboo for hours on end gaining experience points by killing small animals. He's a pretty cute Wookie, too, all fancy in the sunglasses your character gets if you bought the deluxe edition.

So at this rate I should finish this draft…lets say by the end of August, shall we? I know I said it would be the end of July, but this time I really, really mean it. Be forewarned: if you are reading this, chances are that I will be hitting you up to read the thing and point out the places that suck.

Friday, July 25, 2003

Failure of the Day: Miscellaneous Trip

Best T-Shirts at the ComicCon:
Go Ahead, Make My Shabbos
Pirates Are the New Monkeys
Don't Drink Piss

Best Non-ComicCon/Medieval Times Highlight:
Having to wear booties and masks at Paul's lab

Most Ironic:
Chris knows everything about comics and ran into no one he knew at the convention.
I know nothing about comics and ran into three people I knew at the convention.

Most Inexplicable Booth:
Marquis Modeling Agency

Number of people who talked to me about/touched my hair:

Price of Hot Dogs at Convention:

Percentage of People at Convention Wearing T-Shirts that Chris also Owns:

Number of Women being Led Around on Leashes:

Number of Times I was Almost Knocked Over by 6 Foot Tall Pikachus and/or Squirrels:

Number of Times We Walked Right Past Stan Lee:

Biggest Unanswered Question:
The artists were uniformly short, fat, and poorly dressed. Their fans showed their devotion by dressing in form-fitting bondage gear that highlighed their perfect abs. If they love Brian Michael Bendis so much, why don't they gain 50 pounds and sit around looking surly in a Hawaiian shirt?

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Failure of the Day: I Frankly Expected a Little More from the Black and White Knight.

What can you say about a place where everyone is required to wear a paper crown? Medieval Times taught me a variety of things: 1.) I might be allergic to horses and fog machines or some combination thereof, and 2.) Upon having half a chicken is plopped onto my plate by a woman who says only "Very hot! No utensils!" my reaction was surprisingly, delight.

The Medieval Times experience transpires thusly: You arrive and are divided up into six groups of roughly 100 people each. You can tell the other members of your group by the color of their paper crown. The crown color corresponds to the knight you will be rooting for. After everyone is settled into the Dinner Arena, the show starts and there is some attempt at exposition, which you will not follow very closely because the server is slopping soup into your cast iron bowl and you are required to do some complicated thermodynamic equations. The soup is 1000 degrees, and so too hot to eat immediately, but the longer it sits in the bowl, the hotter the bowl will get, and there is no soup delivery mechanism other than picking the thing up and sort of sloshing the soup into one's maw. The bowl will stay hot longer than the soup will so there is something of a narrow window of opportunity during which the soup is still warm but the bowl will not brand the Medieval Times logo into your palm.

By now the stadium is filled with fog machine fumes up to the horses' necks and you will notice a tightness in your chest. But the server is coming round again with the half chickens, spare ribs, potatoes and garlic bread, all of which, I must say, were very good.

There is a long period of time before the tournament begins (which is being held for reasons I don't understand because I missed the exposition). During this time, a bunch of horses come out and do funny walks and some jumping things. I think this was so people could eat and pee without missing the jousting.

Then the knights come out, six strapping young men who come in two models: the Kevin Sorbo and the Ben Affleck. Our knight was of the Kevin Sorbo variety. After the introductions were made (Knights, Crowd! Crowd, Knights!), there was some more of the riding of the horses by men with big sticks. It was hard to pay attention because at this point we were all very sticky and smeared with chicken.

At some juncture, the knights began offing each other in elaborate hand to hand combat, and we witnessed the Green Knight eviscerate the Black and White Knight while we, his loyal subjects, were served apple pie pockets.

There was a happy ending: All but one of the knights was beaten or stabbed to death but the traitor was exposed. (Traitor? There was a traitor? Damnit! I really needed that exposition!) The princess is successfully wooed by the surviving knight and wet napkins are delivered to our tables. We all shuffle out to the courtyard with our commemorative glassware, and there in the splendor of Anaheim, we go, "Yep. That was worth 40 bucks."

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Failure of the Day: Welcome to Southern California. We Have the Kind of Heat You Can Die From.

Truly, profoundly happy to be back. Had a great time in the great barren Southland despite heat and humidity nearly in triple digits every day. The ComicCon was astonishing: 100,000 people each day, and a good 10 percent of them in full-on Storm Trooper regalia. We were told that more people attended Saturday alone than attended the entire four days last year, due to the presence, we think, of Angelina Jolie, who we did not see per se, although there were a couple dozen other girls dressed as Lara Croft.

There was also no shortage of Klingons (despite there being no real connection between Star Trek and comic books), Wolverines, Spidermen, Supergirls, and people dressed as the rabbit from Donnie Darko. There was also one set of identical twin Japanese Raggedy Anns who were a little incongruous, but added a real sense of occasion.

I was delighted to finally see the porn star action figures, which are sculpted meticulously, but I confess to being slightly disappointed by their vaginas, which were more or less drawn on. I would have preferred 3-D labias. I gather they were terrific likenesses though; Joe was able to recognize each one without the benefit of labels (and not just the Ron Jeremy, which was obviously a gimme).

Despite it not being nearly the merch fest for me that it was for Chris, I still managed to come away with some goodies: a Buckaroo Bansai pin and a copy of the latest Joe Matt book, which he inscribed to me as I stood mortified at his table. I was not even slightly less embarrassed than the last time I asked him to sign a book some 12+ years ago. I'm not much of a groupie of any stripe anymore, which is a shame and a surprise: I had such a promising start.

There is a great deal more of course; I haven't even mentioned the Medieval Times extravaganza, but that will have to wait until tomorrow.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Failure of the Day: Just GO already

Officially on vacation, and about damn time. Chris just found out that the day we are going to the comic book convention features both a Smallville panel or discussion or something AND an appearance by Mark Hamel. Yes. Superman AND Luke Skywalker on the same day. I am packing smelling salts and extra underwear for him.

We are also going to a place called Midieval Times, the theme restaurant featured in The Cable Guy, which boasts: There were no utensils IN medieval times, so there are no utensils AT Medieval Times. I expect to spend a good portion of monday eating big hunks of meat with my hands. And as exciting as that is, Chris might be even happier that our hotel is 6 minutes away from a Wienershnitzel. how do we know this? Because Chris made a map from the hotel to the Wienershnitzel.

Me I'm just excited that I finally get to wear the polka dot pedal pushers I bought for the trip.

Bye, y'all. Back Wednesday.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Failure of the Day: SBC

9:30 AM: If you're reading this at all, it means that SBC's failure was temporary, but as of this writing, my ISP is failing spectacularly to live up to the P. I am not being provided with much at the moment.

I wonder if this is what it was like in the olden days when the worst punishment imaginable was banishment from the tribe. The isolation! To be completely cut off from the community! It's awful, I tell you.

They told me they had just detected a server problem in my area when I called at 9 this morning, which surprised me because the connection has been unavailable since just after 10 last night. Shouldn't there have been big alarms and flashing lights right when it first went down? They needed me to tell them about it? That doesn't seem right.

I am left to wander aimlessly through the rooms in my apartment looking for things to do with my hands and my eyes. Of course I am aware of how pathetic this is, and how clichéd, but I'm not particularly interested in discussing how amazing it is that just 5 years ago, the internet played virtually no part in my daily life whatsoever and today, its absence for even the first hour(and counting) of my morning puts me into a state not unlike clinical depression. Nothing is interesting. There's nothing to do. I'm not engaged with my surroundings. I just don't feel like myself: I am just like that sad amoeba in the Zoloft commercials.

5 PM: Still no internet. I've called SBC 4 times.

Call #1, 9 AM: Told there is a server outage in my area.
Call #2, 11 AM: Told there was no server outage in my area.
Call #3, 12 PM: Told there was a server outage in my area.
Call #4, 3:30 PM: Told there was no server outage in my area.

I was thinking of calling every hour on the hour and then making a logic puzzle. If 100% of the male customer service reps confirmed a server outage, but only 33% of the female customer service reps confirmed a server outage, how many customer service reps are female?

6:30 PM Finally!

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Failure of the Day: The Hair Doctors

I spent not one minute shy of four hours being pecked at by proto-hairdressers yesterday. Usually when you do a hair modeling thingie, it's not that different that going to a regular hair-goop applying appointment. But yesterday I arrived at the fancypants salon at 9AM and was told by my proto-hairdresser that she had made a mistake, and she couldn't see me after all because she had a demo that morning. I had no idea what a demo was but I must have looked crestfallen.

What it meant was that all the proto-hairdressers had a class called "Variations on Redheads" that morning, in which the hairdresser teachers demonstrated redhead-making techniques for all the students. It turned out that they could use me as a model for the class though, since the night before I thought it might be nice to do a red and black hair thing.

Hair modeling for a demo is a very different beast than just being a regular hair model though. For one thing, the instructor does your hair, which is a good thing, but all the uber-hipster students stand around and watch. It reminded me of nothing so much as the old days of being a patient in a teaching hospital where the tiniest of examinations are raised to a kind of performance art.

It was similar also in that nobody knew what to do with what I presented them. No matter where I go, no one's ever seen a head like mine. Neurologists, cosmeticians, whatever—I can confound every type of professional that works above the shoulders, it would seem.

And also like the hospital, the end results were unpredictable. My hair doesn't look remotely like what I asked for (fat alternating stripes of purplish-copper and black) but it looks pretty cool anyway. And it was entirely free, which of course, one can't argue with.

Friday, July 11, 2003

Failure of the Day: Mishpucha

For those of you who don't know, mishpucha is Yiddish for family, sort of. I once saw Jon Stewart interview Joe Lieberman and Jon asked some jew-specific question and JL hesitated for a minute. JS said quickly, "It's alright, I'm mishpucha," and flashed him the Hebrew letter shin with his hand (which you know as the Star Ttrek "Live Long And Prosper" gesture), the first letter of the word Shalom, which conveys both a greeting and the word peace.

That bit of exposition out of the way, let's get on to business. There's a Webzine I like quite a lot called Jewsweek. It's very entertaining and cool, but it also reminds me of what I disliked about going to temple, when I used to go. Let's just say I am not on the "Israel can do no wrong" side of the fence and leave it at that.

But when I comes right down to it, I love being Jewish. I don't believe in a single religious idea, but I am still considered Jewish (except according to those hard ass orthodox, but pretty much nobody but them and their pals are Jewish according to them anyway) because Reform Judaism is so laid back that you don't even have to so much as believe in god, and you can still consider yourself a "cultural Jew."

I bring this up because of an article I read in Jewsweek this morning that manages to encompass everything that that I think is cool about being Jewish. Some Jews who apparently have a LOT of time on their hands have begun bar and bat mitzvahing their dogs, in a ceremony called, appropriately enough, a Bark Mitzvah. No kidding. This warms my heart so much I can't begin to tell you. It's hilarious.

Even more hilarious is the debate surrounding the practice—not just the debate about whether the ceremony should occur after 13 people years or 13 dog years, which is a whole new level of silliness—but the debate about whether such ceremonies are, dare I say it, kosher. The humorless Rabbi Avi Shafran is firmly anti-bark mitzvah, whereas Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels is more of a go-with-the-flow kind of Rabbi, and happily performs the bark mitzvahs the temple parking lot.

I have to say, I just love this whole thing. I don't think there's nearly enough silliness in religion (as Robyn Hitchcock says, "There are no jokes in the bible, Keith, and it's a crying shame"). So let's hear it for my mishpucha homies for rectifying that.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Failure of the Day: Pirates

In Seattle, the other apartment on our floor of our building was a corporate rental, so it was vacant except when the company had somebody in town who needed a place to stay. (I didn't realize how idyllic that was until I met the Yelling People of apartment #2 next door.)

For some reason, Chris decided that people who travel on business are pirates—and to be fair, I must grant that pirates do travel quite a bit on business. And so from that point forward, it was generally accepted—by everyone: our friends, Chris's parents, everyone—that our neighbors were in fact of the Pirate persuasion. And during the one or two days per month that we actually had people on the other side of the wall, we never actually saw them, but only heard them as they left for work in the morning, usually speaking a language we didn't understand but that included a rolled r, and that only reinforced the image.

And now, Chris is bursting about Pirates of the Caribbean. He's positively beside himself about a movie based on theme park ride that even he will admit, he thought sounded dumb when he first heard about it. But it seems that the buzz about the movie in the last six months or so has been very, very good. And what's odd to me is not that Chris knows about a movie's pre-release buzz (because he is astonishingly well-informed about such stuff) but that it seemed like he thought there was a chance that the movie could be good to begin with, if they just didn't screw it up. As if we were afraid that the filmmakers wouldn't do justice to the thrills of the ride.

And that's peculiar to me because although I haven't been to Disneyland since 1984, I remember that the main thrill of Pirates of the Caribbean was that bump your canoe slid down, and the water sloshing around at your feet splashed your ankles. But I'm probably missing the point; the little slo-mo Jack-In-The-Box pirates drank rum and fired guns and clearly never had to wash their faces or go to the dentist, and I suppose that is a little boy image of Heaven.

So we'll go see the movie on Saturday (because lord knows, we have tickets already) and Chris will "Aarrrrrr!" for at least the whole rest of the weekend if not longer. And I will continue to pretend to be a stick in the mud about it because it's more fun that way. Ahoy! And watch your socks.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Failure of the Day: Ho Hum Roundup

It's another one of those days when I don't have much to say. I feel fine. We're getting all set for our trip next week; I booked a hotel because when push came to shove, Chris is not so much of a crashing-on-a-pal's-couch kind of guy. That’s' fine by me; my new PJs are entirely see-through and not so appropriate for Joe's or Paul's bachelor pads. I got a great deal on a hotel in Riverside thanks to Priceline: $35 a night for a Marriott with all manner of fanciness. I'm pretty sure we couldn't beat that with a stick, and I am frankly pleased as punch.

I also joined two, count 'em, two writing/critique groups that start next week. Call me a glutton, but I need FEEDBACK, especially since it now seems that I was laughably off base when I thought I'd be finished with this draft by the end of this month. I'd neglected to consider that at some point it would dawn on me that everything I'd written so far is CRAP and in dire need of re-writes.

I also finally secured a hair modeling appointment, which involves not modeling so much as cheap hair dyeing: 20 bucks for highlights and whatever the hell else I want. I'm thinking calico at the moment, brown with yellow and black streaks. Chris still votes that I return to my Medusa glory and go green again, but for some reason it strikes me as a little unseemly. As my old friend Marty used to say: there's nothing sadder than an old rocker chick. So I suppose when faced with the palate of hair colors that occur naturally, I'll pick All Of The Above.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Failure of the Day: Comic Books

I've thought a lot about comic books over the years due to various people. They seem to follow me throughout my life, and it's odd because I don't so much read the things, but every time I turn around, they're there.

By all rights, I should have grown up a comic reader; I had all the tell-tell indicators. When I was little, I loved Japanese horror movies, especially Gamera, and I read a lot of science fiction. I joined the Star Trek fan club when I was 4. I was a round little girl with bad hair and glasses. How did I miss comics? But it's not even that I missed them—I knew about them, but I just wasn't interested.

In 1988, my friend Bob loaned me his 12 issues of The Watchmen, which I read and really liked. But I didn't develop an interest in reading more comics. In 1989, I was hanging out with my then best friend and her famous underground cartoonist dad at book parties for his latest release and being totally oblivious to meeting all sorts of other famous cartoonist types. In 1992-3, I was spending a fair amount of time in Comic Relief on Haight Street, and I started reading Peepshow, which I also liked quite a bit, and I was completely hot for Joe Matt. (God, he was attractive.)

And now I'm married to a bona fide fanboy and I practically live on the sidewalk outside the comic book store on 19th and Geary, where I stand smoking my delicious cigarettes and waiting for Chris to come out with his weekly 50 pound bag.

Later this month, we're going to San Diego for the big comic book convention, during which Chris will be in hog heaven and I will see about getting Hugh Jackman to make me His Woman. (My prenup only covers John Cusack, but that's only because I didn't yet know that Hugh cleans up so nice. But I think I've got a case in arguing the spirit of the agreement if not the letter. Right, Honey?) But I digress.

The point is, I wish I liked comic books more, but I don't, and not from lack of trying or opportunity. And it's weird because I do feel like I'm missing out on something but I can't help it. I like words more than pictures. The drawings annoy me because they make me stop reading. I consider comics a form of conceptual art; better in theory than in practice.

Despite all this, I think San Diego will be a hoot in the same way that marrying a Latvian and then after hearing about Latvia for years and years, finally getting to go there would be. It's Chris's homeland, full of rich local traditions and traditional costume. And who knows? Maybe I'll have an epiphany and discover that I love comic books after all.

Monday, July 07, 2003

Failure of the Day: T, Various

For starters, I'll warn you that I'm going to divulge the big T3 spoiler in a few paragraphs. I liked the movie; and not just because it touches on a topic that obsesses me some: the presence and lack thereof of the future in a person's life. I also liked it because of a particular pet peeve of mine in movies: the "Whew, that was close" resolution. That's why I like The Stand so much despite its inherent dopiness—almost everybody really does die. No Dustin Hoffman saying 'Well, that could have been much worse." I hate that. I couldn't care less about disaster narrowly asserted; I want full-on catastrophe and a death toll in the billions. It seems like a cop out if, after the virus gets out of the jar or the madman gets the bomb codes, everybody gets to go back to their normal lives. People getting their happy, healthy future back makes me mad.

It occurs to me that these two items—the existence/non-existence of the future and an appreciation of realized disaster are not particularly unrelated. I'm transparent as all hell, I realize. The part of me that embraces nihilism as a means to achieve a version of optimism still remains. It's not even a particularly arcane thought: if things are as bad as they can possibly be, your outlook is bright by definition. Of course, things are rarely as bad as they can possibly be, but when they are, that's when I get interested.

In T3 (and T1 and T2, for that matter) the whole point of the hero's actions were to prevent the nuclear holocaust that kills half the world's population and gives rise to the Machines. In T1 and T2, they succeed. Whew, that was close. In T3, they don't. The movie ends with most of the earth being destroyed—it was inevitable after all. All the other movies managed to do was postpone it. And what that does is give John Conner his future back. Not the future he hoped to create, but the one he was trying to avoid: his real future. He had been aimless without it; after they destroyed whatever that company was at the end of T2 that was supposedly responsible for the rise of the machines, he had 10 years of trying not to believe in the future the terminator told him was coming. Not believing in the future—even a horrible one—is grueling work, believe me.

I know, the ending of the movie can be written off as an obvious way to make a half dozen more Terminator movies that don't require the services of a guy who would rather be bankrupting the state of California with selfish and irresponsible recall elections. But it was more than that to me. It gave me what I like best (death on a truly enormous scale) and on top of that, it was a nice peek at the inherent optimism and relief of accepting catastrophic failure as your destiny.

And oh, yeah, some stuff got blowed up.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Failure of the Day: Harrison Bergeron

Ok, so I admit it, I'm watching Charlie Rose, which I love. And they're having a relatively egg-headed discussion of movies with a bunch of critics, and it's great. And when it was time for the obligatory discussion of the greatness of the newly departed Peck and Hepburn, one of the egg heads said that they were both actors from a time when studios were not afraid to show characters that audience members would feel out-classed by.

And that's interesting to me. I'm not sure I've thought about it in those terms before. Of course everyone is out-classed in looks by people in the movies, but really that's the only way. I suppose there's an athletic component in which audience members are out-classed but I'm not sure that counts because with the exception of the odd Jet Li or Jackie Chan, the remarkable athleticism in movies isn't really being performed by any one super guy.

And so that got me thinking about the great short story by Kurt Vonnegut, Harrison Bergeron, in which to achieve equality among people, anyone with any sort of skill or talent was given a disability that would in essence, make them unable to excel at the thing they were good at. (They made it into an incredibly depressing movie—that happens a lot with KV; it's like the ideas seem merely thought-provoking on the page but when they are translated on to the screen you want to kill yourself.)

I could spin off in any number of directions here and I'm trying to pick one…The Presidentish GWB comes to mind as fine example of people seeming to prefer their leaders not be smarter than them. As if that's what's meant by democracy. Why doesn't anyone focus on the most important word in the clause: all [people] are created equal. I don't think that's meant to entail that all people are absolutely equal in every possible way, forever, and I don't think anybody really wants it to mean that, as KV pointed out so well. I'm not talking about being entitled to rights, etc, I'm just saying that I myself don't want to live in a world where no one is a better, say, musician than me. That world would be a cacophonous hell.

I'm not really getting at anything here. Just thinking.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Failure of the Day: Tis Of Thee

Ah, homeland. As a Jew, I think I'm supposed to long for one although I've never really understood the concept, especially since Israel seems like the most un-Nancy place to live imaginable. For one thing, it's HOT. But for another thing, as Bucky used to say: It's not so much the heat as the rain of high-velocity bullets.

Plus, I've never really been able to metabolize the idea that that home was a dangerously specific patch of dirt. These days, I recognize "home" as the place where Chris is, but before that, the word just meant "the 81 square feet where I keep my books and bed, as demarcated by my door, which is closed, thank you very much." I never thought that there might be a country of People Like Me because in my experience, there aren't very many, certainly not enough to populate a whole country let alone want one because by definition People Like Me would have much of a shit to give about such things. People Like Me, it turns out, are not so land-grabby.

That's all about to change though, thanks to a Web site created to promote a book that I have no intention of reading. I do now have my own country thanks to this inventive little site, and I invite you to visit.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Failure of the Day: The therapeutic benefits of writing a novel vs. going on a tri-state killing spree

I think I need a hobby. For the last couple of days all kinds of bridal web sites and articles and stores have been catching my eye, and I sort of miss being in that market. While I was doing it, I was outraged most of the time because everything was absurdly expensive and the sales tactics were nothing short of insulting—"What do you mean you don't want to spend $10,000 on your dress? Don't you love him that much?"

The people who market their crap to people planning weddings work under a ridiculous assumption, I thought, namely that I had been dreaming of The Day since the moment I emerged from the womb. The truth is, I'd never given it a single moment's thought. And that was what was fun about it for me; I didn't have the slightest idea about what weddings were supposed to be like, so Chris and I could do whatever the hell sounded cool to us. And you pretty much have carte blanche at a wedding; there's not really any such thing as "over the top."

So even while I was thrusting my righteous indignation at the wide variety of prissy salespeople I had to deal with, it was really kind of fun. I miss it a little bit. That's pretty pathetic, I think, but really, you don't get that many opportunities to just dive into a giant industry like that. I suppose it happens when you're pregnant, too, but the gestation industry creeps me out even worse than the Buy This Crap To Prove Your Love industry. And thanks to Lionel Shriver's fantastic We need to talk about Kevin,
my desire to go on that particular journey is diminishing with each page I turn.

Maybe I just need to find some weird new thing to immerse myself in. The options are endless, really…Wine tasting? Yu-Gi-Oh? Dog breeding? Crime? (I hear the occasional tri-state killing spree really perks up one's week). But really, at the root of all this is a single problem. Today is the first day of the month. By the time this month is through, I will be finished with my novel—probably sooner than that, in fact. And what will I do then?