Hello, Failure

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

Friday, August 29, 2003

Failure of the Day: Oh, Chuck, honey, No no…

The new Chuck Palahniuk novel Diary was reviewed in Salon last week and the reviewer really reamed him. She was a poor choice to write the review; she pretty clearly hated his work before she ever read the new novel and brought it all to bear on him for this book. But that's just an editorial mistake on the part of Salon; they assigned the review to the wrong person is all.

It got worse when Chuck devotees wrote letters to Salon defending his work and doing themselves no favors in the process. ("I knew this review had to be written by woman!") The decline continued a few days later when Chuck wrote to Salon in defense of his book, which is bad form under any circumstances, and his letter to the reviewer was the poorest form imaginable—"Until you can create something that captivates people, I'd invite you to just shut up."

Nevertheless, nothing comes between me and a new Chuck book, and Chris ordered it for me so I had it by Monday, the day before its official release. But I didn't start reading it right away because I'm enjoying The Dead Zone WAY more than I would have expected. So I started Diary at the gym yesterday and it's right up my alley: bodily obsessed and medical and fucked up. It's also the most sloppily written thing I've ever put my eyes to. Maybe "She'd got it perfect" passes as stylized prose in some circles and maybe I've been a copy editor for too long, but that strikes me as either lazy (the editor missed it) or arrogant (the editor flagged it but Chuck steted the edit as interfering with his style). I suspect it was the latter, and that doesn't bode well at all.

I'm not that far into the book yet and god knows I won't stop until I've read it all but I'm worried about ole Chuck. Jeff's been saying for a long time that Chuck's books are sloppy, but I never really noticed it before because I get so enthralled by what he is saying that I don't much care about gaffs in his prose. And by and large, I like his stylistic gambits even though they are stolen in their entirety from Amy Hempel.

I don't know. I just hope that in all of his pointed commentary about consumerism, beauty, wealth, and celebrity he doesn't overlook the biggest threat that artists face: their own egos telling them they can do no wrong.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Failure of the Day: The Long Sigh

Classes start at St. Mary's on Monday. That means Chris will work 15 hours a day all next week. He has to work both days this weekend too, so I'm expecting seven straight days of being a bookstore widow. There's one last day of summer, the single remaining Friday when the store closes at 2 PM, and that's tomorrow, so we can spend some good time together, but I'm pretty much not expecting to see him for more than half an hour a day until Sept 6.

And even though it's no fun for me, it's pretty lousy of me to kvetch about because I'm not the one working my tail off for 15 hours a day; I just have to sit around trying to keep myself busy. I tend to hole up in my apartment—as of this writing, I haven't been outside since Monday, and what is it…Thursday now?—and after a while I get a little stir crazy. Telecommuter Psychosis, they call it. On top of that, I'm dieting again, so I don't have anything particularly good to eat as a distraction. Although it just occurred to me that I might do something like the Subway sandwich diet, only substituting tea leaf salad from Burma Super Star. I don't imagine I would have any sort of problem eating that twice a day, every day for the next 9 months or so. (And isn't that a good plan for November: dieting, quitting smoking, and doing NaNo.)

Of course, I do have every single TV channel available in SF, one novel to finish writing and two to finish reading including finally, the new Chuck P, but seriously, I'm going to need to get my ass out of the house next week.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Failure of the Day: Job

Well, it's that time of the week again when I become certain that I'm about to be laid off. I read the blog of a co-worker I hate because I am perverse and masochistic. Anyway, she works at my company and so does her husband, and her husband got laid off yesterday.

The Horror of Joan (HOJ), one of the owners of my company, sent me an email last week that said they could only offer me employment as long as they had projects with Microsoft, which makes sense because that is their source of income. But she didn't tell me whether there are any projects pending. And now push has come to shove and I'm about to finish the last bit of work I have. So I sent an email asking a very simple question, really: Do I still have a job on Monday?

Of course, HOJ married a Microsoft kajillionaire and is on vacation this week without a care in the world, and as a result, no one can answer that very simple question until HOJ is finished getting a tan. Doesn't that sound like the perfect recipe for a stress free weekend? Seriously…anybody out there need an editor/proof reader/project manager?

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Failure of the Day: Weekend

Well, that was a pretty good blog drought. Part of it is that we had our pal Marcel visiting from Seattle until last night so we were a tad busier than usual. We took him on what I fear amounts to a fuddy-duddy tour of the area…lunch at Weinershnitzel in Fremont with the corresponding viewings of our high school and the elementary school classroom where we met. As I write that, it occurs to me that that sounds horrifically boring, but it wasn't so bad; we usually spend our time wandering around someplace or other chatting about stuff anyway, and there are worse places to wander than a schoolyard on a nice day.

We went to the zoo on Sunday because Chris is mad for zoos for reasons I'm not entirely clear about. I suppose they're nice enough; it's not every day you get to see an antelope urinate. Zoos also tend to serve as a human development museum, I think, because you get to see children of all age and stripe running around, excited about something or other. It's like one of those graphs that chart hunched over apes slowly morphing into homo erectus: first the bored or sleeping infants being pushed from exhibit to exhibit so their parents can wake them up and shout "Lookee! Lookee!;" then toddlers who have a vague idea that they are in the presence of the non-human but a much more specific sense that someone will soon buy them some cotton candy. By around 10 years old, the kids seem actually interested in a gross-out sort of way, which evolves into full-blown mortification by the time they are young teens being faced with the enormous elephant testicles in plain view. The pinnacle is reached when we stumble upon the guy talking on his cell phone and ignoring the lion, and the lion is looking at him.

It was a nice weekend, made complete by a smattering of David Mamet movies, lovely dinners out, and a focus group yesterday in which I told the clearly nervous woman interviewing me that I was drawn to the wireless network router we bought because it is blue plastic rather than the silver plastic of all the others, and it looked a little bit like a Tonka truck. Which is true, but I'm sure made the suits behind the two-way mirror throw their hands up.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Failure of the Day: Precedent

Visited good ole Doc Goodin today, my neurologist. They moved the UCSF MS Center to a new building and I forgot which floor it was on. I got off the elevator on 8 instead of on 9, and started to go in the door that I thought was MS but was actually the Organ Transplant Center. I don't need this door, I thought to myself, at least not yet.

Goodin did the usual business, rubber hammers and such. When we went over the list of medications I take, I told him that I take an Advil every time I inject the Betaseron to prevent the nasty side effects that sometimes come. He added the Advil to my list of meds, which surprised me because I didn't think they cared much about the OTC drugs. But as long as we were on the subject, I mentioned that I take upward of 12 Tylenols a day when I've got a headache cluster going.

I should have kept my mouth shut because he immediately got out a lab slip. They drew blood last time I was there and everything was fine, so I didn't think they'd have to slip me the needle again this time. No such luck. Turns out he doesn't like me taking so much Tylenol. What I wanted to say was "Ok then, doc, how's about we set a little precedent here and you be the first MD in 12 years to actually pay attention to my headaches?"

What I actually said was, "Oh, I don't know…a couple of years ago I took so much Advil that my gall bladder exploded, and I thought I'd just keep the trend going." He's a good guy, so he said, "Good plan! You'll just knock out your organs one by one!" Then he suggested that if I wanted to save my liver until a little further down the list, I might try upping my other migraine meds to see if it helped me cut down on the Tylenols. And that seemed like a perfectly fine idea.

I went to catch the 44 home so I could stop by Green Apple and see if the new Chuck Palahniuk book was out yet (it isn't), and on the corner of 9th and Judah, there's one of those big "living proof" ads for UCSF that are all over the place and that feature pictures of UCSF patients who managed to not die from their diseases. But sure enough, the one right there was a liver transplant lady. That's three times that livers and transplants came up in the course of a single hour.

I'm not particularly superstitious, but I think I really will cut back on the Tylenol.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Failure of the Day: Ultra

Another focus group today. This one for smokers, and I figure I'll milk that angle for the couple of months I've got left. The guy who called me to see if I qualified sounded just like Norm Macdonald from SNL; he was gruff and impatient but very, very helpful.

When I told him I smoked Doral Lights, he said slowly, "Are you sure it's not Doral ultra lights? Because if you said you smoked those, you would qualify for the group." So I said, "Oh, yeah, I meant ultra lights." And he said, "That's what I thought." And when he asked my occupation and I said I was an editor, he said, "Are you sure you're not a project manager?" And wouldn't you know it, I am a project manager! I'm so silly, forgetting the details like that!

So I will toddle off to downtown this afternoon and sell my opinions for cash, which, it occurs to me, is big improvement from the days when artists had to sell blood. Opinions are extracted much more easily, and the snacks are better at research firms than at blood banks. And if I'm cheating, which I certainly am (in a whole bunch of ways), I can't really feel too bad about it. I'm good at having opinions, and really, really specific ones at that. I'm an ideal focus group participant: thoughtful, well-spoken, and most importantly, I will lie my ass off in order to qualify.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Failure of the Day: A Season in Hell

The monthly writer's group met at my place last night. They stayed for four hours.

It started off cheerfully enough at 6:30; I was able to find enough herbal tea to suit everyone and we settled in for an evening of discussing very bad writing. But things started to awry when I noticed that everyone else thought the stories submitted this month were not only not bad, but wonderful! Powerful! Explosive! Wrenching! This for a lesbian romance novel with no sex, no plot, and 60 percent of the words dedicated to describing the outfits. Another story was better, but it contained not a single complete sentence. (And if you pushed me up against a wall, I would admit these are exaggerations, but very, very small ones.)

After two hours, I was having a full-on attack of some sort. I was sweating and dizzy and short of breath. Two of the women arrived at my door covered in cat hair to boot, so I was coughing and itchy as well. We we're less than halfway done and the idea that I would have to spend two more hours listening to the incredible minutia of these horrible, horrible stories was more than I could take. One of the women actually noticed that I looked like I was about to keel over and provided me with an out. She asked if I was Ok and I said I wasn't, that I needed to lie down, which by then I really did need to do. I hid in my room for an hour and a half, desperate for them to go away. They didn't.

At 10 PM, I wobbled out into the living room, bad hostess made flesh, and tried to hurry them along. By 10:45, they were finally gone. What the hell was I thinking? In my desire to show off our lovely apartment by hosting the meeting, I neglected to notice that there would be no way to away from them. Dana Gould is right: I do need a man in top hat and tails to leap out of my closet and shout "Mistaaaaaake!" when I say things like "Let's meet at my place next time!"

I think my weekly group is plenty. Even though the feedback from the monthly group is marginally helpful, there's no way I can sit through another meeting like that. God!

Failure of the Day: Shopping for Purses and Facing One's Mortality; More of the Tween

It seems like a large percentage of what I own was bought in 1993. That's the last time I got new glasses and the last time I got a new messenger bag, which I jovially call my purse. And that's because it was right around then that my Medi-Care kicked in and the Department of Rehabilitation started paying for me to go to college. If you were a resident of California in 1993, it was in fact you who paid for my glasses and bookbag. So, you know, thanks.

So it seems like high time that I got a new purse-type bag. As I was wading through selection at the Mall on Saturday, it occurred to me that I've never actually purchased a brand new purse before; I've always been a pretty strict Goodwill gal. My favorite was the one covered with itty bitty beads that looked like donut sprinkles. It was my favorite but no one else's because the beads fell off all the time and I left a little brightly colored mess everyplace I went.

I'm buying a first-hand purse this time. I keep thinking of my friend Cassie in Seattle, now in Ohio. A couple of years ago, I ran into her husband, Aaron, downtown and he had just plunked down around 200 bucks on a handbag Christmas present. He went to a store called Furla that I had never heard of but that I gathered was super fancy. After Christmas, Cassie kept saying, "Did you see my Furla?" and "I got a dress to go with my Furla." Of course Cassie is six feet tall and a little under 11 pounds so she can do that fancy girlie girl stuff. Me, I need a purse that I can shove a lot of crap in.

And that's the problem. I don't so much want to carry a big bulky messenger bag around anymore, but actual purse purses all look like they're for y'know, ladies. And it was hard enough accepting the term "woman" as applied to me; and I'm in no mood to try to integrate the term "lady." I just don't think I'm quite old enough yet. Except I totally am; I'll be 37 in a couple of months. My mother had a kid in high school when she was my age.

But then I'm totally not because I'm perfectly content extending my adolescence well into middle age, along with most of the other people in my generation. So really, the problem is that I can't find accessories for people who are old but not, y'know old.

Friday, August 15, 2003

Failure of the Day: Holy Crap, I'm an Imbecile

You would not believe the woes I had re-installing the software yesterday. Turns out the drive on my laptop is totally hosed and I couldn't format the partitions. I have no idea what that means, but apparently, it's really, really bad. So I had to do what my IT pal at work called a candy-ass workaround just to get Windows installed. I was told it would take a long time, but after 6 hours I grew concerned. After 8 hours I was despondent…without the laptop I am as good as unemployed and I cracked under the pressure.

I was a sobbing pile of girl on the floor of my room when Chris came in to calm me down. He looked over at the screen of the laptop and said, "Can you not move the cursor?" "No, I can move it" I said, "but it's been stuck on that screen for 8 hours! It can't even install Windows!" Chris walked over to the laptop, clicked the Next button on the screen, and Windows finished installing.

Holy shit. I was absolutely dumbstruck at how stupid I am. For some reason it hadn't occurred to me that the installation wizard had opened and I needed to work through it. I thought it was just a sample screen showing what the XP interface looked like. I'm a fucking moron.

That makes two days in a row that Chris has fixed all of my problems by merely walking into the room. Actually, that makes, 5 years, 2 months, and 22 days in a row.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Failure of the Day: Only One Way to Go

And after yesterday, that way is up. Chris came home from work yesterday to find me lying on the floor, wrapped around my giant shark-shaped pillow named Toby. This was the cheerful part of my day as I was watching "The Tall Guy" on Bravo. I love that movie.

I told him all my woes and he bought me some spaghetti. And although none of my problems could be solved by eating spaghetti, I felt much, much better. He also pointed out that the writing group might not see just what I am getting at with my novel, so I might not have to abandon the idea entirely by including non-medical events. I'm still debating that. We'll see.

Today, I got signed up for another 45 minute focus group for $75. I'm also critiquing the writing for the monthly writing group, and one of the novels is an incredibly overwrought lesbian romance novel that is so narcissistic and pretentious, I can't help but be cheered up and optimistic about my own writing.

And my software should come today at last, so I think I can finally get back to work.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Failure of the Day: Day of Crap

Crap. Crap. Crap.

First, the laptop I use as my test machine for work is totally hosed. After installing the Beta 2 Refresh, the whole thing is just dead. Takes two hours just to boot, and after that, you still can't do anything with it. So I have to lose 2 whole days of work while my job sends me all new software to re-install. Which of course will wipe it clean and I'll have to re-do the entire Quick Course in Microsoft Excel 2003 book

And then, that sweet $100 focus group got cancelled. Damnit!

And then there's the monthly writing group. A couple new people are coming next time, and one new person is creating some trouble because she boycotts all Microsoft products and so can't open any documents that aren't created in her software program. (We post writing to a web site and print everyone's submission out before each meeting.) We tried to accommodate her by submitting everything as plain text files but all the formatting and everything gets lost so it's not a good solution.

One member posted an email that said that since Word is essentially the industry standard, for better or for worse, it's the responsibility of the person making that choice (to boycott) to make sure she can still read those files and that her files are still accessible to those who have not made that choice. I thought that was reasonable, especially given that we've never even met this person.

But she wrote back: "Microsoft is a privately held company whose sole reason for existence is their own profit. That its product should be considered an industry standard that we must all adhere to is something I have to fight."

Now perhaps I am a big sell out yuppie, and we'll not even get into the fact that I work for Microsoft, but I wonder where this person will buy her software if companies who exist to make a profit are off limits.

And then there's my weekly writing group, from which I have just returned full of their dead-on advice about the ways in which my novel is abject failure. That might be putting too fine a point on it, but the general jist is that it cannot work as a story if all the action happens solely in the main characters head. It's too claustrophobic, and if I want to tell a story about the survival of a person's personality, I have to show more than just the attacks on the personality. I need to add external, non-medical events to contrast the attacks against. Which is an idea I've been fighting for lo these many months because I thought I could pull it off without needing to do that. I can't. I clearly just can't.

And that rounds out this truly craptacular day.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Failure of the Day: Failing to Embrace Failure

I failed a proofreading test for the company that called me to apply for a job last week. There were two parts to the test: a proofreading part and a problem-solving part. The problem-solving part was ridiculous; all publishing-related math.

"In a document with 32 point font, if the client wants 25 points of white space between each line of text, how much leading needs to be applied to the font?"

That was the easiest question on the test, and one of the few I answered correctly. I have no doubt that I flubbed that section of the test but I couldn't figure out why they were even testing for that. There are charts that do those calculations for you. You don't have to figure it out, you just have to look it up. I mentioned that to the woman who administered the test and she said "Yes, we all get used to relying on that." I almost said, "Yes, like we get used to relying on having an oven instead of knowing how to make fire with two sticks." I suppose I'm gambling that every single bit of printed information on the earth about how to lay out a page will not be destroyed, but I'm pretty comfortable with those odds.

Anyway, I got an email that said I failed the test. But it didn't give any specifics. I don't think I failed the actual proofreading/copyediting part (you know, the thing they were hiring someone to do) because I found over 100 errors in their 2-page test document, but they didn't say that I only failed the problem solving part, they said that I failed. And I can't help it, it freaks me out.

Monday, August 11, 2003

Failure of the Day: Grab Bag

Martin Sheen's Inside The Actor's Studio episode last night was downright inspiring. I love him. He is my boyfriend.

At the same time, I am very sad that I won't ever get to be on Inside The Actor's Studio myself. That seems so unfair. I have super good answers to the whole Bernard Pivot quiz and everything! Favorite word: plinth. And who among you can say that that isn't in fact the best word? No one. That's who.

The oven in our apartment doesn't work. It took us seven months to realize this.

I'm broke! But just in the nick of time, I got signed up for a super cool focus group tomorrow for people with MS. 45 minutes, $100! I'm so luckeeee!

Very low-key weekend. We never strayed more than 10 blocks from home, and that was just to the 7-11 on 10th and Clement for cigarettes and beer.

If only Chris were a slob or even a little less tidy and well put together! We could totally have the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy fellas come over and buy us a new couch! Damnit!

Which makes me think about what the show "Queer Pal for the Straight Gal" would be like. I'm fairly certain it would mostly be a married lady getting all defensive. Of course, "Straight Pal for the Queer Gal" would fare much worse. Either way, I think both shows would wind up as an hour watching a bunch of women process their different values.

The Chuck Palahniuk book about Portland was Ok. I think his next novel is due out this month sometime, and I'm excited about that. There is a new Martin Amis book due out shortly as well and I'm excited about that one too, despite the incredible trashing it's taking in the British press right now. The new Douglas Coupland is OK so far, but it got horrendous reviews too. I'm a sucker for dead narrators though. I also picked up A Memoir of Misfortune by Su Xiaokang, but I don't know if I like it yet. I do know that it is NOT a good book to read while on the stairmaster. I think I'm going to read The Dead Zone this month, too. I've never read it but I liked the movie a lot. Poor, poor Christopher Walken! And lookee! We're right back to Martin Sheen!

Friday, August 08, 2003

Failure of the Day: Verbing the Noun

Just now I'm whiling away the morning waiting for the Microsoft Office 2003 Beta 2 Tech Refresh to finish installing. I like how they call it a "refresh," as though they took it to a spa or something rather than fixed the huge bugs in it.

Technology is weird. That's the best I can do after 3+ years of working for Microsoft more or less. I think I know a pretty fair amount of technical computer junk, but it's nothing compared to how much Chris knows, which in turn is nothing compared to how much programmers, database designers, and other uber-techies know.

But I think in truth, I don't know very much about the stuff at all. When it comes right down to it, all I really know how to do is edit Word documents. I'm good at editing Word documents, even when those documents are about other technical things that I don't understand. For example, see my fine copy edit of "Microsoft ASP.NET Programming with Microsoft Visual C#.NET Deluxe Learning Edition."

Yes, I read that book. Twice. I was able to do that because I know one simple rule: the noun verbs. Sometimes, the noun verbs adverbly. I don't need to know what the noun is or what the verb does, only that the noun verbs.

(This rule, although simple, is far beyond the understanding of the type of guy who would write a book called "Microsoft ASP.NET Programming with Microsoft Visual C#.NET Deluxe Learning Edition." One must continually explain to such an author that nouns are not verbs. No one is "tasked" with anything, because "task" is a noun and cannot describe action. When I have a headache, I do not aspirin myself.)

And I see that my refresh has been successfully installed, so if you'll excuse me, I have to go computer.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Failure of the Day: The New Tween

Well, Thursday has turned out to be more peaceful even that anticipated due to the five hour rush job I was given last night after completing my 8 hour workday. As a result, I only have to work 3 hours today. The smart thing to do would be to save those hours for next week's writers group meeting so I don't have to work late next Wednesday to make up for the afternoon I'll spend with the ladies. I probably won't do that though, because after indexing 127 pages at 10:30 last night, I kind of feel like loafing today.

And by loafing, you understand, I mean finding a different way to think about my problems and then looking at them that way for a few hours. What's swimming around in my head this morning is the weird space I find myself in, as typified by the two writing groups I'm in.

The once-a-month group has about 8 women in it, is largely, it seems to me, based in the Mission, and all but two of the members (Trina and I) are lesbians. And whatever—most of my pals have been queer or transgendered since I was a teenager. And despite the 2 years or so in the late 80s when I was convinced I was queer, I'm not, but I am a fierce ally. But somehow…that seemed easier to prove or more readily believable when I wasn't married. All of a sudden, I feel that having entered the dominant sexual culture, like, officially, I am looked on with, if not suspicion, then a degree less trust than before. (I am entirely willing to grant that the weirdness I sense may exist only in my head; I feel weird about being a married lady in a room full of queer women because I feel weird about being a married lady anyway. (Not weird about being married to Chris, which I adore and which I'm fairly certain is the main thing keeping me sane to the degree I am, by the way. Just about the cultural fact of being married at all.))

There's a certain subcultural longing, too. I never thought much about being in it during the 80s and 90s; I just was. But I'm less in it now for a variety of reasons (age, neighborhood, inability to dance or hike and such), and that feels weird too.

In the once-a-week group, there are three women besides myself. All are married, all have children, and at least one has grandchildren. This is far and away the better group; the writing is better and the critique is better. But these women all have money and houses and cars and all kinds of things that signify a full integration into grown-up life. Kelly's condo, where we meet each week, is gorgeous; we sit on soft brown leather couches surrounded by antiques and artifacts and good art. It seems like something to aspire to, all that niceness and comfort while not giving an inch of one's intellectual and artistic drive and integrity. But it still feels just a little too adult for me right now. And it definitely feels too expensive.

I'm somewhere between the two. I like both worlds: the one that I am in the process of leaving and miss, and the one that I may yet enter but will not be ready for for some years.

It took me a good long while to figure out how to deal with being in the middle class after 15 years in poverty. I wonder how long it will take me to figure out how to deal with being in the middle culture?

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Failure of the Day: David Mamet Rampage!

It's mostly been windy in the City lately, but in my apartment, it rains every night. And then the swearing starts.

For over a month now, Chris has been on a strict diet of at least one David Mamet movie per day. He's obsessed. He comes home from work and gleefully tells me three times to go lunch. Or he whispers though a grin so big it's hard to understand him, "This office is run like bullshit." And that's because this week's daily viewing has been Glengarry Glen Ross. It was a nice change of pace at first, after last week's cavalcade of The Spanish Prisoner, which we HATED the first time we saw but a certain portion of this "us" I refer to seems to have had a change of heart.

The switch from TSP to GGR came earlier this week when I marched into the bedroom and demanded to be entertained until my pasta was finished boiling. I asked Chris to show me the new Fountains of Wayne video on Ifilm, which he did, but they also have a short film called Glengarry Glen Darth, which I suggest you view tout suite. By the time I sat down to eat my linguine, GGR was in the DVD player and hasn't been removed since.

Before the Spanish Prisoner-a-thon, it was Heist. I'm frankly surprised that one doesn't make it into the rotation more often—Chris has a powerful manly love for Gene Hackman, which he apparently shares with both his beloved HooDoo Gurus and Robyn Hitchcock, both of whom have written songs about him. (RH: "In Unforgiven/He was totally mean/But when he got his/I really felt for Gene")

But here's the thing: my favorite Mamet is State and Main, which is hilarious, which we own like all the others, and which we both quote from incessantly. ("You know what you got there? You got a fish hook in your finger!") And that one almost never makes it into the rotation. I think since it's the only one that I saw before he did, it's like, girl-ified or something. I dunno. I'm just talking out loud.

Anyway, I expect next week we'll be back to House of Games and the cycle will start anew.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Failure of the Day: Football

So Chris played in a fantasy football league last year and got pretty into it. He watched every game on sunday and monday night and followed everything really closely. I wound up watching a butt load of football myself, mostly because Chris is so cute when he's being all butch.

This year, we each have our own fantasy football teams. I wanted to name my team the San Francisco Snatch but NFL.com ix-nayed my "inappropriate language." Same For the Chris's team name "The Fightin' Whities." They let him name his team that last year, but this year they're not allowing much of anything.

So it's getting to be close to the time when we draft our players, and I am largely at a loss. I have two ideas: 1) Steal Chris's ideas for draft picks, and 2) Make an all-Jewish team. I'm not sure if there are enough Jewish players for that though. Probably not. And Chris says it's my wifely duty not to steal his players, so I'm kind of out of luck.

Anybody know a good running back? I'm open to suggestions.

Monday, August 04, 2003

Failure of the Day: Busy Busy Busy…Again!

I really do work full time. It doesn't seem like it, what with my 1 P.M. trips to the YMCA and late morning breaks to eat Frosted Flakes and watch reruns of the Family Guy on TBS, but I do. I get a lot done.

This week will be no exception: I've got to create outlines for six books on the Online Press imprint and incorporate the new features in each of the programs of the Office suite. It's easy and actually kind of fun; like a puzzle. Does "improved junk e-mail filtering" go in the filters topic or the Protecting Your Privacy tip?

But I also have a job pre-interview in Oakland tomorrow for a publishing company that wants me to take a 2-hour copyediting and proofreading test. I'm not thrilled about a potential daily commute to Oakland but we're deep in economic beggars-can't-be-choosers land, and the company won my heart by calling me less than an hour after I emailed them my resume. And their office is right at the Macarthur BART stop.

And my writers group meets from 1-4 the day after that. I'm dying to go; after incorporating Jeff's tidbit, Chris's excellent suggestions, and the global fixes the group pointed out after reading last week's chapter (show, don't tell, show don't tell, fuck me), I think the dentist chapter is right on the mark.

And sometime today I need to mail the rent, buy a loaf of sourdough bread, and wash my hair, a time-consuming task because I only wash my hair once a week and I need to apply enough mousse to last seven days. (It's the new conventional wisdom for curly hair: under no circumstance should you wash your hair more than once a week, if that often.)

Thursday, though, looks downright peaceful.

Friday, August 01, 2003

Failure of the Day: Theft

Spent a terrific couple of hours with Jeff yesterday, during which I took the opportunity to pillage him of whatever thoughts he has on dentistry so that I might form some idea of what to do with the satanic Chapter 18. Jeff didn't disappoint (as if he ever does, especially in the Interesting Thoughts department) and told me he realized at some point that dentist offices were actually a kind of Dionysian cult.

Lucky for me he explained what he meant so I didn't have to wear my "I-majored-in-Humanities-not-English,-damnit" shitgrin and wonder how to spell "Dionysian" for that night's Google search for long.

Suffice to say, it's a terrific idea, and I stole it the moment he was out the door. I didn't do a good job of stealing it; I really just plopped it in there as one of Ruth's random "I'm soooo High" thoughts, but it set me off in the direction I wanted to go with the rest of the stuff that's in there. As a result of that, and of our discussion of the chapter in general, (not to mention the aforementioned huge help from Chris) my writing last night went swimmingly well. I told the Wednesday ladies that my goal was to have a draft of the chapter ready by next week's meeting, and I think I might just make it.

So Jeff, that "To loot the corpse, press Ctrl+S" thing I said that you liked is ALL YOURS.