Hello, Failure

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

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Failure of the Day: Air America Radio

If you don't know, you can listen at AirAmericaRadio.com. And can I just tell you that the high point so far was when Al Gore called in while Michael Moore was in the studio as a guest.

Al Franken: "Michael…is there something you want to say to Al?"
Michael Moore: "Al?"
Al Gore: "Yes, Michael?"
MM: "I'm…I'm really sorry."

Moore went on to eat what I thought was an appropriate amount of shit for the whole terribly unfortunate Nader short-sightedness and promised not to make that mistake again. It was lovely, really, and not just because I am small and petty and really enjoy my I Told You So dance. I am still not prepared to be officially hopeful that Bush's DeathStar campaign bank account will be beaten, but it is nice to at least hear something on the media that isn't audio ipecac.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Failure of the Day: Would You Believe?

There's a bar in my neighborhood called Would You Believe? Cocktails, and it's totally my favorite bar even though I've never been there. Not once. Since 19 fucking 88 for pity's sake. If they would just make alcohol taste good, I would be so much more motivated to go to bars (but that's a whole other blog entry). It's just such a great name!

Here's the thing. One of the phrases I say with some regularity is Could you believe it? I say that all the time. But now whenever I say that, Chris says Could you believe cocktails!! All gleeful like. And it drives me CRAZY because A) it's WOULD not could, and B) it really is every single damn time and I can't believe that I am actually incapable of even being conditioned out of my little verbal tics. I just never learn. My brain is an anti-Skinner box. It's been going on for weeks and there has not been one instance when I was able to remember the negative reinforcement and say something else. And that's just nuts.

In a bit of unrelated news, it looks like I'll be taking part in a reading this Friday night at Theatre Spanganga at 19th and Mission. Spanganga is closing at some point in the immediate future and since I read there almost exactly a year ago for the first of Tarin's Chick Nites, she's putting together as many of the former Chick Nite performers as possible to each do a few minutes. I can personally vouch for at least some of the folks who read during the run of the Chick Nites, so it should be cool.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Failure of the Day: Orange Sherbet and Metafiction

It's my own personal 50/50 bar of joy. Not that anyone else remembers 50/50 bars, but still.

This week saw not only the return of my beloved OC after some horrible Fox executive's brainstorm to make American Idol two hours long for reasons that seriously are past my understanding—how long can one watch this ongoing display of the truly horrible state of popular music? But I digress. This week also saw the fruition of a genuinely genius idea I had at the grocery store last week, but first things first.

The OC is clearly inside all of our heads now, and resistance is futile. It could hardly be more so if the next episode featured the ghost of Anne Sexton making a cameo for no other reason than to scream about how all her poems were transmitted to her via a super intelligent beam of pink light. Really. How else to describe their headlong dive into prime time metafiction in the form of all the characters being obsessed with a teen TV show called The Valley that is clearly the OC, complete with comments like "How can that guy play high school?" Spoken by the 30 year old 9th grader on the show. But it doesn't stop at metafiction, no; we've got out and out surrealism in the form Paris Hilton, who is so vapid you can actually see the soup in which her head is suspended, making a cameo for no reason other than to initiate a 20 second conversation with Seth about Thomas Pynchon. "Don't tell anyone I'm in Grad School," she slurs.

Now: let's name names: Genius, I call thee Orange sherbet/vanilla swirl ice cream. I can only conclude that I have completely transferred my addictions. I look forward anxiously each evening to the time when I again will be so cold that I literally shake and chatter, but don't even consider pausing my ice cream consumption. I grew up with a ridiculous dog who did the exact same thing, and that says something about me. Not a good thing, either.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Failure of the Day: The Wheel

It's a very little known fact, but I have a drivers license. A valid drivers license. I just renewed it by mail thanks to one of those fits of laziness that in retrospect look like genius foresight. I never got a Washington state ID of any sort even though I was there for over 3 years. I just kept flashing my CDL and everyone was pleased as punch to tell me how they had been to San Francisco once and just loved it. The matter of proof of my identity got swept right aside because had I ever been to Haight street?

I didn't notice that my license had expired until several months after it had. Turns out I don't get carded so much these days. I didn't even have to go to the DMV; I just filled in a form online because I guess I'm still eligible for extensions, and that's fine by me. It came in mail after a little while and I am all legal to drive and junk now.

Here's the thing: I haven't driven a car in over 15 years. Ok, one time in, I think, 1995 I drove on the freeway home from LA, but that was seriously not any sort of example of my vehicular prowess…I was ok on the highway but got totally petrified at our exit and had to pull over so Tarin could take the wheel. And technically, there have been two occasions on which Chris has tried to teach me to drive his car with its totally stooopid and pointless automatic transmission (hello? they invented a thing to do that for you! What is this…the dark ages?) and although I didn't crash it into anything, once again the experience did not speak so well about driving skills.

Which is a shame because I used to be really good at it when I was a teenager (except that time when I was coming up to a stop sign where there was a car just, y'know, stopped, and then the fact that I needed to stop too just completely slipped my mind. I can still hear Melissa's voice just after we swerved: "Wait…you forgot to brake?" it was that same tone she used when she inquired into my general mental well being after I lit a cigarette while pumping gas. But honestly, who knows that rule at age 16?), but the longer I go without driving, the more nervous the idea of it makes me.

I feel somewhat salved by Martin Amis (and really, what else is new?) who says: Poets don't drive. American poets can drive, but shouldn't. That makes me a true blue American poet: I have a license; I can drive. But I really really shouldn't.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Failure of the Day: March Sadness: While You Were Gone Pt. 4

Boy, was I ever hungry today! All day long, my stomach rumbled and grumbled but I didn't have a dime with which to buy food! I was flat broke and the cupboards are bare!!

Well, I don't have to remind you that most of the apartment is bare after yesterday's little living room bonfire; all the things made of wood or paper are now a fairly impressive pile of ash where the furniture used to be. The only things left are made of plastic. But I had to find something of value that I could hock for food among the surviving items!

My first thought was to try to sell the computers, but it seemed like that would make Chris mad. The TV was out of the question; I think Joan of Arcadia is new tomorrow night. Once again, the answer came to me like a beacon of light from the bedroom—the R2D2 fully functional droid! Of course!

I grabbed ole R2 and carried him down to the pawn shop. It seemed like I could get at least $5 for him…I just wanted enough for a nice box of Froot Loops. The pawn shop man was skeptical of course…until I fired up ole R2 and demonstrated how he has a special arm specially designed to hold a can of beer and bring it to his master on command! Woooo boy! I made out like a bandit: $5.50! Enough even for some milk! That's one fine meal!

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Failure of the Day: March Sadness: While You Were Gone Pt. 3

Is it just me or was it especially cold today? I woke up freezing and just got colder as the day progressed. I had the thermostat cranked up to 120 but I just couldn't get the chill from my bones.

There was only one thing that would do the trick: fire. I needed to make a fire. There was only one problem—I don't have a fireplace. OK, two problems. I also don't have any firewood.

By noon, my teeth were chattering and I just couldn't take it anymore. I took an axe to our coffee table until it was a pile of lumber. Then I poured a gallon of cooking oil and grabbed my one of old cigarette lighters and set the whole mess alight right where it lie, in the middle of the living room.

I warmed myself on the wonderful coffee table glow for as long as I could but all too soon the flames began to subside. I needed more fuel and fast! I threw the sofa on the fire but soon that was exhausted. I added the bookshelves and dining room table but again, all too soon the fire was dying. Finally, I had no choice. There was only one flammable thing left in the apartment: the 6 foot tall cardboard Superman. I picked him up and threw him on the fire without a second thought. And do you know, that fire is burning still, hours and hours later? It is! It's a regular Chanukkah redux here! Boy, this is sure turning into an interesting week!

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Failure of the Day: March Sadness: While You Were Gone Pt. 2

This morning I woke up and it immediately struck me that today would be a perfect day for a party! I quickly called the first couple hundred people whose phone numbers popped into my head and pretty soon, this little apartment was swingin’!

After not too long my old friend from Hebrew school, Blaise Adonai, shouted Limbo! and the limbo contest was on! But wait! What would we use as our limbo stick? I looked everywhere for something suitable until finally I saw it glowing in the bedroom like an apparition! The Lego Darth Vader! It was perfect! I grabbed it and made my way through the teeming mass of revelers to the spot where we chose for the Limbo contest—right next to the open window. We figured it was a warm day and we would all need the breeze.

Well, it's not like anyone could have foreseen what happened next. Blaise was a little tipsy, and as I limboed under the LDV, it slipped from Blaise's fingers and onto the floor! It broke into 6 pieces. I didn't want to leave it all busted up like that, so I took some guacamole and used it to glue the LDV chunks back together. Worked like a charm!

Unfortunately, Blaise dropped it again and the guac hadn't dried all the way yet. I had to glue it back together again! This time I used French onion dip and the pieces snapped right back in place and stayed put! I banged it a few times against the VCR just to make sure. The limbo resumed and everyone was delighted with the now decidedly more festive LDV—the green and white chunks make him look a lot friendlier!

Just as it was Blaise's turn to see how low he could go, his brother, Pietro Adonai, stubbed his toe on the pile of comic books we were using as a lazy susan and took a header right into my arm. The LDV went flying right out the open window! Who could have known that would happen? We watched helplessly as the LDV hit the ground. But the guacamole had dried and the French onion dip reinforced the hold! The LDV was fine! Still in one piece!

Just then, though, a wild boar, no doubt attracted to the delicious smell of the LDV, emerged from the bushes, picked up the LDV between his huge tusks, and disappeared into the woods. Luckily, Chris doesn't really care what happens to his stuff. Wow! that sure was a fun party!

Monday, March 15, 2004

Failure of the Day: March Sadness: While You Were Gone

Chris’s plane landed in Orlando not long ago and I thought to help him keep tabs on the ole homestead, I would keep a more detailed journal of the days and nights here in the 415.

Nothing much happened until around noon, when the phone rang and this fairly rude man started hollering something or other at me. I think he wanted to make a movie about Chris’s car.

Now I am a busy, busy woman and I don’t have time for these kinds of shenanigans. “What is your interest in the Jetta?” I asked.

“Jedi! Jedi!” he shouted.

“Harelip! Harelip!” I shot back

It turns out this man, George something or other, had heard that Chris was biggest Star Wars fan in all the land, and he wanted to cast Chris in Episode 3 as an honorary Jedi Knight. Well, obviously the poor man had the wrong number! And anyway, I know my husband pretty darn well and I know he’d have NO interest in something as frivolous as that! I gave a polite but firm “No thank you!” and hung up.

Other than that, it was a perfectly ordinary day. I wonder what’ll happen tomorrow?

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Failure of the Day: R.I.P. Mr. Silverman

I suppose it was only a matter of time. We had to move our Ficus tree, Mr. Silverman, into my room because somehow (who knows how?) the action figure collection outgrew its shelving unit and a second shelving unit needed to be added, and the only place to add it was right where Mr. Silverman lived.

Mr. Silverman is a lovely tree and he, if not thrived, at least survived a full year in the dining room under Chris’s tender care. Within of week of being in my room, Mr. Silverman was dead.

On the one hand, I’m not surprised—As I’ve mentioned before (in my newly fixed up archives, lookee me!) I do generally end up killing, through nothing more than my own best intentions, everything that does not have the agency or ability to get away from me. On the other hand, though, I thought some if not most of that was due to my tendency to produce large volumes of carbon monoxide. But I don’t do that anymore. And Mr. Silverman is still dead.

I might as well face facts. The road to hell didn’t pave itself with good intentions. And I’ve got asphalt on my shoes.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Failure of the Day: Ahh, Coupledom. You Are Perhaps Familiar with Tag Team Stomach Flu?

We needn't have bothered buying any groceries at all for this week; Chris wasn't on solids until last night. I caught it yesterday and at the moment, 7-UP is just a little more than I can tolerate; don't even ask what happened after I experimented with a few Saltines last night.

We thought it was food poisoning at first. Chris got it on Sunday night and bore the brunt. Now I can read my future in his face—I know what shades of green to expect and when. He could only tolerate soup after a full 48 hours so I'm assuming I'll be fasting again today. That sounds just fine; I actually can't remember what hunger feels like. It's not that it's been so long; it more that the current feeling in my stomach obliterates the memory of all other sensations.

Needless to say, we are a sexy, sexy couple just now. Between Chris following me into the bathroom every 45 minutes to hold back my hair and wipe my forehead with a damp washcloth (no kidding, he's that good), the hourly inquisitions into the state of each others' bowels, and getting so exhausted from brushing my teeth that I need a nap, we are big time party people. Ugh.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Failure of the Day: Hospital Horror Movie Whore

Probably, Kingdom Hospital is not very good. The reviews are all pretty bad, even the ones written by women my age who remember Andrew McCarthy’s lower lip very, very well from 1986. So probably, it’s dumb. You know, most likely.

I myself am in no position to say, because even though it will certainly focus on the whole not scary “haunted” thing for the remainder of its run, the first episode not only placed the embodiment of evil squarely in the person of the chief neurologist (talk about “you had me at hello”!) but it was the very first time they showed an MRI on TV with enough accuracy to finally include the fucking cage they put your head in.

Given that, I totally loved it, even the talking aardvark. (Even the talking aardvark! How many times do you get to type that?) I loved how the neurologist was a DICK in the OR but was not so bad or at least wore some decency on his face for that pesky pain in the ass part of his job known as “human interaction,” and I loved how everyone went around surreptitiously placing Kleenex boxes everywhere. Because your loved one is a vegetable but you shouldn’t have to suffer a runny nose.

I’m sure it’ll all be downhill from here (although downhill from a talking aardvark is kind of a funny notion) and we’re headed right to howling ghosts and muddy skeletons and bloody eyed dead children, but I’ll watch. I’ll watch because I’m happy to pay for last week’s episode even if the price is 14 weeks of what will almost certainly be called Boredom Hospital by some intrepid reviewer before too long. And also because they moved it to 10 PM so it doesn’t interfere with my beloved OC. And OK, also because of Andrew McCarthy’s lower lip.
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Saturday, March 06, 2004

Failure of the Day: Personal Growth

Hey! It’s the official one-year anniversary of this blog! You can’t tell because there’s some major weirdness with the archives that I don’t understand even a teeny bit but it was in fact March 6 2003 when I first created and posted to this fine website. Let’s look back at everything that’s changed during the last year, shall we?

On March 6 2003 I was freelancing for my company in Redmond.
On March 6 2004 I am freelancing for my company in Redmond.

On March 6 2003 I was over the moon in love with Chris.
On March 6 2004 I am over the moon in love with Chris.

On March 6 2003 I was absolutely certain that I would finish my novel by summer.
On March 6 2004 I am absolutely certain that I will finish my novel by summer.

On March 6 2003 I was trying not to walk to Yet Wah for wontons every damn day.
On March 6 2004 I am trying not to walk to Yet Wah for wontons every damn day.

Well. You get the picture. There is of course, that one monumental change involving that thing I used to do that was sooooooooooooooooo gooooood I mean bad but that I haven’t done in 147 days. There’s that. And although I still feel as though I haven’t actually finished a meal in some five months and tend to walk around in little circles after dinner because I’m so certain I’ve lost something but I just can’t put my finger on what it is, I’m probably done with smoking unless all my dreams come true and scientists discover that the world is going to end and they give us enough advance warning to really make the best of it.

And there’s some personal growth for you: I just wished for the deaths of over six billion people so I could have a cigarette.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Failure of the Day: Lumps and Sparkles

I’ve never been able to see things in clouds. It might be that I would sooner jam thumbtacks into my gums than lie down on grass, look up at the sky, and try to see junk in clouds, but mostly, I really think it’s that I’m just not good at seeing that kind of thing. What I’m good at—what I’m really, really good at—is seeing things in the sparkly lumpy stuff they put on the ceilings of almost every bedroom I’ve ever had.

Up until recently, one of the lamps in our bedroom cast a shadow on the ceiling that looked just like a big monkey face. Couscous the ceiling monkey was our pal for almost the whole first year we lived in this apartment, but he died when we had to change the light bulb in that lamp. The new bulb casts a totally different shadow that looks kind of like a cubist goat, but it’s just not the same.

I was sad about Couscous, but then I found Willem Dafoe. He lives on my ceiling too, near the window. He looks down upon me from on high, all full of goodness and benevolence. Lucky for me, he doesn’t rely on shadows; he’s made entirely of lumps and sparkles. There’s lots of other things and other faces on my ceiling, and I'm always finding new ones but Willem is always right there, all sharp angles and acne scars and kind of nasty smile.

Chris cant see him, but he's there. Right next to the two-headed turtle eating a wedge of pie.