Hello, Failure

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

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Failure of the Day: Expectations

We saw The Day After Tomorrow this afternoon, and it was, I thought, everything a person could want in a summer blockbuster. Especially a person who has a wee fetish for movies in which half the world’s population eats it.

Most of the reviewers who didn’t like it had the hilarious complaint that the global-warming-related events depicted in the movie were “too preposterous.” Uh-huh. Because teenagers get bitten by radioactive spiders all the time.

Some reviewers seem to suffer under the misapprehension that watching a disaster movie should be a transcendent experience. I myself prefer to take a thing for what it is and not shove an apple corer up its ass for not exploring the deeper implications of existence, but what do I know. And if the subplots are dumb and the outcome is predictable (and they are), at least there aren’t any goddamn sword fights.

Here’s the thing: the special effects are very, very good. Jake Gyllenhaal is adorable, and he’s wet a good portion of the time. Left-wingers get to chuckle smugly to themselves. The writing and acting are good enough that nobody trips over them. And I say again: People, really, what else do you want in a disaster movie?

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Failure of the Day: Humanity

I don’t believe I’ve ever felt despair as profound as that which I felt Monday morning in the laundromat. It was especially ironic because I’d spent much of Sunday night delivering a heartfelt if meandering “People Aren’t All Bad!” pep talk to Chris, who is having a bit of a crisis of faith lately. (I suspect a Demo win in November will go a long way toward convincing us all that there might yet be a shred of hope for humanity.) But within a matter of hours—and it doesn’t help a bit that overnight I inched that much closer to the cliché about menstruation that is all the more annoying for how true it is in my case—I was unable to partake in society at all, not on TV, in a magazine, or on the radio. (And of course I have no human interaction at all during the day already.)

The cause of my despair was an Interview magazine that I read after loading the sheets in the dryer (and I say that because it makes it sound like I actually help with the housework). The cover story was Courtney Love, who I think is repulsive on her best day, and reading the transcript of the conversations between the fawning interviewer and the obscenely self-obsessed and egomaniacal CL made “repulsive” seem a little generous. Chris is fairly well convinced that she paid off some shmuck to have Kurt whacked and he makes a good argument but I remain agnostic on that particular score. But it is not much of an endorsement to say that I think is roughly just as likely that she had him killed as it is that she didn’t. Either way, as mournful as I am that he is dead, I’m glad he didn’t have to see what a foul thing he married. One can only hope Frances Bean runs away from home tout de suite.

I’m feeling better today. I did another focus group this afternoon and just now I found this while ego surfing. Look closely.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Failure of the Day: In case it weren't already abundantly clear, my people, they rule

Have you heard about the proxy baptisms? Our good pals, the Mormons, who, in addition to being a hideous predatory cult, had a hand in stealing the guy I went to my junior prom with, the bastards, are baptizing dead Jews without their knowledge or consent, or that of any of their still-living relatives.

The good folks at the International Jewish Conspiracy web site are all "turnabout is fair play," and so have devised a way to de-baptize Mormons and other fundamentalist Christian types. From their web site:

"The process submits the subject to a virtual bris, six years of Hebrew lessons zipped into 8.3 seconds, several heavy meals and a bar or bat mitzvah at which virtual relatives talk about the subject's acne. All told, it takes 14.2 seconds per goy, and we think we can improve on that with firewire."

So go de-baptize some goys already. But choose wisely; I've got to be in same section of heaven with some of these idiots.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Failure of the Day: Discovered! A Way to Shop for Shoes That Is Not Fun

Here in Day 2 of bookstore rush week widowhood in conjunction with no work till next week underemployment, I am finding ways to keep myself occupied. I have taken it upon myself to research what kind of running shoe I need. I've been making do with my super cute Converse low tops, but I suspect I am not doing my arches any favors with those, especially since learning through the course of my research that I am an under-pronator. That means I've got a vaguely fucked up way of walking, which comes as no surprise to me or anyone else, but that apparently necessitates cushioned running shoes, or at least so sayeth the makers of said cushioned running shoes. I've got "It's A Scam" whistles and bells going off all over the place about that, but I'm frankly too delighted to be in the market for running shoes at all to be overly skeptical.

The unfortunate thing is that all running shoes are hideous. Could there be even one lime green pair? No. I could even settle for orange, but it turns out that runners are a serious and humorless lot; only white with gray or navy blue patterns on the sides will do. I am mightily puffed full of myself about needing these shoes, but every time I have to actually look at my choices, I am completely deflated.

And another thing—there's seems to be no getting around it: they're going to cost me about a hundred bucks, and that's just ridiculous. I tell you, it's a world gone mad…$100 for shoes that aren't even cute? Who the fuck do these running shoe people thing they're dealing with? Some sort of amateur? I didn't spend 2 years selling shitty $36 pumps downtown to be treated like this by New Balance and Adidas. It can't be that hard to take all that highly developed shoe design technology and create some thing attractive, can it?

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Failure of the Day: Aspartame

I know it's tiresome but I'm writing about my diet some more. Sorry.

I hate diet soda. In my many long decades of wrestling with my ass, I have never been able to make the switch. I become absolutely unhinged without my beloved soda pop—and I drink a fair bit of it when I'm not dieting (3 cans a day). I suffer and moan and sweat to cut that down to one and a half to two cans a day when on a diet, and I drink all of it after work. I started drinking water instead of nursing that third can all day long.

Now, water is fine. It is pleasingly wet and all, and that is important when you are thirsty. But I am a girl who is absolutely ruled by her sense of taste. And it is not one of those liberal, friendly forms of government, either; my sense of taste is a totalitarian dictatorship; my tongue is a fascist. Don't make it angry; you wouldn't like it when it's angry.

And sure, Water is great when the aim is merely to dilute. But that is not so much my goal; I myself like to have a little flavor with my moisture. And on that score, anything is better than plain water. Ah HA! Anything?

It occurred to me that diet soda did indeed fall into that set of beverages called Anything. It doesn't necessarily taste good and it certainly doesn’t taste like what it promises to taste like, but it tastes like something at least.

And that's finally how I managed to do it after one score and 17: Selective Relativity. That’s the secret to diet soda. Have nothing better with which to compare it. God help me; I drink Diet Coke now.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Failure of the Day: Hey kids! It's another grab bag!

In the latest example of things Chris wants to do and that I pooh-pooh for being touristy but that inevitably turn out to be totally cool things to do, we walked across the Golden Gate Bridge yesterday. It was very windy but my hair survived the trip. Walking to Marin and back took only one hour. Who knew?

I've officially re-started the program I am cheerfully calling operation Eat All The Time. After a week of 1300 calories a day spread out over 6 meals, my cravings are running mostly toward hot dogs. I had a fierce spate of chocolate ideation over the weekend, but managed to nip it in the bud with 90 calorie fudgesicles. But how much do I crave hot dogs? Even this didn't dissuade me.

As is plainly visible, my experiment with comments is a smashing success. Much more convenient than email and without any of that annoying privacy!

After a full and happy year, our fish, Bevmo, passed into that great round bowl in the sky. We grieved and then we went back to the store and bought a new Beta fish named Ohsee. He's beeeee-autiful; red and violet.

The focus groups continue to rule; today I made $100 by having the rare and valuable opinion that pills are better than shots.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Failure of the Day: HTML

Another genius idea stolen wholesale from Jeff: Comments! During the surprisingly easy cut and paste operations that gave me this fancypants new blog thingamajig, I seem to have acquired an additional thingamajig called "trackback." God only knows what it is, but Jeff got it so I wanted it too. And lookee! There it is. Now for the love of god, will someone leave me a comment?

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Failure of the Day: Nature

We spent much of the weekend in Sacramento. Chris had to oversee another store's inventory, which started at 9AM on Saturday morning, and rather than having to drive there at some ungodly early hour, I met him after work on Friday and we drove out there the night before and got a hotel room. Nice enough, A/C and HBO—both equally necessary because the area is both seriously fucking hot and utterly devoid of interesting things to do on a Friday night or otherwise.

After a nice dinner (at Wienershnitzel, of course), we went for a drive. Chris, for all his hellish daily commuting, still seems to really enjoy driving as long as he doesn't have to be anywhere in particular by any predefined time. And he knows that area—he lived there for 15 years—so although it was dark as pitch and the white dots of civilization grew more and more distant, he was relaxed and happy with the windows rolled down and the radio blaring. As soon as we left the main road, though, I became convinced that he was taking me into the wilderness to dispose of my body.

Ok, not really. But we were in the wilderness of rural Rocklin and that makes me nervous. I don't like nature. I mean, I like pictures of it and all, but really I don't need to get it on my shoes. Because here's the thing: driving through all that dirt and weeds and stuff, my mind has only one place to go—my own personal vulnerability and uselessness. The scenario is always the same: Chris is somehow incapacitated, I don't know how to drive a goddamn stick, and thanks to someone's brilliant idea that I quit smoking, I don't even have a lighter with which to provide a source of illumination. And there are bears. There are always bears.

When it comes right down to it, I don't know how to do anything useful. I've known this for forever, since way back in the days when I craved the end of the world so I could be Molly Ringwald in The Stand (still one of my all-time Top 5 fantasies). I can't hammer a nail or set a bone or clean a fish. And back then, all the doctors were still telling me that I was infertile so I realized that I was completely useless, including biologically. And although that infertility thing turned out to be not so much the case, it's still true that if the world ever needs to be rebuilt from scratch, I am really seriously not your girl.

And I think that's what freaks me out about the wilderness, even when it is just a couple miles away from the freeway. There is no civilization; the world really does have to be re-created. And I'm not sure how much world can be made out of a tube of chapstick and half a pack of Dentine, but it's probably not very much.