Hello, Failure

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

Monday, November 29, 2004

Failure of the Day: Moolah

In the mood for a little charitable donation? Here's the story. Here's the place. I can't think of a more important thing, truly.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Failure of the Day: Oy, Humbug

Yes, I’ve redecorated a bit. I’ve been at this blog for going on two years now and it seemed like it was time. I’m especially pleased with the Cripple of Justice, my own personal avatar; design one for yourself here.

So, the holidays. I hate them of course. I hate them every bit as much as Chris luuvs them. Thanksgiving here was lovely; just the two of us and a day off from caring about carbs. We cooked, played Stratego, and I ate and entire Baskin Robbins ice cream cake. I was only intermittently in any kind of funk, which is better than usual, and truth be told, it gets better every year that no one I care about dies on Thanksgiving. The bar is pretty low on that one; if everyone I know gets out alive, I’ll call it a success.

And then comes black Friday, I term I heard for the first time this week because my co-workers bandied it about in relation to the price of hard drives at Comp USA. It’s never occurred to me to shop on the day after Thanksgiving because, what am I, stupid? that I should volunteer for that madness? And although the deals advertised on the black Friday websites were pretty damn incredible, it struck me early Friday morning that what I really needed to do was get some orangey highlights put in my hair. Which I did, and they’re real purty.

All in all, though, I have to say, the holidays so far are going pretty well. Houghton Mifflin issued each of us a $20 gift certificate (that I hope is not our xmas bonus but very well might be) that we could use in conjunction with our 50% employee discount to buy Houghton Mifflin books. Being the smart shopper that I am, I managed to get three books for that $40, which is no mean feat, I’m telling you. Their big sellers right now are the new Philip Roth book, which I’ve already read, and The Polar Express, which Chris already owns, so I had to dig pretty deep in the catalogue. It was tempting to get the individual collections of Anne Sexton’s poetry, especially Transformations with the Kurt Vonnegut introduction, but I own them already, even though they are as well worn as an old family bible. Don’t even get me started on how thrilled I am to be working for Anne Sexton’s publishing company, even just a recently acquired division of it.

And now I’m feeling more or less geared up for 29 days of uninterrupted xmas overload. There’s apparently some sort of xmas train thing that travels from Sunol to Fremont, and god only knows what it is, but we’re going on Sunday with the rest of Chris’s family. Next weekend is chock full of family functions as well. Those Roses are festive, festive people. They are stuffed with sincere cheer and good tidings; and that’s on top of how kind and thoughtful they are just as a matter of course…I tell you, it’s unnerving.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Failure of the Day: What to Do

You know whose fault it is? Hippies. It’s the fucking hippies’ fault. What could have been a greater gift to the status quo than that snake oil salesman Tim Leary making it cool to drop out of society. Yeah. Way to stick it to the man. Moron.

And now, as before, the antidote to hippies is punk rock. Bear with me; it’s an analogy.

Salon.com ran a nice piece recently about protesting the christian taliban by engaging in deviant behavior. They suggest having kinky sex, buying and making porn, getting divorced, and listening to gangsta rap. I’m all for that. (Except for the divorce part. That’s not so much gonna happen.) I despise what the powers that be are doing to my society, and in response, I intend to oppose them by being as anti-social as I can.

Now this is when the idiot latter-day hippies would say to drop out by running to Canada or giving up on politics and ignoring the world. But listen: Not This Time. Don’t let them sell you that. Instead, reflect their ugliness right back to them in the most blatant way you can think of. I myself have decided to become a Satanist. I’ve already got the Satanic Bible and Anton LeVey used to live 3 blocks from me. And oy, I’m up to here already with Christian baby blood from all the matzos I’ve eaten.

And OK, we’re all almost 40 and old farts and all that, but come on! We love the punk rock! We all remember how much fun it was to have suburban ladies clutch their children when they saw us in the grocery store when we were only trying to buy Cling-Free. It’s that easy to scare the JesusBots. In restaurants, just toss off an occasional “hail, Satan” before you eat. Say things like: “Oh my Satan, you wouldn’t believe how much anal sex I had last night! If we hadn’t made a video of ourselves and posted it on the Internet, I wouldn’t believe it myself!” It’ll be fun.

I might also become a cannibal, but it depends on how many carbs are in human flesh.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Failure of the Day: Leather/ Crystal

Today is our 3rd wedding anniversary. We will celebrate tonight by having a steak dinner on the living room floor, exchanging the awesome show tickets that we got each other (Laurie Anderson in Berkeley tomorrow night and Dana Gould on NYE), and watching my beloved OC.

There is a story about a one-year old me and the person who lived next door to my parents in San Leandro, who was blind and had a seeing-eye dog. (As opposed to the next door neighbor we had in Fremont who was also blind but did not have a dog. I’m not sure why my parents will only live next to blind people; I would think deaf neighbors would be a better bet, but I digress.)

Anyway, I apparently was lead around the neighborhood in something called a walker (which I understand is a kind of harness that keeps a pre-toddler upright in its attempts to be self-ambulatory), and the story goes that I would toddle up to this seeing eye dog, stick my finger square in its eye, and proclaim “Eyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyye!” And the dog merely sat there, patient and calm and utterly resigned to its fate.

Tonight, I will watch The OC and tell Chris in great detail about how Seth Cohen is my boyfriend and that I love him so. And Chris will sit with me, amused, with an astonishing amount of patience, and—if “resigned” is not the best way to describe it, then “at peace” is—with having married a complete pain in the ass who never fails to find his soft, vulnerable eye and stick my finger right in, by, amongst other things, spending our anniversary swooning over a fictional teenager and comparing him, my wonderful, non-fictional husband, to a dog.

And this is how much he loves me: he still comes away believing (wrongly, obviously) that he got the better end of this relationship.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Failure of the Day: Sky = Down

I wrote an entry on the Christian Taliban in the white house and how we (and by “we” I mean everyone who is not an evangelical) are now Jews, America is Europe, and the year is 1933. I still think that’s true—and if you find that overstated, you do so at your peril—but I deleted the post after I wrote it. You can read that same sentiment elsewhere and by smarter people than me. I think I’ll leave the political analysis to my betters, partly because there is plenty of it already and partly because I just don’t have the heart to hash and re-hash through it here. I'd just as soon save this space for my own personal failures and leave the country’s massive, heartbreaking, and terrifying failures alone, at least for the most part.

And it’s not like election day was without personal failure for me. That was the day I found myself sitting the office of the infectious disease specialist—a nice man who got much nicer when I told him I was writing a novel about my experiences with doctors. Terrific ploy, that. Even if you’re not writing a novel about doctors, tell your guy that you are and watch his demeanor change. You instantly transform from the smelly, whiny barrier between him and the data he needs to stop your complaining into Mike Wallace and a camera crew waiting in his driveway. It’s awesome.

The infectious disease specialist poked around in my underarm, asked me a bunch of questions, and then laid it out for me. He wasn’t prepared to make it definitive until after he could take samples to the lab, but all signs pointed to not the staph infection or the folliculitis my internist suspected but—you guessed it—a whole new chronic and incurable disease called hidradenitis suppurativa. Aww yeeeeah, lucky number 6. Please believe me that should the bright idea pop into your head to look up this disease on the Internet and check out some pictures of the symptoms, DON’T DO IT. Seriously. It freaked me out real bad until I remembered that there are really horrible pictures of psoriasis and MS and PCOD out there too, and I don’t look like those either.

Chris, touchingly, was angry on my behalf when I told him. I thought that was so sweet! I always forget to take umbrage with the universe for this stuff. It’s not even that I’m used to it by now—I never argued the fairness of it when I was getting the first disease—it’s just not in me to expect fair play. That’s the fringe benefit of my complete inability to perform an act of faith.

I did, however, realize that I’d need to write a whole new chapter of my novel now, just when I thought I had only editing left to do. My friend Paul pointed out that I am up against a deadline wholly apart from those given by agents or publishers and the like. I need to finish my novel about all my diseases before I catch another one and have to start again from scratch.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Failure of the Day: Amendment 1

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion
Congress shall make NO LAW respecting an establishment of religion
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Failure of the Day: My Nerves

I am, unsurprisingly, going to spend the entire day on just this side of throwing up from sheer nervousness. Here’s how freaked out I am about the election: The appointment I had to make with an infectious disease specialist for this afternoon is the calming influence on my day. Yeah; you wish I were kidding.

It’s funny because one of my favorite jokes is that whenever I have an itch or I sneeze, I usually turn to Chris and say, “Don’t worry, it’s just my ebola acting up.” I say, “Dang this flesh-eating bacteria anyways!” Get it? See, it’s funny because now I have to see a doctor who actually does deal with ebola. Pretty funny, huh? (For all you literalists out there; fear not; it’s just folliculitis. Recurred for the fourth time this weekend and I think my doc wants me to see the ebola guy for industrial-strength antibiotics.)

It’s cool though, because I think I am working my way through all the different kinds of medical specialists. I’ve already had an internist, neurologist, gynecologist, dermatologist, surgeon, plastic surgeon, anesthesiologist, neurosurgeon, occupational medicine specialist, oral surgeon, ophthalmologist, psychiatrist, endocrinologist, and emergency medicine specialist. I think I will try an otolaryngologist next. I don’t know what they do or how to pronounce that, but it’s a pretty cool looking word, don’t you think? I don’t have many specialists left to go…no oncologists yet knock wood and I’m not sure about gastroenterologists…it seems like I must have had one when I had my gall bladder removed but I don’t really remember. I’ve never had a nephrologist or a hematologist or a cardiac electrophysiologist, but I’m young yet, I figure. Plenty of time.

In case you were wondering, this is my happy place. Talking about doctors and future diseases makes me feel safe. This is me being cheerful. But four more years of the smirking chimp? That I can’t handle. Now: you want to see me weave the two topics of this post together in three little words? Yes On 71.