Hello, Failure

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

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Failure of the Day: Power

Hey, you know what’s nice? Coming home from vacation and having electricity. At least that’s what I hear. I myself wouldn’t know.

Vacation was swell—although I was seasick for a good bit of it. I somehow managed to forget my one miserable night as a Sea Scout: After about three hours of my first boat trip (a godforsaken overnighter to boot), my body informed me in no uncertain terms that I was in no way seaworthy and there would be no cessation of the vomiting until my legs were back on dry land. Thus endeth my scouting career. Cruise ships are very big boats though, presumably ensuring a much smoother ride. Right? WRONG. Being the delicate orchid I am, I still had to gobble chewable Dramamine in shaky fistfuls.

Much of the trip is a blur of scorching heat and steaks with béarnaise sauce, with a generous sprinkling of slot machines, pedicures, and chocolate cake for good measure. Our night in LA was much the same: Canter’s Deli chopped liver never disappoints, and the Craigslister we met up with came through on the tickets to opening night of Clerks 2 with a Q&A with Kevin Smith afterward. All forms of transportation and connections—buses, trains, ships, taxis, and shuttles—were effortless and almost 100% on time.

And then we got home.

It was 106 in San Jose when we returned, so we cranked up the A/C as soon as we got in, late Saturday afternoon. It lasted for 15 minutes and then was gone, and it would not be fully restored until Tuesday night. We spent the next several days and nights as modern nomads, driving in an air-conditioned car to various restaurants, malls, movie theatres, and hotels—anyplace, really, where it was cool. It was an odd sort of limbo; we wanted only to be home but could barely stand to be there for the few minutes each day it took to throw out all our perishable (perished, really) food and pick up a new pair of underwear.

Whatever went wrong at PG&E also fried our air conditioning system, which had to be replaced completely on Tuesday, and oddly, our telephone/ answering machine thingie. The other two phones in the house still work fine; but the one in the bedroom is dead dead dead.

Have I mentioned that Tuesday was my beloved Chris’s one and only 40th birthday? T’was, and quite a doozy, eh? We made the best of it with a spectacular meal and a remote control Superman that, I'm told (quite frequently in fact), can "soar up to 300 feet."

My legs, for those wondering, are still smooth from the all-but-painless waxing a full 12 days ago. I will almost certainly begin waxing everything under the sun from now on, so pleased am I with Tiffany at La Dolce Vita Day Spa.

We're back home now and most of our junk works again. We bask in the normalcy. We relish the routine. How are we? Happy as motherfucking clams, you betcha.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Failure of the Day: Summer Literature Round-Up

In case anyone is interested, Jpod might be the worst novel ever written. Coupland has never been a great writer; he was mostly only cloyingly clever and had a finger/pulse thing going on a with a specific area of culture, but even that’s completed obliterated with this terrible book. He should have called it The Book of Failed Gambits. He should have called it Culture Has Passed Me By and I’m Pretending. He should have called it Look! Microserfs Again! Or Let’s All Stay in 1995!

Everyman was OK. Roth distilled himself nicely into a 6 ounce glass of everclear—too intense to actually drink, and so strong and flammable you can die from it in a myriad of ways. Not pleasant but gets the job done. Should have been called Death of a Penis.

Black Swan Green, to no one’s surprise, left me breathless and starry. Mitchell rockets up to number three on my all-time favorite authors list, behind only Vonnegut and Amis.

I never got more than a couple of pages into King Dork. I may try again—I read those couple pages at 3 AM in the midst of severe insomnia and had to switch to another book because it was annoying me.

On the other hand, I am very much looking forward to Winkie, which I just ordered and which should arrive in time for the vacation. If it’s half as good as its Publishers Weekly review, it’ll be the book of the summer.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Failure of the Day: High Summer

Ahh, that rarest of all things, the paid day off. I lounge. I recreate. I shop for things I need for the cruise.

Yes, the cruise. That other rarest of all things, the paid vacation. Employment is grand. We’re taking the week of the 17th off and going on a 4-night cruise to Mexico (although I doubt very seriously whether we will leave the boat even once) and then spending 21–22 in LA. So I am in a frenzy of preparation that began two weeks ago when I realized that neither of us owns so much as a single suitcase. Luckily, I found these on my very first “lime green luggage” google search.

Preparations continued with a marathon dental appointment on Friday (it sucked, but dude kicked down some nice pain meds), and this weekend, I colored my hair and bought a little black dress (don’t even think I spent that much—it was half-off at the AK outlet store) for the fancy night I’m told they always have on the floating geriatric boogaloo.

Most of what I have left to do is in the realm of, well, personal grooming. To put too fine a point on it, I have hair on my legs, and I want it to go away and stay away the whole time I am on vacation. That doesn't seem like so much to ask, does it? I began exploring my options, and I have to say I am not happy with any of them. After some research, here’s what I discovered:

shaving = time-consuming + frequent
waxing = time-consuming + expensive + painful
epilating = time-consuming + not effective + painful
electrolysis = time-consuming + expensive + painful + kind of freaky

So I am at a bit of an impasse. I had my eyebrows waxed once, during Girlification Weekend ’98, but otherwise, I’ve never waxed anything. The epilator gave me a rash. Electrolysis seemed like a good idea until I read a description of it, and then… nope. Not gonna happen. The math alone shows that shaving is the lesser of the evils, but I’m not sure a slick, wet bathtub is the best place to be playing with knives.

So I think waxing is emerging as the winner by merit of the fact that I’ve never tried it anywhere big before, and I don’t really know what I’m in for. If anyone out there has any waxing horror stories, please let me know by the 15th. I've made my decision based on not knowing better, so keep a kind thought for my legs.