Thursday, July 19, 2007


oh, bollocks

I just deleted all of my music by artists C-J, and after M. I was attempting to put it all on a CD to transfer to my laptop (which has zero songs on it), but it wouldn't fit (I realized that I had to change the files, and I don't know how to do that) I put the files in the trash, thinking that I was deleting a copy of the files, not the actual files. oh, foolish me.

disney. dispatch. david gray. cross canadian ragweed. diana ross. DIERKS BENTLEY. gary allan. the hold steady. MIRANDA LAMBERT's first cd. rascal flatts. ray lamontagne. rodneyatkinsrobthomasshedaisysugarlandthreedoorsdownnnnnnn

Ain't that a kick in the head?

I have most of the songs on a bazillion scattered CDs, except for about 5 that I bought on my work computer. I just might be desperate enough to come in this weekend for some uploading. I don't think I can bear to have love and lost this music at work.

I'm still not allowing myself to think of my lost Prague + Gettysburg pictures.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


arts & culture review time!

I finaallllyy bought "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" - Miranda Lambert's new CD. And I love it. So much. It's so country, and she's so ballsy and bold and passionate and proud. Much to my delight, chose the first track on the CD, Gunpowder and Lead, as the song of the day. You can listen to it here:

Miranda Lambert: Perky and Menacing

Here's the chorus from Gunpowder & Lead:

I'm goin' home, gonna load my shotgun
Wait by the door and light a cigarette
If he wants a fight well now he's got one
He ain't seen me crazy yet
He slapped my face and he shook me like a rag doll
Don't that sound like a real man
I'm going to show him what a little girl's made of
Gunpowder and lead

I also bought Blake Shelton's new CD, "BS" much as I hate to say it, it's pretty much a dud. The lyrics are laughable. The melodies are familiar and done before. I don't recommend the CD at all, except for the single Don't Make Me. But since he and Miranda are dating, hopefully she'll buy him dinner once in a while.

Anyhow. On to literature.

I just read The Futurist by James P. Othmer, and it was very interesting. The main character is this guy who made his living by predicting the "Next Big Thing," then marketing it. He's shameless, and described as

"He once fired a man on Take Your Daughter to Work Day. He was once asked by the New York Times to write an Op-Ed piece on the death of literacy in America, and he had his assistant ghostwrite it. He once took batting practice with the New York Mets, pretending not to notice the eight-year-old boy with leukemia from the Make-A-Wish Foundation whom the PR director let him cut in front of because he had a plane to catch."

And so on. There are some really key insights in there, and it made me think differently about various topics, e.g. being true to oneself, what really matters, hedonism's place in our society (and hedonism's place in your life), etc. I think a few of you would enjoy it...especially MT and B3, and possibly Bub. So do with that what you will.

Right now I'm reading Up Country by Nelson DeMille. Okay. A little background. I read The Lion's Game by NdM freshman year of college, and it scared the crap out of me. Gave me bad dreams and everything. While I didn't relish the nightmares, I did treasure the way the book completely sucked me into its world. Finally recovered enough to give another NdM book a try, I picked up this one with more than a little excitement.

Annnd. It's boring. I keep thinking that it's going to get better, that right now I'm just in the midst of character development, and setting the scene, and blah blah blah, but I'm already on page 303 (holy crap, I'm on 303?! This is ridic), and I'm considering giving it the ole Moby Dick heave ho, because I still have more than 600 pages to go. I'm still holding out hope (because that's what I do), but if I remember correctly, The Lion's Game was a page-turner from the very first paragraph.

Up Country has (had?) great promise: a former army guy is sent back to Vietnam to search for a witness to a murder that happened during the Vietnam War. The people who sent him on the mission have been lying since the beginning, and the girl who's been tagging along seems a bit too savvy.

Maybe the book is boring to me because I didn't actually experience the Vietnam War? I'm sure VW veterans who have read this would relate an entirely different book experience. Every description of the country would bring back a memory, and probably an unpleasant one at that. But for me, it's full of teases of suspense, terror, and sex, but it hasn't paid up yet.

I'm not going to give up on it, because it is semi-interesting. It's keeping me entertained. I'll keep you posted if the action picks up, and I end up loving it. But the outlook is not promising.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


if I put it in here, it will come true

I am going jogging tomorrow morning.

While road-tripping with my mom I had plenty of time to think, and I stared out the window as the miles rolled out before us, then quickly passed beneath us. There's a great quote by Carolyn Hax that goes "Live a life that's attractive to you."

A guy had written in saying that he wasn't attractive enough, so girls never were interested in him. Carolyn, true to form, gave him some tough love. She told him that looks aren't enough in a relationship, so he shouldn't feel that bad that he's ugly. He should do things that he loves, so that he loves his life. Loving his life will a) make him inherently happier, and that will b) make him an attractive partner, thereby solving his dilemma.

And I thought - do I love me? I mean, I like me. I don't think I'd want to be anyone else. But am I really the person that I want to be? The thought of becoming this person that I would love to love got me wondering: what's attractive to me?

I thought about four people I saw scuba diving in Monterey, how I couldn't stop watching them. The ocean was so blue, so mysterious, so fun, and I wanted to get in it. Getting my SCUBA certification: that's attractive to me, and I set a goal of finishing it up in August.

I thought about driving, and how I love it, how driving in a convertible and singing along with music makes me feel - it makes me love life. If I'm having a crappy day, I just need to pop a good CD into the player, put down the top, and my mood elevates in minutes. A bad temper melts away. It's just so freeing, and fun. So, I decided that when I buy a car, I'll get a convertible. Every time I get into that thing, I'll feel great.

(okay, that sounds really materialistic. Perhaps because it is. So be it.)

I thought about the 5K that we ran back in May. To be sure, it wasn't all roses. I thought I was going to pass out in the last quarter mile, and I would not have made it if I didn't have E next to me cheering me on. Seriously, she was my combo rock and jet pack. But I actually experienced that huge high that people always talk about after exercising, and I've repeatedly noticed that every time I work out, I feel good. I pretty much hate the working out part, but the end result (being my pumped-up attitude) makes it worth it. And I had such a feeling of accomplishment - I don't run. I never thought I'd do a 5K. I know it's peanuts in the racing world, but I never, ever thought that I'd be a participant in a race. So, when I was a participant, and I didn't come in dead last, it was wonderfully shocking. It told me that I could do more races, and longer ones.

Also attractive to me: Editing my November novel. Getting something published. Working my ass off. Throwing the social net out there. Sitting up/Standing straight. Acknowledging the fact that I have stupid fears, and then facing them.

I need help. I need to be accountable to someone. Isn't it funny? The only way to kick off the path to self-love is to know that I want to save face in front of other people. Perhaps someday doing it to impress ME will be enough to get it to work.

But tomorrow, I would like to be asked if I jogged/ran Wednesday morning. So, please, inquire within 411.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

"What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance."
- jane austen

(anyone else having blogger format problems? I can't add a title. I can't get out of these damn italics. I hate gratuitous italicizing!!!)

Monday, July 09, 2007

So today I headed over to Cosi to get lunch: my fav sandwich,  a Snapple, that little bag of free carrots, and I was intending on picking up a blondie.

When I got to the register, they informed me that they were only taking cash.  What?!  I thought I had $5 in my wallet - not enough to cover my sandwich, even - and when I checked, I actually didn't even have that...only $3.

I told the cashier, and said that I could run to the ATM, if the powers-that-be wanted me to.  She said "nah" and did the "go away, it's no problem" hand flip.  I gave her the $3 and skedaddled.

Isn't that amazing?

Saturday, July 07, 2007


true confessions, at the risk of sounding like a lush.

Dane Cook says that when he's throwing up from a night of too much drinking, a tiny part of him enjoys it...that he feels something like...a vomit-spewing dragon.

I don't understand that. I understand the "oh thank God now I'm not going to be dizzy" feeling, but actually, truly experiencing an emotion akin to enjoyment?

I know I shouldn't confess this (is this that feeling of foreshadowing that I was talking about earlier?), but last night...I drank too much. I think it was a combo of not feeling well before going out, and beer, and some glasses of Yellowtail Shiraz. Waah. In itself, I don't think all that should have put me over the edge (especially since it was spread out over at least four hours), but, something magical occurred, things mixed, and voila. Cut to me, with my head in the toilet at our as of yet unchristened apartment, waving P away with one hand.

I'm not the type of girl who wants someone to "pat my back" and "hold my hair." I'm the type of person who wants people to shut all doors, put on music, and let me try to hold on to the one shred of dignity that would come from me pretending that no one knew what was going on. P understood this. She checked on me before and after, though, and this morning (um, afternoon) when I woke up, there was water and ibuprofen beside my bed. And a trashcan she had put there the night before. So thoughtful!!

Before all this, I was sitting in the living room with P, me in my favorite yellow chair. I hadn't yet accepted that it was going to happen. I've thrown up twice before from drinking (I'm tempted to say "only," but I know quite a few people who have never thrown up because of it), and I couldn't quite remember my level of misery before those times had played out. Had I felt this gross? Could I recover?

I reached out to a comforting source - Mike T. I sent him a text:
I'm drunk and feel dizzy...give me words of wisdom. help.

To my delight, he called me. Told me to drink plenty of water. The message behind the call was....this is gonna suck, but if you get sick, it will be for the better. Lose it tonight to redeem tomorrow. You can do it. We talked a bit more about life - he's going to visit sometime in September! - and I reassured him that I thought his friend W was a cool guy, but we just weren't "destined in the stars."

I love Mike T. In the words of TK - "A hell of a guy!"

Anyhow. So the big moment came. I was ready, and in position. Like you're supposed to do with a dog that poops on the rug, I stared at it, to try and feel the most shame and learn the extent of my lesson. This. This purple mess. Is what happens when I am irresponsible. This feeling of sitting on a bathroom floor. A bathroom floor! Is what happens when I ignore the signs of my body.

I had several thoughts during the actual event.
1) I cannot go to the beach in two hours. Must text c-note and e. I did. They were remarkably understanding. I love those girls.
2) How is purple still my favorite color, when it's ALWAYS purple after drinking? Do I have purple insides?
3) BUB. DON'T DRINK TOO MUCH. I had the urge to call you after heaving, but I thought that might traumatize you, especially since it was 3 a.m. You'd wake up, get worried about me, and then you'll drink too much in the future anyhow. But it's misery. And you deserve more than that.
4) What is the lesson I can learn here? The positive side to all of this?

Well, throwing up is like pushing a reset button. And since my computer's hard drive is a clean slate, why can't my insides be, too? I see this as an opportunity for rebirth, seeing it as all the negatives that have been storing up getting flushed away. As an opportunity to reassess my limits, so to speak. Much as, three years ago, around my 21st birthday, I found that White Russians and beer don't mix, and a year and a half ago, when I found that shots, beer, and reese's peanut butter cups don't mix, last night I found that me and Shiraz, and beer, and possibly spinach pizza, do not mix.

But it's not just the alcohol that I'm reassessing. It's putting up with crap. Setting the bar too low. Making stupid choices - like drinking too much when I was supposed to get up at 5:30 to go to the beach today. Like placing myself in a Plan B position, instead of giving and getting the best that I can. Like settling.

I am not a vomit-spewing dragon; I am a phoenix, rising from the ashes.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Lingering on the edge of something

Sunglasses?  Check.  Camera?  Check.  Really pale skin needing a tan?  Check!

When my mom and I picked up the RV on Saturday, there was a pesky little notation in the rental agreement, saying that one had to be 25 to drive the behemoth.

This was news to my mom, who had checked no fewer than three times with the tour guide woman ("Incompetent Nancy") to make sure that I could drive, because there was no way that she would be doing all the driving in that thing.  Apparently I.Nancy & Co don't work on weekends, and no one was picking up at the emergency toll-free number.

Things weren't going so well in the rental office - Arnie, the German RV guy, wasn't budging, my mom was seeing her plans of a perfect vacation slipping away.  I looked across the street and saw a taco joint, and offered up a plan that included going over there for some lunch to kill time and wait for I.Nancy to call us back (yes, I concocted a plan that involved Mexican food.  It was that bad.).  To my relief, my mom shot it down.  I asked Arnie to keep a copy of my license, just in case things worked out with the insurance, and we went outside to meet our home for the week.

It was nice.  Brand spanking new.  Even smelled new on the inside, which was a relief later that night when I plopped my head on the bed.  After the orientation, a pit stop at the local buy-in-bulk grocery, and rolling over a few curbs, we were on the road.

Which wasn't as scary as I had been anticipating.  Margaret had warned me of Pacific Highway 1, with "no guard rails" and "really steep curves."  Pssh.  Surely she had been exaggerating.  Afterall - who makes a really narrow road on the side of a cliff?  Pure tomfoolery.  Those West Coast alarmists!

Well, one hour into the drive, I had accepted that the fact that I was going to die.  It was going to be tragic, and it was going to be sad, but it was unavoidable.  It was just going to happen, and that's the way it was.  I would occasionally glance at my mom, and check to see if she was as nervous as I was.  She seemed to be fine, totally in control as we rocketed into the turnoffs, breaking and skidding over gravel, so that cars behind us could pass.  I tried to remain limp, remembering that old tale about how drunks survive more accidents because their muscles are loose.

And for the record, she wasn't driving too fast, or irresponsibly.  I think anything would have been too fast for a passenger looking over those turns, seeing the blue of the Pacific below me, and the narrow, narrow little piece of pavement keeping me from sleeping with the fishes.

The first night passed without incident, remarkably.  The second day, we went kayaking with a nice Californian guide named Andrew (who turned out to be, oh, the only male I spoke to the entire trip.  If I had known that beforehand...).  Since it was just me and my mom in one kayak (picture that mess), and him in the other, we went at a relaxing pace...we came within barking distance of sea lions, almost broke coast guard rules about proximity to sea otters, and paddled through kelp.  It was amazing, and renewed my desire to finish my SCUBA certification.

On the way back to the beach, we stopped at a wall where all these sea creatures cling, loving life.  Or something.  As the front (hull?) of our kayak kept whacking the wall, scraping off barnacles and sea shiznit (followed by an "oops!" from me each time), Andrew kept exclaiming from 10 yards behind us about critters he found.  I kept grabbing at sea stars...or star fish, to you ignoramuses...but kept missing.  Finally, I got one.  It was ugly, but hell, beggars can't be choosers.

My mom took a pic.  And said, "You better not let Andrew catch you with one of those."  So, as the hull kept scraping the darn cement, I tried to stick the sea star back to the wall.  I pushed, and it didn't grab.

As it floated down, majestically, slowly, and somewhat ominously, I casually asked Andrew, "So, um, do sea stars know how to swim?"

They don't.  They just climb.  Sucks for the sea star, but I guess one could look at this as a metaphor for life, and not as a tale of a mean landlubber.  Right?

More of driving on Highway 1.  More of accepting death as an inevitable afternoon excursion. After a couple of hours, we pull into the second campground of the trip, and the sandy-haired ranger, with the big glasses, and the big smile, welcomed us to his stomping grounds.  He said, "Okay, you can relax now!  You can breathe easy!"

Since I've had way too many times in my life when I've looked back and thought "There was distinct foreshadowing there.  Should have seen that train wreck coming," I've learned to recognize it when it comes chugging along.  But I kept my premonitions to myself.  No need to be a Debbie Downer.

We found our site, and there was a car parked in it.  The sketchy looking couple that belonged to the car were posing at the lake, so I ran down there to be the pushy biatch, and asked them to move their car.  "Like, um, now?"  So he was pulling out and right, my mom was pulling forward and left, and there was a new character in this stageshow, a minivan that was seemingly insistent on passing my mom while she was trying to back up.

She swung forward.  Went in reverse, as I directed, and she got sorta stuck between a tree and a rock.  She did some more maneuvering, and pulled forward.  I thought, kinda fast.  No need for bravado!

As she backed up, I heard a crack coming from up above.  Some leaves fell.  A little boy at the next campsite shouted in joy.  She pulled forward, and onto the road.  About, oh, 12 feet high, a big chunk was missing from the tree.  I stared at the RV, halted in the road.  Looked at the tree, heard the little boy say "Look!! She hit the treeeeeee!" and his mom angrily (embarrassed?) snapping back, "So what?! Do you find that to be entertainment?"

Well, if he didn't, I'm sure he found what happened next to be quite entertaining.  The RV was stopped, then it started rolling forward.  Then it stopped again.  So I decided to jog after it.  I just about reached it, and my mom pulled ahead, and stopped at an intersection.

I jogged up to it again, and just as I reached her, she sped off.


Accepting defeat, I walked back to our site and sat on the picnic bench, pondering life. Eventually (after what seemed like a very long time and made me start considering myself in terms of "the abandoned child") my mom came back, and she reversed without incident. Clambering on top of the RV, I said that it didn't seem to be thaaat bad. Just, you know, dented.  Totally fixable.

So, she made dinner in the RV kitchen, and we ate it, after lighting our Duraflame log in the firepit.  We sat around the firepit in camping chairs, I drinking beer, my mom drinking wine. While making small talk and basically just chilling out and trying to not tally the damage, a female ranger came around the corner of the RV.

here is the conversation:
ranger:  Hello ladies, are those your pink flamingos?
my mom:  why yes, they are!
ranger:  ... do you know what poison oak looks like?

this, ladies and gentlemen, is what poison oak looks like:

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