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Content Challenge Waits for No Man

I was going to write about something else today, like the further adventures of American dictatorship or the ever-contracting bear trap on my foot, but I will write about this instead.

Earlier today, I was working at home, and my friend for whom I testified this week in court called and said that the local Fox News affiliate was on their way over to interview him. He asked if Rob and I would go over to keep him company, as he was nervous.

So we went. Here is the story they ran. There’s more to it than this, but who would have thought Fox News would actually get something largely right?

Update: Here is a story in the Washington Blade.

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Fetishize This

Today I have to go to the podiatrist. Really, I should be preparing right now, as they sent a lengthy questionnaire and numerous forms that require the patience of a madman to slog through.

Years ago when I worked at Waldenbooks, a woman used to come in every week with a stack of tattered books that she would claim she had just received as gifts and wanted to return for cash. On the occasion that we found one that was in print (and this was in the days of microfiche, so it would be after an extended search), we would be forced to issue her some sort of credit; we’d give her a form to fill out, which she would glance at imperiously before jotting quick, wavy lines in all of the blank spaces. I don’t know if anyone would notice if I did the same thing with these forms, as that’s what my handwriting looks like anyway.

I’m going to the podiatrist because my foot has hurt for about six months. It’s my right foot. Before that, my left foot hurt for about six months and then suddenly stopped without podiatric intervention.

I am convinced there is a shadowy conspiracy against me that meets in the dark of night to devise wicked schemes. My feet must take turns joining them, and I wouldn’t be surprised if my entire lower jaw was in on it, too. The sooner I can transfer my brain into the body of an android, the better off we’ll all be.

Update: I returned from my appointment wearing an elaborate taped contraption under my sock. The indolent nurse spent ten minutes layering it on, providing some vague instructions for its wear and care and allowing as to how some patients were “babies” who didn’t like the feel of it. Well slap my ass and call me a baby because, with the extreme tightness and the corners of the tape folded inward, it feels like my foot is in a bear trap. I was mostly able to stay off of it yesterday, but I have to wear it for the next five.

The official diagnosis: once again, I’m a medical mystery. Stress fractures and tendonitis (which I’ve had before) are not the prime suspects for this constant pain. That android body is looking better and better.

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Rub My Belly When It’s Over

Is it still 2006? Some days, it feels like the odometer has turned over and it’s 2006 again. I wish I could remember whether the Democrats win big in the upcoming elections, because I need to decide if I want to start packing or go down with the ship.

My wise thought for the day is this: it’s a good thing the dogs like to be petted. Is that the right construction, “to be petted”? It’s funny, because I don’t necessarily like my ears to be rubbed, but Goblin could sit for hours in that situation, and more power to her. If dogs didn’t like to be petted, it would be very hard for us to reach any common ground. It’s not like she would enjoy being read a bedtime story or sitting on my lap to watch Keith Olbermann.

OK, whatever, I have so much to do today.

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A Matlock Moment

Well, it was a grueling couple of days of sitting in a hallway as a trial went on without me. That’s what “sequestered” means as applied to witnesses. In Baltimore, they thoughtfully provide a wooden bench that feels like it’s fresh from a dimension where wooden benches are even more uncomfortable than they are in this one.

I did testify this morning. I’m not quite sure yet what, if anything, I want to or can say about that experience. I was nervous about the whole public speaking aspect, and also because, as we were instructed not to discuss the case, I was praying that my testimony, which was as accurate as I could recall, wouldn’t be at odds with anyone else’s. But the “good guys” seemed to feel that I had been helpful.

Let me tell you about the bad guys, or one bad guy in particular: the plaintiff. Oh man, this woman was the embodiment of dour hatred. Her white hair was a teased-up fright wig, and every time I saw her, her mouth was contorted into the most horrifying frown that has ever been frowned. Deep, deep lines, crevasses, began at the top, gouged into her doughy face and neck like uncovered fault lines, the convergence of continental plates of misery. Her frown started at her eyes and vanished into the neckline of her blouse. But as much trouble as she has put some very good people through, my contempt for this woman is tempered by as much compassion. When I saw her emerging from the courtroom, I gave her a small, sympathetic smile; the look she gave me in return almost knocked me through a wall.

She was the portrait of grim certainty.

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Do Not Pass This Sign Until the Sherriff Says Boo

Content Challenge be damned! The reason why I didn’t write anything yesterday is because a little voice told me that I had to choose between blogging and going to the grand opening of my brother’s new restaurant. I chose the restaurant. Then the little voice told me to bring home a big steak bone and a gallon of tartar sauce.

Arguing with the little voice does not accomplish miracles.

The reason why I didn’t write earlier today is because I am officially sequestered. Sequestration provides a force shield against the wicked, wicked demands of Content Challenge. Sequestration burns the image of marble flooring into my retinas, while the wrath of god bounces off the walls in the next room. Honestly, the days I get out of bed are not the best ones.

More tomorrow.

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Creeps in This Petty Pace

Yeah, yeah, I was going to post my to-do list yesterday. Cease your cacophonous clamoring! For a rare glimpse inside the cotton wadding, this is the script I am currently working from:

1. Call Lloyd and send off design

2. Fill out those goddamned credit card forms once and for all

3. Mystery!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??! (Maybe.)

4. Is my suit clean? Do I have a suit?

5. Change theater tickets

6. Change podiatrist appointment

7. New CP ad, I guess?

8. Just do the café signage already!!!!!!!

9. Is Aunt Betty alive?

10. New press release(?) Yes, probably. Ask AG.

11. Fire Bob.

12. Finish entering paint into inventory

13. Kill myself if I ever see a stick of furniture again but enter new numbers into inventory anyway.
APPOINTMENTS:

Podiatrist (change)
Dentist
Therapist?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
Another Jeannine

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You Gave Me Challenges, Challenges

For some reason, I was compelled to get up super-duper extra early today to start working, so even though it’s only about noon, I feel as if I have already put in a full day at the office. But I’m working from home, not at the office, and there are many hours to go before I can rest. I have to finish my pull-ups, go to the gym, design fifty million things before Rob comes home, and then there are . . . The Challenges.

Besides the challenge of trying to forget my encounter with a Crazy Person last night, there’s also Content Challenge. Yes, yes. Hello, Content Challenge, my old friend. There’s also the challenge of being “tagged” by my husband on that blog meme of naming five things to do in my city. (Rob is blogging again, in case anyone was wondering.) There’s also the challenge issued by knottyboy in my comments about revealing my mythical, magical to-do list to the world.

OK, first things first: Crazy Person, begone from my mind!

Second, check.

Third, see below.

Fourth, see tomorrow.

Five things to do in Baltimore (presented without hyperlinks as I am hyperlinked out for the day)

1. Go into the City Café and ask them why, every year, all of their prices go up by a dollar while, at the same time, all of their portions get smaller.

2. Walk up Charles Street from the Washington Monument to Mount Royal Avenue. Tally how many times you are approached by (a) schizophrenic people who are critical of your appearance; and (b) panhandlers from across the land who were put off of buses in Baltimore, had their wallets stolen, and now need money for another ticket that they PROMISE to mail back to you when they get to their destination.

3. Go to the National Aquarium in the Inner Harbor. I usually don’t truck with fish, but I have to admit that this place is diverting. If nothing else, Flippy and Flappy are hungry.

4. Go to the American Visionary Art Museum. Tally how many exhibitors from your Charles Street list have galleries devoted to them.

5. Stay home and watch TiVo.

Now guess how many of these things I do on a regular basis.


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Don’t Look Now, But I Seem to Be in a Teensy Tiny Little Rut

I have to do eighteen more pull-ups and then go to work, where my to-do list from last week is reconstructing itself item by item. Every time I cross something off, and I think it’s gone forever, it suddenly reappears, requiring a new kind of attention. It’s like Vince and Angela popping up again on last week’s “Project Runway” just when everyone thought they were a solved problem. I think I am going to take the rest of this week and totally clear my plate, and next week start some huge new projects that I’ve been putting off.

Next week, I also have to go to court and to the podiatrist, and the week after that is October.

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Ninety Days Hath September

Nine days after her blood-gushing, vet-biting, pill-popping trip to the pet emergency room, Little Miss Poopsalot is back to her normal self . . . meaning no more hand-cooked meals, or prescription medicine hidden in cheese. I’m not sure how she will muddle through, but I think her plan involves a great deal of napping.

In other news, I went to the gym today, and a weird guy called himself my boyfriend. Here’s how it happened: I had arrived and was changing into my exercise costume, and he came around the corner and said hello. But I had just taken off my glasses and had to squint to see who it was, and he said, “Why are you squinting?” and I said, “Because I’m not wearing my glasses,” and he said, “It’s me, your boyfriend.”

Now, I already have two other boyfriends (Matt Damon and the Mac) and a husband, so the stable is getting full. I’d say there’s always room for one more, but this weird guy is doubly weird because he’s been hitting on me for weeks in the locker room, and one would think he would have better choices in a gym locker room, especially as he is a personal trainer and sort of knows what to look for.

In other news, when I was working out, I started listening to a new audiobook about not thinking, which is based on a book I read a couple of years ago about not thinking. When I tried not thinking before, when I read the book, I kept erupting in these weird bursts of anger, but listening to the audiobook makes the whole thing sound like a gentler experience. Perhaps I will listen long enough to discover what Eckhart Tolle thinks about road rage.

If he’s running true to form, the answer will probably be “nothing.”

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In Which We Learn a Valuable Lesson About Escalation and Comeuppance

Who was the idiot that came up with this Content Challenge, anyway? I’ve written here more this month than I have the entire year, and the more I write, the more my mind churns. The more my mind churns, the more I actually think about stuff, and the less I am convinced that my skull is filled with cotton wadding. This is a problem because, if I need some cotton wadding and think I already have some, I won’t pick it up next time I go to the store. If I think I might or might not have some, I am overcome with paralysis at the whole situation.

Here is what I am thinking about this bright morning. Besides cotton wadding. For once, it’s not the pope or even the tiki spirits, who got into the Irish cream last night and are sleeping it off under a pile of laundry.

No, it’s silly, but I’m thinking about the time a couple of weeks ago I came back to my car after work and found a note on the windshield. A note on your windshield is never a good thing. It never says, “Your pecs are looking nice, handsome!” or “Congratulations on your high fuel economy!” It usually says, “I crashed into you and ran away! Tra-la!”

This one said something like, “I can’t believe your rudeness in parking in front of my house! Next time, find a place that doesn’t block anyone’s house!”

The house in question was not a mystery for the ages, being, you know, right next to my car. It was one of those tiny Baltimore rowhouses, narrow and low. An peek in the window revealed a dim living room crammed with dingy furniture and wan-looking cats. For a split second, I tried to imagine what life was like for this lunatic with her “polite parking” crusade. Then irritation won out, and I wrote a note in response, stuck it in her door, and drove off in a cloud of dust.

It was not a nice note.

The next day, when I parked on the same block, I got a ticket.

Evil tiki spirits!!!

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Nothing Compares to You

Here’s a problem. When James the Electrician removed the speakers and old alarm system parts that were embedded in the wall, I believe he released evil tiki spirits from their tomb in the plaster. They now flutter around me, causing mischief and ennui.

I was going to do a lot of stuff yesterday and didn’t get around to it. Not that I was otherwise occupied, I just hit a mental wall in my mental SUV and needed to have a lazy day. I guess it wasn’t totally a lazy day because I designed a banner for an upcoming event and sent it off to the printer. It was a ninety-percent lazy day, in which the laziness was not absolute but tinged with just a drop of accomplishment.

Today, I have to do everything I had planned to do today, plus everything I had planned to do yesterday. Oh wait, then there’s the stuff from Friday, the day the evil tiki spirits decided that I needed to spend more time dealing with wacky employees and international shipping woes than actually accomplishing anything.

And then there’s the stuff from Thursday . . . .

It was totally the evil tiki spirits that made me write that stuff about the pope, you know that, right? These might even be the same ones that possessed Sinead O’Conner in the early nineties. As soon as she exorcised them, tricked them into a dusty vinegar bottle, and stuck them into my drywall, she shot back up to the top of the charts, right?

Right?

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Saturday Super Special Chupacabra Blogging

From Baby Jane Uvula’s first film for Lifetime, Have You Herd?: The Chubacabra Story.

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My Manifesto

Speaking of gods, here’s a good one for you. The pope—yes, the Catholic pope—has given a speech criticizing the religion of Islam for being too violent, having been “spread by the sword.” He went on to say that spreading faith through violence is unreasonable, adding that violence is incompatible with the nature of both god and the human soul.

Did you ever notice that the word irony contains the word iron? As in red-hot irons stabbing stabbing stabbing into my brain?

First, let me go on record as agreeing with the pope on this one. Spreading faith through violence is ridiculous. Spreading faith via the techniques of handing out pamphlets door-to-door or screaming incoherently on street corners is only slightly less ridiculous in my book.

But, hello? The Catholic pope? As in, the head of the most violent religion that ever existed, which has tortured and killed millions upon millions upon millions of people throughout history via crusades, inquisitions, reformations, counter-reformations, witch hunts, and missionary colonization?

Now yes, at some point relatively recently, the Catholic church ostensibly changed its ways, and now, instead of organizing crusades, they organize right to life marches. There is even a very liberal wing of the Catholic church that actually tries to help people, although the current pope has no doubt spent his priestly career trying to stamp them out for good.

But instead of denouncing the violent tendencies of religion as a whole, he focused repeatedly on Islam, according to the New York Times. This at a time when George W. Fucking Lunatic Bush has just framed his entire “War on Terror” as a religious awakening in the United States that is bent on “a confrontation between good and evil.” (Here’s a hint: the one that started a pointless war in Iraq and is threatening to use nuclear weapons against Iran is supposed to be the good side.)

Now it’s true that Osama bin Laden, a raving nutjob living in the mountains somewhere, has fashioned his offensive as a religious war. He did not attack America because he “hates our freedom,” or whatever other nonsense Dick Cheney and Rush Limbo have spouted, but because he wants to restore Muslim theocracy in Saudi Arabia and throughout the Middle East, where the U.S. has installed and props up secular dictators in order to guarantee a steady supply of oil.

The president of the United States, who is the representative of three hundred million people and whose finger is on the button of enough missiles to blow up the world ten thousand times over, really should not be playing into the hands of, nor validating the sentiments of, a crazy hermit living in a cave. And the pope, as the most visible religious authority in the world, should be calling out both sides on their shit, not just one. If he were not an utter hypocrite, he would go on television and announce that the American president, who has been trying his damndest for five years to start a modern religious crusade to satisfy the blood thirst of the End Times cultists who put him into power, should stop using religion as an excuse to kill and steal from and exploit the poor.

But that’s just me, the liberal, gay, athiest terrorist sympathizer.

Mothers, lock up your sons.

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Give Us This Day Our Daily Booze

Dagnabbit, I ain’t written nothing yet today. Don’t blame me, blame the gods.

The God of International Container Shipping has been throwing lightning bolts down on me in recent days. (I have been pouring a great number of libations into my stomach in hopes of appeasing him.)

The God of Graphic Design has been blowing ideas into my head through a narrow straw.

The God of Boston Terrier Butts has been playing havoc with the consistency of Goblin’s poop.

The God of Wacky Employees has been dancing the cha cha cha on my shoulders.

I’m so glad I’m an atheist.

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George of Troy; George of Sparta

I just finished reading Helen of Troy, a new book by Margaret George. I’m not sure to what extent she contributes to the Trojan body of work, never really having taken an interest in it before. I’m much more of a Caesarian scholar, with understandable excursions into the Ptolemaic.

George’s niche has become the great feminine tragedies of history, so it was inevitable she would wind up with Helen at some point. The most encouraging fate of her heroines has been Mary Magdalene’s, whose life was tumultuous but whose posthumous treatment was the real crime against her. Mary, Queen of Scots, Cleopatra, and Helen fare less well; if there’s one thing George can convey, it’s impending doom, although their stories make for much more interesting reading than Jesus’ girlfriend.

I’ve read Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles, The Memoirs of Cleopatra, and The Autobiography of Henry VIII (her one foray into a male protagonist) a number of times each,* enough to have a sense of her writerly habits, and I’ve come to hate her introductory chapters with their dreamlike and contrived childhood memories. Helen fits right in here, and I was tempted to toss the book aside, but out of loyalty, I plunged ahead to the good part. Then it got dull again. Then it got good. Then it became such a muddle of prophecies and gods and bizarre Greek and Trojan names that I couldn’t keep anything straight. What rang true was the question of blame for the tragedy of Troy, how the pretext of Paris’s “abduction” of Helen exploded beyond anyone’s control and took on its own momentum that tapped into the underlying passions of both sides. Weapons of mass destruction, anyone?

I just read that the airline ticket agent who cleared Mohammad Atta for flight on September 11, 2001 later committed suicide, unable to face even circumstantial complicity with the deaths of thousands of people. This has been compared to George W. Bush’s strutting around like a bloodthirsty cock o’ the walk, who has never acknowledged a single fundamental mistake as the body bags stack higher and higher around him. I don’t blame Margaret George for exploring the idea of how Helen lived with herself knowing that she was the ostensible cause for an extended siege of a city and the deaths of many dozens of thousands of people. (To compare, I don’t know how I live with myself half of the time with the livelihood of just fifteen employees, one husband, and an interstellar Boston terrier as my responsibility.)

Perhaps her next project could be My Story, by Dubya, the great tragedy of which will hopefully conclude on a personal rather than global scale.

* I reread them not because they are great works of literature (although they’re enjoyable enough), but because I have a memory like a sieve and have to read all of my books many times if I hope to have even an ounce of retention. Of course, I start each one thinking that Mary, Queen of Scots is going to avoid execution this time around or that Antony and Cleopatra will finally prevail at Actium, and my repeatedly crushed hopes are the price I pay for absentmindedness.

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Technology Today

OMG, I just voted in the primary election on a Diebold machine. It was all very spiffy, with a smart card and a touch screen and a whoop-de-do attitude. By now, my vote for the Democratic Senatorial candidate has been transformed into the bloops and bleeps of binary code, shaken around like the martini I so desperately need, and emerged as endorsement for George W. Bush, President For Life.

Just kidding. I don’t like martinis.

The woman who checked me in noted my birthday and said, “I guess your mama didn’t get to wrap no Christmas presents that year.”

And I said, “I was the best present of all.”

And she said, “I bet you were.”

*

Today, Apple is supposed to release its new fall line of products. With all of the secrecy and hype surrounding this announcement, I can only guess they will be unveiling the second coming of Jesus in an iPod form factor. If you buy an iPod nano, you will be raptured up to heaven, where you will dance as a silhouette against a neon background for all eternity.

Forgive my cynicism, O Steve, but I’m not in a good mood after that whole “Path to 9/11” thing that you didn’t stop like I asked you to in three separate emails. I guess my 300 shares of AAPL aren’t worth a hill of beans.

Of course, I will be buying one of everything you release today as soon as I can burn rubber to the Apple Store, but let’s pretend we both have enough decency not to mention this.

*

My nephew may be going home from the hospital soon. He lives in a plastic bubble and his name is Jaxon. With an X. He was born two months too early due to complications following a Cylon raid on the Galactica.

On our anniversary, Rob and I wandered into a quaint children’s bookstore and then didn’t feel comfortable leaving without buying anything. I bought Jaxon a book about zen life lessons as taught by a giant panda bear. The panda bear would tell Jaxon that it is neither a bad nor good thing that he has to live in a plastic bubble; it just is.

On the morning he was born, my brother called me and I didn’t want to answer the phone because I was afraid that the news would be that the baby was dead, and I was too busy crying.

I’m sure the panda bear would have something to say about that, as well.

*

Last but not least, we come to Goblin Foo, my own bat-eared baby who started gushing blood out of her little butt on Sunday. Rob and I took her to the pet emergency room, explaining the whole way that she would not be allowed to bite this vet’s face off as she did with the last one. But she didn’t listen, so we had to put her in a muzzle that was so large that it covered her whole face, including her eyes, and she looked like a cross between a grub worm and Hannibal Lechter.

After all of that, she is apparently fine, although she is on a complicated regimen of pills that need to be given at different times and with different amounts of food in her stomach.

Who knew they made a pill to stop a dog from bleeding out of its butt? Of course, I’m trying not to get my hopes up, as the pill to stop a dog from farting out of its butt has had mixed results at best.

And that is the state of technology in 2006. This has been a special report.

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September 11, 2006

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Be Vewy Vewy Quiet

September, October, and November used to be my favorite months when I was a kid. They still are, climatically, especially as it gets cooler, but I hate that there are now other considerations. September used to be Back-to-School season, but it is now the start of Terrorist Season. The span of time between Labor Day and November that used to be merely a time of colorful leaves and new sitcoms is now Swift Boat Season, where the latest Republican lies are disseminated before the general elections with apoplectic (and apocalyptic) glee.

By 2006, so much has been stolen. Probably what I miss the most is the idea that there are competent grown-ups in charge that have our collective best interests at heart, so while there may be individual things I am worried about, I don’t have to WORRY. I also miss being able to take joy from something innocent, like a Disney animation, without fretting about the nefarious political agenda of its parent company.
Part of this is the changing perspective of maturity, but our country really has changed, and the only people I know who are happy about the way things are going are locked away in suburban cocoons, watching Fox News like it’s the commentary on a football game.

For the first time in eons, I have a sprig of hope. Perhaps, at the end of this year’s Swift Boat Season, the reigns of government will be taken away from terrible people and handed to people who are slightly less terrible. It’s not quite the Disney ending I dream about, but as events of the past few days have made clear, the time for those has passed anyway. If it ever existed at all.

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The Four Nests of Rob

Yesterday, Amanda George told me she thought she and Rob were kindred spirits, and they do indeed seem to be similar on that level. But I don’t know to what extent she mimics his more earthly pursuits. Where does she stand on crumbs, for example? What about that crucial issue of the cabinet doors? And nests?

Yes, we must address the topic of nests.

Rob leaves town every week for a few days, and when he gets back, he sets up his laptop computer in one of four zones of the house: on the futon in his office, on the dining room table, on the couch in the living room, or on the folding chair in the bedroom. (I have yet to correlate any of these areas with his mood, although there is undoubtedly a connection I could plot with the precision of a naturalist.)

While he is home, that location becomes Rob Ground Zero. I will come home from work and find him there in his robe, surrounded by empty or half-filled seltzer cans and coffee cups, and plates that once held cheese and crackers or leftovers. There will often be a stack of books or the scattered remains of a newspaper; frequently CD jewel cases will put in an appearance.

And crumbs, lots and lots of crumbs. At least until he stands up and Goblin the Remora Fish swoops in.

“I know what you did all day,” I tell him when I get home and behold this nest of his comforts. Truthfully, it’s comfortable for me, too, to see.

The house is a lonelier place when he’s gone.

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Friday Chupacabra Blogging

“Hi, my name is Jwer. Look at my egg and pretty, pretty red nails.”

Update: Or is this Crash and his Technicolor Dreamchupacabra?

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Careers

Ever since the fire in my backyard burned through some wiring, I have had an electrician coming over to address some of the long-standing issues I have had with our house. These are things I never would have gotten around to doing anything about if there hadn’t been an exposed wire in the garden and even now seem like the height of luxurious living. (What does it say about me that I consider getting through a day without getting electrocuted and replacing hideous 1980s track lighting to be on the same lofty level?)

The electrician is James, whom I had already adored from his work on getting my business up and running as the renovations began running up against our grand opening. Last night, when he came over to remove components of the old alarm system that were still sucking up electricity, he brought his wife Shirley, with whom I instantly fell in love. Over glasses of wine (while James toiled in the background), Shirley told me about her former career as a prison guard, which she was now leaving to become a colon hydrotherapist.

This is a woman who has truly seen it all.

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Martians

When I was first in college, some friends and I formed The Men’s Club, in which we got together and drank beer and smoked cigars. Sadly, that was pretty much the extent of our activities; the club had formed because one of my male friends had decided that our female friends were too dominant over us, however we could think of nothing else that would distinguish us from them. It was a short-lived experiment. That was the year a lot of things were starting to hit home for me orientationwise, but I was pretty sure I still liked women more than beer or cigars.

Anyway, here are the words to our secret theme song, which we all promised never to reveal:

Men men men men
Men men men men
Men are better than wo-men
Men men men men
Men are better than wo-men

I don’t know how convincingly we were able to bellow this considering the particular men involved, but there you are.

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Dim

My day is not going the way I had planned it, and I’ve been cranky. Additionally, while I was working this afternoon at home, I was overcome with sleepiness, so I went to take a nap, and when I woke up I had a weird sense of foreboding, so now on top of being cranky, I have a weird sense of foreboding.

I think it’s because Steve Irwin died.

I know it’s crazy because I’ve never actually seen one of his shows for longer than it took me to change the channel, but I have always loved Steve Irwin. He was cute and energetic and obviously had the time of his life doing the thing he loved most. What’s more, he made it all seem effortless.

I love what I do, but it’s not always, or even most of the time, fun, and it’s never effortless. Nor do I have the energy to make it seem effortless.

Life just seems dim today, and I don’t think it’s because of the rain.

 

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Friday Chupacabra Blogging and Extended Rant That Will Probably End Up Being Bad Karma but What the Hell

The above sketch may in reality be a life drawing of Crash and Jwer (but which is which, you say?), but it also illustrates this week’s theme of stalking. In this case, I am the stalkee, prey for the chupacabra in the shape of . . . well I don’t know what shape it’s in because I’ve only spoken to it on the phone, but it is coming. My question is, why do people who don’t even know you feel as if they have some sort of ownership over you, just because they like something you have done? I suppose celebrities get this all the time, which is why we get incidents where vile women claim they’re going to be sick when they discover that Justin Timberlake is gay and can therefore no longer be their sweet and thoughtful boyfriend who takes their virginity in a meadow. I am obviously no celebrity; with me, it is people who come into my place of business, fall in love with it, and decide that along with the trinket they have just purchased, they also have a claim on eternal rights to my life.

Now, I am perfectly thrilled that people like my business, and it’s not as if I’m without other fabulous powers, as well. Por exjemplo, who else can iron a pillowcase with the power of his mind?

Yes, those preternaturally smooth linens are thanks to the power of my mind . . . and the power of Photoshop. What were you expecting? It takes me ninety minutes to iron a shirt, and even then, I’ve ironed permanent wrinkles into it. But I have not allowed that handicap to hold me back from magnificence.

I may be pretty darned great, but does that mean that you can launch a campaign of terror aimed at “giving me ideas” for my business (a.k.a. trying to sell me something) or “looking for ways we can work together” (a.k.a. trying to glom onto the action now that I have done all the hard work)? Good lord, you bought a bar of soap, not the deed to my soul. If I don’t know you, I’m not going to sit down with you for a cup of tea because you want to hear my life story (a.k.a. get bored to death) and find ways to exploit me for your own gain. Here’s the real scoop: not only do I not have two nickels to rub together, I live and work within five minutes of some of my best friends in the world, and I don’t even have time to see them.

If I have inspired anyone by what I’m doing, I’m genuinely glad. I do not, after all, toil day in and day out with the goal of disgusting people; I want to make a difference in people’s lives and in the world. But other people have done things like what I am doing and not had a parade of yahoos and lunatics on their doorstep every day, all thinking that personal interaction with them is the answer to their self-centered prayers. I’m willing to bet that the person who started Pottery Barn is not afraid to answer the phone or check his email.

I guess what it comes down to is that, if what I am doing has inspired you to do something new in your work or made a difference in your life, that’s great. Go and enjoy your work and your life on this new level, and leave me alone to enjoy mine.

I should add, as an aside to the Universe, that this is not meant to seem ungrateful for the good stuff that has happened and the countless genuinely good and interesting people I have met through the running of my business. I aim this rant at the very few vampires who have decided that all of the banging and thumps and crashes of my hard work are actually the gentle knocking of opportunity on their own front doors. These are the chupacabrae whose persistence has been unflagging in the face of repeated objection and rejection, thereby causing me to pretend I am not where I actually am or to go sneaking down alleys in a mad attempts to avoid them. They won’t recognize themselves in these descriptions because they think they are beneficent angels who spread only good cheer and awe at their perspicacity. Therefore, the crankier and more resistant I get, the stronger they come on, thinking that I need them that much more. I would write them off as the dark underbelly of success, except I am not yet a success; what has me so resentful is that, if my time and life keep falling prey to these people, I will never be.

Update: Does any of this actually make sense, or do I just sound arrogant and ungrateful?