Impending...something

Shortly after my rambling, apparently unpopular last post, where I discussed the circlings of my mind (mostly the Tudor dynasty, X-men, sci-fi novels, and half nekkid boys), I realized why my brain was in overdrive.  After all my lamenting about whether or not to wait for the impending edits on my *Jesus light* first novel before writing anything new, my mind seemed to short circuit. I was unable to focus on anything at all.  Even the mindlessness of video games was too much for me.  My greatest joy was watching SyFy movies like Swamp Shark, Sharktopus, Malibu Shark Attack, Alligator X, and all those others. Also, they were, all I could focus on.

The reason?  Well, to make a lame comparison to the movies I was watching, my mind was circling like a hungry shark around my next novel idea.  Each of the subjects I was bouncing on had some part, large or small, in my thought processes, ideas, inspirations, and plot points for the new stuff.  It was like I was too stupid for my own brain - I'm hardly Encyclopedia Brown, and it took all that time to figure out what my brain was trying to tell me.

When I realized that, things kicked into "normal" mode.  Scenes started haunting me, I dreamed about the characters, I woke out of pre-sleep with the name for something I had been thinking idly about (and without intellectual fruit).  I started making notes on a time line (as there will be more than one), wrote a scene, and then...

I received another e-mail from my editor.

She was just touching base with me (which I love) and to tell me that she should have my first round of edits done very soon.  How soon?  Well, today or tomorrow, not to put too fine a point on it.

I'm thrilled and totally dismayed.  I told her that was great news and proceeded to shimmy for most of the day.  She happened to e-mail me on my birthday and, considering that I had chosen that day to switch the gas bill from my ex's name to mine (requiring a shut down and restart and therefore three days without gas), I needed that good news.

But, now I'm back to the same place I was, only worse.  Do I work on the new idea?  Do I put it off, hoping this desire to work on it will return when I'm done with edits?  Do I work on them both at the same time and hope neither suffers?  Most likely I will go back to the planning stages and refrain from the actual scene writing for now.  Once I'm done with the first edits, maybe I will be ready to spring back into the new stuff with all the groundwork done.

That's not my real problem, though.  It's my nerves.  This is the next big step and though I'm incredibly excited, I'm also anxious.  I have checked my e-mail several times today and been both anguished and relieved when there was nothing new in there.  Part of me wants my editor to rip me to shreds, to be kind but brutal, to take it apart, cut it up, and put it together and make it as good as it can be.  I don't want it to be "good enough".  I want it to be as good as possible.  But I can be fragile and sensitive at the same time.  Criticism is difficult to take, especially when it's something you care about.

However, it's something I'm gonna have to get used to.  It's not like once it goes out into the world it's going to be universally embraced and loved by everyone.  In my last post I discussed one of my favorite books ever, The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge.  It won the Hugo award and its successor was nominated for one.  They don't just give those away.  Yet it has its detractors.  Some of Stephen King's best work is routinely bashed.

The classics will eternally be manhandled by the ignorant and the young.  Who hasn't heard some school kid complain that The Scarlet Letter or Lord of the Flies or Pride and Prejudice are "boring" or "hard to understand" or "stupid" or "OMG, a total waste of time!"?  (Granted, these are usually the folk who think the Twilight "Saga" is the epitome of literary grandeur.)  The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is pooped on regularly for the dumbest of reasons (suspension of the smallest amount of belief in a story which calls itself "a fable", usually).  Hell, even The Diary of Anne Frank gets people saying it's boring or not good or they couldn't get into it.

So, I'm bound to be trashed if these wonderful books are.  There are going to be people who don't like talking and want more sex (request denied!).  There are going to be people who don't understand parts of it, relationships within, parallels, or anything about it (the eternal justification of a spurned "artist", right?).  Some people won't like it at all and will be particularly vocal about it.  I have to be ready for that.

So, my (hopefully) thick skin will have to get thicker.  I will have to center on my desire for the best possible outcome.  I will have to learn to eat critics on toast with strawberry jam.

Of course, I am way ahead of myself here.  For now, I just have to breathe, do my time lines for the new, relax, wait for the old/current, and hopefully prepare to be shredded.  Is it masochistic of me to be excited?

Randomness Overload

Sometimes the randomness of my mind is an impediment not only to writing, but to focusing on any one thing.  It impedes life, in essence.  Normally, I try to keep this crap to myself, despite the title of this blog, but that means when my mind is tail spinning I write nothing (here or otherwise).  Trying to do anything devolves into browsing Netflix streaming for anything that will capture my interests.  Considering the state of randomness my mind is in, it invariably ends in frustration.  My thoughts leap from one moment of randomness to another with the thinnest of threads.  And then back again. These are the things which have been plaguing my life in a sort of cyclical, braying mind-scream:

--[after listening to about 36 hours of the audio book for Margaret George's The Autobiography of Henry VIII]  Why the hell was everyone dying?  The infant mortality rate was disturbing.  Somebody give these bitches some prenatal vitamins, penicillin, and hydrogen peroxide!

No, he didn't play Henry VIII, but any opportunity to include a picture of Henry Cavill is fine by me

--In the series The Tudors, what the hell possessed them to cast Joss Stone as Anne of Cleves?  This is a woman Henry VIII reportedly said looked like an old horse.

Anne of Cleves in the Tudors.  I fail to see the resemblance.

--Does anyone else wonder what it would be like to go back in time and be in Henry's court, knowing what was coming?  What would people in that time have thought of a randomly produced iPhone, taken on such a time traveling episode?  "Uh, could everyone be quiet?  I'm trying to watch an episode of The Tudors!"  And how long would my subsequent trial and execution for witchery take?  One doesn't like to be kept waiting.

--Speaking of executions, what the hell turned Mary Tudor (Henry's daughter, not his sister) from a learned, delicate, talented, intelligent child into a Protestant-killing, Lady-Jane-Grey-murdering, fake-pregnancy-having monster who would best be known by the charming moniker of Bloody Mary? What wouldn't sound trite in light of what she did?  "Boo hoo, my father was a jerk!  I'm gonna kill 300 innocent people for not subscribing to my religious beliefs!"  Of course, after what was done to her mother, Catherine of Aragon, who could blame her for being a teensy bit bitter?

So what if she looked like Joe Pesci in drag?

--Since the names are so close, what of Jean Grey?  The upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past movie is set to allow the wonderful but abandoning Bryan Singer to fix the issues he caused by allowing that travesty of a movie, X-Men: The Last Stand, to be made.  The time traveling element will allow the stupidity of that movie to be rectified and, I assume, the dead to come back to life.  Storm, Rogue, Wolverine, Kitty Pryde, Colossus (yum!) are all set to come back.  What of Cyclops (douche!), but more importantly the totally fucked-up Jean Grey/Phoenix?  We, as a viewing public, are owed a proper Phoenix saga, not the steaming pile of intestinal leavings that was the body-dissolving Dark Phoenix.

The foulness we got, and what we are owed.  Get on it, Mr. Singer.

--I love Halle Berry, but she wasn't able to do a lot of the wire work that it would take to really do Storm properly (until, ironically, that crappy third movie). Plus, she's pregnant.  What the hell kind of Storm are we going to be delivered?

Make it happen, Halle.

--Will Rogue finally get something like Ms. Marvel's powers so that she can be what we geeks have come to know her as?  You have Anna Paquin, damn it.  Use her!  And can we get Taylor Kitsch back as Gambit?  *Cartman voice* I'm seriously right now.

*Ahem* Look at that talent! Gambit, come hither!

--Speaking of Anna Paquin (as she was in Trick r Treat), Halloween is so far away, and summer is an obstacle to be hurdled.  I hate the summer heat.  The sun ages us.

--As for aging, my goddamned birthday is in a little over a week.  Can I continue to get older but have my skin and body refuse to begin deteriorating?

130000_happy_fucking_birthday_old_ass_bitch

--Speaking of...the water of life!  Audible finally has the Hugo award winning novel The Snow Queen available for download.  I had an ill-gotten audiobook with a different reader for this fantastic novel and the narration gave me mild gas pains.  I listened to about 5 minutes of the newer version (immediately snatched up with my Audible subscription) and knew that my fears of someone messing up this beloved book were unsubstantiated.  The narrator got Arienrhod's voice.  She plucked it from my head.  I was immediately in that darkened room with the Snow Queen and the offworlder doctor, implanting clones of Arienrhod, Winter's Queen,  into the passed out reveling Summer natives.

--Though I will rectify this soon, I have never seen an episode of Game of Thrones.  However, I have seen pictures.  For anyone who has seen it and read The Snow Queen or The Summer Queen, wouldn't Emilia Clarke be the perfect Arienrhod Winter/Moon Dawntreader Summer?  My cousin first brought this fact to my mind and I totally concur.

emilia_clarke_as snow-summer queen

--If something like the water of life described in The Snow Queen books was available here on Earth, could I drink the blood of a creature every day for eternal youth?  I eat meat.  What's the difference?  Yet somehow, the drinking of one creature's life to sustain my vanity is barbaric and reprehensible.  Yet as we get older, I assume most people could make that sacrifice.  I wish I could say that I couldn't, but...and how it all turns out in the novel...could I, even knowing what I know now?

--When the hell is The Summer Queen going to come out on audio book?  I'll probably listen to The Snow Queen, then see if I can read World's End (which makes me violently angry), and read then the tome that is The Summer Queen this summer.  What better time?  I also want to read or listen to Elantris by Brandon Sanderson.  So. Many. Books.

--What the hell book won the Hugo award when The Summer Queen was nominated?  Okay, I have the book in question, but my stubborn devotion to Joan D. Vinge doesn't allow me to read it on the slight chance that I would like it more than The Summer Queen.

--Speaking of youth and beauty, did all the women in Hollywood...nay, the WORLD...die?  If not, how the hell did Gwenyth Paltrow, just voted as the most hated celebrity, also win the dubious honor of being People's most beautiful woman?  Oscar-stealing trollop.  (Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth was robbed!)  Granted, I don't think even Gwenyth Paltrow could possibly be the most hated celebrity when Taylor Swift still draws breath, but the principle remains.  I need to go watch Contagion.  Fred Gwynne was hotter as Herman Munster!

If only.

--Elizabeth was a wonderful movie.

--And I'm right back to Tudor England.

I have skipped about eleventeen other things bouncing around in my head, but this is a preview of what's going on in there...just this week.  I have eliminated my renewed obsession with foxes, aquariums, BBC documentaries, Grimm's fairy tales, the show Solved, and Disgaea 4.

I sometimes wonder if I have ADD, or a convoluted mind, or...oh, look at the puppy!  *wandering off*

Time, the Vile Betrayer

Okay, so it's a dramatic title.  I couldn't think of anything else.  *cape flapping* So, to update on the last post, just a few days after sending my previous post (The Long Road to Publication) out into the world to fend for itself, I received my first e-mail from my editor.  *angelic light, high note*  It seems that things have either sped up, or I was grossly mistaken as to the time frame I'm looking at.  I assume, as I am totally new to this, that it was the latter.

Maybe August was the last month my novel would potentially be peered at by an editor, and things got sped up.  Maybe August is when my novel is set to be released.  Maybe neither of these is the case. *shrug*  These are things I will have to ask.

Maybe...well, regardless of the maybes, the e-mail informed me that I'm looking at having my first round of edits to me in mid-May. Or sooner.  I accepted this time frame (you can bet your sweet ass I did!).

My biggest problem here is that I'm a procrastinator.  Wait!  Hear me out here!  I don't think that procrastinating on edits will be an issue for me.  I expect to have them done quite soon after being given them. This is literally and figuratively a dream come true.  I am not messing this up.

What I meant was *glaring at the imaginary people who would have jumped on my back* that during the sending out process last summer I was either too crestfallen or nervous to really focus on anything new.  I have no less than three more novel ideas racketing around in my head, and that's just in the short term.

A very dear friend gave me good advice - to put the "how soon and when" out of my mind, stop cheating myself out of the joy this should (and did) bring, and maybe write something else.  Some time ago I joined a particular author's Yahoo group and she is very accessible to her fans on it, as well as being very funny and very sweet to her devoted (some would say "rabid") fans.  While she was working on the edits for her last novel I asked her if she wrote something else in the meantime, or if she waited for one project to finish before doing more than notes on the next.  Her answer was what I expected - it's not realistic to wait for one project to be totally edited, done with, and set to be published.  (The inferred ending here was, "Unless you want to always be just a casual writer while slaving away at your day job."  She didn't say this, and maybe didn't even mean it, but it's what I took away from it.)

My problem?  I have about 10 pages of the new novel written down.  I found myself unable to work on it because I was too focused on what was happening with the last? current? one.  I recently figured that with edits not happening until August, I had plenty of time (the procrastinator's favorite phrase) to work on the new one, and with the upheavals in my life right now, things would have time to settle down and I'd have a lot written out by that time.

False!

So, now I'm wondering - should I take the plunge and start on the next one?  Will the edits on my current project interfere with the almighty (and somewhat pretentious-sounding) creative process?  Should I edit the short story I mentioned previously and go with that?  Should I use the time between now and May to have an intervention on the amount of Netflix streaming that is consuming me?  Should I...should I...and more should I.

I'm not worried about the edits themselves.  I welcome the suggestions and help from a professional editor (or so I say now, bwahahaha!).  I want this novel to be the best it can be, and I'm sure everyone involved with this project at the publishing company feels the same.  (Even writing that makes me giddy.  And for those wondering, yes, all of this STILL feels like a dream I am constantly horrified I will wake from.)

Advice is always appreciated.  A cheap joke is, too.  A lot of the nervous, needy edge is gone from the writing process, but life does intrude - unpacking from my recent move, working, being social, reading, my Netflix intervention, prying my PS3 controller or Vita out of my own hands (damn you, blessed-but-life-eating Disgaea in all your incarnations), and trying to be active.

But now, because it's very late and I have tomorrow off, I think I will turn the lights off, relax, and scare the crap out of myself by watching The Descent.  Perhaps it will scare me into a revelation.  Time and procrastination be damned...for one more night.

 

The Long Road to Publication

There comes a time in every wannabe writer’s life where he has to, in the most vulgar of words, shit or get off the pot.  I’m not so old or so entrenched in my life where I have to get off that pot, but I started to feel that way. In reading Stephen King’s On Writing, he mentions that you sometimes get to a point where you read books that make you sort of grimace and say, “Hell!  I can write better than this.”  I have run into this before (I have listened to the audiobook for Flowers in the Attic, after all), but during a frenzied period of reading I ran into at least three books that made me seriously say, “Look.  These assholes are actually published—people are paying them to write—and I could wipe my ass and churn out something more palatable than this.”

Yes, my thoughts are as charming as my writing.  Little filtering here.

During this time, I happened to run into a book about gay werewolves which intrigued me.  Before this, nothing about werewolves interested me unless they were attacking, maiming, and killing.  This book made me look at them in a different way.  So, I read another gay werewolf book.  And another.  And another.  And so on.

Some had plot holes which were so ghastly and gaping that they made me groan and want to spit up.  Another was entirely charming, had endearing characters, and was funny.  I read that one again and loved it again, and it started me thinking of werewolves in a different light.

Another was well written in that the prose was poetic and flowing and in some cases beautiful.  The dialogue, however, was eye-roll inducing.  It was so antiquated and the setting so vague that it wasn’t until she mentioned a car that I knew it wasn’t written in the year 1740.  It wasn’t until later, where certain other details about the car were mentioned, that I was able to confirm that it was supposed to be a contemporary novel.  Then the sex scenes, sparing at first, started flooding in.  They were bad, they were pervasive, and they were obviously put in as filler.  There was a second novel I did not bother with.Hell noSome of the others I read during that time don’t bear talking about.  Not all concerned werewolves, and most were good, but there were two that really astonished me.  Someone accepted and paid for this stuff (I count myself among their number).

Now, I love bad novels.  I love bad SyFy movies.  Novels with this cheese factor are personal favorites.

Awesome

But some of the gay books I read in that time made me think I could do better, however egomaniacal that may sound (and I know it does—you’ll have to forgive me).  I have respect for anyone who can conceive, plan, structure, sit, and write a novel.  It’s a huge dedication, an enormous act of creation to make up lives which have never been, and anyone who has finished a novel has my admiration and respect.

So, I decided to write my own.  I have been writing all my life, but with all the gay and werewolf in my head, I decided to try my hand at that.  Within three months I was done and, though I had never meant for it to be published, I decided to try to get it out there anyway.  I knew it wasn’t great, I knew I could do better, but I had been reading such crap that I thought this would be acceptable.  I tried my hand out at being a hack, basically.  It’s not something I’m proud of.

I submitted the novel to a publisher and was rightfully, justly rejected.

denied

The editor who rejected me was wonderful, kind, and explanatory.  She said my characters were charming, but that I introduced too many in too short of a time.  (I counted later.  10 in as many pages.  Ugh.  It’s embarrassing, frankly.)  She gave me more good advice and recommended other publishers I might try.  She was so helpful, going way above and beyond what an editor rejecting work needed to or should do.  She gave me some other advice and every last bit of it was true.  Every part.  (I found out later this was the best kind of rejection—feedback, advice, and help combined with an admonition to keep writing and a welcome to submit to that publishing company again.  I had a brief correspondence with Piers Anthony, a childhood idol, who put my experience on his site, mentioning that my experience was very rare).

I did not try to submit this story elsewhere.  I abandoned it, but not the characters.  I loved the characters, but I had phoned in that novel and I wasn’t proud of it.  I decided that the story I had hacked into was really the third story in that group of characters, so I should start at the beginning.

So, I wrote again and this time I put no limits on myself, not for length, character, thoughts, language, or subject matter.  Three months later (it seems to be a standard length of time for me) I was done.  I was very proud and I thought that it was pretty close to what I was capable of doing.  I thought it was good, so I put it away and worked on something else.  I came back, edited, put it away.  I read it again and sent it to five trusted friends (some writers, some readers, some brutal jerk-faces whose opinions I valued).

sts_jerk_face_tee-rbd05e80eeddc4b8d87c5657c4ea764e7_804gs_512

The response was very positive.  One friend actually wrote her reactions down as she was reading, and sent them to me in a document.  This became a beacon of honesty and a source of strength for me in the upcoming months.  Another friend was basically a line editor.  He was tough (he would be in the jerk-face category), but he was usually right.  They both commented about the language usage and both liked several passages I was particularly proud of, which still gratifies me to no end.  One was a reader and didn’t notice particular passages but gave me story critique.  And so on.  I took all the criticism and praise and edited again.

I felt I was ready to submit again.  This project had gone from something to get myself out there and get my foot in that proverbial door, to something I believed in.  Without those constraints, without those limitations I put on myself I had done better.  However, the original place I submitted to had a word limit at the time.  They would not accept anything over 120k words.  My novel was close to 150k.  I managed to get it down to about 145k, but I felt that setting up the world and the characters needed that room.  Editing out an additional 25,000 words would have been difficult.

So, I decided to change tactics.  The characters felt real and it was getting emotional responses from the wonderful, cold bitches I lovingly call my friends.  The plot concerned bullying, acceptance, change, someone rising up from the mire of his own self-loathing and allowing himself to fight and be loved.  He just happened to be a gay werewolf with the stigma of having a third, more violent Hybrid form.  One of the characters in the rejected hack novel was very young in this one and still one of my favorite characters.  I really liked and believed in the novel as a whole (and unlike almost all other gay novels, there was no expressly described sex scenes.  I can't with that.  It gives me angina).

I decided to go for an agent.  I browsed Writer’s Market online and made a list of about 11 agents who took gay novels and listed them in descending order.  I wrote a query and a synopsis.  (The most ghastly, awful torture possible for any writer ever.  There are thousands of websites dedicated to mastering the arts of writing these.  All good advice, and it is still very difficult to do.)

I was rejected 6 times in rapid succession.  All form letters, and all within days of submitting.  This usually means that they read the blurb (similar to what you would read on the back of a novel) and realized it wasn’t for them.  I got no personal feedback.

My ego was crushed.  Humility set in.  Doubt came with it.  And then a brutally hot summer settled in (I hate the heat) and the anniversary of my grandmother’s death happened at the same time.  My insides were an Unholy Trinity of horror.

Like this, but not as pleasant

After about two months of watching Disney movies, laying around dazed, and listening to music to always distract myself, I slowly came out of it.  I rewrote the query letter and synopsis.  The will and strength it took to do this and start sending my novel out again cannot be understated.  Was I as good as I thought I was?  Was I still a hack?  Was this dream I had for so long really a dilapidated shack in the sewers of seventeenth century France and not the castle in the clouds I had hoped for?  Were my friends being kind?  I didn’t know.

So, I sent it out again.  I was rejected four more times.  One jerk didn’t even bother with a form letter.  He said, “Not for me—thanks anyway.”  That was it.  My personality kicked in then and kicked the last vestiges of depression out.  That rejection made me sit up and say, “Fuuuuuuuuuck YOU!”  It was unnecessarily rude, short, and audacious considering this man’s web site was literally the last on my list and looked like it was designed by a blind, special-needs fourth grader.

Your web master

One agent has yet to give me the courtesy of a response.  Another I had given up on during my depression got back to me months later with a jerky response I disregarded immediately.  If you can’t get to your stuff within six months when there are other agents who represent bestselling authors who were able to get back to me within days, and then you have the unmitigated gall to be rude, I can’t take you seriously.  (I aimed high at first, I admit, but why not start at the top and work your way down?  Who knows what could happen, right?)

Then one of the agents rejected me with a personal message which seemed to confirm what I was thinking all along—that with the travesty of Twilight, agents were simply over all things werewolf, and with the gay added in, the audience was that much more limited.  This agent told me, “You are a good writer, but this project doesn’t call to me.  Good luck.”  If I’m a good writer, then it probably really is the project and/or subject matter.  Most agents didn’t have time to read the sample chapters sent.  They read the blurb, weren’t interested, and passed it on.

So, I changed things up a bit.  I started researching publishers, retooled the synopsis and query, and made a list of top ten publishers specializing in or having gay book lines I could get into without an agent.  As with the agents, I put the publishers in descending order of most- to least-desirable.

I got an acceptance from the first publisher I sent my novel to.

I checked my e-mail at work, saw that I had an e-mail in the writing e-mail address I was using, and thought, “Well, on to the next on my list.”  I checked the e-mail and I think I actually let off an electric current through my body—anyone who touched me would have been electrocuted.  “We reviewed your story and would like to take it for publication as a novel, if it’s still available.”

Are you kidding me?  It’s so available, I’m practically a hooker!  Take me!

Available

I signed the contract, reviewed the materials sent to me, and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  I knew publishing took a long time, but it was taking forever!  I contacted them just to get an idea of what I should expect and the very patient, very kind author liaison informed me that my editor-to-be (such a thought!  Still gives me chills!) is assigned to my novel in August.  For a new author who is new with a publishing company, I think this is pretty standard.

So, I wrote a short story for them (for an anthology) in about a week (honestly, about two or three days of sporadic writing).  The cutoff date was March 1st and I submitted it the night before.  It was a retelling of The Little Mermaid with the mermaid being a merman.  I thought it was pretty good, but I don’t think 8,000 words was enough to cram all I wanted to in there.   I was told a few days later that the anthology was already full, but that if I wanted to run it through a beta reader (How did she know I hadn’t?!  Was she watching me?  *paranoid*) and resubmit it for their general short story line, “please do so.”  It was a rejection and it wasn't, precisely.

The lesson—don’t skip the steps, asshole.  *cackle*

I have not resubmitted it yet.  I plan to.  I was (and remain) rather fond of it.  From the time I submitted that hurried abortion of a novel the first time and had the good fortune to run across an astute and kind editor (whose instructional and generous words also sustained me through that awful summer), I have found my lost voice, I have come to a place I want to be, and I am apparently churning out stuff with decent quality.

Think of the contrast in my summers—one spent mired in self-pity and sadness, the next working with an editor on my first novel.

The change and the happiness is mind boggling.  I'm ready!

Lies and Ends

I’m writing for the sake of writing.  I’m writing because I should and because it’s a Band-Aid for what ails me.  It’s my martini, my escape, my legal crack, my therapy. Since the last time I wrote, a great deal has changed.  I gave someone very important the much-deserved boot from my life because of meaningless lies which piled up into a giant, gelatinous ball of WTF.  The lies were meaningful in that they shook the trust we had, in that they had been going on for almost six months, in that they covered a lack of constant employment when we were moving in together, and in that the person who told them to me was a boyfriend of three years.

The lies were meaningless in that not a single one of them was ever necessary—even to delay any potential crankiness on my part.  After nearly three years of friendship and love, after he helped see me through a monumental depression this past summer (not coincidentally the anniversary of my grandmother’s death…a woman who is largely responsible for the best parts of me), after working together, and after mutual understanding, he deemed it necessary to lie about his place of employment, fabricating lie after intricate lie to assuage his own guilt and shame at not getting his perfect, wonderful, till-the-end-of-time ideal job.  He lied to me, his mother, his friends, my friends, and the rest of his family.  Everyone.  Then, when he lost the other job he had, he lied about a period of unemployment, about the new job he got within a month’s time, and about any number of things when he was found out.

There was no infidelity.  There was no money laundering.  There were no illegal substances.  There was nothing but pride and stupidity, broken trust and amazement, and more lies even when the truth lay bare and exposed.  Even when all this came to light, I gave him another chance, stressing that this is what couples do—if one is down and out, the other steps in and helps.  There are second chances.  If the other is trying and honest, the relationship survives.  But in less than a week the lies began again.  The overwhelming message here is that if he had been honest, he would be with me now.  He says he loves me and that he wants to make it up to me, and I believe that.  I shouldn’t, but I do.  However, as the apt saying goes, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.  In this case, the road may not lead to Satan’s cloven hooves, but rather to a dead end.  Love isn’t so pretty when you keep shitting on it.

The irony is that within a week of all these continuing lies coming to light, he had not one but two jobs.  Small jobs, menial, not careers, not the ideal job he lied about having for six months.  (Like anyone ever gave a shit where he was working as long as it was legal).  But it is work.  Consistent work.  All of the lies were always for nothing, but this added a layer of bitter irony to the smegma-cake he dealt me.  Trust was shattered and then obliterated for abso-fucking-lutely nothing.

I miss him horribly.  The new apartment feels empty and alone.  I keep waiting for him to come in the door and entertain me, to chat with me, to make us happy and content outside of ourselves.  Instead, I watch movies, I write, and I tell myself it’s for the best, that he did this to himself and to us.  But it doesn’t help.

I’ll be okay: I was not shattered.  I was not broken.  But I’m a little fragile at the moment, and I’m healing, and though I’ll be fine, it’s hardly a party up in this bitch.  It will be hard; there will be days where it seems as though the world is filled with ramen and bills and loneliness, but I will manage.  There is no doubt about that.

But, oh, what could have been were my love and support met with honesty.

I'm B-a-a-a-a-a-a-c-k!

What's that you say?  You hadn't noticed I was gone?  Jerkface.  *cackle* In all seriousness, it has been an awesome and hectic almost-month.  The major dominating force was the impending move, which is thankfully completed.  However, for the last two weeks before that move the cable and internet, which were under Stacey's name, were shut off.  I had no access to anything except on my phone, and while I imagine it was possible to blog from an iPhone, I'm wordy and my fingers would have cramped up by the third paragraph.

The move helped me rediscover one overwhelming fact about myself:

I. Hate. Moving!

I have so many books, DVDs, games, and other crap that the actual move was ghastly.  Heavy lifting, packing, cleaning, the horrid mess of cardboard boxes, the constant, deepening question of, "Why the hell am I keeping this?", and the subsequent urge to throw it all out--every last bit of it.  I went through it all.

Also, I went from an upstairs apartment to an upstairs apartment in the same complex.  Each moving trip consisted of a non-stop 2 trips up the stairs and 2 trips down.  We did it in two awful days.  Toward the end of the first day, my knees were killing me (common for runners and other jerks not used to walking up or down inclines frequently.  I walk a lot, but on a level sidewalk).  By the second day I was walking like a bowlegged ballerina in a cow's graceless plie because it used the insides of my knees instead of the outside.  I text my friends and told them that it was the worst move of the last 1,000 years--it was easier to move Napoleon's troops into deepest, wintery Russia.

I decided to go through all my old things instead of just packing the unused ones away.  I am convinced things come alive and move themselves and multiply in the night.  My dining "room" is like a Cardboard Wonderland full of books, blankets, old game system boxes, DVDs and Blu-rays, more books, and a few nights I swear I saw a gnarled goblin and two old Catwoman toys in a three way beat down over my last red velvet cookie.  It's like the 80s movie Dolls in here, but with fewer young Helena Bonham Carter lookalikes.

The clutter is driving me mad.  The workload I thought would last for all of January and only part of February looks like it will plunder deep into March's sanctity.  I have other stuff (very good stuff which will be related later) pending, which I'm dreadfully excited to get started on.  I have more that I want to do.  I'm stressed, busy, and very content.

The location I'm in is better, darker at night, and much, much quieter.  I get into bed and I'm asleep within 15 minutes, no matter what the time.  I don't hear someone coming into the apartment and have to repress an urge to vomit in irritation.  There is a feeling of peace and contentment here, Cardboard Wonderland or not.  I was lamenting last week about work the next day and this unbidden thought appeared in my head, "Yeah, but I get to come back HERE!"  I was instantly cheered up.

There is peace here, and I'm content.  I wasn't so sad to see the old apartment go as a whole, but I was very sad to see my old room go, where I spent 99% of my time.  If there was a home in that place, it was my room, but I constantly felt like I was being intruded upon.  This place is thus far perfect.  I'm happy here.  Problems will arise, I know that.  But right now it's everything I had hoped for.

Tomorrow I celebrate my three year anniversary with my significant other in a new place that I so far love.  Could be worse.

Phoning it In

January can bite my bag. I have been working so much that my hands hurt, my head wants to explode, and the light at the end of the tunnel to which I referred in an earlier post seems like a cruel joke—as though instead of freedom that light is actually the shine off the coagulated surface of a sewage dump.

Far be it from me to be pessimisti...*cackle*  I couldn't even write that shit.  Woo!  One point for trying!

Anyway, I can barely see beyond the end of this week, much less into 2014 when the real party begins in earnest.  But, there is a rest stop in a nearer sewage dump.

Stacey and I have come to an amiable plateau.  The fussy ends—bills, apartment deposit, even the selling to me of an unneeded couch for a more than reasonable price—all were done in a pleasant, happy manner.

One thing he said struck out at me, though.  He said that, after so long in this apartment, he was going to miss it.  He said it was the first place that felt like home since he was a kid.  I have never—and I mean that truly—felt like this was home.  It was nice, it was my first apartment, and it was a place to live.  It was a safe place mostly, and significant in that it taught me to be on my own (partially).  But I never felt like it was home.

The differences between Stacey and I grew starker as the conversation progressed.  He will be missing a home, and I can't scramble out fast enough so that I can get to a place that will potentially be home (until 2014, anyway).  I can't wait to kick this to the past and have it be a memory.  I'm not saying there won't be nostalgia or even that momentary sadness one feels when even the worst of situations is over—we miss those rays of sunshine during otherwise bleak times—but I can't pretend that I won't be excited, that the overwhelming feelings won't be relief and happiness.

*sigh*  Enough sentimental crap.  It gives me angina.

P.S. For those sick, deranged people (from the few who actually read this crap and don't already know), NO, Stacey and I are not moving away after a spoiled relationship.  Please, by the power of all the gods, don't ever think that.  We were just friends.  I'm more attracted to an anthill or the wind than I am to Stacey.  The very thought makes me ill.  The End.

Sweet mother of GOD!  Keep it away!

January Observations

January has turned out to be even worse than I thought.  It's nothing I can't handle, but it's bad.  I thought that the only things I would be able to do involved natural functions, some sleep, work, and hopefully packing.  I didn't think there would be much chance for writing, which of course, led my brain to explode into creative overdrive. Work provides the perfect outlet for mockery and hilarity.  The crazier and busier things get, the more the internal temperatures rise.  Stupidity is always rampant, and when it gets busier, things get worse.  Sometimes little slivers of observations are priceless.  So, I have been keeping a diary of my time there.

Note: all instances are true, but some things have been paraphrased or altered so as to save my own ass if this anonymous-ish entry ever gets linked to me.  It's doubtful, as no products, policies, or information will be displayed, but I still need this job, so I want to be careful.  That doesn't mean I can't make fun of it.

DAY 1

09:30

There is a trainer here who is universally disliked.  She is condescending, pretentious, a bad trainer, and has all the personality of a moldy sponge.  Her claim to recognition is that she cannot seem to make up her mind where she's from—her accent changes between British, American, Irish, and I swear I have heard some German in there, too.  She's a watered down Sybil who always wanted to travel but never did.  In her classes, she is known to tell the employees—supervisors, managers, leads, and grunts all—to take some time to chat while she prepares the ongoing training.  She will then immediately yell at the class—sometimes people who outrank her by several pay grades and promotions—that she didn't mean to be THAT loud.  Invariably, the conversation is quiet enough to hear the squeaking of the dry erase markers on the board.

She’s over at my sup’s desk trying, in her condescending manner, to tell him all these things about the new clients coming on—stuff we all know about and have for some time.  He’s coming back at her.  A fight is about to break out.  I don’t know who to root fo…oh, hell.  GO SUPERVISOR!!!  Kick her when she’s down!  Make that multiple-personality-having-pretentious-wench taste her own salty, bitter words!  Woo hoo!  *waving a flag and wearing a pendant*

(later, Day 3)

Now this same woman is being hateful to our Director (even more grades and pay scales above her), a woman so genuine, so kind, so smart, so easy going, so sweet, that I have become convinced she is either an angel or the Lucky Charms leprechaun—because hearts, moons, rainbows, and happiness shoot directly from her pores.  If she doesn’t tone that attitude down to our Director, I swear…  *getting my brass knuckles and alerting the entire building*

12:30

If you can’t tell if they are pants, leggings, or body paint, it’s probably best to go a size or two up.

13:13

Wow.  I have…never.  This girl must have put on her make up with a trowel.  Have the trannies at TBN taught us nothing?

She put on makeup (and fake eyelashes) like she's an 80’s transvestite.  She passed me in the hall and said excuse me.  I almost blurted, “Pardon me, sir.  Are there no reflective surfaces under your bridge?”

13:23

One of my coworkers, at a loss for words under the crushing weight of work looming above us, took to impersonating the Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man.  I wasn’t sure if I should call a doctor, a priest, or World’s Dumbest Pet Tricks.

14:28

We got a request written by one of our phone people: 

“Please mail spouse to address on file.”

The grisly images that produced amused us for some time.  “In how many boxes?” I asked.  “It will cost more if it’s more than one!” someone added.  You always have to think about postage.

15:02

Overheard conversation:

“While you were in Vegas on Monday hanging out with strippers, I was here and working overtime.”

“They aren’t strippers; they’re whoooores.  Get it right.”

DAY 2

06:15

A lovely older Asian woman on the bus has apparently has a violent collision with Santa’s off-season sleigh and then gotten into a mean brawl with one of the reindeer.  I don’t know if she won or lost, but her post-Xmas bells have become entangled in her keys and she is trying to separate the two.  That’s a lot of jingling.

It adds an interesting counterpoint to Kylie’s “Timebomb” which has just come on my iPod:

“I wanna wanna…” *jingle, jangle* “…wanna wanna…” *jangle* “…dance like it’s the last dance of my life…” *rangle jangle* “We’re on a Timebomb…” *jingle* “…it might not last long…”

That’s a lot of gayness so early in the morning.  It’s time to take Vixen out.  *getting the tranquilizer gun*

07:24

We have just found out that our company IT has done a massive marketing campaign, sending out e-mails to our customers asking them to contact us…at the customers’ own numbers.  The implied message?  “If you have any questions or concerns call your damn self.  You’re the only one who cares.”

(later, on Day 3)

To add to this, I just responded to an e-mail from a woman telling me, “It is my husband's work number, it is not toll free, and you have no right to send out his personal work number to anyone.”

Are. You. Stupid?  What makes it worse is that this gem of compounded stupidity came from an internal source.  The woman who sent us this e-mail works for our company.  You know, it’s okay when you are trying to help people who don’t know the systems and don’t work in the corporate world.  That’s expected.  It’s why we are here.  It is terrifying to think they have infiltrated the corporation.

But, let’s humor this implication.  Let’s just say that something had gone terribly wrong and that we HAD been giving out her husband’s work number as our toll free number to EVERYONE.  Didn’t she think—just for a second—that she might have heard about it by now?  Wouldn’t he at least have said something like, “Wow.  Busy day at the office today, honey.  I took about a million calls!”

They walk amongst us.  And I am terrified.

09:46

Just as I was beginning to think that today would be all work and no play, I got this (paraphrased) message straight from a customer:

Your "company" should lose its license to practice business. I think you are operating out of a garage in Mexico. How absolutely embarrassing.

We get the charmers.  We’re just lucky like that.

11:00 (lunch)

Introducing:

Cuntessa—a very pretty yet overly sensitive girl who once tattled on me for offending her.  I had informed Cuntessa that the program she was helping to put together didn’t work and we weren’t changing our processes until it functioned properly.  She left out the “until it functions properly” part of my speech and told her boss on me.  Which leads me to…

Whoreathia—Cuntessa’s boss.  She has an exaggerated sense of importance lent to her by her position (lacking any real power, but desperately grasping for it) and her looks.  She is, like Cuntessa, also very pretty, but a total hag where it counts.  Not present in the aforementioned meeting, she decided to call my boss’ boss to inform him that I was wicked, resistant to change, and needed to be spoken to.  The poop rolled down hill and I launched it right back up.  I told them that she wasn’t present, didn’t see or hear anything, had crucial parts of the conversation missing and, when she tried to give me crap again (again to my boss’ boss), I informed everyone that her program still didn't work, that they had not responded to our requests to make the necessary changes, that she was singling me out and retaliating because I had the nerve to question her and Cuntessa, and if I heard from her again she would be hearing from HR.  She has left me alone since.

Niobe—one of our supervisors here, tough as nails, smart, on top of the entire business, and not one to be trifled with.  She also has a sense of humor and knows when to listen and when to fight.

Caught in the insanely crowded break room with them, I witnessed Niobe confront Cuntessa and Whoreathia.  Used to hiding behind their relationship with someone with actual almighty Corporate Power, they were not prepared for the wrath of Niobe.

“Wrath” is too dramatic of a word.  Niobe was calmly informing them that one of their projects was not functioning properly (a different project, I might add.  It’s a running theme with them, apparently), and that they needed to fix it.  Cuntessa had a look of horror not unlike that which a Victorian lady would wear if someone shat on her corset while she was still in it.

Whoreathia was stunned, stuttering and shaking her head as if denying that anything could possibly be wrong with her work.  Niobe reiterated that they needed to fix it and that it was driving up complaints.  Cuntessa looked as though the Phantom Crapper had moved north and defecated on her blond curls and crown of misguided self-satisfaction.  Whoreathia simply stopped responding.  Niobe was having none of it.  She asked for a date and time the changes would be made.

Regrettably, this is where the trio of unhappiness left the break room and I was allowed to eavesdrop no more.

As with the previous argument I saw, I was waving the flag for my team.  Niobe the Graceful Goddess of War.  Loved it.  Having recently watched the South Park episode Di-Yikes, I have been unable to get the lesbian fight with the transgender Ms. Garrison out of my mind.  A butch lesbian kicks Ms. Garrison in the crotch and she yells, “Awwwww!  You kicked me right in the PUSSY!”  With that deep voice, and the note of sheer joy he had in his voice for being able to bring his new nether regions into the conversation, I have been giggling for days.

I heard that voice in my head today.  I wanted to yell in my best (grammatically incorrect) Ms. Garrison voice, “Awwwwww!  Kick them right in the PUSSY!”

You will be glad to know that I did not shout this.

Crude, grotesque, wrong, and horrible.  I know.  But I am still laughing.

15:11

*faint, twitch, die*  JUST finished my main work. I had another chat with my team because these heifers were whining about OT.  I said I couldn’t entertain their whining any longer because I was behind and my supervisor chimes in with, “You shouldn’t have as much work because I have you on projects.”  What?  They are complaining about doing overtime in a month where it is not encouraged but expected and you want me to give them some of my work?  Do you know this team?  They will kill me and grind my bones for their bread.  I ran.

17:30

Just leaving.  Kill me.

DAY 3

04:50

The bus is late.  I'm trying to go in 1.5 hours early and this is what I get.

05:10

After leaving here less than 12 hours ago, I am back.  The bus was about 15 minutes late.  It’s not like there were a lot of people on the bus.  There were five, including myself.  If each able-bodied person getting on makes the driver three minutes late, he’s looking at a very long day.

I saw my coworker as I was walking in.  She said, “I’m just waking up.  I don’t even remember driving here.”

I’m glad I didn’t walk.

06:04

When told how much work we have today (not including the backlog), this same coworker said, “You’re upsetting my IBS.”  We covered our cups.  Who knows what could happen?  Every day here is a treasure.

08:22

A customer in Texas has informed me that she searched our web site for local stores near her.  Our website told her that there was one in Puerto Rico, and listed it as 0.8 miles away.  I’m tempted to tell her that the rusty old spoon lying next to the cactus down the street is a portkey.  *snicker*  Damned Muggle.

08:31

*cackling until I almost pee*  Sometimes our customers are a witty bunch.  I present you with this (paraphrased) snippet of an e-mail I just received:

Got into a huge fight with an absolutely stupid SUPERVISOR who must have been schooled on how to be stupid (no one is naturally that stupid).

[after a lengthy diatribe detailing quite a horrific ordeal]

And lastly, change the GODDAMNED music. After being on hold for two hours I can't stand that music.

I feel him--time exaggeration aside.  I can’t stand our hold music, either.  It makes me want to place chopsticks firmly and irrevocably into my eardrums.

09:43

The strain is getting to us and melting our brains.  A coworker sent out an e-mail to a customer saying, “I are unable to reproduce this issue…”  She realized it too late, recalled it, and the customer (of course) received the uncorrected version.  Luckily, he was so happy that her solution worked that he didn’t call her out for having the language skills of someone having been in the country for a robust 40 minutes.

12:29

From the documentation on an account:

…IS WATING A COMPANEY INVALOPE WITH…

Heavens, they’re multiplying.

13:04

I was at my supervisor’s desk discussing one of the dozen things he has given me to follow up on today and my old supervisor-friend-turned-manager came up to me and gave me a hug.  Maybe she was just being friendly, but I can’t help wondering: Did I look so disheveled and cranky that I needed a hug and a nap?  Perhaps a cookie, too?

15:39

10 hours and counting.  One of our duties is to print copious amounts of accounting information to be sent to customers and our printer has cheerfully run out of toner.  There are no extras in the building.  I checked.  It’s Friday—don’t test me.

So, my supervisor sent me on a ninja mission—to sneak to another department and trade our barely-there toner for the toner from a fax machine that was not ours.  I did.  I couldn’t help but think about what my defense would be if confronted.  “I was just following orders.”  That had far too many negative associations to attach to some pilfered toner, so I had planned to lie.  “He said this toner was ours, too.  You mean this isn’t our fax machine?”  *innocent face*  “That bastard!  Get your torches and pitchforks!  To the windmill!”

Nobody noticed me.  I didn’t even get to use my smoke bombs (or kunai).

I feel that I must state here that I am not, in fact, working out of a garage in deepest, bleakest Mexico.  I work for a Fortune 500 company which has won multiple awards for customer service, product, efficiency, and quality.  What’s more, I can see it.  For the most part we’re pretty good, but sometimes at the barely-above-grunt level you see a whole lot of the seedy underbelly.

16:00

Just when I’m getting ready to pack it up (finished or not), I see this:

CUSTOMER NEEDS A STATMENT SHOWING A STATEMENT SHOWING HIS BALANCE OF $0.01

There are too many things wrong with that and my head already hurts.

And that was my first three days of madness.  I fled shortly thereafter.  I had planned to go into work and finish my backlog on Saturday—84 of those accounting statements on the aforementioned new system which enjoys nothing more than closing up at the most inopportune moments, but I decided not to.  With a wonky system, thieved toner, and lack of sleep, I figured I would end up like Ripley at the end of Alien when Mother won't shut the self-destruct mechanism down.

"You BIIIIIIIITCH!"  *hitting it with a giant gun*

We shall see how tomorrow goes.

January, the Cruel Beast

There is an advantage to knowing that, barring any disaster, the worst week of your year, nay, the worst month, approaches.  However, there is no preparation other than resignation and a wish for it to be over. This is how I feel about January.  It is a feeling not unlike the phobic individual experiences when cresting the hill of the seemingly90-story drop of a roller-coaster, looking out and down, and knowing there is nothing other than the divine hand of some lunatic god that will stop the juggernaut from falling.  That drop is going to happen and you are going with it, barring something even worse.

You can clench your stomach, close your eyes, scream until you spit out a vocal cord, and/or defecate in your seat, but you're going down.

January is the worst of the worst at work.  I won't say why, but it's a predictable tidal wave of work, a time of huge influx and which almost no amount of planning can siphon into sanity.  It is a month where management is made of sharp edges, bile, and flames.  They stalk, fret, and all but explode with this anxiety.  They force on average 15 hours of overtime per grunt per week.  Weekends are reduced to a single day of forced merriment and relaxation before the roller coaster crests that hill again.

My team is set to explode.  Due to the exceptionally poor planning skills of our supervisor, we are coming off over a week of constant vacation time where no more than three people out of eight have been working.  The backlog is a ghastly thing to behold.  Going into our busiest month, this promises to be nothing but pain, clawing, and probable infighting.

I've been through it before, and I survived.  I will do so again.  I am secure in this knowledge.  It doesn't mean I like January any more.  I will have little life, will become a stranger to my friends, I will consume copious amounts of caffeine, I will jealously guard every second away from work, I will read plenty of David Sedaris, and I will watch South Park and Sailor Moon.  Escapism at its best and most deranged.

This year, I have to pack in January, too as  I will be moving apartments at the beginning of February.

I love roller coasters, but I hate January, so the analogy is a little off, but if you can imagine horror at the end of the slope...

Like this, but with a lake of lava instead of a loop.

Wish me luck!  *faint*

Mornings, Meth, and a Maniac

After a night of nearly launching myself at my roommate and his presumably deaf, blind— and I imagine, headless—beau (it’s the only explanation with any sense to it), I was not in a mood to deal with anything Monday morning when I boarded the bus. I don’t know who this kid is, but this is probably about how I looked and felt

I imagine that’s why the Universe handed me a straightjacket full of utter lunacy.

Headphones on, bleary eyed, cranky, and unaware, I walked onto the bus.  I noticed an…interesting…woman who seemed to be involved in a rather intense conversation with a man across from her and a seat forward (though these seats in the middle of the bus face each other).  I passed between them, mumbled an “Excuse me,” and plopped down in a vacant seat.

I had passed through the white trash Argument of Ages and came out unscathed.

This female was a hot mess.  Her makeup looked as though it was applied by a blind drag queen and then touched up by a kindergartener with vertigo using a paint roller.  Avril Lavigne and Taylor Momsen would have looked at this crazy woman’s eye makeup, recoiled, and said, “Sweetie, sometimes less is more.”

It may be difficult to tell, but one of these creatures is an actual raccoon.  Don’t worry, I can’t tell which, either.

She was probably in her twenties, but looked like she was in her thirties.  Late thirties.  And had spent a great deal of that time being dragged around on her face by her meth addiction.  I’m certain that she was once unique looking but very pretty.  She reminded me of Fiona Apple (whom I love), but only if she had meth rocks instead of chicklets to chew on.

Fiona + Meth + Eyeliner = Maniac Bus Monster

She had runny raccoon eyes, blue eyeshadow under them, crooked lipstick, mussed hair, and about 6 bags around her (not including the ones dusted with eyeshadow and eyeliner lying full and pendulous under her eyes).  She didn’t appear to be homeless, just loaded down.  She also looked to have a cherry Icee.  At 6:00am.  I’m going to assume it was a margarita with crack rocks rather than salt around the rim.

I’m not here to talk about the sadness of drug addiction or to judge anyone going through it.  It’s sad, far too prevalent, and a horrible state of being.  What I am here to talk about is this total lunatic, presented to you by the Meth Labs Inc. on public transportation.  This woman made Ellen Burstyn at the end of Requiem for a Dream look composed and coiffed by comparison.  (Ellen Burstyn was robbed of the Oscar that year, by the way.  I’m looking at YOU, Julia Roberts.)

"But, Julia's just pretty.  I can ACT, damn it!"

Meth and a bevy of other drugs had taken this once pretty young girl and made her into a screaming, raving lunatic, transforming her into the Mighty Cracktasmia.  *flourish of trumpets*  She was yelling at the man across from her, demanding to know why he took her picture.  He insisted that he didn’t take her picture.  She was screaming at this point, shrieking like a harpy with its wing slammed in a car door.  “Why the fuck would you do that?  You took my picture, asshole!” and other such pleasantries.  She continued to shriek, “Why would you take a picture of me?!”

I found myself wondering the same thing.

Cracktasmia: Why would you take a picture of me?  Arrrrrrrrrr!

Had I wanted to get involved, I could have told them both that it was 6:00am and dark outside.  All the lights we passed would have flashed in and may have appeared to be a camera phone flash.  Then again, he may have taken a picture.  Who knows?

She turned to an older Latino couple who rides the bus every morning.  He always has this weird grin on his face, and Cracktasmia took this to mean that he was laughing at her.  (In her defense, he usually does look rather smug.)  “What?  Why are you smiling?  You think this is fucking funny?  Did he take a picture of me?  Did you see a flash or not?”

Cracktasmia: Why are you laughing at me?!

Cracktasmia then turned on the man’s wife.  “You saw it, right?”  She turned to me and asked the same thing.  Still bleary eyed and amused despite the human suffering I saw before me, I said, “I just got on the bus.  I have no idea.”

So, she turned to the man’s wife, who was not saying anything.  “Hello?  Do you UUUUUNDERSTAAAAND me?  Do you fucking speak English?”  The woman, English speaking or not, refused to answer.  This further infuriated Cracktasmia.

She screamed at this woman about five times, eventually dissolving into the eternal white trash standby.  “Go back to fucking MEXICO if you don’t understand English, bitch!  You hear me, right?  Go back to fucking Mexico!”  When she got no reaction, she turned back to the original source of her ire, repeating her litany of abusive insults and questions.

He finally got sick of telling her that he didn’t take a picture of her, got up, and took a seat toward the front of the bus.  Someone rang the bell to get off at the next stop.  Since I was sitting facing Cracktasmia and her bags, I saw her look, get excited, and make a spur of the moment decision.  I actually watched it dawn on her face.  However, with all that meth in her system, she was rather fast.

She grabbed her bags, ran up, elbowed this guy in the head, spilled her Icee on him, and said in a shockingly convincing tone, “Oh, my GOD!  I’m SO sorry!” and ran off the bus.

Now with 90% more crystal meth!

I think the guy should have tripped her ass.

Still, it was a hell of a way to wake up.  The rest of my day was pacific and enchanting compared—my problems paled in comparison to the thought of spending a lifetime like that.  There is no deep message here, no insights, nothing good other then a rock (ha) solid confirmation that, as Mr. Mackee so often says:

mr_mackeyThere’s nothing like a little lunacy in the morning to lift up your spirits.

The Sour Chords of Heartstrings

So, as noted in my “Is it November Yet?” entry, there was a good possibility that some of my woes would be null and void in that magic month.  This, alas, did not happen. The long story shortened is that my pretentious, suddenly yogatasmic roommate, Stacey, was going to run away to another state to be a yoga instructor at a soon-to-be-built studio.  Regardless of instruction, talent, clientele, practice, and experience, he sincerely thought he was going to get in the door there.  I had my doubts about someone so green getting into an established branded studio and being a full time instructor, but as I am ignorant of the ways instructors are inducted, I said nothing.

November came and went, and it was revealed that the construction of the yoga studio wouldn’t be completed.  I told our apartment manager that I may not need a one bedroom just yet.  December came and the story was the same.  By then, there was no point trying to transfer, so I decided to stay in the two bedroom until the end of our lease in January.

In that time, the long term manager of our apartment complex left her post abruptly.  The one bedroom I was going to move into with my boyfriend was snatched out from under me because, though I turned in my 60 day notice, my roommate didn’t.  In addition to that, when my boyfriend put in an application, he had to do so without my information on there, and his income is below the desired amount.  The old apartment manager said she would handle it, but the new one had to obey the rules.

After about 5 visits, several texts, a talk, and a session where I was cussing horribly every day, I got Stacey to sign my resignation and handed it in.  By that time, apartment #1 was gone.  Great.  However, there was another one opening, so I applied for that one.  Adding horror to this, the people in apartment #1 rescinded their resignation.  The people who were going to get that one are ass out, because I have signed everything for apartment #2.  Sucks, but I have been here for several years and that loyalty won out.

The talk with Stacey didn’t go so well.  Apparently, the studio is being built with one less room, meaning half the sessions, half the instructors, and less than half the opportunity for Stacey to get in, being as new as he was.  There is another studio being built not too far away, but Stacey wants to ditch his car…in the interest of (partial) anonymity, I don’t want to reveal the to and from states, but let’s just say that the difference in climate, transportation, and seasons is insurmountable.

Stacey has never been without a car, has never been in anything considered “real” weather and is totally unfamiliar with public transportation.  I am pessimistic as to his abilities to cope.  For those who have not experienced it, try doing a weekly shopping for groceries on the bus or on a bike.  Then add rain, snow, and wind—things Stacey is NOT used to being out in.  Or even seeing.  Good luck, kupo.

Reluctantly, Stacey has decided to stay put.  But, I’m outta here at the end of January.  I’m moving into a one bedroom with my boyfriend.  Can you imagine?  A place where I can be free—where I can sit in my own front room and watch TV or play my goddamned PS3 without fear that I will hear the worst sound in the world, worse by far than the cries of a baby, nails on a chalkboard, or the sound of a live Taylor Swift song—the sound of Stacey’s key in the front-fucking-door.

That’s when the heartstrings began waking up, jangling, and tuning themselves.  I felt so bad for Stacey—his ostentatious showboating, his plans, his reaching for a new life (forgetting that the old one would follow him), his hopes…they lay in tatters around him.  Adding to that, he will have no roommate in less than two months.  He doesn’t make friends easily, and of the three he has, two are in the state he planned to go to, and the third is violently allergic to his cat, KOS-MOS (no, that’s not her name, but she was named after a video game character, so I substituted).  He looked at me with Puss in Boots eyes, and I felt bad for him.

Friends and neighbors, I am here to tell you that I actually thought, “Well, I…I mean…I guess I could…if he needed it…”  Then my mind shut that sympathetic thought right the hell down.  Shut it down like a rat-infested hooker’s cootch parading around on church grounds.  Be miserable for another year?  Not enjoy my lovely TV or PS3?  Feel uncomfortable in my own home?  For another year?!  Fuck. Off. Troglodyte.

My friends tell me simply that Stacey has gotten himself into this situation.  They remind me that Stacey has tried to ditch out on our lease three or four times in our period as roommates.  I can’t fault him for wanting to pursue his newest dream, for reaching forward to something better.  I applaud his brave gesture, his guts, and his tenacity.

However, Stacey did the things anyone from Aesop to Confucius to the dumbest person you know would have warned him against: he put all his eggs in one basket, burned his bridges, and ran full force forward.  I can’t pick him up again and again, especially when I gave him five months of warning that, regardless of his actions, I was going on my way.  I haven’t needed him as a roommate for two or three years now, probably longer, and I’m done compromising my life to help him.  I also believe that familiarity breeds contempt and I hope our friendship can strengthen when we are no longer living together.  He has no place to go yet, but I know he’s looking, and though I feel for him, I won’t continue to be his crutch.  I felt bad and considered lending my helping hand, but…

…but then he continued to soil our comradeship.  To further sour the notes of my heartstrings’ harmonizing, Stacey has been the most annoying of roommates in this past week—leaving his laundry in the washer and/or dryer and going to work, frequently bringing over some guy with the timbre and vocal resonance of an air raid siren, watching movies loudly, caterwauling into the midnight hours, leaving the kitchen a mess, sprinkling and leaving copious amounts of carpet deodorizer so that when I get home the smell rapes my nostrils, and otherwise requesting a beating every moment he is in this apartment.

Enjoy your ashy bridges, ass-hat.

The Lunacy of Corporate America

The Lunacy of Corporate America is independent of product, outcome, financial success, or individuals in Management.  I believe it is a universal lunacy, and I wish to vent and expose a little of the type I experience at work. The CEO of our segment and his boss are visiting today and people are out of their minds.  No cell phones even in the halls.  SO many e-mails have gone out that I have stopped reading them.  I just saw the admin for the Evil Vice President, a normally bubbly and shockingly sweet person (considering her boss), walk up to someone, lean over, and with a wide mouth say in a voice reminiscent of an abusive special ed teacher, “Tooooodaaaaaay?  No ceeeeeeell phones in the haaaaaaaaalls.”  I fled into the bathroom before I could witness the rest of the meltdown or cackle in their faces.

Normally she is amazing and funny and sweet.  But that scene I just witnessed?  I was scuuurred.

(a few days later)

On another note, we are approaching our busiest time of the year and this is the time where the madness increases—supervisors and managers running around with their hair on fire, ready to go down to the local Home Depot to gather the men standing outside for additional work force.  Neither merit nor theoretical company policy will stand in the way of Management’s drive to the frosty plains of Lunacy.

Speaking of Lunacy, there are always going to be those who are promoted regardless of merit, time with the company, or the rules that are set down for the peons.  However, in all my time in this segment of Corporate America (and there have been too many years at this particular company to really count), I have never seen anything like what is happening right now.

There is a guy, tall, white, young, straight (and yes, cynical though it may be, I believe these have everything to do with why he is on the upward climb)…we will call him Iolanthe (because she was a fairy queen in Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta and it amuses me to dub him thusly).

Iolanthe has been with the Company a year.  One year.  Company rules state that you must be here a year in one position before being promoted.  He came in as a grunt, but apparently his deep voice and 6’4”, football player frame said, “I’m destined for HANDOUTS!”  He did the grunt work for about three months.  Then the giving campaign started.

Let me digress here.  Iolanthe is not as attractive as his stats may have suggested (because after reading that, I thought, “Dayum!  Corn-fed beast!  Gimme!”).  He is shaped like a chunky rectangle with too much wet mulch in the top half.  That is, until you get to his head, which is too small for his gargantuan body.  His buzzed head only adds to this illusion of a TV box on end with a cantaloupe perched on top.  His shoulders and upper arms do not move when he walks, giving him an oddly economical movement that is all elbows and hunched back.  His skin is not the best, but neither is it reptilian.  He is not bad looking, but there’s something ungainly and sorta unattractive about him.  All this is not to be cruel, but rather to point out that he did not get his positions by being an overwhelmingly hot tramp whose favors are for trade.  (And if they are, you may never look at mashed potatoes the same again).

So, as I said, after three months of employment, the handouts began.  I have no doubt that he is very intelligent, and that’s great.  It will help him.  He also has ambition and organizational skills.  Within three months they decided he was too good for grunt work and took him off it, infuriating the whole building.  He was dubbed an expert in a particular system based on his three months of using it.  This is not a system involving the stacking of plates in descending order.  This is a complex, infinitely flawed new computer system, and they are trying to tell us that within a bare amount of time he has become an expert in not only the business, but the system it uses.

So, a position was made for him.  Created with him in mind.  Iolanthe was officially promoted in about 5 months.  They had him doing a whole lot of work that wasn’t his job and I think they needed to reward him for it.  Now, about four months later, he has been given yet another promotion.  He is now a supervisor.

I don’t care that much about Iolanthe, and I honestly don’t attribute one iota of blame to him.  What the heck is he supposed to do?  Say, “Oh, no.  I shouldn’t be promoted!  Look at all these people who deserve it more than me.  Give it to them!” *Jesus light shining from his nether region*  If he did, it would make him a noble fool.  It’s not his fault—it is the fault of upper management who refuse to abide by their own rules.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m where I wanna be, I’m getting paid a fair amount, overall this is a very good company to work for, and I had no desire to be a supervisor when it was offered to me (after many years, I might add.  Why my manager thought I would be interested after expressly telling him of my lack of interest for years, I have no idea).  So, please do not think that I am jealous.  Others are, and openly so.  And I think they have a reason to be.

One of our leads, a long term employee, a woman of supreme knowledge and capability, has been passed up for a supervisor position more times than should be legal.  I think she is too strong and outspoken for Management here, personally.  I think they don’t like that all that much.  But how must she feel?  Knowing she is capable, but that she has been passed up yet again so this mulchy box can be promoted ahead of her—in complete contrast with Company rules and regulations.  Knowing, in fact, that she has tried repeatedly to get ahead, yet this guy has been given—handed without interview or knowledge and therefore without merit—what she deserves.  And she is not the only one in this position.

I’m here to say, ladies and gentlemen, I would be on the phone with HR so fast…

This is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg here.  I must say that over my time here I have witnessed much, suffered more, met one of my dearest friends here, and sometimes had more fun and good times than I ever thought possible at work.  And I owe most of it to the Lunacy of Corporate America and the unfortunate denizens who suffer through it with me.  So, for now, I’ll keep it.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t complain just a wee bit.  *cackle, running off into the sunset*

What an excellent day for an exorcism...

Sick on Thanksgiving?  Yes, I apparently have caught some demon-virus from a random roaming viral jerk-face.  Today is the first day I can speak without sounding like Pazuzu is eating through my vocal cords with glee and abandon.

So, my four days of reprieve from the lunatic horrors of Corporate America have turned into a marvel of sick bed angst.  Yaye.

Once upon a time, I used to sing (shocking, I know.  A singing homo.  You might want to sit the rest of this one out if you are prone to heart palpitations).  Since being sick transports me to Bizarro World, I am now a booming bass.    Normally I have a good vocal range, but without use it has faded, and the upper and lower parts of my once sizable range have suffered.  But let me tell you, in the shower this morning, I rocked Ol' Man River.  But this was Ol' Man River as sung by the Rock Biter in the Neverending Story.

 

Decisions

The peace and serenity that a heartfelt decision can bestow are immeasurable.  Indecision, stagnation, and all those other –tion/-sions can lead only to misery, to a feeling of repressed purpose boiling from within.  When this happens it is far too easy to aimlessly change, to do the shallow, superficial motions which bring only temporary relief from the discontent within. Sometimes this tempestuous battle within cracks and a person will lash out, will quit on life, will stop trying.  Other times this person will go through the motions, a hollowed out husk, surviving rather than really living.

The answer, I believe, is always within.  If you find yourself in this situation, listen to that little voice which tells you to check on that new job, to take that night class you always were interested in, or to look at real estate in that town you’ve sorta had your eye on your whole life.

For me, it was this latter bit.  And once I looked at the area, the weather, the apartments and jobs, I just couldn’t stop it.  It felt right, almost divine.  That boiling well within became a geyser, an unquenchable fountain of roaming desire.

I am an Earth sign, a stubborn, rooted being, and after a childhood of poverty and constant moving from one place to another, I value roots, stability, and comfort.  I loathe moving, change gives me hives, and the idea of financial uncertainty sends me running for pills, booze, crack, hookers, sushi, and a nap.  (Yes, all at once.  How do you deal with your pain?  Bwahahaha!)  Or at least the idea of them.

So, the enthusiasm with which I have embraced this change is a little stunning.  It’s any number of things, and though I have issues with my job, my living situation, and my professional aspirations (note: most certainly NOT my current job), I know that all those things could change and I would still be unhappy where I am.  I could take all those things with me and be a happy mess.

The decision has been made, the weight is off my back, and I could barely be happier.  Now there is only the wait, and though the year-long slough through the mire of this existence will be challenging, there is a soft, gentle light at the end of that tunnel.

Look out, world.  2014, baby.

Dreams…made from ether and the fluff of madness

I decided to share this little gem with everyone, mainly because I don’t generally write small entries (wordy mutha…), and because I haven’t written anything in a while. When I say that my waking mind is a fountain of randomness, I mean it.  My subconscious mind is therefore a thing to terrify, annoy, and bewilder.

My dear friend Zhaviera is here to visit for a few weeks to—as she puts it—to “blaze a lusty trail” through the state.  My other friend Beverly is…special.  I have known her longer than any non-family entity in my life and she has always had some strange platonic fascination with goats.  One of her more delectable phrases of the past is to add “…and the goat you rode to town on” to almost any sentence.

So, last night I finished listening to the audio book for The Lodger, read by Lorna Raver, who does a magnificent cockney accent as the characters speak.  If you haven’t read this book, I suggest doing so…it was written in 1913 by Marie Belloc Lowndes, a woman who lived through the Jack the Ripper scare and was inspired by the thought that someone somewhere had to know, had to know who he was.  (It’s free on Amazon for the Kindle, people.  Just DO it!)

Point is, Lorna Raver does this accent so well that it was stuck in my head when I tried to go to bed.  So, in an attempt to get that out (and to read a good book), I read the third installment of the Hunger Games, Mockingjay.  Because that heifer Suzanne Collins is such a good writer, she manages to end every damned chapter on a cliffhanger.  So, I read until my eyes informed my brain that if they were forced to process one single sentence more, they would send my sphincter a strong message to deploy and release.  (This is an exaggeration.  Please do not think that reading causes my bowels to spasm uncontrollably).

I put the book down, but not before jumping forward a few pages to see how the cliff hanger ended.  I passed out, tossed, turned, and had odd dreams.  However, my eyes were still bitter apparently, for I turned one too many times, and they sent the aforementioned defecation signal.  Bleary-eyed and half asleep, I obeyed the commands of my body, grabbing my phone on the way.

I am deeply obsessed with two games on my iPhone—The Simpsons: Tapped Out, and Hay Day.  Choosing beneficial tasks for my Springfield characters seemed too mental for me at the darkest ass crack of dawn, so I decided to jump over to Hay Day to plant a few crops, milk some cows (who seemed to be in the same predicament I was in), and collect some eggs.

I went up a level and attained the elusive Lever 32.  What does that mean?  I could finally get goats!  And goat milk!

So, I went to bed after the bathroom stuff was over and went to sleep.

My dreams were super fucked up.  All these things combined into one globular mass.  I was on the run from a killer, trying to shoot goats with a bow and arrow, but Zhaveria was trying to cook using their milk instead of water, while the goats protested in a cockney accent, and Beverly clapped her hands and giggled like a special needs child, saying, “GOOOOOOOATS!”  *clapclapclap*

Welcome to my mind.

Halloween Doth Approach

Mentally I started Halloween early, about the beginning of September.  Unfortunately, the weather has refused to cooperate, remaining in the 80s and 90s for pretty much all of September and the greater part of August.  And now the beginning of October.  I loathe the heat, but this time it seems to be sticking around in an effort to spite me, as if Mother Nature has some personal vendetta against my sweat glands.  Consequently, the Halloween spirit I so desperately want to feed upon like the succulent brains of some unfortunate zombie leftover is constantly eluding me. Nevertheless, my friends and I tried to stave off the beast, the Halloween essence that so very much wants to invade, but we got started early with our movie viewing.  Yet I feel like a Season Hooker, holding back, edging around the beginnings, and unable to get into it.  I can’t give myself fully until the weather changes more, but to help that threshold draw nearer, I am reminiscing about the movies we will soon indulge in, what Kat and I—in all our resplendent geeky behavior—call our Halloween Standards.

These are in no particular order.

1) The Blair Witch Project

See, I didn’t realize this until recently—this is the movie we use to kick things off.  It’s the Halloween starter, and though we are not devoutly dedicated to watching this (as we are with some of the latter ones), we tend to watch it every year.  And at no other time.

I saw this originally in the theater when people, bless them, thought this was real.  From Mary Brown (who I am certain was at least the inspiration for the tranny sister in Pet Semetary), to the lamentable nose drippings, to the handprints on the wall, to the climactic corner scene, it was a damn good movie.  That final scene still gives me chills.  Now every schmo with a handheld camera thinks it is their God-given duty to film a movie like this—it’s so overdone that even the dead are ready to wake up and tell people to stop it.  From the success of Paranormal Activity to the pointedly dizzying Cloverfield to ghastly monstrosities like The Gacy House, The Blair Witch Project pretty much started them all.  I don’t know if we should thank or curse the creators.

2) Poltergeist and Poltergeist 2

These are two of the movies on this list we don’t restrict to season or hour.  The first is the pinnacle of goodness, the movie that caused so many people in my generation to not eat meat on the bone or to loathe clowns.  The iconic scene, little Carol Ann at the television still creeps me out in that way which says, “I’m about to watch a damn fine movie.”  Unfortunately, for today’s generation of “illiterate TV people” (to steal a line from the previous movie on this list), they sometimes need explanations of why the TV looks like that, or why the national anthem was being played when it wasn’t the 4th of July or the start of some sporting event.

The second Poltergeist was great, awesome, until the final scenes.  You know, the horrid Claymation bullshit when they went to the Other Side?  Yeah, that.  The swallowing of the worm, the pink play phone ringing, the braces incident in the bathroom, they all pale next to Reverend Kane.

The scene where Diane is remembering what Kane did to his congregation still creeps me out.  In my youth, surrounded by crazy religious people, that wasn’t just something that happened in a movie, it was something that I could easily picture my lunatic family doing.  Had the ending of this movie not happened in the way it did, this could very well be a horror classic…and it might even be despite that awfulness.

3) The Amityville Horror

Not the remake.  Please, GOD, not the remake.  Ryan Reynolds was stupid hot in it, yes, but there were few other redeeming qualities about it.  The worst offense is that they filmed all these good scenes, the ones with the girlfriend feeling the terror of the house, finding the well, all sorts of other stuff, and intentionally left them out for the CG, hackneyed eye candy that we were left with.  This movie wasn’t like the remake of The Fog, which never had any potential because the script shat out in the eternal Quest for Cash was a mixture of leprosy, bile, and poop.  The Amityville remake had potential to be tolerable, maybe even good, but all that was lost on the cutting room floor.

The original, though, is fantastic.  Margo Kidder (before she lost her mind, poor thing), Sexy Man Brolin (whose son I had a HUGE crush on as Brand in The Goonies), Jodi the pig, the flies, the voice…

Yes, the Voice.  If I’m in a house where more than ten flies are swarming, I’m out.  That’s first.

But let’s say that I bought said house and was determined to stay.  When a voice whispers, “…getooooout…” I am here to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, I am OUT.  When it then screams, “GEEET OOOOOOOUT!” I am sliding down the banister like Mary Poppins on meth, hoping my kids are on my way to the door so I can grab them, too.  If not, then I will call them from the fucking church in the next town over.

As a side note, as a kid I used to scare the hell out of my cousin (she of the Manson-book-lending library) by sitting in a small rocking chair like the one Jodi favored, pretending I was possessed and dazed, rocking back and forth, chanting in a wavering voice, “Puuuurple p-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-g…puuuuurple p-i-i-i-i-i-i-g…”

4) Sleepy Hollow

Pure Tim Burton goodness.  An amazing cast.  Enough has been said of Burton’s love affair with Johnny Depp that I won’t rehash it now.  Mr. Depp is a phenomenal, quirky actor without whom this movie would not have been the same (or nearly as good).  Christina Ricci (a.k.a. Wednesday Addams) was great.  Casper Van Dien (of the sexy ass in the Starship Troopers shower scene and the horrid snoozefest The Omega Code) was good to look at and someone who got what he deserved.  It also stars Dumbledore, Uncle Vernon, Rita Skeeter, Emperor Palpatine, the legendary Christopher Lee, the evil guy from Howard the Duck who was also Charles Deetz, the dad from Beetlejuice, and one of the most horrifying men ever to walk the earth—Christopher Walken.

Good, dark, gorgeous, slick, gory, humorous fun and one of our Halloween staples.  Just talking about it makes me want to watch it.

In time, Precioussssss.

5) Hocus Pocus

I didn’t say they were ALL horror movies, did I?  (Though some would say that Sarah Jessica Parker is a horror…or a foot, according to Peter Griffin.  I am not one of those people, however, and I think it is beneath me to mention it.  Bwahahaha!)

Love this movie.  Total Halloween staple.  Bette Midler is awesome.  Thora Birch is cute.  Omri Katz was adorable (I can only hope that he grew up to be a cute adult, not one of those ghastly kid/adolescent actors who grow up and turn into Swamp Thing).  And I still cackle at Kathy Najimy with the vacuum cleaner.  It’s cute, wholesome, amusing fun and I love it.

6) Nightmare on Elm Street

Heather Langenkamp’s “acting” was wretched in this.  “Screw your passssss!”  I think the only time she surpassed this feat of horrible hackery was with Nightmare on Elm Street 3.  She was much, much better in 7 when she played herself, but she was herself going through horrors, and was good at that.

But this was the good one, the days when Freddy was still scary and not a gross joke (though I love all the movies…except for 6.  Woof!).  It was, for all its flaws, a great movie and a good concept.  A young, hot Johnny Depp is also featured.  Win-win.  Not a Halloween staple for us, but damn good nonetheless.

The remake went for more realism in Freddy’s burns and…well, it wasn’t that good.  The best things about it were Kellan Lutz, who showed us that even looking like a total crack addict he’s still depressingly hot, and the cute boy from Haunting in Connecticut who, though gothed out, was still fun to watch.

7) The Exorcist and The Exorcist 3

I feel about The Exorcist 2 the way my friend feels about Sex and the City 2 (and I suspect the same amount of makeup was used in one as in the other).  The movie didn’t happen, it doesn’t exist, it is a stain which needs to be wiped from the memories of all who have had the misfortune to lay eyes on it.

The first Exorcist…what can possibly be written here which hasn’t been said or written before?  Not much.  In our religion-obsessed culture, it is the ultimate horror.  For everyone else, it’s the fear of being taken over, of being out of control, of being…well, possessed.  The novel, the movie = terror.  It is widely considered the scariest movie of all time for a reason.

Oh, how that picture and caption bring me back.  I was watching the movie with two of my friends (after another friend claimed he had to go feed his dogs and ran out of the house when the movie bed started to thump).  We were talking about how hard it must be to accept all that, and to stick around in the face of evil to help some poor, innocent girl (who the priests didn’t even know, I might add).  As I mentioned with my assessment of Amityville, I would leave the slower bitches behind as I fled the scene, possibly tripping some of the ones I liked less so that I had a better chance of getting away.  Or I would get all uppity and think I could beat it.  I’m weird that way—balls-out practical or stupidly brave.

Anyway, Father Merrin gets out of his cab in the iconic scene, walks in, says hello to Damien Karras, and the demon screams, “Meeeeerrriiiiin!”

Merrin turns calmly to Damien and says, “I would like you to go down to the rectory…”

And, before I was aware my mouth was even open, I finished his sentence with, “…and get my goddamned cab back.”

We howled.  There are many times my mind bypasses my filter and my cognitive thinking processes and goes straight to my mouth.  Usually, this results in me blurting something I very much mean but know better than to say.  Sometimes, when I’m not scrambling to remove my foot from my mouth, it ends up being pretty damn funny.  This was one of those latter times.

I cannot watch The Exorcist, cannot pass that scene without finishing Father Merrin’s sentence in my head with my own addition and trying to stifle my giggles.  The result is usually something that looks like Regan’s giggle toward the end of the movie.

Enough about that.

This brings me to The Exorcist 3, based on Blatty’s book Legion.  The exorcism was thrown in at the end, apparently, to adhere to the franchise name.  How they got to The Exorcist 3 without ever having a 2 is beyond me.  *stubborn*

This movie is great, but flawed.  I admit that.  It’s also terrifying.  There are some moments which outshine the others.  The flashing of what Beverly and I call “The Joker Jesus” is one of them.  It gave us the chills.  Now…yeah, it can be seen as hokey and too much Joker and not enough Jesus.  The first time I saw it was in a flash on the bottom of the screen as seen from the stairs and it scared me.

Another notable scene is…well, terrifying.  It made Beverly scream like a wounded school girl.  If you haven’t seen the movie, go for it.  If you have, then you will know what I mean.

It still creeps me out and I still look behind me when that scene is over.  No bueno.

8) Trick r Treat

Attention anyone who likes Halloween:

Some people say this movie is overrated.  Those people, however, are incorrect and should be slapped with a frozen salmon until they are unconscious.  If that doesn’t make them see the wonders of this glorious movie, then they are probably incorrigible morons (and most likely brain damaged and smelling of rancid fish) and should be written out of your life forever.  Trust me; you didn’t want Cro-Magnon friends like that, anyway.

You might have guessed that I am a trifle fond of Halloween.  And what would you win if you said such a thing?  Absolutely nothing.  Because if you have gotten this far in this entry, then you know this fact is obvious enough for even the aforementioned brain-damaged, fish-smelling troglodyte to gather (in his slow, lumbering, unable-to-appreciate-a-good-movie sort of way).

Where was I?  Oh yeah.  This movie is one of THE Halloween movies, easily coasting into its rightful place under the original Halloween in our repertoire of essential holiday movies.  It is at least five intertwining stories meshed together in a cohesive ball of goodness.  Sam, the evil twin brother of the main character from Little Big Planet, is the charming little Halloween Sprite who takes us on a journey into greatness.

Sam is the kind of creature I am most likely to reincarnate as.  He gets candy from houses participating in the glorious holiday, gently reprimands those who do not, looks over wayward, bullied children, hangs out with several intensely hot girls, thinks candy is an essential food group (yet retains his figure), and manages all of this on one, beautiful night.

This movie has humor, blood, scares, Autumn, pranks, the spirit of Halloween, and a scene I can guarantee you will never see coming.

And if you claim you did see that scene coming and guessed what was going to happen…you are lying.  I’ll be over with my salmon and Jack-o-lantern sucker as soon as I’m done with this line over here…

9) It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

What?  I can’t like Charlie Brown because of all the other movies on this list?  Bite it.

Halloween essential.  Unless, of course, you have no heart.  If that is the case, then I assume you are busy taking over little children’s bodies and making them vomit, bend, curse, and otherwise horrify their parents (see number 7).

10) H20

There have been many, many sequels to the best Halloween movie ever.  (Uh, John Carpenter’s Halloween.  Duh!)  So many, in fact, that it might be difficult to tell which ones you should watch.

I am here to help.

How do you tell which ones are worth watching?  Look for Jamie Lee Curtis in the cast, but pay close attention!  If it has the number 8 or the word “Resurrection” in the title—THROW IT AWAY.  Do not look at it, do not pay for it, do not humor the studio by viewing this trash.

*slight spoiler alert for the travesty that is number 8, Halloween: Resurrection*

It is my sincere belief that Jamie Lee Curtis looked at the script and said, “Are you fucking kidding me?  You do remember the ending of the last one, right?  Right?  Oh, so that’s the cheap-ass way you’re gonna play it off?  Yeah, kill me.  You heard me.  I will be in this new piece of shit for five fucking minutes and then you will kill my character.  I will have no further part in this travesty.”

*end of pointless spoiler alert*

So, this leaves us with Halloween, Halloween 2, and Halloween: 20 Years Later.

H20 is a lamentably short movie that still does all it needs to.  The body count is low because it’s so good, there is no need for an absurdly high number of kills (I’m looking at YOU, Jason Voorhees).  Jamie Lee Curtis is back, playing the neurotic, alcoholic, pill-popping yet completely functional mess you would expect her to be as someone who had the strength to survive something like that but, you know, had to survive something like that.

The hows and whys of Michael Myers never needed telling, but that blank face and his need to kill his immediate family (tell me you cannot sympathize here) are all you need to know.  His sister has changed her name, moved away, had a kid, and is living in terror that her repeatedly-killed brother will some day pop back up and try to off her again.  She assuages this fear with pills, booze, and the actor you get when you can’t afford George Clooney.

Sure, plot is thin, but if you liked the original Halloween, this one is definitely worth it.

11) Halloween 

The ultimate.  Essential.

The music, the atmosphere, the occasional hammy acting (“I have a place for thaaaaaat.”), the bitchy friends who really sort of deserved to die, the blank-faced mask, that goddamned sit up when Laurie thinks Michael is dead, the atmosphere, everything about this movie is a win.  If you have not seen it…then why the hell are you even reading this list?  Get your ass over to Netflix, Amazon, a more cultured friend’s house, or the asylum from Session 9.  You either need to rectify this travesty or be killed in a horrific fashion.

The remake by Rob Zombie, while offensive on a spiritual level as being totally redundant and unnecessary, was eventually forced upon my unwilling eyes.  I am here to say that it is actually very, very good and done by a man who clearly understands and values the first movie.  Not a Halloween movie essential for us, but good enough for multiple viewings.

The second remake-ish he did, though?  Woof!  Watch it until Michael leaves the hospital.  It is utterly fantastic up until that point.  After that it is a reprehensible waste of time, a trip to a pointlessly white trashified Haddonfield, and the tepid nightmares Papa Smurf probably had when dealing with all those charming blue retards.

I currently am listening to my iPod on random shuffle and the Nan Vernon version of Mr. Sandman came on.  I shit you not.  It is a sign and I must go watch something Halloween, or fill my bathtub with orange and red leaves, crank up the A/C, and talk to a doctor about my addiction to candy corn.

The Battle for My Fifth Grade Soul

One might say that all the horror movies I was subjected to as a child warped me and turned me into the freak I now am.  If so, then I have owe them a huge debt of gratitude.  If it had only been the movies, I might have been okay, but I fear I am a polygamist.  My first and greatest loves are books, specifically horror ones.  They, more than anything, have helped and twisted me into the wonderful, flawed, horrific person I am today. One of my fonder grade school memories stems from a discovery made by my fifth grade teacher (we will call her Mrs. Raghandle) while rummaging through our desks overnight.  I went to a Christian private school, you must understand this, in the days when so many non-nut-job religious people imagined Satanists and sacrifices behind every door, in every alley, and in every house which wasn’t theirs.  So, if the less religious population was afraid of this, you can only guess at the horrors imagined by those who would teach at a religious institution.  It was a time of big hair, geometric shapes, horrid fashion, and some of the greatest movies ever…yes, I am a child of the 80s.

This teacher—I must mention this—sent me to the principal’s office once for saying the word “fart” on the playground.  She claimed it was vulgar and suggested punishment, even though I had never before been in any “serious” trouble, and always had As and Bs in my schoolwork.  This word, this apparent vulgarity, was too much for her delicate ears to bear.  The principal was also scandalized by my potty mouth and sent me home with a note which required signature by one of my parents and a return the very next day—given to her in person.  This was a school where the boys’ hair could not touch our collars, where the girls were not allowed to wear jeans (or pants), and whose skirts must always come to two inches below the knee.  I could go on, but please keep all this in mind as we move forward.  (And, no, I wasn’t at a fucking school for the Amish or for polygamous Mormons.  They were crazy, but not THAT crazy.  *cackle*)

From this time in my life, I can still clearly remember the horrified face of my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Raghandle, a tall, lanky, salt-and-pepper haired woman, when I came in the day after her discovery.  She was horrified, nearly apoplectic, aghast, and in terror for my immortal soul.  She had found two books in my desk: ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King and Will You Die for Me? by Charles “Tex” Watson.

Okay, the second book is the one that would terrify me (and should terrify anyone who has discovered that a fifth grader is reading it).  Still does.  I guess Tex Watson, after his part in the Manson murders, went to prison and found Jesus.  My grandfather, who was very religious, found Watson’s confessions to be inspirational, a sign that his god could touch even the darkest of hearts…or some crap like that.  I just found it utterly, totally terrifying.  Even with a child’s mind, I knew that this was some serious shit.  I read one page—a single page—of Watson’s first-hand account of murdering several innocent, beautiful people and had nightmares for life.  One page.  And it scarred me.  And not in a way I could ever get over.  I have never finished that book and probably never will.  Reality is so much more horrifying than fiction.

That being said, Mrs. Raghandle was not worried about Will You Die for Me?.  Go fucking figure.  She simply did not think that it was that serious, possibly because of the religious connotations therein.  It was ‘Salem’s Lot that crawled up her geriatric ass and sent her into a tizzy.  She was scared that I was reading about demons and vampires and that I was being lured into the waiting arms of Satan.

I feel like I must repeat this insanity.  My teacher was less concerned that I was reading a firsthand account of drugs, orgies, cults, manipulation, and mass murder.  She was more concerned that I was reading a novel about vampires.  (Granted, if it were today, with the ghastly Twilight tripe, her fear might have been justified).

Of course, my 5th grade teacher called my mother.  I was told that the conversation went something like this:

Mrs. Raghandle: Do you know what your son was reading?!?!?!  [I imagine her hands were flailing about her face at this time]

Mother figure: He’s probably reading several things.  Which ones?

Mrs. Raghandle: This…this horror book!  ‘Salem’s Lot!  And this other one, too, this Manson book.

Mother figure:  Oh, the Stephen King book?  Yeah, I know.  But, what was the oth…?

Mrs. Raghandle: Wha-whaaaat?  And you’re okay with that?

Mother figure:  You mean ‘Salem’s Lot?  Uh, yeah.  I checked it out of the library for him.

Mrs. Raghandle:  *terrified whispers, muttered prayer for strength* Well, we don’t think it’s appropriate for him to read.  Especially at school!

Mother figure:  *pause*  And…the other one doesn’t…?  Forget it.  I’ll have him bring one of his Narnia books to school.

Mrs. Raghandle: *sigh of orgasmic relief*  Oh, that’s wonderful.  I think you should talk to him about that evil vampi…

Mother figure:  Yeah, thanks.  ‘Bye!

My mother then calmly turned to me and asked, “Does Grandpa know you borrowed his book?”  I told her that I had borrowed it from my older cousin, who had asked our grandfather to borrow it.  (My cousin is only two years older than me and, as I found out later, had “borrowed” said book in the loosest meaning of the word.  She took it and planned to give it back.  If nobody noticed, all the better).  My mother shrugged and informed me that she thought Tex Watson’s book was a “little too old” for me and that she would like to read it before letting me do so.  She also suggested that I bring my fairy tales or Narnia to school for a while and that, while she didn’t mind me reading ‘Salem’s Lot, I should do it at home.

At school I was subjected to desk checks almost every day for about a month and sporadic ones after that.  My teacher never looked at me the same, as though expecting my head to split open and reveal a throbbing Imp of Evil, large of phallus and weak of morals, ready to leap out and bite at her knobby ankles and poison her, making her just like me.

My mother did read Will You Die for Me? and it gave her nightmares.  My mother was many things, but one thing she was very, very open about was reading.  Perhaps too open.  While she didn’t tell me I was not allowed to read that book, she suggested that I not do so for a few years.  I read that one page again and gave it back to my cousin, who happily returned it to our grandfather.

Being one of the sane persons on my mother’s side of the family and having been warned of the passing around of his book, our grandfather had a talk with us about reality vs. make believe, about real murder vs. movies, and about the horrible things humans could do to other humans.  He was gentle with us, treating our delicate minds with the care they deserved after being exposed to a chunk of very scary, very real evil.  It was a lesson neither of us forgot, and while both my cousin and I still love horror movies and books, reality still scares us.  Because with that awful book, my cousin and I learned that bloody vampires and vicious werewolves and (most) killer clowns were the safe horror.  At those young ages, our grandfather taught us that the real evil lies within the hearts of mankind; not with movies, not with books, and especially not with books about vampires.

Perhaps Mrs. Raghandle could have used a chat with my grandfather.

Loyalty or Delusion?

This question comes to prominence in two areas of my life, both work related. The company I work for has recently gone through a name change.  Most name changes imply one company buying off another or some merging (usually with the convenience and impact of large pigs launched from cannons at one another).  This is not the case here, though the case might be made for that cesspit being full of pigs who need to get in line for said cannons.  It really is just a name change.  We and several other segments of the company are being forced to change our names to a similar root, with a suffix of sorts to indicate what we actually do.  So, in the above analogy, we would all be called PigCannon followed by Lube or Launch or Clean.

Nothing else has changed.  Just the name.  I cannot stress this enough.

Yet, every single day I am informed more times than I have the strength to count that the OLD company, SwineMortar, was infinitely better, their customer service was superior, the wait time to speak to an agent was centuries shorter, and they could get quality pigs at a lower price before SwineMortar was brutally taken over and raped by the folks at PigCannon.  Now, I am not on the phones.  I don’t always deal directly with our customers, so if I hear it so often, what about the poor, defiled PigCannon agents on the phones?

The irony of all this is that there really has only been the most superficial of changes.  Nothing has actually changed in the wait times, the service, the speed of products being shat out (it’s difficult to coax willing pigs in, you see).  Nothing.  It’s like saying that since we painted the building, the offices are booby trapped, there are drug deals in the conference rooms, all the bathrooms have disappeared.

So, are people totally delusional, or are their loyalties so strong that they make up excuses to align with their suppositions?  The customers’ hateful responses have to be due to extreme dementia, recent head injuries, a delusion, or loyalty to the previous name and the perceived company it represented.  I can’t decide which of these options it is.

In the other case of delusion vs. loyalty, a good friend at work (she helps lube up the pigs with me—a prime job within the company, I assure you) has become the target of not one but two scammers.  (Apparently, when you smell of swine, you attract them?)  She’s a widow in her 50s, looks great for her age, and is a caring, sweet individual.  Prime target for scammers.  We will call her Krista.  (For the one reader who knows her, you will realize that my name-changing abilities are laughable with this one).

My opinion is that she needs to stay the fuck off Match.com, because that’s where she met both of these losers.  The first one was obvious, ham-handed, and laughable.  He apparently needs to take Reality 101, because there isn’t a bitch on the planet who would swallow the load of pig slop he was dishing out.  She dropped him in record time, and I was happy for her.  One more pig for the cannon.  *herding him to the front of the line*

Then the newest one.  I don’t know who they sent a picture of, but DAYUM, that man is hot.  He’s probably in his forties, built like a porn star (a hot gay one, not one of those slobs they often wrangle up for some straight porn), hairy chest, close-cropped hair, chiseled jaw line, and just made of Heat and Sexy.  So, if the “model” knows nothing about his picture being used to scam widows, then more power to him (and where can I order one just like him?).  If he does, may he be shoved into a well full of razors and lemon juice.

(Later)

Okay, from now on, I’m writing these entries in a frenzy of activity and not bothering to proofread them, because in the time it takes me to do so, everything changes.  This one has a happy ending, whereas before it was still in process.

My point before was that my friend Krista had fallen for the most recent scammer.  He was a bit more subtle, a lot more credible, and a lot less in a hurry to get to the money issue.  At first, anyway.

The first was saying some crap about needing money to get from England (where he was on a business trip, of course) back to the States.  When my friend wouldn’t give him the money he had asked for (because, as luck would have it, his wallet was stolen and he had no access to his money), he offered the dumbest excuse and solution to any problem ever.  He claimed that his ex-girlfriend in Japan was going to fly him to Japan, give him the money, then fly back with him to the States.

Uh, what was this dude aiming for?  At best, this series of lies was supposed to inspire jealousy which would cause Krista to yank wads of bills out of her snatch like some perverted magician.  “No, I don’t want him to be with his ex!  And she’s coming back with him?!”  *pulling a rabbit made of cash from ‘tween her breasts*

But the stupidity of that wasn’t lost on her.  Her first thought, as was mine, was, “Uuuuuuh, does he need an escort?  Is he Hannibal-goddamned-Lecter?”  It progressed and she eventually became wiser.  She gave him the boot (a.k.a. stopped e-mailing him) and moved on.  I’m beginning to think that he told his scamming boss that he had failed, so the big man came in.

The second guy was supposedly in the military and overseas.  This time, the story revolved around a piece of gold given to him for a saved live, which he failed to declare as he was getting out of the military and coming back to the States to, of course, be with Krista.  He only needed a few thousand dollars to pay the paperwork fees, but since the gold was worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, it would be no issue to pay her back.  *stare*

It gets better.

He claims that he was detained by Customs and imprisoned but had access to his laptop.  And he’s in Ghana.  Of course.  This one e-mailed a copy of a check and a note supposedly allowing her to draw out money from his account, blah, blah, blah.  You can Google this scam and huge amounts of results will come up.

So, Krista got wise to him, eventually, but it depressed her.

Say what you want, but I can’t blame her.  I met my current significant other online and we have been together for almost three years.  You can get attached from chatting online, and there’s no shame in that, but the moral to that is that you have to actually meet.  Otherwise, the guy you’re talking to could be a bucktoothed, half-dead llama whose beef-jerky-smelling hooves had a tendency to strike the right keys.

When it was apparent that she couldn’t conjure money from the ether and wouldn’t cash in her 401k (which he asked her to, of course, with the understanding that he would pay her back…ha!), he mysteriously managed to get out of THAT predicament and is currently in Germany…where he has been told that his bags are too heavy for him to travel any farther.  He has not asked for money…yet.  Would anyone like to take bets on how long it takes?  And for what amount?  Will he claim that he has to pay storage fees?  Will he try the gold nugget bit again?  (The only nugget he has is full of corn and evil and has been flushed with whatever shame he possesses).  For now, he is in Germany.

A very dear friend of mine, Zhaviera, lives entirely too far from me—several states and thousands of miles away.  When my friends and I miss her, we text her, tell her she’s coming over for dinner and that she should get ready.  She texts us back, saying that she’s putting on her shoes and should be ready in an hour.  It’s our delightfully nerdy way of telling her that we miss her.  An hour later, she will text again and say, “Where are you bitches?  I’ve been waiting here with my shoes on for over an hour!”

So, this guy—this scammer trying to take advantage of a woman, a widow, and a friend—would appear to be in Germany.  With his shoes on.  Krista so badly wanted to believe him, so I keep wondering what was motivating her—loyalty, or delusion born from desire?

I have told Krista that she should start messing with this ass-bag right back, and not even bother to strain for verisimilitude like he is:

“Well, my aunt shot her husband for cheating on her with a horse.  But her husband has been dead for three years and her sofa is riddled with bullet holes and teeth marks, so we’re having her committed.  My funds will be tied up for about a month, but I can pay you back for your rooming costs while you’re in Germany.  Since you love me, you can wait, right?”

Or, “I saw Bigfoot and Santa Claus roller skating past me while I was driving near an ocean cliff.  I was so shocked that I drove right off the brink and into the crushing arms of a colossal squid.  I survived by chewing through his eye, but I’m in the hospital right now, typing with a pen, my mouth, and my neck muscles.  I may never walk again unless I have, uh, about three hundred thousand dollars.  I’ll never walk again without you.  Since you love me, I know I can count on you for help.  Yours truly, Krista Ahab.”

I would love to see his response if she started to play Loyalty Make Believe, a.k.a. The Delusion Shuffle.  Perhaps I should put MY shoes on and ninja-kick one not-so-delicately into these scammers' asses.  Sideways.

I just want Krista to realize how important she is to so many people and that, just because someone who typed sweet things to her turned out to be a donkey-fucking troglodyte, doesn't mean that she isn't a wonderful person who deserves to be happy and have her a hot man.

Or three.

Is it November yet?

Now, just writing that title hurts me to the core.  From that title one could rightly infer that I want time to jump ahead to November, thus skipping over the best of all holidays for me—Halloween.  And one would partially be right. Halloween, nay all of October, is the time where my friends and I are the closest.  We all love horror movies and dedicate just about every weekend in October to viewing them together.  We plan our Netflix queues around the month, and we make sure to get our essentials out of the way (Halloween, Trick r Treat, Hocus Pocus, etc.) and many more.  We gather in large groups and watch, cackle, jump, and savor the time.  We carve pumpkins, eat obscene amounts of candy corn, hang out, and just enjoy our time together.  Please don’t think that we’re gothic trolls—wearing too much make up, too much black, and too much shame to go out in public.  We just love Halloween.  It’s something we all look forward to all year and it has to do not only with the time, the scent of autumn, the turning away from the ghastly heat of summer, but with the closeness we have all throughout the year, which is intensified for that month.

So, for me to be leaning forward, reaching toward that time when the Halloween festivities are over and a whole year away, is not only out of character for me, it’s bordering on insanity.  But, nevertheless, that’s what I’m doing, and I’m doing it for various reasons.

First, my writing goals.  I have plans for myself and deadlines I plan to stick to.  November will be a deciding month, one way or another.  Second, because certain things at work will have passed over and the newness of my recent promotion will have worn away, as will the sharp edges of the haters who wish for the promotion I received.

But most of all, the thing which brought me here to this horrible conclusion, this wish for the hastening of time, is, unfortunately, a negative motivator.  November 1st is the absolute earliest that the troglodyte fembot that is my roommate Stacey will be the fuck out of this apartment, the state, and my life.

Stacey and I had The Talk, and it went well.  He has an opportunity to become a yoga instructor in another state where the market is neither crowded nor discerning.  Do I think he’s rushing it?  Yes.  Do I think he’s taking his newest fad and seeing it as an out for all the things he doesn’t like about his life?  Of course.  Am I afraid that he is blundering ahead without aim or thought into a potentially disastrous situation?  Yes.  Am I scared for him because he seems to be skipping along the brink of the Cliffs of Idiocy without a place to stay, an apartment to live in, or an ounce of savings to help him through the hard times?  Yes.

But the one thing in life you cannot control is the actions of others.  And that’s fine.

If you have read almost any of my previous posts, you will know that Stacey seems to be mentally in high school, locked in a desperate struggle to eke out any attention he can get, be it negative, positive, unwillingly given, or baldly reaching.  He’s up to his old antics…well, “old” would imply that he had set them aside for something good, for the smallest sliver of normalcy or tact or decorum.  He has not.   So, he’s up to his typical antics, and this time he seems to have sniffed and gotten high off the musty buttocks of Idiocy and come away high on the fumes which make up his psyche.

His only two friends have fled to another state.  Not, as one might imagine, to get away from Sailor Pretensia, but because one of them is from the state in question and so they decided to move back there.  Never terribly popular, Stacey has since latched onto any of my friends who will allow it in a clinging which would embarrass even the most wanton of giant squid.  He hangs out with one friend of mine in an incidental sort of way.  We will call him…Edwin.  Edwin is one of my best friends ever; I would trust the man with my life.  Edwin used to hang out with Stacey’s two friends who have left the state, so he is in contact with Stacey on an occasional basis.

Stacey was going to go to a concert and asked Edwin if he would go.  Edwin declined but suggested that another friend of ours go, Abel.  Now, Abel is, for his type, rather cute.  He likes younger guys.  Younger CUTE guys.  Stacey is neither young nor cute.  Stacey and Abel went to the concert together and, in typical fashion, Stacey vomited out all the tidbits of information he had ever heard about Abel—someone he likely would never have met or hung out with were it not for a random twist of fate.  So, I get a text from Abel essentially asking how the hell Stacey knew anything about him and why he had called Abel a “twink-obsessed chicken hawk”.  (A line which was said in jest by me to someone else when Stacey happened to be in the room.  It was neither clever nor witty, but it was likely better than Stacey could come up with after a month of meditation and a Google search.)

Now, any human would think, would know, that if he heard two people discussing a friend he had never met and was never intended to, that he shouldn’t puke up anything and everything he had ever heard in an attempt to sound well-informed, popular, and special.  This is called “tact” and/or “discretion”.  I think even Stacey knows this, but his need to seem popular and wonderful and part of the group overrode any sense there was racketing around in the empty cavity that is his head.  Is Abel mad at me?  Who the fuck knows or cares?  I doubt it, because I wasn’t the only one he texted.  He also sent a text to another friend of mine, Katherine.

Now, I know Stacey has heard Kat and I talking about Abel.  Like I mentioned, he just vomited that information out.  Apparently, Stacey is talking to Kat now, which I knew.  How?  Why?  He is offering both Kat and Abel free services at the spa he works at.  If you can’t make friends on your own, win them over with gifts, right?  *sigh*

In the past Stacey has tried to move away in some sudden surge of flightiness.  The first time he gave me three weeks of notice before the lease was up.  The second time he gave me five weeks.  A third time, there were still months and months left in the lease.  He didn’t go ONLY because the jobs he thought he would get fell through and the “friends” he thought he could stay with told him “hell no”.  There was no loyalty or concern for the lease or the bind this would put me in.

Every year that we have lived together he has waited until the last possible moment to sign the lease renewal.  I believe this is to try to give the appearance that he has power.  As I got more and more raises and promotions at work, Stacey started to realize that I COULD live on my own, but it would be a financial hardship.  I have had to ask him, “Are you going to sign the lease or do I have to start packing?”  He would wait a day or so and then sign the lease, but not mention it to me.

It got to the point that two of my friends (Beverly and Zhaviera) told me it was bullshit that I had to constantly wonder from day to day if I would have to pack and get out.

Now, in his chats with Kat, Stacey has informed her that he would NEVER move away without more than a few months’ notice and the lease is ALWAYS signed on time and months and months in advance, at that.  He implied that he gave up on jobs and opportunities because of me.  I heard this offal today and my mouth literally dropped open.  All I could stutter out was, “What…The…Fuck?”  Yeah, I told him off on those occasions, but if that would stop you, then you weren’t serious in the first place.

Now that he’s into yoga and a is better person *cough, FALSE, cough* he has this need to make himself seem more giving and courteous, so he’s repainting the past with the colors of delusion and outright lies.  No rose-tinted glasses here.  These glasses are smeared with shit and the sweat from so boldly lying in the presence of people who are close to me and know what I have had to deal with.

So, he’s doing his damnedest to weasel in on my friends and my space.  I don’t want to come home and look at his face, or to see his car in his parking spot.  Does he really think I want to spend my free time with him?  Well, he doesn’t care…and that’s fine, too.  It’s his life and he can talk to whomever he wants.  I can’t say, “These are MY friends, so stay away, idiot!”

I did purposefully stay away from Stacey’s friends (the two who fled the state—very nice people, indeed) for him, because he’s overly possessive of his friends and has in the past accused me of trying to steal people from him.  *stare*  Well, when you have only two, I imagine you would become rather protective of them.  And that was my decision.  I’m not saying that Stacey should divine from the heavens that I stayed away from his two friends because I didn’t want to hear his shit.  And, even if he had, it’s not his responsibility to do the same for me.  It was my choice so as not to cuss profusely and without coherence if he dared to accuse me of stealing people from him.

*Dot Warner voice*  “I can’t help it if I’m cuuuuuuuuuute!”  *cackle, gagging on my own ego*

But, Stacey is a lonely, desperate creature.  I do feel bad for him, I do.  I also am not threatened by Stacey.  My friends like him in a casual sort of way, because he usually behaves in front of them.  My friends have other friends.  This does not diminish what I have with them or our friendship, or what it is that makes us friends.  They can be friends with Stacey all they want.  I couldn’t stop this and I wouldn’t want to.

But this.  This shit.  It’s horrible—the attention grabbing, the bribing for friendship, the lies to make himself look better, the leaping forward to try getting in their graces, and then the audacity to tell me things about my friends as though I have only just met them.  “Abel is a really nice guy, though.  And he’s cute, too!  And Kat is really funny.  Edwin is really smart!”  (No, I’m not making up the inanity of these statements).

Uh, I’ve smacked Abel’s bare, white ass and had him say raunchy, terrible things to me.  I was in Kat’s wedding.  I helped quiz Edwin when he was studying for the BAR exam.  I know these things about them and more.  It amazes me that Stacey has the audacity to lie to my friends to make himself seem better than he is, to lie about me, to tell me things I already know as though I am a noob and trying to infiltrate HIS group of friends, and to be so pathetic as to offer them free services to hide what he really is—a desperate, fake, pretentious, reaching troglodyte.  If he were just lonely and in need of friends, I could feel sorry for him.  But his tactics are reprehensible, transparent, and sad.  Luckily, I have confidence in my friends to have a sense of reality and see him for what he is.

Yet, I can’t help but wish for the beginning of November, for the exodus of Stacey from my life, and for an end to the painful eye-rolling his very presence induces.  I also can’t wait until these rants here come to an end.  They tire me and very likely my few readers, yet this is the only place I can get them out.

Thank you for reading.

(Several days later)

I debated posting this, and had planned not to, in fact.  Then I heard that, because he is a nice guy, Abel decided he wanted to take Stacey out for dinner because Stacey wouldn’t accept payment for the services he offered in his spa.  Abel asked Kat to go, but she declined because she and I had plans, and important ones at that—watching movie trailers and arranging our Netflix queues for the aforementioned October bonanza of horror.  This is exciting to only Kat and I.  It’s something we look forward to and, to avoid the silent judgment of others at our geeky behavior, we do it alone.  Plus, Kat and Abel knew there was no way I was gonna willingly hang out with Stacey.

The dinner, in fact, is tonight.  Stacey cleaned the front room, did the dishes, threw out the trash, and cleared off the dining room table.  In preparation for what?  I’m frightened to imagine.  Abel is sweet and proposed this dinner to be kind and to pay Stacey back in a way he could.  But, I know Stacey, probably better than anyone.  Seventeen years of friendship where one wears his shallow mind on his sleeve has that effect.  I know all Stacey is thinking is:  Abel + dinner – anyone else = DATE!  He luuuuuuuuuuuvs me!  *swoon*

And that made me both sad and angry.  Not angry at anyone, save myself for being so harsh sometimes, but at the state which Stacey has put himself in.  He has it in him to be a nice guy, to be considerate, to be giving.  And, through that, through that genuineness of heart and of mind, that “real” Stacey, unfettered by hatred or bile or passive aggressiveness or a clinging need to be popular (and not realizing it’s a cry for love from outside, when he needs to love himself, however cliché and dramatic that sounds)…through all that, he could have friends.  He could be well liked.  He could be who he wants.  But he lashes out at those who are constant and caring, unable to accept their kindness.  He hates and festers and has no feelings or pity for anyone, because all those emotions are directed at himself.

And yet even then, Abel wouldn’t touch Stacey because, for all his good qualities, Abel is remarkably shallow when it comes to the boys he swoops in on.  So, tonight is a sad, pathetic journey for one (where more information will be tossed up like a poisoned dinner), and a mission of well-intended kindness for the other.

Why would that make me want to post this even more?  Because I rant too much.  Sometimes it’s funny and sometimes it falls flat, and sometimes it’s whiny.  But it is always one-sided.  And so I wanted to show that, for all Stacey’s negative qualities, there is someone in there worth knowing, trying to claw through the mire of needy, loathsome behavior.  Whether that person will ever have the equilibrium (or equanimity) to come out, who can say?

Here’s hoping.

Olympic Madness

I am not exactly a sports fanatic.  However, like a lethargic werewolf, every four years I spring from my sports ignorance and become some sort of rabid beast, clawing my way toward the television to bask in the madness that is the Olympics.  (This is why I have not been writing.  The van from Satan’s Chute did not make a last successful run at me.) First, the things I do not care about even kinda: basketball (both women’s and especially men’s), cycling, anything involving shooting (especially archery, which I think I’d love, but those bows are practically machine guns—sights, gadgets, magic bowstrings, etc..  Gimme old school 14th century archery and I’m there), weightlifting (though the 105 pound women lifting double their body weight was interesting), men’s beach volleyball, any beach volleyball which doesn’t contain Misty Mae-Treanor and/or Kerri Walsh Jennings, and all the other boring or common stuff.

Second, my favorites are women’s gymnastics, and all the swimming venues.  Usually the men’s gymnastics competitions are just okay for me because I loathe the pommel horse and sometimes the rings bore me.  The high bar can’t be matched, though.  So, expect most of my chattering to be based around these.  I also approve of synchronized diving and diving in general.

Third, I surprise myself by watching crap I would normally change immediately if my TV remote happened to stumble across such atrocities.  Women’s indoor volleyball, men’s indoor volleyball (however brutal), some men’s water polo (and not just for when they get out of the pool), and the rabid fascination with which I watch women’s beach volleyball.

(Later)

Okay, I started writing this on the night of women’s gymnastics team qualifications.  Now tonight they have competed for the team medal.  I know what the final score is, but it hasn’t been shown in its entirety, and I haven’t posted in a while, so I’m gonna try to knuckle this out before much else happens.

Swimming

First, Ryan Lochte has been getting a lot of criticism for not being up to par.  People are saying that his leg of the relay put them in silver position instead of gold, he hasn’t medaled enough, and he’s being okay when he could be great.  First, in the relay, I stand by my opinion that it wasn’t his fault.  He was kicking ass, he was ahead, and then Cracky McSpeed came up behind him like he was Namor, king of the lame underwater people.  I think upon closer examination, you will see that the French athlete actually grew webbed hands and a tail in his quest for gold (Yeah, I know Namor didn’t have these…shut up).  Who could have known that France’s Olympic delegate would have attached an outboard motor to his taint and sprinted ahead of Lochte?  Nobody.  It’s what America did to France in the last Olympics, so people probably need to lay off Lochte (contrary to what most people would actually want to do to him *leer*) and realize that France had an extraordinary race.

Second, Phelps has sucked, but seems to be waking up and realizing that he is at the Olympics and that this is serious business.  It’s about damn time.  Something in me thinks he shouldn’t win everything like he has in the past, just because he hasn’t trained for it.  It’s cocky and presumptuous that he thinks he can win with barely trying.  Then again, he’s the best ever, so there you are.  Kick some more ass, Michael, and show them what you’re made of.

Third, Missy Franklin and Allison Schmitt are the cutest beings to ever grace the planet and I hope they pee on their competition and leave them in their wakes.  (Though that might somewhat diminish their adorable status).

Fourth, I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but the South Korean swimmer Park Tea-hwan should smear feces all over the idiot who said he false started in the heat.  That was never an early start.  Not even kinda.  I’m glad they contested it, that he was reinstated, and that he’s been kicking ass ever since.  I think the judges knew he had done had an early start before and were on his ass, just waiting for him to mess up.  Yeah, right here, assholes.

Fifth, that goddamned post-swim interviewer for NBC, Andrea What’s-Her-Snatch Kremer, needs to be punched in the ear and left to wander aimlessly around until she falls in the pool and drowns, struggling vainly to kick her hateful ass toward the life-sustaining surface. To Lochte she basically said, “It’s your fault, you cheap bastard, so how do you feel knowing you failed your country?”  He said he wasn’t proud, that he could have done better.  She came back and said, “No, really.  You suck my aged taint.  Do you think you will end your life later and spare America the embarrassment of watching your pathetic doggy paddle in the pool?”  To Phelps she all but said, “You licked Mexican stinky balls in that swim.  You know, the race where you didn’t even medal?  Are we going to have to sit through your pedestrian attempts at a race, or should we throw a paraplegic amputee in the pool in your stead?”  When Phelps said he felt like he was doing better she said, “No, really, you are a disgrace.  Do you think you could muster some testosterone outta that squished sac and finally medal?”  Phelps’ response was savvy and coy and I like that.  He should have boxed the bitch in the ear and shoved her toward a pool of Ryan Lochte’s urine.

Men’s Gymnastics

First, NBC sucks.  Seriously.  The US men’s team was amazing in the qualifying competition, coming out first.  Every wiggle, jump, twirl, bulging muscle, and agonizing wait was memorialized on film.  And they came away amazing.  When they ate it in the actual competition, after the insanely hot Danell Leyva fell off the horse, then the inspirational John Orozco fell, a few gymnasts stumbled on the floor, and when poor Orozco fell on the vault…we suddenly didn’t see anything more.  Nothing.  Why is that?  Because the US started sucking, fell to last place, and then rebounded to fifth?  That wasn’t suitable for American television?  Bitches, I don’t want to see them fail, but at least allow us to agonize with them, to experience vicariously their fall and then rebound to a respectable position.  Don’t pan away and pretend it didn’t happen.  We will know.  American television stopped showing Americans.  What the hell?  Then again, I don’t want to criticize NBC much more, or my blog may mysteriously be shut down…  *wide eyes, picking up the book 1984*

Second, Great Britain’s men’s team was amazing.  I’m glad NBC did show them (despite my previous complaint).  Their story was amazing and I was so happy that they got a medal.  The crowd almost had a collective orgasm, and they should have.  There has been no medal in memory for them, and I think that’s great.  That being said, I think as a society we need to see more of Louis Smith.  Seriously, I don’t think I can even say how hot he is without being censored for lack of common decency.  Not only that, but his routine made me care about the pommel horse, which I have never, ever done before.  Seriously, his routine was exciting, and not just because he’s hot.  He was good.

Third, speaking of hot, the US men’s gymnastics team is, quite possibly, the hottest in history.  My initial, pointless, baseless dislike of Jonathan Horton aside, he’s cute.  Then we have Jacob Dalton and the most enormous, gorgeous green eyes ever conceived by man, woman, or beast.  John Orozco is a cutie.  Then we come to Danell Leyva.  Dayum.  I should have realized it before, but while I’m an equal opportunity letch, Danell made me realize that I do have a type mixed in all that inter-racial lusting.  Put him next to stars of a different (NSFW) sort, Leo Forte and Victor Rios, all of which I would be an Alien face-hugger for if introduced to, and you see my secret type emerging.  That being said, I am confused by Danell.  He reportedly sends nekkid pictures to girls, has a series of gay trolls on his Twitter account, and while his lisp seems to be an actual speech impediment, I can’t help but wonder about him.  I watched the video of his head being shaved, and while the thought behind it was noble, the whole thing made me sorta perk up and wonder.  The voice, the mannerisms, the slapping of the hand, the attempted biting, and the faces he made while they shaved his steel wool hair (most of that cracked me the hell up, by the way), it all made me wonder.  Then again, if I had a body like him…hell, if I LOOKED like him, I would be nekkid al the time.  He’s young, hot, a great athlete, and he can do what he wants.  I just prefer he be without clothing while doing so.  I believe Ryan Seacrest would enjoy that interview more…

Fourth, Britain got booted from their silver medal and the Ukraine got booted from a medal entirely because Japan’s star pupil fell, but reportedly did a handstand beforehand.  Uh, I’m no gymnastics judge, but that didn’t look like a handstand to me.  It looked like a spread-legged desperate plea for balance by a diseased fawn who decided to get on the pommel horse.  The athlete in question (whose name I don’t feel like looking up), is undoubtedly an amazing gymnast, but that was not an amazing routine.  Still, the judges thought the plea deal was adequate and put Japan in silver, Britain in bronze, and the Ukraine in hell.  The crowd booed, and a lot (though not as much as the Alexi Nemov debacle in Athens…bastards.  He was robbed.), but it was all for nothing.  China’s team, who I am certain would land in prison for losing, got gold.  (Could you imagine?  “What are you in for?”  “I fell off the pommel horse.”  “Oh, hell…you’re a lifer!”  *soft weeping*)  The Chinese are serious about their gymnastics, and though I didn’t get to see them (thank you not at all, NBC), I’m certain they were absolutely fantastic.

Fifth, because I brought it up, I know it’s been about 900 years since the Athens controversy, but I still hate me some Paul Hamm.  His bar routine was as boring as watching stagnant water evaporate, yet he got a medal over the legendary Alexi Nemov.  (I forget who won gold on that individual apparatus event for high bar, but it was so good that he deserved both gold and silver for it.)  Then the big controversy.  The audacity of saying you are the best all-around male gymnast in the world when you know goddamned well that you won because of a big judging error, makes you a horrifying, spoiled monster, and a model of terrible sportsmanship.  The only thing I can say in his defense is that it wasn’t his fault that the judges sucked in his favor, but when it all came down to it, he knew that he “won” on a technicality, and he should have given his medal to the rightful owner.

His supporters claim that, knowing the South Korean’s score, he dumbed down his routine (did he really?) because he knew he had more room to spare.  So, he deserves a medal for chickening out and not being as good?  Nobody doubts that he’s a great gymnast, not even me with all my bile and hate, but he doesn’t deserve all that he was given.  I just don’t think I could bring myself to claim to be the world’s greatest blogger or writer (for instance) if it turned out someone’s blog address got rerouted to mine, or a book I wrote was mixed with Stephen King’s works and sold amazingly because of it.  It just seems like the same thing to me—taking credit for something you didn’t deserve, no matter how good you may actually be.

I read that Paul Hamm was arrested for assaulting and threatening a cab driver in Ohio.  First, karma is a bitch.  Second, bwahahahaha!  Third, as my infinitely funnier friend said, “How can you threaten ANYONE when you sound like a two year old girl?!”  (You can read her blog here: www.turnbackwhileyoustillcan.wordpress.com)

I was going to go over women’s gymnastics, but I think I will save that for another night.  I have their team medal competition to watch, so I may do that later.  Until then, keep those cantankerous thoughts present, and *fake accent, putting on a terrible pink wig* “May the bile ever be in your throat!”