Friday, August 15, 2008

I Feel More Alive Today Despite This

I had a mix tape of Ryan Adams songs playing in the car while I drove around town today. I thought about how he used to be so much more down to earth in both his music and his public life. He’s kind of spiraled through the world of the famous and beautiful and it seems to have left him dizzy.

While I was listening to the music and enjoying the drive (for the first time in a while), I drove by a large chunk of property that had apparently sprouted a forest of “Auction” signs. It made me immediately angry because most of my town’s beauty has been entirely undermined and nearly destroyed by commerce and industry.

Then I had a thought of how our country (and maybe the rest of the world) has been so corrupted by money and consumerism. Men are busy trying to be God and women are trying to be Mother Nature, then selling and therefore forgetting what they’re trying to emulate. We’re busy recreating the world instead of living in it as it is. This is the root of everything that’s wrong with the world today. Money makes us buy and sell things that are no longer precious to us. We spend trillions of dollars every day trying to adapt the world to us as opposed adapting ourselves to the nature of the planet. And all this makes us lose contact with the ground and the very atmosphere.

What the hell happened? Why do we have this insatiable drive to become masters of everything. Why can no one be content with just being a student of everything? This lust for lordship has even infected those that would ordinarily bring us back to ourselves (like Ryan Adams). I shudder to think how much farther we can take ourselves from the basic joy of being a resident on the planet.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Been bad

Yeah, I've been preoccupied with attempting to find a job, so I haven't been blogging regularly. I'm sure my two readers are destroyed. ;^)

In any case, there will be some new stuff soon. Don't forget about me.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Best Job for the Body.

Something has recently occurred to me, but I'm not sure I should read too much into it because it could likely drive me nuts.

In recent months, I have developed 2 of what a doctor called a "bony prominence." One is on my left elbow and the other is on the heel of my right hand. Where did they come from? Well, probably from me being bored as nuts at work. I tend to lean on my left elbow when I'm at work - partly because my chair is too low and the back is too far back for me to be comfortable. Because of all this, in order to sit up straight (and not strain my back), I have to lean against the desk. As for the one on the heel of my right hand, it is CERTAINLY from using the computer mouse. I rest my hand against the desk and move the mouse with my fingers mostly.

Since I've worked a desk job, I have developed all kinds of aches and pains that I never had before. Granted, much of this may be aging, but I ain't that old yet! I've also gained a lot of weight (again, partially this is aging and quitting smoking). When I started this job, I wore a size 4-6. Now I wear a size 8-10.

The point is that human beings are not meant to be sitting down all the time. Our bodies form reactions against it (i.e. bony prominences). But we're not really supposed to be standing all the time either. Evidence of that is in the 12 or so years I spent in retail jobs and the sorry state of my knees and hips.

Given all this information, I've decided that people really ought to be up and about and doing a variety of things: walking to get places; sitting to eat, rest, and do a few tasks; standing to do a number of tasks. So really the best job for the human body would be something like a park ranger (for a small park where they can walk everywhere) or a curator for a historical site, etc.

So where does that leave those of us with no expertise in these areas? The best way is to start from oneself so in my situation, I'd probably be better off working from home on several projects and pursuits - transcribing, pottery making, writing, living in a place where I can walk most everywhere I need, etc. Of course, this is basically the modern American dream for creative types like myself and my dearest. So it would be nice to be able to settle for an office where you are allowed, given the time & an area, and forced to move around and do various tasks throughout the day. I'm sure some places already do this given the latest health movement that has taken off in recent years, and that's great.

It just seems to me that there could be a better way to work and live. It would be really great if we didn't have to choose "work to live" or "live to work" and we could all just live while we work.

Monday, June 30, 2008

When Passive Ought to be More Agressive

I'm an expert of passive-agressive behavior. I'm more guilty of it than most people. In most situations my thinking is, "Well, I know I can take this thing that's bothering me, but I'm not sure if they can take me telling them I'm bothered. Well, I'd rather deal with this than cause a stink."

But the monarch of passive-agressive behavior is my darling dearest. I'm downright assertive compared to him. Whereas I come to a breaking point fairly quickly when something that has bothered me continues to happen, either he has no breaking point or when it comes, it'll be REEEEAAAALLLY messy.

I've talked to him about this a couple times, but I don't know if he's still being passive-agressive and becoming resentful without me knowing or if he's more tolerant because it's me or if he's getting over things that quickly. Whatever it is, I know he's been annoyed without telling me what was wrong. I've begged him to tell me anytime something I've done or that I have a habit of doing starts to get on his nerves. But he usually just asks me not to nag so much and that's it. I know there's more I do that bothers him. And it's bothering me even more that he won't tell me.

Yes, I can be a nag. Yes, I have asked him not to do some things that bother me, but my thinking is that if we don't get some of these things figured out and settled upon now, it's going to be that much harder to break some of these habits down the road when we may be sharing a living space. He needs to know that I'm NOT always going to be the one to do the dishes and I need to know that I'm NOT going to do this or that thing that may bother him. Maybe he hasn't had the benefit of being so INCREDIBLY run over like have. I know he's been taken advantage of A LOT, but so have I. I've lived in fear of asserting myself in the past and I've learned from it. You DO NOT allow yourself to be run over.

Neither of us should have to put up with it anymore - even from each other.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Days Off are Cool

I'm just blogging right now for the sheer novelty of being able to blog from home.

Yes, at last I have the internet at home. It only took me three years and the threat of office railroading and the fear of being unemployed lest I find a nice cozy MT job. And that sentence is proof that I am very sleepy.

Also had to show off my hair. I finally found a color that actually looks red on my ever-darkening coif.

I dig it even though I look like ass in this picture.

Happy home internetting. :^)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I'm Trying Very Hard not to Freak Out

I'm in a bit of a tizzy lately. I just took my final for my MT certification, and my employers knew I was almost finished. They know I'm leaving as soon as I find a job. It's also in the middle of summer and I work for an AC/HVAC company. Filling in the blanks yet?

Long story short, the company I work for is already looking for my replacement. Which makes me really afraid that I'm going to be booted out of here as soon as we get somebody trained. So now I'm freaking out. I HAVE to find a job SOON. And I have to look and apply to most of these positions online, so I have to get internet at home now. I'm just so worried I'm going to get this internet service, have all these bills and debts to pay, and then lose my job before I can find a new one.

Someone please reassure me or give me a transcription job.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


I've been a very bad blogger. But not without reason. Lately, I've not had enough interesting things going on and too many mundane things going on to do much of anything besides go to dreadful work and go to class and/or work on assignments for class.

But, I'll be done with my MT certification next Tuesday and I'm taking the rest of the week off from after-work activities. Of course, I'll probably still be surfing the web for jobs and hopefully applying electronically. Seriously folks, I can't get out of my current job fast enough. It's driving me apeshit.

Maybe I'll have an epiphany here soon which will give me something to write about. Until then, back to doing my classwork at my job. I'd feel bad about this, but I have little to nothing to do until the higher ups get off their asses and do their part so I can do mine.

Can you tell I'm a little moody today?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Pimpin' My Ride

Such that it is, anyway.

Now that my little car is on the mend and running better (though not perfectly), I've decided it's time to really show her a good time. It seems a shame to spend that much money on her and have her still look pitiful. When I get my state tax refund, I'm going to put most, if not all of it towards my little car.

Step 1 - Take her to Appleshine and get her washed inside and out - I'm talking a wax and Windex for the windshield, the works.

Step 2 - Get new wiper blades. The ones she has now are pitiful.

Step 3 - Accessorize! Seat covers to cover the less-than-lovely upholstery, a steering wheel cover to prevent further funkiness of the wheel, new floor board mats (because the old ones are NASTY), and a lovely scented thingy to hang from the rearview - or something. She still smells like cigarette smoke - ick.

Step 4 - Tuneage. It may be a little while before this happens, but I'm sick and tired of the trunk-mounted CD changer constantly skipping and I'm sick of being forced to listen to crappy radio all the time - so I called a car audio shop in town and got an idea of cost for replacing the radio and getting an in-dash CD player. It wasn't nearly as bad as I feared it might be, so that's going to be done after I make a couple payments on my credit card.

I'm hoping that I can manage to be a better car owner. I've been very negligent of my little chariot, and it's up and bitten me in the ass a couple times. It's time to be nice and hope for no further ass bites.

I'm still slightly obsessed with Nick Cave, so here's "Do You Love Me?" He's such a badass.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Give me a Break

My back and shoulders have been killing me today, despite the fact that I haven't really exerted them - certainly not to warrent this kind of pain.

Then I realized why. It's probably because I spent pretty much the entire day yesterday in knots. I don't think I've ever been so tense in my life.

And why would an otherwise laid-back person be so tense? Because her friggin' car is dead.

Yeah, my dear little Zelphia blew a head gasket and cracked a head. We thought it was just a water pump, but once they had that on, they discovered this other dreadful malady. It's going to cost over a grand to fix, but I guess we're getting it fixed so I can at least get a decent trade on it. Zelphia has been suffering for a while because her caretaker is a loser who doesn't pay much attention to car health because she has a gazillion other things to think about. The temperature gauge never went up, so I have no idea of when or how this happened - maybe the whole not-having-any-water-in-it thing had something to do with it. I did put some water in the resevoir not too long ago, but I reckon the pump was that far gone. *sigh*

After I found all this out on Monday, I came home to discover that my doctor's office STILL thinks I owe them over $200 for a yearly exam that should have been totally covered by my insurance.

Oh yeah, and then I went to see my Dad for a minute so he could check the fluids on the car I'm loaning from them, and instead of the sympathy I needed, I got another reminder that it's probably my fault that I don't have a good enough job to afford to buy a new car. "Considering some of the choices you've made..." was what I got. He didn't mean it to be that mean. It's just how my daddy is - blunt and tactless. Gotta love him. I know it's true and I know I've made some bad decisions - I'm probably too aware of it. But his reenforcement of this did make me VERY angry and upset and I ended up having to throw keys and head to the bathroom to cry. Thanks a ton Daddy.

My mind stayed on all these things all day yesterday, and work didn't help matters - especially since this is my big payables week. I was near tears for probably half the day and I couldn't stop mentally beating myself up. Then I had to go to class to transcribe endocrinology reports which are often bad news and I feel bad for the patients even though the dictations I have are probably over 5 years old.

So as a result, my back hurts today. I've decided that after work, I'm going home, cleaning my kitchen, fixing a real meal, and working on my classwork so I can't be mad at myself for letting these usual tasks go unfinished - then I'm playin' Sims where I can type in a code to get more money and my only concerns are how to get my little characters to bed before they pass out on the floor.

Fun times.

Seeing this made me feel better today. Nick Cave cures what ails you.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Just a Brief Word on the Smokies

Corey and I had an absolute blast last weekend. It was the perfect way to celebrate our birthdays and our anniversary.

For some reason, however, I just don't feel like divulging any details really. Not that the details are all that graphic or boring. I just don't feel like it. Call it laziness, call it whatever you will.

Just a few points of interest and a couple pics:

1. If you're staying somewhere with a hot tub and you start coughing from all the chlorine fumes in the tub, don't stay in for four hours.

2. Don't drink half a bottle of Gentleman Jack in a hot tub with too much chlorine (see #1).

3. Chlorine burn sucks (see #s 1&2)

4. If the description of the trail says "Easy to Moderate" NEVER count on it being more easy than moderate.

5. Grown men will squeal like girls if surprised by two King snakes impersonating rattle snakes.

6. Stay away from the trail edge if it's covered in leaves.

7. Log cabins in the middle of nowhere really are marvelous vacation spots (despite and even because of creeks you have to ford to get there).

8. McKay's Used Books and CDs is the happiest place on earth.

9. 30 is not so bad.

10. My boyfriend is the coolest man in the world.

There were pretty flowers everywhere. :^)
Corey might decide to hibernate.
Have Booney hat and water shoes, will travel.
Obligitory kissy pic.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Ideas and Anticipation

This is going to be the slowest three days of work ever.

I can't WAIT until Thursday. I'm sitting here in the midst of a bunch of loud rednecks who consider themselves masters of the universe and I'm itching to get out of here. I'm turning up the Incubus song playing from my mixed CD, but anytime I play music here at work, it just kind of adds to the chaos that my ears can't handle. I just wish they'd duck back into their offices so their inordinately loud voices would be muffled some.

This little trip up to the mountains will be such a relief. I've been spending my (hours of) down time looking up trails near the cabin where we're staying. With every picture of some gorgeous waterfall, the anticipation has been building and building until I just had to stop my search lest I run screaming out the office door.

I try not to be so melodramatic about my job, and really try to get over myself and stop being so miserable at the office, but lately it's been more than I can rein in. I manage to maintain composure, but I swear there are some days when I think I'm just going to crawl right out of my skin. I'm not built to be sitting tied to a desk all the time. I'm built to be out exploring and recording and doing a little bit of everything. I'm sure everybody says that, though.

Before I start in with all the complaining again (I'm really sorry I complain all the time - I tell Corey that on a daily basis, bless his heart), let me just say that I'm uber excited about the trip. I'm sure for some folks this kind of trip is nothing, but this is the first REAL vacation I've had in nearly two years. And the one two years ago was only a weekend. This is 4 days - not much more than a weekend, but I'll take it.

Also, I came up with an idea. I think it's an idea. I kind of want to start a blog of short fiction, but with kind of a theme. I don't want to say anything about it until I really start working on it, but I think I might like to get someone to help me out and do illustrations - make it kind of a mix of an e-zine, blog, literary site type thing - maybe even expand the theme to include other media. We'll see. Anyway, it's in my head cooking. I'm going to attempt to write a few introductory things while we're in the mountains (if I can miraculously figure out how to write short fiction at the same time).

Maybe after this trip I won't be all complainy - here's hoping.

Don't ask me why I felt like posting this, but it just popped into my head and I like it.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

In about 3 weeks, the downward slide begins.

I am an old timer, old timer
It's too late to die young now
Old timer, five and dimer
Trying to find a way to age like wine somehow

I don't know if I'd consider myself an old timer, but here I am looking up at it; almost even with my line of sight.

Yep, the big 3-0. I'm still not sure how I feel about it. Corey keeps telling me that I'll like it better on the other side. He's probably right. The more I think about it, the more I realize that I just want to go ahead and be 30 and not worry about it.

The only thing that has been bugging me about my age lately is my career situation (or my lack thereof) compared to that of many people I know that are the same age or younger. It seems like all of my old friends that find me on myspace or facebook are very successful. They have great jobs that they like (if they don't love it) that pay very well. I get so embarassed to tell them that I've accomplished dick-all and that I can't even get it together enough to buy a house. In high school and college, everyone expected me to move way away from Calhoun and become successful in one way or another. Well, me too kids.

I guess I still kind of feel like a kid. I know that it keeps me young and blah, blah, but it also makes me feel like a slacker, a loser, a failure. It's taken me way too long to grow up. The thing that kills me is that I shouldn't be like this. I'm too smart to be in this (lack of) situation. At least that's what I keep telling myself.

At least I'm almost finished with the MT certification. Hopefully I'll find a job fairly quickly and start being less of a loser.

Forgetting all that, Corey and I are celebrating our birthdays in style (he'll be 35). We're heading up to a cabin in the woods to spend several days away from EVERYTHING and EVERYBODY because we need it. We're not even telling anybody where we're going. The reply is "somewhere in the Smokies." We're heading up on his birthday, coming home on mine, and in the middle, we'll be celebrating our one-year anniversary. It's a package celebration, and we're doing it up right.

I'm hoping and praying that my 30s will be as enjoyable as the way I'm starting them.

I couldn't find the Todd Snider song I quoted above ("Age Like Wine"), but I found this great video of him doing Seattle Grunge Rock Blues and telling a story.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spring Cleaning - Phase 1

Didn't know what I was I looking for
Maybe just a blanket or artifacts

I'm such a mess that I always have to take my cleaning in phases. I don't do it very often, but when I do, it's always a major to-do. Corey calls it "puttering," and when I'm in "putter mode" he knows better than to distract me too much because I'm on a mission.

It all started when I got a new bookcase. I put it togther and put it in the spot I had designated for it (next to the TV - in plain sight from my chair a.k.a. the command center) only to discover that the damn thing was crooked. I know it wasn't my fault - it's just a cheap bookcase whose parts were not measured properly. If I was in a real house that I actually owned and wanted to actually decorate, I would have just tossed it and gotten a better one - but since it doesn't really matter at this point what my apartment looks like, I figured I'd make the best of it and just switch it out with my other (nicer) bookcase so I wouldn't have to see it all the time and be annoyed by its crookedness.

In order to fill my bookcases the way I wanted them, I had to go through and toss some stuff. I'm not amazed at how much crap I've accumulated, but I marveled at the stuff I've kept for so long.

This got me to thinking about how you let go of certain things at certain stages of your life. Things and pieces of paper I couldn't let go of two years ago when I moved in were suddenly utterly disposable to me.

For example, I've had so much teaching stuff for so long that I just didn't throw away for some reason - like maybe I'd need it if I decided to teach again or if I might want to tutor. But now that stuff just seems like a burden. I know I never want to teach again, so it was easy to let go of this time. I also came across about half a dozen packets from the graduate school at UNCG that I had held onto. It just seemed silly to keep them now. That doesn't mean that I've given up on grad school, but it does mean that practicality has taken over - because most of the info in those packets has changed by now.

But then, I had all kinds of stuff from high school - a copy of a poem my first boyfriend had written for the high school literary magazine, worksheets I thought contained useful information, etc. I had lesson plans and writing cues I had sketched out for a creative writing class I thought about teaching a couple years ago. I still can't throw any of those away. And it's impossible for me to willfully throw away any blank paper - there are just too many possiblities and too much promise for a blank piece of paper.

I reckon some things are impossible to toss.

Although the dancin' dude is distracting, this is a great version of "Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart" by Whiskeytown.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Where Blogs Cross Over

I wanted to post this here because I forgot how much I think I like this segment of my unnamed novel that I haven't even really developed yet. I think I'll really like this character though.

I wrote this a year or so ago, and I recently had another idea about it, so I took out this section to look at it and get my bearings again. Again, I forgot how much I think I like it.

So please leave some feedback - even if it's negative. I won't be (too) mad at you if you don't like it. And whatever you may suggest, I'll probably agree with it. Just let me know what you think.

The old place still looked the same, if not a little neglected. Owen had bought it five years ago to celebrate his debut album going platinum - and to celebrate expendable income. All of his friends and “people” thought he was nuts to keep it. He was hardly ever here. But this was one of those times when he needed it more than he could ever explain to his “people.”

The very concept of “people” seemed so distant up here in the wild Smokies. Owen was thankful for it. His people had become more like a mob begging to be warmed in his celebrity’s light. One thing no one could understand - barely even himself - was that he absolutely could not forget his roots. As much as he tried to play the part of brilliant balladeer and badass rocker, he still felt backwoods among all the glittery hoopla of being the focus of the public’s eye.

He dropped his bags where he stood in the middle of the small living room. It was obvious that the cleaning service he had hired to give the place a good spit and shine before his arrival had come and gone - and had actually done an amazing job. Everything was as he left it over a year ago when he came with Shayla. He had been afraid the sight of the hearth rug would bring back the pain of beautiful memories that could only be memories from now on. But it was as if she’d never existed. He’d written his way out of the funk, screamed his pain in a digital riot, toured with it, and grown tired of it. Well. At least he’d gotten his third album out of it. A good one, if he did say so himself.

Owen inhaled the old familiar scent of aged lumber and collapsed on the large corduroy couch. He smiled to himself in the promise of a good solid two months of enjoying the cabin he secretly regarded as his home. He loved the place. Wood, real fabric, stone, a porch. His apartment in Nashville was nice, and he enjoyed it. But it just didn’t feel right for some reason. It seemed to be fabricated instead of built. Not sterile or false, but…sugar-coated. Those country roots showing again. But the critics (the friendly ones anyway) always said that was part of what made his music so good. Well, it used to anyway.

Writer’s block. A dam holding up the river of his genius. Blah Blah. That was why he was here, wasn’t it? To remember the bard within. Wasn’t that the bullshit line he’d fed his management? Seemed to work because it was partly true. The other part wasn’t quite as clear even to Owen. But again, he was here to figure all that out. In the meantime, didn’t he leave an unopened bottle of Jack Daniels in the kitchen last year?

Owen peeled himself off the couch and ambled into the small, but fully-equipped kitchen. Shit. Owen mused. I might actually be able to cook a real meal while I’m here. Another residual effect of a mountain upbringing: the desire for a good home-cooked meal. How long had it been? Owen decided not to even consider that, and instead started making a mental list of the things he’d get at the grocery store in town. First things first, though.

He took his bottle of Jack out onto the back porch. He smiled at the very sight of his beloved hot tub. Just big enough for two, built-in fridge, built-in stereo. Hallelujah for the science of luxury. He set his whiskey down on the porch floor and struggled for a few minutes to remove the hot tub’s cover. He smiled. The cleaning service had not forgotten his request to get the hot tub ready. God bless ‘em. Fame and money sometimes had their perks. Owen started to head back into the house to fetch his CD wallet, but decided he needed to reacquaint himself with the music of the woods. So he turned the jets on, stripped down to nothing, grabbed his whiskey, and hopped into the steaming, bubbling water. “Oh fuck yeah,” he moaned.

He settled into one of the molded fiberglass lounges, lay his head back and looked up at the sky. He had forgotten how a sky full of stars fringed by trees could make him feel all that he was. Perspective became a study and the world reminded him that he was on it. Owen sighed as he opened his ears to the sound of crickets, cicadas, and the occasional night bird. The breeze dragged its delicate honeysuckle fingers over his scruffy face and through his wild black curls. He practically shuddered with the tenable glory of the sensation. Oh God, why can’t I stay here longer? It never seemed to be long enough. He always got used to something just in time for it to change. Stop it. Just be, y’ moron.

Owen spent nearly an hour watching the brilliant, big sliver of moon shrink, climb the sky, and change color from orange to yellow to milky white. He was just beginning to doze off when he swore he heard the faintest hint of a guitar playing over the ridge. Something bittersweet and beautiful. He decided that the half bottle of whiskey he had killed was sending him back on tour. Fearful of drowning with the memory of the tour rushing through his veins, he dragged himself out of the hot tub bound for his bed.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Spring's A-Comin'

And I'm thrilled. I really hate hot weather, but I hate a lull even more. And everything has been in a lull lately.

But all that seems to be changing, thank goodness. The season is shrugging off its overcoat and coming out to play. And it's about damn time. Suddenly everything seems to be waking up, including me.

My brian has been sparking with ideas for my books and stories ever since I started working on my little inspiration project, Corey and I are getting geared up for a lot of hiking and our little vacation in April. I've only got one more quarter left of classes after this one (THANK GOD), and suddenly I'm energized. I'm itching to do some spring cleaning, I feel the need to get rid of some stuff, and I want to discover new things and ideas and moments.

It's a-comin' y'all. Hope you're ready for it. :^)

By the way, new post on my live journal if you're so inclined.

Yay Spring!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Why are we surrounded by crazy people?

Toys in the attic,
I am crazy.
Truly gone fishing.
They must have taken my marbles away.
Toys in the attic, he is crazy.

I'll just be brief here and explain none of the circumstances because thinking and worrying about it any further might put me over the edge too.

Corey and I and a couple of my friends and I have often discussed the fact that we are indeed surrounded by crazy people. It's like we have a big damn "kick me with the crazy" sign on our backs. Many (a majority) of the people we know and are even friends with are completely out of their minds and in a constant state of emotional train wreckage.

What the hell? How did this happen, and why is everybody suddenly afflicted with the mental illness du jour? I don't know about y'all, but I'm sick and tired of all the crazy. On a broader scale, I'm sick and tired of half the population claiming to be either "bi-polar" or "emotionally unstable." I totally understand that some folks are truly ill and in need of help, but most others are just being pussies.

Why the hell can't folks just learn how to get over themselves and deal with it?

By the way, new post on my Livejournal blog.

Here's The Trial scene in The Wall (from whence the above lyrics came). If the weird animation is going to offend you, don't watch it.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Do what?

I'm hearing right and wrong so clearly
there must be more than this
it's only in uncertaintythat we're naked and alive

Anyone who has spent any amount of time with me knows that I'm practically deaf. At least, I'm sure it seems that way. During any given conversation, my friends generally hear me say the words, "I'm sorry?", "Do what?", "What was that?", "What, What?!" or some variation at least three times. At the very least. Corey kind of likes it because he says he usually has a chance to change his wording. :^p Cheeky man.

When I was about 19, I had my tonsils cut out. The ENT who did the tonsillectomy ran a number of tests on me including a hearing test. He discovered that I'm way below average at certain pitches (mostly high pitches, and a few of the really low pitches), and he even ran a few additional tests for some sort of hearing disorder that tends to strike 19-year-old women, but that came out negative. I barely even noticed the problem until I was about 26 or 27, and since then it's just gotten worse.

Anytime I tell my mom about some event in which I had to ask someone to repeat him or herself, she understands. She has the same problem. Both of us have an especially hard time in noisy surroundings. Sounds combine and become distorted and we either don't hear what's being said or we hear things that aren't there. This happens to me CONSTANTLY. Most often, it happens when I'm in the bathroom and either the water's running or the heater or air conditioner is running. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten out of the shower to see if I'd left a radio on because I often think I hear music. I embarassed myself in front of a lot of the men in our noisy shop at work a couple weeks ago. I was standing in one of the dock doors about halfway outside, and I swore I heard my office manager call somebody on the intercom. When I asked the men what she said, they looked at me like I was nuts and then laughed their asses off at me.

I don't know that it's bad enough yet to go back to the ENT with the problem. I guess I'm partially afraid he'll have me in a hearing aid before you can say "feedback." All I know is that it is highly obnoxious. I feel horrible when I have to ask folks on the phone at work to repeat themselves, and I feel really horrible when Corey says something I don't hear and he says "nevermind" when I ask him to repeat himself. I'm afraid I look horribly rude when I get tired of asking folks to repeat and end up filling in the blanks or only half-listening. It gets exhausting sometimes.

Luckily, I don't seem to have much of a problem with the medical transcription. I suppose it helps that the sound is right there in my ear and the earphones obstruct a little bit of ambiant noise. I have noticed a marked difference between my right and left ears thought. My right is much worse, and I think my mom's right ear is worse too. We laugh together when one of us sees the other turn her head to put the "good ear" in better range of the person who's speaking. Clearly this is a hereditary thing.

The strangest thing of all, though, is that sometimes - after a yawn usually - I seem to have super hearing. Either that or regular hearing sounds super to me. This used to lead me to believe all my problems would be solved with a bit of a professional ear cleaning, but anytime I've had that done, it fixed the problem long enough for me to leave the doctor's office.

I also used to think that the size of my ears contributed (I have really small ears). But I've since taken a class in which I was subjected to the obnoxious instructor's questioning about what she called my "hearing loss." I suppose she thought I was a kindred soul since she had hearing problems as well. In any case, she raised the point about a disorder in which two of the middle ear bones become fused or stuck and therefore don't efficiently carry the sound to your ear drum - which leads to (you guessed it) distortion in middle ranges.

Anyway, now that I've rambled, I come to the point. The next time you're annoyed by someone asking you to repeat something or by their habit of turning their head when you speak to them, just remember that they're every bit as annoyed (if not moreso) as you are.

I couldn't find a video of "That Voice Again" by Peter Gabriel (from whence my opening quote came), but I love this song and this video - "Red Rain." Gotta give the man serious props.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Literature of the Vapid

If dreams are like movies
then memories are films about ghosts

At the risk of sounding too "wah wah, poor me *sniff* *sniff*", I typed this up last night. I just want to note that I don't consider myself to be all that liberal or "damn the man". If you know me personally, you know I don't tolerate slack-asses and I have no respect for those who just sit on their asses, smoke weed, complain about the world/society, and do nothing (whatsoever) about it.

I’m taking a document processing class online as many of you know. In this class, we have to do a lot of timed writings (which I absolutely hate, by the way) and a lot of typing out of “office” documents. While I was plugging away in the usual fashion tonight, I noticed a disturbing trend. Of course I’ve noticed it before, but it had never gotten to me as much as it did tonight.

It’s absolutely horrible to type words like “effective” and “procedure” and “analyzing” and “productive” and “benefit” over and over again. You just want to yell at the copy, “TRY SOME DIFFERENT FRIGGIN’ WORDS, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!”

I got to thinking about business English and newspaper English and “teacher” English and the dreadful entity that is Word Grammar Check. I realized that these vapid, irritatingly PC uses of English are becoming the norm. Why? Because the beauty of the written word has been replaced by the easiest way to write and understand the written word. Long, heart-felt, beautifully penned letters have been replaced by staccato e-mails. Thought-provoking stories have been replaced by flash fiction. What happened, English speakers?

Granted, I do it too – I send those choppy e-mails and have made attempts (poor ones) at flash fiction. It all comes down to time. Nobody has the time to spend on eloquent turns of phrase. Even those of us who really WANT to spend the time aren’t able to because we have become obsolete. We’re forced to work at jobs we hate and to move with the folks in the fast lane – because it’s the only way to survive these days. We know we could do so much more with this time spent keeping up, but we never seem to get it, so we end up just like everyone else. Is this the reason for a recent lack of true classics?

How many would-be novelists, painters, musicians, playwrights, dancers and actors are too busy keeping their heads above water to work on their true calling? How many creative children aren’t allowed to create in favor of classes that only help them pass standardized tests (and don’t truly teach them anything)?

I don’t have a solution to offer on this subject. All I know is that I don’t mind staying up until 2 a.m. and being a little late for work for the sake of my art. And I know that it disturbs me that I’m forced to do that.

This is not to say that I don’t believe in hard work or that I’m lazy. I do believe in hard work – very much so. And I’m only lazy when I feel the strain of all this “keeping up.” I just feel like a lot of folks would be better off (and the world would be better off) if our society had a little more respect for those of us of the right-brained persuasion.

"Mrs. Potter's Lullaby" Probably the best Counting Crows song post-August and Everything After

Friday, February 1, 2008

"'s the family?"

i've never been one for too much conversation
but now i choose my words so carefully

"Hey Jennifer"
"Oh, Hey Maya! How're you?"

And that's where my conversation skills end.

The above (beginning of a) conversation took place at the Wal-Mart last weekend. I ran into an old friend from high school who I actually see fairly often when I'm out and about. It seems like I would know how to talk to her since I've known her pretty much my entire life. But when I started updating her on things, I realized that I had absolutely no idea of what I was saying. Still, I did pretty well when she updated me. I told her I was proud of a new project she was starting and I offered to volunteer when her non-profit takes off. But then I didn't know what to add - so I kind of repeated myself. And I said goodbye feeling like I had shown up at a black tie party wearing flannel and hiking boots.

I have NEVER been very good at talking to people. I HATE crowded parties and I HATE trying to come up with pleasantries when I unexpectedly run into a person. It's not that I don't enjoy seeing these folks or people-watching at the party. It's just that you're always expected to make small talk at these things. I have no idea of how to do it - or rather, I have no natural gift for it. If I try, I usually end up making a complete fool of myself and I reflect back on the attempt and feel every bit as embarassed and mortified as I did at the time when it happened.

On the other hand, I'm very good just one on one, talking "non" small talk, and people are always coming to me for advice on their problems - probably because I listen more than I talk. And of course, I have no problem with my friends. That, and for some reason, there are some strangers I can just talk to. I have no idea of what the difference is. Maybe my intuition is telling me, "Hey, here's your chance to prove that you're not a social leper." I'm brilliant with these people.

It's just the other 99.9% of the population I need to work on.

I've been making attempts to improve my social skills the past few years since I realized exactly how snooty I must appear if I don't talk to people. In the past, I didn't need to talk to people because my mother usually took the burdon of small talk. But now that I'm an adult and (for all intents and purposes) a key representative of my family, I have to step up.

In addition to the family need to learn how to make small talk, there's a horribly unfair pressure for Southern female office workers to gossip and know everything that's going on with coworkers, their kids, and their families. I really really try, but they can sense that I'm not really interested in their mother's horrible case of gout. Yes, I'm sorry that your mother is suffering, but I don't know how to have a whole conversation about it. And yes, it's wonderful that your kid is doing well in Math, but I don't have any kids to trade stories about. Same thing goes for husbands and in-laws. And all this makes me look anti-social, snooty, selfish, or just plain mean.

But that's never the case. I love people. I love to people-watch. I'm a novelist, and I get ideas from people - characters even. I'm constantly amazed (but never shocked) by the things that people can come up with and the things they do. I'm fascinated by any new personality type or idiosyncracy that I haven't encountered before. I love it when people surprise me. I can even forgive and understand people I don't like, and I appreciate the experience in dealing with difficult people.

I just don't quite know how to show it.

So this is one of my "self-improvement" topics for the coming year. I'll practice a little, and maybe learn how don't to be so nervous-talky when I see people.

So if you see me out and about somewhere, and you leave the conversation thinking, "Is she okay?" - just remember: I'm learning.

And you can learn about Cory Branan doing "Miss Ferguson"

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Food and Pharmaceuticals

Now the drugs don't work
They just make you worse
But I know I'll see your face again

So I started taking Wellbutrin today to help me quit smoking. I've taken it before, but it's been a long time. I took in college when I tried to quit back then. But all my friends smoked then, I had three papers due a week, and I really just didn't want to quit. Now that my life is evened out a little, it should be easier to stay quit.

Anyway, I don't remember it making me feel so...odd. I do remember that it made me very...flat, I guess is the word. I tended to stay in one very mild attitude all day. That actually seems to be happening again. I don't really like it, but it's not like this is a long-term thing. But still, I do feel a little wonky.

Last time, it also seemed to really help me focus and to maintain an extremely high level of concentration. I'm kind of waiting on that to kick in. Not seeing it yet. Same thing with the suppression of my appetite.

I'm supposed to start smoking two fewer cigarettes a day. To do that, I took two out of a new pack and I'm limiting myself to that pack for my entire day today. I don't really feel any great longing for a cigarette, but I do want to get up and go to the back for a cigarette. I don't know how I'm going to cure myself of that. I might just start telling my office manager I'm going outside and just walk around for a little bit. I don't know.

On a completely unrelated and random note, I felt the need to share my odd creation.

I'm an experimental cook. I rarely follow a recipe to the letter and I like to come up with my own ideas for dishes. Last night I had some leftover vegetable broth, spinach, some chicken that had been in my freezer a while, and less than half a bag of egg noodles, so I made a sort of chicken noodle soup.

Here's what I did:

I marinaded the chicken in my usual soy sauce/red wine vinegar/poultry seasoning/dill marinade and grilled it on the Foreman grill.

I browned some onion and wilted the spinach in a very tiny bit of olive oil, then added what was left of the vegetable broth, the rest of the marinade, the cooked chicken and the cooked noodles. I made sure to boil the soup to make sure all the chicken juices from marinade were heated enough.

It was actually very good. I was afraid the soy from the marinade was a little too much, but Corey said it was a perfect amount. Anyway, I love coming up with something good from leftovers.

Wish me luck on the quitting smoking, y'all. I'll need it.

And now...The Verve

Monday, January 14, 2008

Projecty Princess

What's he building in there?
What the hell is he building
In there?
He has subscriptions to those
Magazines... He never
Waves when he goes by
He's hiding something from
The rest of us... He's all
To himself...

Probably the weirdest lyrics I've ever posted from one of the weirdest of Tom Waits' songs (and that's pretty damn weird). Gotta love him.

Now that I'm mostly over my extraordinarily obnoxious illness (whatever it was), I've got some newfound energy (except for when I've just taken some Robotussin to get rid of what's left of the congestion) and a fire has been lit under my ass to do some stuff.

How and when I'm going to do them is another question entirely. Classes have started back and I'm busy pretty much every night of the week except Friday. No rest for the weary, you know. I've got Medical Document Processing until 10:30 and on the nights I don't have that class, I have to go to the CVT library to work on assignments for my online class.

But I still feel the need to make oatmeal chocolate chip cookies at some point this week. Now that I've broken in my new printer by putting together notebooks for my class, I'm itching to do some fun desktop publishing. With all this focus on learning medical roots, prefixes, and suffixes, my mind's turning literary too. I want to work on my novels, I want to cook and try out new recipes.

I know I complain about this a great deal and I'm sorry, so I'll stop now.

But another note of interest:

After my physical Friday, I got my prescription for my stop-smoking drugs. I've tried it before (Wellbutrin) and had a great deal of success with it (I was quit for 3 months), but I was still in college and I wasn't at all looking forward to quitting. Now I am.

So starting next week, I will be taking the pills and smoking two fewer cigarettes per day. And doing a lot of munching on carrot sticks and playing with mint or teatree-soaked toothpicks. I must apologize beforehand for the likely vitriol-splattered blogs I will probably post while in the process of quitting. It's not me talking, it's the withdrawal. Just remember that.

One more thing:

My new hair color. It's not a whole lot different, but it's darker and it's redder (if you can tell at all in this pic). I look dreadful because this was taken before bed last night. Let's hope my overall appearance will improve as well as my health when I quit smoking.
Love your Tom Waits

What would you most like to see on my new website for unpublished writers?