Sunday, November 30, 2008

Final Final-Post 30 for 30dow

This post has a few different assignments. I'll try to hit them all: 
1. 3 favorite topics
That one where a part describes a whole.
The Craigslist post.
Making up a day to celebrate.

2. 2 least favorite topics
I didn't like the pun one. 

3. What I learned
I learned that I can write a bunch when prompted, but I really hate word minimums of 1000 words when I'm also trying to write 1,667 words for another project every day. I'm also reluctant to write about real people in blogs, so I prefer fiction. 

4. Other comments
This was a lot of fun, but I wouldn't recommend it to others' in months that they have a lot going on (getting married, popping out some offspring, big project at work, writing a novel) because you can come to resent the daily assignments. 

5. Will I do this in Jan?
Probably not this next round.  I think I want to sit one out and concentrate on my other crafts. 

6. My style with examples
Sarcastic (National Prison Industrial Complex Day and the nerdy hook-up on Craigslist)
Prone to Melodrama (Day by Day Armageddon post about the zombie attack instead of writing about my actual life and the post where the chicken kills a bunch of humans while crossing the road)
Simple (I can't think of many actual examples, but I don't use big words. Also, I think with my gut. I don't trust people who think with their brains.)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Anthropomorphism-Post 29 for 30dow

I don't feel like dynamism or personification today. 

Some people say that anthropomorphizing is bad, but I disagree. I think that to assume that animals don't have human feelings is stupid and even more people-centered. It's also patronizing to think that we're the only animals on Earth who feel love, hate, jealousy, frustration, etc. 

So I choose to take it to the total opposite end and imagine my cats as high schoolers. It helps me relate to them, and I think I'm right on. 

Ashleigh (AKA "Kitty Kitty") is a hard one to figure out. Usually, I just decide that she's the bitchy girl who blows hot and cold. You can't figure out if she's your friend because she'll sometimes stab you in the back. But when she's your friend, it's awesome. It's like you're Serena and Blair. If she were in my generation, then she'd be a little grungy in high school. She'd definitely wear the same plaid jacket every day, and she'd have a pair of docs. 

Oliver is one that I can't always imagine in high school. I usually just picture him as a waiter in a fancy cafe. He has to wear tuxedos and shoes with crepe soles. His tux pulls a bit at the cummerbund, but he still looks nice in it. When he was in high school, he was into graphic novels and Magic the Gathering. 

Emma is the girl everyone wants to befriend. She's a bit unreachable, though. She doesn't take part in any of the traditional rich girl social activities, like cheerleading or drill team. She's got her heart set on being a professional dancer, so she spends all of her free time in the studio her dad built for her. He runs a car dealership. She's actually quite nice if you get to know her, but it's just so hard to approach her. It's not like you'd see her at the football games. 

Spider is a soccer player. He's voted class clown and most popular year after year. He's never part of cutest couple though because he tends to just hang out with his friends from sports all the time. He's not the brightest crayon in the box, but he's funny. Everyone loves him. 

Anais (AKA "Niecey") is a quiet one. She's into art and music. If you were looking for her at school, she would likely be hiding out in a teacher's room during lunch, since she doesn't have a lot of friends her age. She's always working on some sort of art project, and the teacher gives her free reign with all the art supplies. Right now, she's learning how to blow glass. Her favorite musician is Joanna Newsom.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Pun--Post 28 for 30dow

My sinuses are driving me nuts, so this pun is actually a plagiarism of myself. And it's not even a good one. At work, we have this gnome that we pass around and praise co-workers with it. We each get a short turn, and then we pass it on to someone else, writing up a little email about how great the next person is. Here is an excerpt with a horrid pun. You can imagine a pathetic rim shot after it. 

"I gnome gonna miss him!"

If I weren't so tired, I'd try to make up a new one, but I just finished the first draft of my zombie novel today. No puns, but there is a joke on the double meaning of "straight" (e.g. not drunk and not homosexual). It's kind of funny for a zombie novel. Oh, and there's a main character named Laurie. Just guess what's she's like!! 


give up?


So the Laurie in my book is the wife of Emma, the main character's best friend. Laurie is the ED of a nonprofit that does after-school culture classes and shit. She's kind of based on my friend Natasha and on Laurie, but is more like Natasha because fictional Laurie is not a bitch (and I mean that in a good way, Laurie, the way that we call each other bitches and it's okay : ) )
I'm quite happy I'm done with the book, but it's kind of anti-climactic. I didn't miss too much sleep over this month, and I only slightly shirked my house chores, and I still have a somewhat crappy draft of a zombie novel. This writing shit is EASY! 
covering head with pillow before anyone mentions editing. night night. 

Thankstaking-Post 27 for 30dow

Hi folks, 

Since our fearless leaderess hasn't given us an assignment, I'm just going to say what I'm thankful for. This is less a post of fiction, less an actual writing assignment, but more of a fulfillment of my contract with myself to write every day. 

So, as always, I'm thankful for my cats, Matthew, my friends, and my family. That's always a given, but they do make my life a lot better. This year, I'm thankful that I am nearly done with my zombie novel (yay 46,000 words!). I'm thankful that there were enough folks voting to Obama to outweigh the crazy fuckers who voted for mccain. I'm thankful that about 5 million people voted against prop 8, even though we didn't ultimately prevail. I was paralyzed with frustration after the vote, but I've now chosen to look at the positive and focus on the fact that the proposition passed overwhelmingly, by a crazy big margin, in 2000. We've changed a lot of people's minds in the last eight years. That's something--even though it's certainly not enough to beat out the cheating-ass mormons who moved to California just to vote on the proposition. 
I'm thankful that despite the assholes who wanted to take away the right to marry from certain Californians, there were enough people willing to vote for a little extra room for chickens. I have to be honest and say that I never believed Prop 2 (outlawing battery cages by asking for enough room for chickens to open their wings) would pass. I did a lot of work on it in the early stages, but it felt like I was just educating the public in the issues, not actually hoping to pass the initiative. 
I'm thankful for my mac, which is a lovely lovely friend and lets me write on the BART on my everyday commute to/fro work. 
I'm thankful for people who make movies because I like movies. And I'm thankful that Jeanie is having a good pregnancy. Maybe she's having a baby right now. 

Okay, gotta go watch the UT-A&M game.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Assonance--Post 26 for 30dow

I'm tired, and want to go to bed, so here's my best effort. 

Kitty Kitty bit him in the shin
He deserved it, the turd. Word. 

Yowsers, that took me less than 45 seconds to write. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Perhaps a Poor Poem-Post 25 for 30dow

Silently sitting on a simple couch, sipping
Awesome Amber Ale,
I invent and type tragic tales
On my mac of a massacre of great magnitude
Of inmates ingesting infected meat,
And turning into crazed attackers.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Piercing Blue Eyes-Post 24 for 30dow

I’m reading this great book now called “How Not to Write a Novel.” In it, the authors say that many lazy writers will do a shitty job of describing their main characters and will instead describe one aspect and pretend that that describes them as a person. For instance, if your main character is a male, the love interest is often a “bosomy blond” or a “feisty redhead.” The authors say categorically that hair color is not a personality. If the main character is a woman, the love interest often has “piercing blue eyes” or something similar. The authors also added that not everyone in your novel should be super-hot because it just confuses the readers. Readers assume the MC will be getting it on with every hot guy/girl around. The authors also made fun of writers who only describe their characters as they happen across a mirror and decide to check themselves out. So here’s my short parody on that subject.

Emily stepped on to the treadmill and placed her earbuds in her ears. She was ready for a good workout and hoped that today would come with no interruptions, no one wanting the treadmill before she was good and done. She took a quick but approving glance at herself in the mirror on the wall beyond a few other treadmills. She looked at her long golden blond hair pulled into a tight ponytail with a cute little curl at the end. Her breasts strained against her sports bra. She’d accidentally grabbed her sister’s workout clothes by mistake, and her sister was much smaller-chested. Emily’s breasts threatened to spill out of the tight little top, and she forgot to bring a tee-shirt to wear over it. She also wore too tight and too short workout shorts, and her full rear filled them out nicely. The bottoms of her butt cheeks peeked beneath the shorts, and she struggled to pull the shorts down a bit. Her eyes traveled down her long evenly tanned legs to her little white socks and work out shoes. Not bad for a quick little trip to the gym!
As she turned on her music, she looked slightly to her left and saw Mr. Great Arms. Oh, Mr. Great Arms! He worked out at the same time everyday, and Emily tried to catch that time at the gym so she could watch him lift weights as she ran. The treadmills faced into the center of the room, where the weight benches were. She saw Mr. Great Arms strain to lift the heavy bar at the weight bench, and she tried for not the first time to get a peek up his shorts since he was right in line to her treadmill. No luck. She quickened her pace and looked around.
Mr. Obviously Married was in the corner, talking to a cute little redhead as she climbed the stairclimber, sweat pouring between her ample breasts.
She looked towards the entrance, and Blue Eyes walked in. Blue Eyes was even better than Mr. Great Arms! He entered the changing room to the left and emerged with out his gym bag and now in short running shorts instead of jeans. Emily watched as Blue Eyes walked her way and chose the treadmill next to hers, even though all the other ones were unoccupied. She snuck a glance his way, and saw he was looking at her. She gave him a quick smile and kept running. A few seconds later, he started jogging, and then quickened his pace to match hers. She sped up, and he sped up. She pushed herself more than ever before and ran at full speed for ten more minutes. She could hardly breathe as she quickly brought the speed back down. Blue Eyes grinned as he said, “Can’t keep up, can you?”
Emily pulled the buds from her ears and panted, “You don’t even know how long I was going before you got here!”
He replied, “Oh, I know. I work across the street, and I always keep an eye out for you. I saw you walk in today and came right over.” His eyes traveled to her too-tight shirt and heaving bosom and his eyes stayed there as he asked, “Have any plans after this?”

Lazy-Post 23 for 30dow

Since I wrote close to 1400 words for my last post, I need to be more frugal with my words on this one. Here is a short story about me watching “Beverly Hills Ninja.”

Every week, Matthew and I go to a Sunday vegan potluck where we watch bad movies. We’ve seen some really really bad movies at potluck. Each month has a theme, like “Rodents of Unusual Size,” “Fifth in a Series,” “Rollerskate Movies,” “Steve Guttenberg,” etc. This month is “Ninja Movies.” Unfortunately, last night was Beverly Hills Ninja.

Movie starts with weird intro of ninjas jumping off a cliff to go see what’s in a box on the beach. It’s a little white baby. Within 2 minutes, he’s grown from a baby to a boy doing ninja moves in ninja school into Chris Farley doing ninja moves in ninja school. Me: “What, it takes him 20 years of practicing the same move, and he still can’t get it?” Ha ha funny antics where he hurts himself. Doesn’t graduate ninja school. Oh, here’s Nicolette Sheridan to hire him to be her ninja because all the real ninjas are out on a ninja mission. Someone in the room comments that it doesn’t make sense that everyone is speaking English if they’re in Japan.
Blah blah blah, I whisper two times to Matthew “I’m ready to go whenever you are.” Antics get worse, more things break, and somehow three murders are blamed on Farley. Then Farley pretends to be a chef at a Japanese restaurant, dressed as an offensively stereotyped fat Japanese guy, and he does dumb things with knives. Finally, Matthew agrees to leave, and we leave during the movie for perhaps the first time ever at potluck. We made it through an hour. I guess we’ll never know if Farley was really the “Great White Ninja” from the prophecy. Oh wait, we do because he surely got his act together and saved the day and graduated from ninja school in the last scene. I’m sorry that Farley acted in such a shitty movie.

Crazy Lecia-Post 22 for 30dow

I didn’t feel like writing a short bio calling a friend or family member crazy, and then keeping that accusation on the intertubes. So I’m following the prompt closely to “write a short bio of a crazy lady [I] know.” For the first time, I’m writing about my novel in a public area. This is a backstory of Felicia Carter, one of the minor, but pivotal characters in my novel.

At the time of the novel, Felicia is about 40-41. Assuming I’m writing in present time, that means she was born in a bout 1968 or 1969. I’m building her story from there.

Felicia Carter was born to Ted and Jeanette Carter in 1968. She was a normal child, though prone to theatrics because she was an only child. Her parents were anti-hippies, and were older than all her friends’ parents. Her dad served in Vietnam, and she was conceived while he was on leave.
When she was a child, Jimmy Carter was elected, and she took to telling people that he was her uncle. To her knowledge, they weren’t related, but he was actually her third cousin, once removed.
While in high school, she discovered that she loved chemistry. This was about 1984, when the rest of the country loved money. She liked working the equations, making the scales balance as she solved the equations and added the proper number of molecules or took away or added electrons. The balance appealed to her inherited love of order. But the promise of explosions and of perchance disastrous experiments appealed to the part of her that grew up with her hippie friends and their tendency to try to blow up stuff in their parents’ absence.
She entered her local community college in Jackson, Mississippi in the fall of1986 and concentrated on getting as many science credits as possible so she could transfer to Ol’ Miss with a high GPA. But in the spring of 1987, despite her high GPA and assumed intelligence, she met a man and fell in love. They moved in together, and decided to get married in 1990. The round year appealed to both of them. It seemed like they could always remember that year as their anniversary, and they agreed to get married on 9/9/1990. He asked her to leave school to keep house for him, and she initially refused. She wanted to be a chemist, and didn’t see why his major in pre-dental superceded hers. She continued in school for another semester, and realized that she, after 3 semesters, was only one class away from getting her associates’ degree. She applied for Ol’Miss to enter the following fall, but didn’t tell her boyfriend. That spring, she took the one class as a concession to the pre-dental guy, as she kept home easily with only one class. He still didn’t know of her Ol’ Miss plans, and she hid her acceptance letter under the mattress.
In March, she discovered she was pregnant. They decided not to get married because Felicia didn’t care about that convention, and anyway, she was beginning to resent pre-dental guy. Here he was, tying her down again.
Ol’ Miss was put on hold. She had twins, both of whom were sickly. She spent the next five years keeping them safe, nursing their wounds, and being proud of their childish accomplishments.
One day, when pre-dental, who was now a young dentist in Jackson, was running late to work as he went to srop the kids off at school. Dentist always dropped them off, and Felicia picked them up after a day of organizing the house and the necessary social engagements of a young dentist’s wife. Then they played together while they waited for dentist to get off work.
Dentist ran a red light—one of the only red lights in their neighborhood, still new to the locals who’d been used to simply yielding there for decades. Another car plowed into the little Camry, and the twins were both killed. Dentist lingered in the hospital for days, then he died, too.
After a year of blowing through her savings as fast as she blew through boxes of Kleenexes, Felicia decided to go back to chemistry. She saw a recruitment ad in the paper for lab technicians, and discovered she only needed the associates’ degree. She thought she’d do that for a few years, get a feel for the lab, and then go back to college to get her B.S. She got on anti-depressants and tried to pull her life together.
She moved from lab to lab, city to city, and never went back to college. But she began to see more of the world beyond Mississippi. She moved to Chicago and began working for Harbor Laboratory Sciences, helping to make animals more productive. She was excited by the prospect of helping dairy cows produce good milk for longer, helping animals live longer. This seemed like a great idea. HLS decided to move her out to their California offices, to help in implementing some of the ideas they’d been testing.
Though she was just a lab tech, she was able to help the other scientists in the quiet experiments. The cows seemed to be producing more milk, and they were definitely living longer. But unfortunately, a year or so after they should have died, they began to get really sick. The scientists decided to scrap the that round, and sent the cows to slaughter. They tried again, and the cows were still sick. One died in front of Felicia, and she cried. She thought they were doing good. She watched as the cow fell on the ground, milking machine still attached. An hour later, a man came by with a forklift to take her away for a necropsy. Though Felicia was not needed, she decided to go see what had caused the death. Instead, she saw the cow wake up on the huge table and try to take a bite out of the veterinarian performing the necropsy. He acted quickly and shot her with the captive bolt gun, killing her on the table. He mumbled that the necropsy was over, that she must not have really died earlier, saying, “my mistake.”
Felicia tried to warn others about the dead/not-dead cows, as she began to see the situation repeat itself. She stopped going to work, tried to write letters to the editor about the zombie cows to all the local papers. She called all the major news channels, tried posting on blogs, but no one would listen. She stopped taking her anti-depressants and spiraled into mental illness as she dealt again with her twins’ death and the possible death of others if they ate the dead again beef. She got arrested once for trying to warn others about not eating beef. She lost her job officially, lost her home, and was on the streets. When she was staying at a shelter, she met a nice young volunteer who tried to help her get a suit for another chance at an interview. He helped her log on to the shelter computer to email people. But then she heard he got arrested for stealing her a suit. Things just weren’t working out. She kept emailing, and one person said he would try to come interview her if he had a chance.
That week, the farm decided to just haul off one cohort of dairy cows to slaughter and try to start over again. Felicia heard from a former coworker that the cows were on the way to slaughter, and she headed to the slaughterhouse to try to get the dead/not-dead cows on film. Unfortunately, she got too close as she was trying to get a close up of the downed cow pile. One of the cows lurched up and bit her arm, trying to rip it from the socket. The cow managed to break the skin, and the saliva mixed with Felicia’s blood as she struggled to pull away. The mutation created in her own lab traveled into her bloodstream, tearing a path through her cells as it turned her into a dead/not-dead Felicia.

30 Days of Fail-Post 21.5

Just want to write that I’ve gotten behind. I’ve managed to nearly catch up in my novel, and I watched a bunch of movies over the weekend, but I got 2 days behind. My only excuse was of the “But everyone else was doing it” variety. It’s hard to take a challenge seriously, even if I’ve made a contract with myself, when everyone else is failing, too. I’m catching up now on BART.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Beans-Post 21 for 30dow

My favorite type of bean is soy
tofu, milk, edamame, oy!
eating the ice cream is a joy
but the after-gas, oh boy!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Something gross-Post 20 for 30dow

Once, on a First Thursday about 5 or 6 years ago, Matthew and I decided to wander around SoCo to check stuff out. It wasn’t as fun as we’d thought, but at least we got out on a Thursday night.
I was a little hungry, so I happily took the free popcorn. It was not great popcorn. It was not so warm anymore, and it was oversalted. But it was that kind of hungry at night where you don’t really care. I ate much of it anyway. Then, in the garden space on Congress next to Guerros, some guys were selling a microbrew of raspberry beer. I don’t know why that sounded, like a good idea, but it did. Never again. I drank the beer, thinking it tasted a little bad, but hell, it was beer. I drank a full plastic cup’s worth.
Not long after that, we went home. The raspberry beer (which probably was bad) and the cold, salty popcorn started warring in my stomach. I started to get that feeling of needing to burp a little too much. It kept coming up, and I’d try to burp it away. Then all of a sudden, I had to puke right then. I ran to the bathroom, barely making it as the raspberry popcorn mix shot out of me. I tasted the bad beer, now made super-salty, as it unfortunately passed my lips for a second time. I heaved as my body rejected the stupid nutritional decisions I’d made that night.
After the last disgusting heave of that mess, I went back into the living room, to my horrified emetophobic boyfriend, and announce, “Well, I feel much better now!”

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Burlesque-Post 19 for 30dow

For the record, I just want to add that, as I mentioned before in my Yos-e-mite post, I read a lot as a child. I remember reading the book (no internet on train, and I’m just copying and pasting once I get to the intertubes) based on the movie that Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman did where Nicole does burlesque. Maybe I was too young to read it, who knows, but I’d never heard that word before. I read “Burley-Q” like Bar-be-que. I like Burley-Q.

Since I don’t have internet, I’m not looking at an example, either, so I hope this satisfies.

Oh, how your big adventure amazes!
And your talking chair, how fantastic!
There are so many people who love you,
And admire your ways, though you’re spastic.

We’ve forgiven you the small incident
Where in public, you once masturbated
Because we love your girl made of pennies
And our hunger for your humor can’t be sated.

Oh Rueben, your hair is so glossy,
And your skin so smooth and pale.
Your ideas--So innovative
A secret word said, then we yell!

Okay, whatevs. I did the poem and am satisfying the contract with myself to do this project whole-heartedly.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

National Prison Industrial Complex Day-Post 18 for 30dow

November 17 is National Prison Industrial Complex Day! Let’s celebrate the men and women (well, mostly men) who incarcerate over a million men and women in the United States. Let’s not forget the deputies who are incarcerating close to a million men and women housed in city and county jails! They need love, too! We have about 2.3 million people behind bars! Oh, and we need to recognize the thousands of probation and parole officers around the country who extend that period of confinement by playing big brother to over five million formerly incarcerated people after they serve their “debt to society.” While we’re at it, we should thank our state legislators who have chosen in their infinite wisdom to add on some collateral consequences, even after formerly incarcerated people have finished their probation and parole. Once you’ve served some prison time, you don’t need to vote, right?

Rally at the State Capitol to celebrate National Prison Industrial Complex Day!

Today, 11 am to 12, then we march to the county jail in a symbolic effort to praise the work of all our men and women incarcerating criminals. Rally to follow at County Jail #1, our county’s oldest (and still operating!) jail from 1-2.

Join your brothers and sisters of the state in celebrating this special day.

For more information, contact Sarah Palin at

Monday, November 17, 2008

Missed Connections--Post 17 for 30dow

Here's my fake ad. Laurie, you're going to get some pretty bad fake ads on this post topic. I can't wait. 

Missed connection: w4m

One Viking Lady looking to make Saga with hot Viking guy from Mediaeval Festival in SF 11/15/08

We met at the Mediaeval Festival at about 3 pm last Saturday. You were wearing a dark blue shirt and olive green baggy trousers. We were in line for beer together, and you complemented me on my apron dress. I laughed and showed you my little trinkets I'd bought off the internet for the festival. You liked the earspoon I carried, and we talked about how weird they were. 

We saw each other later in the beer line, and I complimented your beard, which was awesome and real. I think I pulled on it to try to prove you wrong. 

We saw each other again in line, and I think you paid for the beer this time. You tried to look under my apron dress. 

When the festival was over, we ran into each other in line for the bus, and you invited me back to your place. Then we had sex, and I left while you were sleeping. I was so drunk I forgot to get your name, and I can't remember where you live because I took a cab. I really hope you find this post!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Day by Day Armageddon-Post 16 for 30dow

Monday, November 10

6 am: I wake as the light comes in my bedroom window. The cats are asleep on the bed with me. I hear moaning outside. I lift a blind and see zombies pushing at the razor wire fence, their fingers in tatters, bones showing through. I close my eyes and go back to sleep. 
7 am: I wake again as one of my cats meows in my face. I push Matthew and mumble "Cats hungry. He groans back, "Your turn." 
7:05 am: I walk slowly into the kitchen. I dump dry food into bowls and walk back to the bedroom, careful not to look out any of the uncovered windows. 
7:30 am: we finally get out of bed. It's hard to waste daylight, but we drink so much at night that it's also hard to take advantage of the daylight. We eat stale cereal with room temperature soymilk.
7:45 am: we wash our dishes. We still have gas, so we're able to boil our water to wash dishes. We don't know for certain if the water is bad, but we still play it safe. 
8:00 am: Matthew walks the perimeter of the yard, making sure there are no problems with the fence. It's his turn today. 
8:15-12:oo pm: we work on our concrete security fence. We built the razor wire fence in a hurry, and we know it's not going to stay. So we've been working on a concrete fence just five feet inside the razor wire. It cuts down on the size of our yard substantially, but our garden won't be affected. We're building the concrete fence with footholds in the inside, in case we ever have to get out in a hurry or can't make it to the front gate. 
12:00 pm: we prepare and eat lunch. tomato soup with stale crackers. The tomatoes are from our garden. I'm grateful that they grow practically year round here. 
12:45 pm: we wash those dishes 
1:00 we take a break from chores to read for a while. There's only so much we can do with our time. 
3:00 pm we play Milesborne. Matthew beats me three times in a row, and then I finally beat him. 
4:30 pm: we go back outside to work on the fence. We argue the merits of trying to dig a well. I think there's no way we can dig deep enough to hit water. Matthew argues that the water table is actually pretty high here. We argue that point for an hour. 
7:00 pm: Matthew breaks from working on the fence to go start making something for dinner. We're mostly on canned goods, since the electricity went out and our fridge went bad. We're trying to supplement it with stuff from the garden. Last week, I broke into the library and checked out/stole "Edible Greens of the North West" and "What to Eat in the Woods." I have been trying to identify what of the weeds in our yard are edible. I try not to get too close to the edge of the yard, since it attracts the zombies in the neighbors' yards. 
7:30 pm: I hear a yell from the neighbor's yard, and I see Lisa's on the roof again. "Hey there, Salena. What's going on?" "Just gathering weeds to eat." "Should be smoking them!" "Ha ha, I wish!" Lisa and I never talked before, but now we have this dumb banter. Her house is secure, too, so she's one of the few one's left. Her husband has secured the yard to keep their rottweiler in, so really, no one can get in, either. He took off a few days ago and hasn't come back. She keeps watch on the roof to see if he comes back.
7:45 pm: Matthew calls me in for dinner. I collect the laptop, which has been on the porch, collecting sunlight in the Solar Cell charger all day. We eat dinner in silence, still arguing each of our points about the well. I will eventually give up. After we run out of wet cement in the basement and our wall is high enough, there will be nothing left to fill our days. Might as well experiment and see if we can dig a well. 
8:oo pm: We turn on the laptop to see how much power has charged today. It has a full charge, three hours remain, as long as we keep the display light low. We each play a game of solitaire. I pick a movie from our DVD collection. 
8:15 pm: Matthew goes to get cool cokes from the cabinet and a bottle of rum. He decided weeks ago to stock up on alcohol, and we're working our way through it. We begin by mixing cokes with rum, but we don't want to waste too many sodas, so we limit ourselves to one each a night. Then we switch over to straight rum. Or vodka. Whatever. 
8:30 pm: Matthew puts in the DVD and we see what Ryan and Marissa are up to now. 

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Reduce, Reuse, Recyle-Post 15 for 30dow

Today's prompt is basically to write about something from my past that I wish I could recycle. 

Now, as I'm writing alone in the coffeeshop of my suburban-esque town, I wish I were 17 again. At 17, I always had friends around. I was with friends all day at school, and after briefly doing homework, I was with my friends again all night. I think that I really took those friendships for granted. As adults, we have to make plans to see our friends, we greet our closest friends with "Damn! I haven't seen you in a month!" And it's true. Some of my closest friends I only see once a month or less. Every day, I commute to work on a train of strangers, spend my 9-5 with folks I like, but don't see outside of those hours, then commute home on another train of strangers. I make dinner and watch tv with my boyfriend and cats. We go to about a show a week, but again, that's just us two. On weekends, we've got errands to run, a house to straighten up, dishes and laundry to do. The weekly highlight is a vegan potluck, where I finally get to see friends I like besides Matthew. 
It's weird how that happened. Is it because we're too poor to go out to dinner with friends? Is it because we live across the bridge from our closest friends from law school? Is it just because our friends are lawyers, and we're all so busy that we HAVE to make plans or else we wouldn't see each other?
I don't know, but I do miss the days where I was with friends all day long. I miss roaming the halls of my high school on my yearbook hall pass, peeking into windows to wave at friends. I miss hanging out at the mall, seeing tons of friends doing the same thing I was doing. I miss going to "shows" in friends' garages, hanging out at Rich's place on weekends, where we all knew we'd eventually end up at some point in the night. 

This post just begs for nostalgia, and I guess I gave it. I'd recycle that time where I always had time for friends.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Writing stuff-Post 14 for 30dow

Our prompt today:
In Lectures on Literature (1980), Vladimir Nabokov writes that "the good reader is one who has imagination, memory, a dictionary, and some artistic sense - which sense I propose to develop in myself and in others whenever I have the chance."

Of those listed, which do you think is most important to being a good reader? How does that translate to writing? Is a good reader the same as being a good writer?

I'm not officially taking a pass, but I have to say that I don't have the energy to write much. I am still plugging away on my novel, despite being behind due to the election and a long weekend trip to Texas. I've been in training for work for the past three days, so I just want some nice free time.

I think a good reader needs to have a good imagination. I read a lot as a child, and I still picture things in my head in my little brain movie screen. I think that that is an incredible thing that the brain does. I see people in my brain acting out things the author describes. That to me is just amazing. I wonder if children who do not read very much and who only watch tv have that same sort of inner movie screen, or if they've never had to fill in the blanks like a reader must.

Anyways, I think that it somewhat translates to writing, but it depends on what you're writing.
I think that to be a good novel writer, it is really important to have a strong memory, both to mine events in your own life and to remember what the hell you wrote earlier in the book.

Being a good reader is not the same. When you write, you want to create some gaps in your story so the reader can fill them in herself. When you read, you're just filling in those gaps as you follow along with the story.

Whatevs. I'm tired and I still haven't checked overheardinny today. For shame!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Process, schmocess-Post 13 for 30dow

Here's how to be late for work every day: 

6:45 snooze
6:51 snooze
6:57 wake up
6:57-6:58 make bed
6:58-7:05 do dishes in sink
7:05-7:10 start coffee in french press
7:10-7:20 make smoothies for M & me 
7:20-7:30 watch television while drinking coffee and smoothie
7:30-7:40 realize i should have turned tv off at 7:30, but something interesting is on, check email, start 30 dow 
7:40-8:00 pick out clothes, brush teeth, put on make up
8:00-8:10 get lunch together
8:10-8:15 do cat litter
8:15 look at email one last time, look for BART card, pull all work stuff together
8:20 leave house late. 
congratulations! i'm late again. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

You say "Tomato," I say "Tomate"-Post 12 for 30 dow

I was very very well-read as a child, but not very well-cultured in the real world. I lived in my books and learned about the world through them. Unfortunately, I didn't learn how to pronounce many words, and there was a disconnect between what I read and what I heard others saying in the real world. 
I read a lot of British children's lit, so I frequently want to add that nice little "u" to favor and color. I also sometimes got confused about punctuation because of the Brit-American disagreements. 
The best example of how much I lived in books is my misunderstanding of the word "Yosemite." My parents probably mentioned the park a couple of times in my childhood, so I understood there was some park out there named "Yo-sim-e-tee." However, there apparently was another park called "Yo-se-mite." Quite honestly, it wasn't until my 20's that I made the connection. I never talked about "Yo-se-mite," since it's not something that comes up in normal conversation, but I still somehow made the connection. 

There's a great episode of This American Life ( called "A little bit of knowledge." It's played a few times, most recently on 7/13/08. I listen to it in its entirety every time it's on, and I've even saved it in my iTunes to listen to whenever I want. I encourage you to listen to it now because it's totally on point. And there's talk of a magical extinct animal--the unicorn.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Glacier Water--Post 11 for 30dow

I took the California Bar Exam in July of 2007. After the bar exam, most people try to take a vacation, which is called a Bar trip or a Post-Bar trip. For Matthew’s in 2006, we went to Iceland and The Netherlands. (I would say Nederlands, but Matthew gets mad when I try to spell things like the Dutch.) For my trip, we kept things a bit smaller. We went up to Canada. It was amazing. I love winter vacations, so I didn’t mind that my trip was just to Canada. We rented a car and visited all but one of the national parks in the Rockies. We went on 8 hour hikes and had to make noise to ward off bears. One day, we hiked a few hours up a mountain then stopped at a tea house. I discovered a new favorite tea, which is still my favorite black: Golden Monkey. Then we hiked another hour, and there was another tea house. Then we were pretty high up, and we heard an avalanche on the other side of the mountain. There was snow way up high, but it wasn’t completely cold.
This photo is from when we went to visit a receding glacier. It was pretty alarming to see photos of the glacier’s retreat over the past century. We parked in a huge lot with at least a hundred other cars. Then we took a bus from that lot to the next lot closer to the glacier. Then we transferred to a special million-dollar bus that is made in very limited numbers. Apparently, there are something like 10 of them in the world. Nine of them are used at this one glacier in Canada, and the other one is used to transport scientists in Antarctica. The bus is very high off the ground, and the wheels are huge. The bus uses a lot of energy to go, but really, it travels very slowly. All the energy is used to keep it from sliding back off the icy ground. We drove up to the edge of the glacier, which was a fair amount up the mountain. Everyone de-boarded, and we all played at the edge. The glacier is obviously melting, so there is a stream of water pouring down the glacier, collecting in little pools and streaming farther down the mountain.
Though it was freezing, I dipped my hands in the cool water and drank. It was clean and refreshing, and fucking cold! I did it again, though, because it was fun to drink glacier water from a glacier.
It was depressing to see all those people who, like us, had taken a field trip to a glacier. Every glacier I’ve seen in my life (counting those in Iceland and Alaska) are retreating. We have to take field trips to appreciate their beauty, but I doubt many people’s lives change after the visit.
Drill, baby, drill!? Fuck you, McCain.
Not 1,000 words, but I've still got a damn novel to write this month.

Fun in the Sun-Post 10 for 30dow

Im the color of the sun setting on the wet horizon. You'll lament the day's end as you see me. Fun in the sun? You'll be nostalgic for the day even before it's over. 

You may think fun in the sun as you see me appear, but if you're older than 20, you may just think, oh, that's orange-red. Orange-red, a respectable and descriptive color. If you're younger, like 5-20, even as you're having fun in the sun, you may think, "hmmm, that's a beautiful vivid tangerine." 

But now, as of this year, I'm Fun in the Sun. 

You can watch a Fun in the Sun sunset, streaked with Best Friends and Purple Mountain's Majesty.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Trivial Trees--Post 9 for 30dow

Here's my fake Trivial Pursuit--Trees!--card. 

Geography: On what continent did the apple tree originate?
Entertainment: Band whose lyrics include: "I nearly, I nearly lost you there, and it's taken us somewhere."
History: Why were frontier folk happy to see Johnny Appleseed?
Arts and Literature: Name two of the many types of fruit (besides apple!) that is considered to be a possibility for the Bible's Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Science and Nature: What is the correct name for the scientific kingdom that a coniferous tree is in?
Sports and leisure: What is the unofficial mascot of Stanford's football team?

G: Asia
E: Screaming Trees
H: He planted apple seeds in orchards, appropriate for growing hard apple cider.
A&L: Grapes, Tamarind, Fig, Pomegranate, Wheat... 
S&N: Kingdom Plantae
S&L: The "tree" (I will also take Redwood tree.)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Name Game--Post 8 for 30dow

Thank goodness this is my coworker's favorite ice breaker, or I'd be skipping this activity and going straight to bed. I know I'm a bit late, but technically (sorry Laurie!), in my time, I've still got an hour and a half. 

Story of Salena

My mother's paternal grandmother was named Valula Aaron Rose. Aaron was her maiden name, and she did not give middle names to her children because she didn't like middle names. 
When she was in her early 90's, she called my mother to her bed. My mom was probably about 20 or so, but definitely already married. 
"Peggy, Peggy come here."
"Sure Grandma Rose, what do you want?"
"Now Peggy, I need to tell you a secret. I haven't told any of the other grandchildren, but I want to tell you." 
My mother crouched at the bed in some sort of conspiratorial gesture, thinking that Grandma Rose was going to tell her where the family fortune was hidden or something. My Grandma Rose was a trip. She was a teetotaler who hid her "medicine" (red wine, I think) in a cupboard. Her doctor had prescribed a shot a day for her health, and she was embarrassed by it. 
"What is it?" my mom whispered. 
"My name isn't really Valula. It's Salena. I hated it so much that I go by my middle name and didn't even tell my kids." 

What a weird secret. My mom told her that it was so pretty, she was going to name her daughter that. And when she was pregnant with me, that was the only name she picked out--she didn't have a boy name ready. So my namesake is a woman who hated the name Salena so much, she chose to go by Valula. 

Friday, November 7, 2008

Hangout--Post 7 of 30dow

I'm afraid of getting behind, but I'm so tired. too tired to do a real post. Matthew and I flew in from California, and we got up super-early. We're now in Austin. 

um... I'm going to have to do a Haiku or something from my cats' view of my couch

"Cat magnet," with view
Of fog rolling into bay
The food source, she sits and reads

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Music--Post 6 for 30dow

It’s hard to pick one song that means a lot to me. I’ve never been one with “best.” I have about 5 “best friends,” 3 “favorite movies,” and about 4 “favorite colors.” So I think I’ll write about a couple of favorite songs from various stages of my life. I know we're supposed to pick from our iPod, so really, only the last song qualifies.

Early Early years
Swingin'—I still have this on a record single. Listening to it now reminds me of sitting with my fisher price record player on Tina Mallory’s front porch, listening to the record. It’s a strange memory because I don’t think it ever happened. I think that as I listened to the record as a child, I must have imagined myself on her front porch, seeing as how mine must have sucked due to lack of the necessary front porch swing.

Early years
Our House—oh, man, I loved that song. I remember my mom playing it in our suburban, pre-divorce. She’d let me sing along in my loudest voice. I have very clear memories of listening to it in the old Chuck E. Cheese partking lot, then the old Target parking lot, now the …um… Michael’s? parking lot. “Our house is a very very very fine house fine house with two cats in the yard. Life used to be so hard. Now everything is easy ‘cause of you and our looooooooooooooooooooooove.” (I typed the o’s to the beat. They should be right.)

Post-divorce years
We were big country fans for a while, and I remember going to Mason & Dixon concerts with my mom. I still look for those albums, but they were a small group in the late 1980s, so I never have found an album online. There was some song about gold. That reminds me of the years where my mom was trying so hard to make things normal, but they definitely weren’t.

The defining songs of my teen years
Typically, the two songs I think of the most, given my current age of 30, are Smells like teen spirit and Alive. I remember the very first time I saw Smells like teen spirit. I was forbidden to watch MTV, so I watched it in the living room, half watching the television, half watching the open window behind it to see if my mom was pulling in the drive. I remember the exileration I felt as I sang along to the lyrics I didn’t understand. I remember how happy I was when they once showed the video with subtitles. It didn’t make any more sense, but I knew that I was who Nirvana wanted to sing to. It was a song made for me and my anger. Of course thousands of teens and pre-teens felt the exact same. With Alive, well, that album always reminds me of Joel. When we were in eighth grade, I had a crush on Joel, who was in my journalism class. He used to listen to Pearl Jam A LOT. I had seen them on MTV, but began to pay more attention to them because of Joel. That spring, he was in a skateboarding accident and was in a coma for days. The way I dealt with that was to go out and buy a Pearl Jam CD and listen to it almost non-stop. He obviously survived, and though Alive isn’t the happiest song, I still associate it with the hope that he would survive. Those in my grade still remember when we gathered in the cafeteria to get an update on his condition, and his dad, Johnny, said he was going to make it and then dipped his then wife LaDon in a kiss.

Blah blah blah liked a bunch of different songs since 1992.

Now, My favorite song for the past few years is Get the hell out of the way of the volcano. I don’t really know what it means, but that isn’t a surprise, given it’s Phill Elverum. I just picture a woman running towards what she thinks is a mountain to throw herself on the ground crying, but it’s a volcano. She still finds shelter there, at least temporarily, but we don’t know if she can get out safely. I could google the lyrics, but instead, here’s what I remember or what I sing when I sing along.
Get outta my way
The hill’s erupting now
Get me outta my way
See the lava pouring out
I watched you watch me watch you weep
I watched your eyes get wet and wild
And like a mountain I had icy slopes, I was a glacier high and far
And you watched me catch the dawn each day
You watched the pink light bathe my hills
And I watched you go and come and go and go and come and go away
Get outta my way
The evening’s coming now
Get me outta my way
See my mountain’s furrowed brow
In my shadow’s shelter she shed tears
She fell asleep in my mossy cave
She thought now here’s a place where I can be alone, where I can blossom by myself.
‘Cause I’m a mountain girl, you’re in my cave, and I’ve got old love, red and raw
And like a mountain I’m an ancient way and I’ve got lava from the jaws
Get outta my way
There’s no way you’ll get out
Get me outta my way
Have my guts on your nightgown
Get outta my way
Have me surrounded
Get outta my way, have me Pompeii your town!

I’m sure it some metaphor for a horrid break up, but I like imagining the woman in a nightgown, hiding in the mossy cave of a volcano, right before it erupts. I think my next tattoo is going to be “In my shadow’s shelter, she shed tears. She fell asleep in my mossy cave. She thought now here’s a place where I can be alone, where I can blossom by myself.”

That’s it. Sorry my post isn’t a profound post on one meaningful song and is more of a smorgasbord of songs I’ve liked. But I’m writing it on BART as I head to work. The train is shaking back and forth, my computer is balanced on my knees in the crowded train, and it’s hot and smells bad in here. And I have to get off in 30 seconds. Will post later.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

On whatever I want-Post 5 for 30dow

I've had a busy past couple of days and am working on very little sleep. This post, I just want to let the Tx folks how the Cal election went. I don't have the mental energy to think of anything else. 

President: Thank goodness we went with Obama (AKA "the antichrist" to some Texans)
Prop 1A: high speed rail passed (kind of surprising because it's expensive)
Prop 2: FUCKING A!! It passed. It will outlaw battery cages by requiring that egg-laying hens have enough room to spread their limbs. I did some work on this months ago by helping to get signatures to get it on the ballot. 
Prop 3: $ for children hospital passed
Prop 4: OMG, this thankfully failed, but it was super-close. Yet again, the conservative assholes in southern California and the valley got parental notification for teen abortions on the ballot. It was close, and last night, I really was worried. 
Prop 5, & 6 failed. I am sad about 5 because it would have helped lesson sentences and increase rehab for drug offenders. 6 sucked, so I'm happy about that because it would have given more money to cops and probably would have meant more prisons. 
Prop 7 failed. It looked good at first glance (more solar power), but all the major environmental groups and environmental justice groups were against it. It was written by some billionaire who didn't consult with the environmentalists first. 
Prop 8: ...
Prop 9 passed. it sucks because it allows victims to have more of a say in parole hearings. 
Prop 10 also looked good at first glance because it encouraged alternative fuels, but really, it was some Texas billionaire, T. Boone Pickens, who wanted to sell cars or something. It failed. yay!
Prop 11, which will take the power of redistricting from the Cal legislature and give it to a private agency, passed narrowly. This is actually bad because the Republicans are not in power and this is their way to get control of some more legislative districts. 
Prop 12 passed, and it will allow for more benefits for veterans. 

So Prop 8, which takes away the recently recognized right for queer Californians to marry, unfortunately passed. I am ... I am so upset by this that it threatens to overshadow the win on Prop 2 and Obama's presidency. Friends of mine claim that they are moving away, that they are tired of being second class citizens. I know too many folks that got married in this brief autumn of marriage rights. I saw someone cry today because she feels like this was a vote against her marriage to her wife--that it is personal. 

Part of me wants to yell and dance in the streets for Obama, for the fact that prop 2 passed with about 63%. The other part of me wants to just stay in bed tomorrow since I'm so frustrated with the fact that enough people in California voted for Prop 8 for it to pass.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Not a Joke-Post 4 for 30dow

Today, I'm going to be crazy busy. It's 4:30 am and I'm already running late for my volunteer position today. So my post will be short. 
And don't even ask why I'm not posting after work. After work, I'm going to be glued to a friend's tv. 

Not a Joke

Why'd the chicken cross the road?
Why'd the chicken cross the road?
Not such a funny joke for the chicken. 
Unless that chicken has planned her whole life to kill the humans that torture, maim, and kill her sisters. 
Unless that chicken finally has the chance when she herself is headed for slaughter. 
Henny pushed her emaciated body through the wire cages of the transport truck and fell to the side of the road as the truck slowed for a sharp turn. 
She sat and waited until she sense the time was right, then began to cross the road. 
Five seconds later, a bewildered driver slammed on his brakes, unsure if he was being punked or if he was just still drunk. 
That day, there was a 60 car pile-up during rush hour on I30, ten chicken-eating humans were killed, and about forty were seriously injured. Not a bad day for Henny, who crossed the road quite safely, thank you very much. 

Why'd the chicken cross the road?
To kill a bunch of fucking humans, duh.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Killing Spree--Day 3 of 30dow

It’s not that I’m not surprised that it happened. I’m just surprised that it happened so quickly. She’s told me to clean the kitchen a billion times, and today was just the last straw. Every time I cook, I clean the kitchen—it just sometimes takes until the next morning before I finish all the dishes. She just has to have it sooooo perfect. I have to have all the cookware washed or in the dishwasher before I can even sit down to eat.

What a bitch.

Tonight, I was making veggie tacos. I had the big butcher knife out to cut up lettuce. She rounded the corner, making her way from the TV room to our galley kitchen and said, “Now make sure you wash and dry that knife before you eat. You know that leaving it dirty will dull the knife.”

“Mom, I told you, I will do the dishes. I always do!”

“Sometimes you don’t. Last week, you didn’t do the dishes, and I had to wash two plates and one fork.”

Something in me snapped and I lunged at her with the knife. I don’t know much about murder beyond a bit of googling, but the knife made contact with her neck and blood gushed everywhere. She made gurgling sounds as she fell to the ground.

“Oh shit oh shit oh shit.”

I ran out the front door, knife still in hand. As usual, there were neighbors walking past on their evening walk. They watched me, horrified, as I ran past, knife in hand. One of them looked at me, and I vaguely recognized him as someone I’d dated last year. Everything was so blurry, but I remember him actually saying to me, “If you really loved me, you’d have sex with me.”

Well, hell. I accidentally killed my mom, but might as well rid the world of a bastard like him. I slashed my knife across his neck, plunged it into his chest, and ran on.

At the next street, I wiped the knife on the underside of my shirt and tucked it into my pants. I held my thumb out to bum a ride. I live in a smallish town, so it wasn’t unusual for folks to bum rides.

A teenager pulled over and let me into her stupid fucking Hummer. I looked at her, recognized her as the younger sister of a bitch I hated in high school. That bitch went on to work for the GOP. I decided that I might as well stop the next one in line from becoming another exploiter and user. I asked her to pull over at a gas station already closed for the night. I pulled the knife from my pants and slashed at her. Blood spewed across the windshield and soaked into the upholstery. She looked at me, too shocked to even scream. I pushed her body out the door and got in the driver’s seat. I reversed over her body, smooshing it good, probably even destroying dental identifiers.

I turned the radio to NPR and headed for the rich part of town. It was now time to rid my town of assholes.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Vampire Haiku-Post 2 for 30dow

If you do love me
You'd stop this abstinence shit
And just turn me too

Dia de los Muertos-Post 1 for 30dow

Tulip bulbs look a little bit like dirty onions. Or maybe beets. Dirty beets. Every year, my Mamaw dug up her tulip bulbs and put them in a pile of dirt in her gardening shed. In the fall, before the air got too cold, she'd replant the bulbs for a spring bloom. Because I was the oldest grandchild within a 200-mile radius, I would help. We'd dig through the cool dirt for the bulbs, separate them from the dirtpile, and put them in the wheelbarrow to wheel down the hill. 

Mamaw grew up on a farm in Arkansas and could make things grow. Now I wish I could ask her things, like why my ivy is so sparse or how to get rid of ants in house plants. Even then, as I planted bulbs with her, I tried to plant them upside down. I was never a natural, never had a green thumb, but she tried to teach me. She told me the names of flowers, told me what I could eat in her yard, showed me how to plant tulip bulbs in the fall and how to wait for them to bloom in the spring. 

I still dream about the gardening shed. It was really a large wooden carport, though I don't remember any cars ever being parked there. Locusts would leave their shells on the wooden walls, clinging to the splinters. My cousins and I would thread string through their dead outlines and wear them as necklaces. I dream now of the locust necklaces, of the dark hidden storage room near the garage, and of parking my own car in front of the carport to go inside and visit my Mamaw.