Category Archives: Uncategorized

Third Annual Sophomore Novel Angst Google Search Jubilee Extravaganza Celebration

Ahoy fine people.  Remember how in my new year’s post, I said I might have to move?  Well, I did!  And I got a two-week-long Death Flu on top of it!  And I don’t want to find out how this transition could possibly suck more, because I’m not sure I’ll survive it!  But, thankfully, I am in my new digs, and yesterday I even kept down some solids.  So, baby steps.  Meanwhile, it’s April!  Besides taxes and sinking the Titanic, do you know what that means?  That’s right!  It’s time for me to give out the awards for our Third Annual Sophomore Novel Angst Google Search Jubilee Extravaganza Celebration.  The following are all google searches that reached my blog.

I continue to be a reliable hit for skittles, weird sexual acts involving horses, and cheez doodles.  Once again, dear public, please do not feed cheez doodles to your infants.  This year I have also become a great web resource for everything toothpaste (probably because of this post) and kidney stones (definitely this post).  If you have reached this blog because you are about to pee a solid object, let me offer my condolences.  And no, as far as I know, 7-UP has no magical kidney stone-killing properties.  The only possible use you can get out of 7-UP at kidney-stone-passing-time is to use it to swallow a shitload of Percocet.

Meanwhile, the “You’re Darn Tootin'” Wisdom Awards go to the following searches:

  • life can be a bitch
  • heresy grows from idleness
  • authorial intent is a fallacy

• The “I love Bob Ross Too” Award goes to: little birds gotta have a place to put their foots.

• Salient Questions:

  • worst writers with novel angst? All of them.
  • why is sex so perverted? Look up the answer for “why is sex so damn fun?”  That answer basically applies to all questions that begin with “why is sex so.”.
  • how in the fuck am i going to pay for college?  If you go by the axiom that the answer to most questions is contained within the question itself, the answer is clearly prostitution.

• “Why, Thank You” Award: damn i love you so much.  “Why, Thank You” Honorable Mention: good luck with shitting.

• “Do They Offer Better Service than PPO boobs?” Award: HMO boobs.

• Best Foreign Language Feature: imagen de jesucristo en un sandwich 2012.

• Cutest and Most Apt Typo Ever: are guys inbarest when they get boners by a girl.

• “Elmer Fudd Apparently has a Citrus Fetish” Award: number of wemon fucked in lifetime.

• Paradox World-Exploding Google Search Award: not googleable.

• “Please Get Off Google and Consult a Medical Professional” Awards:

  • spay gone wrong tied off ureters
  • my husband wants to grow breasts
  • there seems to be an earthquake inside my head

• And finally, would the following searchers please, please contact me and explain what exactly you were looking for?

  • one hour away from being the crazy horse lady
  • magical submission pants
  • you will approve of this animal

+

=

NO.

Dear Las Vegas,

Thank you for being America’s thrumming heart.

, A Proud Citizen

The luxury of moral choices

So.  Like a lot of people, I have been watching the whole Greg Smith thing with great interest.  Like a lot of people, I am impressed that he made a moral decision so boldly and so publicly.  But.  But, of course, I cannot entirely ignore the disgruntled critics who say that it sure is easy to have an epiphany once you’ve padded your exit with a nice plush bank account of ill-gotten gains.  Does this somehow taint the morality of his decision?  Maybe.  Also, for me, it highlights the fact that moral choices are, to a certain extent, a luxury–and, more importantly, that our society’s incentive structure is totally fucked.

No matter what Smith does now, it cannot be denied that Goldman Sachs built his life, and to a certain extent gave him the ability to make the choice he did (moral stickiness ahoy!).  His column in the New York Times, which will bring him a lot of attention, lucre, and almost inevitably a book deal, could not have happened had he not had a career there.  Consider this: at the same time Smith was at Stanford, there was another kid there who was faced with the same choice: I can leverage this education to make a shitload of money on Wall Street.  But this kid looked at the lay of the world and said, nah, Wall Street is full of scumbags, I’m going to follow my passion and give my life to literature instead, even if my career prospects are laughably poor.  Where is this kid’s op-ed in the New York Times?

Not that said kid necessarily wants an op-ed in the NYT.  Said kid is impressed by the institutional weight of said paper but also frightened by and suspicious of it.  Said kid will probably spend a lifetime having distant and conflicted relationships with powerful institutions.  Said kid does not mind, even if sometimes said kid is like, where the fuck is my money for being awesome?  But.  Said kid acknowledges that even she had a certain amount of luxury to make the decisions that she did.  Said kid married young to a wonderful man with a steady, if not grand, salary.  If said kid had graduated from university and been out in the world struggling totally on her own without health insurance, eating instant ramen in her studio apartment every night, it is quite possible that at some point she would have said, fuck this noise, I am getting an MBA.

We live in a world where moral choices are a often luxury, and it would be so lovely if they could be an innate right.

Also.  Why did Greg Smith choose to have his poor soul sodomized for cash for twelve years when he could have joined the Peace Corps or some shit?  I will tell you.  Because our incentive structure is totally fucked.  Because a young, intelligent person with lots of options, unless they have the structural integrity of a fucking diamond or some kind of guiding passion welling from deep within, will choose the career path that will give them the most positive reinforcement.  The fact that making more money for rich people is the most lucrative and prestigious career available to said young person is bullshit.  Our priorities are fucked; our institutions are sick.  What do we do about it?

Beats the shit out of me.  I’m just in this life game to tell dirty stories and eat way too many bacon cheeseburgers.

Ooooooh yes. Thank you to whoever decided that an appropriate topping for a meat patty was... MORE MEAT. You have made the world a better place.

SweetDeath®

YOU GUYS.

So, I was out having dinner with the husband.  I noticed a new color among the sweeteners on offer.  Amongst the usual pink, blue, and yellow, there was green.  I pulled out the green to get a better look at it.  It was called SweetLeaf®.  It was made from some rainforest plant called Stevia and promised it was all-natural.  I thought this was an interesting product, since maybe it didn’t have the icky aftertaste of your usual artificial sweetener.  So, I tore the packet open and poured a tiny amount into the palm of my hand to taste.  It was perfectly white and ground very fine, more like something you would snort than eat.  I licked the powder off my palm.

I don’t remember exactly what followed.  Everything went blurry, the world was obliterated, and my husband sat across the table shaking with laughter at my pain.  SweetLeaf® was so disgusting that I am pretty sure this is what Hate tastes like.  If you put that taste in the water supply, a nationwide bloody civil war would break out within a day over nothing in particular.  Seriously.  It was so disgusting that it was sublime.  I pretty sure that, amidst the excruciating white pain that blinded my entire soul, I saw the face of God.

I will never be the same.  I will never untaste this product.  Life itself has been destroyed for me.  Now it’s just Nazis raping babies to death with the severed penises of slaughtered endangered panda bears.  To a Justin Bieber soundtrack.  I mean it, all is dead to me now.  I’m pretty sure I can never love again.

If Cthulhu ate a bowl full of anuses and then pooped them into your mouth, it would taste just like that.  With a hint of anise.  Anise anus, that’s what this stuff should be called.  It made me reconsider my stance towards the very idea of rainforest.  Raze the whole fucking thing, is what I say now.

After my husband stopped laughing at me, I actually talked him into having a little taste of the stuff.  He licked some off his hand, and shrugged.  “I dunno,” he said, “it just tastes really sweet.”

So, be advised: depending on what your palate is like, SweetLeaf® tastes either like (a) sweetener or (b) Nazi panda baby rape.  Roll the dice and let me know how it works out.

I WILL RAPE YOUR MOUTH. Maybe.

Four reasons I love my cats

• Not feeling like getting out of bed?  No problem.  At least one cat is always glad to justify my abject laziness by cuddling with me, purring gently for hours.

• I like to randomly bust in on them while they are sleeping or licking their butts or indulging in other feline activities and say, “You guys are behaving like ANIMALS!”  Then I laugh when they look confused.  Then I pet them.  I’m also partial to using a 1930s Chicago movie cop voice: “Scuttlebutt around the precinct has it you’re a kitty, see?”  With cats in the house, this behavior makes me charmingly eccentric.  Without them, it would make me diagnosable.

• When I am startled by a weird noise upstairs, I can tell myself it’s the cats messing around rather than freak out that a foamy-mouthed madman has just bashed his way into my apartment to axe me into quivering meat cubes.

• They like to sleep like this:

One is cuddling with my jammies, the other is sleeping in the wreckage of a fuzzy blanket.  This makes the fact that I never make my bed a public service.  Seriously, if you’re looking for ways to vindicate your natural tendencies toward inertia, you can’t do better than get a couple of cats.

a new hope

Introducing a bold and visionary new presidential candidate

into the Republican field:

Ham Sandwich 2012

  • tough on crime
  • best foreign policy experience
  • delicious
  • cannot make the economy any worse
  • endorsed by a wincing John McCain, and Ficus.

Just substitute “Ham Sandwich” for “Ficus.”  Thank you, America.

201(1-2)

Whoa.  Today is the last day of 2011.  That went by fast.  What have I accomplished this year?  I have:

  • gained some weight
  • lost some hair
  • broken a bone
  • passed a kidney stone

From this we can infer that the human body is indeed God’s finest joke.  Also I have:

  • published a novel
  • and some stories
  • had a host of adventures

So, not too bad.  Next year I am starting a new job teaching humanities at my local community college.  Next year I also hope to:

  • finish my next novel
  • and some stories
  • have a host more adventures
  • not break any bones
  • not pass any kidney stones
  • maybe reproduce.  I’ll pencil that in.

We’re also going to have to move.  Moving sucks.  Nothing like moving to make you ponder burning all your books.  Because–things that are dense:

  • bricks
  • black holes
  • books

So, 2012 resolutions:

  • collect plush animals
  • take up pillow making
  • basically, a light-weight hobby, is what I’m saying.

Happy new year, everybody!

Passing the Stone: Adventures in Pee

It all started with a rather noticeable, if not earth-shattering, discomfort in my abdomen.  Then the need to pee every twelve seconds even though nothing came out.  Then the realization that hey, I sure have been urinating a whole lot of blood these past couple of weeks.  Then a phone call to my HMO, followed by a course of antibiotics for a urinary tract infection.  Then increasing pain, becoming more localized in the right side of my back.  Then a slow but unmistakable drip.  It was very sad.  Seriously.

Things that are sad:

  1. war
  2. cancer
  3. smelling like pee

One evening, as the pain was turning rather vicious, it occurred to me that maybe I didn’t have a urinary tract infection, maybe I had a kidney stone.  When I spoke the words “kidney stone,” it was as if I had summoned a demon.  My entire urinary tract went into spasms for the whole night that felt like I might give birth out of my pee hole.  It felt very, very wrong.  Not only the intensity of the pain, but also the fact that it was entirely the wrong aperture for this sort of business.  My vagina was like, somebody call the police.

Followed, the next morning, an excursion to my trusty HMO facility.  A doctor gently tapping over my right kidney and asking, “does this hurt?”  Then, once they had peeled me off the ceiling and administered sedatives, a meditative sojourn inside a CAT scan machine, watching it spin up around me like a giant hard drive.  “It is about the size of a pea,” they told me.  “You should be able to pass it.”  Then they sent me home with some really, really good drugs.

Followed a blurry series of days that I spent mostly unconscious, being woken up by peaks in the pain.  The occasional change of pajama bottoms to accommodate the unfortunate drip.  Taking a lot of awkward pees into a strainer.  Somewhere in there, a field trip to a job interview.  (I am teaching humanities at my local community college next semester!)  (Really.)  (Tip for an outstanding job interview: percocet.  It will mellow you right out.)  More pain.  Bizarre opiate dreams.  Then a sad phone call to my urologist to tell her that it has been days of unrelenting ouchiness without progress, that I was fairly convinced it wouldn’t pass, that I might need “The Procedure” she had mentioned earlier.

The urologist described The Procedure.  I would be thankfully anesthetized.  They would put a scope up my pee hole and through my bladder, all the way into my poor galvanized little ureter.  Then they would laser the stone into a bunch of bitty fragments that they would then extract.  This all sounded kind of awesome and Star Trek to me, until she told me about The Shunt.  Because the ureter was likely to swell up at being so invaded, they would have to leave a little shunt in there post procedure to make sure it could drain.  At which point I queried, “so wait, I would wake up with this device still in my body?”  “Yes.”  “And how does said device come out, exactly?”  “Well, we tie it to a little string that we’d leave trailing out of your urethra, and after about three days you would pull it out of there like a tampon.”

Had I not been so extremely sedated when I heard that, I likely would have never stopped throwing up.  Instead I said, “huh, that’s festive,” and proceeded with scheduling The Procedure.  Fortunately, if my upper brain hadn’t quite registered The Shunt and what it would likely feel like, my urinary tract had received the message.  It spasmed with such terror that I had to run to the loo and once again grunt over a strainer pondering the absurdities of the human body.  But lo, when I checked the strainer, I saw that I had indeed been delivered: I had urinated a small mineral accretion that looked like sandy gravel coated with some kind of ichor (kidney juice?).  After all the drama my body underwent extruding this thing, its appearance was somewhat anticlimactic.  Actually, it was even sort of cute.  It looked like a bitty mollusk, gritty from the ocean floor.

Now I get to take my spiky mollusk to a lab and find out what it’s made of.  Meanwhile, I gave my cat the paper bag my pee strainer came in and the glee with which she’s been tearing it to pieces is truly adorable.  I’ve been finding bits of it all over the apartment.  My cat thinks kidney stones are awesome.  She gets me to cuddle her in bed for days on end AND she gets a new toy to shred.  Me, I’m just happy the drip has stopped.

Trust me when I say you would rather not have this object in your life.

In which metaphors start off okay, then start to go wrong.

Ahoy fine people!  So, I went to Davis.  I am super proud of the Aggie students and faculty.  At the protest, the kids were so cute and polite and respectful it was almost wrong.  (Come on!  Get MAD!)  But there sure were a whole lot of us.  Thousands upon thousands.

Yay us!

Would you like to see a whole bunch of me?  If so, please come to the Outdoor Art Club in Mill Valley this Thursday at 1 PM to watch me shower the audience with history, romance, and my dazzling personality.  If you would like to see a little less of me–like maybe have a little amuse-bouche of me rather than the full-on Elena platter–please come to the Babylon Salon Reading Series at the Cantina in San Francisco this Saturday at 7 PM.  I will be part of a varied tasting menu of delicious authors.

This week, I have submitted to my ongoing obsession with this whole Titanic thing and written a short, hopefully polished piece about it.  I also got feedback from my agent about the perfume nose story, so that one’s back on the table.  Short stories are good: it’s kind of a relief to suck over the course of fifteen pages rather than suck over the course of three hundred.  To stay fit, you have to vary your training in sucking: even if a suckage marathon is the goal, sometimes you have to do a suckage sprint to keep your prose muscles spry at sucking.  Wow.  I apologize for the last two sentences.  But, clearly I am not ashamed enough of myself, because I did not delete them.

Confessions of an American Vicodin-Eater

What?  It’s already most of the way through November and it’s Thanksgiving next week?  How did this happen!?  CRAZYPANTS.  Amazing how time flies when you’re on palliative narcotics.  Which I’m currently withdrawing from.  Laaaaaaaame.  But at least the broken rib is healed enough that I don’t pass out from pain when I sneeze.  And breathing hurts only a little.  At some point I tried to do a take off on Thomas de Quincey called “Confessions of an American Vicodin-Eater” in which I chronicled all my fevered drug dreams in a posh late eighteenth century voice.  I only got two paragraphs in before the enterprise was abandoned because, you know, one’s motivation is not at its peak when on pain-relieving depressants.  Bummer because my unconscious was like Exploding Jungian Theater every night.  (The nightmares: I am trapped between the living and the dead.  I am trespassing on lost places I used to love and getting in trouble with the authorities.  I am always losing my teeth, or bleeding from somewhere.  I wake up to find that I am still asleep and wake up again to find that I am still asleep, thus in an infinite loop so that when I finally do wake up, I am not entirely certain that I am not still asleep.  I dream of babies and wounded birds and tiny fetal animals that fit in the palm of my hand, small vulnerable things that are easily destroyed.  The water is so icy and the shock of it when it penetrates my lungs makes me gasp and draw more of it in I am the wreck Titanic the wreck Titanic the wreck Titanic)–yeah, it was like that.  I might have also written a couple of ill-advised missives displaying atrocious vulnerability to certain individuals while in the more maudlin throes of chasing the dragon.  Seriously, kids, drugs are bad.  Don’t do drugs.

Somewhere in there, I wrote a short story about perfume noses that my agent liked, so it will probably be submitted after another round of revision.  Must get back to the novel though.  Good God, the nights are long all of a sudden.