Thursday, September 30, 2010

Comment: Verbal Diarrhea

Okay, so I really need to get out more.

I've noticed that if you give me even one glass of wine, I'm the chattiest fucking Cathy on the block.

Yes, I went out tonight, with other PEOPLE, GROWN-UP people, to be exact. And I'm reminded how arrested my development is.

I didn't do anything super stupid, but I found myself at times almost looking at myself from above, thinking, "Damn, girl, stop talking for two seconds!" Blah blah blah.

It's just that I've been quiet and child-centered for seven years, and I'm getting a glimpse of life when your children are old enough to clean, toilet and entertain themselves. And I am loving it.

Wow. People. Talking and drinking and eating independently. What a world.

I've been out of any kind of professional loop for so long that I feel like I'm really only in my mid-thirties, at least in terms of career advancement. Not to mention that I'm a really late bloomer, so really, I'm 29. Or something.

I guess I'm just crawling out from the cozy and lovely and exhausting cocoon that is stay at home motherhood.

And the light is so bright.

I think I need sunglasses.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Comment: A Book Review, of Sorts

I just finished reading Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart. It was both disturbing and excellent. I couldn't put it down.

But it kind of bummed me out.

Not having read his other books yet, (Absurdistan and The Russian Debutante's Handbook), I don't know if this one is a departure from his previous stylings.

But he is one kick-ass satirist in this one. And an amazing writer. In fact, I feel like an idiot trying to even come close to reviewing, in words, something that he did, WITH words.

It's awesome. In both senses of the word. And yet, it's a downer.

You know how they say, "it's funny 'cos it's true!" about random shit? Well, this book is both terrifying and funny because it could be true in the not so distant future.

Shteyngart manages to take everything messed up about our current world (political, social, economic, cultural) and extrapolate it just far enough out there to seem only a tad far-fetched. The things he writes about really could happen. And they're scary. But predictable, given today's climate.

Basically, this is a grown-up, written version of Wall-E, with more emphasis on texting and shopping. But it's the same message. We've trashed the earth and ourselves, we're fat and shallow, and it's our fault.

So if you're looking for an amazing book and are feeling just a tad masochistic, pick it up.

If not, A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan is also excellent, and not so dystopian. And it has without question the most brilliant chapter on Asperger's Syndrome, done entirely in PowerPoint. That alone makes the book worth buying.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Complaint: More of a Rebuttal, Actually

I was just reading my friend and fellow blogger, The Solipsist's, entry for Monday, and lo and behold, he spoke of something about which I know far, far too much.

He laments the lot of the poor stinkbug for its somewhat, negative, name. It must have self-esteem issues, perhaps. Fortunately for him, he's never encountered one in the flesh, because if he HAD, he would know that being called a "stinkbug" is a euphemism. They should be so lucky that's ALL we call them here in the Mid-Atlantic region, where they've decided to land, live, and procreate at massive rates.

I wasn't even going to blog about the pesky beasts, but now, to set the record straight, I fear I must.

A stinkbug buzzes. A stinkbug dive bombs you in the middle of the night. (I have heard that some even bite, though that's apparently rare.) But more than anything else, a stinkbug stinks.

Imagine rotten cilantro mixed with dusty garbage.

Yup, that about covers it.

And lest you think I'm anti-insectist, let me say this: for weeks, I kept saying I didn't think they stunk (stank?) and that I didn't understand why they were CALLED stinkbugs in the first place.

But now I know.

Because last week, in the course of thirty minutes, my husband and I spent some quality time vacuuming up about 100 of the bastards off our curtains, ceilings and windows. The inside of the see-thru (of course) canister looked like a miniature horror movie set. All you need is some sketchy, shrill music and the screams of a blonde coed and it's all there. I screamed when I saw it. And I'm part blonde.

The kicker, though, was when I went to use my vacuum this week, (emptied prior, natch) my whole foyer smelled like stinkbugs. Fragrant.

An enterprising friend told me about some non-toxic spray I could use around the windows, which seemed to help. Also, we CLOSED our windows in spite of the record-breaking heat. (We have holes in our screens. We may as well have put out a sign that said "STINKBUG PARADISE RIGHT HERE, COME ON IN!")(This is what buying an old house will get you.)

So things are under control now, but for how long?

Everyone in the family yelps a little yelp when one buzzes past, and we're all super sensitive to smells. They'll be no salsa avec cilantro for us for the indefinite future, I can tell you that much.

Stinkbugs are REAL. And they REALLY STINK.

P.S. There are no bugs in California because they can't handle the pollution. Except for the cockroaches. The wily bastards, they'll outlive us all.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Complaint: Definitely a Complaint

I was just wondering if anyone else out there wants to join my new club: It's called
Everything I Love to Do and am Good at Pays for Shit.

Why is that, exactly?

Being creative, or heaven forbid, an artist of any kind, seems to instantly mean meager job prospects, and the constant unsolicited career advice of well-meaning relatives. My brain hurts from relentless career nudges and readjustments.

And they aren't only coming from other people. They come from within, my friends. They come from within.

I find myself bemoaning the fact that my expensive education equips me to work at McDonalds or possibly to be allowed to clean up in schools or daycare centers AFTER the kids have gone home. It seems that education does not buy you any kind of guarantee.

This is why I have been struggling through these math classes and ETS bullshit tests, in order to qualify to step foot into a school as a full fledged teacher in this particular draconian state. But there aren't jobs, and even if there were, there wouldn't be many in the arts. There isn't even a designation for my field (Drama) in this state. That's how much it thinks of the arts.

I'm rambling. And it's all too familiar to alert or even only slightly alert readers. Kvetch, kvetch.

But I'm not going to be a doctor or a lawyer. Never gonna happen. I am who I am.

Guess I just have to accept that what I love to do is not highly remunerative, but the payoff can be pretty damn good.

It just annoys me that teachers and artists and social workers and non-profits and their ilk make crap money, but bring immeasurable joy and educational value to life.

Why don't we value the valuable?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Comment: Adventures in Driving

So I had a training to go to this weekend, outside of my little comfort-zone radius of 2.2 miles here in my urban paradise. This qualified as an ADVENTURE.

Naturally, I did Google maps. Then I got my two different GPSes, set them up, and was ready to go. Oh, and I had the directions that the training site (a library) told me to use, typed out for my convenience already.

Step One: Tom Tom GPS not functioning. Only showing Gray Striped Screen of Death. Remain undaunted: I've got back ups!

Step Two: Follow paper directions because it's too hard to use iPod GPS while driving stick shift in traffic.

Step Three: Miss vital turn.

Step Four: Am completely, utterly turned around. Drive for a long while hoping to be able to turn around and retrace my steps.

Step Five: Discover it is WAY too late for that. Think profane thoughts. Breathe deeply.

Step Six: Pull over. Consult functioning GPS.

Step Seven: Drive more.

Step Eight: End up at a horse stable the GPS insists is the library. Curse softly.

Repeat Steps Six and Seven.

Step Nine: Find a library. But it's the wrong one. Curse a little louder.

Repeat Steps Six and Seven.

Step Ten: Find myself in the middle of a large cemetery, proudly displaying a large billboard proclaiming "SPECIAL! Two for One Caskets PLUS FREE CRYPT!". No, I am not making this up. Attempt to curse quietly out of respect for the dead.

Step Eleven: Drive on, watching little dot on functioning GPS tell me I'm ALMOST there, but can never GET there.

Step Twelve: Find errant US Postal Worker. Ask for directions. Said Postal Worker tells me I am WAY off, points me in appropriate direction.

Step Thirteen: Arrive at training site, the right library, this time. Total travel time: 85 minutes. Find doors locked. Curse loudly. Find back door open. Enter late. Discover thirty minutes later the side zipper on my blouse is WIDE OPEN.

Conclusion: Throw myself on the mercy of the local population for handwritten directions home. Get home in 30 minutes.

Technology, ye have failed me, and I am sore afraid.

Seriously, sometimes the best GPS is a woman named Paula and a post-it note with directions you stick onto the dashboard of your car.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Complaint: MInd the Gap

DEPTH ALERT: The following post displays 88% shallowness.

Other than math, as of late, my obsession turns to boots, just as the weather cools, and I realize that pedicures will soon no longer matter. (Which is hard to believe, given today's current balmy temperature of 90.)

Anyway, I got a deal on a major sale on boots that I hope to wear to a special awards ceremony in which my mother is being honoured. Want to clean up nice for that, I tell ya.

So I got these boots and they're the funky lace up type, and all was well until I zipped them up, tightened the laces as much as I possibly could, and found: a GAP. A very big gap. My calves were swimming in these boots.

Now I didn't order wide calf boots, which, apparently, exist. My question is this: if a five foot ten runner's calves are floating in these boots, WHO ARE THEY MADE FOR? How big does a calf get? Do I have abnormally under-developed calves? Or is the expectation that all American women who have feet as LARGE as mine (very large) are also gigantic everywhere else?

I'm more the Olive Oyl with a slight muffintop type. My calves are not large. And I can't really imagine filling this massive gap that's large enough there should be a warning sign of some sort. I could lose my keys in there.

So are they going back to the store? Most likely. Unless I can figure out how to make them less gappy. Seeing as I'm pretty useless with a needle and thread, I'm not so sure much can be done.

I just don't understand who these are made for. And I'm disappointed that my big sale score is less than optimal. Such are the risks one takes with online shopping.

Math class now more than 50% done. Closer......closer....

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Comment: Hullo.

I hope you have all been well. I apologize for my extensive absence. Sometimes a lady's gotta do what a lady's gotta do.

Okay, so it's been two months. I've been a little, er, occupied. But let's not dwell on that. Let's dwell on the fact that I have shagged my ass back to the computer, and for once, it isn't to do algebra!

I survived the first math class, asinine as it was. Basically I paid a lot of money to use a relentless taskmaster of a tutorial program to get through the first math class hoop. The so-called teacher? Useless. But I'm in the dead center of the second and final class, and it isn't so bad. Yes, I really did say that. I don't loathe factoring the way I loathed the graphing in class one. This current class is really not so horrible. It's dumb. But not horrible.

Don't get me wrong, the first four and a half weeks (out of five) of the first class was a series of teeth gnashing, garment rending (not the trendy kind)(and not involving jeggings; can I just pause and say that is the DUMBEST new word I've heard in a very long time?) and wailing "I want out! I'm done! I can't do this!" and other things I don't want my children to hear me say.

But see, I don't want to be a quitter. And even though I took a two month hiatus from this blog, due, in large part, to a personal mental health challenge (and a really crappy summer job), I'm back in buffalo mode. Really, what other mode is there? If you want to get shit done, I mean. Barrel through.

Things in my home life have settled down quite nicely after extensive chaos and confusion. And with only two and half more weeks to go of this online math bullshit, I'll have more time for the blog again.