Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I Break For Not Driving Anywhere

I've already completely changed my daily routines and, like a cat suddenly taken from her environment, I'm lashing out by hiding in the corner, hissing and clawing at the air. Metaphorically speaking, of course. I would never do that. Nope. Not in the silence of my room nor as I drive what seems like 500 miles a day to and from the old place to the new place to my first job from my second and stopping by my third. You'll definitely never find me clutching, white knuckled at my steering wheel, imagining a series of elaborate scenarios that would begin with me getting all Michael Stipe-y, exiting my car and calmly walking over and in between cars on the Southern State Parkway in the midst of rush hour traffic.

Not me.
I am not cut out for commuting by car. And I say this, not even one full week in to actually doing it regularly. I'm not at any kind of breaking point (yet). All I'm saying is that this afternoon it took me an hour to drive 30 miles, someone with exceptionally dirty arms threw an empty coffee cup at my car while going 65 mph and there is lately a mystery tapping that is coming from somewhere deep inside my glove compartment, a place too packed with plastic spoons, dozens of copies of my registration and enough maxi pads to ensure about two years worth of overnight protection. If I could somehow generate a metaphysical bumper sticker, it might read: I'd rather be doing literally anything else.

It wasn't until I was 28 that I even got a driver's license and I'm beginning to realize that it may not have been a random circumstance. But I'm waxing on about this simply because driving has taken up 80% of my week. I knew what I was up against when I sort of decided to do what I quasi-decided to do. Overall, and some people in my real life might dispute this claim, I think I'm handling the changes happening with as much dignity as I can muster. I'm not adopting a totally Buddhist mentality of no attachments but I'm not shitting and vomiting in my carrier, the way my cats did when I drove them to their new home on Saturday either.

Honing my focus on one task at a time, one day at a time is my new goal. Its absence has had me adrift for a long time but I'm determined now to throw down my anchor. There's an app (or several) to help. Right now I'm listening to one as I type this. It reminds me of M83 and this song (which I'm pretty sure is antithetical to the purpose of a focusing app), the listening of which is going to be my break as soon as I finish...ok fine, let's listen to it now! The stars and planets are calling me a billion years away from you.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


I've moved a few inches back from the brink. Being productive is, for me, a much needed salve on the self inflicted wounds on my psyche. Why is it so easy to navigate ourselves into negativity but damn near impossible to change course to positivity? Circumstances devolve into chaos quickly in my brain.Well, maybe not chaos but uncertainty at the very least. And so, I've put on my productive pants. They're a bit snug but they accentuate all the right things.

Shuttling boxes and canisters full of my life (and all its ephemera and detritus) back and forth from apartment to small ass car to storage to new place has been a practice in meditation. I understand why people do mundane tasks as a form of reflection. I thought the other day as I rolled up a small mountain of clothing, piece by piece about the stone walkway that leads up Montserrat and I had a billion and one ideas and thoughts that branched out to even more ideas. At the very least, productivity awakens my brain to the myriad things I can and will do.

A word about self storage facilities: they creep me out. Ironically enough, I become suspicious of what lies behind the sliding metal doors of each compartment. Also, each time I drive up to my storage facility, it is empty of all cars, but there are always people in there! How did they get there? Rows and rows of silent, florescent lit hallways inexplicably lead me to think of something sinister. I've run into a few fellow stuff-storers and it is always awkward for some reason. We squeeze past each other down the narrow hallways, eyes averted. WHAT ARE WE HIDING?
In my case, I'm "hiding" my entire life apart from the bare essentials. However, I'm reasonably certain everyone else is hiding large steel drums of dissolving body parts or enormous pallets full of cash from their meth businesses.

My neighbors.
Everytime I press the big green button that allows me entrance to the building I think of the ever present dystopian future which captures our current zeitgeist. I can't help it. I think about bands of hastily formed alliances who take over the outer perimeter of the storage facility, 1st floor vs. 2nd floor and who controls the vending machines at the end of the hallways?? Why are there vending machines there? Why do I suddenly feel the need to get roller skates with lights on them and forage for water in a wasteland?

If you can name this film, we are meant to know each other.

So far, considering the storage facility reminds me of murder, suspicion, crime and the end of the world, I'm going to say I'm projecting just a wee bit onto a poor, bland, unsuspecting Eastern bloc of a building. I suppose there are worse scapegoats. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

"Before" shots

I just decided at this very moment to change the rules of Blog Everyday September. The rules are that I don't have to blog everyday in September. Dang, it is easy to change rules without cause or warrant. I feel just like a credit card!

Then again, I feel vague and blobby with super low interest. I have no special offers and I give out no points for using me. I don't give anyone the thrill of instant gratification or the illusion of free money. I can't transfer anything and I come in only one design. So, not like a credit card at all then.

I want to avoid making this blog post a downer. It's just...just....arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. What the hell lately?  My life feels like one gigantic "before" mural on the side of a rotted out dilapidated building. Seeing photographs of myself I think "That's the before shot." I have an iPhone full of before shots now. I am the newbie everywhere and I don't know what I'm doing. I'm full of misinformation and assumptions and I get the feeling I'm getting dumber and dumber with each passing day. Time was I could make a declarative statement, with vim (if not vigor) and not question it. These days, I mentally question everything I say right after I say it. An esprit de l'escalier of a different kind. The kind where I never come up with the perfect retort or answer, not at the right moment or on the stairs afterward. I know I've joked about being neurotic for most of my adult life but I might actually be telling the truth about it now.

I get metaphysically winded now. Yesterday I spent hours formulating a plan for the next three weeks, during which I have no less than six hundred million things to take care of and doing exactly none of them, choosing instead to pull down the blinds and lie down in the dark.

I'm turning my lack of job offers into my own private hair shirt, making the global problem of joblessness a penance for some unknown cosmic wrong I committed in my last life and it feels a bit like I'm stockpiling my inadequacies all at once, for some future bunker where I'll hide out after the nuclear explosion dust of getting old and lonely settles.

I find myself Googling phrases like "How to cope with change" and "Making your own luck" and "How to not infer meaning in the meaningless". I haven't gleaned anything useful but all three of those phrases, among others, were autocompleted by Google the first time I typed them in so this cheese does not stand alone. She stands, unpasteurized with her brethren, susceptible to any foolhardy idea or preemptive worry that comes along.

I need a good boiling.

I just reread all this. I sound a little crazy. Just a little. But I really feel like this is my time to go a little crazy. Just a little, I promise. It's Monday. I move out of my apartment in three and a half weeks. This morning I found a dead roach under my bed, put there by one of my cats at some unknown time between 2010-present. I'm going to go ahead and let myself get just a little bit Tower of Pisa for a moment. K thx.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I am a snake head eating the head on the opposite side.

I've been doing a lot of cleaning out of boxes and closets and assorted corners of my apartment in preparation for a move (I finally ran out of money, but that's another story for another blog post) and I came across my collection of mix tapes. I'm holding on to these items so that they will have to be pried from my cold, dead hands; I love them that much.

I thought I would share with you my track listing from a mix tape I made for myself that I titled: Bored! Summer 1995. That would have made me 18 going on 19. This is the track listing:

Cambodia -- Dead Kennedys
Miss World -- Hole
A Violent Fluid -- NIN
I Palindrome I -- They Might Be Giants
Juke Joint Jezebel -- KMFDM
Dopehat -- Marilyn Manson (apparently they liked the word "dope" for song titles)
Sweet Jane -- Cowboy Junkies
Killing Game -- Skinny Puppy
How Beautiful You Are -- The Cure
Redemption Song -- Bob Marley
Lithium -- Nirvana
Serenade for Winds K.36, 3rd movement-- Mozart
Am I Wrong-- Love Spit Love
Kraut -- KMFDM
Girl -- Tori Amos
No Woman No Cry -- Bob Marley
Fake Plastic Trees -- Radiohead
Thank You -- Tori Amos
Suck (Live) -- NIN
The Dock of the Bay -- Otis Redding
Which Describes How You're Feeling All the Time -- They Might Be Giants
Yes, Anastasia -- Tori Amos
Dumb -- Nirvana

Ahem. I really WAS bored that summer. If I can recall correctly, I was home from Freshman year at college and apparently not in any way bothered by KMFDM, what with putting not one but two of their songs on my mix. Be my...sister salvation... I'm cracking up. I was spending my Saturday nights at Voodoo's, swooning over goth boys in fishnets and working in some crappy cafeteria, brooding that "no one understood". I just really want to give the young me a big hug, complement her skirt and let her know, in the most gentle way possible, that she is a loser. But that it's ok.

Also, I appear to have been into grunge, industrial, goth, 60s soul, classical, reggae and what I like to call "quirk" music. Much to my deep, deep chagrin, I let rap of that era pass me right by. I regret it. I truly do.

So there's mix tapes just like this taking up real estate in bent boxes that I carry with me from apartment to apartment and have lasted almost 20 years. I have such distinct memories attached to each of these songs, I'm so glad I have this peephole into my past. And I frankly have a hankering for some Skinny Puppy now.

Bonus points to whomever can match this post's title to one of the songs from the tape. Just read the meaning and it shouldn't be too hard.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Grubstake me!


: to provide with material assistance (as a loan) for launching an enterprise or for a person in difficult circumstances

When I started this entry, it was the word of the day. That was two days ago. I'm going to start viewing Merriam Webster's word of the day as a kind of harbinger of things to come. Turns out, I could use a grubstake. A literal one and a metaphysical one.

I missed two days of posting this month. Those two days have been lost to history. Imagine just exactly how critical the information I carried on those two days could have been. I could have lugged around wisdom unparalleled. Rucksacks swollen with brooding, boxes crammed with worry, duffle bags filled to bursting with my incessant need to put off what I could do today. Modern day classic!!

Friends, my brain is fried, my nerves are sizzled, my heart is charred, my soul sous vide. I'm cooked, through and through.

I've missed the other part of my drafting compass, the one I was promised the moment I read John Donne in high school.

And though it in the centre sit,  
    Yet, when the other far doth roam,                                
It leans, and hearkens after it,  
    And grows erect, as that comes home. 

Such wilt thou be to me, who must, 
    Like th' other foot, obliquely run ; 
Thy firmness makes my circle just,                                    
    And makes me end where I begun.

I definitely need the stalwart stick in the mud because, my peoples, I doth roam all over the damn freaking place.

In my previous online journals, I used to tag my posts with more regularity and it was always amusing to me to see how often I posted about a particular subject. There were clearly defined patterns in my daily life and I was (somewhat) more inclined to limit my complaints or at the very least, sparse them out. One of my tags was called "Money, aka the bane of my existence" and I'm reasonably certain it made the top three most frequently used tags in my journal. I don't tag this journal that often but if I did, I'd change any and all discussion of money, my lack of it, my pathetic IV bag-like dependence on it to carry the following tag: ARRGGGGHHHHH.

And just like an IV bag, I've been hungrily draining what little money I had squirreled away to do vital life functions, things like, oh I don't know, pay rent and energy bills, fill up my car with gas to get me to my part time jobs. I knew in the back of my mind it was not sustainable; this would have to do until a full time job came along. Well, five months later, no full time job is yet forthcoming and I think at approximately 10am this Monday morning, it hit me in the face. I have to look at my apartment, home for lo, these four and half years and say aloud, with feeling: I gotsta GO!

It's the where, how and why God why of it all, though. The ass kicker. I even found time this weekend to lament all the fucking shit I'm going to be missing out on this fall: friend's visits, huge life events of people I love. All because of money aka the bane of my existence, pervasive and pernicious as ever.

I might be broke now but I still harbor dreams, my darlings. Dreams are free. GIFs of dreams are also free (unless protected by copyright, in which case, let me know.) Here's my next dream, GIF style.

I'm the cat in this dream btw.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Prog rock prince

As of this typing, it is 11:24 am. Some observations about the day so far:

I have no idea how to dress for this weather. At the moment I'm wearing what I call a Seasonal Compilaton. I have capri length pants on with a blouse and a short sleeved sweater and a scarf. None of it is appropriate for the weather nor does it look right. If my outfit were a person, it would be an adolescent, still trying to figure out who she is.

I'm almost totally positive that the woman I saw at the bagel shop this morning, munching greedly on savory looking breakfast is going to get undressed tonight and just spill over with poppy seeds. They are going to rain from her body and scatter to the floor in a million pieces after hitching a ride like so many plankton. It will happen to her consternation and also, I hope, her amusement.

A library patron just asked me if we owned CDs by what is probably every single known prog rock band that ever existed. He was super annoyed that we had maybe two. Sorry, dude. The library buys according to the need of the community and unfortunately, the need for ELO, Bachman Turner Overdrive and Yes is not as in demand as you were led to believe. Apparently he comes in this library a lot and will heretofore be known as the Prog Rock Prince. In my head.

I just had to help a Spanish speaking patron with some information because out of a hefty staff in this large library, like two of us speak Spanish. Geez. When will Americans start speaking Spanish already?? Anyway, she wanted information about who was running for local office. That would normally be simple enough but there was the language barrier, her computer illiteracy and the fact that it isn't all that easy to get translated, detailed information about hyperlocal political candidates. I felt exactly like everything I was telling her was just turning into "a doy a doy a doy" by the time it reached her ears. She finally told me to give her the website and that her grandkids would help her navigate it. Someone should invent a universal translatable app for political candidates during election years. Get on that.

So far, that's all I got. With a morning like this, I can't wait to chronicle my sure to be thrilling and chilling observations of the afternoon.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


It is strange to be working a long day at two jobs on the anniversary of 9/11. For the past two years, I've made it a point to be out of the country, with my sister. Today she is out of town and I am home and I've been so busy that I spent the majority of the day with my mind in "you are forgetting something" mode. It is much easier to ignore that mode, or at least to put it on mute, when you are drinking foreign wine and pointing at exotic buildings and monuments.

I was so busy doing non-computer related things that I was spared most of the news/op-eds/armchair historian's takes on what this day means now that it didn't 13 years ago and what are all the things we should be doing instead of remembering. And even though I was working and learning and being trained all day long, I still wasn't forgetting. In the back row of my brain, all the way in the cheap seats, I saw all of it, the 13th encore.

But, just like every year, the engine had to chug along. To be completely honest, I'm more like the exhaust than engine at the moment and I've suddenly found myself at 10:30 again with nothing in my head but how little was in my head.

Quick throwback to yesterday's post. This explains why the moon was so bright last night. So, not an absurdist play after all...