Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Even genies have to comply with HIPAA

If you could get rid of any physical ailment that you regularly struggle with, what would it be? Mine would be the tendency to constantly get things in my eyes. For some reason there is a near constant supply of pet hair, clothing threads, dental floss, and microscopic carbon dust hiding out in both of my eyes at all times. So I’m constantly wiping my eyes like I’m crying about something very painful that will be resolved by rubbing my eyes, which is only sometimes often true. It is also really unhelpful because I am allergic to cats and I have a cat so I am literally rubbing bits of cat into my eyes all the time. But maybe that’s what’s happening after all—perhaps cats are now growing from my eyes into life-size housecats, which will one day emerge from my eye sockets to constantly demand food and resent me too. Which is not such a bad scenario unless the new cats and my current cat started some kind of competition to see who could treat me the worst. It’s sort of a gamble so I think that would still be the ailment I would choose to treat if medicine advanced to such a level. Because I’m not a gambler and because the eye-poking got a little out of hand today and now I think I might have pink eye in one eye. But if there’s anything I like less than gambling, it’s asymmetry, so I am thinking to start poking the other eye so they will at least match.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Best Art Show in the History of the World

I am preparing for my first solo exhibition at the StoveFactory Gallery in Charlestown, MA, which will open on May 11. My hope is that by this time, I will have learned to stop inexplicably referring to it as the StovetopFactory, which I think implies that they manufacture gas and electric ranges. This has proved difficult to do, as they don't manufacture anything at all. What goes into preparation for a solo exhibition, you wonder? A lot, I would tell you, if you had actually asked me that. There is the difficult but very important task of imagining the great fame surely to come and how my life will be forever altered; I've never had a lot of money, surely learning how to spend it will be hard! There is also much brainstorming to do about potential interview questions I will be asked by reporters and journalists. Aside from that, though, maybe just some paintings. A successful art show will quite often have a theme. Who can forget one of Rembrandt's first solo exhibitions, Syphilis and Paninis, widely touted as the turning point of his career. The art I have created does not yet have a coherent theme (nothing like Syphilis and Paninis), but so far it does feature a lot of female impersonators and animals with human body parts fused to their backs. I am using "The Best Art Show in the History of the World" as sort of a jumping-off point, though I imagine it may have to become slightly more specific, such as "The Best Art Show in Boston Today That I Have Heard of Anyway." 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

List of Accomplishments 2013

Though I resolved to spend the new year criticizing myself less and to stop comparing myself to others, and still do, after today that is, some days it's just hard not to recount the accomplishments in your life thus far to see what you have amounted to. If I list them publicly, maybe I will feel more accomplished at twenty-eight years. Here they are, in order of recollection.

1. Got some paintings temporarily up in an ice cream shop
2. Getting some more paintings temporarily up in a frozen yogurt shop
3. Blood pressure is, for another year, STILL ASTOUNDING, despite total lack of exercise and limited portion control.
4. On a similar note, years of eating many King-size Reese's Peanut Butter cups as an after-school snack has not yet "caught up to me," as my mother promised it would
5. Have veins that delight hospital employees and incite envy in intravenous drug users
6. Have not gotten fired, yet
7. Have not developed crippling drug habit 
8. ?
9. Last night I walked to the store and back to buy beer in SLIPPERS. It was exhilarating and wildly comfortable. 

A wise Chinese philosopher once said, "It could be better, but it is good enough." Actually, I don't think any philosopher really said that, but it was in a fortune cookie I ate last night. And perhaps having the confidence to wear slippers in public and the wherewithal to resist highly addictive drugs for twenty-eight years should be good enough for some of us. 

Here is proof of the fortune, which is now taped to my desktop monitor as a reminder.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Underwear Parties

I am no longer surprised that men imagine women regularly have pillow fights with each other in their underwear. Men are often sneaky about these things, so I'm not sure if they were invented by men or women, but the continued practice of celebrating a bride-to-be by throwing her a lingerie party is no doubt propagating this rumor. Ladies, what are we doing to ourselves? If we were to receive underwear from a boyfriend it would be considered a "non-present," as it is not necessarily intended to make our lives easier, more comfortable, or to be used as tender at an expensive restaurant. Buying underwear is not one of my favorite pastimes. It is something you do when all your underwear is currently in the hamper and you are too lazy to run them through a wash cycle. How does one even know what sizes to buy a friend who is getting married? I personally do not spend much of my time trying to figure out what cup sizes my friends wear, nor do I spend hours pontificating with female friends about our favorite underwear, but perhaps I am in a minority. I would not like others publicly gifting me with underwear for the singular reason that then everyone will know exactly what I have on underneath my clothes. I have not yet been to a lingerie party myself, but at the next one I am invited to attend I will be bringing a six-pack of cotton Fruit of the Loom (comfort is essential to a new bride as she is trying to use all the new appliances and gravy boats she has just acquired at once) and a cape. The cape will be a useful cover-up once she has discovered that none of her new gifts fit her.     

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Free Time!

For the first time in many months, I have no interviews scheduled for the immediate future. I have no phone interviews scheduled. It is surprisingly a very refreshing, liberating feeling to know that I do not have to lay out my suit and get a good night's rest, dreaming of marketing strategies and firm handshakes. I can throw caution to the wind and deliberately not get a good night's sleep, instead staying up to watch insipid blondes on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills so that I am prepared with nothing consequential to talk about the next day except how hard it must be to walk around in stilettos and constantly have one's mammaries trying to escape from their confines. With all this extra time, I can now actually visit the doctor office's to make up for all the imaginary appointments I have scheduled since May. Which is a good thing as I've recently acquired no less than ten afflictions, including a moderate case of leprosy which appears resistant to homeopathic sandwich applications. I consider myself a moderate to good medicinal Internet researcher, but the cat has been to the doctor about ten more times this year than me and I am probably due for a vaccine as I can't even recall the last time I've had a rabies shot. 

Monday, December 31, 2012

International Office of Pancakes

After a week of vacation, I returned to work today to find that my office smells of pancakes. I have not been able to locate the source of the pancake scent, but suspect it may be coming from inside my computer as it sounds exactly like it is trying desperately to operate despite being filled to the brim with pancake batter. I sought the technical assistance of a coworker to convince myself that it is a genuine possibility that the computer spontaneously became burdened with a technical pancake issue and not that I caused the problem by leaving it on the whole week I was gone. 

As this grating noise may indicate that its days are almost up, my objective today will be to back up all my files, which naturally I have not done once in five years. It would be a shame to lose so many good pictures of cats. Today is a slightly momentous day, however, as I have just quit Facebook and already feel a tremendous sense of relief. It is only 10:30 A.M. and I have managed to rearrange the entire office and iron everyone's winter coats. Perhaps the decision to eschew a compulsive, unrewarding behavior will help me to stick with one thing at a time, instead of trying to read thirty blogs at once. Back in the early days of colonial America, multi-tasking meant plowing the fields while whistling. Now it is more akin to balancing your checkbook while simultaneously watching Castle and performing laparoscopic surgery. Each time I feel tempted to direct my browser to that Web site, I put a quarter into a jar. I then go spend that quarter on bulk candy. It will be an uphill battle, as I am so trained to seek out Facebook whenever I am bored and want to have a worse day than I am currently having, but I am confident I can jump this hurdle and return to a life where I don't know how many miles my peers have just run or what noises their baby has made today. I am positive this will be easier than that month I tried to give up gluten.  I can also say with certainty that it will be easier than that month when I was seven and agreed to give up television in exchange for ten dollars from my parents, during which I actually failed but lied about so I could keep the ten dollars. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Facebook: Slightly less addictive than drugs, still more addictive than Chap Stick.

My boyfriend does not have a Facebook account. To some, this is reason enough to believe that he does not actually exist. Apart from the obvious answer that I did in fact make him up, he has simply never seen Facebook as a need that went unfulfilled. During a recent conversation about why Facebook is bad, I tried to explain to him that I was glad he did not use it because I would then know what he was doing and who he was talking to at all times and I would be able to figure out who all of his exes were. He looked at me with abject horror as I tried to remove the foot that had gotten stuck between my teeth.

I think I am not alone when I say that whenever I log on, I become agitated for no concrete reason within seconds. This is alarming as I have not even had to speak to anyone during this time period. I spend enough of my time becoming irate with strangers already and I am beginning to think that I am not benefiting from this relationship. Any positive effect my membership has on me ("Your hair is great!!) is returned tenfold with unnecessary comparison of myself to my peers, remorse that I chose to spend part of my life looking at pictures of one-time acquaintances' food, and outrage at the spelling and grammar of those I know. 

In an effort to find help from others who no longer succumb to this compulsion, I searched for "how to give up Facebook" and found that before I had completed my question, the top three Google searchers are, in order of appearance:

1. How to give up drugs
2. How to give up Facebook
3. How to give up Chap Stick

This discovery suggests that in terms of addiction, Facebook is more powerful than lip balm and only slightly easier to kick than drugs. I have never had a drug problem, though I am young and ambitious. I do have over three types of lip balm in my purse at this very moment. I like Chap Stick, though, and I can quit whenever I want to. While I would never beg my ailing grandmother a for ride to meet my junkie middle-aged boyfriend who I only sleep with for his access to Facebook (things I learned from Intervention), it is starting to feel like a malevolent influence in my life. Until now, I have not had the courage to let go of this thing I did not really like but have gotten so used to. And so from this point forward, I am going to deactivate my account and learn what it is like to live without it again. If it is anything like Intervention, I am going to gain forty pounds and get into découpageIt is a bit of a disappointment that I am making this decision on my own, as I have always fantasized about being thrown a surprise intervention by my friends. Then again, there are always new obsessions that could get out of hand, like Chap Stick or Post-it Notes. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Potential New Year's Resolutions

Vacations are great, but I am somehow always relieved to return home. The radiators in my apartment may sound like they are constantly boiling spaghetti and I am convinced that mice are giving walking tours within the walls, but it is mine. That's of course not actually true, as my name is not on any deed and my landlords would gleefully kick me out as soon as they found someone willing to pay more, but it does at least hold all of my things. I have returned home just in time to create some New Year's Resolutions. I like creating New Year's Resolutions, particularly because I like disappointing myself. Some people scoff at them, but to me it is a moment in time that I can pretend I will be a better, and possibly more famous or wealthy, person from now on. Self-delusion is a powerful trait. Here are some possible resolutions that I will commit to this year. This list may be expanded once I determine other things that are wrong with me.

1. Me and the cat both go on a diet. It's said that overweight pets tend to have overweight owners. While neither of us is in a scary obesity zone that would call for amputation of one or more limbs, if it suddenly became necessary to walk publicly in a bikini or meet with certain death, I might choose death. I am dismayed by how excited my cat gets every time I so much as near the fridge, but then again perhaps it is meaningful that I am opening it fifteen to twenty times a day. She looks at me with big, yellow, soulful eyes, pleading with me to feed her just one more can of pâté. On the other hand, I have also been known to look in the mirror with the same soulful expression, desperately addressing my need for a cheeseburger. This is one of the least likely resolutions that I can think of. 

2. Stop caring what others think about me. This is a very important resolution, and something that supposedly gets easier with age. It is also difficult to attain, as I have made this resolution before. It has become harder to stick with lately, exacerbated by the interview process as I am constantly being judged and subsequently rejected. I try my best, but often we need a reminder. For instance, I am right now worrying if you, the reader, is still reading this post or if you've gotten bored and went off to make yourself a sandwich! But it shouldn't bother me if my readers are making sandwiches or not, as I have just gone to the grocery store and can make a sandwich of my own. 

3. Get a hold of my anger problem. This is a very relevant resolution and also one that I haven't had the slightest idea how to change. I feel that rage may be in my genes. My dad has been known to have a bit of a temper, and my mom can be sensitive, and as a result I frequently get very angry and then cry about it. I worry that it is getting worse with age, or a result of living in Boston for six years.  I become so irate with someone carrying on a loud, lengthy cell phone conversation on the train that I will stare at them until I am sure my eyes have popped out of their sockets. This has not worked for me once. It may someday cause me to jump off the train while it is still in motion just to avoid listening to a conversation about diaper rash. I recently began yelling at an umbrella that refused to cooperate. The umbrella was no more cooperative and I just looked crazy to people.

4. Watch less Law & Order. This one is a joke. I would never do this. 

How are you going to spend your New Year's Eve? Sitting at home tearfully watching commercials featuring pitiful cats and dogs with heart-breaking music in the background? Losing your cell phone at a bar? I don't know about you, but I am going to spend mine thinking about what I don't like about myself and what I can do to become more famous before 2014.

Friday, December 28, 2012

So long again, Chicago

I believe it is important to travel in order to gain a better perspective on what it is like to watch television in other parts of the world. Today is my last vacation day at my parents' house, which I imagine is not unlike a stay in Mexico, as it is a constant ninety-eight degrees and the tap water is not potable. On Wednesday night I headed to the city for a raucous night on the town, until 9:30 when everyone had to go home to take care of their dogs. Soon I will wedge myself back into an airplane seat the size of a can of soup and return home before my cat is able to file a Missing Persons report.

And here I am at the airport! This is what's known as an inexplicable time lapse. The airports suggest that you arrive at least four days in advance of your boarding time if you wish to leave with your flight, but I like to live on the edge and have arrived only hours before. You'd think it would be more exciting to undress with hundreds of strangers, but security is kind of a drag. I think that if they really wanted to punish terrorists, they would make them continuously fly domestically in the U.S. for the rest of their existence. Well I must prepare for takeoff, there are only six more flights to leave from my gate before my plane arrives and I want to make sure they don't apprehend me if they realize I've used the word "terrorists."

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas from the suburbs!

I am writing this from my phone because I didn't have enough room to pack both my laptop and all my hair styling products, so I made the difficult decision to leave it at home. Excuse me if this post is ridden with errors. Typing on a phone can be tough as it is difficult to get the rotary dial around for each letter.

I awoke yesterday with a piece of wet sandpaper being repeatedly dragged across my face. I came to consciousness and found it was my cat licking me awake, or preparing to eat my face, I am not sure which. This would normally be unwelcome behavior but I had to get up anyway for my seven A.M. flight home. Though she only has two settings: 4:30 A.M. and Every hour after 4:30, having a cat to wake you is still better than a blaring alarm clock, and better still than sounds of the rainforest gradually increasing in volume.

I am not scared of flying, though I do acknowledge the possibility that something could happen on any flight, which is why during take-off I imagine my tearful family members being interviewed on camera after the terrible tragedy has occurred (perhaps the pilot has just eaten a large turkey lunch and forgotten the effects of tryptophan). Despite my preparation, it was an uneventful flight, though I cannot prove this because I was asleep for all of it. I am a relatively small person, and I can only imagine how traumatic flying must be for average or above average sized people. I hypothesize that airplane seats have been getting progressively smaller since their debut and in twenty years time we will all be sitting in thimbles. I strained a muscle just trying to take a shoe off. Though I fit into the seat, I remain paralyzed for the rest of the flight as there is nowhere to move my limbs to, and I eventually fall into a numb sort of sleep.

I am home now, where there appear to be two options: falling asleep in front of the television and falling asleep not in front of a television. I am excited for the adventures to come while I am home; perhaps I will bump into an old high school classmate at the mall and will run cowering into a candles store to hide from them. Maybe I will try a new variety of Wheat Thins crackers. The opportunities are endless! Sometimes you find the most to write about when the least is happening. This will not be a challenge here.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Disappointment that only presents can fix

After another set of interviews during which I performed a series of cartwheels while preparing a soufflé and writing advertising copy to demonstrate my multitasking skills, I was yet again turned down for being at once overqualified, under-qualified, too attractive, and not tall enough for the role.  They were compassionate enough to tell me just before the holidays, so that I can spend my Christmas vacation hoping that they are visited by a plague of locusts. If rejections made good stocking stuffers, I would have one for everyone in my life. Some time after receiving the news, I eventually wiped away my tears and the tears of my coworkers who I had taken my disappointment out on by berating them for the rest of the afternoon. I then did what anyone who has suffered a recent letdown will recommend to you which was to buy a set of knives. The steak knives were of course a last-minute Christmas gift for my boyfriend and to steaks everywhere and not to exact revenge. I don't believe in revenge, anyway, I believe in getting drunk and convincing yourself that you never wanted something in the first place.

All is not lost, however, as I got to spend the rest of the day with someone I care about and I also got to eat Chinese take-out, which are two of the most important parts of life. I got presents, as well, which is the third important part of life. The Christmas/New Year's season is as good a time as any to give yourself a break and to reflect on these more important things. Which is exactly what I will be doing next week with my parents in Illinois as we venture from suburban mall to suburban mall. I have spent more time interviewing recently than I have spent with my parents this entire year, so it is time they get their due. But I am not wearing a suit and I refuse to talk about my strengths and weaknesses or in any way discuss my prior work experience. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Shopping Day I

In addition to being a time to celebrate diabetics, Christmas is the one time of year that I  voluntarily set foot in a shopping mall. Over-crowded and flooded with carcinogenic fluorescent lighting, malls are a terrible place to spend one's late twenties, but my determination to find practical Christmas presents prevails. I set out to the Cambridgeside Galleria the other day with a good friend to find the perfect meat thermometers, paper towel roll dispensers, and six-piece screwdriver sets that everyone dreams of receiving at Christmastime, but mostly I just wanted to eat at the Cheesecake Factory. Unfortunately for my friends and family, the mall was out of presents of any kind, and so I was forced to buy a number of sweaters for myself instead. 

I am happy to report that the bedridden economy has not precluded Santa Claus from making his annual transcontinental trip to shopping malls everywhere for pictures. Picture-taking rates, however, have gone up in order to make up for North Pole rent increases. I suspect it was not the children at all that persuaded Santa to book an economy flight and pack a suitcase of sensible clothing, but the mall's generous offer to set up Santaland directly in front of a Victoria's Secret. I arrived after Santa had already left his throne behind, but I imagine he left with some underage female shoppers that he had promised iPhones to.

We rewarded ourselves for arriving at the mall with dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, which provides you with an extended menu offering something they call "Skinnylicious" options. This menu is filled with a wide variety of thin people to choose from. This is not entirely accurate. On the contrary, Skinnylicious menu options are normal-sized meals for people of human height and weight, which I refused to order from on principle. The original Cheesecake Factory menu is already 127 glossy color pages long, so it was over an hour and a half before we had decided on entrees. This is not altogether unusual as it typically takes me a while to decide what to order anyway. Some might even call me a foodie, as I've just eaten a mint that I found inside the lining of my winter coat (it was a particularly good kind of mint, plus it was wrapped).

There are now only four days left of Christmas shopping, or one until the end of the world, depending on which count you view as most important. I have just one more run to the liquor store to wrap up my Christmas shopping. I hope everyone has a terrific holiday, or at least enough mints hidden inside the lining of their coats to last a few days should we awake tomorrow to find all our food sources demolished. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas again!

In less than two weeks, I will once again board a plane home for my annual Christmas return. If the past is any indication of the future, there is at least a sixty percent chance that my flight will be canceled and I will spend the majority of Christmas Eve crying at the airport, or crying in a taxi on the way home from the airport. Which is a bit like the way baby Jesus spent it, if you substitute a manger for the airport. With any luck, my flight will make it to Chicago on time, where my parents will be waiting with bated breath for my arrival (on several occasions they have actually passed out from this, which I keep warning them about). If you don't get along with your parents, or if you would like to get along with them better, I suggest moving at least one thousand miles away from them. This way they will actually be excited to see you and may even give you money for a taxi home on your way back. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, but it also keeps the heart from having arguments about emptying the dishwasher or filling up the car with gas. 

On Christmas Eve, I no longer go to bed with the knowledge that a middle-aged, bearded man with diabetes will be stopping in to drop off packages for me and my family and arranging them aesthetically underneath the tree, but Christmas still means a good deal to me. Perhaps it is because a middle-aged man with diabetes will already be there, cursing and haphazardly piling a diminishing number of presents under the tree. My brother is not coming home for the holiday this year, which I suspect means that he finally embraced his Jewish side or that he decided we all embarrass him.  Good intentions aside, if I get any books by Bill O'Reilly or other Republican party members this year from my parents, I will be burning them publicly. 

Not Quite 42 Reasons to Drink

I composed this list for a party several years ago at the request of a friend. I do not recall why we deemed it necessary to provide partygoers with a list to validate their drinking habits, but naturally I was up to the challenge. Sadly, the list was never finished or distributed, probably because we both simply forgot. Because I hate to leave writing in my personal folders to fade away into the ether,  no matter how outdated or irrelevant it has become, I have decided to share all thirty reasons with my loyal readers. I don't really advocate binge drinking or lists advocating binge drinking, but here is a list supporting both. If you decide to use one or more of the validations provided below, please do not cite me from your stretcher on the way to the hospital. 

Accepted Justifications for Excessive, Continued, and Prolonged Binge Drinking

Instructions: Select the excuse/rationale that is most applicable to your current situation. If you find the rationalization of your binge drinking to be slipping, choose a new justification. You may select as few as one or as many as forty-two reasons.

1. It’s been a tough day/week/summer.
2. I haven’t gotten any in a while.
3. I hate myself.
4. I hate everyone here.
5. Seriously, it’s been a while.
6. I hate my job.
7. I love drinking!
8. Everyone here is really attractive and I am too timid to speak to them sober.
9. I ran out of drugs.
10. The economy.
11. Because I pretend to like myself, but deep down I’m filled with inner conflict that has not been resolved despite extensive therapy.
12. Because drinking is the only way to make the voices stop. Or at least to make the voices say nicer things.
13. No one understands me.
14. I can’t understand anyone else. Everyone else is either speaking gibberish, or a complete moron.
15. I already forgot the names of everyone here two hours ago and I’m hoping if I keep drinking they will come back to me.
16. I am a failure.
17. I’m really good at drinking.
18. I heard there are going to be models at this party.
19. I heard there were going to be models at this party, and so far there are no models.
20. Where the fuck are the models? I would not sleep with anyone at this party.
21. “Drinking problem” is a highly subjective term.
22. I feel better about myself when I drink.
23. There’s nothing else to do.
24. I don’t have cable TV.
25. I graduated college (x) years ago and have yet to do anything meaningful with my life.
26. Because it’s there.
27. Red wine may help prevent Alzheimer’s, contains Omega-3 fatty acids, and lowers your risk of developing lung cancer. There is no red wine at this party, but I’m pretty sure pink wine from a box is roughly the same thing.
28. I was just dumped.
29. My girlfriend/boyfriend/life partner cheated on me.
30. I have crippling social anxiety.
31. This is where #31 was supposed to go. 

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Writer's Block, Opium, and You

I've been doing some research on "how to write a book" to put off writing a book, and I'm sick of reading that Writer's Block isn't a real thing. Of course it is! Sure, it's not diagnosable by any current medical standards, as it doesn't show up on X-rays or blood work. But just because "Construction Worker's Block" is not a popular phrase, doesn't mean that other occupations don't have difficulty producing work too. It might not be a tangible object lodged between your left cerebrum hemisphere and your parietal lobe, but it really does afflict writers. When I am suffering from Writer's Block, I like to curl into a ball of self-pity murmuring to myself, pace about the room spastically, or to give up writing altogether for six to eight years. I am trying to conquer my own writer's block by setting a daily quota and sticking to it even if I think I am producing garbage, and by purchasing an opium pipe for inspiration like the great writers of the Romantic period. I don't actually plan on using the opium pipe, I just think being able to look at one at times will provide useful inspiration. If the book thing doesn't work out, someday I may be able to re-purpose the garbage I have written into greeting cards or term papers or something. 

Like the opium pipe, another very important element of writing well is having a very good pen. It is nearly impossible to write any amount of worthy prose, or a good check for that matter, with the wrong pen. This law applies to those who use a computer as well; it simply must be in the writer's possession, quickly retrievable, and resting somewhere in the vicinity. I used to try writing directly on the computer screen, but found the "save" feature did not work that way. 

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

The Editors

For those of you who have been wondering what the journal editors I mentioned in the last post looked like, here is a drawing I did of all them. Lucky for you, you no longer have to make your brain do all the imagining! The sad thing is that my drawing actually made them all look more attractive than they really are, which was not intentional, but perhaps wishful thinking. As you can now (literally) see, the pressure is on! I have been wanting to paint in the backgrounds to look like old 80s school photos, which I should get around to at some point.

Dear Hiring Manager,

Ah, sorry, it is hard to break the habit. Let me start over. 

Writing a book is hard work. Especially with framed photographs of ninety-five year-old journal editors who are no longer alive staring at me from the wall. Not only are they not a lick photogenic, this also adds an incredible amount of pressure to my routine. I turn to my left and there they all are, mocking my endeavors and judging my lunch choices. I have decided to write my daily quota of two pages at work,  knowing that I would not get enough writing done at home in between episodes of Law & Order and that I am powerless to write once my cat decides to sit on top of my laptop computer.  There are far less distractions here and a much smaller refrigerator. This is a promising routine, but sometimes my fingers have an off-day and no amount of finger calisthenics can encourage them to produce better writing. But I am determined, having already produced fourteen pages of drivel, which is the longest amount of consecutive drivel I've written since college. 

While I am here at work speaking stupid English to boring North Americans and being agitated by nearly everything, my more successful older brother is off taking pictures of steaks and climbing mountains in Argentina. Which happens to be what Argentina is famous for: mountains and pictures of steaks. As envious as I am, as soon as his vacation is over, he will have to face the inevitable return to a luxury high-rise apartment and five-star restaurants in New York City, just like the rest of us. My hope for him is that he brings home a South American girlfriend so that we can add some Latin flair to our very pale family. In return, I will buy him a pair of socks for Christmas, because that is what he requested. Of course he will only be receiving one of the socks, and the second sock will be sent to the U.S. Government, in accordance with the gift tax act, which also claimed half of my Christmas bonus. ¡Feliz Navidad!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New! Progress bar ----->

For your convenience, I have added a progress bar (follow arrows pointing to the right) indicating how many pages I have written in my (now less imaginary) novel. Progress is suggested by the color blue. If you choose to interpret this bar as some kind of fundraising effort to eradicate a crippling disease, then imagine the goal is 20,000 dollars. Otherwise, the goal is 200 pages. I will attempt to make this bar move a little bit every day, even if this movement is not at all noticeable with the naked eye and requires a small magnifying glass. I cannot provide magnifying glasses for each one of you because I spend most of my money on surgeries for my cat, but I can provide a link. I will try not to fluff up this number by including a table of contents, acknowledgments section, dedication page, or pictures, as I did for much of my senior year thesis (it somehow managed to account for 25 pages). I check the word count every seven seconds so it should be updated with relative frequency.

If you are still reading this, you can thank me for being one of the last places on the Internet without advertising, unless you count that link to a magnifying glass. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cat insurance

A friend of mine was recently involved in a fender-bender with an old lady (my friend wants me to note that it was the old lady's fault. I thought this was obvious, as she is old) which may result in her paying a 300 dollar deductible to have her car fixed. This got me thinking about my own insurance policy that I have taken out on my cat. After a very, VERY LARGE vet bill she afforded from attempting to digest an unidentified plastic object, I decided that she would no longer be able to receive costly surgeries if I didn't get her her own insurance. I don't understand why she can't have her own credit or qualify for unemployment payments if she can have her own insurance, but perhaps these outdated policies will soon change. I offered to pay with my second kidney but unfortunately the hospital would not accept internal organs as payment. This was disappointing news as I had already gone through the trouble of having it removed. 

The deductible on my cat is only 200 dollars, so so far owning a cat is slightly less expensive than owning a car, provided you have insurance. I am not sure if they will provide me with a rental cat while my cat is in the shop, but I have not yet bothered to read the fine print. Or the large print, for that matter. 

Cats, as opposed to cars, do come with the obvious drawbacks, which are that cats are not a reliable form of transportation and that they do not come with a stereo. I have not yet assessed which of the two poses a greater danger to human life. My cat has a penchant for biting me, which is why I have no less than six spray water bottles placed strategically throughout my apartment. On the other hand, cars are not deterred by spritzes of water at all. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

The end of the world is supposedly approaching

Don't let that stop you from buying me Christmas presents, though. I'll even take them early if you are worried that I won't live to receive them. The bad news is that according to Mayans you may not be long for this earth (well more specifically the earth is not long for this earth). The good news is that you only have to pay rent one more month of your life! You may want to try pro-rating it for the last week that it won't be in use. I suppose it is a relief that I have not gotten a new job, as I would have to make the transition during the difficult period of the world ending. I feel like this would inevitably involve some Human Resources hold-ups.

Being a sucker for romance, my boyfriend and I have decided to finally pick an arbitrary "Anniversary" date and have selected December 21, 2012, also known as Doomsday, as the first occasion to celebrate. It seems a little silly to invent an imaginary anniversary date when we are probably commemorating a moment in time that I was at home microwaving Spaghetti-O's and he was napping. However, I think it is important in relationships to establish traditions that you can eventually make the other feel guilty about forgetting (See: Relationships, or "Find Me Somebody to Blame"). If he was a little smarter, he would have picked the day after December 21, as he might have gotten out of pretending to celebrate entirely. I can still be mad the morning before the world explodes, making the event just a little more excruciating. 

Book Progress Day 1: I have decided to call this Day 1, as this is the first day I felt like starting it. Being a Monday and therefore a very difficult day to remain awake through the entire thing, I have started off at a rapid pace. I have nearly four pages, which is already double my recommended daily output of two pages. It is possible that if the event mentioned above does transpire, I will only have a collection of fifty-some pages and it will never be read, even by my parents. To plan for this situation, I will be printing and storing my book draft in impact-resistant plastic so that someday it may be uncovered by aliens who decipher it and give it five stars on Amazon. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I am writing a book, maybe.

Thanksgiving is the time to ggibnnhbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbgh

Sorry about that. I was having trouble finishing the sentence, so I was spending most of the time just eating chips, which is when I got a chip stuck in the keyboard. Essentially all I did when trying to get the chip out is manage to get more chip stuck in my keyboard, but it helped me to finish the sentence through some writer's block, so I think it will stay.

Anyway, Thanksgiving is the time of year that people relentlessly remind you to give thanks for the fact that you can still pay your bills without even once resorting to prostitution, that you are not currently at your high school reunion, and that you are not posting baby pictures on Facebook. It is also the time to get your relatives drunk (this is most effective if you are also drunk) until they make outlandish promises to you involving large sums of money. Coherent or not, a verbal contract is binding! Eight or nine duck-shaped decanters of wine into the evening, my aunt made a deal that if I wrote a book by January 2014, she would pay $100,000 towards publishing it. Luckily for me she knows nothing about self-publishing or how much it costs. After looking into it, it looks like I could do it for about $2,000 or less, but a deal is a deal so I plan to put a down payment on a condo with the rest. 

I used to have grand plans to publish that have taken a backseat since I started painting. I do have some doubts that I can even accomplish this task within the given timeframe, let alone produce something I'd even want other people to see. But any large decision fueled by wine is typically the right one, and I can't think of a better motivator than 100,000 imaginary dollars (except maybe real dollars, but the amount of wine needed to persuade her into giving me an "advance" will likely send us both to the hospital).

Last night I was feeling like I might not be up to the challenge when that twit from the television show The Hills came on during E! News to talk about her new book (it doesn't matter which twit, they are all twits). There should be nothing in this world that I fear I cannot do that a half-wit from a reality TV show about children who are wealthy off of money they did not make can do. If I allow that fear to win, then I have failed at life. As of yet I have zero idea what to write about, but at least I will have something to do at work now  and a new anxiety to keep me up at night. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Part XLVII in the Tale of an Excruciating, Soul-crushing, Everlasting Job Search

Day 1,825: 

Does anyone make some kind of suit of armor capable of deflecting rejection? Sharper Image, maybe? If so, can I wear leggings with it? I want to be protected and comfortable. Interview #361 has just dealt another blow to my ego, and I would really prefer to waste valuable time doing more pleasurable activities, like picking up trash on the side of a highway with a stick, or just walking around with a stick in general. Even prayer did not work this time, so I am no longer a Catholic. It is tough to absorb a lot of rejection when you put so much stock in something working out, but on the whole it is far less painful than being dumped. And I should know because I've dumped a lot of people and I insist on exit surveys. 

At least I am in good company. According to extensive research that I did in forty seconds, half of Americans hate their jobs. Also, 80%, 70%, and 84% of Americans hate their jobs! You can't argue with those statistics. Today I have been giving some thought to why a boring, unchallenging job has become particularly painful. I think part of it has to do with the fact that I am no longer doing much writing in life. I spend a lot of time focusing on creating art, but oil painting can be tricky to do at the office and everyone gets mad at you for the turpentine fumes. On the other hand, I could easily spend much of the day writing on this blog. No one here even knows what a blog is! While I have been tirelessly trying to convince others to pay me to write (no one is interested), no one is preventing me from writing for myself. In fact, while everyone is busy rejecting my application, I am going to go ahead and hire myself. With no interview! I take that back, as I delight in interviewing myself. But no cover letter! And no annoying web forms about my employment history to fill out! Hm, I am going to need an I-9 form. There! I have single-handedly broken the luckless streak that I have been on. I start today! No ... I am kind of tired today, better start next week. 

I know what you're all thinking. I've said this before. I've promised to keep up with the blog many times before. I have usually failed in this endeavor. What's to say this won't be the only post I write all year? Nothing! Like New Year's Resolutions, I may fail the blog and I may gain that ten pounds back. To quote one of the great philosophers of our time, Bart Simpson, "I cannot promise I'll try, but I'll try to try." For my own sanity at least.

Friday, October 05, 2012

My Plan to Fix the Economy

Just kidding! But if I had one it would start with sandwiches. That was just a sneaky tactic to get you to read this. But now that you're here, I'm not sure I'm comfortable with you reading it after all and I'd like you to go. Wait! I don't know. It's up to you. 

This is just another blog post from someone who is uncomfortable dealing with the changes going on around her and wants to whine about them, even though it is all part of "growing up" or whatever you want to call being closer to death. If growing handlebar mustaches at 28 were also just a part of growing up that everyone experiences, I wouldn't like that either. It has occurred to me, and likely to many of my thousands and thousands of readers, that all of my/our friends are steadily getting married one after the other, like ants marching towards the anthill, some even deigning to have children, or moving to the suburbs (where nightmares are born). I have been to several weddings this year and there are many to come. Of course I am very happy for everyone, and I say with every fiber of my being that there is no jealousy involved, I just find it weird. I am simply not ready for you to get married. I was just about to ask if you wanted to get drunk and go to the movies, but apparently you have to go pick out a wedding venue that I cannot take the subway to. 

It is a misperception that every little girl dreams about her future wedding day, full of embroidered napkins and a fancy white dress, with a slide show of pictures of her on days when her hair looked extremely good playing while her guests eat Cornish hen, and probably unicorns walking her down the aisle (these are little girls we are talking about). In every picture of me wearing a dress when I was little, you will unmistakably see me pouting because I think I look stupid and my dress is itchy. Why would I dream about wearing an itchy white dress that I will probably just spill ketchup on? Quite frankly, I was too busy planning my imaginary interviews on E!News to plan a hypothetical wedding. 

If I had a clearer memory of my childhood (blocked out), I might have likened this situation to listening to people plan their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs during junior high school. There were a fair amount of Jewish people in my school and many of them got to have extravagant parties with a D.J. and a dessert bar. In return, all they had to do was memorize and awkwardly sing the Torah off-key in front of their entire junior high class for two hours. I couldn't discuss which Snoop Dogg songs I would be playing at my party because I was (half-) Catholic and I wasn't getting a party. Being a mature pre-teenager, I tried to convince the rest of my family to convert to Judaism just in time to throw me a cool party. 

I am very fortunate to have parents who do not care whether or not I ever get married or have children. They are probably aware of the fact that if either of these things did happen, they would likely get saddled with much of the bill and the children would frequently be dumped on them whenever I wanted to not listen to screaming, but even if this was the sole reason, it is a blessing. I know a lot of people who feel pressure from their parents to make these big changes when they are not ready, and I am very happy that my parents prefer to waste their time pressuring me to vote Republican.  

This is not intended to be a diatribe against my dear friends who are simply growing up. It is not their fault that they have succumbed to the inevitable. I am very happy for them. I just don't agree with their lives progressing. But I probably also felt this way at my First Communion. Everyone grows up so fast! 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Apparently my parents don't like me comparing my job to being in jail.

Or an internment camp. But it feels so apt! Ever since our company introduced time clocks and we've had to punch in and out of work, I feel trapped. It's like when I worked at Walgreens in high school, except there is nothing good to shoplift. 

I've been looking for new jobs for a while now* and it is not surprisingly a frustrating experience. My suit has seen more action lately than it ever has before, but sometimes not even an attractive suit is enough! Everyone keeps telling me to be thankful I have a job, which is a good point and very true, but it is difficult to process when all you have been trying to do is get out of your current job. Perhaps it is because I've never been without a job, but saying this doesn't do as much good as people would hope. Would you say the same thing to a Nazi official? "Look I know you don't believe in eugenics, but at least you're working." Or a man who has just had one of his legs crushed by a riding lawn mower? "I know you are missing a leg and without it it is impossible to walk on your own, but at least you have the one leg! You can still wear one shoe!" While it is indeed very good that I have a job, knowledge of this somehow doesn't relieve the boredom and frustration of working an unfulfilling job. 

I guess I'll just have to keep dreaming that the perfect job is out there. It's a bit like being in a relationship, because once you settle down you are forced to realize that what you thought was perfect secretly cross-dresses on the weekends or has been faking an English accent this whole time (I have made up examples so as not to point fingers). If you never settle down with anything/anyone, your elusive perfect job can always have an on-call masseuse and offer free jet-ski rentals. Of course some web companies actually do offer things like this, which is why I will always need to be several steps ahead of them so I am not bummed about not working at Google. My perfect job, which pays me to write, paint, to watch television as long as I promise to think about working sometimes, and to criticize people at whim, also picks me up at my house each morning (it supplies the house) at 10:30 AM in a private jet and chauffeurs me to my office (which is a pool). 

If this post just seems like one big complaint, it is because it is one! Sorry. Will try to think of better things to write about next time.

*Millions of years

Jesus might love us, but does he really LIKE us?

Disclaimer: Please do not attempt to interpret this post as any sort of actual philosophical argument about God. If you've ever read this blog before you may have noticed that I generally stick to pretty superficial criticisms and this post is no exception. After all, I am Catholic, kinda. That being said I do not welcome commentary of any kind unless it is "job well done," "keep up the good work," etc.

I walked through Harvard Square on my way home last night and witnessed a group of some kind of Christians proclaiming Jesus's (Jesus'?) love to a bunch of hipsters through a megaphone. They repeated the words over and over to the crowd of unamused onlookers who were really reading The Weekly Dig or whatever. I didn't keep my headphones out for very long, but it did make me think. How do we know that Jesus actually loves us? It's hard enough to determine when people really love you, and they have human mouths and are capable of speech. Personally, I haven't heard from the guy in a while despite repeated texts, telepathic messages, etc. When was the last time he called just to say hey, picked up a check, or appeared to us before 3 AM when we were on a bunch of drugs and were probably hallucinating the experience? Maybe he's just not that into us? Are we just deluding ourselves into thinking we're the only one for Him when He's totally over us and is already macking on another group of followers? Maybe it's time to look deep within ourselves, head to the gym to lose that 5 pounds we've been talking about, buy a killer new outfit, and channel our inner confidence to go out and find ourselves a smokin' hot new messiah who loves us for who we really are ... a bunch of people who haven't been to church in a while.