Monday, December 29, 2008

A weird side effect of finishing TV shows I've really loved

is that I quickly become absolutely obsessed with whatever story I’m working on at the moment. After several weeks of not wanting to look at my story again, ever, because I knew that it was so absolutely useless and shameful and should probably be tossed in an incinerator (God, I’m glad I don’t write these things out longhand because I probably really would burn them up when I get in those moods), I now feel like I’ve been given a shot in the arm of interest. Life is weird.

My sisters and I watched the finale of Doctor Who’s fourth series last night. Anna graciously refrained from asking me and Robyn what was so great about Rose, though I’m sure she must be wondering. We go on and on about Rose. Whenever we say something nice about Donna, we pause and say that of course we miss Rose and wish she would come back. Whenever we sneer at Martha – mad Martha, blind Martha, charity Martha – we discuss how much better Rose was. Anna probably watched the finale and thought to herself that Rose doesn’t even come close to living up to – oh, honestly, I can’t even finish this sentence. Anna inevitably thought Rose was great, because Rose is great. Obviously. Undeniable. It is like that Fry and Laurie song – however built up it is, it could never be a letdown, because it’s so clearly brilliant.

Anyway, I got home last night intending to go to bed early and sleep until seven, giving myself plenty of sleep before returning to work. I just thought I’d glance at my story quickly, to see if it was still as crap as I remembered it being. Instead of that I worked for an hour and a half, and then I set my clock to wake me up earlier so that I could work on it in the morning.

This always happens. It did when I finished Buffy, as well. I’m not completely sure why, but one of the reasons I decided to read Lonely Werewolf Girl (thereby permanently cementing my love for Martin Millar) was that he said he wrote it because he was sad Buffy was over. Oh, how I identify with that. Maybe the reason I am so intent on finding new books and films to love is that when I finish them, I am all set to write like a mad writing fiend.

One of the most dreadful things about my year in England, which, I can tell you, contained a lot of pretty dreadful things (as well as, be it said, a lot of really nice ones), was that I was depressed and not writing anything, and I had just finished reading The Time Traveler’s Wife and Jane Eyre, and I frantically frantically wanted to be working on one of my stories, and I just couldn’t get anything written. Every time I tried to write something, it was shocking crap and I practically had to print every bit of it out so I could stomp on it and spit on it and set it on fire in the kitchen sink. It was so unpleasant, like, like – I can’t think of an elegant metaphor. I can only think of yucky, poop-related ones. Never ever ever again will I be depressed enough that I cannot work when I want to work.

Contented in spite of work

I was expecting to have a really hard time going back to work after the holidays. I mean, I like my job, but let's face it: working is not as much fun as not working, watching episodes of Doctor Who, reading a lot, and spending time with my lovely family. However, this morning I am sitting in my roommate's comfy recliner, working on my story, and listening to my Elliott Smith records some more, and I am completely content to go to work in a little while.

Now that I've written that, I've caused myself a small amount of discontentment, because: Why are there so damn many ways to spell Elliott? It's madness. I believe Ogden Nash wrote a poem on this subject. I used to have a substitute teacher in elementary school, who called the two Elliotts in our class "Ay-it". An original notion.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas is nice

Yup. My family is nice and we do nice Christmases. We like it when people come join us for Christmas.

Yesterday I put away all my Christmas things. It's always great fun to put away all my Christmas things, although in this case it reminded me how swiftly my bookshelf space is diminishing. I keep meaning to buy a bookshelf to put in my living room, so I could store my excess books there. Last night I moved my record player downstairs so I could listen to it more often, like when I am writing my story downstairs or washing dishes or cooking or covering books in contact paper downstairs. I was going to put it on the floor by the TV (which is the only place for a bookshelf in my apartment), but there wasn't a plug for it there, so I put it on the kitchen counter instead. (Don't worry: the counter's very big, and we hardly ever cook.) And all day today I have had it in my head that oh well, can't get a bookshelf now, my record player's there.

This is cognitive conservatism, and it plagues me. But I did a lot of things last night, and it was pleasant listening to records at the same time. I listened to my new (but old) Beatles record, and I listened to my Elliot Smith record, and I listened to my new Death Cab for Cutie record. Records are nice, and everyone should rejoice in their continued existence.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A nice thing that happened last night

All my sisters were at home, and we were hanging out, and it was just like those nonspecific old times people are always nostalgic for. We decorated the tree, and then we turned off all the lights and sat in the living room and looked at the tree all lit up and pretty, and we had a great big moan about teachers we had that were mean to us as kids (Bonnie and I had a number of Ms. Leblanc stories to share). After that we watched an episode of Doctor Who, which we never did in old times, but we all behaved exactly like ourselves: Anna alphabetized the vast number of Archie comics we accumulated over the years, and occasionally updated us on her progress. Robyn and I exchanged woeful looks when something sad happened to the Doctor (which is always - seriously, Russell Davies, why all this merciless Ten-bashing? Has Ten done something to you? Did Ten perhaps MURDER YOUR MOTHER? My God.), and Bonnie alternated between stubbornly refusing to suspend disbelief and cooing at the Doctor for having sideburns and Converses and a sonic screwdriver.

And that was nice. Growing up is sad because these things happen less and less often. I get sad when Bonnie and Anna are away and I never see them, so it's nice that it's Christmas and everybody is around.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Glad I never knew this before

Here is a piece of information I learned from Doctor Who. Apparently there is a set of numbers that are called “happy numbers”, which means that when you take sum of the squares of the number’s digits, and then carry on doing that for a while, the number eventually equals one. Unhappy numbers are numbers that never get to one by this process. Happy primes are particularly good because they are both happy and prime. They’re very, very special.

I have always felt sad for prime numbers, because they have almost no divisors. Just themselves, and 1. Poor little things. I mean, numbers like 42, they have oodles of divisors, and they can all play drinking games at the 42 divisor Christmas party, and the poor prime numbers have really lame Christmas parties where they and 1 sit around wearing Christmas hats and making awkward conversations with each other. I mean it’s not so bad for numbers like 7, that were never going to have a bunch of divisors to start with, because they’re just little small numbers, but imagine how bad, like, 1259 must feel. I bet 1259 has tried to convince 1 to unite with it so they can be 1260 and have lots of friends, and 1’s all like There already is a 1260. There can’t be two. It would mess up everything. And 1259 probably cries and begs (cause 1259 is drunk), and 1 feels embarrassed and wishes it could go home.

Whoa. I just looked up prime numbers on Wikipedia to find a high one, and I had no idea the world of primes was so rich and fascinating. Apparently other people do not feel sorry for prime numbers – or if they do, they are making a hell of an effort to make them feel special, like when teachers are extra extra nice to the weird kids in an effort to prevent them from noticing that everybody in the class is shunning them.

Anyway, this happy primes information is great. Now I feel like the happy primes are loners because they like to be. They enjoy the company of their good friend 1, and that’s plenty enough company for them. Good for the happy primes! They know what they want!

(On the other hand, that makes the other ones unhappy primes, which just strengthens my pity for the rest of the prime numbers. Poor lonely things. They’re at their lame-ass Christmas party drinking heavily and eventually passing out on the floor while the long-suffering 1 cleans up their vomit and heads wearily over to the next party. Must be tiring for poor 1.)

As a grown-up who no longer takes math classes, this happy numbers business is pleasing information. My birthday falls on the 7th, which is a happy prime number, and on my next birthday I will be turning a happy prime. (Yay me!) But I’m glad I didn’t know about it when I was still in school, because I know it would have screwed me up. Calling certain (most!) numbers unhappy is a ticket to my anthropomorphizing them, and that, my friend, is a one-way nonstop train to total math failure. Trust me. Let’s not talk about how bothered I was by that whole comparison of greater than/less than symbols to alligators that were going to eat the bigger numbers (why? That’s not fair! Just because they’re bigger!). If I had known that these numbers were happy, and those numbers were unhappy, I would only have wanted to give answers that were happy. If I got an answer that was obviously implausible, but happy, odds aren’t bad I’d have left it alone so it could have its happiness. Better to get one question wrong than be forced to look into the bottomless abyss of misery that would result if I did it correctly.

Oh, yeah, and I also would have spent a lot of time doing pointless arithmetic to figure out whether the larger numbers were happy numbers. And I would have felt an even stronger aversion to negative numbers than I already did, because they would then not only have been negative but unhappy.

Wikipedia says, “If n is not happy, then its sequence does not go to 1.” That is such a sad sentence. Poor forlorn little n. Oh, n, be 7, darling, then you can be happy, dear, dear, dear little n.

A perfectly acceptable contraction

Yesterday I was busily working, and I wrote the word “it’ll”, and immediately deleted it, because it’s a silly contraction. It’ll. How stupid. Can’t believe I even wrote such a stupid contraction. Every time I write the word “it’ll”, I automatically pause and remind myself that it’s a foolish contraction, only to be used if I absolutely feel I must. And even then I should probably reevaluate, because it is unlikely that anything can warrant such a silly contraction.


See, I had this mean second-grade teacher one time. She was totally lame, and she didn’t like me. Or anyone that was smart, ever. She one time gave me a B in reading. Me. A grade of B. In second grade reading. AS IF. It was a serious blow to my vanity. And once I got a 99 instead of 100 on a spelling test, because she said “it’s”, and I wrote it down as the contraction, and she marked it wrong. And I said, “But you didn’t give it to us in a sentence, so how could I know which one it was?” and she said, “If you wanted it in a sentence, you should have asked.”

GOD she was such a bitch. Giving me a B in reading. Yes, I have a grudge.

Anyway one time we were playing contractions bingo, right, which was where she would say a contraction, and if you had the whole words written out on your bingo sheet, you got a little chip. Like she would say “she’s”, and if you had “she is” on your sheet, you could put a chip down on it. Before we started she had us coming up with contractions to use for bingo, and we had done a bunch of obvious ones, and I raised my hand and suggested “it will”. Ms. Leblanc laughed and said, “It’ll? It’ll? Well, I guess we can use it.” She had a very contemptuous tone. It made me feel like a great big contractions failure.

What a crock of shit! There is nothing wrong with “it’ll”! People use it all the time! I mean, yes, you wouldn’t use it in a formal paper, but since you also wouldn’t use any contractions in a formal paper, THAT DOES NOT MATTER.

I never really noticed how completely I have rejected the contraction “it’ll” in my life. I just spotted it yesterday. I shall stop it right away. Nothing wrong with it! No reason for me to have scorned it all these years! It’s a completely reasonable and useful contraction, and I cannot believe I have internalized Ms. Leblanc’s scorn to such an extent that I almost never use the word. I’m changing my ways, starting today. I will use it so often that I will be known for it!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I dreamed I was back in high school

It was weird and depressing. Plus I kept telling everyone that I knew what was going to happen in the future, and nobody would listen to me. I said, "No, look, I'll prove it. Bush is going to get re-elected in November, and Barack Obama is going to be the next President after him, in 2008," and everyone was all "Who the hell is Barack Obama?" I was trying to remember if they would have said that in spring of that year, and I couldn't decide if they would have, and I concentrated on it so hard that I woke up.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Wagamama - my favorite restaurant in all the world - is opening a third US location. And do you know where that location is, DO YOU KNOW?



Wagamama executives, there are people down here in the South who yearn for you tragically! Do you not understand that I would travel to Texas, to Mississippi, even to Alabama, to eat your food, if only you would open a location here. Furthermore I would tell everyone I knew that your food was worth driving to another state for. Please, Wagamama. Massachusetts is not the only state in the union that could benefit by your delicious ramen noodles and chicken katsu curry.

Please, Wagamama. I beg you. Please come to Louisiana. Please. Boston already has two. They don't need a third. And if you are dead set on giving them a third, please try to remember that they don't need a fourth. Louisiana needs one. We know how to appreciate good food here, I promise you. Please.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The dangers of anthropomorphizing

It snowed today! Totally snowed all over the place! There were flurries, and it stuck to cars and mailboxes and trees and the top of the fence and the grass and the streets. IT WAS AWESOME. I flung snowballs at the fence, because snowballs are fun to fling. The snowflakes were large.

I wanted to make a snowman, of course. But I didn't want to disturb the beautiful snow that was on the ground in the side yard:

Pretty, eh?

I really didn't want to disturb any of the snow, because snow is RARE, and it might not snow again like this for years and years, not with global warming, and we might be grown up. However, I knew that I was going to be going into work shortly, and I would have to brush the snow off of my car windshield, so I made a snowman out of that instead.

Aww, he was so cute. I named him Sammy and grew very attached to him. When it was time to drive off to work, I didn't have the heart to smush him. Poor Sammy, it would have been unkind. So I just left him where he was. Every person I drove past on the way to work, I wanted to lean out the window and shriek "LOOK AT THE ADORABLE SNOWMAN ON THE HOOD OF MY CAR!" (I didn't want his existence to pass unnoticed.)

And then I got to work, and I had to leave him behind in the parking garage. It was really sad. In the short time we had together, I had become terribly fond of him. I hated the idea of leaving him all alone to melt in the parking garage, but I had to. I figured I'd come back at the end of the work day and take the pennies and dimes away, and mourn him quietly. Poor Sammy. I took a bunch more pictures of him in the parking garage, so I wouldn't ever forget him.

He leans forward so beseechingly. I feel so sad. When they sent us home from work so we wouldn't hit the ice, I found his little pathetic body in the garage. I won't post that picture. It's way too sad. I almost cried. And of course I could not desecrate his teensy little self by taking away his eyes and buttons, because WHAT ELSE DOES HE HAVE? So I said a little snow prayer over his little snow body, and drove away in sadness.

Do not name your snowman. That is the moral of this tale. Rest in peace, Sammy.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My life reached total fulfillment the other day

My friend Laura rang me up because she had a question about Oscar Wilde and she knew I'd know the answer. This was flattering but nerve-wracking because it would be so unfortunate if she asked me something and I had no idea what the answer was. Much like that time that I told her I would recognize what Angel episode she had seen, if she told me one thing about it.

However, in both cases, I proved to know the answers. It was that episode in the second series where Angel uses Anne's homeless shelter to mess with Wolfram & Hart, which is sort of shady of him. And Oscar Wilde was convicted for two years on a charge of gross indecency between males under that crappy Section 11 part of a law that was really meant to prevent sex with underage girls. Rubbish Labouchere (he was the guy who introduced Section 11 into the law).

Well, of course, if you ask me one question about Oscar Wilde, it is not unlikely that I will tell you a whole lot of more information about him. So I told Laura all about how things would have been different if they had proved that sodomy took place, and then I told her about some of the evidence that was introduced against him. And instead of saying "That's gross, stop talking to me," she said "Oo, that's very helpful for my paper."


Oh, and then, and then? After I had continued telling her stories about Oscar Wilde and his ways and his family, she asked me what was a good book to read about Oscar Wilde, if a person was only going to read one book about Oscar Wilde? Not for her paper but just For Life? I assumed that she was teasing me, because I am a big Oscar Wilde dork, but no, indeed, she thought that he sounded interesting and wanted to read more about him.


In case you're wondering, the book to read is Gary Schmidgall's brilliant and insightful The Stranger Wilde: Interpreting Oscar. It's not a biography in the traditional sense, but it deals well with everything, and has lots of interesting information, and furthermore it talks in admiring terms about Ada Leverson, whom I love. Plus, if you ever get bored with one bit of it, you can just skip on to the next chapter, because each chapter deals with a different thing. The one about angels and demons was a particularly good one.

The Stranger Wilde. Gary Schmidgall. It's excellent.

Also, happy birthday to Laura! And Emily Dickinson!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Oh, wow

You know what's nice? When two completely unrelated things that you like come together. Like if - well, I don't know, I can't think of an example apart from the one I'm apart to give. But particularly I like it when a thing you have just become interested in or fond of suddenly appears in relation to a thing in which you have a longstanding interest.

I only mention this because Vertigo just re-released their Tarot cards in honor of the 20th anniversary of Sandman, and they are damn cool. Dave McKean did them. I love Dave McKean's art. I have never seen anything that Dave McKean has drawn that hasn't been cool and interesting and layered and a little creepy.

Behold! Aren't they cool and beautiful? Dave McKean should be in charge of all art everywhere. I wish I had a really massive Dave McKean picture to put up in my living room. It wouldn't match anything; but my furniture doesn't all match anyway, so who cares?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow.

When you get impulses to do things that aren't really important because you have a small window of time for doing things in and you think they aren't going to take very long, JUST DO NOT DO THEM. JUST GO TO BED AND DO THEM ANOTHER TIME.

Last night around ten, I had just finished a project for work, and I had just finished an episode of Doctor Who, and I felt very sleepy, so I went upstairs to my room. Once I was up there, I couldn't decide whether I wanted to watch an episode of Torchwood or just read for a bit and then go to sleep. I thought about it for a while, and finally decided that it wasn't really important for me to watch Torchwood and make myself tired for tomorrow. Of course, being me, I felt like I should do one more thing before I went to bed, in order to make sure the day had been suitably productive, and I decided that a really good thing to do would be to find out whether the light switch in the hall (whose function I have never been able to ascertain) controlled the attic light. I thought that would be good because it wouldn't take long, and it would give me very valuable information to have for later on.


So I went into the hall and pulled the rope/string thing for the attic ladder to come down. Turns out that thing is not as easy to pull down as the cable guy made it look. Damn ladder is damn heavy. Needs two hands. And caution. And going slow. Pulling it very quickly with one hand proves to be a recipe for rope burn. Like, really bad rope burn. The kind that ceases to qualify as a rope burn because it has cut so extremely deep. But the pain signals took a while to reach my brain, and while they were still making their way through my nervous system from my index finger, I carried on pulling the attic ladder down, thereby exacerbating what was already the worst rope burn of all time.

My finger bled right through two Band-Aids. I thought of going to the shop to get a butterfly bandage, but then I remembered that butterfly bandages are useful for holding a gash together, which is to say, pulling two sides of an open wound close enough that they can think about hooking up again. They are not for assisting in the process of regenerating nineteen layers of skin. Leading me to the conclusion that bleeding all over my - in the order it would happen - coat, house key, steering wheel, and credit card in order to acquire a butterfly bandage from the shop would not be an effective use of my time. Fortunately the third Band-Aid did the trick, and quite rightly considering I put it on so tight that my fingernail had turned completely white by this morning. When I took the Band-Aid off this morning and washed it with soap, the damn thing started bleeding again. It really hurts.

I am never ever ever ever pulling down the attic ladder again.

Also, the light switch does not control the attic light at all. Unless the attic light bulb is bust, in which case it is just out of luck on account of how I am never ever ever ever pulling down the attic ladder again, ever.

Monday, December 1, 2008


...I just found out that the monster in an upcoming Doctor Who episode was designed by a little boy from Colchester. HOORAY FOR COLCHESTER! COLCHESTER IS THE BEST PLACE IN ENGLAND EVER.

Well, okay, no it's not really. But I feel very fond of it. And it hasn't got a football team for me to support, so I have to support its monster-designing children.

...Okay, I'm shutting up about Doctor Who now.

I probably am not shutting up about Doctor Who now. I think it is great. And I haven't even seen any episodes with Tom Baker in, and he's supposed to be brilliant. He has lots of hair, and Sarah Jane, and Jelly Babies. I got one out of the library yesterday, and I shall watch it tomorrow or sometime that is not tomorrow but is soon. So if you have not yet watched any Doctor Who, I think that you should come over to my place tomorrow or soon and watch Tom Baker with me.