The above was snatched without mercy from the loving arms of the novel being read by the woman sitting next to me on BART this evening. I carefully memorized it before she turned the page, figuring that if I ever find myself asked to write a cautionary volume for would-be writers of sex scenes in popular fiction I'll at least have one thing to say.
Okay, maybe two things. One, a night of heat and fire is what you get when your radiator explodes at 2 a.m. and you have to evacuate your entire family down three flights of stairs because, you know, they say not to use the elevator if there's fire in the building, the bastards. What do they know about trying to get 3 kids down the stairs with their shoes untied, I'd like to know. Probably all live in their own houses with no stairs and no 80-year-old heaters anyway, 'cause they made so much money telling people how to trip over their shoelaces and then the kids start crying and don't want to walk at all and you have to carry them down the stairs but you've got your own shoelaces untied too and you just know you'll go sprawling as soon as you miss a step, and anyway they write that kind of instructions and get paid so much money they never have to live in an apartment again. I swear. Don't give me this "night of heat and fire" crap. Just say they're going to fuck like bunny rabbits and she's probably going to get her ass spanked cherry red by the time he's done with her, all right? Secondly, avoid stock phrases like "needless to say"; overusing them can make your writing seem cliched. Try to give each sentence its own personality.
I was planning to spend, not a night of heat and fire, but an hour or two riding the bus down to the craft store and browsing around for things that could be worn to good silly effect tomorrow. It's a good cause. I like silly effect. Somehow, though, I can't seem to bring myself to go out in the increasingly dark and increasingly freezing freezing darkness. It's full of late buses and terrifying and/or unterrifying people, and brisk half-miles between bus stops and destinations which may or may not have anything appealing. I don't want any of those things. I want hot chocolate and cats and Death Cab for Cutie. I want to sit around under an afghan because, damnit, I'm cold.
A new plan, then. I'll bring my chaotically multicolored patch afghan to work tomorrow and huddle under it at my desk while I answer the phone and fill out shipping forms. If anyone asks me if that's a costume I'm wearing, I'll nod. So, they'll ask, what are you?
Halloween in the design industry part one: scary-themed potluck lunch and pumpkin carving. We've got severed hot dog fingers (with fingernails), a biriani graveyard with lentil tombstones, ghost sandwiches, cookies with giant bloody fangs, and a cake that looks precisely like a used litterbox. We've got bleeding Cyclops pumpkins, pumpkins with cleavers sticking out of their heads, pumpkins impaled on railroad spikes, Mohawked punk-kins with their ears pierced with paperclips, smoking French pumpkins with berets, pumpkins with giant gnarly stem noses, skull pumpkins with carved crossbones, and horned and tailed devil pumpkins. We put them all out on display in the front window for passersby to examine.
After the first group of children stopped to look in at us with fearful expressions on their faces, I felt it necessary to mention to the owner that his office image had been significantly altered. Good morning, RASDHSJGD Architects, how may we help you design a Pumpkin Inn and Suites today?
An expended fee summary sheet
Is just numbers, all tallied and neat.
But they scramble my head,
And I find I've just said
Things I couldn't politely repeat.
I'm trying to work on things I could politely repeat to balance out the ones I couldn't, such as, "This teeming morass of unfamiliar terms and mysteriously appearing numbers, combined with the inherent difficulties of classifying data from several related project phases occurring simultaneously and attempting to identify to which simultaneous phase a given half-hour of work properly belongs when the data provided to me contains few clues which I am presently equipped to decipher, renders this activity thoroughly unenjoyable." I'll need to spend at least an hour memorizing that in order to repeat it, but at least it's polite.
I saved myself five cents on my evening commute yesterday by walking to the 16th Street BART station instead of 24th. Then I spent $150 on a pair of vegan Para Boots. They're hurting my feet like hell right now because they're new, but at least they didn't hurt any cows. I'm missing some skin on my right heel where I got a blister walking to work, but the cows have all their skin right where it belongs.
Don't mind my complaining. My feet are happy; they never did quite get the hang of walking in normal shoes. I fall out of my sneakers all the time because I try to stomp over holes in the sidewalk and don't expect my ankles to actually bend. Now I couldn't bend them if I tried. Hello, atrophy, goodbye, sprains? It's a good trade-off.
I stay up an hour past my bedtime to give you guys punny fruit-noir stories and do I get any appreciation? Only from Michele and Jacob. Ungrateful wretches, the rest of you.
In other news, www.thinkinginpictures.net has mysteriously disappeared. Chris, where did you go? Erik? Arianna? Anyone? What's going on around here?
I've decided that I should get myself a fake mustache (so as to appear to be over the age of 35) and run for President. Fucking Hippie Lunatic for President! Vote Woolsey; she'll quadruple everyone's taxes and make college and healthcare free, throw the entire corporate management of McDonald's and Iowa Beef Packers in jail, and pass legislation requiring 90% of all car sales to be low-emissions and 15% of all marriage licenses to be for gay couples. It'll fit on a campaign sticker if we get really big stickers and really small print with tiny margins. Come on, it'll be great. My goal will be to break Dennis Kucinich's records for radical leftist weirdness and minimal votes.
Oh, and it'll be easier to find some damned vegan boots that don't have pointy toes or high heels. Cheaper, too. I'll work on some government subsidies for those.
The peach paused in the doorway and looked around. It wasn't quite the packed club sandwich he'd been hoping for-- who was he kidding? It was a dingy endive bar with a few fruit barflies nursing drinks at rickety tables. He shrugged. This or stay at home? It's got to be this.
Eighteen, thought the pumpkin pie in the corner booth, watching him. Nineteen and sheltered, maybe. Firm, round, not even ripe. She grinned as he looked over and caught her glance. "Fuzzy navel, hon," she called lazily, flicking her eyes toward the bartender only after she saw the peach's faint flush turn into a furious blush.
The peach took a breath and walked over to the bar. "I'll take that." He picked up the fruity-smelling glass and glanced back into the shadows. She was still watching him. Well, what the hell. He made his way to the booth and slid the drink awkwardly across the table. "T-two fuzzy navels." The line came out all wrong, and the flush crept up his cheeks again.
The pumpkin pie chuckled and picked up the drink. The peach studied her in the dim light. Smooth, he thought, silky. Artificial, maybe, but with a body like hers, who's got time to worry about that? The last swallow of her drink was sliding down her throat and he hadn't even seen her stop to take a breath.
She set the glass down and leaned across the table. "You're not supposed to be here, are you, Sugar?" His eyes flickered guiltily, but he recovered and gave her a pouty look. "So where am I supposed to be?" She grinned like a Cheshire cat and the peach caught a whiff of spice. She slipped past him and out of the booth with one hand finding a grip on his belt on the way. He followed; helpless, maybe, but what a way to be helpless.
The bartender watched the alley door swing closed behind them. He didn't bother to comment; she'd be back, anyway. Everyone knew that by now.
Twenty minutes later the jukebox in the bar was playing Neil Young. The peach heard it through the door as he strolled away down the alley. "I could be happy the rest of my life with a cinnamon girl..." Sure, he thought, life's a long time, but maybe there's room for another twenty minutes sometime.
The pumpkin pie hummed softly as she straightened out her stockings and headed back into the bar. There'd be hell to pay for this, as usual, but maybe this time she'd do things a little differently. She sat down, leaned back against the crackly vinyl of the booth, and smiled to herself. After all, she'd always wanted a little persimmon of her own.
I brought this to my workplace today,
Though I've no idea what it might say.
Even if they might cuss,
It's in French, so no fuss.
...But my boss is Canadian, eh?
My plan is to run away to lunch so that if there turns out to be something horribly unacceptable in some of these songs, I won't be around to get in trouble for it.
Edit: this is a really crappy limerick. What was I thinking?
Someone just stuck a needle in me, and didn't even have the courtesy to put a barbell in the hole afterwards. I'm going to say that I'm sulking about that, to cover up the fact that I'm actually sulking over the lab technician's totally unsympathetic attitude. I walked into the steal-your-blood-from-you room after 20 minutes of freaking myself out very quietly in the think-about-needles-for-20-minutes room, and was told rather brusquely to have a seat. "Er," I stammered, "I tend to pass out when I get, um, needled... so, um, if I could lay down, that would be good?" She sighed and cleared some stuff off the examination table. "Well, go on, lay down." I lay down and squeezed my eyes shut and winced out the window at the people driving happily down Telegraph Avenue with all their blood still in their bodies, and I didn't make even one little whimpery noise. The technician just went right ahead and stole my life force as if it were some trifling procedure that thousands of people take in stride every day. I was so disheartened that I didn't even stand up for my right to get a "no tears today" sticker for being so good.
I'm beginning to question my brilliant plan to use a mostly-pediatric medical office as my primary doctor. I went in expecting lollipops and the bit where they poke you in the stomach and try to guess what you had for breakfast, and all I got was an attractive woman of my own generation groping my breasts and sending me across the hall to get blood drawn for STD testing. It's not that I object to getting 23-year-old-appropriate medical care, you see. It's not that I particularly want to be 11 again. It's just that, dammit, I was really good about everything and nobody cared. I would have been proud of that "no tears" sticker. I would have stuck it right on my shirt and walked home with the cotton ball taped to my arm and the sticker showing and everyone would have known that it was scary and I was brave.
Maybe I'll pick up my paycheck and use it to stuff myself full of lotus buns in Chinatown as a reward to myself. Mmmm. Lotus.
"Write my paycheck today," I implore.
"It's not payday, I know, but I'm poor."
And the boss said okay,
But she came in today,
Said, "No time now!" and walked out the door.
This casts a moderate pall over my day off tomorrow, namely that I have to choose between remaining destitute (which involves a combination of cutting out plans for the weekend, taking money out of my savings account, and depending on my bank's overdraft protection) or coming in during my glorious 3-day weekend to pick up my check. What's so bad about coming in during the weekend to pick up the check, anyway? The answer is, "it costs $6.20 to get here by BART and I'd have to take more money out of my savings account for a ticket."
I walked home yesterday watching the northeastern sky: smoky, reddish, impenetrable. Tuesday morning it was only a thin band of dark haze on the horizon, but now it's spread up, up, over the row houses and the smell is crinkling my nose.
One of the Indian architects remarked yesterday, "The Hindus believe that every thirty thousand years the world ends. It's all destroyed, and that's when Siva opens his eye, and then Rama makes it all over again. Millions of times."
Clear blue to the south, dull grey to the east, dirty orange to the north. I won't see that when I go home today, though; from my house the smoke covers every horizon and stretches up with diffuse fingers overhead. Would there be something wrong with saying it seems like a fitting tribute to 40,000 acres of hillside turned into cinders? Hills burn, world appears to be ending. Next at 11.
...this fantastic headline would not be possible. How is it that I've lived 23 years without knowing that there was a person in the world called Cardinal Sin?
Take an onion, and chop off a round,
And some broccoli, a third of a crown.
Then a carrot, chop chop,
And two green onion tops,
Add some tofu, and scarf that shit down.
I mean, you may want to put it all in a frying pan and sautee it for a few minutes at some point, but that's all just details. I've decided that, given my previously-mentioned inability to deal with food-related decisions, I'm going to plan right now to subsist for the winter on the above. I'll keep those five ingredients in the house at all times, and any time I find myself opening the same cupboard more than once without having decided on a meal I will immediately implement the Scrambly Plan. It's easy, it's fast, you can put it in a burrito, and if the act of reaching for the tortillas sends you into a fit of despair you can just grab a spoon and eat it out of the frying pan.
Note to self: tortillas are emotionally draining; invest in a teflon-safe spoon.
The ones he had on during the debate are rapidly turning into charcoal.
Mr. Kerry, you think you're all set,
But I'll win on election day yet!
For I've seen your big flaw.
To our friends in Warsaw:
Dearest Poland, I'll never forget.
"One," I announced angrily to the wrong person a few minutes too late, "a woman in the presence of a man does not equal a wife. Two, if I were somebody's wife, I could still be addressed directly instead of through the man in whose presence I happened to be found. Three, you've got a fucking can of OE in your hand and you're asking me for fifty cents."
Today would have gone much better if I were actually fueled by rage instead of by regular food. The prospects of lunch and dinner had me wandering mournfully around the house, opening cupboards, closing them, looking in the fridge, looking in the freezer, looking in the pantry shelf, moping, opening cupboards, closing them, looking in the fridge again, sighing, and thinking of all the easy, exciting, nutritious meals that I should have available but don't. I blame the cold. Diannas have been observed in the wild to skip meals entirely when the inside temperature drops below 65 degrees; being hibernating animals, they conserve warmth by huddling under 3 layers of blankets and hoping that other people will do the cooking for them. If hot food does not become available, they instead enter a short-lived comatose state and hope that they'll wake up to pancakes in bed the next morning. Diannatologists have hypothesized that this habit is responsible for the major changes in body weight seen in Diannas during unusually long winters.
No, no point here really. Hey, look over there! Kittens!
I just picked up the phone and appealed
For a package to come to me, sealed.
It's a presenty piece
For my bot's age increase,
But its nature will not be revealed!
Today has thus far included vegan chocolate cake at work, being gratuitously old-fashioned by wandering around the office in my delicate and lovely shawl which is actually an unfinished crocheting project, going home early, a pleasantly productive call to my doctor's office, a pleasantly productive call to somewhere else as per the above limerick, and burning my tongue pretty badly on the molten lotus paste in the middle of a rather freezer-burned steamed bun. All told, I think I'm doing pretty well.
Now: Chinatown, or no Chinatown?