Monthly Archives: April 2008

Booking for love in all the wrong places

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So this not-doing-any-housework-at-all thing is getting a bit old. That is to say, I’m perfectly happy not performing the chores—would you believe I haven’t pined at all for the vacuum cleaner?—but the end result is getting kind of difficult to live with. I’m still taking care of the essentials (weekly dishes, daily litterbox emptying, sporadic laundering) but I’m starting to wonder if maybe I should break down and vacuum. Or maybe I should look at the assortment of mail that’s scattered on the living room floor. Or at least stack it on the couch or something.

Anyway, the apartment is getting kind of… dirty isn’t the word… cluttered, let’s call it cluttered. It’s not unsanitary, but it’s looking a little worse for the wear. So all in all it’s a good thing I didn’t bring a charming stranger home to engage in magnificent sex this evening.

Was I expecting to? Well. No. Else I would have cleaned the house, see? But there was at least a remote chance that I could have met an interesting person of a single persuasion this evening. That’s because I swallowed my pride and went to a singles event.

For the record, you would not catch me dead at a singles event, not normally. You may as well plaster a sign to your forehead, “Can’t get laid.” So there you are mingling with all these other saps who can’t laid, and you’re supposed to– what, make small talk? About what? All these people, trying desperately to prove there’s a perfectly good reason why they can’t get a date… No thanks.

But this one, see, this was at a bookstore. I figured, what the hell, maybe it will attract book lovers. At least I wouldn’t waste my time talking to people who don’t read for pleasure. (No offense, Dad.) (Not that you’re reading this. Obviously.)

So I broke my rule about not going into bookstores. The problem with bookstores, see, is that they’re filled with books. Can I afford to buy books? No. Do I have room in my apartment for more books? No. Do I have easy, free, daily access to books? Yes. Would I, despite these very persuasive arguments, capitulate and buy everything in sight if I were to walk into a bookstore? Oh goodness yes. Which is why bookstores are verboten to me.

But my social life sucks and I needed a break from working on the ook-bay. So I headed on over to this lovely used book store and found it filled with…

White people. Middle-aged-to-elderly white people. Wilhelmsplatz strikes again.

Now, to be clear, I do not necessarily have anything against white people. I am one myself, in fact. I am not a big fan of white privilege or white oppression or racism, but I do okay with white folks. Why, some of my best friends are white!

But a room fulla white faces? Sigh. It’d be nice to have a wee bit of diversity.

And, well, these were folks who had me beat by a few decades. Now I am not one to discriminate in my dating preferences based on race, sex, or age. But still. The demographic was pretty darn narrow.

Still though, I gamely plunged in. I browsed through the fantasy section. I perused the science fiction. I luxuriated in the literary fiction, which had blissfully few examples of contemporary trash, and a cornucopia of old titles, with a few of the good modern writers thrown in.

Too bad I was all by myself. All the other people at this little shindig stayed at the front, without bothering to go look at the books, which if you ask me WAS THE WHOLE POINT OF MEETING AT A BOOKSTORE.

Ah well. I still managed to find some people to chat with, and though I didn’t meet any new people in the romantic sense, I did have a good time talking with some folks who do not, get this, who do not work at the library. The sheer novelty of it made the evening worthwhile.

And now back to our regularly scheduled duties of working on the… you know. Thingy. The… don’t make me say it… the… thing I’m writing. Which is due in five and a half weeks. Um.

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Defective psyche for sale. Serious inquiries only.

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So in yoga the other night Yoga Instructor Jennifer was running late, a reassuring sign that the universe is functioning like normal. In the fifteen months I’ve been studying yoga she has not once managed to begin on time.

(By the way, I tried a new pose, which looks sorta like this. Can’t say I fully achieved the pose, but I was getting there, I was getting there. Arm balances are not my forte.)

So anyway, we students were chatting to pass the time, and the topic turned to how yoga had influenced us. Several people mentioned how their flexibility had increased, to which I fully agreed. I was flexible to start with, but now I’m really REALLY bendy.

Then someone mentioned how her peace of mind and spiritual outlook had improved, which was greeted with a chorus of agreeing voices. Me, I shut my mouth and felt glum.

What IS it, I wonder? Why am I not getting the mental happiness whatsits? Am I spiritually obtuse? Is my psyche stupid? Am I doing something wrong, or am I just naturally defective?

These days I am in a non-stop rotten mood, though I suppose we can blame that on the you-know-what. I’m stressed. I’m cranky. I’m depressed, anxious, grumpy, and short-tempered. Everything I say comes out wrong.

Assuming I finish the first draft of the you-know-what on time, there are six weeks left. One of those weeks will be spent here in my apartment. It’s not really my idea of a fun vacation, per se, but just think of the money I’ll save on gas!

So: five regular work-weeks and one so-called “vacation” week to finish off the item-that-shall-not-be-named. It will have seven chapters comprising 600 full annotations, and then each full annotation will be followed by at least one mini-annotation. Plus there’s a ton of meta-text to write, that is, the chapter intros, the chapter conclusions, section intros, an appendix or two, and the book intro.

I’ve written maybe… a quarter? … Let’s call it a quarter— I’ve written a quarter of the meta-text, and X number of annotations, meaning that I have 600-minus-X annotations yet to write. (Wild horses will not make me confess as to the actual number of annotations written thus far.) And a lot of meta-text. And an index, but thank goddess I don’t have to write that till the rest of the book is set. Kinda hard to prepare an index if you don’t know page numbers.

To finish the thingy-we’re-not-talking-about on time, I’ll pretty much need to spend the next six weeks writing. Nonstop. I’m still going to try to get to yoga, and I’ll go to work since the fascists in HR refuse to pay me if I don’t.

And don’t worry: I’ll still post a crappy, uninspired piece here each week.

Plus I suppose I’ll continue to sleep occasionally, and to perform basic functions of hygiene (my fascist coworkers complain if I don’t). But… Casual socializing? Outta the picture, though I never did that much to begin with. Goofing off? Reading? Idle daydreaming? Mindless internet browsing? Gone– which is why I’m in such a lousy mood.

But there’s a silver lining to this cloud: Guess who won’t be doing one lick of housecleaning in the next six weeks?

Fight club meets book club

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  1. The first rule of Jessica’s book is, you do not talk about Jessica’s book.
  2. The second rule of Jessica’s book is, you do not talk about Jessica’s book.
  3. You do not approach Jessica. Treat her as though she were a trapped animal in the wild. Do not get near her. Do not touch her. Make low soothing noises. Leave her offerings of food.
  4. Specifically, leave her either the house salad from the Italian joint by her Food Loin (with chicken, hold the olives, ranch dressing) or the chef salad from Sacred Grounds (with two ranch dressings) Oh, and she likes diet green tea. You can buy it by the jug; conveniently, it is sold at the aforementioned Food Loin.
  5. When you bring food offerings, don’t get creative. Jessica is trying to get svelte in anticipation of having her photo taken for the back flap of the you-know-what (see rules 1 and 2 if you’re not clear about what we’re talking about here). Just a salad will be sufficient.
  6. Exception: While you’re at Sacred Grounds, check to see if they have cheesy beer soup. Jessica has never had cheesy beer soup. One day, she walked in to Sacred Grounds to pick up her chef salad with two ranch dressings… “Wow!” she said. “What’s in the cheesy beer soup?” “Well, there’s cheese,” said the counter girl, “and there’s beer.” “OMG!” said Jessica. “Sign me up for a cup to go!” ….The remains of that cup to go are still clearly visible in the backseat of her car. As soon as she turned a corner, the cheesy beer soup went flying everywhere. Jessica had to throw away an atlas that was ruined (and considering her lousy sense of direction, this is tragic) and, even though she drove her car to the car-wash place that evening, the stains are still horribly, horribly apparent.
  7. When you arrive bearing your gifts of salad, diet green tea, and cheesy beer soup, under no circumstances should you hand them directly to Jessica (see rule 3). Leave them outside her door.
  8. Wait. No. Don’t. That will attract ants. Right now Jessica has ants in her closet. How did she get ants in her closet? She doesn’t know, but she can guarantee you that is extremely unpleasant to feel your shirt crawling a minute after you get dressed in the morning. And then it continues to crawl for the rest of the day. Disgusting.
  9. Instead, knock gently at the door, then dash away. If Jessica is awake, she will grab the food, but not before the lucky observer has had a chance to glimpse her in her natural habitat.
  10. If Jessica is asleep, you will have to come back again later. (Be sure to refrigerate the food in the meantime.) You will know when she has woken by the steady stream of invectives coming from her bedroom. Jessica will considerately swear at a volume loud enough for any passers-by to hear. (Jessica does not much care for waking up.)
  11. Alternately, if Jessica is asleep, you may figure out a way to scale the wall of her apartment building until you reach her floor. Figure out an unobtrusive way to break in, leave the salad, tea, and soup in the fridge, and be sure to empty the litterbox on your way out.
  12. Continue following these rules at least until the manuscript is completed. At that point, you may check for updates, to see if communication with Jessica has been reinstated as a permissible act. Do not discontinue the practice of leaving food and beverage offerings until you hear explicit directions to the contrary.

The soul of wit

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This will be brief.

“This will be brief.” Sigh. Those of you who know me must be getting familiar with those words by now. Because of the stinky yucky manuscript, which by the way I have decided I TOTALLY DESPISE, I am getting in the habit of starting every email with those words. I ought to save myself time and set up a template for my emails, like this:

Dear Person I Was Nice to Before I Started Writing This Godforsaken Book,

This will be brief, on account of my accursed manuscript, which is due next month, which is, frankly, impossible to believe, unless we take into consideration the likelihood that the space/time continuum has fractured, and if that is the case, then I must register my severe disappointment that the media failed to adequately cover it.

[Insert short, bland, generally dissatisfying paragraph here.]

Anyway, I’ve got to run. I’ll resume communication with you in June.

Tomorrow I’m going to the Computers in Libraries conference in Arlington. I’ll be driving there. This means that I will have to navigate my car onto the Beltway. I am petrified. I hate traffic. I hate heavy traffic. I hate DC traffic. I may very well turn into a grease spot if someone sideswipes me.

If this happens, please: Don’t feel obligated to finish the manuscript based on my notes. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. I am not sure who my worst enemy is, but it’s the thought that counts.

I am twenty-seven today. Hum.

 

Hasn’t been the best of birthdays (something about my being in a permanently cranky, super-stressed mood may be related to that; also consider that the washing machine stole three dollars in quarters, and Goblin kicked all the cat litter out of the cat box), but it hasn’t been the worst of birthdays, either. The worst was when I was in the second grade, when I invited alllll the girls in my class to a birthday party, and not a single one of them showed.

Twenty-seven seems awfully young to be turned into a grease spot.

Have I mentioned how I loathe the book? I swear, I was absolutely craving a novel to read last night, any novel, anything (well—maybe not a romance) to take my mind off things. Compared to people who crave, say, basic health care and food, I guess I don’t have it so bad, but it sure felt awful. And I am continuing to feel absolutely wretched, a condition I rather suspect will continue till the book is finished.

Need to pack now. And then I need to… I need to… Dang, it’s on the tip of my tongue. Some pesky little chore, no doubt… Oh, right, the book! Almost forgot about it, ha ha, silly me!

Sigh. I’ll post again next week, but let me warn you now: It will be brief.

Ode to the OED

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Happy April Fool’s Day. I’m afraid I can’t think of anything clever to write here, but at least I can remind you up front to be on your guard against jokes today, thereby ruining the effort of all the other pranksters who will be out to trick you.

I can also direct you to Blogging for a Good Book today, where I am responsible for reviewing the Oxford English Dictionary (My opinion? Predictable plot, weak character development, too much jargon… Actually, the whole week is devoted to spoof reviews. This is the sort of idea that develops when too many nerdy librarians brainstorm together at a coffee shop. Don’t be naïve: caffeine is a dangerous drug, at least when it gets into the bloodstreams of too many book geeks at one time.)

While you are at BFGB, I would advise you to click on the link that says “Jessica’s Picks.” Those are the reviews that, from my perspective, are the most important to read. I say this with absolutely no bias, none at all. Check back next week, too, when I’ll be reviewing five more books.

Anyone care to guess the theme for next week’s titles? Why, all of them will be… Women’s Nonfiction! Guess I’m some sort of sadist. I spend all my spare time anymore writing about Women’s Nonfiction, and then what do I do when I get to work? I write about Women’s Nonfiction. Cripes.

To be fair, I was parched for ideas. It’s been so very long since I’ve read for pleasure, unless you count my monthly perusal of Yoga Journal, but I don’t think it qualifies. For one thing, it’s a bit too airy fairy for me—and that’s saying something, when you consider what a floopy mystical nutcake I can be. It’s just that I’m a cynical floopy mystical nutcake. Too much wholesome thought gives me a nervous twitch.

Still though, I’ve been flipping through YJ on my lunchbreaks. Once you get beyond all the positive, uplifting nonsense (please; do you really expect me to grow my own sprouts? And to turn them into sprout flour for all my baking needs? Bah!), you get to some really good advice on doing yoga poses.

Right now, my biggest obstacle is the head stand. I can do it, kinda, but not without first using a wall for support, and not without straining my neck. Fortunately there will be no head-standing in the flow class I’ll start taking next month.

(Yes, I’ll be adding yet another time drain to my impossibly tight schedule, but actually it will only consume four hours of pre-deadline time. I figure I can handle that. Or else my book will be four hours late, and I can probably handle that, too.)

In the yoga class I take now, we spend a lot of time in each pose. This is very cool when I am doing one of the muscle-stretchy positions. This is very not cool when I am trying to stand on my head.

In the flow yoga class that will be supplementing my regular yoga studies, we will be moving quickly from one pose to the next, so that it will almost look like a dance. Unless Yoga Instructor Jennifer turns out to be a tyrant, which I suppose is not outside the realm of possibility, head-stands will not be part of that equation.

Must go to work now. This week promises an exciting array of tasks, such as scheduling the library’s computer classes! And working on the reference desk! And holding negotiations for recataloging one of my collections!

(It is my fervent hope that the liberal use of exclamation points will make my job sound sexy and alluring to the casual reader.)

Then after work I get to work on my Women’s Nonfiction book again! Can’t wait!!!