Monthly Archives: September 2007

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Saturdays in September

I went to a beautiful wedding yesterday, but with great beauty comes great anxiety. I sat in the church pew and thought of all the ways in which I might inadvertently ruin the bride and groom’s big day. During the ceremony I chewed a piece of gum, because I encountered no trash can at the back of the church. What if when I went to give the bride a congratulatory kiss on the cheek, I accidentally I spit the gum into her hair? The updo, the picture-taking, and possibly our association would be over. But I did all right. At the reception I managed to limit myself to two plates from the buffet, I only caused one physical fight (but the principals were under three feet tall), and I found a pretty white purse to replace my green one (I’m just kidding, Lisa. I did not steal your purse. I hope it turned up by the end of the night.). Darren danced with me, which was awesome, and I got lots of compliments on my cleavage, mostly from the hot lesbians at Sian’s post-wedding birthday party. I might start showing up to all parties in fancy dress, saying that I just came from a wedding. I love any excuse to wear a push-up bra. I will post some pictures in a little while.

Serial killers love diner food and Jolly Ranchers

I just stumbled upon this amazing site, detailing final meal requests from Texas death row inmates. If I had a million dollars, I would commission a psychological study based on this data. Why would Frank McFarland, who raped and brutally murdered a shoe shine girl, request:

Heaping portion of lettuce, a sliced tomato, a sliced cucumber, four celery stalks, four sticks of American or Cheddar cheese, two bananas and two cold half pints of milk. Asked that all vegetables be washed prior to serving. Also asked that the cheese sticks be clean.

Then there’s Miguel Richardson, who murdered a hotel security guard. He requests:

Chocolate birthday cake with “2/23/90” written on top, seven pink candles, one coconut, kiwi fruit juice, pineapple juice, one mango, grapes, lettuce, cottage cheese, peaches, one banana, one delicious apple, chef salad without meat and with thousand island dressing, fruit salad, cheese, and tomato slice.

But I am almost more fascinated by the killers who don’t request anything special for a final meal. They’re just done with life and its simple pleasures. “None,” says the table. The whole thing makes me very sad. Especially this line: “* The final meal requested may not reflect the actual final meal served,” and the fact that one man, who had stabbed two young Austin women to death, requested the Eucharist before his execution.

I am in the middle of all these books, and getting overwhelmed

I like them all, and it is my and not the authors’ failure that I have not finished them. But the stack is getting taller and I keep going to the library and I keep going on and now I have birthday gift certificates to spend. New books are constantly coming into my life and distracting me. What should I concentrate on?

Martin Amis – Experience: A Memoir

Saul Bellow – The Adventures of Augie March

Charles Baxter – Burning Down the House: Essays on Fiction

Daniel Amen, MD – Change Your Brain, Change Your Life

Marisha Pessl – Special Topics in Calamity Physics

Walter Kaufmann – Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist

David L. Holmes – The Faiths of the Founding Fathers

T.C. Boyle – If the River Was Whiskey

Don DeLillo – End Zone

Daniel J. Meador – Unforgotten

Virginia Woolf – To the Lighthouse

I feel like right now changing my brain and changing my life are priorities, even though I usually don’t buy into self help. And then I also have this Jehovah’s Witness pamphlet to read – Would You Like to Know More about the Bible?

I like it when the Bible ladies stop by the house

It makes me feel important, like they think my soul is worth saving. I told them I’d be sure to read the Bible and we could talk about it in a few weeks. I told them I’d swing by their church some Sunday. Two Jehovah’s Witness ladies came to my house a few years ago, and I led them on too. I had no idea they’d actually take me up on my invitation to return for a religious discussion. When they arrived at my door for the second time, remembering my name and everything I had told them about me, I was grumpy and hungover and not as nice as the first time. Not as religiously oriented. Not as happy to be woken up by God’s knock on the door. In fact, my name is probably on a list somewhere. Maybe today’s ladies will find it before they make the mistake of coming back and trying their luck again. On many mornings I would rather sleep than be saved.

I am kicking ass in our Netflix queue…

Not so much for the embarrassing stuff I’ve watched recently (I’m talking to you Terri Hatcher and Eva Longoria), but for what I have lined up. Today the BBC documentary Planet Earth arrived in the mail. Darren had never heard of it and I had only heard good things. Since we were neither starving nor hibernating, we ordered lots of food and watched famished baby polar bears roll down hills. My favorite parts were when the bird of paradise did its mating dance in New Guinea and when the Great White shark lunged from the water in slo-mo. If only the documentary recorded the last words of that doomed South African seal. Anyway I am pleased with this current Netflix choice, and next in the queue I reserved the first season of the Sarah Silverman Program. Soon Darren will forget that I once added Gia to the top of our list.

People to hate on TV

Last night D & I shacked up at the Doubletree behind Sam’s Club for my birthday. [A Mitch Hedberg joke interlude: “Ah man I can’t tell you what hotel I’m staying at, but there are two trees involved. They said, Lets call this ‘something…tree’, so they had a meeting. It was quite short. ‘How about tree?’ ‘No, double tree.’ ‘Hell YEAH! Meeting adjourned!’ I had my heart set on quadruple tree. Well, we were almost there.”] I guessed that Doubletree was owned by Sam Walton, but then we arrived and I saw the tennis courts, shapely swimming pool, “Welcome Darden School” signs, and complimentary Neutrogena shampoos in the bathroom. It was a Hilton joint. The only thing it had in common with Sam’s Club were the free cookies. We watched Knocked Up on PayPerView for $10, then Conan O’Brien, who didn’t cost us anything except my already waning tolerance of Hollywood. I don’t know if it was a rerun or what, but the actress Heather Graham was Conan’s guest, and she was so insecure, giggly, needy, and clueless, that I couldn’t believe my favorite late-night host was playing along with her games.

Heather Graham appeared on set in a skintight, salmon-colored, slinky gown with major decolletage. Conan, being the chivalrous host that he is and knowing what is constantly demanded of him by these actresses with abysmal self esteem, complimented her outfit and behaved like he was nervous being in the presence of such a beautiful woman. The studio audience saw the applause cue card and whistled its approval of the babe. Heather Graham mentioned that her friend so-and-so had designed the dress. [Heather’s publicist before the show: “Conan, Heather would appreciate it if you asked her about her dress during the taping so she has the opportunity to name its designer.”] Niceties, blah-blah, Heather Graham giggle fit. Conan, realizing there is no rational segue to the next question, agreed-upon in advance through HG’s publicist, who thinks HG’s answer will make her seem lively and sexy, even though it actually makes her seem lonely and pathetic, asks “So Heather, how do you stay fit?”

“I do Pilates,” she responds. “I’m a Pilates and a yoga freak. And recently I’ve been taking up pole dancing.” Conan raises his eyebrows in the obligatory fashion and the audience hoots and claps like the sign tells them.

“Pole dancing? Really?” he asks her like he is hiding an erection under his desk, not letting on that every sexy actress that comes on his show tells him that she has a new passion for pole dancing or stripping classes as ways to stay in shape or train for new movie roles. Conan hides his boredom so well.

“Yes,” says Heather. Then she giggle-stalls while trying to remember her next line. “And I love to come home at night and put on loud, sexy music and dance around. I close the curtains and dance for hours by myself.” Cheers from the audience and more gaga looks from Conan.

“What are you wearing when you do this, if you don’t mind my asking?” says the beleaguered host.

“Oh, you know, sexy outfits,” says Heather. More applause from the studio audience, like the phrase “sexy outfits” is extremely evocative and titillating. Conan then reminds Heather, per her publicist’s instructions, that last time she was on the show she talked about playing a lesbian in a movie and how she hoped hot women would hit on her. At this point I was so disgusted and I felt so badly for Conan that I turned off the TV. I couldn’t believe that HG played the pole-dancing card AND the lesbian card. She was overeager to prove herself sexy and desirable, and she just came off as trashy and desperate.

Does anyone else have fantasies about what they might talk about with Conan if invited on his show? I’m still not sure what subjects I would broach, but here are the ones I would avoid because they are so fucking transparent:

1. My secrets for staying so slim and good-looking, with or without live pole-dancing demonstration.

2. My exciting secret life of getting lap dances at strip clubs and making out with other girls.

3. My celebrity girlfriends and our naughty sleepovers.

4. How I haven’t met the right man yet, how I actually have a hard time meeting men, and are there any available men in the audience.

5. How I was a big dork in high school.

Get over yourselves, pretty ladies. No one believes you, especially Conan, and the studio audience is just hoping that their catcalls will make it onto TV. You are lame and you are boring. Next time discuss the Iraqi War or something, an actual event from your life that’s not a contrived, sexy anecdote, or better yet, just let Conan talk. And you’re getting too old for that tedious blonde hair.

P.S. Sorry so mean. Heather, you were great in Boogie Nights.

Birthday workout

Does it still count as a workout if you walk on the treadmill for 20 minutes and then climb back into bed in your gym shorts?

Libras love sitting on fences

Tonight I reread the first five chapters of my novel after a two-month sabbatical. During my vacation I had convinced myself that I needed to scrap the whole thing and start over, so I was pleased to find that it wasn’t QUITE as bad as I remembered. However it still needs loads of work, mainly in the character development, plot, narrative, point of view, and literary spheres. But I think it’s a decent draft. All the crucial elements are there – lesbian lovers, shark attacks, fast food. But really it’s an old-fashioned coming of age story, with some mock existentialism thrown in for good measure. I hear that most novels don’t get finished. I think I’m at the stage now where I could say goodbye and just take an incomplete. But I don’t want to do that. Things get done when you force them a little bit more every day. I will get over this hump. I was supposed to be a published novelist by tomorrow, my 27th birthday, but I have never done things on time. Just ask any of my college professors. Wish me luck and happy birthday. Usually I ask for neither because then I can go about feeling sorry for myself, but not this time. This time I will fill up the paper and blow out the candles and by the 25th of September next year, I will be at least 100 more motivational blog speeches into my first great novel.

Bad writing is killing the planet

I am allowed to write up to 50 pages to submit to my fiction class on Wednesday night. That comes to 15 bundles of 50 pages. That’s 450 pieces of paper, although to be fair I’ll probably print double-sided, so that’s 225 pages. But every student is going to submit 50 pages this semester, which comes to at least 3375 pieces of paper. Not to mention all the stories we will print out from the internet for classroom assignments. Will any of these pages be recycled? Not many. And God forbid any of us get published – then we’ll just add exponentially to the pages of our prose that are read and thrown away. Good thing all those rejection letters are written on 1/2 page sheets of paper.

By doing some light math, I am accomplishing two goals. I am procrastinating from doing my homework, and I am forced to make the logical conclusion that I am saving the world by keeping most of my words in digital format. Long live the blog, the baby footprint of bad writing.

The Room’s Husband

We toasted the room’s husband with plastic cups of champagne. The room’s wife had cake on her fingers. Someone wandered outside in the apple orchard. The camera over his shoulder was full of the sermon and the mountains. The lake had dried up that afternoon and the toilets stopped flushing. The children picked the apples off the ground and the grownups plucked them from the trees. The Belgian could not stop smoking in the moonlight. The husband always stood behind the wife, his hands on her bare shoulders, his thumbs smoothing the nerves on her naked back. Until fingers find wrinkles. Until death do us part. The children ran between the tables, tickling each other. The cameraman was still in the orchard, film filled up, saturated. He would take a picture of himself and see a man at a wedding, wifeless.