Friday, March 28, 2008

It's Almost Like My Roommate Works At A Bookstore And Keeps Bringing Books Home. Except She Works At A Pet Store.

Apparently, I barely escaped living across the hall from a tarantula.

My other roommates made a tacit agreement that I was never to be told of this, but I found out anyways. Presumably, they kept this information hidden from me because they did not want me to "freak out." However, considering that I would have lived closest to said tarantula, and therefore would be most in danger of waking up in the dead of night with spindly, poisonous legs crawling over my face, I think "freaking out" is justifiable. Thank you.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

In Other News, I Have Completely Let Myself Go. Right Now I Am Reading A Medieval Mystery.

Also, I went to go see 10,000 B.C. in the theater yesterday and found it very entertaining. It was a matinee, but still.

In other news, I don't actually care that my backyard is teeming with the discarded waste of my former downstairs "neighbors." I just think it's fun to have something to feel self-righteous about. Also, this way there will be a place for the rats to nest and they will be less likely to come in the house.

Also also, just in case you thought my complaints about the garbage situation were at all hypocritical, considering that I supervised the dumping of the malfunctioning washer-dryer unit onto the ugly cement slab that you by now know to be my backyard, that only happened in my imagination. In fact, the washer-dryer unit is still in the kitchen and I still have to go the laundromat.

In other news, my roommate across the hall from me now has a pet rat. I saw it by accident when she had her door open. I am all for the idea of domesticated rodents being cute cute cute. I mean, just look at guinea pigs. They're adorable! And useful. But I am a little concerned that this rat may turn traitor towards his human companion and chew a hole through his cage in order to open the back door with his sinuous tale and signal with a high-pitched shriek that it is safe for his garbage dwelling brethren to come in. Then I will have a heart attack and an attack of the creepy crawlies simultaneously. Perhaps you might be thinking that I seem pretty squeamish for someone who grew up in the forest with a pack of wolves, but I cannot help myself. I have a sensitive nature.

In other news, I thought I'd set up a lawn chair and kick back on the cement slab with my medieval mystery. Luckily for me, I won't trouble myself with worrying so much about historical authenticity that I wouldn't use accumulated factoids to make myself sound like I know what I'm talking about. Maybe I should write a mystery. It will be based on the Pied Piper of Hamlin.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Finally! The Fourth And Final Act Of Beowulf! The Musical.

Being the star in your own production doesn't have to mean you're not knee deep in shit.

Recap: Frozen in enchanted ice by Selma's broken spell, Beowulf and his men are transported by plane to a museum in California after being discovered by a petrified woolly mammoth hunter and just so happen to be accidentally dumped on the unenchanted cement slab in my back yard after which I quickly turn the situation to my advantage by striking up a deal in which Beowulf and his men can stay with me if they collectively maneuver my malfunctioning washer-dryer unit down the treacherous, poorly-lit back stairs of my apartment and they do this, and general hilarity, music and dance ensue as I somewhat successfully and somewhat unsuccessfully try to help this band of fifth century warriors fit into twenty-first century life by taking them for haircuts at SuperCuts and new clothes at Target in order to ensure their viability for employment at Jamba Juice, and Beowulf and I even take the first tentative steps toward romance although I personally thought he looked better with long hair, but even so, for the sake of epic poetry I know I must help the men return to their former lives so Beowulf can kill Grendel and Grendel's dam and the dragon and I can sit through tenth grade English with Sister Mary Patrick Francis Brian and learn about the poem as a Christian allegory and so that the anonymous poet can enjoy a good chuckle in his grave trying to figure out who the f*ck Selma or Kyra or Ursula or any of the other movie add-in love interests are, and thus I rig up a rudimentary time portal using, among other things, the broken washer-dryer unit, but it doesn't work--using a nonfunctional appliance in a time machine? not smart!--so after a heartfelt and moving goodbye straight out of another not-quite-like-the-book adventure movie, Beowulf bounces right back into my life along with all his men and, you guessed it, Selma, who at this point seems more interested in using her time in the twenty-first century on a little girl-on-girl action and the music starts and here we are. Scene: the stage is still full of garbage.

Act Four: After Selma and I do our thing, Selma takes Beowulf and his men back to the movie version of the fifth century and I suddenly have a lot of time to reflect upon the fact that, once again, it has taken a witch, a spell gone awry, and a hero and his men frozen in time for anything remotely exciting to happen in my life. Before she leaves, I ask Selma for a final favor. Could she possibly cast a spell on the backyard to transform it from a junkyard into a nice patch of grass with a small garden where vegetables might grow? Just a few cucumbers and green beans. Maybe some nice, crisp radishes. Nothing spectacular. (Or at the very least, just get rid of that mattress that looks like someone's given birth on it.) But she claims she needs all her magic to counteract the broken time machine I made. So at the end of the day, harsh reality sinks in once again. Also, I suddenly remember that Selma was being played by my cat, MC,GB, which is just kind of weird.

Monday, March 24, 2008

In Which I Ask Myself: Are Humans No Longer Responsible For Their Own Garbage?


As you may know, I was raised by wolves. As you may not know, wolves are neat and clean. When they change habitats, they do not leave their sofas, rusty bed frames, broken chairs, plastic bags full of trash and other abandoned accouterments of indoor dwelling in the back yard of their former residence. Therefore, you can imagine my surprise when gazing out of my bedroom window one morning instead of encountering the usual cement slab, I was confronted with a scene of disorderliness I had heretofore only associated with the apocalypse. Do humans take no pride in their ability to clean up after themselves? Do they not yearn to leave their place tidy for the next person? Do they not understand I find it depressing to be reminded I live in squalor every time I look out the window? Wolves do not let each other down in this manner.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Once Again, Weird Pangs Of Insecurity Prevent Me From Having Fun.

I will lay face down on the sofa until I feel better.

For example, I thought my outfit looked great in front of the mirror at home, but once other people saw it, I changed my mind. From now on, I will probably just stay indoors and foster my relationship with my living room sofa. Or even better, I will isolate in my bedroom with the door closed and the lights out. Only MC,GB will be there to provide company and even he will meow annoyingly to be let out after just a half hour of our confinement. And sure, you can tell me that I will have to come out eventually. You can tell me to look on the bright side of life or that the glass is half full. You can even bribe me with piping hot tuna melts and tapioca puddings, but this time I am staying put. However, please use cheddar cheese on the tuna melt. Now leave it outside my door. Come back in half an hour for the plate. Thank you.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Big Musical, Act 3: Beowulf Meets Last Of The Mohicans Man.

I'm really enjoying spending time with Beowulf. However, I could have skipped that walk in the park when he caught and roasted a squirrel just because I said I felt like a snack. Frankly speaking, his dark age ardor can be a bit much sometimes, but he's so attentive! All the same, I realize my first duty is to help Beowulf and his men get back to the work of inspiring great literature before history is changed forever and the space-time continuum collapses.

Using the now discarded washer-dryer unit, the "cooking box," a wire hanger and a few pine cones, I rig up a rudimentary time portal that I think will do the trick. Much hilarity ensues as the men burn their Jamba Juice uniforms on a makeshift bonfire on the cement slab that is my backyard before donning breeches and armor for the trip home to the frigid north fifteen hundred years ago. Only Beowulf and I stand a little apart, both cognizant of how much has passed between us and that we may never see each other again.

"You could come with us," he sings in a moving solo as the smoke from the Jamba Juice uniforms drifts over the yard. As much as the prospect of living in another time and place has entranced me since my youth, disability checks were not invented until more recently. Also, I try to explain to Beowulf about fifth century psychiatric wards, but he doesn't understand. "It's called burning at the stake." Then he gets it.

"No, Beowulf," I insist softly. "I must remain." We kiss passionately, then one by one, Beowulf's men spring into the eerie blue screen of light that emanates from the device. In fact, the eerie blue screen of light is so blue that it resembles a waterfall. From the cave where I am hiding, I can hear the French soldiers coming. Beowulf (all of his men already through the portal) turns one final time to gaze at me with impossibly blue eyes almost glassy with unshed tears and sings forcefully, "Stay alive! No matter what occurs! I will find you!" Then he too turns and leaps into the eerie blue screen.

I stand in the yard, overcome by the sudden stillness and the fumes of the burning Jamba Juice uniforms. Just five minutes ago, my life had been full of adventure and the sort of men who'd never had the time or inclination to let themselves go. Now, I'm left with a refrigerator full of unidentifiable raw meat and a fire extinguisher.

But then something unexpected happens. (More unexpected than all of the above, of course.) Instead of disappearing, the wavy blue light starts to crackle and turn green. In a sudden explosion that does the props master proud and causes a few screams from the audience, Beowulf and his men tumble wildly out of the gulf followed by. . . Selma! As played by my cat, Gerard Butler (MC,GB) she's resplendent in red gown and cloak and matted, twig-like hair. As the music rolls and the curtain gets ready to fall in preparation for the fourth and final act, Selma sashays her way through the confused mess of bodies and smoke straight towards me and plants a big wet one right on my lips. The music changes. Bom-chick-a-bom-bom. Curtain. Huge applause. Next up: Beowulf, the adult film.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Isn't MC,GB Just Darling? Don't You Just Want To Forget About The Big Pain In The Ass That He Is?

MC,GB cutely endears himself to me, ensuring his survival

And now MC,GB just flickered his ear at me. Oh MC,GB, why can't you always be just this cute and fuzzy and still instead of peskily chasing chubby co-pet Morgen or standing on the counter making dishes fall down? And is it time for your expensive flea treatment again? How time has flown with the passage of time! It feels like just yesterday I was squashing you into place between my legs as I let a thin syrupy fluid ooze onto the naked skin of your neck from a snazzy green applicator. (Speaking of pesky--stop squirming!)

Regardless, I can barely keep up with your gargantuan needs for high quality cat food and kitty litter. It is high time I carry through on my threat to force you to take a part-time job to defray your living expenses. As you may know, I am currently staging rehearsals for Beowulf Man!, a Broadway-style musical that combines elements of everyone's favorite epic poem (unless you're into Gilgamesh) and the more recent artistic offering, Encino Man. As it stands, production costs are skyrocketing and you would be doing everyone a huge favor if you would just crawl out from under the futon or whatever other warm, dark nest you are hiding in and play Selma pro bono so I do not have to hire another actor. And you better do a good job because your gourmet cat treats are riding on ticket sales. The show must go on, even if none of the costumes are laundered.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Disability In The City! Season Two.

Office Visit One:

Riddled with anxiety, I still notice the fantastic outfit I've managed to put together without any help from my friends Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda. Just look at me! One moment I'm hunched in agony over that nervous feeling in my stomach, the next I'm resplendent in a sky-blue tailored blouse and lemon-blue striped taffeta skirt. My palms feel moist and my heart is leaping from my breast. No matter. I complete the look with a chunky necklace and burnt orange sandals.

Office Visit Two:

Our second meeting in just two weeks! Today I've pulled on some trouser jeans and a white tee along with silver sandals and a chunky poppy -colored leather bag with just enough pockets for all my meds. In fact, I look just spectacular enough to turn a few heads on the street on my oft-trodden path, especially one knight on his shining bicycle who seems to--how flattering! --want to know everything about me. Nothing is safe from his inquisitiveness and I find myself sifting through a barrage of questions. My name. My telephone number. Where I live. I play along with fake answers and even give him Samantha's telephone number until that one crucial question, my answer to which I know will test his loyalty to me on the subject forever. Where am I going? he asks in his innocence. The psychiatrist, I answer. Then with a quickly-hurled farewell, he's off like a cowboy into the sunset, except without the the girl. Geesh! I notice. In his ardor to find another maiden, he almost gets clipped by a car.

Office Visit Three:

You can tell me that my current outfit--slouchy jeans, cashmere hoody, sequined flip flops--is something akin to comfort food with a dash of hot sauce. You can tell me that this is the greatest and best outfit to wear for hours and hours of neu-ro-psy-cho-log-i-cal testing which, for the record, isn't the same kind of testing they do if you show up at the appointment in a red ball gown and curly blue wig. But still. However, you cannot convince me that I will have enough time afterward to go shopping for new ballet flats and a silk tank before I have to meet my good friends Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda for a drink. Er, for a Roy Rogers of course. My brain aches from so much thinking.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Beowulf Man! The Musical. Act Two.

The curtain rises. Beowulf and his trusty band have successfully removed the malfunctioning washer-dryer unit from my apartment and are refreshing themselves with lemonade from concentrate. As Beowulf and I communicate in my bastardized amalgamation of English and German and his fifth century lingua franca, I reflect upon the fact that despite having a landlord, it still takes a witch, a spell gone awry, and a hero and his men frozen in time to remove an unwieldy appliance down the cramped back stairwell of my now (even more) overcrowded apartment. I try to explain my gratitude to Beowulf as he picks some unfamiliar lemon pulp off his tongue.

Me: How can I repay you and your men for removing the broken washer-dryer unit for my apartment and placing it on the cement slab that is my back yard?

Beowulf: Where am I? Can you help me get home?

And thus the second act begins in earnest. (Where is MC,GB in all of this? MC,GB does not like strangers and is recuperating from the shock of so many sudden house guests by hiding under my futon.)

As I wrack my brains trying to remember everything I learned about time travel from traveling with the Doctor, Beowulf and his men produce general hilarity as they sing and dance and flail their massive jazz hands while recounting the trials and tribulations of being transported out of one's own time, frozen in ice, and dropped from an airplane onto a North Oakland cement slab. For my part, I find I constantly have to reinvent language to explain the contrivances of twenty-first century American life. For example, the microwave becomes the "cooking box," whereas the toaster oven and space heater become, "Don't touch that! You could burn the house down." We really get some good laughs when I take the men to Target (Tar-jay, I explain) for some new clothes and then to Super Cuts for haircuts and beard trims. Anyone staying indefinitely at my apartment is going to need at least a part time job if they want to eat like a warrior. One of the group, Hondscio, I think, seems a little lewd and grabby with the buxom stylist but I'm pretty sure he's going to get it from Grendel once the he gets back to the fifth century, so I let his chauvinistic behavior slide for now. Also, I am pretty sure the men are feeling restless without any trolls to kill. And even more also, there is something kind of sad about watching all these long-haired berserkers lose their locks in order to get jobs at Jamba Juice.

At this point, Beowulf and his men break away from the comic stance taken so far and deliver a poignant and heartfelt plea to the audience for understanding of their plight.

Hondscio: Please don't tell me not grab that tit!

Beowulf: But we're in a different time! We're living it!

The company: We want our old clothes back! We want out old lives back!

Me: (suddenly dire) I waaaaa-aant my hoooou-se back!!

The second act ends with a tete-a-tete between Beowulf and myself. By this time we have become pretty close as I shepherd him through twenty-first century life. There have even been hints at romance. Apparently, a witch, a spell gone awry, and a hero and his men frozen in time is also what it takes to get me a boyfriend. We share a sweet kiss with the promise of more to light-hearted music. Then curtain. Foreboding music. Intermission.

Monday, March 17, 2008

In Other News, Failure Is Not The Same Thing As Not Trying. Sometimes It Is. But Not This Time.

Yet again

In other news, I'll spare you the gory details. However, I will say that being once again unemployed does not make me a derelict content to accept handouts from society. However, I would be willing to accept handouts from my parents. (This time, I will not spend the grocery money you send me on tattoos.)

In related news, I think my inability to succeed in traditional employment must have a lot to do with being raised by wolves. For example, wolves aren't required to be "detail-oriented" or to engage in "multi-tasking" behavior. Just the act of birthing this terminology onto the innocent white expanse of my computer screen gives me sweats and chills. When I try to be "detail-oriented," my brain feels like it is being stretched (by details, mind you) as far as it can possibly go until SNAP! Suddenly, in other news everywhere, the minuscule shreds of my concentration lay scattered at my feet. (For the record, "multi-tasking" makes my brain feel like it is being poked by hundreds of tiny pins--not the healthful pins used in acupuncture, but the unhealthful, painful kind used in "multi-tasking"--until fuses start blowing and the lights go out. Total darkness.)

In even other related news, I am sadly coming to terms with the reality that my dream job does not exist. High pay, no accountability. Great benefits, flexible schedule. And by all means, no details and no tasks. What I'm really good at, though, is sitting around reading and writing. Maybe in a previous century and a different bank account I could have been a gentleman scholar. Plus my natural disposition towards insanity ensures there would have been scandal. Just to keep things interesting.

In previously relayed news, I'm going to keep sparing you the gory details. Let's just say I have a lot more time to work on writing musicals and leave it at that.

Here is a poem.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Beowulf! The Musical Is Here. Or, More Accurately, Beowulf Meets Encino Man! The Musical Is Here.

The landing pad

Act One:

Selma, the 'sensual witch,' accidentally casts a spell that leaves Beowulf and his trusty band of men frozen in magical ice until the end of time. The spell must have a few fissures, though, because when a twenty-first century scientist discovers the frozen fifth century warriors while hunting frozen primordial woolly mammoth, a lot of wacky hi-jinks ensue.

For example, the ice is cut into blocks (one warrior per block) and flown to a museum in California in a temperature-controlled jet plane. But amidst all this careful planning something goes comically amiss. For further example, the airplane accidentally drops its dark age payload directly over my back yard in North Oakland. Since I only have a cement slab behind my house instead of nice, bourgeois grass, there is nothing to cushion the magical blocks of ice from unmagically shattering upon impact. Because I mistake the loud noises for gun shots, I don't bother to get up right away. But once I finish my lunch and look out the window, Beowulf and his trusty band are fully thawed and milling about the yard in a confused manner.

I immediately assess the situation. I am pretty sure that the apparent leader of the group is the same man who showed up at my door several months ago, rudely interrupting my Sunday morning with his sullen stare and tangled hair demanding that I unhand my cat, MC,GB. I step outside and approach Beowulf carefully, using clever tactics to trick him into affirming his identity.

Me: Are you Beowulf?

Beowulf: Yes.

Me: Our washer-dryer unit is broken. We're going to need you and your men to carry it down the back stairs if you want to stay with us.

Beowulf: It's a deal.

Then we all break out the jazz hands as Beowulf sings powerfully:

Where aaaa-am I?
All I know is I was frozen in the snow!

Where aaaa-am I?
All I know is that I've got to get back home!

Etcetera. Curtain. More to come.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

When Asked Whether I Am Vegetarian, I Usually Reply, I'm A What's-In-The-Fridge-Itarian.

Somewhere, deep inside the bowels of this modern appliance, dinner is lurking.

I have completely regressed. When I was 23 I lived with a nice man in a nice apartment and cooked almost daily mails. We ate ratatouille, curries, homemade hummus. Now I am on the brink of turning 33 and I eat sour cream for dinner. Also, I am still sharing one bathroom with four roommates, only two of whom are nice men, and two cats who really, really hate each other. (One of the cats is MC,GB, whose unfettered chauvinism is not helping the situation.)

So here I am, on any given night. Instead of healthfully chopping vegetables and cubing tofu, I can be seen rummaging through the fridge with no real plan. Lucky for me, growing up with wolves really helped me learn to forage, so I am perfectly prepared for my current lifestyle. A spoonful of sour cream here, another spoonful of peanut butter there. Two whole food groups! Throw in a half-rotten peach and some whole-grain crackers and you have a well-balanced meal. Unless of course you only have non-whole grain crackers. Then you are in trouble.

I tried to cook all sorts of tasty meals for MC,GB's DD (that's my new acronym for 'my cat, Gerard Butler's deadbeat dad') but he did not like them. And MC,GB's DD was not the kind of person who would eat food just because it was slaved over. No doubt his cruel indifference crushed my soul and relegated me to my sad state of affairs today. In fact, speaking of soul crushing, MC,GB's DD still hasn't sent me his 'I'm sorry I drove you to drink' letter. I will have to email him a reminder about that. Meanwhile, someone please save me from myself and fix me a nice home-cooked meal. I am especially partial to tuna melts and tapioca puddings. I am also partial to you doing the dishes. Thank you.

Here is a poem.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Apparently, My Cat, Gerard Butler, Has Been Lying To Me. Why Didn't You Tell Me?

Liar! Liar! Liar!

Up till now I had blindly accepted my cat, Gerard Butler's (in hindsight) somewhat far-fetched assertion that he and 299 of his best Spartan warriors took on the entire Persian army alone at the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC. My cat, Gerard Butler (MC,GB) liked to sit with me in the quiet evenings sipping herbal tea as the scent of honeysuckle blew gently through the open window and I listened to him regal me with the thrilling sorts of tales that would arise from facing the entire Persian army with just 300 warriors. But now I see MC,GB's exciting yarn for what it really is: a tall tale!

No doubt you are wondering about why it has taken me so long to figure this out. Apparently, I am the last person on the planet to read classical literature, or, more importantly, to see the History Channel special, "Last Stand of the 300," which maps out the situation with all the accuracy, lack of sensationalism, and academic credibility that the History Channel is known for. (If you don't believe me, check out their special on Boudicca! Is that a slim readhead in tight-fitting leather armor? Why, yes, it is.)

The point is, the fact that something like 10,000 Greek soldiers and an Athenien naval contingent were hanging out at the pass with MC,GB and his trusty Spartans is readily available information that I did not know about simply because I usually try to keep as unaware of my surroundings as possible (because it is warmer here, in this bubble) and did not happen to catch the "Last Stand" any of the million times I could be found zoning out over the last year to the dulcet scholarship and live reenactments that are: the History Channel!

What I really want to know is, how did MC,GB think he could continually hide his callous deception from me? Evenutally, even I stumble onto Wikipedia, another rival to the History Channel for bare bones scholarship and academic accuracy, even if only long enough to grasp the extent of MC,GB's trail of lies. For example, when he told his story to the History Channel (behind my back), he did not even tell them about healots.

When I confronted him on another one of our quiet evenings, he claimed innocence at first, stating that he "didn't know" about that part of the story. But eventually he admitted to weaving his web of lies in order to appear "tougher" and "more valorous" and "marketable."

Frankly, I am hugely disappointed in MC,GB's behavior, but I'm sure we will be able to rebuild trust somehow. Maybe we can engage in a team building exercise by playing extras in an upcoming History Channel special. I could be a witch about to be burned at the stake for her third nipple and MC,GB would be burned at the stake for being my familiar. I am pretty sure I would look good in tight-fitting leather armor. Maybe I am a little bit Spartan after all.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Just A Few Drink Recipes I Concocted Recently While Not Attending To Sobriety

I'll have a Roy Rogers! Actually, make that a modified Roy Rogers!

First and foremost, the modified Roy Rogers:

This drink is destined to be an instant classic. Just take cola, replace the grenadine with whiskey and hold the cherries. Trust me, you'll love it! Look at me, I order them all the time.

Then there's the modified Shirley Temple:

Actually, there is no way to modify a Shirley Temple. Whenever you walk up to that bar at your Uncle Merle's fiftieth wedding anniversary and utter the words "Shirley Temple," you will only succeed in moistening your lips with the drink of a little girl in a frilly white dress. Do you want to be a little girl in a frilly white dress? Do you want to drown your golden curls in syrupy grenadine? If so, then by all means, order that Shirley Temple and let Uncle Merle think you're still on the wagon. But if you want to be a cowgirl, join me at the bar with my horse, Beowulf. There is a f*cking sunset around here somewhere, I just know it. Oh wait, that was just some tequila and a sunrise. My bad.

The modified modified Roy Rogers:

Now here is a drink for those with experimentation in their hearts. Pour grenadine over ice, then top with whiskey. I have never tried this, but I'm sure if you order one your brazenness will turn all sorts of heads at the bar. Or, if you happen to be stuck at your Uncle Merle's fiftieth wedding anniversary celebration, the potent combination of hard alcohol and hard sugar will combine to put you in a coma and more time will pass without you having to participate.