Sunday, March 21, 2010

Executionary Adventures

So yesterday I saw a mouse in my kitchen. I thought I saw something move out of the corner of my eye, but then I told myself it was my hair. As I continued making my breakfast, I saw it move again, out of the corner of the other eye. And so I went on an explore and moved some things around and scared the bejesus out of Fieval, my new roommate.

I called my parents, poor things, to tell them of the scary!!! Mom asked me what the mouse was doing when I saw it, and I said, "Running away from me." Then she asked what I was doing, and I said, "Running away from him."

Several things happened after that.
1) I went to talk to the building manager. From whom I have not heard. I am going to call the building management people tomorrow.
2) I used the internetz to ask for advice. Some of the advice was sympathetic, some of it was helpful, and some of it was a Youtube link to "Somewhere Out There." Fucking. Super.
3) I saw the mouse again. He is taunting me, I think. Like, RIGHT beside my computer in the living room, he comes out to say, "Bah ha ha. I am very small. And I am looking for my family. Have you seen them?"
4) I went to Home Depot and bought an electric trap to catch and kill him. Theoretically, it is humane. Pragmatically, it is in my kitchen. Simmering, battery-fueled death.

Or so I thought.

I may or may not have set the trap correctly. I think Fieval is in there right now, eating peanut butter conveniently provided for him by his new favorite roommate. Seriously. I was in the kitchen, you know, doing whatever the hell you do in kitchens, and I saw him, I think. WALKING INTO THE TRAP AND THEN WALKING BACK OUT OF IT.

I am, in fact, the worst executioner ever. And balls if I'm gonna go in there and check for mice in the trap.

BALLS, I say.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Some Strongly Worded Letters

Thank you for this day. It has been a long time coming, and I appreciate all of your gorgeous, sun-drenched effort.

Dear Black, Patent Leather Peep-Toes,
Long time, no see! Welcome back to the ends of my legs. You are aging well, old friends.
Fashionable Interlocuter

Dear Almost-Graduating Seniors,
I am so proud of you. What a marvelous introduction to New York you provided. I love this job and this school--and it will not be the same without you. Still, the choices and roads ahead are so exciting! You will be as impressive and formiddable on your new roads as you have been here in this world. I look forward to hearing of your achievements-to-come, and I thank you for allowing me into your symbolic universe.
With gratitude,
Dr. J

Dear Students-Taking-the-Persuasion-Midterm,
You are wonderful. Everything is going to be alright. I promise.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Call This An Oversimplified Generalization, If You Must

But a TV show created by the people who did the Wire, starring people from the Wire (and Homicide! Holla!) is fucking guaranteed (CajunCajunCajun) to be good.

Watch. And anticipate with me.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Your Mission,

should you choose to accept it, is simple: Help me come up with substitution phrases.

I tend to over-use my favorite words and phrases, and a former student just reminded me how annoying that can be. So, in the spirit (belated, I know I know, I GET it) of Lent, I am going to work on expanding my vocabulary. Below, I have compiled a list of my most popular go-tos. If you would be so kind as to provide some alternative suggestions, I will be forever in your debt.

1) Balls.
2) Delicious.
3) I'm just sayin, is all.
4) Son of a...
5) Yummy.
6) Serious (or some form thereof--for serious, seriously, on the serious).

There are probably more, but I can't think of them right now. In fact, I kinda feel bad about this--like I'm abandoning old friends. But, hey! It's a new world, right? And worlds are made of language.

Still. I might keep one or two, just for old time's sake.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Academy Award Fistfights

I will get in one. Because I always do. Oh--It's ON, Facebook friends.

It all started with my mother's angry grudge against Gandhi. She's still mad that Gandhi won the year that ET wasn't even nominated. I was seven, so I couldn't say, "Hey. Dear, Dear Mother. Gandhi has Ben Kingsley. ET has, like, rubber space frogs. You do the math." Then, there was the year that I almost got into a drunken brawl with these Germans at an Academy Award party in North Carolina--that was about "Training Day." *I love you, Denzel.* And then there was Crash.


Why do we care about these things? I haven't even seen all the movies, and I am all ready to be angry about the winning/losing of my favorites. And by favorites, I mean, "The Hurt Locker."

Honestly, though, since 2005, I've not watched all the movies. I am still outraged. OUTRAGED, I say, by "Crash" winning over "Brokeback Mountain." I think people got so excited about Jake Gyllenhaal's tight ass jeans and the possibility of two boy pee pees touching in a tee pee, they didn't notice the beauty of the movie.

Goddammit, I hate Paul Haggis.

Tina Fey and Steve Carell, however, I love. And George Clooney. And The Hurt Locker. And yummy, yummy Jack Donaghy. And Meryl Streep. And yummy coconut martinis. And righteous indignation. And Jack Donaghy.

Mmmm. I hope Jack Donaghy wins an Oscar.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

10 Rules for Writing

The authors included in the above link are several things I am not. First, they are quite famous. Second, they are quite famous for writing fiction. I could add that they might be more likely sources of writing advice than someone who has never been on Oprah, but I won't. So there.

Anyway, in line with their thoughts on writing, I wanted to add some of my own.

1) Be open to inspiration. There is no one way to write, especially when it comes to individual writers. I know many folks who swear by certain, specific patterns of writing. But they break those patterns all the time--and call those breaks inspiration, as if that is somehow outside the purview of writing-as-practice.

2) Friends don't let friends drink and write. Consider yourself a friend.

3) Savor good phrases, even if you have to get rid of them later. They were part of the story at one point, if only for a little while. Plus, they might end up somewhere else, and you want to be able to look them in the eye.

4) Never use the word "very."

5) Jonathan Franzen reminds us that the reader is a friend, and I agree. I also think that chaos should be treated as a friend. Creativity comes from chaos, and that's a pretty marvelous exchange.

6) Read things out loud. It's like a litmus test for meaning. The right words feel good in your mouth.

7) When someone you love reads your words and praises you, listen. You would if they were cursing you.

8) Take breaks. I find that episodes of "The Wire" work especially well in this capacity.

9) Start and stop before you feel ready to do either.

10) Feel free to write stuff on random parts of your body so that you don't forget it. The back of my hand is my favorite mnemonic device.