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Posted at 08:20 AM in Miscellaneous Mockery | Permalink | Comments (4)
My friends all play Wordle now. This has been my Facebook wall the last few weeks.
Really, multiply the above by five. I must have ten friends who play Wordle now and they all give a daily report on their success with the daily puzzle.
On the one hand, there are no angry debates because they have been drowned out by the Wordle posts. We all can now pleasantly debate the difficulty of the day's game.
Somehow, I find Wordle too stressful. Each misstep sets you back. No thank you.
Posted at 08:37 AM in Miscellaneous Mockery | Permalink | Comments (0)
I'm gutting this first draft. Five pages of dialog? No thank you, two sentences, that's better.
Sometimes, though, I select a sentence or phrase and think, oh, that sounds good. I can't kill that. I'll play with it, to try to tuck it in, and then think about painting. Sometimes you just have to paint over the a spot, even if it's good, for the greater good of the whole.
I haven't done it yet, but I want to make a document where I copy the good bits. So far I've been successful integrating them into the shortened version.
I'm also noticing it's tremendously uneven, but that's to be fixed in a later draft. This draft is just going to spread out the exposition and tighten it up.
The best part is that trimming doesn't require a one hour commitment. So much easier. I can pop in and out during the day and pare a sentence down.
So, last week I finished revising chapter 1: 30% shorter, train has collided not derailed, and Chekhov's gun petroleum fire has been mitigated to something that is a threat, not an inevitability.
Posted at 08:41 AM in In Which We Mock Ourselves | Permalink | Comments (0)
Dear Joe Biden -
Please please please keep your promise to nominate a black woman and send Anita Hill to the Supreme Court.
Would she oppose Clarence Thomas at every turn?
You know she would.
Posted at 08:43 AM in Miscellaneous Mockery | Permalink | Comments (0)
Posted at 08:34 AM in Miscellaneous Mockery | Permalink | Comments (0)
In the past when I was stressed my right hand would tingle.
But then as I found out during my brother's health scare last October, big stresses make my entire left leg tingle even more.
My other stress indicator is that I can't draw a deep breath. However, I can gasp just fine. Usually this is how I fix it:
I don't know if it only works with doctors, so I am telling you all: I have a little pile-up of three mild stress situations. There. That should cure it.
Posted at 08:47 AM in In Which We Mock Our Illness | Permalink | Comments (3)
As you know, my team at work begins most working sessions with a discussion topic. This past week it was Bad Hairstyles of our Youth.
I know that most people my age have printed photos. I would keep a good photo and bad ones were encouraged to decompose in the landfill. The exceptions were school photos: those live on. I was expecting to see my team submit a lot of school photos for the bad hair category and 1980s Glamour Shotz for the examples of good hair.
What I saw was nothing. I put my photos on the chat and then NOTHING. Bastards! Then one bald man shared a photo of him with hair, and a brunette man showed a photo as a tow-headed child, but I saw no bad photos.
Perhaps my submission was so horrifying no one wanted to compete.
My god, enough hair to pull back AND cascade down, the Glory days.
And because it's not fair to represent oneself on a blog entirely in old photos, here is what my teammates have been looking at in Zoom:
Posted at 08:43 AM in In Which We Mock Ourselves | Permalink | Comments (2)
I was going to bed. "Please don't come into my room at kiss me at midnight," I complained, "I never got back to sleep."
Gary said, "Well, you better give me a terrific good-night kiss now. Tongue."
I can't remember the last time our tongues made contact. But we tried it. And of course we laughed.
"Really, we liked that once?"
Posted at 08:42 AM in In Which We Mock Our Husband | Permalink | Comments (3)
I just started the second season of Ricky Gervais' After Life, and in the first episode they read aloud from a terrible, terrible novel. It made me feel very vulnerable. In some spots I was able to identify why it was bad (famous surgeon scrubs in to give someone an injection) and other spots sounded ... I confess ... just fine.
Those spots were mainly dialog. "Blah blah," Joanne said.
Perhaps Ricky G is not of the school of "said". I've been replacing "Maggie snarled," with "Maggie said," which is difficult because I'm avoiding adverbs around the dialog too. So, no "Maggie said, nastily" either.
Why am I making this hard on myself? I don't know.
Posted at 08:52 AM in In Which We Mock Ourselves | Permalink | Comments (4)
Well, the plan was to jump right on that fourth vaccine shot. Nope. Not doing it. Not right now.
I called four places near me and half of them did not know about the fourth shot, and the rest said they were only giving first, second, and third shots.
No website has been adjusted, of course, they all ask me if I'm getting dose 1,2 or 3. It's fast to change a website, just not if it's a corporate site. Testing has to be done by committee, phrasing has to be negotiated by committee.
I called the hospital system downtown, and they were aware of the fourth shot, so that was a step up, and then I had to decide if there was a safe place to get the shot ... but there isn't. No drive ups anywhere. Appointments, yes, but appointments in auditoriums.
So, I decided to not decide - just stay in my bubble and then next month, hold my breath and go out to one of the smaller hospital locations.
But then, another person at work died. I don't know his vaccination status or his immunization status, but now I am even more afraid of the 'cron. The problem is, should I be so afraid of Omicron that I get the vaccine, or so afraid of Omicron that I avoid leaving the house? I don't know which. Pause the clock for a month, then, and wait for any surges to die down. That;s my current "plan."
Posted at 08:31 AM in In Which We Mock Our Illness | Permalink | Comments (1)
I told Gary two things about the novel.
It begins with a train derailment.
Gary's response: Does the heroine DIE NO ONE SURVIVES A TRAIN DERAILMENT ELLEN DON'T YOU KNOW THAT (followed by many pictures or train derailments) THERES NO SUCH THING AS A MINOR TRAIN DERAILMENT. It now begins with a train impact at a crossroads with a currently unspecified Vehicle Large Enough to disable a train.
There is a Turkish Baths place in town and it is Key. This is straight from Jerry's page long description of the town: "one illuminated sign read TURKISH BATHS."
Gary's response: SO IS THIS AN LGBTQ NOVEL? I thought there were straight Turkish baths, but even if there are, too much nuance. It would be the Chekov's Gun of Turkish Baths. We'd all be waiting for a steamy scene. So, there is no longer a Turkish Baths sign.
I am wonder why I shared those two things with Gary. I was pleased with them. Did I subconsciously want scrutiny?
Well, no matter. Scrutiny must make me write furiously. I intended to pare the first chapter down into an haiku, yet after Gary's input, it has doubled in size.
Posted at 08:15 AM in In Which We Mock Ourselves | Permalink | Comments (2)
Posted at 08:31 AM in Miscellaneous Mockery | Permalink | Comments (0)
Do you want to feel young? Then get with your husband and watch videos that your favorite band made ... what, ten, fifteen years ago? When they were skinny teenagers?
"Look at Ed!" Gary cried. "He's a baby!' (He wasn't a baby. He was young and slight and shiny.) We danced on the basement floor and closed our eyes and pretended we were on a cruise.
I'm aware the band has a foothold on my pleasure neurons. I hear their music and feel happy and at peace. I didn't realize I had the option of watching their old videos and feeling young.
Posted at 08:37 AM in In Which We Mock Ourselves | Permalink | Comments (0)
Remember how GrubHub forgot the hashbrown casserole from our order and I ended up getting an insane amount of food for free?
Since then all we want to eat is Cracker Barrel hashbrown casserole. Perhaps that is the business model: leave something out, play hard-to-get. Our desire overrode our liberal hatred of Cracker Barrel. It even overrode Gary's past Cracker Barrel experience. "At least they aren't sex traffickers," we rationalized. So we submitted a very hashbrown-centric order, and they did not forget the hashbrowns, therefore I give you:
*First, the term 'hashbrown' here means shredded hashbrowns, not some ersatz fried potato cubes.
Second, evidently this restaurant chain did not use the Typepad editor to make their menu. Typepad's spell-check keeps insisting Hashbrown is two words. I know, you are amused I pretend to care about spell-checks or proofreading. I will balance the scales by calling this restaurant "Crackerbarrel."
Clockwise from top right:
Regular Hashbrown Casserole - Hashbrowns in which Crackerbarrel trades the crispy potato bits for some extra creamy white sauce. This is a devil's bargain. More on this later.
Loaded Hashbrown Casserole Tots - Crackerbarrel describes this as "Our Hashbrown Casserole fried into crispy bite-sized tater tots" and I call bullshit. You can see for yourself, they began life as tater tots, they taste nothing like the hashbrown casserole: the potato taste is entirely different.
Loaded Regular Hashbrown Casserole - Here they take the creamy casserole and add the crispy bits back in the form of deep-fried shoestring onions, the only possible upgrade from the crispy edges of hashbrowns. They also added cheese and bacon, and while green onions were also promised I could not see them. (I did not ask for a refund.)
Clearly, the final incarnation, the Loaded Regular Hashbrown casserole, won the throwdown hands down.
Posted at 08:03 AM in Miscellaneous Mockery | Permalink | Comments (3)
A recent conversation with Gary.
[Stage direction: Gary has been coming in and out of the room to re-enact recent football plays and demand attention.]
Gary: "And then the quarterback - HEY STOP READING YOUR BOOK AND PAY ATTENTION!"
[Ellen dog-ears book to keep her place, and puts the book down and clasps her hands so she doesn't flip her husband off.]
Gary: "That's a big book. How are you going to keep your place?"
Ellen: "You just saw me dog-ear it."
Gary: "YOU DOG-EAR YOUR BOOKS THAT IS AWFUL HERE LET ME GET YOU A BOOKMARK."
I may have asked before, but is this true? Does one not dog-ear books?
Posted at 08:02 AM in In Which We Mock Our Husband | Permalink | Comments (7)
Oh, it was Ernest Hemingway in A Moveable Feast. "The only kind of writing is rewriting."
Ernest Hemingway and everyone else quoted in this article.
I particularly like this one by Vladimir Nabokov: "I have rewritten -- often several times -- every word I have ever published. My pencils outlast their erasers."
I'm not even to the point of re-writing words, I'm re-doing the outline itself, because the rising action rose and fell and rose and fell and ... you get it. There was a conflict, and while it was realistic, it didn't build steadily. When I finish revising a section of the outline I rewrite those chapters.
I bet this is the place when people give up. I am not giving up.
Posted at 08:57 AM in In Which We Mock Ourselves | Permalink | Comments (0)
There was a brief time a few years back when Gary was in charge of the food. He took over the kitchen, added an entirely superfluous knife block, bought a "palette" of all the spices, reorganized the drawers and banished my cunning shiny tools to the back of a drawer, then put our ugliest spatulas and big spoons out in the counter in a controversial Spinny Thing.
He hasn't touched any of those tools and spices for a year. I bided my time, and advised him that I would be reclaiming my kitchen. (I did look for a tea towel that said ELLEN'S KITCHEN in big block letters, but I backed off. Too pointed.)
Last weekend, the big basket of herbs were sorted and consolidated, and the ones I use moved out of the basket and organized in the pantry. Knife block was demoted to basement, as were the bulky baskets and milk frother and especially the Spinny Thing.
The contents of the Spinny Thing were prioritized and the useful ones are on the outside of the fridge, instead of tangled in the farthest corner of the Spinny Thing.
This sparks joy.
Gary was gracious enough to say it looks like a good system.
Posted at 08:02 AM in In Which We Mock Our Husband | Permalink | Comments (2)
Remember when I bought my Kinsa crowdsourcing thermometer it came with this Nurse Blake character, who might have been a bot?
A new email has arrived and, big news, there's a Mr. Nurse Blake, and he has Covid. There's a link in the email teasing the story, then you take a link from that second page to the details. I think this is all a ploy to see the depth of our relationships to Nurse Blake.
Upon reading the article I realized Nurse Blake might benefit from my neighbor's experience: her husband and child got the Omicron while being fully vaccinated and boosted and masked. Luckily, with the Omicron we decided to stop being in the same room, we now holler from one back door to another.
(And yet, amid all this caution, the Supreme Court has decided that no one is their brother's keeper, and we shall have no mask or vaccine mandates.)
Interesting to me that my new bestie Blake would be out there sharing her experience, and that it would not be followed by a disclaimer like "the opinions of Nurse Blake are her own and are not shared by the management."
Posted at 08:31 AM in In Which We Mock Our Illness | Permalink | Comments (0)
Posted at 08:02 AM in Miscellaneous Mockery | Permalink | Comments (2)
I looked at a recent video of a fox in the backyard, and I thought, damn, our fox got fat. Like, carrying an extra ten pounds of Christmas weight. I almost didn't recognize him.
On further review, though, this appears to be average weight for a red fox (below). I think I've just seen very hungry red foxes so far.
The next night, I saw another fox I didn't even recognize as a fox at all. This guy below is a grey fox.
Slimmer, shorter face, striped tail, grey legs with no black stockings.
Gary researched the grey fox and claims it can climb trees like a cat. I don't know how to make that happen.
Posted at 08:46 AM in Miscellaneous Mockery | Permalink | Comments (0)
MSNBC teased me with this news and then never delivered. I had to hunt this down.
"Moderately to severely immunocompromised people can get another shot if it's been at least five months since their last one."
Per the CDC site:
Who Is Moderately or Severely Immunocompromised?
People are considered to be moderately or severely immunocompromised if they have:
(Counts on fingers) January 17 is my five-month mark.
Posted at 08:03 AM in In Which We Mock Our Illness | Permalink | Comments (4)
Well, that's an exaggeration. But yes, I did another even more objective analysis of the first draft and thought many thoughts. There was a lot of "What the hell was I thinking?" and even more "This all has to be gutted and done over," but still a fair amount of "I can keep this if I whittle it down to a paragraph."
Strangely, parts that I thought were bizarre (winging tortillas off the church roof) fit in perfectly now that I can stand back and look at the themes that emerged. In fact, the tortillas show up at the very end, that's how important they are.
I am willing to bet I rewrite the whole thing. That's what I'm doing now with the first chapter.
Posted at 08:40 AM in In Which We Mock Ourselves | Permalink | Comments (0)
Gary's been complaining that the road to the SuperBowl has been chaotic this year because of Covid. A team headed to the SuperBowl will find half the team is out with Covid. Chaos ensues and no doubt digs in to the pockets of the NFL, the players, the gamblers, et al.
If I were an NFL coach, I would find a way to pump Covid air into the locker room of the opposing team, or infect the waiters at the team hotel. Or give the player's relative's Covid so they're distracted, like the case of the Texas Cheerleader's mom.
With the money at stake I really suspect that's happening.
Posted at 08:14 AM in Miscellaneous Mockery | Permalink | Comments (0)
Last week we ALL got this remarkable email from the big hospital system, Barnes-Jewish-Christian.
It was titled Message to the Community from BJC HealthCare and Washington University and I paraphrase it below.
[Five bullets that say "Get a Vaccine!" in various ways.]
Posted at 08:21 AM in Miscellaneous Mockery | Permalink | Comments (0)
Posted at 08:05 AM in In Which We Mock Ourselves | Permalink | Comments (0)
Posted at 08:10 AM in Miscellaneous Mockery | Permalink | Comments (2)
Now that I've let the book sit for a month, I am rediscovering things I'd forgotten. Evidently one night I woke up and typed, "Add a part where there is a dog named Miss Darcy and Maggie thinks it's an actual person but it isn't it's a dog."
I will not be adding that part. Darcy. Seriously, how on the nose.
It was interesting to review what I had with a critical eye. I haven't done that since my college Literary Criticism course, when I'd skim a book, dog-ear the pages that seemed to follow a pattern, and then slap up an essay. This time I was the author and I was surprised to find patterns and themes I didn't deliberately intend. Man vs nature is in there. (I'm a little disappointed I didn't find a Christ figure in there too.)
Unfortunately, the critical eye led to the critical brain saying things like, "Oh this entire first act needs to be completely rewritten." That was followed by a fun spurt of creativity, but if this continues I will finish draft two, let it sit, look at it with a critical eye, get creative, and then I'll be stuck in a cycle until the end of my days.
Posted at 08:59 AM in In Which We Mock Ourselves | Permalink | Comments (0)
Here's an update from Snopes on how people became convinced Wayfair was trafficking children. It's kind of hilarious. Someone after my own heart exaggerated something.
I do like the Wayfair chair, partly because they were so agreeable about taking off the charge because of the scratch and my mistake about the casters.
On a related note, I discovered that GrubHub has the same business model as Wayfair: you complain and they erase the charges from your credit card. I wasn't complaining about the food, I was complaining about the fact a tiny side dish was missing from the big family-sized buffet I ordered, and boom, fifty bucks worth of food became fifty bucks worth of free food becuase they left off a three dollar side. Still don't get this.
Not going to jump from there to "Grub-hub are sex-traffickers," though.
Posted at 08:42 AM in Miscellaneous Mockery | Permalink | Comments (0)
Posted at 08:54 AM in In Which We Mock Our Husband | Permalink | Comments (5)
I don't know anything about the condition of agoraphobia. I know my Mom felt that "Aunt" Carleen's agoraphobia might improve if she just got out of her apartment once in a while. (I'm almost certain Mom was being facetious.)
I can guess that there's a chemical catalyst behind agoraphobia. I suppose someday they'll find the chemical behind every mental illness, and they'll drop the "phobia" suffix from every phobia, and therapists will just treat neurosis. Or is that day here already and I'm just operating off old assumptions?)
At any rate, I can tell you that my body's chemistry has a strong agoraphobic reaction to the prospect of leaving the house. Since the pandemic, I rarely go out. When I do leave the house it's only for sterile locations like the hospital, with a few exceptions like the all-night pharmacy. Still, every time I leave the house my body reacts.Without fail, the prospect of leaving the house wakes up my lower intestine.
"She's leaving!" it shouts. "Time to bug out! Pump up the serotonin! Move out! Evacuate!"'
I'm not exaggerating: it's every damn time, to the degree that I will put on the shoes and bra and fake out my digestion an hour ahead of my estimated departure time so it has a chance to drop ballast. It's like a very, very specific panic attack.
I hope this doesn't continue after the pandemic.
Posted at 08:44 AM in In Which We Mock Our Illness | Permalink | Comments (3)
Time for the yearly review, when I tell you about all the fun I've had all year. Or more recently, I tally up the ceaseless, joyless, parade of events that add up to zero-sum days of meaningless survival. Six of one, half a dozen of the other.
At the beginning of the year I was being bumped further down the vaccine list until I finally got a vaccine a mere week earlier than the healthy hoi polloi. At the end of the year I first heard that I might get monoclonal antibodies, and I was excited. Since then everything changed: true, I'll be getting the AstraZeneca monoclonal antibodies, a six month dose to give me immunity ... just as soon as they make it, six months from now.
Creative Pursuits: The Bathroom
After years of stasis, the medical bathroom collection grew. I acquired some cute little brain soaps, then bigger, better brain soaps, and then the small brains moved to a wee little brain pan. (Speaking of wee little things, say hello to my little friend, the teeny speculum.) From the smallest to the largest: the largest thing in the bathroom is now the new chart of epithelial cells.
Creative Pursuits: The Novel
It started with bits of index cards and tiny magnets, and now it's a first draft.
Creative Pursuits: The Paintings
This year I painted bologna peonies, the dog bank (again), boats, nude salt shakers, a pansy, cliffs, birdbaths, sundials, a buffalo , and rounding out the year where I started, a pitcher of peonies.
When the Mini Cooper got sick, we bought a new Electric Mini that I still haven't tried to parallel park.
None. No movies out, no concerts, no opera, and due to other obligations no Steven Page Zoom concerts, and of course no vacation. However, I do have one night a week I watch streaming shows with a friend, and I can recommend Baking Impossible.
You know it's been a bad year when I haven't searched for any of the year-end review specials. That said, I enjoyed Death to 2020 on Netflix last year. Perhaps they'll do that again. (Later: Ooo! They did. Not as enjoyable.)
Ugh, 2021, second verse same as the first. Good riddance to you.
Posted at 08:33 AM in Miscellaneous Mockery | Permalink | Comments (0)