To paraphrase the Capital One commercial: What's in YOUR head? What's in mine is here: always personal, occasionally political, sometimes a rant on language or pop culture, or a heads-up on an interesting link I've found. I hope that all my friends will visit and comment and gain some insights into the workings of my twisted little mind.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Bye-bye, Blogger

I'm going to move my blog over to LiveJournal, where I've had a placeholder account for several months so I can respond to my LJ friends' posts.

Blogger was already unwieldy for me because it doesn't support older browsers (a pet peeve of mine), but it got worse after the Google takeover. I can't even respond to comments on my OWN blog, let alone others. LJ is not exactly perfect for an IE 5.1 user but it's a wee bit easier to navigate.

If you are an LJ user in my circle, do friend me! If you are a Blogger or Wordpress user, be patient and I will get links to your blog up as soon as I figure out how. Meanwhile, check me out at

Sunday, March 04, 2007

What is good writing?

Prompted by a thread elsewhere on the net. My bottom line: As a certain Supreme Court justice says about porn, I know it when I see it.

Hemingway ... Clear, concise, stark, to the point. A role model for writers everywhere.

Bret Harte ... Flowery to the point of nauseating, but "The Luck of Roaring Camp" makes me tear up.

Robert James Waller ... see Bret Harte. "The Bridges of Madison County" made me bawl like a baby.

Dorothy Parker ... Queen of the cynics, whose cynicism was born of deep personal pain. Her wit was unrivaled and her similes are brilliant (of a bride on her honeymoon trip: "She looked as new as a peeled egg.").

Stephen King ... Creates characters I want as neighbors (except for the possessed ones)

John Grisham ... Master of the "OMG!" ending

Edna Ferber ... A she-ro of mine for the incredible female characters she created: born idealists believing in happily-ever-after, molded by real life into something so much stronger and more beautiful than any fairytale heroine.

Dr. Seuss and Ogden Nash: I would read them here and there, I would read them anywhere. They make me laugh, they make me smile. I'd read them a good long while.

My point? Some of these writers are considered Great Masters. Others are commercial "hacks." Some are considered masters today but were hacks in their time. And I love them all.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Shock-Jock Politics

So I sat down and wrote dis pome. At 4 a.m.

What my activist friends don't know
Is that I didn't care about the '04 election,
Not really, not passionately,
Until Janet Jackson:
The Nipple Shot Heard 'Round the World.

War on terror?
War on Oedipus?
Thousands of lives lost for oil and a spoiled rich boy's ego?
Of course I knew it was wrong.
Of course I was against it.

But none of that fueled my passion
Like the War on Free Speech,
the war on "tits" and "asshole" and "bitch" and "bastard" --
the war on you.
Because I believed in you.

I wouldn't dream of marching to save our young men's and women's lives
Or save innocent Iraqi lives.
But when they came after you
And your right to spew your bile on the public airwaves,
that's when I began to scream, "Bush has to go!"

Defender of peace?
Defender of life?
No, in 2004,
I was the defender of you.
Because you touched me
With your words,
With your hands,
With your eyes,
And I believed in you.

They called you ugly.
They called you mean.
They called you rude.
I called you brilliant
and misunderstood.

And you called me freak,
You called me stalker,
You called me pushy,
When you called me at all.
And all I wanted to understand
Was how could I be the pushy one
When you started pushing first?

I call you liar,
I call you player,
I call you evil.

I still scream, "Bush has to go!"
Because like you, he is a liar
Who has ruined lives.
But you no longer fuel my political passion.
The market has had its way with you,
and I rejoice.
Term limits will have their way with him,
and I rejoice
and sing out and speak up and who knows? I may even march
to bring a sane and peace-loving voice to the White House
two years from now.

As for your voice,
I'm not listening anymore.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Comforted but also pissed!

I recently heard from a fellow "survivor" of Toxic Jock Syndrome, aka the J.R. Gach Experience.

I will protect her identity and I won't quote her words here, but suffice to say that I had been dying to talk to someone who experienced not just "something like" what J.R. did to me, but the exact same thing. It is very comforting to know that I am not alone. There are others; we could get quite the support group going if we all found one another.

But I can't help but being VERY angry -- not at her, at him -- to discover that not only did J.R. feed her the same bullshit he fed me, but he did it to both of us SIMULTANEOUSLY, in March of 2003.

So while this RAT BASTARD was telling me how beautiful and brilliant and witty I was and that I might just be The One, he was telling someone else the SAME THING at the SAME TIME!

This dispelled any lingering notions I might have had that he actually DID feel something for me. It was never real. It was all lies, all a game. I knew that, but I guess I still had some hope that maybe there was something real there, even if it was just his bipolar disorder talking.

And as pissed as I am at him, I am just as pissed at myself. I wasted almost two years of my life, almost threw away the best relationship I ever had, and let my finances go down the toilet, and am still trying to recover from all that, over NOTHING. It's as if I trashed all that was real and beautiful in my life to pursue something that LOOKED real and beautiful but turned out to be a mirage ... or a robot.

Some have said that I should get over it already, but it is easier said than done when I have daily reminders, FOUR YEARS LATER, of the damage his stupid game playing did to me -- depression, fucked-up finances, lingering issues with NiiceDuude.

Twenty years ago I dated a guy who, when I complained about something not being fair, would whip out a dictionary and say, "You want fair? It's in here!" Even JFK said life isn't fair. But I still crave some fairness, some justice from this experience -- even a simple acknowledgment from the Toxic One that what he did to me was unconscionable. But of course, he has no conscience, so he doesn't know the meaning of that word.

You're good, Junior. You are so fucking charismatic that you sucked me in without even addressing me personally. Your words on the radio were enough to have me thinking you would be tons of fun to hang out with. Then when you did start addressing me personally, with just the right words ... I was so sure there was something very special there.

Remember the show about the married woman coming on to Pi? There were some comments, from you, him and callers, about how married women are "sticky" -- as in, you can't get rid of them after you've had your way with them. They go and divorce their husbands and take other drastic measures you wish they hadn't. All for you.

Know why? Because for a woman in a committed relationship to even THINK about getting with someone else, what she is feeling for that someone else has to be extraordinary. She's thinking that maybe she picked wrong all those years ago and this could be The One. That is what you made me feel with your MEANINGLESS words. And my life is a shambles because of them.

This post is morphing into an e-mail that I desperately want to send to him but probably won't because he will either block it or make fun of it. But it felt good to write it. Time to stop.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

R.I.P., Anna Nicole

I wasn't a fan of hers in life and even dissed her in print. I never understood the appeal of people like Anna Nicole Smith and Paris Hilton who are famous merely for being famous.

But this woman touched people. C.W. Nevius of the San Francisco Chronicle has a very moving and well-written column that explains why.

She was beautiful. She was rich. But she was not immune to pain. She came from poverty. She struggled with her weight, like so many of us. She suffered the worst tragedy that can befall a parent: the death of her own child. And she leaves behind a tiny baby too young to remember Mommy.

And I may go to hell for saying this, but it wouldn't surprise me if Lisa Marie Nowak is breathing a huge sigh of relief that this story has pushed hers off the front page.

Rest in peace, Anna.

Why Lisa Nowak lost it

I'm fascinated by the story of Lisa Nowak, the astronaut who stalked and assaulted her romantic rival and is now facing attempted murder charges. Um, doesn't attempted murder imply actually attempting to kill someone? She had some nasty props with her, but the only thing she actually used on Colleen Shipman was pepper spray -- which is unpleasant, but not life-threatening.

It's not morbid curiosity at a sensational story that has me following this story so closely. It's grabbed me because I have been there. No, I have never physically harmed anyone I thought I loved, or his significant other. I haven't even fantasized about it. But I have been driven to distraction on many, many occasions because I was so sure that I was meant to be with someone who didn't want to be with me. I'm not just talking about J.R. Before my life was derailed by his seductive lies, there were many others. I remember my college semesters not by which courses I was taking but which guy I was obsessed with.

Certain people love to blame sex and graphic violence in entertainment for all the ills of society. The kids play Grand Theft Auto or listen to rap and metal, they'll turn into criminals. They see scantily clad girls gyrating in music videos, hawking beer or getting it on with hot guys on the soaps, here come the teen pregnancies and STDs.

They're missing a far more insidious influence in our media, one that predates television, movies and recorded music. It's the Myth of the Soul Mate.

It's everywhere, in Greek mythology, in Shakespeare, in movies, soaps, romance novels and songs. Oh, the songs. "Can't live if livin' is without you." "Oh, dear God, it must be him, or I shall die!" Shall I go on?

And we -- women mostly, but guys aren't immune -- believe that there is one person we are destined to be with. Sometimes that belief is fueled by hormones -- the sex is incredible, or the desire he makes me feel is overwhelming. Sometimes it's intellectual -- the conversations we have are brilliant, we enjoy all the same things, finish each other's sentences, he laughs at all my jokes. For me, it's generally been the latter. I'm a sucker for anyone who laughs at my jokes and thinks like me (people who think like me are a rare breed).

If that person doesn't want to be with us, we panic. How can they defy destiny? We are driven to do whatever it takes to change his mind.

Susan Smith and Diane Downs killed their children because they were in love with men who didn't want kids.

Betty Broderick shot her husband and his lover, and Jean Harris killed her ex-lover, because they couldn't stand the thought of their beloved being with someone else.

Amy Fisher tried to kill Mary Jo Buttafuoco because she thought if MJ was out of the picture, she and Joey could be together at last.

And Lisa Nowak tried to take action -- at this writing, it was unclear what she wanted that action to be -- against the woman she thought stood between her and the man she loved, the man she reportedly left her husband for.

I don't think for a minute that these women shouldn't have been punished for what they did. Killing and maiming others is a crime, and those who do it should be locked up in prison or a mental hospital, if they are truly delusional and not LEGALLY responsible.

BUT ... if we weren't being fed this constant diet of "if it feels this good, you must be the one, and there's no other in the world," we would be less likely to take drastic measures to hold onto or win back the person we perceive as The One, or kill ourselves if The One refuses our affections.

Listen up, girls: There is no such thing as A Soul Mate, what Dr. Susan Forward ("Obsessive Love") calls the One Magic Person, or as Demi Moore's character put it in the movie "The Butcher's Wife," a split-apart. You don't have an "other half." If you aren't a whole person, you aren't a good candidate to build a relationship with another whole person.

It's not a tragedy if HE doesn't love you. It's a disappointment, nothing more. There are lots of others with whom you can click just as beautifully, and who have the potential to become your Mr. Wonderful. Go read "He's Just Not That Into You," then go find them!

And I've said this before, but I'll say it again: The soul has many facets, and each one has its mate(s). Most Messrs. Wonderful suck at girl talk, and unless you're gay/bi, your girlfriends won't satisfy you sexually. Friend A may be your political soul mate, while Friend B is the one you bond with over movies, and Friend C is the one with whom you share the secrets you won't even share with your lover/spouse.

This isn't a lecture. This is hard-won wisdom from someone who has been there, done that, and got the T-shirt, the soundtrack album AND the bumper sticker.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

OMG, maybe I am nuts!

Apologies to those who have read this on the Box or my board. I'm looking for feedback on this wherever I can find it.

My counselor has said before (we have only had four sessions) that she thinks my problems might be biochemically based. She repeated that tonight, only she used the word "psychiatric."

Me: OK, I know you're not an M.D. (she's a Clinical Social Worker), but if you had to take a stab at it, what does your gut say in terms of what meds I should be on? Antidepressants? Anti-anxiety? Antipsychotic? (the last said with a smile, which she returned).

Her: Well, you need a psychiatrist to make a real diagnosis, but I'm thinking maybe an anxiety disorder, maybe a mood disorder ...

Me (semi-facetiously): I KNEW IT! Bipolar disorder is contagious! (I used to joke about this all the time because JR had me on such an emotional roller coaster.)

But seriously, she thinks I might very well have Bipolar II. I always thought of bipolar as being bouncing off the walls, staying up all night, yada yada, followed by a crash and maybe suicidal thoughts. Not me.

But that's Bipolar I. With Bipolar II, things are more subtle. My obsessive streak -- which led to getting hijacked by JR, to an ill-advised attempt at a midlife career change, to crushes on friends that have driven them away -- could very well be my own BPII form of "mania." And I don't get suicidal, but I definitely can get into funks where I'm down on myself and feel useless, worthless and hopeless. I had a bad one just this weekend.

I'm withholding judgment until I DO see an M.D., but it certainly would explain a lot.

And if it turns out I am bipolar, I'll do the one thing I still admire JR for: I'll be open about it and do my part to erase the stigma attached to mental illness. That book I'm working on might go in a whole new direction -- who knows?

Lots to think about.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Week from hell ... and it's only Wednesday

Saturday: NiiceDuude and I are supposed to go to a birthday party at the brew pub for a friend of ours -- a small-f friend, not someone we're supertight with. I am stone broke, and I have a meltdown because I simply don't have the $20 or so it would cost to order a couple of beers and an entree (I'm assuming this is a let's all meet at the brewpub, order off the menu, Dutch treat, sing Happy Birthday kind of party). I don't want to ask ND to spot me -- he's done too much of that over the past few years. So I tell him to go without me if he wants. I go home, spend the whole day wallowing on the poverty pity pot. He did go to the pub and it turns out a buffet was provided an the drinks were covered. It wouldn't have cost me anything! D*mn!

Sunday: I'm feeling better, but Mother Nature isn't. The Mother of All Ice Storms arrives. I'm a wuss about winter driving, so even though the roads are reasonably passable, I worry about what they'll be like after dark, when, if I went to our monthly folk club meeting, I'd be coming home (about 40 miles). So I skip that. I'm starting to have flashbacks to the Toxic Jock Syndrome years, when I isolated myself from ND, friends and fun stuff. Different reasons now, but same outcome.

Monday: Is a holiday in the U.S. but I don't get the day off. I take the day off because the driving is still hinky. I have paid time, Mondays are a slow day at my job, no biggie.
Then my power goes out. Stays out for a couple of hours, comes back on for about three, goes out AGAIN. Out all night. I have electric heat. I'm chilly but not freezing.
Tuesday: Normal work day. I get home, still no power. I pack clothes and go to NiiceDuude's house. He's out playing with his band so I let myself in. Pleasant evening.

Today: I get up, shower, dress, leave ND's around 5:30 a.m. Temperature is in the single digits. My car is making a huge racket, but I figure it's just cold. Its previous owner was the Commonwealth of Virginia, this is the first really cold day of its life.
Nope, wasn't cold. I had a flat tire! By the time I figured this out, the tire was SHREDDED.

I'm not far from ND's house. I call him out of his nice warm bed and he comes to try to change the tire. It's dark, it's freezing, the tire isn't budging, the jack slips ... we call AAA and sit in his car and wait an hour for them to arrive.

AAA guy puts on the spare, I'm on my way. The ride is kind of loud and bumpy, but I figure that's par for the course with these "doughnut" spares that are smaller than the other wheels and only designed to get you to the nearest Tires R Us.

It gets worse. You guessed it, the spare is toast, too. Fortunately, I'm able to limp into the next town and find a garage. They fix me up with a new tire -- for $70 that I don't have. Fortunately I DO have a bank that is very forgiving about overdrafts.

There is some good news: My power is back on. While I was at ND's last night, I ran into his landlord and got him to deal with some nagging problems ND had been having with the place (LL's job has him keeping goofy hours so ND is reluctant to knock on his door when he's home for fear of waking him.)

But darn, I am exhausted. Is it Friday yet? Is it next Friday (payday) yet?

Sorry to go on and on ... anyone got some cheese to go with my whine?