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Pushing the limits of sleep deprivation
Don't fuck with me. Don't look at me wrong. Don't touch me. It's been one of THOSE days.

Had little to no sleep last night. Started off my day getting my upper teeth cleaned. Nothing starts the day and says "How do ya fuckin do?" like getting your mouth worked over by a sharp metal object and finding out you're going to need over $800 worth of work on one tooth, of which insurance will only pay half.

Because my schedule has been so tight today, and because my mouth was more or less numb for the first half of the afternoon, I couldn't eat, couldn't even get in a cup of coffee.

Add to my caffeine-deprived, edging near the D.T.s nervous-system, log in problems with Myspace, STILL NOT getting my One2One mag, and a healthy dose of P.M.S. and yes, folks, you got yourself a raging biotch.

Trying my best to suck it in here at work and smile through gnashing teeth. Have finally gotten something to eat and a cup of lousy coffee, so things are turning around, albeit not fast enough.

Oh, and I did get a batch of CD's I had ordered online! Woo hooo! Everything from Velvet Revolver and Green Day to the Return of the King soundtrack and Blondie's greatest hits.

Can we say, "eclectic," boys and girls? No? Okay, how about schizoid?

Where's the nearest frickin Starbucks?

Current State: bitchy bitchy
Current Groove: franz ferdinand

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Tonight, Bellingham got yet another round of snow, this time followed up by freezing rain, which turned everything to a nice, slippery skating rink for nimrods to kill themselves on, a veritable winter blunderland.

As I was getting ready to leave work, I was bidding adieu to the newsroom folks, and happened to hear on the police scanner that there was a 9-car pile up out near the county line, at the intersection of "Stupid" and "Negligent."

People, your SUV is not going to save you from your own idiocy. My friend went home early, and I asked her to call me to let me know she made it okay. She said cocky assholes were speeding and tailgating each other in this shit. Natural selection at its finest.

Somewhere, Darwin is pumping his fist and smirking.

Current State: tired tired

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Tonight my friend/co-worker, Summer brought in her new Caddyshack DVD.

Oh. My. God. It had been aaaages since I last saw it all the way through, uncut, no commercial breaks. We've had one of the best laughs we've had in a while. Forgotten just how fall-down funny the entire movie was, how brilliant Chevy Chase and Bill Murray were. And didn't realize just how many of the jokes initially went right over my head when I was a kid. The sight-gags, the double entendres. Definitely worth putting on my Amazon wish list.
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Being that my good friend and I work the evening shift in a pretty casual environment, we can sometimes get away with answering the phone in rather...um....offbeat ways....(btw, we're supposed to answer, "Composing Department, this is _____.")

"Composting Department."
"Decomposing Department."
"Dominoes Pizza."
"Pete's Pool Hall, Eight-Ball speaking."
"Bob's Mortuary. You stab 'em, we slab 'em."
[Answer in style of an answering machine greeting, complete with "beeeep."]
And the one I wish we could get away with, but usually reserve for just before we answer or just after we hang up:
"Law Firm of Fuck, Off, and Die. How can I help you?"


I hate having to use a public restroom and trying to wrest just one or two squares of t.p. from the roll, but the damn roll just keeps spinning around, with the end jammed up somewhere near the Accounting Department on the second-floor mezzanine. This is not the Wheel of Fucking Fortune, folks. I do not want to spin again.


Shoppers who get into the Express lane of a grocery store, then bicker, and demand a price-check on *everything*, including the 99-cent pack of Dentine Ice, *then* insist on paying with a credit card when the sign clearly says, "Cash or check only," *then* leave their cart for you to trip over as you work your way through the line, need to be punched in the face and made to listen to Ashlee Simpson demo tapes for eight hours straight, followed by a recitation of Bill O'Reilly's "Those Who Trespass : A Novel of Television and Murder"...by William Shatner.
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WARNING: Morbid humor ahead...if you're not into dark humor, or are prone to being offended by it...you may want to skip this...Sorry. I'm the daughter of a medical person--medical people are about one step up from funeral directors on the humor spectrum.

Been a strange day. Before I went to bed this a.m. I peeked out my front window to see what Mother Nature was up to. Weather forecasters have been predicting more snow for the last 3 days, yet temps have actually been warming up overnight. So anyway...was peeking out the front window, and see two raccoons out in the parking lot, near one of the carports. No big deal. I live at the base of an arboretum. Lotsa critters running through there. In fact, my friend, Rick, and I spotted two deer in the neighbor's yard as he was giving me a ride home last night. Snow White would have a field day around my place. So, I'm watching the raccoons, which are notorious scavengers, and I'm wondering if they're actually finding any stray morsels...like the poor kitten my dumbass neighbor lost just 2 weeks after adopting it. Urgh. (Okay, I know raccoons don't actually eat cats, but they can tear the hell out of them--those teeth and claws are vicious.) Another raccoon steps out of the shadows, apparently a scout reporting in to the first two, or so it seemed. Then a 4th raccoon appears. Then a fifth. A whole search party!

So, curious, I step out onto my front deck, wearing my pajamas, my heavy winter coat and no shoes. Because I am a dumbass. I listen to the raccoons' strange little noises...chittering, chuffing, snorting. One raccoon heads back into the carport, another goes around the side of the building, 2 others split off and head toward the other side of the complex, and one brazen fellow comes running across the parking lot, straight up the stairs that lead to my apartment. He pauses, we stare at each other. I swear, if raccoons could shrug, he would've, because a moment later, he headed down the deck of the adjoining complex. Guess he figured I wasn't much of a threat, even though I was aiming a digital camera at him. Didn't catch more than the blur of his ass as he departed.

So what? You may ask. Well, just watching these critters, I got the distinct feeling that their movements were planned and orchestrated. They were doing a methodical search of every complex. We are a community of cat owners, and occasionally, soft-hearted folks will leave tasty morsels out for any of the outdoor cats. Then, too, there's always the dumpster, bird seed, etc. Just amazed me how orgazined and efficient they seemed. Maybe we should've sent *them* out to find the weapons of mass destruction. Oh, wait. Right. Never mind...

From one set of scavengers to the next....
For the last few months, we (as in the paper I work for) have been running an ad on our obits page for a funeral home or funeral planner, something like that. Now, I realize advertisers, in trying to save money, also skimp on space, and occasionally words, leaving it open for warped minds like mine to read in an entirely different meaning. The wording of this ad?
"Complete Burial"
"Includes Coffin"
Sorry. I can't help but snicker. It's so nice they make it a *complete* burial, they don't just dump you in a ditch, leaving limbs poking out of the dirt. Okay, shhh...pipe down...I know what they really meant.

And from that to this fine how-do-ya-do I got this morning. I was getting ready to head to campus, and had to go down to my car to get my travel mug. In the parking lot outside the neighboring complex were two cops cars, along with my landlord's car. Uh-oh. This can't be good. The cops looked like they were wrapping things up, so I took a moment to get my landlord's attention: "Do we want to know what's going on?"

"Chris died. Had seen it coming, but...someone finally noticed it had been a couple of weeks since anyone had seen him or heard from him."

I started flipping through a mental Rolodex. Chris? Who was Chris? Being a nightowl and shiftworker, I come and go at odd hours, so it's possible I never met this person. Or maybe I'm just not putting the face to the name.

"Oh. That's too bad. I'm sorry," I manage.

Goddamn. If I expire in the comfort of my own apartment, I hope someone notices in less time than it takes the milk in the fridge to do the same.

And then because the landlord and the neighbor across the way have both noticed me duck-walking across the fjord that has formed in our parking lot, we talk about sanding and de-icing, and the landlord says that if he weren't presently preoccupied, he'd give me a ride to campus. I tell him it's okay, I don't mind taking the bus.

As I begin the walk to the bus stop, one of the cop cars cruises past me, tires chopping through the slush.


Current State: contemplative contemplative

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For you QAF aficionados... :)

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Thank you, Santa! You're the only man I ever want to come early. (Oops, was that my outside voice?? Bad monkey, no banana!)

Sorry, gang, experiencing one of those silly Mac-geek bonding moments with a new toy. You know you're a geek when you sit up till the wee hours of the morn, updating your Mac's address book so you can watch it sync up to the iPod.

The iPod One Commandment:
Thou shalt use a $300 machine to perform the functions once left to a $2000 machine...like playing Solitaire and trivia.

A friend of mine pointed out that when she first got her iPod, she was all about the iPod...now she usually just listens to her music on her laptop. Okay, that's fine and dandy if you're also word-processing or web surfing....but trust me, you get funny looks if you try to go jogging with an iBook strapped to your back.

Nothing slaps you in the face and stabs you in the heart like walking past a homeless man on the street, with your arms loaded down with the Xmas packages you just received from your parents. "Looks like Santa was good to you this year...." he says with a smile. Oy. Somewhere in a corner of Heaven, Karl Marx is slapping his forehead.

Trust me, I'm going out today to do a little spending...charity and otherwise. It's bad karma to get and give nothing in return. It's also bad for your complexion. So while I do a little happy dance for my good fortune, I try to remember how easy it is for fortunes to turn...

Peace and love, gang.

P.S. You were right about those stupid smiley ads, Hal. What';s up with the one PICKING. ITS. NOSE??

Current State: chipper chipper

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(Off my Myspace blog...)

After dotting i's, crossing t's and crossing my fingers that all was good, FINALLY got my USC grad school app off in the mail yesterday. Wound up paying as much in Express mail charges as I did for the actual application fee. :P Apparently, my references are bigger procrastinators than I am. :) But karma or serendipity or just plain dumb luck was in my favor. My editor at the newspaper had just come back from vacation. My scriptwriting prof had been dealing with family fiascos the last few weeks, but when I dropped by his office to see if he was still able to do the letter, he wrote it up right then and there. By the time I dropped by the newspaper, my editor had the letter signed, sealed, and all but delivered. The only question mark is my GRE score report. I still have not heard anything, but at the time of the test, had requested that my scores be sent directly to USC (and a couple of other colleges I selected). We'll see...

In case you're curious as to why I referred to the application process as a bloodletting, this was the list of application materials I had to send to USC's writing department:

Departmental Application form (no big deal)

Copy of Grad School app (again, no big deal)

Autobiographical Character Sketch: convey, either through creative essay or short story, your understanding of how you came to be the person you are (should not read like a resume). 1-2 pages....In other words, your life in 1000 words or less. Aaaaiieeeyyeee!

Most Emotional Moment: convey in writing the most intensely emotional moment you've ever experienced, either good or bad. 1-2 pages. (I'll come back to this in a bit.)

Two, 2-5 page Writing Exercises, as assigned by the department

Writing Samples, up to 20 pages: (Again, not that bad. I had stuff ready to go.)

Portfolio list: List of items that show what you've done creatively, awards received, etc.

Letters of reference

What had been a painful process for me were the autobiography and the most emotional moment...I had been putting them off because 1) Writing them made me feel naked in a way that's NOT sexy; 2) I had to go back to a moment I had written about many times in creative works, in large, grandiose, elliptical ways, but had never addressed directly: the moment I left my (now ex-) husband.

It was the first time in four years I had actually invoked his name in print, and more or less re-lived the moment. But it was a tough write more because most of what was happening at that moment was subtext. What *wasn't* being said was loud and clear. What was being said was just filler, angry outbursts. And I kept experiencing these odd moments of cold pragmatism, where my mind was fixed on details and process, rather than what was really happening.

What I hoped to show by writing that, however, was how I was able to take a relatively brief moment in time and expand on it and transform it creatively. (My writing samples were selected pretty carefully in that regard.) I think my narrative/fictional works get to The Truth in a way the truth really can't. Art works in mysterious ways.

By the time I signed off on the Express Mail packages, I was exhausted. I came home, turned out the lights, lit a candle and snuggled on the couch with my cats. I felt like I had just given birth. To what--or who--I'm not sure yet. That remains to be seen. But I am feeling the beginnings of change sniffing around outside my door. Weird when you begin to sense it, when it creeps up slowly, rather than pouncing on you all at once. Most of the time you don't recognize it until it's upon you, until you suddenly feel like a guest or an outsider in your own daily life.

I'm beginning to feel like that outsider.
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Yaaaa! I was able to reschedule my GRE so that I can actually take it here in the States! Came about rather serendipitously....

Last night, I was lying bed, watching T.V. in the hopes it would anesthetize me into being able to sleep. As it was, I was restless, thinking about having to get up early to drive to Seattle to apply for my passport. I didn't want to make the drive. Didn't want to jump this hoop. To me, it's just ridiculous to have to obtain a passport to be able to go to school HERE.

I finally decided to get up and check email. I had received an alert on my cell phone that I had new messages, so I figured what the hell? Might as well get up; I'm awake anyway. I had a P.M. from SarahKat on the Lair, so I read through it, made a mental note to answer her when I was more coherent (it's one of those messages that deserves a coherent reply), then, out of desperation, checked the GRE site ONE LAST TIME to see if any exam times had opened up in Seattle.

To my amazement, there were 2 times available on the 23rd (same day I had my Canadian test scheduled for). Woo-hoo! I grabbed one of the times, cancelled the Canadian appointment and prayed my friend would be able to cover me at work that day. I text-messaged her and she agreed to cover me! (Separate shout-out and thank you! to you, my dear.)

I'm still out some bucks--I only get a partial refund for the cancelled test--but I'm still better off than I would be had I applied for a passport.

So, separate thanks to SarahKat and your lucky timing. If it hadn't been for you, I may not have gotten out of bed when I did, and may not have seen that open exam time. Somehow, this has given me a renewed energy. I'm not jumping through someone's else hoops, but navigating my own course.
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....like so much steaming shit on a cold day.

I found out that in order to take the test in Canada, I have to have a valid passport. No if's, and's, or but's. Problem is, I so rarely travel outside the U.S., or when I do, it's usually to Canada, and I haven't needed a passport up till this point. So, my last passport expired in 1993. And because I need to travel/use the passport within 14 days, I have to haul ass down to the Seattle Passport Agency to apply in person for expedited service. All to the tune of $145. Urgh!

This message brought to you by the fuckwit bureaucrats in charge.
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