Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Nothing Ever Quiet on the Western Front

The earache is better -- although whether that's due to the medicated drops, laying down with an icebag wrapped to my head ala Marley's ghost, or walking around with with a peeled garlic clove shoved my ear like a hillbilly hearing aid, I am uncertain.

At least it doesn't quite feel like I have a steak knife shoved in the side of my skull any more. Not quite.

But while I was laying down with the icebag desperately trying biofeedback, my mom called and left a voicemail, child #3 called three times, child #1 called three times, the S/O called four times, and the strange old woman who always calls asking, "Is Mary there?" called twice. Turns out that the S/O and child #1 were both calling to tell me to get hold of child #3, who is hysterical about something, but not hysterical enough to relate the cause to them and can only speak to me. Oh, and child #1 called once more to relate that my mother wanted to know why she couldn't get a hold of me.

Child #3 is now not answering the phone, and I am too old to understand how to use the newfangled text messaging. Sigh.

Just Like That Episode of Night Gallery

It's 6:30 in the morning, I have an incredible earache and a crabby four-year old who is royally pissed because I broke his pop-tart in half to facilitate consumption, we're in the middle of heatwave in southern Louisiana that has produced the hottest temperatures ever recorded here, and I've had no sleep because of said incredible earache. We're in the lobby of the rehab hospital to have child # 5's hearing checked because some meddling family members insisted on knowing why child #5 had some mild pronunciation problems RIGHT NOW instead of just waiting until the end of the summer so he could be evaluated at school as the S/O and I had agreed to previously.

This situation has done nothing for my sunny disposition. OK, I have no sunny disposition, so you can imagine what it has done for my stormy disposition.

The woman who I shall refer to "helpful" receptionist checks us in, apologizes for the fact that the temperature in the lobby is roughly that of a meat locker, and "helpfully" says, "Let me at least turn on the TV for you."

This is the part of the story were it all goes horribly, horribly wrong. The TV warms up and what should we be treated to but Fox News. I think it's the execrable Fox and Friends, but I refuse to look straight at the TV, because looking straight at Fox and Friends reportedly has the same affect as staring into the visage of Chthulu. That is, unless you've fortified yourself with some kind of magic amulet, you'll soon go screamingly insane.

"Tell her to change the channel," I hiss to the S/O. I avert my eyes as he returns to the enclosed glass receptionist's enclave. He returns and says, "Sorry, you're out of luck, she says the channel changer is broken." "Tell her to TURN IT OFF THEN." "Helpful" receptionist is now peering out at me with a look that says, "Who is this unreasonable woman?" Well, lady, you are now milliseconds away from finding out that your idea if unreasonable is woefully inadequate.

The S/O has a faint look of amusement on his face as he pulls me to a part of the meat locker that is as far away from the TV as possible. It's like that moment just before the drunk breaks the beer bottle across the bar: we are literally on the cusp of the brandishing-a-waiting-room-chair- and-taking-hostages part of the morning festivities.

You see, there are certain things I cannot countenance: torturing puppies, burning orphanages, watching Fox News. You can't even inadvertently stumble across Fox News on the home TV because I've removed it from the channel list. If I could pay DirecTV to not even add it to our package, I would gladly do so.

Luckily, showing up at some godawful hour of the morning means a short waiting time, and before the situation can get out of hand, a cheerful assistant --oh, and they're all cheerful here -- whisks us away to sign paperwork.

Long story short, the crisis was averted, and we found out that child #5 is normal and healthy, and that the fact of the matter is that four-year-olds don't usually HAVE THE DICTION OF LORD FLUFFINGTON-CRANBERRY OF CHAPPINGTON-ON-THE-GREEN, and may occasionally have some pronunciation difficulties. Because, you know, that had never entered my mind.

Still, I am reminded of that old "Night Gallery" episode with John Astin, where he realizes he can't escape the radio station he finds himself in for reasons that eventually become obvious. With my luck, Hell is a place where Fox News runs on a continuous loop.

Monday, June 29, 2009

You Can't Escape

I'm working this morning, minding my own business, when I get a phone call from California. It's child number two. He can get half a day off if he writes a short essay. So he's in the bathroom on his cell phone asking for my assistance.

It's either very gratifying or very depressing that even though your child may be a lance corporal in the Marine Corps and is two time zones away, he still needs your help with his homework.

Tales from the DVR

Been trying to keep the DVR hovering around the 50% mark, which is like 60-some hours.

We finally watched the last episodes of "Pushing Daisies" -- sigh. They did their best to tie it all up in the finale, so it was a bit of breathless rush. So a big thank you from your small but eternally devoted legion of fans. A part of our hearts will always reside in Couer de Couer. And ABC sucks. Also.

But on the other hand, ABC did unexpectedly renew "Castle." So now I have this weird love/hate relationship with ABC. If you don't love Nathan Fillion, there is a dried-up little cinder where your soul should be.

The first two series of BBC's "Primeval" were quite good. The third, not so much. The creatures are great, but I fear there is more hole than plot at this point. Take it as a bad sign when the main chracter is unceremoniously dispatched in the third episode -- and not for any good reason, but because he realized the show was now being written by monkeys and no longer wanted his good name associated with it. Despite the charms of Jason Flemyng, it's a chore at this point. I'm only hanging on to see the evil characters get their eventual comeuppance, hopefully in a spectactularly gruesome fashion.

Been keeping up with "The Closer," "Saving Grace" and "Burn Notice," but as yet untouched: the whole season of "Reaper," the whole season of "Medium," the whole season of "Ashes to Ashes" from BBC America, and a replay of "Invasion," because even though I've seen it, you can never have enough William Fichtner. Plus on Sundays Chiller is playing obscure UK supernatural series -- currently "Strange" and "Spine Chillers" -- which I am of course compelled to watch. Hi, Alexie Sayle!

Oh, and Doctor Who!!! The Christmas episode is on the DVR, and next month they start rolling out the last five specials with David Tennent. And I will be crushed when David Tennent goes, absolutely crushed. Yeah, I know I thought the same thing when Christopher Eccleston left, but this time I REALLY MEAN IT.

Coming soon, the return of "Leverage" and "Eureka." It hardly seems sporting that new seasons are now rolled out continually like chocolates on Lucy and Ethel's conveyor belt. Why, you'd think I had nothing better to do.

Mush, You Huskies

So, I've been working. No, actually working. Not the kind of work you get paid for, the other, important kind.

I've decided to work on three projects, because working on one would just be, well, pedestrian. I'm also laboring under the theory that I'm at my most productive when I have more to accomplish than I can possibly accomplish.

A) A new novel -- a departure for me, because there are no monsters, decapitations, or sundry other unpleasant things. It's -- gasp -- rather mainstream, even chick-lit-y. So we'll see how long that runs along until I feel compelled to kill someone -- in the literary sense, of course.

B) A book of short stories. I've wanted to do it for a while, and even I only self-publish a few copies, I'd like to at least have them all rounded up and neatly bound instead of floating around on scraps of paper. Still waiting to hear on the latest submission of a SS for the anthology, but their reading period isn't closed yet, so it may be a bit.

C) A rewrite of the vampire novel. Because vampires are cool again - finally. I've been holding off doing anything with it, mostly because it is huge and unwieldy -- and I'm talking Stephen-King-huge-and-unwieldy. I figure at least a third of it needs to be just cut outright. And going back over it, it is a bit.....overwrought. But first novels often are.

So there we go, plenty to work on, and a variety, like a box of chocolates, but the Monty Python kind. Watch out for the steel springs and the crunchy frog.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

And We Shall Never Speak of Them Again

I really, really, really hate the Detroit Redwings. That is all.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Don't Try This At Home

Memo to self. Don't quit caffiene cold turkey. Just...don't. I have spent the last two days with a vise on my skull, and gremlins tapdancing on my corpus collosum. It was just that I was drinking way to much Coke Zero, an embarassing amount, so much that I had to hide the cans like an aging actress with a fake fireplace full of vodka bottles. So I ran out of it one morning, and decided I'd quit just like that.

Long story short, see me bleary-eyed and cursing, driving recklessly to the Piggly Wiggly parking lot with a handful of all the change I could find.

Coke Zero has got to have some ingredient they don't list on the label. Some mind control juice from a rare Amazonian flower or something. I swear, someday the signal will be sent out and all the Coke Zero heads will come staggering out and begin marching......somewhere. I'll be the one with the Peter Forsberg Jersey on.

Good Grief

I'm a very, very bad girl. I've totally not done anything I promised myself I would, and my DVR is overflowing. In my defense, the 17-year-old is now a high school graduate and enrolled in college as an art major. At least for now -- every other day she has a panic attack regarding her choice. Ah, for the days when contemplating your college major was the most pressing thing on the horizon.

And with everyone out of school, now comes the complicated task -- complete with flowcharts and index card -- or making sure everyone gets too and from baseball, swimming lessons, orientation, camp, and sundry other activities and obligations with the proper wardrobe, accessories, and snack foods. And the sunscreen, don't forget the sunscreen.

I haven't written, which is what pains me most. Although I have submitted a short story for an anthology, so fingers crossed there. And while I may be tempting the gods to send a lightning bolt my way, the agent has a major mystery publisher contemplating the mystery series. So I'm trying to remain obliquely positive, like watching a close game out of the corner of your eye, while waiting for the big Monty Python foot to come down and squash my flowers. I've seen Lucy pull that football away. You can't fool me.

So here we go again, like a random New Year's Day --time to start the resolutions. I'll start by writing here again first, as I already spend most of my waking time online. And then.... Well, then we'll see how that goes.