Blog, Sweet Blog

Posts Tagged ‘writing

Mood: guh
Music: Camera Obscura-Country Mile


https://i2.wp.com/www.latenightwithjimmyfallon.com/2009/12/01/tinafeyupdate.jpg

let's just pretend this is from a Joke Off segment from SNL's "Weekend Update"

I posted this on mah tumblr last night, but I’m having second thoughts about keeping it there.  I want that page to be different than this one…more visual, darker, dreamier.  I feel like the jokes have found a home here (in a wayward-home-for-lost-ideas sort of way) but words beyond poetry or lyrics seem alien over there.  I’m ok with that.  Maybe I’ll start a Molls-style tumblr at some point, but keeping it special and dark today feels right.  Until I get it figured it out, sorry for the cross posting.

Anyway…  Some of you may recall the recurring joke-off segment from the Tina Fey/Jimmy Fallon-era of Saturday Night Live‘s “Weekend Update.”  The premise was that the two would battle each other for who could tell the most jokes (not the funniest) on a topic in a certain time period.   I’m sure they wrote them ahead of time, but to me, it seemed like what it might be like to watch them pitching in a writer’s meeting.

I would love to make this a regular Blog, Sweet Blog segment, but, as I can’t recall any recurring segments on this blog, we’ll see how that goes.  The idea is that I’ll try to think up around five jokes in a short time (~15 minutes), then post them for your “entertainment.”  Feel free to chime in with your own jokes for this or any other topic.  Ugh, now that I’ve used the world’s longest, most unfunny setup to strangle the life out of this bit…

So, I’m in the middle of cleaning the house and I just got done with the main bathroom. It was so skeevy, it felt like the perfect topic for a joke-off, naturally.

My bathroom was so dirty…

-I seriously considered getting hooked on crystal meth to get the energy to finish cleaning.

-while I was cleaning, the executive producers of Hoarders called to pitch me a new show called Dirty, Dirty Slobs….because they wanted me to host…from my filthy bathroom…because it was so gross.

-the people that live in my head wouldn’t even go in there.

-a xxx fetish website emailed me a job offer. I had to tell them it wasn’t that kind of dirty.

-it made my mother cry.

-just writing this makes me want a to take a Silkwood shower.

Mood: la dee da
Music: Little House on the Prairie-“A Most Precious Gift”


tall, distinguished, famous...not pretty



Dear A

Mood: Like a roller skating jam named “Saturdays”
Music: Skycaptain and the World of Tomorrow


Percy demonstrates the nadir of Victorian Men's athletics, the oft-misunderstood, Single Gentleman's Aquatic Pantomime


Bella Donna thought the end of the previous post was funny because, until I posted this, the link went to a 404 Not Found page and it was as if my resolutions, nay, my very future was missing and unwritten.  If you’ve learned anything about me during our time together, you should have learned that it’s almost obsessively impossible for me to leave anything unwritten…especially my future.  As I was saying…

So, with 2009 safely tucked away into the Blog, Sweet Blog archives, we cast a fresh, hopeful gaze upon our new BFF, the year 2010 (or ‘010! à la Stephen Colbert).  Pray, what awesomeness awaits me this year?

Lottery winnings?

The dream of publishing fulfilled?

The end of electrolysis?

A minor, though rather annoying fender bender?

Kitten adoption?

I wish I knew, Internets.  I wish. I knew.

The Future may arrive at any moment and I have composed the following list of 52,384 things I should/want to/must/need to/had better/oughta do until The Future or January Whatever, 2011 gets here.

I realize this may not interest you in the slightest, but I’m going to ignore your unvoiced protestations and put it up anyway.  There are a lot of recurring, overdone themes in a lot of people’s resolutions, but I continue to find value in the resolutions of people I like, admire, and respect.  They’re an insight into a person’s personality and I like to be able to copy some of their goals if I feel like we’re simpatico.  Plus, it’s good to have goals…ugh, isn’t that a quote from some movie?  I just spent too long looking for the source and couldn’t find it.

Anyway, to the resolutions!

In 2009, I resolve to…

get well.

-I’ve been exercising and losing weight pretty steadily for the last couple of years.  I still need to keep at it, but my goal for this year is to get under the weight prerequisite for reassignment surgery.

-This touches some of the other areas, but I need to seriously think about plans for having GRS.  I’m eligible in May and I’d like to cross this off the list before I turn 40.

-I want to buy another bike…either a townie, Dutch-style bike or a three gear cruiser.  I have a mountain bike I like, but it’s not very cute and inspires a much more aggressive riding style (insert fast and hard riding double entendre here).  I’d rather have something that was more comfortable and friendly so I’d be inclined to take longer, more frequent and leisurely rides…like to the store and out to eat with John.

-I want to go hiking again.  I went a lot two years ago and always had a lot of fun.  I’d like to go with John a few times this summer at least.


win at monetizing!

-Who doesn’t want to earn more money?  I mean, really.  I’ve thought about getting another job or finding some way to bring in more money.  I’d like to redecorate and I need about $20,000 for surgery and I’m not saving any money right now. Maybe I could sell some art or crafts on etsy?

-I’d like to refinance or sell my place…at some point.  I wrote about this before.  I’m not looking for some giant Barbie dream house in the suburbs or a penthouse on Peyton place.  No, just a cute, cozy little downtown hideaway near the bus stop.

-Speaking of, me and my homie, Les Bus, need to get reacquainted.  Taking the bus would help me save money and give me some extra time work on some of those 10, 000 projects I resolved to do.

-I need to pay off mah debt and get mah bills current.  I don’t have a lot, but I need to get solvent, y’all.

-There is a whole garage full of bad memories and crappy crap I need to get rid of or sell somehow.  I’ve said it before, but who needs a table saw, really?


nest and nest and nest and nest.

-I got a bonus this year and I decided that I want to use it and my tax return to decorate my place.  My ex and I were trying to sell my place before we broke up, so it’s been like living in Tabula Rasa for two years.  If I can’t move, then having a warm, pretty, welcoming home is good enough for now.  Granted, I have no idea where to start with this and the prospect of decorating failure fills me with a primordial, creeping, Elder gods-esque dread.

-I want to invest in some big girl cooking accoutrement.  I want to get some of the classic cookbooks, a few more pans, and a better set of knives.  After that, watch out foodstuffs!

-As most of the bad memories and crappy crap reside in the garage and laundry room, it stands to reason that I should clean these up.

-It’s not even half as bad as the garage, but I need to clean out the office as well.  It’ll be a perfect studio when I add some nice work spaces, storage, and additional lighting.


say, “what’s up, Art world?”

-I want to participate in the Denver Arts community.  To do that, I should prolly, you know, make some art or something.  So, I’m going to try to finish three(?) short stories and fabric/visual art things.  That number is completely arbitrary, but finishing anything would be a bonus.  Once I have some finished work, I plan on submitting to some literary magazines (in addition to McSweeney’s) and galleries/calls for submissions.

-I might need to join or start a revolutionary, avant-garde commando art action collective…or at least research what’s out there.  There are a number of them in town (not so much commando avant-garde) and I think joining one might be a good way to keep the metaphorical juices flowing.

-I need to get out there and mingle with the Art community, so I wanna go to at least 6 First Fridays (some combination of the Santa Fe, RiNo, and Colfax nights) this year.

-Momma needs to see some more art and that means multiple trips to the MCA, DAM, and at least once more to the Kirkland.

-Since I lost my camera in DC, I should buy another camera and take more pictures of things and stuff for the blog and whatnot.

-There are these things called readers and I’d really like to learn how to get them to look at my li’l blog…and tell their friends.  Perhaps an absurd contest of some sort?


maximize my personal productivity and unleash my power animal!

The rest of these are just general, personal things I want to do and aren’t easily classifiable, hence the title.

-This spring and summer are going to be awesome, I can just feel it!  I resolve to get out more and do the work necessary to insure the awesomeness….like spending time outside going to farmer’s markets and outdoor events.

-I could do with a better weekly schedule, something in between the one I made each semester of college and the one Martha Stewart publishes in her magazine…maybe not as OCD, but it would be nice to have a regular feeling for the things I need to do every week.

-This year has been pretty great, family-wise, but we could be much better.  My mother said she’d like to have us back home for Christmas and that’s a perfect ending point for the year.  Until then, I’ll endeavor to be a better daughter and sister and continue to work on the problems that still exist in my family.

-I love me some food and I feel like I should be trying new restaurants and working on my cooking skills.  I’d like to try six new, highly-rated restaurants and six new recipes…one of which should involve baking.

-Even though my recent tattoo consult didn’t go so well (long story), I still want to get at least one this year.

-Adopt a kitten?  Sadly, my kitty is getting older and I’ve been giving a lot of thought to adopting another kitten or two.  If anyone knows of any free, Scottish Fold kittens, put in a good word for me!

-Go for a nice vacation this year or go back to Burning Man some year.  I went to Burning Man in 2001 and have been pining for the playa ever since.  If not, a vacation to anywhere nice this summer (hopefully with John) would work.

-I really should make a decision about graduate school.  The next deadline is October something, so I have until then.

-And finally, I’d like to figure out how to move to Europe, at least for a while.  The company I work for has branches all over the world, but I’m not sure I could use them to get an engineering job over there.  If I figure out a way to get to Paris, Berlin, Stockholm, Helsinki, or Oslo, I’m so going.

Yeesh, enough with the writing already!  It’s time to get out there and make those resolutions happen!  Do you have any resolutions or hopes for this year you’d like to share?  How are you planning to make this year better than the last?

Mood: I have the dread
Music: WBLS’s In Control from 7.14.89 feat. Ultramagnetic MCs and 3rd Base


Mood: The usual
Music: Some stupid VH1 reality dating show


Look there! A visual metaphor for my hopes and dreams!



I got my first “professional” writing rejection today.

I sent this to the McSweeney’s Lists site last week and received a very nice rejection email  from the editor a few minutes ago.  I wrote it specifically for the site and I thought it was pretty good…not good enough, apparently.  I would have liked to know why they didn’t use it, but I’m sure editors never do that and the reason is probably “not funny” or “needs punctuation.”  It was my second submission, but I thought the first one was even less funny than this.  Oh well. I’ll keep trying.

So, since this piece has been officially released from the burden of McSweeney’s publication, I offer you…

A survey of alcoholic beverage bottle label motifs which portend certain dire, vomitous consequences for the hapless consumer should she or he choose to ingest intoxicating quantities of said beverage.

The angry sea captain

A werewolf, mummy, or other creature of the night

Two or more dogs, copulating

A clown, mime, or any member of The Insane Clown Posse

Senator Joseph Lieberman

Any currently-serving Supreme Court Justice

A road map

Any farming implement

A winking elf or gnome

A winking monkey, sloth, or porpoise

Anything winking, really

Jesus

*ed.  ok, I guess this isn’t that funny, but I was really happy with it when I emailed it off.  I think I can do better, but trying to write jokes or purposely funny stuff is a lot harder than I thought it would be.

Mood: Fa la la, fa la la, Christmas!
Music: Tight Bros From Way Back When-Show Me






Perhaps you’ve heard of a little, genius, and at times, ridiculously funny Internet and print publishing venture known as McSweeney’s? If you haven’t, for shame, Internets, really.  Please click the following links to increase your knowledge of “actual post-modernism at its finest” and let’s not let this sort of thing happen again, hmm?

The McSweeney’s Wikipedia page

The Official McSweeney’s site

A page about LOLcats

Anyway, McSweeney’s, love.  I’m no expert on English literature or literary journals, but McSweeney’s is the sort of literary journal a girl like me can really get behind, you know?  It has amazing writing, great art, interesting topics and guests, and it doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously….which is like the literary equivalent of turning lead into gold…because it’s so hard…since they’re always so serious and stuff.

I think I first heard of the site around 2004.  This is one of the first things I read…

P U N C H L I N E S   S U G G E S T E D
B Y   A S H T O N   K U T C H E R
F O R   P U N K ‘ D T H A T
W E R E   R E J E C T E D
D U E   T O   T H E I R
A R C H A I C   N A T U R E .

BY AFROOZ FAMILY

– – – –

You’ve been hoodwinked!

You have been beguiled by my cohorts!

You are the victim of our flimflam!

You, unfortunately, are the jestee!

You are the one who was hornswoggled!

It is you the gomeril!

The previous contingency was an apery!


…and it still makes me laugh, every time.  They’re all good, but I think the last one is my favorite…apery!

The other day, I decided that I want to become a published by McSweeney’s author, either by the Internet site or the journal.  I’m funny…ok, amusing, at least…and the writing on the site is exactly the sort of writing I’m interested in.  I studied the website submission guidelines (small steps, y’all) and had a look at Blog, Sweet Blog‘s back catalog.  You know what?  I do not write like a person who writes for McSweeney’s, at all!  Nope, not even a little bit.  I think I could, maybe, but I’m going to have to start from scratch.  Besides, I have it on good authority that they will not accept “previously published” works, and that includes anything I’ve posted to my blog.  Nevermind.

So, I guess I’m trying to say I’m working on some pieces to submit to McSweeney’s.  The website doesn’t pay anything and I’m not really doing this so I can lord it over all of you (just watch though, I’m totally going to lord it over all of you if I get a book published).  No, this goes back to something someone said to me some time.  I can’t recall any of the details, but I do remember this quote:

“If you want people to see/love your work, you should submit it to places and show it to people.”

Those are wise words, Anonymous Stranger and I’m trying to follow your advice.  As usual, I’ll let you all know if something happens.

Happy Holidays!

p.s. yes, that’s supposed to be falling snow on the site.  It’s not an eye seizure.

Mercimerci
Mood: Still filled with the beaverishness
Music: Sunn O))-Cursed Realms (of the Winterdemons)


Dear Fiction Lovers,

As promised, moments ago, here is the second part (Part 1 can be found here) of our thrilling, though as-yet unnamed collaborative novel on downsizing, outsourcing, and the cruelty of youth.  I hope you like it.

Sincerely, your biggest fan, etc.


Anna

—————————————————————————————-

Allison automatically flopped out of bed at half-past seven in the morning.  She stumbled and weaved her way through a field of dirty clothes to the bathroom toilet and threw up.  She recounted the story of last night in the tea leaves of the toilet. Date. Brad. Señor Verde’s. Chile rellenos. Margaritas.  Small talk. Jobs.  What are we doing? Cry. Cab. Wine. Sex. Cry. Hangover.

“Fuck.” Allison unfurled a wad of toilet paper from the roll and blew her nose into it.  “Maybe I’m getting too old for this?”

She stood, gracelessly, and walked over to the sink.  The bathroom mirror reflected a red-eyed, pale, hung-over, but pretty brunette in her late 20’s.

“I don’t know.  Is 32 old?”  She asked the sobering drunk in the mirror who kept pulling at and stretching her face.  “You don’t look 32.  You could still pass for…”  She squinted her eyes tight and cocked her head to the side.  “…28?”  She slapped the underside of her chin a couple of times and practiced saying her assumed age.  “Twenty eight… I am 28…TWENty eight …Twunee ATE…TwenTEE ATE-ee…maybe even 27?”

She smiled and playfully, arched her left eyebrow, and pointed a finger gun at the mirror.  “Yeah, that’s right…you’re Allison Fucking Haley and you’re young, popular and sex-.“

Allison Fucking Haley took one last, pitying look at the pretty drunk girl in the mirror before retching the last of last night into the sink.

A glassful of Anti-throwupy Seltzer whatever (Allison had a rare, but powerful immunity to branding) and a super-hot shower later, she was busy playing Fashion Show.

Fashion Show was Allison’s term for her borderline psychotic trying-on of everything in her closet (and on her floor).  It usually only manifested itself on the bad days, when she felt nervous or hated the sight of the girl in the mirror.  Most women try on a few outfits before leaving the house.  The smart ones plan out their outfits for the week on Sunday night.  Allison wasn’t a plan-ahead sort of girl, but she rarely had a problem with deciding what to wear.  If she hadn’t decided on something within the first fifteen or twenty minutes, she was playing Fashion Show.

Allison had been playing Fashion Show a lot lately.  She’d already been at it for 45 minutes and was in the middle of taking off a flouncy, long, gray blouse, blood red cardigan, black tights, and knee high boots combination she liked to call Bohemian Rhapsody #3 on good days.  Today she called it, “too Bohemian.”

“I’m going to get fired.  I’m going to get fired. I’m going to get fired.”

The blouse Allison had been pulling over her head suddenly snagged on something and stopped moving, trapping her inside.  “And then I’ll be homeless…” She pulled at the back of the blouse with both hands and heard a faint, ripping sound.  “…and I’ll have to sell drugs.” She unhooked her favorite black bra from outside of the shirt, freed the blouse, pulled it and the blouse over her head, “…and give out hand jobs for hobo chili”, and threw both of them on the ground.”

Ugh, forget this.”  She slipped a pair of midnight blue, skinny jeans from one of the closet hangers and pulled them on.

“Yassmen is going to walk into the art department today and fire people on sight.”  Allison did her best impression of Yeseam Yassmen’s icy-weird, snobby Southern drawl for the empty bedroom. “You there, young man with the glasses…and you, weird girl…”  Allison plucked a baby blue, Mates of State t-shirt from the floor and put it on.  “…please collect your sad things and bric-a-brac and take them outside.”

She grabbed a vintage, green angora cardigan from the back of her desk chair and stepped into a pair of pewter-colored, metallic flats.  She walked to the full-length mirror in the corner of her bedroom and took a last, quick look before walking into the kitchen.

The clock on the microwave was a welcome sight.  “8:45. Ok, not bad.  I’m going to be late, but not late late.”  She put on her sunglasses and a scarf, put her keys into her mini-messenger bag, and walked out into the stairway of her building.

Allison speed-dialed Jacob the moment she stepped out of the apartment building.

“Good morning, sexy”

“Why Allison Haley, it’s been ages since last night.  How are you?”

“Hung over, a little sad, stressed out.”

Jacob made that annoying tut-tut sound.  “Sorry to hear that, dear.  Are you calling in sick?”

Allison snorted, “Are you kidding?  That’s like begging to get laid off.  I’d rather leave Clearwater the old fashioned way…through random, brutal downsizing.  No, but I’m going to be a teensy bit late.  Would you be my favorite boy in the world and cover for me if anything should, you know, come up?”  She crossed the street to the coffee cart near the downtown bus stop and gestured her way through a large coffee purchase while Jacob spoke.

“Dangit Allison, I can’t.  I have a meeting at 9:30 and you’d better be here before it’s over.  You know how it’s been around here lately…like the Great Purge but without all the nice Stalin.”

“Crap.”  Allison added a large amount of half and half and brown sugar to her coffee and stirred it.  She leafed through her mental employee directory for another patsy.  No one else came up.  “You know Alan got fired, right?”

Jacob repeated the name a couple of times out loud as if that alone would transfer Alan from forgotten to remembered. “Alan…Alan.  Who’s Alan again?”

She made her way to the line of commuters at the bus stop.  “Alan Lambert…from Accounting?  Nice guy…big chin…he helped you move last summer.”

“No way!  The Chin got fired?  He seemed like a lifer.”

“I know, right?  He’d been there for 15 years.  It’s like the worst lottery ever.”

“Totally.”

“Wanna know the really fucked up part?

“Go on…”

The downtown bus stopped at the curb.  Allison stepped on, showed the driver her Eco-Pass, and found a seat.  “Yassmen didn’t even have a meeting with him or bring HR down.  Someone called his house and left a message…”

“Nuh-unh, really?”

“…with his seven year-old daughter!”  In a deeper voice, she joked, “…and when your Daddy gets home, tell him he doesn’t have a job any more.”

“Wow, that’s some evil shit right there.  I’m pretty sure Yassmen is the Devil, Allison.  She’s gotta be.  It’s like she runs on human misery.”

Allison drained the last of her coffee.  “Yup.”

“Wait, how do you know so much about The Chin’s home life?”

“Jen told me.  She’s keeping track of them all…like a modern Domesday book for corporate deaths.  You should check out her scrapbook.  It’s sick, but kind of…beautiful, in a way.  She’s doing a website too.”

“You two are weird.”

“Oh,and you’re not?  I’ve seen your apartment, Jacob.  The Sailor Moon is getting to be a bit, how do you say, creep-a-roo?”

“Hey, manga and anime are very well respected-“

Allison cut him off.  “I don’t have time for your nerd babble, Jacob.  I’m already late for work and I’ve already heard this, numerous times.”

She sighed and watched the passing buildings of downtown KC, her adopted home.  It was early autumn, her favorite time of year, but the street trees still thought it was summer.  It had been three autumns since she left art school and she hadn’t yet gotten the hang of the whole day job, “career” thing.  It had been getting better, but the layoffs and constant threat of downsizing had a way of arresting her development.  She’d spent three months of Saturdays looking for another job in a publishing house art department.  There didn’t seem to be any jobs like that left in the city.  Unfortunately, the drama at Clearwater was being played out on stages all over town.

Jacob was talking again. “What’s that?”

“I said, don’t be hurtful, Allison.”

“Ugh!  Are you coming to my show tonight, or what?”

“What’s this now?  What show?”

“Don’t even.  I told you about this, weeks ago.  The collective’s semi-annual…tonight…at Le Space…my pictures…remember?  You said you’d come!”

“Oh, right…that adorable little hobby of yours.  Are you showing the photos with the little kittens and the ice cream in the bathtub…”

“No, head trauma…” an elderly woman turned toward Allison and frowned disapprovingly.  Allison frowned back then turned the other way in her seat.  “…that was last time, and it was called, Kitten Me Softly.  This is the new one…with the bathroom graffiti?”

In a bad, French accent, Jacob answered. “Oui, but of course I vill be zer, Mees Arbus.”  Jacob dropped it.  “I’ll even wear a jacket.”

Allison tried a sultry purr, “Mmm, you know just what I like, don’t you Daddy?” and then it was gone.  “Oh!   And come early.  And bring some wine.  Do you have any raw meat?”

“What?!  No.  Why?”

“Violet Strange is doing a show next door at midnight.  It’s new…something about her father, the Moon, and menstrual cycles.  She said she needed more raw meat.”  Allison signaled for her stop.

“Gross. I hate performance art.  And no, I don’t have any raw meat to spare…for that.”

“Oh, don’t be that way.  I like Violet and I’m just trying to help her out.  K, sooo…you, Le Space, seven o’clock, sexy jacket, cheap wine,…”  Allison flashed back to the dream publishing job she used to love and the grim warzone her workplace had become.  “Oh, and try not to get fired today, ok?  Kisses!”

The bus pulled up to the curb two blocks east of 3M (or Mini Monkey Monolith on account of it looks just like a squatter version of the featureless, obsidian, ape magnet in 2001: A Space Odyssey) or, as it was more commonly known, Clearwater Publishing Plaza.

Jacob replied, “you’re one to talk Latey McLately.  See you soon.”, then hung up.

Allison put away her phone and hurried the rest of the way from the bus stop to her cubicle.

<!–[if !mso]> <! st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } –>

Allison automatically flopped out of bed at half-past seven in the morning.  She stumbled and weaved her way through a field of dirty clothes to the bathroom toilet and threw up.  She recounted the story of last night in the tea leaves of the toilet. Date. Brad. Señor Verde’s. Chile rellenos. Margaritas.  Small talk. Jobs.  What are we doing? Cry. Cab. Wine. Sex. Cry. Hangover.

“Fuck.” Allison unfurled a wad of toilet paper from the roll and blew her nose into it.  “Maybe I’m getting too old for this?”

She stood, gracelessly, and walked over to the sink.  The bathroom mirror reflected a red-eyed, pale, hung-over, but pretty brunette in her late 20’s.

“I don’t know.  Is 32 old?”  She asked the sobering drunk in the mirror who kept pulling at and stretching her face.  “You don’t look 32.  You could still pass for…”  She squinted her eyes tight and cocked her head to the side.  “…28?”  She slapped the underside of her chin a couple of times and practiced saying her assumed age.  “Twenty eight… I am 28…TWENty eight …Twunee ATE…TwenTEE ATE-ee…maybe even 27?”

She smiled and playfully, arched her left eyebrow, and pointed a finger gun at the mirror.  “Yeah, that’s right…you’re Allison Fucking Haley and you’re young, popular and sex-.“

Allison Fucking Haley took one last, pitying look at the pretty drunk girl in the mirror before retching the last of last night into the sink.

A glassful of Anti-throwupy Seltzer whatever (Allison had a rare, but powerful immunity to branding) and a super-hot shower later, she was busy playing Fashion Show.

Fashion Show was Allison’s term for her borderline psychotic trying-on of everything in her closet (and on her floor).  It usually only manifested itself on the bad days, when she felt nervous or hated the sight of the girl in the mirror.  Most women try on a few outfits before leaving the house.  The smart ones plan out their outfits for the week on Sunday night.  Allison wasn’t a plan-ahead sort of girl, but she rarely had a problem with deciding what to wear.  If she hadn’t decided on something within the first fifteen or twenty minutes, she was playing Fashion Show.

Allison had been playing Fashion Show a lot lately.  She’d already been at it for 45 minutes and was in the middle of taking off a flouncy, long, gray blouse, blood red cardigan, black tights, and knee high boots combination she liked to call Bohemian Rhapsody #3 on good days.  Today she called it, “too Bohemian.”

“I’m going to get fired.  I’m going to get fired. I’m going to get fired.”

The blouse Allison had been pulling over her head suddenly snagged on something and stopped moving, trapping her inside.  “And then I’ll be homeless…” She pulled at the back of the blouse with both hands and heard a faint, ripping sound.  “…and I’ll have to sell drugs.” She unhooked her favorite black bra from outside of the shirt, freed the blouse, pulled it and the blouse over her head, “…and give out hand jobs for hobo chili”, and threw both of them on the ground.”

Ugh, forget this.”  She grabbed a pair of midnight blue, skinny jeans from one of the closet hangers and pulled them on.

“Yassmen is going to walk into the art department today and fire people on sight.”  Allison did her best impression of Yeseam Yassmen’s icy, faux-British drawl for the empty bedroom. “You there, young man with the glasses…and you, weird girl…”  Allison plucked a baby blue, Mates of State t-shirt from the floor and put it on.  “Please collect your sad things and bric-a-brac and take them outside.”

She grabbed a vintage, green angora cardigan from the back of her desk chair and stepped into a pair of pewter-colored, metallic flats.  She walked to the full-length mirror in the corner of her bedroom and took a last, quick look before walking into the kitchen.

The clock on the microwave was welcome sight.  “8:45. Ok, not bad.  I’m going to be late, but not late late.”  She put on her sunglasses and a scarf, put her keys into her mini-messenger bag, and walked out into the stairway of her building.

Allison speed-dialed Jacob the moment she stepped out of the apartment building.

“Good morning, sexy”

“Why Allison Haley, it’s been ages since last night.  How the hell are you?”

“Hung over, a little sad, stressed out.”

Jacob made that annoying tut-tut sound.  “Sorry to hear that.  Are you calling in sick?”

Allison snorted, “Are you kidding?  That’s like begging to get laid off.  I’d rather leave Clearwater the old fashioned way…through random, brutal downsizing.  No, but I’m going to be a teensy bit late.  Would you be my favorite boy in the world and cover for me if anything should, you know, come up?”  She crossed the street to the coffee cart near the downtown bus stop and gestured her way through a large coffee transaction while Jacob spoke.

“Dangit Allison, I can’t.  I have a meeting at 9:30 and you’d better be here before it’s over.  You know how it’s been around here lately…like the Great Purge but without all the nice Stalin.”

“Crap.”  Allison added a large amount of half and half and brown sugar to her coffee and stirred it.  She leafed through her mental employee directory for another patsy.  No one else came up.  “You know Alan got fired, right?”

Jacob repeated the name a couple of times out loud as if that alone would transfer Alan from forgotten to remembered. “Alan…Alan.  Who’s Alan again?”

She made her way to the line of commuters at the bus stop.  “Alan Lambert…from Accounting?  Nice guy…big chin…he helped you move last summer.”

“No way!  The Chin got fired?  He seemed like a lifer.”

“I know, right?  He’d been there for 15 years.  It’s like the worst lottery ever.”

“Totally.”

“You know the really fucked up part?

“Go on…”

The downtown bus stopped at the curb.  Allison stepped on, showed the driver her Eco-Pass, and found a seat.  “Yassmen didn’t even have a meeting with him or bring HR down.  Someone called his house and left a message…”

“Nuh-unh, really?”

“…with his seven year-old daughter!”

“Wow, that’s some evil shit right there.  I’m pretty sure Yassmen is the Devil, Allison.  She’s gotta be.  It’s like she runs on human misery.”

Allison drained the last of her coffee.  “Yup.”

“Wait, how do you know so much about The Chin’s home life?”

“Jen told me.  She’s keeping track of them all…like a modern Domesday book for corporate deaths.  You should check out her scrapbook.  It’s sick, but kind of…beautiful, in a way.  She’s doing a website too.”

“You two are weird.”

“Oh,and you’re not?  I’ve seen your apartment, Jacob.  The Sailor Moon is getting to be a bit, how do you say, creep-a-roo?”

“Hey, manga and anime are very well respected-“

Allison cut him off.  “I don’t have time for your nerd babble, Jacob.  I’m already late for work and I’ve already heard this, numerous times.”

She sighed and watched the passing buildings of the city she loved.  It was early autumn, her favorite time of year, but the street trees still thought it was summer.  It had been three autumns since she left art school and she hadn’t yet gotten the hang of the whole day job, “career” thing.  It had been getting better, but the layoffs and constant threat of downsizing had a way of arresting her development.  She’d spent three months of Saturdays looking for another job in a publishing house art department.  There didn’t seem to be any jobs like that left in the city.  Unfortunately, the drama at Clearwater was being played out on stages all over town.

Jacob was talking again. “What’s that?”

“I said, don’t be hurtful, Allison.”

“Ugh!  Are you coming to my show tonight, or what?”

“What’s this now?  What show?”

“Don’t even.  I told you about this, weeks ago.  The Loose Knit Collective is having its semi-annual show at Le Space.  I’m showing my photographs tonight.  You said you’d go.”

“Oh, right!  That adorable little hobby of yours with the little kittens and the ice cream in the bathtub…”

“No, head trauma…” an elderly woman turned toward Allison and frowned disapprovingly.  Allison frowned back and turned the other way.  “…that was last time and it was called, Kitten Me Softly.  This is the new one…with the bathroom graffiti.”

In a bad, French accent, Jacob answered. “Oui, but of course I vill be zer, Mees Arbus.”  Jacob dropped it.  “I’ll even wear a jacket.”

Allison tried a sultry purr, “Mmm, you know just what I like, don’t you Daddy?” and then it was gone.  “Oh!   And come early.  And bring some wine.  Do you have any raw meat?”

“What?  No.  Why?”

“Violet Strange is performing at midnight.  It’s a new show…something about her father, the Moon, and menstrual cycles.  She said she needed more raw meat.”  Allison signaled for her stop.

“Gross. I hate performance art.  And no, I don’t have any raw meat to spare…for that.”

“Oh, don’t be that way.  I like Violet and I’m just trying to help her out.  K, so…you, Le Space, seven o’clock, sexy jacket, cheap wine,…”  Allison flashed back to the dream publishing job she used to love and the grim warzone it had become.  “Oh, and try not to get fired today, ok?  Kisses!”

The bus pulled up to the curb two blocks east of Monkey Monolith (on account of it looks just like the featureless, obsidian, ape magnet in 2001: A Space Odyssey) or, as it was more commonly known, Clearwater Publishing Plaza.

Jacob replied, “you’re one to talk Latey McLatelate.  See you soon.”, and hung up.

Allison put away her phone and hurried the rest of the way from the bus stop to her cubicle.

Mood: Filled with a beaver-esque industriousness
Music: Björk-Frosti


Dear Fiction Lovers,

Holy crap.  I know I said we’d start this NaNoWriMo project near the beginning of the month and here it is the 10th already.  Still, better late than never, right? Right?

We’ve already had some problems.  Two people dropped off the team and I’ve had a hard time finishing my first part.  The lovely Miss Rebecca Ruhlman put up her part a while ago, but it’s going to be a little bit harder for us to finish since there are only two of us.  Don’t worry Internets, we’ll make it work.

As I said before, the as-yet unnamed story is about young, media types dealing with downsizing and outsourcing at a large publishing company.  Part 1 can be found here. Come back in a few minutes for my part, Part 2.  Oh, and since this is the first sort of collab novel I’ve ever done, go easy on us, ok?  I appreciate constructive criticism, but it might take us a few iterations to work out the continuity issues and plot bugs.  Bear with us, but feel free to comment.

Love,

Anna

Mood: I’m going to start cleaning the house any second now…really.
Music: America’s Test Kitchen-“Pork on the Grill”


To commemorate NaNoWriMo, me and my new, competitive novel-writing team/crafting guild/crime-fighting society/comedy posse, Kittens of Infamy (rowwr!), is going to be dropping our first project on you like a white-hot hairball, any day now. So, consider yourself warned…and invited…to read.

The idea is simple.  There are four of us at the mo, and we’ll each be contributing ~1000 words to a novel every four days in a serial fashion, and posting the results and linking to the previous installments on each other’s blogs…like a more structured exquisite corpse.  At the end of the month (or thereabouts), we’ll have a new, award-winning novel and will start setting appointments to appear on Oprah, The Colbert Report, and Fox and Friends…or something.

Yes, this may, in fact, be the project that kills me (along with work busy-ness, the culmination of my grad school class, dating, regular blogging, and the rest of life), but so what.   I’m happy to be more busy and I kind of thrive on nausea-inducing, artificial pressure.

So, join us, won’t you?  Here are some inspirational team graphic kittens to tide you over.

Kittens+of+Infamy+team+graphic


an introduction





Hi, I'm Anna and I love cheese!

This blog is a chronicle of my life and a catalog of happy ephemera. The About page has a little bit more information, but, remember, none of this is really me...it's just a supplement, a thumbnail sketch, a mostly anonymous Intarwebs placeholder. I'm way better/less wordy in person. :-)

Oh, and if I wrote something about you and you thought it was mean or hurtful, I'm sorry. It's how I felt at the time, but probably isn't how I feel now. Chances are, I love you and I think you're awesome.

copyright

All content on Blog, Sweet Blog is copyrighted by me, Anna Hell. Unless otherwise noted, all photos, words, and content on this site are mine, created by me, and should not be used without my permission (or at least attributed and linked back). I try to embed links or quote original source material if I use another person's work.

Click the button thing below to have a delicious li'l slice o' Anna cake* delivered to your emails inbox whenever I write something new!

*N.B. Anna cake contains neither Anna nor cake.

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