July 27, 2004
Is it November Yet?

I woke up this morning to the sound of articulate politicians, and assumed I was having a beautiful dream.

In other news, the General Accounting Office changed its name. I killed twenty minutes tonight trying to figure out why the Indianapolis Star kept referring to the Government Accountability Office.

July 20, 2004
Take Two Natural Keyboards and Call Me in the Morning

I like my doctor. I do. She takes the time to listen, and I never feel rushed or dismissed or condescended to. I think she must be like that to all her patients, because she often runs very late. Which is fine - today it gave me plenty of time to check out the examination room, and speculate on the correct pronunciation of "sphygmomanometer", because the one hanging on the wall was labeled as such (I went with "sphyg-mo-mah-NOM-eh-ter", and now I'm just itching for an excuse to use it in conversation).

I also noticed that the room had no object in it bearing the logo of a brand-name drug, or the company that makes it. Not even the pens (I checked). There's an admirable purity in that.

On the down side, she did not make with the Schedule IIIs. Instead, she showed me good ways to keep stress off the affected muscles, and sent me away with a referral to a physical therapist and a prescription for something called an "Ergonomic Assessment" at my workplace. I can only imagine this involves people in lab coats showing up in my cubicle, taking measurements with fine and delicate instruments, running the numbers through complex algorithms, and then delivering the Ergonomic Assessment: "Yep, it's shitty, alright."

July 19, 2004
The Pain in Jane Comes Mainly from the Sprain

Wow - two weeks. More than two weeks. And what have I been up to for more than two weeks?

I have been working on the book, as promised, despite the lack of excerpt testimony. I've spent a fair amount of time solving structural problems, and also slashing out the weak bits (and wouldn't that be fun excerpting: "Here is a passage so irredeemably bad I declared it unfixable and cut it altogether - enjoy!").

I've also been run ragged by my job, and here I must bite my tongue, and hold my tongue bitten for reasons that will be revealed in a happier future, say around the equinox.

So it's been a productive two weeks, buoyant in their way, up until this weekend. This weekend I went camping, and although I had a very good time, three things happened which are making it torment to ride around in flesh and bone:

  1. Mosquito bites, and lots of 'em, so not really one thing but fourteen: eight on my legs, one on my forehead, three on my back (one at the level of apparently every waistband I own except for whatever I was wearing on Saturday), one on my arm, two if you count the lower knuckle of an index finger as "arm". This last is by far the most tormenting. I can only suppose that what I thought was a can of Off was actually the mosquito equivalent of MSG. Or spray-on nacho cheese. Or something.

  2. Back pain like I've never experienced before. As in doubling over when I try to stand / walk / sit / cross my legs, and then doubling over again (quadrupling over?) because it hurts to double over. As in having to use my wisdom tooth extraction stash of Vicodin for actual pain management, which is all kinds of unfair, dammit. As in alternating heat and cold packs every fifteen minutes. As in going to the doctor tomorrow, aware that nothing she prescribes will change the fact that apparently I've reached the age where I can't just, you know, pick things up. Sheesh.

  3. A scratch inside my left eyelid, acquired in a moment of particularly stupid eye-rubbing. I don't remember thinking to myself, "Say, some coarse and highly irritating dust has blown into my eye, so clearly the thing to do is rub vigorously so that sore, burning sensation can go on for 36 48 hours." But that is in fact what I did.

On the bright side, only one of these thing tends to be ascendence at any given time, so, um, hooray.

July 02, 2004
The Bitch Is Back

I'm declaring July to be my own personal Novel Editing Month. Every day I will unpack some of the notes I left in the text (e.g. "Insert horrific buzzword laden sentence here - fill with verbed nouns and nouned verbs"), or clean up unintentionally horrific sentences, or bulk up one of the hastily sketched characters.

And, as in November, this site will be Excerpt Central:

I grab the staple remover, which I would declare my all-time favorite office supply if I were actually willing to admit I had a favorite office supply. I take a moment to humor myself with a fanged Senor Wencas routine, flip it over to give him an underbite, and invent a new character: Murray Eel. I get bored trying think of something for him to say other than “S’alright” in what I take to be an eely kind of way, and instead put the staple remover to its designed and eponymous use.

July 01, 2004
Look out...here comes the Spider-Man

I saw Spider-Man 2 tonight with E (as is usual with the release of a Marvel franchise).

It was fun if a bit uneven - more than once I thought to myself, "Come on now - less Hamlet, more ass kicking." And then, just when I'd almost forgotten I was in the hands of Sam Raimi, he brought in a chainsaw to remind me (oh yes, Evil Dead fans, Mr. Raimi finds the time to flirt with us).

And speaking of hands, let's give one (or two, or three, or two to the third) to Alfred Molina as Otto Octavius. The last time I saw Molina he was the Diego on Frida's mind, and - maybe because the idea of patronage turns up in both movies - I couldn't help thinking Doc Ock would have made an exceptionally well-equipped mural painter.

What other non-spoilers do I have to share? Oh, yes - the Stan Lee cameos are becoming mercifully short.

Also, as with most of the science in the Marvel Universe, it's not enough merely to suspend disbelief - you have to string it up by its ankles and slap it around a bit. This is a movie that can't be relied on to produce an even remotely credible amount of smoke in a blazing inferno, so really, what hope does nuclear fusion have? My recommendation: as soon as anyone claiming to be a scientist starts talking, make little humming noises inside your head until he stops.