"Thank you, sir! May I have another!?"™, Day 02: Me and the girls get a new teacher

This is Day 2 of a 21-day effort to see the good in what might, at first, look like an irredeemable drag. Its name comes from a classic bit of dialogue uttered by actor Kevin Bacon in the comedy classic of my generation, Animal House. bloggy-cleavage-wolfheadfilms-233252254_ddf28fd384_o

One side effect of carrying around a few extra el-bees is a proportional increase in the chestal area. For the first time since...oh, hell, high school? college? (maybe some of you lurking ex-es could chime in), I have significant boobage.

From the cultural cues that surround us, you'd think this would be a good thing. In most respects, however, it's a colossal pain in the assets. I've always liked small boobs, both from an aesthetic and practical point of view. As have my various partners. (At least, as far as I know. Lurker exes?) Not only did my tiny breasteses look great in and out of clothes, but unlike those of my well-endowed sisters, my own girls required virtually no maintenance from a containment perspective.

No more. I've been sensing for a while now that my old "bras" (aka a wardrobe of dago tees) weren't cutting it anymore. No matter that I wash and dry them on the hottest settings, replace them dutifully each spring, and wear a fresh, tight one each day: I've moved from a barely-A to a big man-handful, and no amount of cotton ribbing and denial is enough to keep things under control. And the few actual brassieres I bought for Casual Mom audition drag are a good six years and 1.5 cup sizes past their usefulness.

Because brother, I hate bra shopping almost as much as I hate bra-wearing. From a physical or political perspective, they're equally annoying. Why the hell should I have to sacrifice time, money and comfort for the sake of propriety, otherwise known as the reigning sex's inability to keep their eyes off the prizes? If I don't mind my tits winding up the low-hanging victims of gravity, how they dangle should be my own damned business.

Alas, I live in a world where others will look, either askance or lecherously, and I'm not enough of a booby buddha to not let it get to me. So for all my feminist decrying, the bottom line is that mainly, I've just been too cheap and too lazy to do anything about it.

Until yesterday. I had an errand to run in that hideous sprawl just east of Los Angeles known as the Inland Empire, home to the biggest IKEA in all the Southland as well as, it seems, some of our more revolting specimens of masculinity. Despite my very obviously being dressed so as to not solicit attention of any kind, baggy cargos, loose, long-sleeved tee and the ubiquitous dago underneath, many of these charming gents gave me the surreptitious once-over. Whatever. Some people really don't have enough excitement in their lives.

Then, in the parking lot of an adjacent mall, one of them openly stared straight at my boobs and, before he was out of eyeline, much less earshot, cracked to his equally vile friend, "See? Like those, bouncing all over the place."

At first, I was incensed. This roly-poly cholo, this marginalized weeble in oversized baby clothes, dares malign me and my few extra ounces of bouncy old lady-flesh? Fuuuuuuuuuuck you, esé. I'm the revolution, baby; I'm an Agent of Change. I'm your mother, your sister, your daughter (well, more like your abuelita, really); how would you feel if some punk piece of trash guero caught one of them in their own vile line of fire?

And just as quickly, the flame of anger burned off and I realized the truth: I was no better, and arguably far worse than they. My lowest-common-denominator thinking, my impulse to objectify them rather connect with any common humanity was as foul as anything I was condemning in them. So what if I wasn't as out-loud-obnoxious about it? That sprung from common sense and an instinct for survival, not anything noble.

Plus, there was the stark physical truth that they had pointed out, however rudely: my containment system was overtaxed, my meatflaps were flopping all over, and if I wanted to continue to fly under the radar, it was time to walk into Ross Dress for Less and, er, take matters in hand. Which I did, albeit in a grumbling sort of way. (If bra shopping is ever fun, it is not under these circumstances.) The universe, sensing my delicate mood, graciously directed me to six models on the tangled rack, three of which not only fit, but set me back a mere twenty bucks total. I did a patented Actor Change™ in the car, and poof!, back under the radar I went.

Teachers: wherever you are, I thank you. I thank you for reminding me that I, too, am a pig, that some hills are not worth dying on and that sometimes, the solution is actually crazy simple.

Two boobs from the barrio put two boobs in a bra.

Nice symmetry, that...

xxx c

Image by wolfheadfilms via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

I am caffeine's bitch

teatime In the pantheon of Not Getting Things Done, this weekend was King-Daddy Slackoff. Part of the problem was a profound and unanticipated Need For Rest; another part was Family In Town (which is to say, not a problem at all, these are fun relatives.)

The biggest culprit was a return of my old pal, the urinary tract infection. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of experiencing a UTI, imagine a white-hot poker being shoved up your urethra while your bladder is full of pee, and someone squeezing on your belly to keep you from releasing either. And that's the part you can discuss in mixed company.

I was raised to fear medicine, and so will put up with eight other kinds of pain, post-surgical, pre-colonoscopic, etc, but I am a baby when it comes to white-hot pokers up my urethra. When it became clear that two glasses of cranberry juice and an extra trip to the can was not going to right matters, I phoned my OB/GYN doc's answering service and, after a brief but tense exchange ("I'm sorry, we don't have 24-hour emergency contact for yeast infections"), got her to call the doc on call, who immediately called back with a prescription for my new best friend, nitrofurantoin. Sweet relief, right?

Well, sort of. The white-hot poker has been exchanged for mind-bending headache that threatens to blind me, a side effect of severe caffeine withdrawal for which there is no cure...save caffeine.

I thought I would make it. Really, I did. I AM TOUGH!!!! And I was tough until about 4pm, when it was either stab my own eyes out or give in to a cup of Barry's. Weak Barry's, for a weak communicatrix.

So it's clear that I need to add this to the list of things to grapple with in the not-too-distant future. Caffeine isn't exactly nature's RX for Crohn's disease, I know; I just hadn't realized how off the diet I'd actually gotten.

Crap on a cracker. Coffee, tea, reality television, what am I not addicted to...?

xxx c

Photo by kana* via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

If computers R the sp@wn of S@t@n, why @M I const@ntly coming up with @ddition@l re@sons to use one?

zuikkin' english My Macs continue to conspire against me, one getting hinky as soon as I get the other one fixed. For months I've been hobbling along on my 12" PowerBook, watching my useful time working in Photoshop slowly shrink as the program decides to lock up more and more, in much the same way that it did on my G5 before it went south in July.

Die on me once, shame on you; die on me twice, shame on you, you mercenary POS robber barons.


So this afternoon, after a new business meeting down in Orange County, I'm driving back up to one of the 67 Apple stores in the Los Angeles area to give them even more of my money. Why?

(a) Because #@*() Apple won't let me install the Tiger OS that came with my $2800 PowerBook on my $3000 G5 and I need it to sync the computers and end this madness

(b) Because I killed the "a", "q" & "1" keys on my spare keyboard and I'm tired of swapping back & forth or finding work@arounds

(c) All of the above


For some reason, WordPress decided to gobble up 1/3 of this post between my pushing the "publish" button and it showing up on a browser near you. I don't know why; clearly, I am more technologically handicapped than I even realize.

Anyway, as I said (I think) the first time I posted this, the events of the past several days have helped me understand why The BF says he must visualize half-clad young Japanese women before he can wrap his mind around other people's stupid computer questions. I am just trying to take care of my own stupid computer problems and all I can think about is a stiff bourbon and a long, hot bath, followed by a swift whomp to the head with a 2x4 before falling into a deep, deep sleep until sometime next year...

xxx c

Image above is a still frame from a Japanese TV show called Zuiikin' English, in which half-clad young Japanese women aerobicize to common English phrases such as "I Was Robbed by Two Men" and "Spare Me My Life." Via TV in Japan.

Illness from the other side of the bed

hospital Regular readers of communicatrix-dot-com know that roughly four years ago, I spent one delightful summer sliding into a severe onset of Crohn's disease: colossal weight loss, fever, diarrhea. (I know, I know, sexy!!!)

It's a long story, but the short of it is I was sick, brother: 11 days in the hospital followed by four months of bed rest to get to anything remotely resembling my pre-Crohn's-onset life.

Today, I was in the hospital for the first time since getting ill. I'm not sick this time; I was visiting a friend who is. Several things struck me about the visit, though, probably in large part because of the parallel experience I had four years ago on the other side of the bed:

1. Our current health system blows gigantic, acrid chunks

I know this isn't coming as a huge surprise, but for people lucky enough to stay healthy or even well-insured, it's easy to downplay or forget. My friend can't afford coverage, and had to wait until he was ungodly ill at both ends (severe respiratory illness and something like what I have, neither of which has been diagnosed yet) until he could be admitted.

I had great coverage and still had to wait 6 hours in the ER because so many people without coverage are admitted via the ER. (My fever was only 102.2ºF when I showed up; they told me I should have come before, when it was 104.4ºF. Yeah, and the night staff was on duty, and I was delirious with no advocate to accompany me. No, thanks: I'd like to keep my colon.)

I don't know what to do about any of this. I'll be interested to read Dave Pollard's chronicle as he goes through much of what I had to, since he's pretty smart and pretty Canadian. But our health care system? For all but a very, very few? Sucks.

2. If you're not feeling sick, a few days in the hospital will cure you of that

No rest. Horrible food. Except for the maternity ward, a dismal environment.

The staff at Cedars, where I was incarcerated, was great. They still couldn't do anything but stabilize me. (Believe me, I was and remain grateful for that.) Even my doctor, the sainted Graham Woolf, told me I might as well try going home to see what happened, since a lot of people get better once they leave the hospital.

3. If you're wondering what to bring, start with toilet paper

When you're pooping 36x/day, hospital tissue feels like 3M's finest 40 grit. Even relatively well butts are attached to sick bodies, so any bit of comfort helps.

Ear plugs are also hugely helpful, as is edible food (provided it's cool with the doc). If you bring a book, make sure it's light reading, both in terms of subject matter and weight. A TV Guide is really, really nice (you watch a lot of TV), as is lip balm (you breathe a lot of dry air).

And flowers are lovely, but if you're bringing them, don't forget the vase.

4. Stay well

The most obvious, but the easiest to forget. Be a fierce advocate for your own health before anything happens. Get your annuals, even if you have to pay out of pocket. It's more important than any phones/lights/motorcars/single luxuries. If you're just scraping by, I don't know what to tell you. Hit the clinic, hit up your parents, hit a bank (kidding...kidding...). Eat right. Move your ass a little. Don't take stupid risks behind the wheel or anywhere else.

Take it from me: the only trips you want to make to the hospital are as a visitor. And even then, only when necessary...

xxx c

Photo by katastrophik via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license

Related links:

How to have a great colonoscopy The inside poop on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet A brief history of my onset, and a tribute to Elaine Gottschall

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better to light a single flame

blackout the rolling blackouts have started and my building is dark or will be when the sun sets

no power for the two old ladies who have lived there since it was built way, way back in '59

not that they have A/C or insulation or even the magic of cross-ventilation

(that's not how they built things in '59 no matter what anyone says about the Good Old Days)

but there is no power for their fans or their ancient refrigerators or a light in the bathroom so they can run a tub of cold water

plenty of power on Wilshire, though-- can't have those personal relocation devices hitting each other

and they say there's so much power at the mall that the air-conditioned merchants leave their doors open to help cool the shoppers

(nice merchants)

lately I swing between wondering if this is the end of the world and hoping it is

there would be a kind of satisfaction in watching the wolves set upon the drivers of SUV Nation and the barons of McMansion Estates and other members of the Clueless Majority

stay here long enough and you'll know what I mean unless you don't in which case, the wolves will probably get you next...

that is if they don't take me out on my way back from Peets where I came to cool myself with stolen dinosaur bones and a strong sense of irony

xxx c

Posted at 9:31pm. I'm home and so is Mr. Watts...for now.

Image by Spamily via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

What I overdid on my summer vacation

summer heat I don't know why as adults, we feel like we should take the summer off the way we did when we were kids. I get that the conditioning is pretty strong coming off of 12 or 16 years of school, but really, at nigh-on-45, WTF? It's not like I haven't had some clue that the money doesn't keep coming in unless I keep going out to get it.

Carly has already mentioned that this seems to be the busiest summer on record, so I won't belabor it. But halfway through the proposition (I'm a Memorial Day - Labor Day kind of gal), I find I've done less socializing and seen fewer movies this summer than any in recent memory. Granted, Hollywood's annual Festival of Popcorn Movies has been somewhat lamer than usual (and despite my commie-pinko-liberal tendencies, I can only see so many documentaries about the end of the world before I want to drink Drano and lie down in a cool room). But still, I like my friends and we all like the movies and FUCK, at least it's cool there. So what gives?

Right now, my theory is that it is literally just too damned hot. I have lots and lots of work to do but it feels like I'm wrestling my way through (warm) soup to do it. It's taking me roughly one and a half times as long to do half as much stuff, and I have twice as much stuff to do. And yesterday was a good day, while I sat at Urth Cafe between appointments, I could actually feel the mercury drop from "you could fry eggs on my thighs" to "hey, the liquid's back in my eyeballs and I can blink again".

Please note: I'm not complaining, except about the heat, which I pretty much can't stop bitching about. I asked the universe for more work; more to the point, I asked a lot of people if they needed work done, and a lot of them said "yes", and so now, day after day, I find myself in this peculiar place, dressed in a wet bathing suit, at the computer, shades drawn against the heat and four fans blasting away at my sorry ass while I try desperately, sweatily, to Get Things Done.

I guess all I'm asking at this point is, is it just me and The BF? Or is it everyone's busiest summer because no one can get anything done?

xxx c

Image by SouthernGal via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

The Age Thing, or "It Only Hurts When I Lie"

your body is a battleground After my recent stumping for the sisterhood, this is going to sound like a reversalist smackdown, but a story in this Sunday's LA Times (I know, I know, but I like the ritual of fresh comics in bed) set me off. Big time. And I tried to ignore it, really, I did, but here I am, a day later, still cheesed off.

It was more than a story: the Times devoted their entire Sunday magazine to the issue of aging and its attendant hoo-hah in modern society, how we try to stop it, how we try to look like we're stopping it, how we succeed (or fail) at both. Not a lot of insight or exploration into why we chase the dragon, but hey, this is L.A., it's the Times, and that's probably a given, right? Because it's better to be young, dumbass!

Is it really, though? Maybe for hot chicks, briefly, anyway. After that, it's my understanding that things get a hell of a lot worse, and faster, and geometrically so. Farther to fall and frequently, less to fall back on. And I understand about the age bias permeating all aspects of Hollywood culture: there are male TV director friends of mine and hotshot screenwriter friends of mine that lie about their age as much as women.

But it is worse for women, by an order of magnitude; it must be, for all women lie about their age, everywhere. I did it myself for several years while trying to get into bars, albeit the other way around. I routinely do it commercially, by passing for a full decade younger than I am chronologically: as long as they want to hire me to play a 35-year-old mom, (neither of which I am, by the way) I'll play one on TV.

Here's the thing, though: I never actually lie. Two examples. First, when some bonehead in the casting room asks me if I have kids, because you know, as an actor, it is necessary to actually have the condition to play like you do, I say "no." Not "no, but I loooooove them!" Not "no, but my boyfriend does and I looooove them!" Just "no". I mean, you're hiring me to play a mom for thirty seconds; do you really think I'm such a fucking idiot that, during a big, important take, I'll forget how to pass a kid a bowl of Cheerios or something?

Second, in actor-land, there's a little checkbox on the sign-in sheet that says "40+". I check it, and have been for almost five years now. Yes, yes, I wavered in the beginning. After all, I didn't look 40; why should I check 40?

I knew why, which is why I didn't want to check it at first: because it's a lie. Which is exactly why I do check it now. Because if lie, I buy into everything that goes into that lie: that aging is a liability instead of a point of fact; that women have a shelf life with accompanying expiration date; and that a woman becomes somehow less-than instead of greater-than with time.

Which brings me back to why I'm so cheesed off. Now, despite what those commercial auditioners might think, I'm really not an asshole. I have some understanding of the world we live in and the necessity of learning to get along in it. I understand that sometimes, sharing certain truths, like your age or your sexual orientation or your political affiliation, if you're liberal and trying to live in Indiana, might be unadvisable. Sadly, the truth is still an unaffordable luxury for many people in this great country of ourn.

But for the love of all that's holy, when you are trying to pass, do it quietly, and for your own reasons, don't scream it from the rooftops, and definitely don't do it in the context of a magazine story about aging. Irony aside, it's just fucking rude. Insulting, even. And stupid, let's not forget stupid. Do you really think all those kids you were in the third and fourth and fifth grade with are dead now? Or that it's that hard to locate a copy of your birth certificate online?

Bottom line: if you want to stay in the closet, fine. It's your business, frankly. Me, I think the air and light is much finer on the outside, but I don't know how comfortably your closet is furnished or how inclement the weather where your closet is located.

And really, what are you doing save staving off the inevitable? Isn't it better to plant the flag in the ground now and have people say, No! How old? Damn, you look good, girl!

For the record, you do look good, girl, and not for manmade reasons. You've got it going on, and in more ways than one. There's one way, though, that I've got you beat: I'm almost 45, and you're not. You're afraid to say it and I'm not. Well, sometimes I am, but I do, anyway. For the greater good, but mostly, for my own sanity. Let's face it: I have no audience; I could 'out' you right now and only 75 people would know. And most of them wouldn't care. Your secret stays safe regardless of whether I choose to spill it.

But that's exactly why you should spill it yourself, because you doing it would make the difference. It's kind of like during the SAG commercial strike: no one cared if the rank & file turned down the shit jobs; it's when the high-profile members of the community stood up and told the producers where they could stick it that things turned around. You can use your powers for good, or you can use them to serve The Man.

Here: we'll even go first. In the comments. Come on, everyone, I'll go first:

Forty-five. 45. XLV!!!

Who's with me?

xxx c


Photo by Esther G via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

Before you depart for your fatty American holiday, please take a moment to actually support the values that made this country worth fighting for

gay gothicI've already come out (ha ha) with my position on same-sex unions (pro), the unfairness of current marriage laws against unmarried domestic partners in general (very), and gay domestic partners in particular (off the charts). While it is mildly irksome to me that marriage, with its religious roots and baggage, is the only option for hetero couples who would like to enjoy the same protections and advantage of their straight, married brethren, it is a full-on, hillbilly-kneejerk-nutso outrage that gay couples have no option beyond a half-assed patchwork of easily-yanked domestic partner laws.

I mean, what is this, communist Russia?

Okay, that made no sense, but it was always the grownups' favorite expression of umbrage back in the 1960s, when I was coming up, and I love it. So there.

Here's what you do: fight back. Wisconsin, a fairly progressive state when it comes to lots of laws (who knew?) is doing just that. And today is the last day to help kick in to the $30K by 30 campaign to raise funds to fight the Power, or really, just the inequity.

They've actually hit their goal of $30K already (fast, bro, these internets are something else!), so now they're kicking it up a notch, hoping to hit $40K by the time they file their first fundraising report with the state. Because, you know, lots of money means newsworthy, which means more tape on the cause, which means higher profile, which...

Oh, hell, you guys get it.

Go here and donate, please. Then have a safe and happy holiday.

We want full, intact hands with all five digits sporting those same-sex marriage wedding rings...

xxx c

Photo "Gay Gothic" by Linda Wan Photography via AlanLK on Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

Poetry Thursday: I am the COMMUNICA-trix

ctix lite paint Sometimes I think nobody reads communicatrix - dot - com except old boyfriends and people interested in the "trix" part.

They click here from Google and Yahoo! and comments I leave on D-Listed (my dirty little secret) expecting the hotness and probably the shortness.

Instead they find insanely long diatribes about poop and happiness and the importance of sorting out your poop if you want to find happiness and they leave.


Of course if I hammer on Microsoft or talk about my sex life or blog like a drunken pirate they can't get enough. What's an earnest middle-aged blowhard-evangelist of personal change to do? I want the eyeballs but I want them to care.

Caring eyeballs, that's what I want.

So for all of you who came here expecting sex and gossip and more sex I'm sorry, kids, despite the provocative name (which I'm not living up to) there's no leather and latex, no whips or crotch floss no NSA breathless confessions or Dear Penthouse Forum, You'll Never Believe What Happened to Me letters...

No gigantic cock sexy cheerleaders XXX porno MILF-granny-hot carl-dirty sanchez girl-on-girl action.

No pointy leather boots bustiers edible underwear nipple rings ball clamps butt plugs face masks or restrictive clothing here.

But if that's what you're into I hear Carly has a corset...

xxx c

With apologies to Robert Bruce, the really good poet who inspired me, and all other poets who actually get how to work in this form.


Poetry Thursday is here. Neil Kramer (Citizen of the Month), from whom I heard about Poetry Thursday, is here. Carly Milne, who is hot and actually does own a corset, writes about lots of good stuff here. Finally, really, really good blogging & poetry at Robert Bruce's site, knifegunpen, here.

The semi-annual defilthifying of my apartment grows worse

fan I know, I know, we live in a city. A big one. A humungous one, even, that affords many excellent niceties only a larger metropolis can offer.

Still. Still...

This week's heat finally forced me to attack my most-loathed chore as a (rental) householder: the replacement of several slats of my jalousie windows with gigantic, ghetto-ready box fans. Yeah, it's stunningly unnattractive, but when the mercury hits a certain point, I'll do almost anything to increase the flow of air in the hideous stank soup that is the air chez E-Z-Bake Ovenâ„¢. In fact, I'm typing this naked right now!

It's always a narsty job, but the sheer amount of filth that must be wiped off the windows pre-removal seems to have grown exponentially in the past few years. Have we crapped up the environment so that things are that much dirtier? Or have we perhaps crapped up the environment so that it's that much drier, creating barnloads of extra loose dirt to swirl around before settling in my apartment?

More importantly, can I use this turn of events to double-up on ire and take umbrage against my next-door neighbors' use of gas-powered leaf blowers to blow the dirt off of their driveway? And what's up with those retards, anyway? Does someone not understand that all they're doing with those mother-humpin' leaf-blowers is shooting a bunch of filth arrows in the air, to fall to earth they know not where?

They're falling in my apartment, you environment-killing assholes! Yeah!!!

And I've got the spent pile of sodden paper towels to prove it...

xxx c

Photo by ♫axime via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

Blow up your TV

When you calibrate your afternoon not by the subtle changes in the play of light through your office window but by the shifting of the shrill Judge Judy into the 'shucks, ma'am' sucker punch or Dr. Phil...

When you feel your ire rise as basket-base-football cuts into The Simpsons and back-to-back repeats of King of the Hill...

When your evenings are filled with the wall-to-wall hum of America's Next Top Apprentice to the Surviving Bachelor

When you have seen every episode of every Law & Order in all three franchises at least twice

When you can spot the new edits to accommodate additional commercials in Columbo and the Quinn-Martin ouevre and anything that used to be on HBO

When you let your sister and your clients and your best friend since high school (in town for three days only) go straight to voicemail because Ryan is announcing the Bottom Three

When you cannot remember the last time you spent a day without television

Maybe it's time to spend a day without television.

Maybe it's time to spend seven of them.

A whole week doing something else One day at a time. (With Bonnie Franklin and Valerie Bertinelli.)

Besides, there's always TiVO...

xxx c

Who's sexy now?

razr Dear Apple:

I love you. Seriously. I loooooooove you. I have drunk the Kool-Aid, forsaken all others, suffered through the application of an elaborate tribal tattoo on that little spot just above my crack. If you were an actual person, not only would I never forget your birthday and always bring you chicken soup in times of illness, I would probably also upon occasion drive around your house when you weren't there just to feel close to you.

So why you do me this way?

I know, I know, I used to run around on you with that bad, bad man. Not all the time, just for email and contacts. But I'm with you now. I abandoned my Palm for you. I started syncing to my eentsy-weentsy nano, even though I can barely make out those addresses in -4 font size. It wasn't a bad workaround, all things considered.

Still, a girl needs to feel connected. She needs to talk. And what do you do when I feel this need to express myself, to feel safe and connected? You proffer...the Rockr. The Rockr!!! 20+ years of bold, innovative thinking and the best you can muster is a half-assed music player cobbled onto a phone so ugly, it offends my ToastROven.

Good god, you're Apple! Apple, man! A design leader! A tech visionary! Creator of iTunes, the user-friendly UI and the hottest displays on the planet! And you're letting that behemoth Blackberry and that buggy-ass Treo horn in on your action? Get real, dude! No, I'm not seeing either of them...yet. I'm just dicking around with a Razr for now. He's not everything I want, but he can take care of my basic needs and, let's face it, I'm not ashamed to pull him out of my purse.

Look, I don't want to break up with you, but it's clear right now that we need some time apart. Who knows? Maybe this'll be kind of a wake-up call. Maybe once you see me juggling my Razr and nano and odd scraps of paper, trying to get by as best I can, you'll step up to the plate and be the brand leader I've come to know and love.

In the meantime, take care of yourself. I know the whole content upsell thing is fresh and new, but it can be a trap, too. You have one major asset over all your competitors, Mr. Hotty-Mc-Hot, and it ain't your price points.

Okay. I'm getting bitter now and I promised myself I wouldn't. I'll see you soon...white and silver and gleaming, vibrating with an iTunes ringtone, like a dream I dreamt but forgot.



xxx c

Photo by Brian Eric Ford via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license

Color me open source

Dear Microsoft: Go fuck yourself.

Seriously: go take a long walk off a short pier. Better yet, how about taking a running leap off a rocky cliff into a huge, gaping void and on the way down, shoving whatever loose, dangling appendage happens to be handy up your greedy, corporate ass? Because really, you should feel as much pain on the way to your ultimate demise as you do when you reach the terminus.

Whither this rancor? I'll tell you, dickheads.

I've been using Microsoft products since 1996, when I grudgingly dumped the superior WordPerfect upon rejoining corporate America buying a LEGAL copy of your product each time to use at home.

I have refused to put illegal copies of Office on other people's computers, even though I question how much you people play by the rules when it comes to corporate 'fairness."

I've continued to support Microsoft even as your buggy templates and bloated programs ate away at my hard drive and terminally crippled my data.

I've even defended you to the Microsoft haters, that ever-growing contingent of the righteously indignant, because of the remarkably almost-perfect mail client, Entourage.

But today, I couldn't launch Word to work on a document.

I couldn't launch Word because I had my almost-perfect mail client open on my 12" PowerBook, which sits two feet from my PowerMac G5 desktop, which I use, HOLD THE PRESSES, HERE, in tandem.

That's right: I have the audacity to want to have my mail client open on one networked computer as I work on a Word document on the other, which is, apparently, a violation of my license agreement, a practice which makes me the electronic equivalent of crackheads who slit throats for a fix or bearded, gold-earringed, parrot-toting seamen of old who say "Yarrrr!" a lot.

So you know what I'm going to do when I get out of this work hole I'm in right now?

I'm finally going to download that copy of Open Office I've been meaning to check out.

I'm finally going to move my email into Mail.

I'm finally going to switch all of my non-essential work documents to text, like the hardcore geeks do.

And then I'm done with your tired, mistrustful, greedy, no-support-giving, distrustful, disrespectful assholes.

Yes, the corporate world will continue to use your shitty output and yes, I'll probably have to keep using it, too, at least for the time being. I do PowerPoint presentations, yes. I'm forced to deal with Word and Excel and the rest of your buggy, shitty, unsupported-for-mac output.

But I promise you this: for every time I actually use one of your products, I will tell two people not to. I will turn them onto open source and Mac-based alternatives. And yeah, my blog only gets 150 unique visitors per day (now) and yeah, I only know a couple of thousand people anyway (now), but you know what? I'm one of those mavens old Malcolm Gladwell's been yakking about.

And besides, even though my own hit count isn't great, it's still better than your products. And something tells me I'm not alone in my dissatisfaction with the Microsoft ethos. I have a feeling if I tag the hell out of this post, and if I tag it with enough popular (yet salient) search terms, and if I link the shit out of everything in the body of the post, it might just get picked up. It might just go wide on the interweb. And who knows, maybe my insignificant flash of anger will be the tipping point (thanks again, Mr. Gladwell) that pushes you off that cliff, following crappy Suitcase and crappy Quark and all the other greedy, distrusting, software leviathans that are surely (oh, sweet baby jesus, let it be true) in freefall right now.

Because it's time to put customers first again.

Because it's time to put corporate greed behind us.

But mostly, because you and the majority of your products suck some serious ass.

Oh, yeah...one more thing:

xxx c No image courtesy of the evil empire's stringent copyright enforcement.

'Tis the season to want to plug thy neighbor through the eyebrows

Remember back when you were a kid (those of you born pre-1968), before the era of grocery stores accepting every kind of plastic and bagging things in anything but? (I said "but".) Remember how everyone, everyone, who wasn't paying cash had to get their checks cleared at the service counter beforehand? How they had to show I.D. and write out everything except the amount, tear the check out of the  checkbook, hand it over to be cleared and stamped and initialed and whatever else before they ever dreamed of getting on (E. of Ohio)/in (everywhere else) line?

Well, I do. And guess what? It was a good system. Because not only did it speed things up, it was a gigantic and singular blow against the creeping solipsism of urban life. As in, Get a clue, Senor Asswipe! You're not the only pony in this here corral!

I know I'm supposed to be all Buddhist and "thispersonismyteacher" and all, but WT-motherfucking-F!?! How on the ball do you have to be to realize you should (a) have your I.D. hopefully somewhere moderately accessible on your person but (b) definitely not "maybe" in the car parked out on the lot?

Sweet baby jeebus, these holidays cannot be over fast enough for me...

xxx c

Quotation of the Day: Only 27 Shopping Days 'Til Christmas Edition

"It seems as though we've marketed ourselves into a corner, where theonly way to grow is to find increasingly narrow niches of decreasing utility. The consumer portion of our economy is now dependent on a four-week long debt-fueled race to buy the useless."

, Seth Godin, reporting on next year's garage sale trinket

Quotation of the Day/"If You Can't Stand The Heat" Edition

"Funny always wins out. I always think that women who complain about people who say women aren't funny are probably not funny. Because, really, who gives a shit?" , Sarah Silverman in an interview with Jenelle Riley in Back Stage, the actor's newsweekly

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She of LITTLE patience

For someone who is awfully sanguine about big things, totaling my car, losing vast sums of Monopolyâ„¢ money in the tech stock crash, watching the business I've made my living at for 22 years crumble before my eyes, I'm remarkably unskilled at dealing with the little things. 'Little' as in my downstairs neighbor, sole proprieter of a driving school, consistently hogging prime parkage in front of our building with his fleet of raggedy-ass Corollas, especially on street-cleaning day, when he has a coveted parking spot in the garage already.

'Little' as in loud talkers on cell phones in public places, people who jump into a newly-opened register line out of turn, and anyone who is STILL sending out emails about magical marzipan babies, free money from Microsoft and $250 Needless-Markup cookie recipes without checking Snopes first. (Sweet baby jesus, sometimes I wish they would slap a 5¢ tax on every email.)

Or, literally, little: as in '1/4"', the amount (I discovered this morning) that my printer, for whom I developed an elaborate series of electronic proofs and written instructions as a safeguard against this very nonsense, was off in trimming my latest design job, a ruinous disfigurement that neither the person who picked up the postcard nor any one of the dozens of people who have seen them since have even noticed.

There are some similarities amongst the things that seem to enrage me. Solipsism is a biggie (this means you, you yellow-ribbon-festooned-SUV-driving turd-mistress taking up two spots at the mall, the curb and, o, the irony, the gas pump); it actually angers me far more than outright selfishness. Having my meticulous regard for your time and effort met with carelessness sort of makes me wish (or not) I was licensed to pack heat, too.

But it's erratic, this flaming anger. So erratic that in my rare rested, grounded moments, I actually find it hi-larious in others (ha, ha! look how pissed you are that that old lady who can barely see over the steering wheel unintentionally cut you off!). Yes, I realize this points to my own pettiness. If you would like more pointers, I can put you in touch with my writing partner, any of my three sisters, or The BF, although we might have to defer that until the honeymoon is over and he is no longer besotted by the idea of free sex whenever he wants it.

On the other hand, why should you pester them, when I have in my possession a fine, WRITTEN example of my ungodly low threshold for behavior that doesn't fit my idea of exactly what should be happening at any given moment:

Last night, too tired to do any real work, I spent some time cleaning up the hard drive on my PowerBook. In a collection bucket from my first stab at GTD* two years ago, I found this passive/aggressive, stream-of-consciousness gem, apparently written on this same P-book on a crowded, cross-country flight:

ok, if a woman were sitting in that fucking seat, there is no fucking way she'd keep typing some stupid fucking pointless email to someone she totally didn't even need to be emailing. but mr i gotta have all the fucking room in the joint, mr Ima big pig and I don't care i get everythning I'm supposed to get and some of yours too is taking ALL THE MOTHER FUCKING ARMREST and room besides. this is such an i'm sure TYPICAL aggro jesus fucking christ what is it with MEN and their motherfucking sense of entitlement.

The insane ramblings of a girl you'd really like to take home to mom, right? But wait, it gets better:

oh, this is so going into a screenplay.


and it would be too hilarious, the me character getting angrier and angrier, the guy totally oblivious, writing his 10 fucking page email with 1000 word paragraphs that no one is gonna read--no FUCKING ONE, you LOSER! you big fat six-vodka-swilling loser!!! WTF???

In my defense, I must point to a certain self-awareness of my insane behavior. Additionally, I should interject at this point that approximately 95% of my family on Mom's side are either alcoholics, recovering alcoholics or married to alcoholics or recovering alcoholics, so juiceheads don't rate a whole lot of compassion from me. But back to our fascinating story, soon to be seen at a multiplex near you:

and in the movie/book/whatever, at the end he should even try to pick up on her. or no, she's irritated b/c he didn't. and she catalogues everything about him that she finds disgusting--the dry look haircut, the mock turtleneck, the fact that he TURNS OFF his laptop everytime he orders another one of his double vodkas. no, no--it has to be a book, a bridget jones type of chick lit book, this angry inner monologue that rages on. god what a turd. god how selfish. but you know, god, what an asshole SHE is for letting it get to her so much

Here's the worst of it: this is fully twelve months before I even thought about starting a blog, when the ONLY record of my thoughts was either squirreled away in a journal somewhere or nested deep within the folder trees of my various computers, and yet I know the reason I put that self-aware crap in there was to not look so bad to my public.

Oh, the shame.

Anyway, I've been grappling with what to do about this pettiness, this intolerance, this shameful, shameful aberration in my otherwise sterling character and I've decided that the only thing to do is out myself. To paraphrase the excellent Louis D. Brandeis quote I stumbled across in Freakonomics (review forthcoming), "Sunlight is a powerful motherfucking disinfectant."

So here I am, in all my ugly intolerance, petty nature admitted to all and emblazoned across the web (well, someone could pick it up) for all to see, like so much tatty underwear in the emergency room.

Fling your barbs, shovel on your scorn: I welcome the angry intervention of a thousand, nay, a hundred-hundred-thousand, souls if it means an end to the tyranny of pettiness.

By myself, I will not give an inch; with your help, maybe I can give that 1/4" that really matters.

xxx c

*GTD = Getting Things Done, a book and organizational system by demigod David Allen, which you can read all about on his website, Merlin Mann's website, or any one of a bajillion other similarly geek-worshipping websites.

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What not to tell an actress

I've taken 2 hours out of my very busy day surfing the interweb to audition for you. I've driven 10 miles in the rain at $2.75/gallon with a cityful of rude assholes in luxury assault vehicles to get there.

I've suffered the indignity of holding up a magic-markered sign with my name on it as I smiled and slated my name for the camera like a talking fucking cow.

For the love of all that is holy, do not greet me with, "It is such a pleasure to see an actress brave enough to come in and audition in no makeup!"


Photo by Marc Alan Davis used under a Creative Commons license


bride mannequinsThe farther away I get from my (failed) marriage, the more clearly I'm able to see it. My own particular marriage, yes, but also my relationship (no pun intended) to the institution itself, which usually fell somewhere on the spectrum between "cautiously optimistic" and "no fucking way." I can't say I'm agin' it entirely, because I'm not; I'm sure it works great for some people. Somewhere. A couple of them (ha!), anyway. But more often I've seen (me, personally, Colleen) how marriage doesn't work, how, instead of becoming a safe harbor of commitment within which two people can grow and flourish without fear of capricious abandonment, it becomes a justification stick couples take turns with to beat one another, and even themselves, about the psyche (metaphorically speaking, of course; hitting = bad). Even the marriages that look good from the outside may be rotten on the inside; I couldn't believe the number of people who were shocked, shocked, I tell you!, to hear that my own marriage, which had been rocky for years, was ending.


I'm not here to crap on marriage. Well, mostly I'm not. Like I said, I think two mutually consenting adults should be free to do whatever the hell they want as long as it's not going to hurt anyone else or significantly damage my property. Note I did not say "piss off anyone", you see where I'm heading with this, because there are plenty of things two mutually consenting adults could do (in the privacy of their own home, even) that would send certain other people into fits of apoplexy, like, oh, say, marrying someone they might have showered beside in the locker room after P.E. instead of someone they met, oh, say, in a titty bar. Or a church meeting. Or online. Or wherever the hell.


What really pisses me off about marriage is what pisses me off about most things that stick in my craw: it's not fair. Specifically, it's not fair that some people (i.e., the ones who might meet in a titty bar) get to do it while others (the ones who might shower together after P.E.) can't. Period. I mean, I have lots and lots of issues about marriage, but I freely admit those are more about me hating the sound of the cage door slamming shut than Marriage as it might be practiced by non-lunatics (who, for the record, come in both the titty bar and P.E.-showering variety).

No, the fairness thing is different. It's not fair that my wonderful friends O-Lan and Halldor can be married while my other wonderful friends Ann and Susie cannot. They've been together the same amount of time; longer, even. They own property. They're raising a terrific kid.

Moreover, Ann and Susie probably wouldn't give a crap about getting married even if they could. They're not exactly flag-wavers for most of the dominant paradigms, Susie's corporate gig notwithstanding (well, how else do people afford health insurance?). But that's not the point; the point is (all together now): It's. Not. Fair.

So I'm clicking around on the SAG Pension & Health site, waiting for the nice lady on the other end of the line to give me authorization for 10 more shrink visits since a certain anniversary has apparently triggered some sort of mini-meltdown, and I stumble on a motherlode of links about alternative partnerships, and the creation, dissolution and legality of such. Makes sense: if you're crazyy enough to be an actor, chances are you're queer, off-kilter, or both.

My favorite of the sites, the Alternatives to Marriage Project (a.k.a. unmarried.org), has its own mongo cache of fun links, including: "Famous People in Unmarried Relationships (Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins are only the beginning!)"; jokes ("why don't melons marry? they cantaloupe"); and separate sections on being polyamorous and/or marriagefree ("as free as the wiiiind bloooows...").

44899508_beda70a2b2But my favorite-favorite link brought me to something I'd never heard about: The Marriage Boycott. Basically, The Marriage Boycott is a solidarity movement: straight couples refusing to marry until gay couples are allowed the same privileges. Which, at first glance sounds kind of silly, who's gonna care, right? Until you think it through, at which point is gets kind of genius: it makes the personal the political in a really huge way, which can be useful in (a), converting potential grandparents who are sticklers for their offspring's offspring being legitimate to the Side of Good or (b), getting Aunt Agatha and the mah-jongg crew to wake up and smell the Sanka.

Of course, to be maximally effective it'd help to have some extreme types sign on, your Town & Country demo, your Tri-Delt debs, your future ex-Mrs. Donald Trumps, but every little bit helps.

Anyone care to propose? I'm ready and willing to turn you down.

For the cause, of course.

xxx c

Flickr photos "Drunken Brides" and "Drunken Bridesmaid" by LightsOutFilms