Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Shop Talk

I have been temping and writing (thank you to those who have edited my most recent stuff - I appreciate your kindness) and freelance editing. This last bit I have been doing a little less frequently than in Seattle which surprised me at first, but now maybe I have figured it out. Perhaps there are enough artists here that most people can have stuff edited for free by friends and such. I am one of those people after all. I should really be spreading out my business cards more and frequenting hip coffee shops where writers go to frustrate themselves over prose. But I digress.

I am bewildered by something I keep running up against in this editing world of mine. Now - just in case you are curious, or need something looked at, or have a friend who might need some help with the written word, let me explain how it works (at least for me). I get your piece of writing, whatever it is, it could be a book or an essay for school, or a non fiction piece you want to share with your friends. And then I look at it for grammar, word choice, clarity, structure, and I look to make sure you are saying exactly what you meant to say. I suggest where you can expand, explain, or delete sections, I ask you questions that might help you in the writing process. I basically workshop the hell out of your piece but in a more professional manner - without the comments like "haha. He's a dick" I would write in the margins of my classmates stories.

Here is where my distress comes in: They always want me to like their work. And not just like it, they want me to "feel connected" to it. And they want that kind of feedback. They don't understand that it doesn't matter if I like it. And the thing is - it's not like I do or I don't. Some of the stuff I read needs a lot of work, yes. Some of the stuff I read isn't going to be published anywhere and it's not often that the writer even intends that. But it really doesn't matter because this is a job. I edit. I love editing. I don't assign a value to a stranger's work. I don't get invested. I try to make it as clean as I can and then I give it back. I try to explain that, sure, their work is fine but it doesn't actually matter what I think, but they don't want to hear it. They want more. They want me to feel what they are working on. Is this because I'm working with amatuers? It must be. No writer I know pesters their editing friends for positive feedback. That's not why we get things looked at in the first place. I know where I rule. I want to know where things suck.

So I mix in positive with negative feedback, but I was doing that anyway. And I fake it. But it's bothersome to get the pestering emails "What do you think? Do you like my work? Is it good?" It's a school paper on a topic I don't care about. Sure. It's fine.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lauren Life List Vol. 1

So I've been watching the Life List idea spread through the internet like wildfire and I have been kind of reluctant to join because I felt like I had immediate goals but no long reaching goals. Part of that, I think, was because i was in grad school and I couldn't see past next week's assignments, let alone personal goals for myself beyond my desire to sleep that night. But I have to admit that Maggie Mason of Mightygirl has finally gotten to me. She does things! She is doing things! People pay for her to do things! (nice for her, not so much a reality for me, but that's ok.) And now that I am a tad bit freer than I was a year ago I'm thinking maybe I can squeeze some of this in. If anything I'll have a nice list going a year from now. So every once in a while, if I've thought of enough new things, I'll post them here. Maybe some of you would like to join in and help me achieve some goals, maybe some of you have information on how I could achieve some goals. Either way it would be awesome if you could hold me to it. And so it begins:

Go to Greece
Attend a feminist rally in DC
Publish a book
Have more than one child
Take surfing lessons
Spend time in South America
Own a Dog
Go on vacation with my best friends
Do a 3 day walk for breast cancer
Work in the writing industry

*In no particular order of course.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

American Politics

So the main issue between Rep and Dems = they can't agree on how to run the country best, right? And right now it's all wrapped up in how the country spends it's money... Or more accurately the republicans are mad at how the Dems spend money and the Dems are mainly mad at republicans over social/military issues and how they spent ALL of the money during the Bush Admin. But then there are some republicans - the neo christian/neo "patriot" sect who believe less government is better (which is one of the founding principles of why we broke from Britain and is not the crazy part) except if the republicans are in office and then all the wire tapping, all the fear-based policy, all the military spending, all the conservative censoring of television (FCC) and other media outlets, all the church based politics in the world are free game. To me, if you are up for all of that government (which seems intrinsically negative), it's downright crazy for you to be against other government interference that ends up helping people, increasing individual liberties, etc. And it's not just that people disagree with one or the other, but it's the intensity at which the neo-crazies are disagreeing. It's no longer policy or money, it's life or death for those people. To the point where a conservative blogger named Solomon Solly Forell posted a tweet just after the vote on healthcare calling for the direct assassination of Pres Obama. They went on to encourage other American's to drop obama if they had a clear shot. You can see screen shots of these tweets by clicking HERE.

The thing is - I'm sure this person is not the only one thinking this, and not the only one saying it out loud, or on the internet. But really? You want to kill a guy over a healthcare bill? And even if it's not the only thing you want to kill him for, (being black might be part of it... so cliche... such a tired reason, really) in this case it was the straw that broke the camel's back? Healthcare was the thing that just .... poof.... pushed ya over the edge? And even if... let's say... MOST conservatives aren't willing to pull the trigger - because only really crazy people actually do that - the crazy people are still calling themselves conservative! Crazy democrats (you know the one's hanging off of bridges to save seals or the ones living in trees on Berkley's Campus? You know the ones...) have the decency to at lease call themselves the green party. At least they make the distinction. AND they aren't trying to kill anyone, except maybe themselves because who lives in trees? I mean c'mon... you know there isn't a toilet up there.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Masthead Me!

Behold the beautiful art of Regina Perez. Soon to be tattoo artist. Pretty sweet likeness too, right? Minus the calves - i have calves that no boots can contain. Hooray! I have a customized masthead! Finally! Other items for you to peruse on my blog: the pictures of me (so self centered this one) that rotate through the months of the year. Once the year mark passes for any month the pictures are removed. It's a rotating year-in-the-life-of. Also I have a list of blogs that I frequent that are not the famous ones (dooce, mightygirl, finslippy, etc) - those people don't need more readers, but my people do! I've been playing around with have a list of books I'm currently reading with links to where you can buy them, but then it becomes embarrassing when I've lingered on one for far too long. I had a fairly routine quiz that appeared on my side bar, but eh... I kept forgetting to cycle them through and i ran out of things to quiz you on. I'm trying to class up this joint, ya know? :) But if there is something you'd like to see, let me know. In the mean time YAY MASTHEAD and thank you Regina!

If you'd like to see more of Regina's art you can check out her flickr here.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Shake Shake Shake Senora

When i first moved to San Francisco back in 2007 I kept running into this one episode of this one show called Worst Case Scenario... well maybe it was something else but if it wasn't named that, it should have been (you get the idea). And when i say I kept running into it I mean I saw clips from this show 3 or 4 different times in a two month span. It must have been one of those discovery channel worm holes or something. Pesky. Anyways - this particular show was all about what would happen if San Francisco had The Big One. In all caps. More like The Really Really Big One. Well... let me tell you what would happen - of course both bridges would collapse (because this is worst case scenario TV) and because both the marina AND the airport (good thinking planner ppl) are built on landfill the eathquake would certainly send them both sinking into the ocean or something making both completely unusable. Of course the city would be engulfed in flames because of the gas fires (that actually did reek havoc in San Francisco in the early 1900s) and because all of the motherfucking houses TOUCH. Sheesh. So the citizens (ME) would be unable to get any supplies because boats couldn't dock and planes couldn't land. plus we couldn't leave north or east because no bridges (west is ocean). The traffic would obviously be SO BAD going south that the most viable option is (as my mother puts it) to "strap on your walkin' shoes and head out".

Needless to say when I first moved to San Francisco I was terrified there would be a big earthquake. THE BIG ONE. Because it was just waiting for me to arrive, right? The earth timed itself perfectly. How nice. And it's not like I haven't been in an earthquake before. I have. Big ones, too (7.0 in seattle?). But this was San Francisco! And it's supposed to float away! So i was nervous ... until I went through two and then three smallish earthquakes and remembered - oh yeah, by the time my brain registers what it is, it's over with. So I transferred my anxiety onto more pressing matters... like the mice in the walls or the homework pile overtaking my desk.

But then! I decided to move back to Seattle. And the summer before I left I thought - oh god, just three more months until I'm out of here and earthquake free! It's coming down to the WIRE on this one! So once again I was nervous, gritting my teeth and thinking, "just hold on for a little while longer moving and growing earth, I'm almost home free!" And then I moved. And pheww! What a sigh of relief that was! Back to Seattle where they are awaiting their very own over do Big One. But I didn't mind so much because Seattle is Seattle. It's home and i will be forever safe there. Allegedly.

Fast forward 6 months and my decision to move back to The Danger Zone. Plus there was that big earthquake in Haiti and in Chile... the Chile one occurring as i was driving all my worldly possession straight toward the San Andreas. Yippee! Basically I have the fear again. Which makes it surprisingly difficult to drive over bridges by myself. I feel like that one episode of MTVs true life where they followed three people with phobias and one of them lived in New Jersey and couldn't drive over bridges so he was pretty much trapped. Anyway - this new found anxiety will eventually disperse with time, but as it stands the repetition of "it's going to be ok, just get over the bridge" that runs through my head about 30 times during my morning commute is rather disturbing. At least going over the bay bridge isn't as bad as the golden gate. Eesh.

I guess we can file this one under: New Found Crazy. With capital letters to boot.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

You Won't Get This Unless You Play

This may be the nerdiest post I have ever written because I am going to talk about the Sims. I started playing Sims back in 2004 when they came out with Sims 2. Thank god because a few months later I got a bad case of mono and did nothing else while lying in bed for an entire month. But since then, I uninstalled it from my previous computer because it was taking up too much space, got a new computer and kind of lost touch with it all.

And then I moved back to San Francisco. And what did I find on Kamel's computer? Sims 3! With better graphics, more personality options for your little Simoleans, plus my unemployment for all the time in the world. The first evening we got into town I played it for 4 hours straight. This wasn't so impressive to me - knowing my need for decompression after long bouts of time with people, but to Kamel who had never seen me play computer games - he was mightily impressed. And so began my total melt into computer reality land. After two weeks of 6 day a week play I started to see the world differently. I suddenly wanted to line up all the things I wanted Kamel to do when he got home and then see them readily accomplished. I wanted to make sure the house was taken care of before I did my "fun" activities. Children playing outside sound like Sims, the weird dance you do when someone is in your way at a door and you can't decided who should go first = Sims, I started longing for the easy swirl the Sims do in order to get dressed. AND WHO WOULDN'T LIKE LOVELY HEART PETALS TO CASCADE FROM THE CEILING EVERY TIME YOU HAVE SEX? (woo hoo!) Was caps lock really necessary? The best part about that scenario - they magically dissolve after the fact. No messy cleanup. Anyways - I even started dreaming about Sims. And when Kamel played Dante's Inferno while I played Sims I dreamed about playing Sims in hell. I had 5 kids, two adults at the peak of their careers, $150,000 in the bank, and everyone was happy.

This week I'm kind of over it. But it's amazing how the creators of that game really nailed down the basics of human behavior. Fill all the ground level human needs and after that the more frivolous ones, add in some babies and a job, and boom! You have stress paired with fulfillment and therefore gameplay... as well as real life. I think I'll play that for a while in stead. Life: not just a board game.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Here and Now

I had a fantastic weekend. On rainy friday Kamel and I watched movies and ate chinese food. Then on Saturday, in the beautiful sunshine, we drove up to Sonoma, sat on a breath-taking italian style terrace, drank wine and ate cheese, watched the birds puff up and steal eachother's finds, and looked out onto amazing northern california. On sunday we played downtown with regina, watched a movie, shopped, it was seamless.

Today I am setting up an interview for some temp work while I continue my search for a career in the field I'm good at. On top of that, I'm continuing to write what I write, read out loud in public to strangers, finish books by my favorite authors, go for long walks, enjoy the scenery, and continue becoming a good person. It's a journey. Everything is a journey. Once we get there, another path emerges and we set off again.

I just wanted to tell you I'm doing ok. I'm trekking along and sometimes I get frustrated and tired, and sometimes I am perfectly content being lazy with no forward momentum, but somehow I keep chugging along. And I'm good. I'm where I'm supposed to be and it's nice to recognize it when it happens.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Banana Oh No You Didn't

Kamel loves bananas. He sometimes eats them in the car. He sometimes eats them in the bar (not really, it just rhymed), he sometimes eats them at breakfast or as a snack. Claire sometimes ate bananas but I never really noticed. All of these phallic fruits in my life reminded me of a long ago conversation between John, Ryan, and me. Conversations I wish I had more of - I miss them.

So here it is - your occasional blog flashback brought to you by: Bananas!

Me: I don't like bananas. I don't even like it when someone asks me to HOLD their banana. I usually say no.

John: WHAT? How many times has someone asked you to hold a banana? Next time in class I'm bringing a banana and I'll be like, oh excuse me, I need to tie my shoe, would you mind holding my banana?

Me: And I would say no!

Ryan: Ok what's your favorite thing?

Me: Like ever?

Ryan: Yes.

Me: Peanut butter

Ryan: Ok let's say I would give you the most gourmet amazing peanut butter ever in the whole world but you'd have to hold a banana.

Me: For how long?

Ryan: A while.

Me: How long is a while?

John: Down the block and back!

Me: DOWN THE BLOCK AND BACK?! THATS A LONG TIME!! Maybe down the block.... but definitely not back.

[ryan and john erupt in laughter]

Ryan: I'm just picturing you [gasp] holding a banana out in front walking down the street. [more laughing]

John: OH NO! Put that banana away!! I will absolutely NOT hold it!!

Me: Cuz I won't!!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Talking With Boys

While sitting and eating lunch silence falls.

Kamel sings: So fresh and so cleanclean!

Me: haha why?

Kamel: [flustered] I dunno! I've had that song stuck in my head since 2000.


Kamel: I've had Regulators stuck in my head since 1998.

Me: Regulators! Mount Up!

Kamel: I swear to God it's been driving me crazy! I should probably look up what year So Fresh and So Clean actually came out...

Me: I wanna run upstairs and blog about this right now.

A few minutes later...

Me: You don't like my pinned hair! You looked at it funny!

Kamel: No! That's not it... it's just that it reminded me of something.

Me: Of what?

Kamel laughing: No, I can't tell you! you don't want to know!

Me: I do! Tell me!

Kamel: Well.... when I opened the door and saw you my first thought was 'oh... hello Mr. President.'

Me: What?!

Kamel: You looked like Benkamin Franklin! Cuz it was flat on top and then poofy on the sides... ya know? I figured it wasn't done yet.

I've already taken the necessary steps to fix.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

16 Days Sober

It has been 16 days since my last confession - oops... sorry, knee jerk reaction, wrong beginning. Let's start over.

It has been 16 days since my last dealings with sugar. And let me tell you, internet, it feels like a mother fucking eternity. This ridiculous scheme of mine all started back in January when I read this post by Finslippy about how she gave up sugar and how wonderful it made her feel and blahblah. At the time I worked at my adorable bakery (hi guys!) and spent most weekends and evenings sitting in bed with/missing claire eating our candy spoils from walgreens (mwahah! CANDY SPOILS!). I ate cookies and juji fruit and dots and sour twizzlers and sour air heads and skor bars [drooling noises inserted here]. You get the idea. And sometimes I would eat pastries from the bakery or the occasional oreo cakester from the grocery store. (Don't look at me!! I'm too ashamed!) And I LOVED it. But it also kind of made me feel gross and could (was already?) get out of hand at times. We call those times "binges".. er.. whatever.

Anyways - so I read this great article and claire read this great article about one woman's war on sugar and I think ahead to Lent (the happiest, most self deprecating time of the year) and I'm all "that's my goal... no sugar... and ... brushing twice a day". Dude, sometimes I'm already in bed and I'm just too tired to make it to the sink, ok?

Now then, the rules for me are different than the rules for claire and I'm sure are different than the rules for Finslippy but basically no sugar to me means no candy, no sweets of any kind, no fruit drinks, no sugar pops or gum, nothing ridiculously sugary like really bad for you cereals or yogurt that is low cal but sugar filled, etc. It's cutting all of the gratuitous shit out and making me think a little harder about what I'm eating. I know, I know... I recently wrote this post about how I've given up on sketchy meat and you must be thinking "how could she possibly think any harder?" What can I say? I'm cerebral. Ha.

And then I was watching this documentary (I know! I said I wasn't going to do that anymore!) about obesity and some doctor on there said the effects refined sugar has on the brain are similar cocaine or heroine. The more you eat the more you need, your need continues to grow and grow and grow in order to satisfy yourself.

16 days people. I crave candy every single day. And not like the "oh, that sounds delicious", but like the "I know it will make me feel better, Oooh it will make me feel SO GOOD just to have some sour patch kids... I know it will... mmm just one, i only really need one." Yeah. Crack is an understatement.

But i've held strong. And here are the benefits for me: Teeth are less gritty, my stomach has less issues, I feel good about my decisions and I feel more in control, weight loss, and believe it or not - I swear to god my hair is thicker, less stringy and shinier. Who knew?

All I can think about right now is that on Easter I'm gonna have the biggest Keebler Egg I can find. We'll see what happens between then and now.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


(Imagine the title being sung out fiddler style)

Now that that's been clarified... hello friends! Sorry I have been absent. There was the packing and the driving and then the deep breath taking and all of that took about a week. But here I am! In San Francisco! Again! It feels like yesterday! Because it practically was!

The drive started out bleak. Except for Kamel who was a ball of excitement.

He was such a trooper with packing up the car. He Tetris-ed the shit out of it. And my poor little car was weighed down with all my clothes, and most of my room accoutrement. We were victorious! But like I said day one was bleak:

I was sleepy and crabby and Kamel did most of the driving and all of the cheerleading because really? I was moving back? And leaving all my people? And heading into the unknown? And wait a second didn't I have time to slow down and take a breath? No. Push ahead, grab life by the horns and all that. Let's do this thing.

After a lovely night at the Shilo Inn and some surprising great small town food thanks to the recommendation of our amazing Shilo Inn front desk lady ... things began to look up.

The bleakness turned into sunshine turned into excitement at my do-over. I get a do-over at San Francisco. Not that my first try was bad. It was a huge learning experience, it was about getting my master's degree, about figuring out how to balance work and life and learning. It was really fucking hard.

So far I've been applying for more work, had an interview for a job I don't want, have had time to edit other peoples' work, trying to finish a book so I can start another, and will be continuing work on my next novel.

I know, right? I'll keep you posted.