Interview with an emotional vampire

If I were to sit down and actually list all the specific potential scenarios that I’m worried about encountering next year when my book comes out, I think “being interviewed by a radio talk show host who not only dislikes your book but egregiously misunderstands it, and in fact spends an inordinate amount of time histrionically babbling and even weeping about how much it, as well as a great many completely unrelated things, upset her” would be really high on that list.

I won’t say I’m glad Gwen had to go through that, because I sure as hell wouldn’t wish that on anyone, but it’s good to know that, yes, it’s possible to live through such an experience. And it’s worth the lengthy download to hear how wonderfully Gwen handled it.

(The interview is just past the halfway mark of the archived show. More about Gwen Zepeda’s book
here.)

My Fitness Commitment Challenge Journey Goal Challenge Thing begins TODAY!

So for the past week I’ve been counting Weight Watcher POINTS!™ again, because I’m cool like that. This, after months and months of unaccounted-for overconsumption of all things POINT-Y™ and otherwise, during which time I was not only off the wagon but also gleefully throwing things at it: dirt clods, rocks; maybe pieces of rotisserie chicken if I had any nearby, and often I did.

I enjoyed this little era of my life so much that now, it feels a tad inappropriate for me to be standing out here waiting for the wagon–or whatever vehicle might metaphorically represent a major weight loss program–to pick me up. Though obviously the big flaw in this analogy is that I don’t need a fucking wagon ride so much as I need to walk more, or bike more, or perhaps elliptically-cross-train more over the imaginary and curiously gravity-free terrain for which the elliptical cross-trainer trains you, and no shit, I plan to get RIGHT on all that, people. Soon.

I did ride my bicycle today along the lakefront for the second time in week. I felt very virtuous until, about thirty seconds into my ride, I encountered about 5,000 other people in matching sweatshirts on a 4-mile fitness walk for breast cancer who were therefore automatically better than I was. I mean I watched them striding by gloriously and was all: oh, yeah? You’re raising money for a cure for cancer? Well, I’M trying to raise five Activity POINTS!™ to eat some cheese, so there. But then, unlike me, they’d all thought to wear warm gloves today. Just for them I shook an icy, wind-chapped fist at breast cancer. Screw you, B.C.!

I’ve been meaning to return to Women’s Workout World or else investigate this other gym I might join, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to do either as long as there’s still a little bit of sunlight left after work. As some of you know, I spent most of the summer indoors with my fingers fused to an iBook, which in turn fed on my life force like a great sucking spiritual tick, and now I keep going outside and picking up leaves and stroking them against my face. Sometimes I’ll even stroll around on my weak, wobbly limbs, like that kid from The Secret Garden, and pretend that this makes a huge difference. I am far from being in shape, and farther still from being the Competitive Aerobicizer that I once–briefly–fantasized I was.

L' Aerobique!
(I found this most excellent picture on a web page about aerobic competitons. I’d seen commercials for the telecasts of such things but I forgot that they existed until I read about them in this Cintra Wilson book that I’m loving right now, which is not even the new Cintra Wilson book, which I plan to read next. But still: Aerobic Competitions! Strangely enough, when I did an image search, most of the websites that I found were all from France, and you’d think the very concept of Competitive Aerobics would curdle the creamy, buttery souls of French people, but this doesn’t seem to be the case.)

Anyway. I am trying to take this seriously. Bear with me. More later.

Not dead

My internet is all plugged in again and everything’s fine. Or so it is at home–I came in to work the other day to find my computer was unconscious, with sad little X’s for eyes. It’s icky and inconvenient and I’ve had to do more than usual at my day job, so forgive me for not having much for you this week.

Tuesday morning I woke up thinking that it was Election Day and I’m not sure if I was relieved or mad that we have three more weeks.

Down again

I’m posting this entry from a my laptop at coffeehouse because my broadband connection broke again this morning. Exactly a week after it busted the first time–like before, the connection was working fine late Friday night into the wee hours of Saturday; but then, this morning, just like a week ago, I woke up to find only the “internet” light blinking on my modem (clearly it lacks a “fucked” light). After I couldn’t reboot it I called Comcast again to yell at them. They’re coming tomorrow, but I hope this doesn’t become even more of a regular thing than it is already.

I’ve had this high speed connection for more than a year, and until now I hadn’t had any problems other than the need to restart the modem every now and then. When the repair guys came out on Monday they tried switching modems, tweaking the cables, and twiddling things in the back stairwell and basement of my apartment building and worked for a distressingly long time before they managed to fix whatever the hell was wrong–something in the basement or outside, I guess. They mentioned that the wiring is really old and crappy in my building so now I’m worried that they’ll decide it can’t be fixed and I’ll lose my shit and will have to move all because I suddenly can’t stand not having the super ultra high-speed pipeline pumping data to my apartment at all times providing me with the whopping doses of digital heroin that I somehow managed to live without until June 2003.

The guy on the phone this morning speculated that maybe a neighbor has a satellite dish or some kind of thing that is causing a disturbance at regular intervals. I have new upstairs neighbors and if they have anything to do with this I’m pretty sure I will need to have them killed.

If anyone has any kind of advice or experience with this sort of thing, let me know. Broadband problems, I mean–notcontract murder.

An open letter

Dear Local Independent Community Radio Station Whose Call Letters Both Start and End With “W”:

I listen to you almost every day on my drive to and from work, except for Friday mornings when you have that hardcore punk/thrash-metal show which is not quite my taste. But that’s okay, W-Blank-Blank-W, for diversity is a lovely thing. In fact, sometimes on Sundays I tune in to that one talk show that’s all in Creole because I sort of dig the dissociative feeling I get from listening to a strange dialect and I imagine it’s a reasonable simulation of how human language might sound to dogs and cats and babies and maybe even people raised by wolves. So I don’t have a problem with your actual content at all. I just have one little complaint, W-Blank-Blank-W, and I’ve hesitated to say it because I didn�t want to hurt your sweet listener-pledge-supported feelings: some of your DJs make me grind my fucking teeth.

Look, I know that most of your staff is made up of volunteers, and a lot of them are younger student volunteers who are therefore relatively unpolished and perhaps not even seeking careers in radio. I actually like that, and whenever I hear one of you kids be all, “Oops, uh, I just played two Death Cab For Cutie songs in a row because I was totally spacing out just now,” I’m much more likely to be charmed than annoyed. It allows me to pretend I’m still a college student listening to the campus station and that I’m not just some dumpy thirty-three year-old commuter in a Saturn who’s fairly certain she’s heard that Franz Ferdinand before but can’t name a single song to save her life. So while I don’t have a problem with most of your on-air personalities, W-Blank-Blank-W, I really can’t stand two or three of them, and I think I’ve figured out why: they all have raging cases of Intentional Radio Voice.

I hope you know what I’m talking about. And I hope you know who I’m talking about, because I don’t want to be too obvious about it, but I’ll start with the guy who does the morning show on a day of the week beginning with “T” who talks as if every second or third syllable and/or word is in italics. And with certain… long pauses, he sounds… well, condescending as all hell. It doesn’t help that he takes it on himself to describe, at great length, the song he just played. It’s not like I don’t appreciate your knowledge and zeal, MC Emphatic, but I can’t say I ever heard a song that intrigued me and thought, “Hmm, now what’s a good adjective for that song–‘trippy?’ ‘Melodic?’ ‘Trance-like proto-House drum-and-bass rhythm styling?’ What?!

As much as this has made me want to smash things, I’d concluded that maybe the guy can’t help it; that his mannerisms are simply a side effect of his remarkable music intelligence, like some kind of indie-rock Asperger’s Syndrome, and therefore I ought to be patient with his condition. But then one morning recently he was bantering with Woman Who Reads the News with A Curiously Awkward Synthesis of NPR Austerity and Phone Sex Purring, and at some point they both started TALKING LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE. No verbal italics, no strutting around in vocal drag–just two people talking in ordinary tones and cadences with voices that were perfectly pleasant to begin with.

And I liked them so much better, and actually enjoyed listening to them, and began to think of them as my friends, even, until Mr. Super-Syllables suddenly remembered that he hadn’t yet over-enunciated “Viva Voce” that morning and had at least three semi-obscure producer names to drop before 9:00, and Woman Newsreader realized it was time for her to breathily make love to a lengthy sequence of words as if they had nothing whatsoever to do with the dismal economy, war, terrorism, poverty, or death and destruction of any kind. And I went back to wanting to gouge out the radio tuner with my windshield ice scraper.

And here I haven’t even started on the weekday afternoon guy whose Intentional Radio Voice seems to involve some kind of recreational inhalant. But maybe that’s for another time.

Monday night mumbling and a PSA

(I had to put those two Mystery Meal pictures behind links in the previous entry. I just couldn’t stand to look at them any longer.)

This weekend my broadband connection died. Friday night I was happily doing idiotic Google searches; Saturday morning I was compulsively plugging and unplugging the power cord on my cable modem per the tech guy’s instructions. The Comcast people couldn’t come out until today. I was able to try out the wireless card on my laptop at a coffeehouse on Saturday, but still I kept having little bouts of frustrated unplugged-ness all weekend long. I felt like I’d woken up without teeth and had to do everything differently, and of course I kept forgetting and grabbing caramel apples.

I have been gravelly-voiced for a full week now because of this cold. I have thus learned: when you’re hoarse for two days you think it’s kind of sexy; it’s only after six days that you realize you sound more like Sally Struthers.

DID YOU REGISTER TO VOTE? YOU BETTER. When you vote you sometimes get to go inside places you wouldn’t visit otherwise in your everyday life, like an elementary school! Or a Christian Science church! My polling place is at a VFW hall, done all up with trophies and plaques and Clydesdale horse lamps, and it has that hardcore tavern smell that’s so piquant in the morning. Who knows: you might get to vote in a place that’s just as cool. There are still registration deadlines open in a lot of states but Tuesday is the deadline here in Illinois. You know you want to check out the lobby of that senior citizens center. The community college cafeteria beckons! Come on!