Monday, June 28, 2010


I'm not sure what's up with the weather today. This morning it was so foggy that I half expected interdimensional monsters to slither out of the mist and drag away passing cars. And tonight the next city over smelled very much like the filter to Ten's aquarium did when I replaced it yesterday. Seriously, I didn't think the city had any swampy areas, so why did it smell like that?

I was thinking about the city as I drove home and didn't enjoy the smell. If I was ever homesick for Taunton MA, I could just drive to the city (which shall remain nameless) a few miles away. It seems terribly out of place in New Hampshire, almost as if someone had towed a few miles of Massachussetts city northward, then allowed it to decay for a few decades.

But what am I talking about? I'm never homesick for Taunton. Here, let me make an exhaustive list of everything I miss about it:

* Seeing my aunt Gerry on a semi-regular basis
* the Galleria mall
* Trucchi's grocery stores
* Well-lit late night drives home from work summers
* WAAF (Did you wonder where my taste for various metal subgenres came from?)
* strained chow mien sandwiches

Yep, that's it. I used to put "Hell" in the return address when I wrote to people during the 3 years I lived there, so...

"I won't rip your heart out" - The Subways, I Won't Let You Down

Thursday, June 24, 2010


I've been working on the scenes just prior to the climax of my novel lately. I still need to fill in the 30,000 or so words between where I left off before and the end, but it's going okay. I don't write in order anyway, so this isn't a big deal. Writing scenes one after another just doesn't work for me.

A lot of people misinterpret the classic writers' advice "Write what you know," to mean "only write about things you've experienced," which would make for a lot of dull books. What it really means is "do some research, Stupid." So I have been, ranging from topics like: When does the FBI get involved in a serial killer case? How long does it take to drown? Do lakes have under-ice currents? What would realistically cause a car to catch on fire, but NOT in a Hollywood movie-style explosion? You know, the basics. The one I'm having trouble with is "which ancient peoples believed that the body couldn't be [insert type of altering] if the person was to be allowed into the afterlife?" which is kind of frustrating, because I know I've read plenty of myths of that nature.

And beyond that, I've been pestering people to tell me what turns of phrases they've only heard when they visited New England. You'll note that I haven't asked fellow locals...because people are really bad figuring out regionalisms. Hell, I was 17 before I knew that "wicked" was a regionalism. That was just before Al Gore invented the internet, though. The reason that I've asked is because I'd like for the story to feel genuine to this area. Well, Manchester being the unlikely place for a serial killer aside, that is.

Here are things I need to work into the story:
- Ayuh (obviously). This is already something I had a minor character say, but of course most of the characters wouldn't. It's not like the majority of people use the expression daily.
- Down Cellar. To be kinder to readers, I won't interchangeably use cellar and basement although most of us do.
- Coffee Regular. Which, of course is coffee with cream and two sugars. I don't drink coffee, but even I know that!
- So don't I. Until recently, I never gave any thought to this being confusing. Of course people would know you were making a statement of agreement, right? Right??
- My ghouls. Which, of course, is something little kids yell when they reach the safe place while playing tag. This is another one I never thought about. "My goals," as someone pointed out, probably would make more sense.
- Quarter of [hour] - For reasons I can't fathom, some people from elsewhere find it difficult to determine if this means 15 minutes before or after the hour. I was taught, in school, to speak of time this way, so it seems completely obvious to me that time goes Hour, Quarter Past, Half Past, Quarter Of, but...
- Carriage. The thing with wheels you put your groceries in.
- Bubbler. A drinking fountain
- Breakdown lane - (?) people really call it a shoulder like the road signs do? I'll be damned. I'm also confounded that "sneakers" is supposed to be a regionalism too.
- Bulkie. A round sandwich roll.
- Hot dog rolls, New England style. These have raw sides so you can butter and toast them. And they're not labeled "New England Style" on the packages here - just hotdog rolls.
- Jimmies. Chocolate sprinkles for ice cream.
- All set. I actually knew that people in other regions don't use this expression because a comic did a bit on confusing a waitress by saying it when she asked if he needed something more.
- Seriously? Apparently it's used more here than away. And I do I know people who use it all. the. time.

"I want to hurt you bad, make you paranoid, and say the sweetest things." -Of Montreal, Gallery Piece

Monday, June 21, 2010

I don't like U

So, I was prepared to like U. the commercials are so different and clever with the message of how they actually understand that it's not a fun experience, and I relate to them more than those other kinds, given that I'm not the girliest of girls. Sure, I like candles and flowers, but most people don't see me in a skirt unless I have a job interview or a funeral to attend. And if I was wearing a skirt during that sort of week, it sure the hell wouldn't be white.

But it turns out that I don't like U. First, they smell kind of strange. Not in a perfumed sort of way, but more like an unmaintained beach bathroom way. Most women probably aren't going for smelling like a hobo, so I doubt I'm the only one who finds this off-putting. And second, while the packaging is definitely festive, neon colors lack discretion - I like keeping my coworkers guessing as to why I'm in a bitchy mood, and accidentally flashing one of those sort of ruins the mystery. And who's idea was it to put the blue bullseyes down the center of things? It strikes me as a little bit condescending.

Basically, in the effort to seem different, they have in fact embraced everything that they're railing against. Like the pigs in Animal Farm. Or, wait, more like those girls who come into threads about awful cramps, and are all, "Oh, I don't mind my period. It's only once every 45 days, and I use three tampons a day for three days. I never get any cramps, either. teehee. It must be awful for you." You know what? Screw you. No one wants to hear how easy you have it, and we're all secretly wishing menopause sucks twice as much for you as the rest of us. But you know, at least with those girls I can console myself by knowing that odds are that they're fatter than me, struggles with weight being another issue people get bent out of shape over when people make light of it, and can at least imagine snottily saying "Wow, the average woman wears a size twelve to fourteen and at my fattest ever I was a size ten and I hated it. It must be awful for you" and's a bunch of marketing execs who are probably men anyway, laughing their way to the bank because they tricked us. Assholes.

This rant brought to you by the letters P, M, and S.

"With my aching hand reach for you, burning skin bleed for you. Laugh at it all until you take the fall. My second sight see though you, second skin bleed for you..." - Carfax Abbey, Second Skin

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Shannon Vs Replacing A Brake Light

When it comes to tools, I am a danger to myself and others. Mostly myself, though. I have an inch long scar along my right thumb to show where I learned, a couple weeks before I turned 13, that we shouldn't cut anything with a sharp knife while holding it; I bet most people don't need this lesson. Clearly I'm not to be trusted around tools but my parents keep buying me them anyway, like the new drill I got for Christmas. I don't know why, it's not as though I have a lot of life insurance they could hope to cash in... Anyway, with more frustration and less bleeding than Shannon Vs Installing Closet Shelves, I tackled replacing a brake light this week. I know you're dying to hear all about it!

So, remember how I bought a new(ish) car to avoid having to have things fixed? Yeah, I think that's funny now too. At the beginning of the week two people pointed out that one of my brake lights was out, so there's a problem already. I didn't whip out my warranty booklet because I already knew that it'd cost me a $50 deductible even if it covered it, and hey, I should be able to figure it out on my own. Right? I used to have to replace the right turn signal on my first car every six months, so... But I peered into the rear of the vehicle and noticed that I couldn't see where the lights were. Pulling at the lens cover didn't do anything either. Hmm.

I know. The owner's manual. just tells you how to remove the bulb, not how to access it. Internet sites then. Found some message boards with people asking how to do this, and a not-quite-adequate tutorial for the same. Couldn't believe how much effort was going to be required - you have to remove the entire light housing. Jesus.

Got to work on that Wednesday. The first nut came off easy, but the other one seemed to be covered by one of those foolish things that you screw on instead, a little plastic cap thing. It's way deep inside a hole I can't even fit my hand into, and my hands are little: most women's hands measure 7 inches from the base of the palm to the tip of their index fingers, and mine aren't quite 6". Hmmm. Borrowed at ratchet from my dad (don't worry, I won't get a ratchet set for Christmas. As you'll see he had me buy one this week). Borrowed another one since that one was too big for the space. Dropped it into the abyss between the molding and the car frame.


Thought of several clever things I could have done to keep that from happening, like tying a rope to the ratchet, or taping a ruler to it, or spending $50 to have the bulb replaced... worried about what that would do to the car, and apologized to dad. Went to buy a ratchet set of my own - and tied a shoelace to the ratchet first, but it rained two nights so I put it off. Failed to get the cap to bulge with the ratchet. Used a sharpie on the cap to determine if it was moving, and a better flash light revealed that it wasn't. Gave up for a while. Prayed that I could figure it out, and slept on it.

Returned to trolling those boards this morning and finally figured out that people have a weird idea of what "a clip" is and realized that it's a post, not a cap. Bought a wooden dowel to pry at it. Couldn't budge it. Looked down and noticed another panel...with another nut! Hey! Used my brand new ratchet to remove the final nut and then got back to prying. Failed three or four times to keep the housing from moving at an angle, which only wedged it tighter. Chipped off 0.3" of the end of the light case, oops, hopefully no one else will notice. But then, then it finally came out! Success!

It took less than two minutes to replace the bulb and put the housing back into place. I did not, however, find the missing ratchet. Hopefully it's lying along side of a bumpy road rather than still in the car... And those boards? They say you need to replace the damn bulbs yearly, which explains why a car with less than 12,000 miles on it needed it done already. sigh. I did save $50, though. And hey, now I have the ratchet for next time.

"I think I'm getting to understand. Automatic flash point I see you across the floor. Make all things new." - Taken By Cars, Uh Oh

Saturday, June 19, 2010


So, I just finished reading He's Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. Because if there's one thing I'm really bad at, it's math. But if there are two things I'm really bad it, it's math and figuring out guys' intentions. Or math and driving a stick shift. But let's go with figuring out what guys want from me.

This wasn't a book I loved. But you know, as much as I'd like to run away from some of the advice and defend men as not being like that [insert several variables of "that"]...a lot of them are. And a lot of women cough*me*cough are guilty of letting things go on too long in hopes of getting what we want from the objects of our unwise affection. So my summation of the book is that it's both harsh and fair.

The harsh but true goes both ways, by the way, and it doesn't just harp on men who are unworthy of one's time. They never say that women who make excuses for everything about the guys they like, ranging from why they still haven't asked them out yet to why they don't want to get leave their wives for them, are stupid but you do get the sense that they think those women are at very least a little deluded. At least I'm guilty only of the former!

It'd be interesting to see what would be in a book called Actually She's Not That Into You, or, as a better title, Maybe You're Not Her Type. Hopefully things like "If she's flirting with other guys more than you...", or the even more basic "If she pulls away when you lean close/responds to your comments in single word replies/recoils from your casual touch...." and so on because there seem to be as many clueless men who don't read women's signals right (like body language - and apparently, at least judging from an MB argument recently, some need to be told simple things like women reading a book aren't just dying to be chatted up by complete strangers) as clueless women who project wishful thinking onto what men do.

"I was only seeking intimacy as I politely asked you out. What's that? You've got another lady? I'll just keep seeing you in my fantasies..." - Los Abandoned, (I Didn't Mean to) Stalk U

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Can't Breathe

Of all the things I'm sick of this week - and there are several of them ranging from being completely sick of the sort of contract we're doing at work and my apparent inability to learn not to give a certain type of person power to influence my mood - I'm really sick of not being able to breathe!

95% of the time my asthma symptoms are unnoticeable, allowing me to be more active than a lot of people, but this triggers are humidity and pollen and there's plenty of both to be had currently; for example there's ninety percent humidity today. The worst of it is that I'm so tired, no matter how much I sleep. I'm sure working an extra 1.25 hours a day isn't helping, but this just sucks.

I actually felt well enough to work out on Thursday, but a tragic MP3 player accident which resulted in its death despite trying to revive it for an hour and a half squandered what I didn't know then was my only window of opportunity for days so now I wish I'd tried it without music... If I exert myself by doing anything more than walking, I feel like bands are around my chest that makes it ache... I tried to hang up my new shadowboxes today, but gave up once I hit a snag with the wall anchors because I didn't feel up to trying another approach.

I know that this will pass, but I hate feeling weak, and for that to keep me from doing things I want to. To make matters worse, knowing why I can't get things done in no way keeps me from feeling lazy. Sorry to whine =(

p.s. This blog is a year old today!

"You touch yourself, you think of me. C'mon, it's not that dirty." - Die Trying, Dirty Dirty

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Splice (Spoilers)

I saw Splice with C on Sunday. It was her turn to pick a movie, and we both hoped it'd suck less than my last choice (see also, horror for wusses). Turns out that the previews for this movie are really misleading.

If you've seen the trailer, did you get the impression that it's about a lab-created monster rampaging after it escapes, killing a lot of people - like Species? It's not. The body count is a very small number, so small that you could count the deaths on the fingers of one genetically altered hand.

The truth of the matter is that this movie is a retelling of a centuries' old story. You may very well have read the story in high school. I won't say which novel, but you'll catch on.

I think I liked this more for it being something other than what I expected, but I would recommend it more as something to rent if you're undecided about going to see it in the theater.

"I'm not in love, I just want to be touched. I just want your kiss, Boy." - Kate Nash, Pumpkin Soup

Saturday, June 5, 2010

May Music

Elbow - The Bones Of You
Hadouken! - Crank It Up
Hyperstory - A Happening
Imogen Heap - 2 1
Iron & Wine* & Calexico - Dark Eyes
Kate Nash - Pumpkin Soup
Lily Allen - Friday Night
Minus the Bear - Hooray
Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band - Albatross, Albatross, Albatross
Paolo Nutini - Jenny Don't Be Hasty
Santogold - Say Aha
Simian Mobile Disco - Pinball
Stereophonics - Mr Writer
Tape Deck Mountain - Ghost Colony
Tellison - Gallery
The Asteroids Galaxy Tour - Around the Bend
The Blank Theory - Sour Times
The Bravery - I Am Your Skin
The Bravery - Unconditional
The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Oh My Love
The Cooper Temple Clause - Music Box
The Cooper Temple Clause - Sister Soul
The Eels - Your Lucky Day In Hell
The Faint - The Geeks Were Right
The Go Find - Everybody Knows It's Gonna Happen Only Not Tonight
The Gossip - Pop Goes The World (James Ford Version)
The Gutter Twins - Idle Hands
The National - Available I've already listened to this song more than 50 times. srsly.
The Papertiger Sound - Magnetic North
The Pigeon Detectives - Keep on Your Dress
The Submarines - You, Me and the Bourgeoisie
The Subways - I Won't Let You Down
The Wombats - My Circuitboard City
Van She - It Could be the Same
Van She - Sex City
Wickhead - Sacrifice
You Me At Six - Jealous Minds Think Alike
You Me At Six - Poker Face (Lady Gaga cover)

As usual:
Bold = I have other songs by them in my mp3/cd collection
Italic = I'd heard but didn't like other songs by them
Neither = never heard of them before

* So...what do you sing in the shower? "Freedom Hangs Like Heaven" by Iron & Wine is one of the songs I usually sing. The other two songs are "Mekong" by The Refreshments and "The Letter" by The Boxtops. "Heroin Girl" by Everclear and "Zero" by The Smashing Pumpkins sometimes happen too.

"Desire. Feelings. Are you available for...Are you available?" - Moving Units, Available

Friday, June 4, 2010

Done Got Over 'im

So...remember my unwise infatuation of last summer? He went away, and I got over him. For real, though, not just in an out of sight, out of mind sort of way. No really, I have proof!

This is what I was alluding to here. To my surprise, I was not pleased when he came back - but frankly, by New Years I no longer thought positively about seeing him again since he failed to keep in touch. And it's not just not having seen him for nine months, because my friend Danny (who I think of as being like a little brother) came back too a few weeks earlier after nearly as long, and I'm pleased about that. But when Mr. Unwise wandered back first instinct was to avoid him.

I know, why? Let's just say I have a history of rediscovering feelings for guys who've come back into my life. Unwise isn't going to be around much longer before he's off again, and my fear was that being around him would remind me of why I'd liked him so much - which would be bad since I know how that'd turn out, with me missing him and mad that I never hear from him.

After a couple of days of avoidance, though, I realized something: I don't feel anything any more. I've eaten lunch with him (and with other people, of course) a few times since and it's okay. He's still attractive, but I'm no longer interested. He wasn't around today, and though I noticed, it didn't bum me out like that would have last summer.

It's also sort of interesting to no longer really care what he thinks about me. I suppose he wonders why I've paid him so little attention lately, but really, that's his problem, not mine. Let him think whatever he likes to explain it.

I don't know why I'm writing about this, but I like having the mental space to think about guys who might be better for me, even though an old crush has resurfaced. Maybe it's a type of personal growth not to go right back to wanting someone who isn't right for me. Who knows.

"You got me all wrong. You wandered away" - Dios Malos, You Got Me All Wrong

Franklin Pierce

And now for a bit of light-hearted politics (you're surprised, I'm sure) a picture of New Hampshire's only president to date.

Do you know what NH school kids are taught about the state's native son turned president? He was so bad at the job of being president that he's a contributing cause of the civil war. And this is in the state that probably likes him best!

But he's finally getting some recognition, oh 150 years after the fact. See?

"There's not much to say about this obscure president, except that he's gorgeous. He's like Johnny Depp, but without as much to show for himself."

"I want you to want me, but do you want me?" - Red Delicious, Want Me