Monday, September 29, 2008

The Wreck Of My Office Chair

What did I do this weekend? I'll tell you what I did. I went to see Gordon Lightfoot in concert, that's what I did.

Now, if you are like most of my friends (except for Bronwyn Green), you will be asking yourself, "Why?"

Because he's Gordon Lightfoot, that's why! Because he writes songs that tell beautiful stories, and so what if some of those stories don't make a lot of sense and seem to be induced by "hard living," if you get my drift (and I think you do)? The man is a modern-day bard, a wandering minstrel selling his songs. And he's still doing it while pushing seventy. That, my friends, is true devotion to one's craft.

However, pre-Gordon, there was a tragedy. And it happened in my house. It happened to my butt.

Back in the day, when I posted about my office and included pictures, I showed you the nightmare of my office chair. The chair that was the very reason I called my blog, "My Office Chair Is Real Uncomfortable." I kept that chair, despite the fact that it often popped apart and pinched me, despite the fact that it made my rear cheeks fall asleep, because it had seen me through several manuscripts and was a trusted friend. But now, it has betrayed me.

Here's how it happened: I'm replying to a fan email (I actually do that, despite all evidence to the contrary. It just takes me a long time and I don't get all of them) on my BlackBerry, and I lean back in my trusty chair. And as my texting thumbs fly over the tiny keys, I hear this queer sort of groaning sound. Then, a cracking sound. Then, the physical reassurance of the chair at my back is no longer, and I am sliding, too slowly for it to be sudden, to quickly to do anything about it, off the back of the chair and onto the floor, where my tailbone makes a brisk acquaintance with the wood laminate.

Holy God, was that humiliating. Yup. I broke a chair. Sure, it was already broke, but come on. I'm super huge and pregnant here, let's not add insult to injury. If I was meant to have a bruised posterior this weekend, it would have been just as easily accomplished by some method that did not point out my super lardassness.

Here is photographic evidence of the carnage:

And that's my dog, looking guilty, though he had nothing to do with it. He just has a guilty conscience. He's Catholic.

Onto brighter things, though. Here is a picture of me and the lovely Gena Showalter at Meijer in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Gena was there signing books on the Levy book tour, with some other authors. But I was there for the Gena, because she was one of the very first authors I ever met after become a "real" writer, and she has always been ever so nice. Please to be looking at Gena and not me, the person with the swollen face and the hair that is in bad need of recoloring:

Thursday, September 25, 2008







Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Morning Of Disappointments.

I found the following things disappointing this morning:

  • Came home from dropping the kid off at school to find Cleopatra on one of the movie channels, but I'd already missed the Rex Harrison parts.
  • Metallica is being inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, despite their general douche-baggery.
  • I cannot find the cord to connect my camera to my laptop so that I can share the fabulous picture of me and Gena Showalter standing by the bras in Meijer.
  • I just bought new long-sleeved maternity shirts and it's going to be like, a bajillion degrees today.

Otherwise, things will probably go okay for me today.

Except for that Metallica thing, which will stick in my craw for quite some time.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hooray Hooray It's Gena Day!

In about twenty-five minutes I shall be pulling out of my driveway to head into Kalamazoo to see Gena Showalter on the Levy book tour.

Now, the only question is, do I wear the t-shirt that says "I HEART GENA" or the one that says "RESTRAINING ORDERS ONLY MAKE ME LOVE YOU MORE, BABY!"?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bienvenidos A Mis Baño

So, it's official. I'm probably going to die. Oh, the people at the doctor's office acted like it was no big thing. Just bronchitis. But I know the truth. I have some creeping lung disease. I may not have spent much time in a coal mine, but I know what this cough means. Certain doom.

Also, I have a real stuffy nose. The above few lines, when read out loud, sound something like this: "I bay not hab spend much dime in a coal bine, bud I know wud tis cough means. Cerdin doob."

Yes, cerdin doob, my friends. Your brave hero might not survive this one.

I have found a temporary way to alleviate the insidious symptoms of my disease. I can sit in the bathroom with the hot water running in the shower, and make a little rain forest for myself in there. It's giving me Robert Plant hair, and I'm sweating, but I'm pretty sure that what I'm also doing is breathing. I haven't done it in so long, it's hard to tell, but I'm confident that this is what people are referring to when they talk about it.

So, this is my view, today:

I like the bathroom, because it has a natural place to sit. Also, it is convenient for when I start sneezing and coughing and hacking and wheezing and peeing at the same time. But notice how shiny the walls are. That's a combination of being slick with moisture from the tropical climate I've introduced, and the fact that the guy who "helped" me at Lowes was like, "Get high gloss for your bathroom and kitchen!" Well, I don't know what he thought I was going to be doing in those rooms that I would need vinyl-like paint that was highly susceptible to peeling (like, what, did he think I was going to make a homemade sweat lodge in there or something? Well, I DID), but holy cow, is it annoying. I hate my paint.

Check out my awesome bathroom reading, yo. I like to leave books in the bathroom, because I think it tells people, "I am a good time manager. I use every moment available in the day to broaden my mind and experience. Even when I am pooping."

Okay, this is my shower curtain. I bought it because I thought it was so cool. Like, Enchanted Tiki Room cool. I brought it home, took down our old one, which was just plain white, and hung this one up, thinking it looked so awesome and that I was just the bestest, most funnest decorator ever.

And everyone makes fun of it.

My enthusiasm for it has not waned, but now there is an edge of spite to its presence. It's me saying, "Screw you, world. I love my shower curtain. If you don't like it, go to hell!"

Me and my shower curtain, against the world.

My husband complains that I have to much stuff on the bathroom counter. I say, "What the hell do you need so much space on the counter for? Are you going to do an autopsy in there or something? Shut up!"

The bathroom is an enormous source of marital tension, really, once you factor in the shower curtain and the counter space issue. I'm sure if we ever get a divorce, right next to "Reason for petition" it will say "Bathroom."

Dime mas! you're all saying. Okay. I will. These are the lights in my bathroom. They annoy me, because I bought the wrong light bulbs when two burned out, and they don't match. I tried to make it look intentional by alternating them, or putting two of the same on the outside and the other two in the middle, but it's just not working out. This is the best I can do.

So, that's what I'm doing today. I'm sitting in my bathroom/steam room and pretending to be alive, when what I really want to do is curl up into a ball and die. But don't worry, somehow, I shall soldier on, I'm sure. I always do. For I am tough.

Also, look at this turtle:

Is that not the happiest turtle you've ever seen? Look how thrilled he looks! No matter what awesome thing happens to you today (maybe an author you really like doesn't die of lung collapse in her bathroom), your day is not going to be in anyway as good as that turtle's day is going, I guarantee it.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

So, I'm Pretty Sure I'm Going To Die.

I think I have pneumonia. I'm not a doctor, despite the appearance of my shiny white lab coat (I just wear that to protect my clothes from spills), but I'm thinking the sloshing sounds coming from the vicinity of my lungs, making me sound like a human water bed whenever I move, might be an indicator. Also, the fact that I woke up this morning going, "Is someone making boiling water? Where is that tea kettle noise coming from? Oh, it's me. Breathing. That sucks."

Today, I'll be giving a presentation at GRRRWA, after which time I will drive myself directly to the funeral home in anticipation of impending demise.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday Grab Blog...

In reaction to the news that Laurel K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series has been optioned (by Cinemax or Vivid Video, one could only assume) for release as a television show or movie series, some fantastically snarky YouTuber has given us the following trailer. Snicker, and enjoy.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Science Time With Jen (And It's Not About Space Rocks).

This morning, I woke up at 4:45AM. Why so early? Did I have to go somewhere? Not really. I woke up that early because, my friends, I am like a kid on Christmas Eve, awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus!

THEY'RE GOING TO TURN ON THE LARGE HADRON COLLIDER TODAY! Okay, technically Wednesday, but it'll still be Tuesday here. And technically, its not the first time it's been turned on, and they're not going to actually bash any particles together today. Today is more like a test run. The big show will be in October. But this test is enough to get super-stoked over... because if they manage to get a particle beam all the way around the 17 mile circle, all systems are go for launch and some really important questions can finally be answered, like:

  • Is time travel possible?
  • What about alternate universes?
  • Does the Higgs-Boson particle actually exist?
  • If it doesn't, what gives matter its mass?
  • Can Daleks really come get me?
  • We know Daleks can go up stairs now, but how about a spiral staircase? Am I cool if I'm up one of them?

Okay, so maybe it won't answer those last two. But you have no idea how exciting this is to someone like me, someone who sees this as a brave new frontier, the horizon of a world that, with luck and science, might someday be just like an episode of Dr. Who.

Now, before you go picking out ugly wallpaper for your Tardis, there is an ugly side to all of this physics fun (aside from the face that for seven years I have been consistently misreading the name of the LHC as "Large Hard-On Collider"). You see, just like with awesomely huge space rocks, someone has to get their panties all in a bunch about the end of the world, and how we're all doomed. Seriously, people, can't you just enjoy the science without ruining it for everyone else?

But here is what they're worried about:

"It's going to make a black hole that sucks up the earth." This is what happens when someone prone to paranoia and overreaction knows enough about something to formulate a worst case scenario, which they will then obsessively cling to until the world DOESN'T end and they just look foolish. For those who need a primer, a black hole is typically what happens when a star collapses. It leaves a spot of like, super compressed gravity. We can't see them, but we know they're there, because we can see what they're doing to nearby stars and galaxies by just sitting around. A black hole's gravitational field is inescapable; much like your crotchety neighbor's porch when you were growing up, if you throw a tennis ball over there, it is not coming back.
Now, the fear of most armchair scaredypantses is that the LHC will create a microscopic black hole, which will swallow up mass, becoming bigger and bigger and bigger until it sucks us up. Which, I guess, could happen, theoretically, if not for something called Hawking Radiation.
Stephen Hawking theorizes that all black holes emit radiation, and that, for example, a non-rotating Swarzschild black hole that is very, very tiny is going to burn up energy faster than it can collect mass. Without significant mass, it cannot collect mass at a higher rate, and therefore will fizzle out. So, I guess you could say that according to the theory of Hawking Radiation, black holes are like Katamari... you can only pick up things that will stick to your Katamari, and if you can't pick little stuff up fast enough, your timer is going to run out before you can pick up the big stuff and the Prince is going to shoot lightning at you from his magnificent eyes.
Now, this is where the paranoid conspiracy theorists' argument gets really fun. They throw a fit about how this microscopic black hole is going to magically stuff crap into its gaping maw and grow big enough to gobble up the planet because Hawking Radiation is an unproven theory.
Even if I explain it, it won't make any more sense, but I'll give it a try. Armchair physicists are pretty sure that Stephen Hawking, arguably the most brilliant theoretical physicist of our time, is wrong. No, wait, that's not quite it either. Armchair physicists are pretty sure that Stephen Hawking, arguably the most brilliant theoretical physicist of our time, is wrong, AND they, who have learned what they know about physics from the National Geographic Channel, are RIGHT.
My verdict: We're not going to get eaten up by a black hole created by the LHC. The LHC has the potential to create microscopic black holes, and that is a GOOD THING. It will give us a chance to observe that which has until now been unobservable... you know, theories like, oh, I don't know, HAWKING RADIATION. And even if Stephen Hawking is wrong, you're still an idiot, because the baby black holes will be high-tailing it out of the earth's gravitation, and likely won't be able to accumulate enough mass to become a threat until they're winging out through space, at which point they will slow to a crawl and eventually stop, having run out of breath after their proton buffet.

So, chill out, enjoy the LHC, and begin planning your Dalek escape routes now.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Horror, Woe, Lament, I Can't Believe I Did That

This morning, as I pulled into my son's elementary school parking lot, I noticed something a bit queer. None of the children were wearing uniforms. In fact, they were wearing very nice clothes, the boys all in ties and the girls in pretty dresses. My son was wearing his uniform. What gives? thought I.

Well, being the best mom in the whole fucking universe, I missed the memo that today was picture day. I still maintain that this is not my fault. The "Parent Pack" envelopes that are supposed to come home every single month did NOT come home with me this month. And I am vindicated, because another mother was at the office complaining of the exact same thing. She, also, did not receive the information and had dropped uniformed middle schoolers off to be mocked all day for not taking advantage of the uniform holiday. Yes, that happens. The kids who remember not to wear uniforms on uniform holidays make fun of the kids who don't... even though on picture day, chances are your mom has put you in something far more hideous than your uniform.

Anyway, I go down to the office to hurriedly fill out a form. Then, I remember I don't have my checkbook. And it all sort of goes downhill from there.

Normally, when I am not in the third trimester of what is quickly becoming the worst pregnancy in the history of the universe, this sort of thing would roll right off my back like perspiration off a heavily greased male stripper. Not today, friends. No, not today at all.

Instead of simply saying, "Silly me, forgot my checkbook, here's the form and I can drop the check off later?" I have a complete breakdown. We're talking an all out, hyperventilating, "I'm a bad mom!" wailing crying jag. In front of the office ladies.

Now, the way I see it, I have two options here:

  1. Switch my son to a different school. This would probably be the easiest option. He's only in kindergarten. Young kids are resilient. The memory of being abruptly jerked from one school to another will surely fade faster than the office ladies' memory of me sobbing hysterically over picture day. And he can always make new friends. However, I have already paid tuition for the entire year, which leaves me at a decided disadvantage and makes me consider option #2.
  2. Fake my own death, resurface disguised as my son's new stepmother. Now, I know what you're thinking. "Jen, isn't faking your own death illegal?" The answer is "Yes, but only if you're doing it for some kind of illegal fraud." The fraud I'm proposing is (or damned well should be) totally legal. Here's how I do it: I go somewhere tropical, where the police are not as carefully trained to handle the disappearance of a tourist. Then, I go scuba diving, or some other such high risk activity, possibly involving sharks. After my wet suit, riddled with shark teeth holes, washes up on a local beach, I will be assumed dead. Even if it doesn't make the national news (but really, why wouldn't it? Doesn't everyone panic when a white woman is missing?), my husband can still go to my son's school and tell them of my horrible demise. After that, we just have to wait a while and then I can re-enter the picture in a fabulous wig that maybe might look like Annabelle Scioria's haircut from "What Dreams May Come," pretending to be the new wife and step mom, Sofia. You know what? I might even try out an accent. Maybe I'll be the wife he met while in an Ashram in India, recovering from Jen's horrific shark death. I'm at the Ashram seeking peace after my first husband, Gino, a brilliant conductor, drank himself to death after losing a hand in some bizarre Opera accident. And like, maybe I'm Italian... from Venice... and I was once an extra in a Woody Allen movie. You know, I'm liking this more and more all the time. The only draw back would be the weight I'd have to lose so people wouldn't recognize me, and possibly some plastic surgery to make my eyes more exotic shaped an mysterious. And while I'm in there, a boob job. Nothing too much, maybe just a lift and tighten them up, so I don't have to wear a bra under t-shirts. Is that too much to ask?

I've forgotten where I was going with this. Oh, right, crying in front of the office ladies at my son's school. Anyway, we got the picture thing worked out, I cried all the way home even though there was no longer a reason to cry, and now I'm suitably mortified and never want to face the office ladies again.

Oh, they said they understood. They said they'd all been there. But that doesn't make it any better.

Sorry, impending baby. Looks like you'll be home schooled.