Monday, December 24, 2012

The Hobbit: A Three Hour Movie

I'm going to see The Hobbit tonight. D's been wanting to see it since he heard it came out. This movie is two hours and forty-six minutes long. Not quite as long as Titanic (three hours and fourteen minutes)-a movie, by the way, that branded me a heartless bitch when I turned out to be the only woman who left the theater dry eyed. I was crying on the inside, okay! No, not really.

Anyhoo, The Hobbit is definitely long enough for me to take caution not to drink anything before the movie starts. I have a notoriously small bladder. Yes, this is going to be fun.

The things we do for love, eh?

I've heard the reviews for this movie were less than stellar, but I liked Lord of the Rings, so here's for hoping. When I come back, I'll be sure to tell you just how god-awful it was. Or how delightful. Or how sexy Bilbo Baggins' hairy feet are. I'll try not to do like I did for Sucker Punch and leave you hanging for an eternity like I did the last time. Because I know so many of you are biting your nails to the quick waiting for my next post...(insert awkward cricket noises here).

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Cheating in High School

I don't remember ever cheating on a test, but if I did, this would be the way I'd do it...you know, if I had friends.


Friday, December 07, 2012

The One-Minute Writer: The Belt Buckle and the Necktie

From The One-Minute Writer:

FFF: The Belt Buckle and the Necktie:

The pants were starting to fall around his knees. The starvation diet was finally working but this pantsless lifestyle was not going to win him any friends.

"I'll use my neck tie!" he exclaimed much to the annoyance of the other passangers on the train.

Monday, December 03, 2012

30 Days o' Love

Towards the end of October, I issued my significant other a warning. I was going to be participating in NaNoWriMo this year. Chances were good that I would be so wrapped up in my writing that certain people in my life-namely, him-might get to feeling neglected. I assured him that I still loved him deeply. Passionately, even. It would only be for a month and then I would be back to admiring his magnificence and telling him how truly awesome he is...or something of the like (insert eye roll here).

I made it clear that this wasn't another repeat of that Cityof Heroes fiasco where I got so caught up in the game that he eventually threatened to end the relationship on grounds of abandonment. Yes, I got so into a game, my boyfriend threatened to dump me...his girlfriend. I hear from many of my female coworkers and my older sister that this situation is usually reversed and some have even gone on to advise me to seek professional help for this terrible affliction. Since I don't have money for a shrink, I've solved this problem by not playing the damn things at all. Now if only I could solve that pesky internet/chocolate/anything-edible-and-within-reach addiction...yeah, not in this lifetime.

With my warning in affect, I went on to write my little heart out free in the knowledge that it wouldn't be held against me. Things seemed to be going well...that is, until he realized I was going to be attending the Metairie write-ins. All of the Metairie write-ins. And the little side parties like movie night and the TGIO party last night. He didn't forbid me to go, per se, but I did notice the look of disappointment in his eyes and maybe a wee bit of anxiety over the fact that I would be spending hours on end with my computer at a coffee house with other WriMo's. Other WriMo's, some of which might possibly, maybe be of the male persuasion. I really hope that's what he was thinking. Personally, I'd feel better knowing he was jealous than if I suspected he thought I was a talentless hack and wasting my time. I am a talentless hack, but that's besides the point.

Regardless of what was going on inside his noggin, I wasn't particularly pleased when he told me one night after I asked him if he wanted me to stay home, "I'd never keep you from doing anything you want to do. But don't worry. I'll let you know when you're getting ridiculous."

Seriously? Seriously? Grrrr....The fact that the man isn't in a bed-ridden coma this very moment from the pummeling he so richly deserved but has yet to receive is nothing short of a miracle and a true testament to my never ending patience and understanding!

In his defense, I had been spending a lot of time on the Westbank at my sister's house while this was going on. Not every night, but at least twice to three times a week. We've become workout buddies and have so far discovered that Belly Dance Fitness is much harder than it looks and that Leslie Sansone from those Start! Walking At Home dvd's sounds a little like Fran Drescher when she laughs. I think we expended more energy making fun of the woman than we did working out-a mild exaggeration, but still! Have you heard this woman laugh!?!? Like fingernails on a chalkboard! Again, D. hasn't out and out said anything against this. In fact, he's glad that I'm sticking to my workout plan when I have failed to do so so many times in the past, but I can't help but wonder if he's slightly miffed that I'm willing to give up precious boyfriend/girlfriend time away so willingly, his reasoning being, "If you don't have the time to spend with me, why do you spend it with her?" He's never said as much, but I have the sneaking suspicion that's what he's been thinking. And he knows big sis is my shoulder to cry on when he's acting like a total douche. I don't know. Maybe I've been reading too much into this. Maybe I've been feel guilty after all.

I decided before Nano ended that I would rectify this situation by making the month of December his month or what I like to call SpeTimWBoyfMo (Spend time with boyfriend month) ...the acronym could use a little work, I know. Anyway, I found this app for android called 30 DayRelationship Challenge. Here's the description:

Take the 30 Day Relationship Challenge and have a stronger love life!

Put the spark back in your love life. Show your wife, girlfriend, husband or boyfriend how much you love them. The challenge’s main goal is to motivate you to do something special/romantic/sweet for your significant other every day for 30 days. In the end you should have a stronger relationship.

Basically, it's a relationship to do list, like "Buy him a lottery ticket and write 'I won the lottery when I met you,' on the back." Today's assignment required me to sneak up behind him, give him a long hug, and tell him he's the best thing that ever happened to me or some such thing. We're on day three and so far I've accomplished everything but the ticket thing. Instead I just told him I won the lotto when I met him and left it at that.

The best part of SpeTmo? He doesn't even know I'm doing it. I haven't told him. Every day I'll perform a random act of mushiness and I'll keep on doing it until the month is over-at least, until December 30th. I might add an extra assignment to fill up the entire month. I'm curious as to how long it will take before he either:

a) Asks me, "What's up with you? You’ve been acting really strange lately."

b) Asks me, "Are you cheating on me? Seriously, you've been acting so weird this past month!"

c) Points a gun at my head and yells, "What the hell have you done with my girlfriend you...you...pod person!!!"

I suspect either a) or b), but I'm not ruling out c) just yet. I'm also thinking of starting a betting pool for any interested parties. How long before I drive my Snuggle Bunny insane with romance? Place your bets people.

Friday, November 30, 2012

It's a Small World After All

Rest assured, this post isn't about my trip to Disney World or that stupid song that got stuck in my head to the point I thought I would die of an animatronic induced aneurysm. That's a rant I'm saving for another day. No, this one is about bumping into old friends in the least expected places and how you can make new connections from old ones and vice versa.

I was at Tastee Donuts on Transcontinental tonight. For those of you worrying that I went there to take a high dive off the diet wagon into a shallow gutter filled with sweet, delicious chocolate covered donuts with sprinkles and lots o' calories, let me set your mind at ease. The NaNoWriMo group met there for our last chance write in and I tagged along even though I'm technically finished.

I had one plain cake donut. Don't judge me!

Any way, Rob Cerio, one of the participants and a friend of James, a guy who used to game with us on Sunday nights, showed up late with his wife in tow to congratulate all us winners and to shoot the breeze. I learned that he and our regional head honcho Shannon Kitchens have worked together on a few films, one of which (The Adventures of Keith Flippen, Didgeridoo Player from the 3rd Dimension) recently won best film in the 2012 New Orleans 48 Hour Film Project. Their submission for 2011 won some awards too and was pretty damn hilarious.

While they were talking, I noticed Rob's wife kept staring at me. Before I could panic and put out a restraining order, she said, "I know you from somewhere. Where do I know you from? It's going to drive me crazy." For the sake of her mental health, I went down a list of all the places I had worked during my lifetime, going down the line from my most recent job as a massage therapist to my first job as a cashier at Eckerd's Pharmacy when I was working for the anti-christ (a pharmacist named PJ). For every job mentioned, she would narrow her eyes for a few moments and then shake her head. Finally, one of the other WriMo's asked if I had ever been to any Sci-fi Cons. I've been to Coast Con and Crescent City Con, but only a couple times for each, certainly not often enough to make myself known amongst the regular Con goers

Suddenly her eyes lit up like it was Christmas (or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or "Screw you bitches! I'm atheist...pick your politically correct poison of choice) and she finally asked me what my name was and had I ever LARPed (live action role playing, for those of you who have never got your geek on). And indeed, I had. I used to play Vampire: The Masquerade at a bar called Buddah Belly's and another called the Half Moon, both on Magazine Street. Then she told me her name was Cheri and my eyes lit up like it was Agnostica. The mystery was finally solved.

Okay, the thing you need to know is that I was something of a socially awkward loser back then. Shocker, I know. A coworker at the supermarket I was working at the time told me about this cool game with vampires and character sheets and all that good stuff. This was back in the day when I was still living on the Westbank with my mother, because that's what socially awkward losers do. Anyway, I wanted to find a game, but this was before I knew anything about Craigslist and I'm pretty sure Yahoo Answers hadn't been invented yet so I did the only thing I could do. I put an ad in the Personals asking total strangers if I could play with them. I got one reply.

No, not from Cheri. From a guy named Punt. Seriously, that's what everyone called him. He and some of his friends ran a game at a bar called Buddha Belly's and he was more than happy to take me there. I was a legal adult past the age of consent, but when my mother found out what I had done and what I was planning to do, she nearly went berserk.

"What the hell are you thinking? Do you know this guy? How do you know he isn't some psycho-killer-puppy murderer-rapist? And what the hell is Vampire: The Masquerade, anyway?!?! Sounds Satanic to me." (Insert suspicious mom glare here)

She refused to let me set foot out of the house unless she knew where I was going and who I was meeting and of course, she had to follow me and pick me up. I didn't have a driver's license then so I didn't have much of a choice. She and my Aunt Elda drove me to the parking lot of a mall where we met up with Punt and his friends, then followed him to the game. There she left me to my own devices, warning me that she would be stopping by later in the night to pick me up and that if I was missing, Punt's bald head would roll.

Yes, my mommy dropped me off at the game. What part of "socially awkward" did you not get?

So where does Cheri fit in to this embarrassing tale of nerdy goodness? She was one of the few players there I could get up the nerve to talk to, possibly because she was one of the few female players and she seemed safe-you know, she didn't have that psycho-killer-puppy murderer-rapist look about her. This is sexist, I know, so to all of the female puppy murderers out there, you have my humblest apologies.

Cheri befriended me. She made me feel comfortable in a world where I was unsure of myself...which looking back, was just about anywhere I happen to be standing at the time. She and her husband (husband #1) took me to my first Con and put up with me as a third wheel. For that alone, the woman deserves a medal.

We eventually lost touch, something I have regretted for years. I've never been good at holding onto friends. Hell, I was never all that good at making them in the first place. I didn't call when I should. Didn't write. I would get wrapped up in my own world of bullshit and lose track of the things that mattered. But mostly, I think I was just afraid of people. My biggest fear was that once someone really got to know me, they wouldn't want to know me at all. So I didn't commit. I kept people at arms length afraid if they got too close they might see the real me and turn tail and run. I feared rejection more than anything in the world so I kept my distance. Because of this, I had trouble holding on to those oh so tenuous connections that we come to cherish later in life.

We talked a little about what she is up to now. Cheri is now married to Rob who seems to be a genuinely nice guy. She has two children she loves and she is happy with her life. I am happy for her. We exchanged numbers. I have NO excuse for not calling her now. I made a new connection today from an old one and I aim to keep it.

...She's also thinner than me, but I'm willing to look past this...fucking plain cake donut!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I Won NaNoWriMo!

I finished writing my 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo the other night and although I won't be winning any prizes (you would think they'd at least offer you a bumper sticker or a coffee mug or Tatum Channing or something), I'm quite proud of me. Quite, Quite. My elation over making my deadline early without being struck by a meteor overflowed-so much so that I instantly got up from my seat and did the Snoopy dance the second my word count made it past 50K, much to the amusement of everyone sitting at French Press on Williams Blvd. To those of you who witnessed this incident and were entertained by my nonexistent dancing skills, you're welcome and please don't post that on YouTube. I will sue.

 
Instead, enjoy Ihudson930's take on the Snoopy dance of pure joy. Don't forget to follow.

Alas, the novel I'm writing is far from finished, but I might include a sneak peek later on if I'm feeling especially petty.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Top 5 Things That Drive Your Massage Therapist Crazy

I recently read an article titled 8 Things Your Masseuse Doesn't Want You to Know. After reading it thoroughly, I've come to the conclusion that the LMT's (licensed massage therapists, for those of you not in the know) interviewed either haven’t been in the business for very long, or really hate their jobs. For example, one of the items mentioned that most massage therapists get scared when their clients snore. I don't buy that. I think if a client is relaxed enough to fall asleep on my table, I'm doing a damn fine job. Isn't snoring like applause for massage therapists? It is to me.
It got me to thinking of my own personal pet peeves though, so I tried googling Things Your LMT Hates or Things That Drive Your Masseuse to Drinking, but these searches provided no useful data, and quite frankly I’d like to know what insane, perverted monkey Google put in charge of their search engine for me to come up with this list: 
Seriously. You guys have a lot of explaining to do.

Since Google failed me miserably, I thought I would do a list of my own entitled Top 5 Things That Drive Your Massage Therapist Crazy (see above). So, without further ado, here are the things you bitches do that make me regret my chosen profession. Enjoy!

1. BAD HYGIENE

Did you take a bath before you hopped onto my table? Did you take one within the last twenty-four hours? Have you even been introduced to the concept of soap and water? No? Get the hell off my table!

"Feet that smell like ass and an ass that smells like feet. I have to say, Ma'am, I'm impressed!"

Case in point: I once had a chair massage client who always came in reeking to high heaven. His odor was so offensive that I could only massage him with light fist compressions as opposed to using my elbows since that would have required me to get closer to him. I would sanitize my hands and arms over three times after touching him and wasted a ton of aromatherapy spray inside the kiosk in the vain hope of removing his lingering stench. When I complained to my boss about this, he asked me to "Take one for the team." Seriously. Apparently, I wasn't the only one who had a problem with this client, and I think my boss must have had a word with him. After that phone call, the guy came back in. He was still reeking, but this time he was carrying a huge stick of deodorant. So instead of smelling like straight up funk, he smelled like funk with a layer of Speed Stick. Suffice it to say, I washed my hands raw working that job.

2. DON'T BOTHER TO TELL ME ABOUT A SERIOUS MEDICAL CONDITION. I LIKE HURTING YOU!

God, how I love this one—especially when the condition in question is something catching or life threatening! LMT's have these things called client intake forms where the client is supposed to list any medical conditions they might have or had within such and such time. I'll even ask the client before I start, "Have you had any recent injuries, surgeries, medical conditions of any kind and/or have you been under a doctor's care within the past three months?" I ask this for two very important reasons. I need to know if doing this massage is going to hurt the client, or if this massage is going to hurt me or anyone else that happens to come in contact with me after I’ve worked on the client.

Do you realize if you hop onto my table the same day you were the victim of a fender bender you could have broken bones or internal bleeding you aren’t aware of? Did you know I could make it worse just by touching you? Well guess what genius? I can. And when they're rushing you to the hospital with a punctured lung due to that broken rib you didn’t tell me about because you just had to have a massage today, don't come crying to me. Do you realize scabies is catching? Yeah, it is. And now you've just given it to me. And my next client. And everyone my next client touches.

Thanks a lot, asshole.


3. "MASSAGE THERAPIST" IS NOT CODE FOR "PROSTITUTE"

I don't do happy ending. I don't touch egg roll. No suki suki now. I had to go through a very grueling certification program to do what I do. I had to take a ton of biology courses to know how the body works and a pathology course to know when I can or cannot perform a massage. I had to take an ethics class to know what is acceptable behavior and what will cause the licensing board to turn my credentials into the equivalent of toilet paper...not to mention, get me fined and/or arrested. I have to have 12 continuing education units (CEU’s) every year just to stay a massage therapist. Laws and provisions differ from state to state, but in general, you need to know your shit. Or knead to know…Ha! See what I did there?

I don't get paid much, but I enjoy what I do. Or I do until some idiot comes along and asks me if I "Huh, do that massage...uh...you know the one...wink, wink, nudge, nudge. All masseuses do it, sweetie." No, sir or madam, whichever the case may be. I do not do THAT type of massage. No, I will not tell you where you can find IT. Get the hell off my table, you syphilis ridden pervert.

4. "SORRY I'M LATE! BUT HEY, 20 OR 30 MINUTES GIVE OR TAKE DOESN'T REALLY MATTER, DOES IT?"

Sigh. Okay, okay, you had traffic or car trouble or were abducted by aliens on the way to your appointment. Sometimes, shit just happens. I get that. What I don't get are the clients who do this time and time again. Surely those aliens don't love you that much? How many times does a person have to be anal probed before they're willing to put their foot down and say, "You know, I don't want to be rude, but I've got a sixty minute Swedish and an eyebrow wax booked for 11 a.m. Can you cut me a break E.T.?"

I work at a spa during the day. Part of being a service provider at one of these establishments is catering to your client’s wishes (For those of you who believe sexual favors falls under things to be catered, please reread item #3 above and die in a fire). If you want a glass of wine while you’re waiting for your service, we have a bottle rarin' to go. If you want something to eat, snacks are provided. We play soothing, mind draining music all day long to put our clients in a relaxed state of mind. If you’re late and have the common decency to call, we’ll try to fit you in as best as we can because the time is already booked and will only go to waste if we turn you away. No service provider wants to lose that money. That is, if you're lucky enough to have made the appointment at a place that doesn't automatically charge you if you don't cancel 24 hours before your appointment. We do everything short of hand feeding you peeled grapes while performing oral sex (Again, item #3. Fire.) All we ask in return is for you to render payment and be early.

Early. Not on time. Why not on time? Because (1) You don't know what might happen to hold you up, and (2) you'll probably need to fill out an intake form before your service starts. Not to mention, the amount of time it takes to get you into a robe and onto the table. That eats into your Me Time, too.

You go to a spa to be pampered. For those of you who haven't been taught at an early age how to tell time, let me clue you in to a little secret: It's very difficult to feel pampered when your service provider is rushing through their routine because you walked in the door twenty to thirty minutes after the start of your appointment. Do you know why we're rushing? Because we have to end that massage on time. Most likely, there’s a string of unhappy clients scheduled right after you. You know, those guys you saw in the waiting area sipping their third or fourth glass of conciliatory wine, tapping their feet impatiently, and grumbling that they aren't on a table yet when they had the good grace to come in early? And if you have other appointments scheduled (facial, mani/pedi, hair, etc.) right after me, you're not only holding up my clients. You're holding up everybody else's clients too. Nice going you inconsiderate bastard.

5. "I'M PAYING A FORTUNE FOR MY SERVICE, AND YOU'RE NOT A WAITRESS. I DON'T HAVE TO TIP YOU."

Hmmm. These guys. Let's get the record straight. You aren't just paying me. You're paying the owner of the spa where I work. I get a percentage of that, yes. 45% to be exact, but this isn’t the norm. Most places will only start you out at 25-35%. Some only pay an hourly wage that increase slightly if the provider has a client. I lucked out-or didn't, depending on your point of view-because the place I work for was desperate for employees when they hired me and was run by someone with poor management skills. And we don't charge clients if they cancel or no show.

And for those of you who think 45% is a lot of money, try working on commission during a slow week. I could be making $1000 one week and standing in the parking lot of my spa with a tin cup, begging for alms the next. You don’t even want to know what I made the week Hurricane Isaac hit! Client draining events like that make me wish I were paid a set hourly wage. And paid vacation time. And maternity leave. And sick leave. Too bad most spas in my area won’t hire unless you’re willing to work on commission as an independent contractor.

Hey, want to hear some more fun facts about working as an independent contractor on commission? My employer doesn't have to provide health insurance. Even if the new health laws go through, I'm stuck with that bill because technically, I'm only renting a space to work from her. This is kind of a bummer considering the number of massage therapists that quit due to repetitive motion injury. I also pay for my own oils, sports creams, and equipment. Some spas will foot that bill, but in a dwindling economy, more and more workplaces are placing that burden on the service provider. Other stuff that comes out of my own pocket: my LMT insurance. You've got to be insured if you want to be licensed. Oh yeah, state licensing! I pay for that too. In another couple years, I'll have to pay to renew my certification. And CEU's that can run as high as $150 to $300 a course. Every year. Every. Damn. Year.

That's what you're paying for, buddy. But thanks for telling me to look both ways before crossing the street. I would have preferred a cash tip, but hey, it'll come in handy when I'm pushing you into oncoming traffic.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Less Than Interesting Stuff That Has Happened To Me Since My Last Post

This is a short list. What can I say? I'm not an interesting person.

1. I wrote a book. Don't get too excited. It's self published and it sucks, but I suckered over 30 people into buying it so far. Yay me.

2. I'm doing NANOWRIMO this month and I'm actually ahead on my word count. This has NEVER happened to me before. I'm expecting something terrible to happen to me at the last minute, like getting too sick to finish before deadline or maybe a meteor striking me from above. I predict the latter to happen moments before I reach the finish line. That's just how my luck rolls.

3. I lost a bit of weight. No, I'm not dying of some wacky disease! I just started eating right and exercising. Rest assured, there have been times while running on my treadmill that I've prayed for the end to come. Running is my word for speed walking slower than a geriatric amputee, by the way. And no, I won't be posting before and after pics. I haven't lost my ugly yet.

4. I went to Disney World in October. On a plane. For the first time. I went to Disney World on a plane for the first time ever and I didn't fall out of the sky or beat the shit out of Tigger once I got there. Seriously, someone needs to school these guys on an acceptable time limit for hugging. (Insert cringe here)

5. I took down my blog Blessing Curse. I wasn't doing anything with it. I lost interest. I'm lazy. Blah, blah, blah. I know, I know. I have the attention span of a guppy.

6. I did laundry today! On Thanksgiving! Okay, it was only one batch, but I was running out of things to include on this list. It was getting embarrassing.