Sunday, November 30, 2014

I Won NaNoWriMo 2014! Can I Ice My Wrist Now?

Okay people. I am spent. Stick a fork in me. I. Am. Done. I have finished my NaNoWriMo 50K submission, and all I can say is I don't remember it being half this hard last year or the year before that. Maybe it's because I pantsed it all the way this year. Maybe it's because I have more clients this year and have been over working my right wrist, which, I might add, is screaming for me to "Stop the madness! Stop it right now!!! I hate you!!!!!!"

My wrist is such a drama queen.

In spite of excruciating wrist pain and a lack of planning, I made my fifty thousand word limit just moments ago. I can finally go back to paying attention to my husband again. I plan to pay A LOT of attention to him this next coming month, if you know what I mean. Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge. And for those of you wondering what I won besides bragging rights and possible carpal tunnel surgery in the future, here you go:

Bam, Bitches!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Very Thankful Karma Girl

Not pictured above: A cat? Also not pictured: A pilgrim cat.

It’s Thanksgiving time. A time when family and friends gather around the dinner table to eat far too much food, fight over politics, religion, or whatever bug Aunt Bertha Better Than You has up her butt, and to give thanks to those wonderful Native Americans whose land we totally stole right from under them. Tell me I’m wrong.

The origin of Thanksgiving is a tricky one to place. We were all taught the story of poor, misguided Squanto, the Wampanoag tribe, and the Plymouth Pilgrims they aided, but technically that so called first Thanksgiving Day dinner was more like a harvest celebration, and historians believe it was probably celebrated in September, anyway. It was a three day feast, so I’m hoping it was a rocking affair for everyone involved. Though I don't know how rocking it could have been what with the fact that it was celebrated by Puritans.

"Goody Putnam hast been in the 'apple cider' again."
"Think thee she wilst show her ankles?"

There were thanksgiving celebrations before Plymouth. The first known record of such an event was celebrated by the Spaniards in the early 16th century, way before the English came on the scene. What is know with any certainty is that our founding fathers-old white slave owners who broke away from the old country to avoid paying taxes, bless their hearts-issued several national days of thanksgiving, a tradition that started around 1782 and was renewed sporadically on various days in various locations. It was made an official Federal holiday in 1863 by Lincoln during the Civil War, mostly to unite the already divided country. Because nothing brings a country together like government approved gluttony.

This Thanksgiving, I have a lot to be thankful for. I know I bitch and moan quite a lot on this blog about my daily first world problems, but I know that I have a lot to be grateful for too. There have been bad times, but the good times have far outnumbered the bad, and I’m happy to share them with you. So, I’ve made a short list of things I am thankful for this year. Stolen land, not withstanding.

Five Things I am Grateful For

1. My Husband

He is my muse, my flame, and I hope I am his. And no, my vagina smells just fine, thanks for asking. We’ve been seeing each other since the late 90’s, and we were newly wed earlier this year in February. I have not always been as grateful as I should to have such a wonderful guy, but I am now, and I hope to be celebrating our anniversary for decades to come. Even if it means transplanting our brains into cybernetic bodies. Because that would just be so cool.

Like this only with more of the romance and less of the violence.

2. My Friends and Family

Who else can you complain to about life’s little hiccups but to the people who know you well enough to know that you’re probably blowing things way the hell out of proportion and are willing to call you on your shit. They’re also there when you really do need a shoulder to cry on or just want to share a good laugh and a few inside jokes. Like the goat on the roof, why there is such a thing as a salt water pool, and feeling it from your Haaaara! Most of you are scratching your heads over those last three statements, but the ones in the know are laughing their asses off, believe me. You know who you are.


3. My Job

After watching a non porn related video on how to give a massage, I got it into my brain that I could be a wonderful massage therapist if only I had the schooling. I was leery at first about changing careers considering the amount of biology courses I would have to take. I’m not science smart. I’m not really all that smart about a lot of things, but science has never been my forte. Still, I wanted to give it a shot, even if it meant failing miserably. I didn’t fail. I passed all my exams, I passed all the licensing and certification tests, and I went on to be-I hope-a bad ass massage therapist. I enjoy my current job much more than I did my job as a casino dealer. But then, I don’t get as many death threats, and spa clients are far less likely to meet you out in the parking lot if you don’t effleurage to their satisfaction. Unless it’s a pervert. But I guess that's what mace was invented for.

Pepper spray counts as aromatherapy, right? That shit'll cost ya extra.

4. My Health

Recently, I took a bit of a tumble and twisted my ankle. Of course, I griped about it to anyone who would listen, and even to some who really didn’t give a crap. Because complaining about trivial stuff to uninterested parties is just what I do best. It’s why I have a blog in the first place. That said, I consider myself lucky in the health department. I don’t eat as well as I should, and my exercise regiment consists of me walking the length it takes to get from my car to the elevator that will take me to the spa where I work. In spite of this, I don’t have any heart issues that I’m aware of, even though heart problems run in my family. I don’t have type II diabetes. Although I have a wrist that aches from time to time, the pain is currently manageable, and I don’t believe I’m at risk of having to find a new profession like a lot of massage therapists suffering from repetitive motion injuries. I’m reasonably healthy for my age. I am currently contemplating the future, however, because this bit of good fortune will not last for long. I’m thinking of starting a moderate exercise regiment and posting my results daily either via this blog or YouTube or both, just to have some form of accountability. That, and I’m thinking of joining OA. Yes, I admit I have a problem. I wonder if that counts as taking the first step.

Ha! I'm doomed.

5. Doomtown

I started this blog on June 10, 2005, almost ten years ago. It started out as nothing more than a sporadically updated journal consisting of me ranting about my job and life in general. Not much has changed, but I update more regularly-at least two posts a month for the past two years-and I think I have grown as a writer and as a person because of it. I look back at some of my past posts and wonder what the hell I was thinking. I want to reach out to that past version of myself, beat her senseless, and tell her which stocks to invest in and what numbers to pick for the lotto. Of course, if past me had become rich as Midas, I probably would have ended up as a far different person. But if future me is listening, I’m willing to take that risk. Hint, hint. Nudge, nudge.

I’m thinking of throwing some kind of party or maybe an online event type deal to celebrate Doomtown’s tenth birthday. If anyone has any ideas that won’t require my future self inventing a time machine and traveling through it with paradox inducing information, please leave suggestions in the comments below. And please feel free to follow here and on my Facebook and Twitter accounts. Just be aware, I’m always looking for new material for future posts. So if you’re planning to hit me up because you need, “help taking sperm out” and don’t want your perverted private conversation posted all the fuck over the internet, you’re better off not following me…Unless you are an inventor of a time machine. Then maybe we can work something out.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

NaNoWriMo Update: Taming the Muse

No Lazy Time post today. In its stead, please allow me to entertain you with this short excerpt from my NaNoWriMo submission. A little more humorous than the last piece I posted. Certainly, there's a lot less Hitler in it. This is a rough draft, so no hating. Enjoy!

Taming the Muse

“I really fucking hate you,” I said as I stared at the blank page on the computer screen for what seemed like an eternity. I had been trying to write this stupid story for days, but nothing was coming to me. Nothing. At this point, I would have made do with one line of a dirty limerick, but the words were stuck somewhere in the ether. The blank page stared back at me, mocking me with its crisp white surface.

“A piece of paper is an inanimate object, Emily my dear. It has no sentience, can not feel your ire, and therefore does not give a bloody crap what you think of it,” Grim said in that British Cockney accent I had thought was kind of cool when I first met him, but now just grated.

I glared at him. “I wasn’t talking to the blank page.”

Grim smirked at that and shrugged while taking a hit from his joint. “Touché.”

He was floating inches above the mattress of my bed in my crappy one room apartment, staring at the ceiling while smoking a joint. Every now and then he would blow smoke out of his nose and make rings, or a smiley face, or silly animal shapes. And he was listening to easy listening music. Fucking Kenny G, man. I mean, ugh! The music alone was screwing with my powers of concentration and the reefer smoke wasn’t helping much either.

“Why do you listen to that crap?” I asked waving away a smoky cloud that kind of looked like a deformed rabbit. “I thought you grunge types were into old fashioned alternative shit.”

“First of all, I’m Goth, not grunge,” he said primly. “Second, Kenny G makes me mellow, man. Like puppies and…and ocean waves and…fluffy white…what’s the word, Love?”


He snapped his fingers, “That’s the bunny.”

I rolled my eyes.

He wasn’t what you expected when you thought of the word “muse”. Most of the advertisements on television had gorgeous long haired men or women with eyes that looked right through you and ethereal voices that nearly made you weep from the mere joy of hearing them. Just being in the same room with them made you write whole novels in one setting, I had heard. Those were your top of the line models, of course. Nothing close to what my budget could afford.

And then there were the bargain basement muses like Grim. Tall and skinny, with scraggly dark hair that always seemed to need to be combed. He wore the same faded black trench coat, the same black t-shirt with holes in it with a band name I didn’t recognize that probably hadn’t played a gig since Nirvana was a thing. His nails were darkened with Manic Panic black nail polish that might have been cool in the mid-nineties, but was now just a pathetic grab for attention. His eyes didn’t see right through you, mostly because they were usually too red from drinking or smoking crap he shouldn’t. He was a walking, talking anachronism from a decade when writers just didn’t give a shit. Hell, half the stuff he came up with, I couldn’t even understand.

He wasn’t much to look at, but I had never really cared about that. I could care less if he was a card carrying member of the Trenchcoat Mafia-whatever the hell that was-or a gothed out little British shit and a lazy shit for all that. He could be a piece of freaking plywood for all I cared, just so long as he produced one goddamn idea worth writing about. He had been under contract as my muse for a full year, and I still hadn’t written a word. At least, nothing marketable.

“I don’t know why I ever took you on as a muse,” I said pushing the keyboard away from me in disgust.

“Because you’re broke and I came cheap.”

“Oh, yeah,” I said slumping down in my chair with a grimace. “I knew I should have listened to my mother when she told me not to go for that English degree. ‘Be a doctor,’ she said. ‘Be a lawyer,’ she said. Hell, she would have been okay if I had taken Funeral Science as my major. People die every day. At least I’d get paid.”

“Yeah!” Grim nodded as he took another hit and pointed at me. “Write about that.”

“Changing my major?” I said frowning. “Where’s the story in that?”

“Nah you dizzy bird! Write about some chick that takes Funeral Science as her major.”

I stared at him blankly. “And?”

He rolled his eyes. “Just make up a character. Have the character enroll in an embalming class or whatever is they do. Let the chips fall where they may, as you bloody Yanks say.”

“We don’t say that.”


He made a rude gesture and went back to contemplating the cosmos via the ceiling. He was levitating high enough now that his nose was practically touching it.

I got up from my desk and started pacing the room. I thought the idea over. It might work, but…

“No, no. That doesn’t help me! Where’s the plot?”

“Not my department, Love,” he said letting out another puff of fowl smelling smoke that made me choke. “I’m only under contract to give vague impressions of an idea. It’s up to you to come up with the meat of the story and to hammer out the details.”

“You got the vague part right, that’s for sure.” I made a rude noise. “Okay. Make a main character. Make a main character…We’ll make her a failed writer.”

“Will she look like you?”

I shot him an evil look, but that only made him laugh. Or the pot was really getting to him. “She’s a failed writer who goes back to school after her mother harasses her to find a job that actually pays real money.”

“Why Funeral Science, though?” he asked. “Why not a doctor or lawyer or taco sales woman or whatnot?”

I thought that one over. Why would she go? “It’s the family business. They own a funeral parlor that’s been in the family for generations. They’ve been hounding her to learn the ins and outs of the business for years. Now that she’s hit rock bottom and she needs to go back for school for something, her parents tell her they won’t put a dime towards her education unless she finally gives into fate and takes FS.”

Grim nodded. “That’s a cool character background. The Grimster likes.”

I smiled and sat back at my desk to type all this down before I forgot.

“Hey, maybe the funeral parlor is cursed or something?” he said, starting to come down from the ceiling to hover over my shoulder. “Haunted by the ghost of ancestors past or maybe the family patriarch made a deal with the devil that needs to be paid off by his daughter’s blood or sanity. Oh wait…” A huge shit eating grin spread over his face. “What if it’s not the devil?”

“Here we go,” I said with a sigh. I knew what was coming.

“What if it’s one of the Elder Gods? What if it’s…Cthulhu?”

It’s always Cthulhu with Grim. Jeeze.

I paused in my typing and gave him a skeptical look. “Another paranormal story? Seriously?”

“It’s what I’m good at.”

“Not good enough to get me published.”

“Straight drama is boring, Love,” Grim said waving off my reservations. “You wanna write the contemporary shit, you might as well get a boring job that pays well.”

“Like a taco sales woman?” I said raising an eyebrow.

He pointed his joint at me. “Don’t knock the profession, Love. Those blokes who own the food truck around the corner are the shit. They make good money and they spread deliciousness and joy where ever they go.”

“Uh huh,” I said not really in the mood to argue.
I was typing like a mad woman now. My creative juices were flowing again. I just hoped this story was delicious enough to get me paid.

Friday, November 21, 2014

I'm an Entrepreneur Now. Buy My Crap!

After seeing this awesome tee and learning I could make my own for free, I figured I'd give it a try. The company is called Teespring and this is how it works, as per their site:

1. Launch a campaign

Use our online designer to create your perfect item. You can upload your own design or work with our library of over 10,000 pieces of clip art and more than 50 fonts.

2. Set a sales goal (tipping point)

Decide the number of shirts you plan on selling. This is the minimum you need to sell for the shirts to be printed.

3. Add a brief title and description to explain your campaign

This is where you can describe the tee, link to your website, or explain your cause.

4. Share and spread the word

Share your campaign page with supporters and collect pre-orders towards your goal. There is no risk for a buyer to pre-order: they will only be charged if the goal is reached.

5. Reach your goal and the shirts get printed

You can continue to sell shirts past your goal until your campaign ends. Once it does, we handle printing & shipping and you get a check for the profit!

I doubt I'll make much from this, but if I don't get enough orders to meet my quota, it's no biggie. The campaign just ends and I don't lose a dime. And of course, my shirt design is most droll. If you're a massage therapist who hates dealing with perverted idiots, or you're looking for a funny gift for a massage therapist friend, check out my campaign.

Capitalism. Yay!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Karma Girl and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

My body is a hot mess, and I’m not just being Southern and overly humble about my looks. I am falling apart faster than a creationist’s argument, make no mistake. And for those of you who advocate creationism, please be aware that I’m in pain. I make no apologies when I’m in pain. I probably wouldn’t apologize even if I were feeling well enough to walk without limping or cursing, but the last thing I need right now is to be attacked by an angry mob of Ben Steins. I don’t care how good he was in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. His stoic refusal of established scientific fact is rather irritating.

This picture explains so much.

It started out a beautiful sunny Friday. I didn’t have to be at work until 3 P.M and I was slowly, yet surely catching up to my NaNoWriMo word count. All was right with the world. My husband, our friend James, and I decided we were going to eat lunch at Messina’s at the Terminal before I left for work. That’s when my day went to complete and utter hell.

Okay, the lunch part was excellent. As mentioned before, the terminal where Messina’s is located is a beautiful building and the food is just awesome. I think both me and my husband agreed that they do lunch just as well as they do breakfast. James was happy with his fare as well. It was all good. And then, right before we got the bill, I came down with a nasty sinus headache.

Usually when I get a sinus headache, it’s no big deal. I just take some Benadryl or some sinus medication, and I’m good to go. But every now and then I’ll get the mother of all sinus headaches. A headache so bad, it might as well be a migraine or a baby alien waiting to explode from my brain via my sinus cavities. When I get that kind of headache, it comes on fast and furious and leaves me praying for death. The only thing that gets rid of it is crying so hard that every ounce of snot in my sinus cavity comes flowing out all at one time. It doesn’t matter if I spend hours in the restroom trying to blow my nose. Unless I cry, it just ain’t happening.

So Darren pays the bill, and we head outside to the parking lot. Only I’m in so much pain, I’m squinting my eyes and pressing on my sinus acupressure points, so I’m not exactly looking where I’m stepping. Of course, I miss that one last step from the curb to the parking lot, and my left foot wrenches out from under me. I fall flat on my ass and start screaming incomprehensible curse words that were probably some sort of Cthulhian summoning spell. I don’t know exactly what I said, but I know my ankle wasn’t feeling all that happy.

I swear, I had nothing to do with this.

Darren and James immediately asked if I wanted to go to the hospital, but after the initial flare of pain passed-okay, it didn’t pass, but it became manageable-after I could make myself stop reciting the Esoteric Order of Dagon’s initiation oath, I stood up and tested my ankle. It was sore like a rotted tooth, but I was able to walk on it without too much trouble, so I knew it wasn’t broken or sprained. Ironically, my sinus headache was gone. Yay.

On the way home, my husband and I had a mini-argument. He wanted me to stay home from work. I wanted me to stay home from work. Damn, if I didn’t want to stay home from work! Unfortunately, these past few weeks have been brutal for sick call-ins. This past couple weeks, I’ve had to come in early, stay late, or come in on my day off for some other massage therapist. And that’s not counting the one I worked for who was out of town, taking her CEU’s. We lost a therapist last week because she decided she didn’t feel like coming in for another massage therapist after she had already agreed to take her shift. And she was fully booked. AND her client was already checked in and waiting in the client waiting area. No amount of explaining this would placate the man I had to harangue just to get to stay home after puking his guts out from a stomach virus.

I didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of finding someone to cover for me, and I already had three clients on the books. So to appease my husband, I called the spa and begged the front desk person to block out the rest of my shift so I could leave early. I figured my ankle could handle three hours of pain. But because fate is a fickle bitch, I almost ended up working most of my shift anyway.

My last client of the night was a couple’s massage. You know the interesting thing about a couple’s massage? You need two massage therapists to pull it off what with the fact that I have yet to figure out a way to clone myself. Crazy, I know. Alas, the massage therapist that was supposed to work this one with me called an hour before the clients were scheduled to show up. She said she was running late with traffic, stuck out of town, and possibly wouldn’t make it. Okay. So…the front desk person called the clients and asked if they’d be willing to come in a half hour later. They said yes. So I’m stuck waiting another half hour for that last massage to begin.

5:20 P.M. rolls around. The clients are here. To make up for the late start, we comp them some drinks from the restaurant downstairs. They’re ready to go. Who should call but the other therapist telling me that she won’t be making it at all because her car has died on her. Okaaaay…

Rayme, the front desk person, looks like she’s about to blow a gasket. I don’t blame her because I’m steadily about to blow mine. She asks me if I’d be willing to take them both back to back. The look I gave her probably would have been comparable to the murder glare I gave Darren’s doctor in the hospital when I was trying to subtly convince him with the daggers in my eyes that my husband would be better off staying home from work. It’s these little ironies that make life worth living, ain’t it?

I sullenly agree. She saves me from contemplating a career change when she suddenly remembers our two clients have dinner plans right after their massage, and they’re cutting it close as it is. So Rayme calls a new hire. The new therapist says she’s ten minutes away and might be able to make it. Might. Meanwhile, we order them some more drinks. Comped, of course. Fifteen minutes later, the new hire calls and says, “Sorry. I’m locked out of my car. I can’t go anywhere.” Seriously?!?!? Okay, sure. Why not?

Rayme and I go back and grovel and beg for forgiveness while informing our clients that we won’t be able to do the massage after all. We offer them an extended service with no extra charge the next time they return. IF they’d be good enough to return. The ladies took it pretty well. They were more bemused than angry and were happy for the promise of an extended service and free drinks. These are the type of clients I wish I could have every day, and I hope, if I’m the one doing their massage, it is, like, the best massage they receive in their entire lives. Like EVER.

On the plus side, I got to go home. And looking back at this experience, I have to say, it could have been worse. My ankle isn’t broken. Even if it were, I’m insured. And I have a job that pays the bills and puts food on the table. My no good, very bad day was more of what you might call one of those “First World Problem” type of days. I can live with that.

Even so. Next time, screw it. I’m calling in. I’ll tell ‘em I’m having car trouble. And my keys are locked in my car. And I twisted my ankle. While escaping aliens. Ninja aliens. Because I guess anything's possible.

*Blogger's Note* What about you guys? Ever have one of those "First World Problem" days? Tell me about it in the comments section or leave a post on my Facebook page.