cut for insect )

In totally unrelated news, I was recently woken up by a phone call from a relative to whom my Dad had sent a link to my poem Nine Views of the Oracle. He was completely baffled and wanted me to explain what it meant.

"Uhhhh," said the poet intelligently. "It has a lot of mythological references. I assume not everyone's going to get them all."

"But what does it mean? What does the whole thing mean?"

I often get asked this question, not referring to my own work, by students. Nine times out of ten, if I say, "What do think it means?" they promptly reply with a good explanation. Sadly, being half-asleep, I didn't think to turn the question around.

"I guess it's about what it would be like to know everything all at once?" I hazarded.

"Huh. I'll go read it again." He hung up.

I hauled myself out of bed. If I had gone back to sleep, no doubt I would have awoken sure I'd dreamed the entire conversation.
I give up. From now on, all my food goes in the refrigerator.

Are there any common food items that will actually be ruined if I do this? If so, I'll keep them in Tupperware or something.
rachelmanija: (Emo Award: Shinji agony)
( Jun. 14th, 2008 09:39 pm)
Unopened bag of rice in pantry now includes dead moths. Goddammit!
rachelmanija: (Emo Award: Shinji agony)
( Apr. 27th, 2008 09:18 am)
Have Captain Trips, a deadline, ants in the kitchen, no food in the house, and cold medicine that merely adds an overlay of "vaguely and unpleasantly stoned" to my wretched state of being. Yecch. When I feel better I will disinfect the house.

Here, have a sizzling-hot preview of the Project Blue Rose chapbook, going on sale in June.

And a photo of my not-hypothetical spherical cat.

And the cat-owl.

Feel free to comment with anything you think might cheer me up.
rachelmanija: (Naked and dripping wet)
( Nov. 18th, 2007 06:59 pm)
1. Last night I set some lamb chops on fire. They were good anyway.

2. I am attending a pro-striking writers rally on Tuesday. My friend who previously set me up with married guy, naked-woman-on-shirt guy, stood-me-up guy, negative-sexual-chemistry guy, never-called-me-guy, and guy who wanted to leap out of plane without a parachute (wait... could his name have been... something like "Heero?"), assures me that a fantastic single guy will be there. I think that even if one of those attributes is true, the other won't be. Also, don't know how I could possibly find him when there will be thousands of marchers and I don't know what he looks like.

I think I won't wear my corset.

Cut for insect.

Read more... )
Not literally. Just, after ants, fleas, pantry moths, a summons to appear in court in Texas (it turned out to be a mistake, but...), etc...

...this morning the toilet overflowed when I flushed it, and the shower won't drain. I emailed my landlord. When Oyce (who is visiting, yay!) emerges from the non-draining shower, we are going to flee the scene of the bad luck.
rachelmanija: (Default)
( Oct. 9th, 2007 04:44 pm)
Got back home. I think I managed to crush the infestation-- the traps are clearly working, and there are way fewer moths to be seen.

I will leave the traps out, continue destroying moths on an as-seen basis, and keep all food in the fridge for a while.
rachelmanija: (Emo Award: Shinji agony)
( Oct. 7th, 2007 09:00 am)
I hope so, anyway. Cut for the usual reason, though not quite as gross and horrifying as my last two posts on the subject. And to think that before, if I heard the word "moth," I pictured something pretty and appealing, like a Luna moth.

Read more... )
rachelmanija: (Bleach: Parakeet of DOOM)
( Oct. 6th, 2007 10:04 am)
Cut to spare the insect-phobic. Though given what I found last night, if you weren't phobic before, you will be once you click on the cut.

Read more... )
That was because there were ants in the bed. Also, as it turned out, in the toothpaste. And in my open suitcase. EW.
Positive: The sun is shining. I'm not freezing. My kitchen isn't flooded any more. Yay!

Negative: My kitchen has been invaded by a moving black carpet of ants.
I last wrote from my parents' house in Santa Barbara, so I had to compose online. While attempting to complete my last post, I was interrupted by a) dinner, b) THE PRINCESS BRIDE on TNT, c) my step-mother remarking, "What's that crawling across the floor?" It was a small but shiny scorpion, which my father squashed with a magazine. I've never seen one in California before, let alone one which materialized in the middle of the living room floor when we were all barefoot. Traumatized, we all went off to bed, inspecting the floor with each step. Then I had to work. Then (this is the "composing online" part) my entry got mostly eaten. I feel discouraged. Here's what didn't get eaten:

Timing is the trick here. Francis started writing in the sixties, and some of his earlier books are forgettable or dotted with regrettable sixties stereotypes. And I don't think any of the books he wrote in the nineties or later, after STRAIGHT, are any good. So I'm not going to go in chronological order, but put the most notable ones first. However, I'll date the books so you can get a sense for when Francis was writing thrillers and when he was writing the longer, more complex novels like BANKER or HOT MONEY.

What makes him interesting to me isn't a 100 percent enlightened attitude, but that in, say, an otherwise straightforward thriller with a manly recuer-type hero, the love interest is an air traffic controller who likes but doesn't need him, and not all his competence can convince his alcoholic brother to get help; or that in another one, the hero suffers from clinical depression and a turning point comes when he suggests to a woman that she's sublimating her desire for a career into the pursuit of empty relationships. These just aren't the sorts of elements one usually finds in pulp thrillers. And then there's his later books, which still involve crimes and horses but aren't really pulp thrillers at all.

It's not so much the plots that make me like these as the little details: the middle-aged mother in FORFEIT who drifts about her housework, lost in a daydream, and catches a criminal with the same absent-minded efficiency she brings to cleaning the kitchen; the nightmarish depiction of a freak accident in PROOF, and the heartbreaking explanation of why it happened; and the way the heroes are so competent with their hands and bodies, but often look at love and family life like a poor kid eyeing a shiny red bicycle his parents could never afford.

The text may be races and crooks and tough guys beating each other up, but the subtext is often about the limits and consolations of competence: how it can sustain you when everything else is gone, and how empty life can be when that's all you have.

ODDS AGAINST. 1965. Sid Halley is an ex-jockey who lost the use of one hand in a racing accident. Before the book even begins, his wife has left him, he took a job at a detective agency as a token consultant but doesn't actually do anything to earn his paycheck, and just got shot in the belly by an embezzler. He's pretty depressed.

Despite the annoying use of S & M as shorthand for evil (at least it isn't the usual evil bisexual), this book got me completely hooked on Francis. It's as much about learning to cope with loss as it is about foiling bad guys, and the non-evil supporting characters are a colorful lot. There's a sicko beautiful woman who has what poor Sid can't help feeling is an enviably compatible relationship with her equally sicko husband. A woman with a scarred face helps Sid cope with his disability, and he is so instrumental in helping her cope with hers that he becomes her turning point, the man she will remember fondly rather than the potential boyfriend he started out as-- to his regret. There's something very touchingly human about the relationships in this book.


I'll get back to this later. Um, my personal favorites, in addition to ODDS AGAINST, are PROOF (the one about the widower who owns a liquor shop), BANKER (the one which starts out with the narrator's boss stepping fully clothed into a fountain), and HOT MONEY (the one with the insanely complicated and dysfunctional family caused by one very rich man marrying five times and fathering children with each wife.)
The one with the liver-eating guy who could squeeze into your house through the vents?

This morning while I was in the shower, a movement caught my eye. I glanced at the windowsill, no more than three inches from my shoulder.

A TENTACLE was squeezing through the tiny crack between the closed window and the wall. A boneless red thing with a hideous blind snout, pulsating and writhing and pushing itself through.

At first I thought it was a centipede, but as I stood, frozen in horror, watching it invade my home, I saw that it was an earthworm. (More than four feet up from the ground!) When the whole thing emerged, I swept it into a box and dumped it in the garden.

I got dressed first.


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