While I was sitting peacefully in my kitchen, I heard a loud bang, immediately followed by a clatter. I turned around and saw a sight which I am now sorry I did not photograph. It consisted of the trash bag into which I had chucked a large unopened can of Pillsbury buttermilk biscuits upon cleaning out my refrigerator and discovering that they had expired months ago, the open and empty can standing upright all the way across the kitchen from the trash bag, and three uncooked buttermilk biscuits scattered across the kitchen, like pale cow pattys.

This is not the first time I've had something explode in my kitchen, but it was possibly the most spectacular.
rachelmanija: (Gundam Wing: Heero falling)
( Feb. 20th, 2012 04:33 pm)
In addition to making a raspberry cake for the dinner tonight, I decided to surprise my Queer Narrative class with a special Rainbow Pride Cake, inspired by a jar of decorative rainbow ball thingies I spotted next to the baking powder.

It turns out that if you fold rainbow balls into white cake batter, you do not get white batter speckled with rainbow balls. You get purplish-brown batter, the color of a nasty bruise, speckled with white balls. If I'd had chocolate, I'd have dumped some with the hope of it turning into a normal chocolate cake (with white balls.) But I don't have chocolate.

I am going to ice it, dump the remaining rainbow balls on top of the icing, and bring it on on the theory that students will prefer funny-looking homemade cake to no homemade cake.
The instructor of my Human Sexuality class has been replaced with a different instructor. I may be getting an entirely new syllabus. I don't know whether to laugh, cry, or scream. Perhaps all of the above!
Okay, I didn't literally get thrown out with a parting, "And never come back!" But they did decline to accept my business.

(I used to think nobody ever really said, "And never come back!" That was before I got kicked out of a martial arts school with those exact words.)

Recently, I have started getting very bright, glittery white hairs. Just a few, but growing close together. They're quite pretty. I decided it would be useful to my future career, and hopefully cool, to enhance this effect by having the entire lock dyed white. (When I was about nine, I had a sort of platonic-admiring crush on a woman I knew who had black hair with a single white lock, which she told me was natural. It could happen!)

I got an appointment at the salon and attempted to explain what I wanted. This is how it went:

Stylist: "You mean you want blonde highlight?"

Me: "No, white highlights. See where it's going naturally white? I want you to make it look like the whole lock went white."

Stylist: "But that would make you look older."

Me: "I want to look older!"

Stylist (appalled): "Why would anyone want that?!"

Me: "For my career."

Stylist: "What???"

Me: "I'm thirty-seven!"

Stylist (astounded): "You are?!"

Me: "I'm trying to look my age."

Stylist: "Okay, well, it is impossible to dye hair white. Or gray! It can't be done! You have to bleach it, and then the hair is destroyed!"

Me (holding out white hairs): "You're telling me it's impossible to dye in more of these?"

Stylist (folding arms): "That's right!"

I left. I assume it cannot possibly really be impossible to dye hair white, even if you do have to bleach it twice. (Correct me if I'm wrong!) I'm thinking of trying a salon that caters more to punks, and walking in with a photo of Rogue from The X-Men, and just saying, "I want a white streak like Rogue's, right here."
rachelmanija: (Bleach: Parakeet of DOOM)
( Sep. 7th, 2010 11:17 am)
I spent the weekend attending [personal profile] coraa and [profile] jmpava's wedding, which was lovely and moving, and was the first wedding I have ever been to which featured a jaguar and an owl. (It was at the Seattle zoo.) I also got to meet [profile] faithhopetricks and her husband T and their cats, which was wonderful - I think she is the LJ friend I have up till now known longest and best without actually meeting.

However, I am here to tell you about dangerous jam.

As a wedding present, I carefully put together and gift-wrapped a box of local, artisinal Los Angeles foods, including a jar of golden raspberry jam. At LAX, I was pulled from the line due to jam. Over my protests, the box was unwrapped and searched.

"Can't you just check it for explosives?" I asked. "It's jam!"

"I know it's jam," said the unruffled security guy. "It already passed the explosive test. But you're not allowed to bring more than three ounces of gels onboard, and that's five ounces." (Or something.)

I am going to try to keep the security ranting to a minimum in this post, but I just want to highlight the utter Orwellian idiocy of knowing that a substance is harmless, but refusing to let it onboard due to security theatre - regulations which everyone involved knows are pointless and have nothing to do with safety, but are just there because once a rule is enacted, it becomes impossible to ever roll back. And therefore jam is forever banned from airlines - but only medium to large jars! Small jars of the same jam are totally okay!

Fuming, I re-wrapped the box and was sent back to check my suitcase. The airline charged me $20 to check my one piece of checked luggage, containing my deadly jam.

When I arrived in Seattle, I opened my suitcase. A paper fluttered out, informing me that my suitcase had been selected for more searching. The wrapping paper had once again been ripped off my box of terrifying jam, and my underwear had been stolen.

I should note that these were not fancy, fetishy, or even expensive panties. They were boring, basic, cotton, totally unsexy panties purchased at Target. Fuming again, I borrowed wrapping paper, wrapped the box for the third time, and got a friend of the bride to drive me to Target to buy more underwear. I am convinced that some creepy security guy has a Criminal Minds-esque room completely wallpapered with stolen underwear.

It was then that I opened my purse to get out my wallet to buy my replacement underwear. In the side pocket in which I keep my wallet, there were two items which I had forgotten were there and which I had been allowed to carry aboard the plane: a miniature pry bar (a banned tool, not obviously dangerous but which I could certainly use to hurt someone in a pinch) and a straight edge - a long razor blade set into a folding handle, only differing from the box-cutters of 9/11 infamy in that my razor blade was about twice as long as the standard box-cutter.

But hey! At least they managed to prevent me from getting anyone's hair sticky with jam.
I noticed that a container of tzadziki yogurt dip, purchased a couple days ago from Trader Joe's and kept refrigerated and unopened, had developed a suspiciously bulging shape. I took off the lid, and indeed the plastic shrink-wrap beneath was bulging up like the whole thing was about to explode. I am a paranoid American, so I put it in the trash can under the sink.

About ten minutes later, I heard a small explosion. A check of the trash can revealed that indeed, it had exploded!

1. This sort of thing only ever happens to me, right? Or does it???

2. Should I alert Trader Joe's? Or check my refrigerator (it seems fine - at least, nothing else has rotted and/or exploded)?

3. WTF happened? Gases produced by decomposing yogurt? Could this phenomenon be harnessed as a cheap energy source?

4. If I was a Heinlein hero, it would take me ten minutes of math to answer question 3. Probably "no."
This happened a while back, but I was recently reminded of it and I seem to have never told this story on LJ, or if I did I neglected to tag it.

Kate, do not read! Contains skittering.

Cut for mouse )
rachelmanija: (Default)
( May. 5th, 2010 12:28 pm)
The events story happened a while back, but I was reminded of it recently after sending not one, but TWO emails to the wrong people. Luckily, neither was embarrassing (one flight itinerary, one reference to calling someone whose phone number I don't actually have.) Unlike the story which follows!

Since this is unlocked, I am changing names and identifying details.

I got a mass email about something like save the whales from a person whose name I read as... I'll call him Josh Rosenthal. Josh Rosenthal is a guy I know, about my age, not a close friend but a buddy I occasionally hang out with when our paths cross. A funny guy. I've told him stories about my dating woes, and he laughs.

I replied, "Hey Josh, long time no hear! What's up? Did you hear that Felicia [a mutual friend] got engaged? Not much is up with me, but I did go on a date last week - and no, I didn't get laid. When I got into my car, he tried to kiss me. I ducked and he stuck his tongue in my ear. And that's the most action I've seen all year. Hope all's well with you."

Readers, I mailed this missive.

The next day, I found this reply: "Hi, Rachel, all's well with me. Who's Felicia? I hope the incident you mention wasn't too disturbing. Stay safe."

I read that in some confusion. Surely Josh knew Felicia. And what was with the weird response to my tongue-in-ear story?

Then I double-checked the sender. The save the whales email had not come from Josh Rosenthal, but from Josh RosenBLUM - a movie producer quite a bit older than me, with whom I had a purely professional relationship, as in I'd pitched a movie to him a while back, which apparently put me on his mailing list.

And to whom I had randomly sent a non-sequitor, TMI message about getting my ear penetrated, in response to a mass mailing about whales.

I was so flustered that I attempted to cover my ass by writing, "Hi, Josh, Felicia is [another producer - this is actually true] whom I mentioned during my pitch [who knows, but I certainly could have]. I mentioned the date because the guy in question was a big environmental activist, and your whale message reminded me of that. [Not even remotely true.] It wasn't disturbing, just a bit ungentlemanly for an activist. Best wishes, Rachel."

And then I clicked send.

An instant later, I thought, "What the hell was I thinking? Why didn't I just explain what had happened? That would have made so much more sense and been less embarrassing than what I actually did. Now, rather than sending one inappropriate message followed by an explanation and apology, I've sent him TWO inappropriate and bizarre messages!"

Has anyone else been the victim of internet crossed wires, or compounded an innocent mistake with an attempt to cover your ass which made it much worse than if you'd just confessed? Please comfort me with your own stories of humiliation and woe.
rachelmanija: (Bleach: Parakeet of DOOM)
( Apr. 7th, 2010 10:29 am)
I am dog-sitting at the moment and, incidentally, also parakeet-sitting. The parakeets, however, already had their food and water filled up so I basically just ignore them.

A few minutes ago I saw a blue streak flutter past, low to the floor. Simultaneously the dogs (mellow chihuahua, hysterical mini dachshund currently in Elizabethan collar) went berserk, yapping and pursuing the escaped blue parakeet.

Once when I pet-sat for these same people their lizard (which they had forgotten to tell me had seemed lethargic) dropped dead on the first night. How much worse would it be to inform them that their dogs ate their parakeet?

I pursued the dogs, which pursued the parakeet, around and around the living room. Finally I hustled the dogs into their crate (very much against their will) and pursued the parakeet by myself. It bit me. Hard. Twice. And would not let go, even when I put it back into its cage. I had to pry its beak open. OW.

I then saw that the cage door had not been left open, and there was no obvious escape route. Odd!

Upon releasing the hounds, I quickly saw what must have happened, as the fiendish dachshund, which has a back injury and is not supposed to jump, leaped up to the bird cage, popping the lever and snapping the door open! Irritatingly, the cage is too big to move to another room.

I have now constructed a giant barricade around the cage (two chairs, six pillows, one giant bean bag. The mini dachshund has been hurling herself against it and whining for the entire time it took to write this entry.

I think I may stick the dogs back in the crate and go to Starbucks.

ETA: Forgot to mention: the cage door isn't the only problem. The parakeets get hysterical if she jumps against it, and I'm worried that even if she can't release them, they'll have heart attacks. The cage, unfortunately, is in the living room.

ETA II: Decided cage wasn't too big to move and crammed it into another room. Dachshund now hurling herself against closed door and howling.

...that dog has lived with these same birds for four years but NOW they're interesting.
rachelmanija: (Default)
( Sep. 17th, 2008 09:53 am)
1. [livejournal.com profile] oyceter, sorry, when I took a shower this morning one of the sliding doors fell off. I propped it against the wall. Also, can you please pop the postcards I left on the bed in with your outgoing mail?

2. While walking near the SF Fisherman's Wharf, I passed what, out of the corner of my eyes, looked like a shrubbery. Then it leaped to its feet, waving the leafy branches it had been crouched behind and shouting. I was quite startled. Especially since, eight years ago when I was there doing disaster relief for El Nino, I saw the same tree dude terrorizing tourists. I suppose it could be a different tree dude, but can one city really contain two men who disguise themselves as shrubs to frighten passersby?

3. I also saw a bride in full gown and veil, but with tennis shoes and a ratty sweater pulled over the gown, running down the street sobbing. One of the people with her explained that she had been jilted at the altar. Ouch.
While driving with my Mom in the sleepy, touristy beachside town of Carmel, we were approaching their picturesque Fisherman's Wharf when we came alongside a small group of men picketing its parking lot.

They wore white shirts and red capes, and played bagpipes. Their picket signs read "PROTECT TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE" and "NO GAY 'MARRIAGE.'"

I rolled down the window and stuck out my head.


("A well-reasoned, persuasive argument," remarked [livejournal.com profile] oyceter when I recounted it to her later.)

Caped homophobes: "FUCK YOU!!"


Apparently I had shrieked loudly enough to attract the attention of the car in front of me, which slammed on its brakes. I slammed on mine. As we parked, next to an SUV with McCain bumperstickers ("I bet it belongs to the bagpipe gay-haters!" I exclaimed. "I oughtta key it!" "Revenge only hurts the revengeful one," said Mom.) Mom scolded me for temper and lowering myself, and informed me that I had just proved that anger causes fenderbenders.

Me (still foaming at the mouth): "And those bagpipes! What an ironic choice of instrument. Putting that phallic pipe in their mouth... Sucking and blowing on that long, hard, rod... Squeezing and caressing the bag (isn't that slang for scrotum?) while they suck on that pipe just like a hard, fat cock..."


Indeed, a group of tourists had fallen in behind us and were taking great interest in our conversation.

The next morning I read in the local paper that the caped homophobes were not local, but an anti-gay group of "lay Catholics" from Pennsylvania, who were making a 30-state anti-gay tour and had chosen Carmel because they had a friend there they could crash with. It also quoted a local woman who had grabbed a rainbow flag and, accompanied by her father, staged a counter-demonstration.

"One doesn't expect to see that sort of thing in Carmel," she said. "It was like the Hitler Youth!"
One of the worst jobs I ever had was as PA (Production Assistant) for a company that shot commercials. I ran errands for up to eighteen hours a day for sixty dollars a day. One night I got so exhausted that I fell asleep while driving back from a shoot, and woke up six lanes over, still moving at sixty-five miles per hour. Then I found what I thought was a good parking space in front of my house, parked there, and collapsed. The next morning I discovered that the space had been empty because it had a fire hydrant, and my ticket wiped out my entire earnings for the day that had almost gotten me killed. I quit.

But before that happened, I arrived at office early one morning and opened the lobby door. The lobby was typically packed with actors if auditions for the next commercial were being held, so it was no surprise to me to find it full. But to my shock and horror, this morning it was full of clowns! Clowns of all genders, shapes and sizes! Clowns in full makeup and costume! Clowns sitting in every chair, clowns leaning against the walls, clowns gesticulating and twisting balloon animals!

Up until that moment, I had thought the phrase “reeled back in horror” was a figure of speech. I reeled back in horror, fetching up against the door. Then I yanked the door open, fled for my life, and slunk back into the office via the rear entrance.

This was in the mid 1990s, when commercials were even more surreal than is common nowadays. I frequently saw commercials where I never even figured out what was being advertised. This may or may not explain why Holiday Inn commissioned a TV spot in which three dwarf clowns and a great big fat clown chased a tall skinny bald clown through a Holiday Inn.

“Every lobby has free computer access,” explained a portentous voice as the clown chase hurtled through the lobby and past the computers. As the skinny bald clown raced across the surface of the swimming pool, and his clown pursuers fell in and then floundered after him, the narrator added, “All our swimming pools are fully heated.”

What if the house was filled with his evil clown confederates?! )
rachelmanija: (Gundam 00: I am Gundam!)
( Aug. 13th, 2008 05:06 pm)
The other day my remote car lock/unlock device died. I discovered this when, after a dental appointment, I could not remote-unlock the car. And as the remote-lock automatically sets the alarm, if you manually open the car, the alarm goes off and the car won't start.

After much fiddling, I phoned the dealership to ask how to manually turn off the alarm... and was told that you can't, and I'd either have to take a taxi to the dealership to get a new remote and then take it back to the car, or have to have the car towed! Alternatively, he added, the remote battery might be dead.

I proceeded to walk for half an hour, uphill and in the snow in the sun and on a street with no sidewalk, to the nearest hardware store to get that battery. Luckily a woman heard my hopeful inquiry about a bus back and gave me a ride. And yes. The car now starts. Has this ever happened to anyone else?

To relieve my stress (car, long hot walk, very painful tooth-cleaning), I went to the comic store where [livejournal.com profile] cyberpilate, who just won an Eisner Award (with others), works. I was really only looking for Tsubasa 18 DO NOT SPOIL and... er... more Moon Child. She pounced and proceeded to sell me Greg Rucka's Electra, Queen and Country, and Whiteout; Matt Fraction and Gabriel Ba's Casanova, Lea Hernandez's steampunk Cathedral Child, and a Thor one-shot called "Reign of Blood:"

Me: "I'm not into Thor."

Carla: "Look! They're raising a blood colossus!"

Shows me awesome splash page of giant zombie mecha.

Carla: "And there's Thor! Look, he's saying, 'I will pilot your blood colossus!'"

Me: "Sold!"

Also, I sold myself books one of DNAgents (collected-- blast from my past) and From Eroica With Love.

I should note that lots of this was on the 60% off shelf.

Anyone read any of these? Without plot spoilers... comments?
The thingie which makes the doorknob work jammed, so I was unable to open the door to get out. I was also unable to telephone for help, as I had left my phone in the living room. Frantic jiggling did nothing. My only options seemed to be to email for help or scream out the window.

But then I remembered that my emergency supplies, including a screwdriver, are in my bedroom. Granted I had assumed "emergency" to be something a little more far-reaching than "trapped in bedroom by jammed doorknob," but an emergency is an emergency. I unscrewed the plate, but that failed to free the knob. But I was able to manually push the lock thingie down, releasing myself. My landlord is fixing it now.
Yesterday I was buying groceries at Whole Foods... taking my time... careful not to spend too much. I had finished and was on the last aisle, about to go to check-out, when I was suddenly drenched in a torrent of liquid that fell from directly over my head.

My hair was wet, my arms were wet, my glasses and pants and shirt were spattered. I rubbed a little between my fingers. It was sticky. Before I could freak out, a woman standing beside me, who has also been splashed, said, "It's juice."

Indeed, the color suggested apricot or mango, though I didn't taste to find out... because the juice had no obvious source. There was no juice dripping from the ceiling, no broken glass or debris, no sounds of commotion, and we were not on the juice aisle.

Baffled, I wiped off my hands and glasses, and informed an employee. He seemed completely baffled, and directed me to customer service. I went there and repeated my story. It was the kind of story ("And then suddenly liquid fell from the sky!") which makes you feel like you're lying.

"Maybe it was water from the air-conditioning unit," one surmised.

"No..." I said. "It's juice."

"So you were in the juice aisle?"

"No... Look, I know how crazy this sounds," I said, "But I swear it happened! Look at me! I'm all wet!"

The customer service guys exchanged glances. "We believe you," they said. "And we'd like to get to the bottom of this too. Can you show us where it happened?"

I walked them to the area. Soon we saw a guy cleaning up a spill in the juice aisle.

"Ah-ha!" They exclaimed.

"Er... No," I said. "It's another aisle over."

We continued further, and found another guy cleaning up another spill. A juice spill.

"There it is!" I said. "And look!" I pointed upward. Juice was dripping down the opposite wall from the shelves closest to the juice aisle, from a height of twelve feet up.

It turned out that a bottle of juice had fallen in the juice aisle and hit at the exact angle to pop the top and make a geyser of juice shoot out, clear a ten foot wall of shelves, hit the opposite wall, and rain down on me.

Whole Foods gave a $25 gift card. I was pleased with the outcome, overall, though I had to wash my clothes and take a shower. Until I sliced open my index finger on a Whole Foods gift carded artichoke leaf.
Yesterday I went to the Renaissance Faire for the first time, with my friend Halle (dressed spectacularly as a Crow Fairy), her ten-year-old son Max, and Max's ten-year-old friend Molly. It was fun!

I will skip the clothing descriptions, as Halle took photos and I will post them later. I got my picture taken with a guy in a vampire outfit consisting mostly of draped chains and platform Harajuku boots, who obligingly posed for a flirty photo. Later Max looked through her pictures and said, "Rachel, why were you hugging some guy who wasn't wearing underwear?"

We ate giant turkey legs and scones with strawberries and whipped cream. The kids bought gorgeous puppets -- a turtle and a hatching dragon for Max, and two mice for Molly. We petted snakes and lizards in a petting zoo, and saw a very young and beautiful Queen Elizabeth. So later, when we had a turtle race, I bet on the turtle of that name. But the turtle guy got confused and picked up the wrong one, and Molly's turtle Baby waddled over the finishing line before I could get the guy's attention and explain that I had no turtle in the race. I have a feeling that there will be many occasions when that moment will seem to sum up my life.

We got home fairly late, but when we went to drop off Molly, she noticed that while the lights were on, her parents' car wasn't in the driveway. I walked her to the door, still in my Ren Faire regalia, and peeked in. No one was visible. I knocked on the large carved wooden front door, which had both a doorknob and a big bronze plate with a large handle and one of those tab thingies that you push down while pulling on the handle to open the door.

I pushed down on the tab and pulled the handle just as someone inside pulled the door open. The handle, along with the tab and the big bronze plate they were both attached to, came smoothly off in my hand. I was left standing there, staring at a woman who, I suddenly realized, I had never met before, beside her daughter, with her door handle in my hand.

Torn between explaining why I had her door handle and explaining why I had her daughter, I stared at her, then said, "Hi!"

She stared incredulously at me. Halle, who had been in the car with Max, walked up to see what was going on. "Oh my God, Rachel!" she blurted out. "You destroyed the front door!"

"No, no!" I yelped. "I barely even touched it! It just came off in my hand!"

"It's loose," explained Molly. She took it out of my hand and fitted it back to the door. "Though it's never come off before. Good night!"

She closed the door. Halle, Max, and I practically fell to the driveway, laughing hysterically. But as I said, Molly and her family never met me before, so it should be difficult for them to send me a bill.
Yesterday I had what I believe was the very strangest moment of my whole entire life. As those of you who have read my memoir know, that is saying a lot.

It all began when we went to Asakusa in the hope of finding traditional Japanese handicrafts, or something like that. But when we exited the subway station, we were surprised to see huge crowds crowding along the road, with police keeping order. Clearly, a parade was about to begin.

I asked the police what was going on, but as has been my all-too-common experience lately, I knew enough Japanese to ask the question, but not enough to understand the answer. I tried asking, "Is it a festival?" The word I used for festival, "matsuri" does mean literally that, but generally means "Traditional Japanese festival," like the one where they parade a giant wooden penis down the streets, or the one which the guidebook mentioned without explanation as "the bean-throwing festival."

"Yes, a matsuri," replied the cop.

"Which matsuri?" I asked.

The cop said what I thought was "sanban"-- "number three." "The third festival?" I repeated bewilderedly.

Stephanie rescued me. "Samba," she explained.

Indeed, we were just in time for the Japanese samba festival!

And that wasn't even the strange part )
In retrospect, there is something odd about OK Cupid. The only man I ever corresponded with at length, but never met because his emails gave me the impression that he would show up for the first date with a single red rose and begin discussing "our relationship" as it had progressed via email, later dated my very good friend Mehera, who also met him via OK Cupid. He showed up for their first date with a single red rose, and began discussing their relationship as it had progressed via email.

Also through OK Cupid, Mehera briefly dated a guy whom I had dated in grad school.

Will, the divorce lawyer, was indeed quite cute and intelligent, although it quickly became apparent that we moved in very different circles. For instance, he had never heard that there was a genre called "fantasy," and was quite confused when I described a book as such. "Isn't that like saying that it's in the genre 'plot?'" he asked. "I mean, all books that aren't true are fantasy, right?"

No, he was not kidding. It was quite difficult to explain that from the ground up, as it were. "Well, you know how Spiderman has these special powers? And in real life, people don't really have them, but it's still set more or less in the real world? OK, that's fantasy. Well, technically, it's science fiction, because they have a scientific explanation... I mean, it's not real science, but they call it science, not magic. If it was called magic, that would be fantasy."

Anyway, I did have an enjoyable evening, and like I said he was quite cute, though I was not feeling any particular mad urges to pounce and kiss. But perhaps that could develop, I thought. I'd be willing to try it out, anyway. But as I suspected the lack of mad urges was possibly mutual, I decided to wait and see what he did at the end of the date. Which was a two-second hug and pat on shoulder. And I suspect that's the last I've heard from Will the divorce lawyer.

But while we were in a bar in Silverlake, I mentioned that I had recently been the foreperson on a jury trial.

"As a lawyer," I said, "If the defendant goes by two names, shouldn't you establish that right away? We spent two whole days thinking that Jesse Lopez and Socorro Lopez were two diff--"

"Wait," said Will. "You're not making up those names, right? Socorro aka Jesse Lopez? What was the trial about?"

"He was running a chop shop," I said. "Out of a tow yard."

"Not Classic Tow?"

"Yeah! Did you hear about it?"

"I'm suing him!" said Will. "On my own behalf-- the only time I've ever done that. He illegally towed my car, then he held it hostage and extorted $350 dollars to get it back! So he was running a chop shop too? Good God! That must be the most evil towing company ever!"

I said, "This is the most bizarre coincidence ever."

I wonder, if I ever get on OK Cupid again, if I'll end up dating some long-lost childhood friend, or the assistant of some agent who once rejected my book.
This weekend Oyce and I were eating lunch at the Ferry Building, overlooking the bay, when we began perusing the discount book rack that was outside the bookshop, on the pavement next to us. It was an odd mix of pretty good YA (like Nancy Werlin and Paul Fleischman), decent-looking gay lit, and horrible self-help books, like Healing the Amazon Wound and Cry of the Soul-Daughter.

And then there was God is Gay.

It was a slim, yellow, self-published paperback. The back cover quotes (which we decided were sock-puppets) were decidedly strange:

Ah, it is marvellous... I read and read and then ponder over it.
--Dr. K. D. Chauhan
Jagdishnagar Society
North Gujarat, India

I just read your book and I felt 'happiness creeping over me.'
G. Rommersheim
Munich, West Germany

['Happiness creeping over me' turned out to be a quote from GiG; the narrator, Bob, feels that sensation when he talks to his soon-to-be cult leader, Daniel.]

The chapters are all headed with peculiar drawings reminiscent of the Rider-Waite tarot deck, but with more animals, some with faceted eyes and all a disturbing cross between cute and evil, like the subliminal octopus in Serenity.

It's the swinging 70s. Bob, along with God, is gay. He lives in San Francisco with his lover, Steve. Then Bob meets Daniel, who is obviously a crazy cult leader. Only Bob doesn't think so. GiG is a love letter to Daniel, Daniel's superb musculature and gentle smile, and Daniel's whack-job philosophy, which consists of crazed nattering about androids and mouseries and "the sound of hearing, the music of the spheres," not to mention "the sight of seeing, the vision of the third eye." (No, there is no scent of smelling. Alas.) Daniel points out that Asia and Asians are spiritually superior to non-Asians. (A concept which, in addition to creating many awkward encounters between obtuse Westerners and unfortunate Asians, ruined my childhood.

Bob is overwhelmed by Daniel and his circle: A very handsome, muscular man let us in. As I was introduced to him, any doubts about his gayness were resolved when he cruised me. Plus, there is gay boxing (normal boxing, gay boxers), and Daniel takes Bob out for a banana split.

But Steve, whom Bob describes in phrases like an ugly sneer crossed Steve's face, cannot appreciate the wonder that is Daniel. In fact, he accuses Daniel of being a cult leader. But Bob finally drags Steve to a meeting, where Daniel goes on for pages and pages of gibberish, including Isn't it obvious that male gays are men, with the understanding of women; who understand instinctively that war, violence, and hatred are wrong. Bob is sure this will make Steve see the light. But Steve takes Bob aside and tells him that Daniel reminds him of Charles Manson.

Horrified, Bob runs to Daniel and says, "You won't believe what Steve said about you!"

Daniel says, "Did he say I reminded him of Charles Manson?"

Since Daniel wasn't there, this convinces Bob that Daniel is clairvoyant and telepathic, because there is no other way Daniel could have known Steve said that. It does not occur to Bob that perhaps Daniel often reminds people of Charles Manson.

Needless to say, Bob dumps Steve and runs away with the perfect and telepathic Daniel. That was the point when we noticed that the book was coauthored by Ezekiel (who presumabably used to be known as Bob) and... Daniel!

There is a clearly fictional chapter in which Steve later apologizes for not being wise or brave enough to embrace Daniel. Oyce and I think that Steve is now happily working for Google, and he and his handsome live-in lover sometimes do dramatic readings from GiG at dinner parties.

Having finished Gig, we then picked up a novel by bestselling fantasy author Terry Goodkind, and opened it to a six-page scene in which the heroine is menaced by... an evil chicken.

No, this is not played for laughs. There are more excerpts at fandom wank if you don't believe me.

The bird let out a slow chicken cackle. It sounded like a chicken, but in her heart she knew it wasn't. In that instant, she completely understood the concept of a chicken that was not a chicken. This looked like a chicken, like most of the Mud People's chickens. But this was no chicken. This was evil manifest.

She is terrified! For six pages! This is the heroine-- scared of a chicken.

Kahlan frantically tried to think as the chicken bawk-bawk-bawked.

In the dark, the chicken thing let out a low chicken cackle laugh.

In between being terrorized, Kahlan remembers her perfect boyfriend, Richard. Brilliant, strong, probably omnipotent, Richard comes across as a cross between Daniel and Diego. Did I mention that he is wise, too?

Richard had been adamant about everyone being courteous to chickens.
Several people have inquired about this icon. Here is the origin story for "naked and dripping wet."

When I was in grad school, I had a job interview at 7:30 am. I am not a morning person. I mean, I am really not a morning person. So when, having woken up that morning at 6:30 and found that my nice burgundy pants that I meant to wear to the interview were still not dry from having been washed the night before, I decided that it would be a really good idea to dry them as I showered by draping them over my tall halogen lamp.

Just as I began to shampoo my hair, the fire alarm went off. I dashed into the living room, and found that my pants, still draped atop the lamp, had burst into flames. I yanked them off the lamp, and they came apart into three flaming pieces, one of which remained in my hands but the other two of which flew off in opposite directions and set my carpet on fire in two places. I hurled the piece I was wearing into the kitchen sink, turned on the faucet, grabbed the second piece, which was by the front door, and hurled it into the hallway, where it set the hall carpet on fire and made the fire alarms for the entire building go off.

I ran into the bathroom, grabbed a totally inadequate towel to attempt to cover my nakedness, retrieved the third flaming pant piece from the carpet, flung it into the sink, dumped water over the carpet fires, went into the now smoke-filled hallway, grabbed the still flaming last pant piece, and hurled it onto the fire escape. People kept opening their doors, then closing them. I got more water, put out the hall fire, then went to the fire escape where the pants were still burning, but had not set the fire escape on fire because that was metal. Then I put the last flaming pant piece out.

I didn't get the job.

When I was later telling my grad class about the incident, one of my classmates interrupted to say, with a lascivious look in his eye, "So the whole time, you were naked and dripping wet?"

"Pretty much," I said.

The postscript to this story is that the apartment manager fled to Mexico along with his family and everyone's files seven hours before the cops busted in his apartment for selling crack out of his apartment. Consequently, I told the new management team that my burned carpet had been like that when I moved in, and that marked the only time I've ever gotten my security deposit back, although it was also the only time I've ever damaged an apartment I rented.

I have other tales of disasters that occurred while I was naked and dripping wet, but I have to get to work now. They all happened pre-morning coffee.


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