September 29, 2000

Still Alive

Um. Hi.

Well, I didn't get any email demanding to know where I was and was I still alive, so from that I'd deduce that either y'all weren't worried and figured I was fine, or you just didn't care. ;-)

Two weeks. Damn. That's a long time for me to go without writing. I understand now why so many daily journalers talk about not wanting to miss a day. Each day that passed, it just got easier and easier to not write, and harder and harder to think of anything to write about. What finally goaded me on was James saying, "It's sad when I'm way more active than you are." So here I am.

The fact of the matter is, I started another project, and it's managed to swallow up all of my free time and thought. For a hint of what it might eventually become, check out the very very fledgling website.

Yup. I started a MUSH. Right now, it's not open to the public. In fact, in may never be open to the public. It might remain my own little playground as I learn exactly how a MUSH works from behind the scenes. So far I have to say, owning a MUSH is far, far, far different from just playing or even staffing on one. It's like being a computer geek, a diplomat, a game master and a leader all at once. At the rate I'm going now, it's going to be more of private game than a wide-open one, if it ever even opens up that much. In any case, it's been fun, if decidedly time-consuming.

Other than that, what have I been doing? Well... I dyed my hair last weekend. I don't have a really clear picture of it yet, but if you'd like, you can go here and see if you can spot the difference between the before and after shots. It's really more noticeable in the sunlight. Nothing drastic, just a slight change from an ash undertone to a reddish undertone. I discovered that I am truly vain about one thing, and that's my hair. I fretted excessively over the slight change in color, and over how the dye was affecting my hair and mourning the loss of my 'virgin hair' (i.e., non-chemically treated). I've settled down about it now though, and I really like the way it looks.

I also spent some time mourning a very brief flirtation that began with an email exchange, moved to a few telephone calls and apparently ended with a date in Ann Arbor about three weeks ago. There seemed to be a lot of promise there, the date went well, as far as I was concerned, and then nothing since. I've been a good girl, and only sent one email and made one phone call since then. The silence kind of stings a little though. Even a 'it was nice meeting you, but I don't think we should see each other again' email would have been nice.

I don't claim to understand people.

Work has been... worky. Yes, I can safely say that work has been very worky lately. Very busy, lots of rude customers. I think I'm reaching burnout levels as far as rudeness from people go. I'm starting to mirror it back, which probably isn't a good thing. Today, as I was taking a message for tech support the guy asked me sarcastically, "Are they going to call back in this lifetime?" I responded smartly, "Yes sir, they do make an effort to call back people before they die." Fortunately in this case, I think the man realized that he was venting his spleen at the wrong person and dropped the attitude. It's like they forget that I'm an actual human being and that I might deserve a little bit of courtesy, even if they are pissed at the company I work for.

That's been the past two weeks. A lot of research and planning for the MUSH, some hanging out with friends, a lot of work and a few adventures in hair coloring.

Posted by Lisa at 06:21 PM | Comments (0)

September 13, 2000

This Entry Brought to You by Dr. Bronner's 'Magic Soap'! OK!

Whew. I don't know how many more days like this I can take. In short, we are understaffed. A lot. In a big big way. As in, if any of you are in southeast Michigan and are looking for an administrative office-type position and you don't mind being on the phones a lot, email me your resume. I'm not kidding. Save me from this insanity. Remember the journal entry where I talked about getting 400 calls? How amazing that was? I've taken at least that many calls every day this week. Most of last week too. I'll probably even get there today. One day last week I had nearly 600 calls. That's insanity, folks.

Lately it hasn't even been a question of whether or not I've felt like writing a journal entry from work, I just haven't been able to. Even I can't multitask that handily. When I get home, I've been so drained that all I've felt like doing is staring blankly at a screen, usually the computer, but sometimes the TV. For you Changeling players out there, that's how banality sucks you dry. Right there.

Okay. I've seen my share of insanity on the web (anyone remember the Stadium Pal?), but this has to absolutely take the cake. Go to this page, which talks about the history of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps. Don't read it. Go to the bottom, which lets you view .pdf files of the labels that come on the soap. Look at them. Magnify them if you have to. According to Doc Bronner and his almond soap, Confucius say, "2nd, every body in God's tremendous Universe must eat or there is no body! To shine on, eat must even the sun, consuming every second 4 million metric ton! To shine on, eat must even the sun! Exceptions eternally? Absolute none!" Also attributed to Confucius (or possibly Mohammed), "5th, only constructive working men have built all civilization & everything good that's in it! Intolerant parasites, in order to eat, must dominate-dictate-distort-dilute-destroy-smear-slay-slander-cheat or they won't eat! Exceptions eternally? Absolute none!"

More modern thinkers jumped on Doc Bronner's bandwagon too. This is attributed to Noah Webster on the peppermint soap label: "Americanism is the knowledge of, the loyalty inspiration or attachment to the 'Army of Principles of All-One-God-Faith', That lightning-like unite the Human race! For we're all-one or none! Exceptions eternally? Absolute None!" I somehow don't think that's a precise quote. And this just in from Abraham Lincoln: "We can no longer live half-slave, half-free! We unite the Human race in All-One-God-Faith or perish by half-true hate! For we're All-One or None!"

I'm not making this up, y'all. Go read for yourselves. Even the non-preachy bits are freaky: "Warning! Keep Out of Eyes! Wash Out with Water! Don't Drink Soap! Dilute! Dilute! or Wet Skin Well! OK!" Finally, I leave you with the instructions for how to use Dr. Bronner's Magic Peppermint Soap: "Enjoy only 2 cosmetics, enough sleep & Dr. Bronner's 'Magic Soap' to clean body-mind-soul-spirit instantly uniting One! All-One! Absolute cleanliness is Godliness! For facial packs, scalp & soothing body rub, add dash on bath towel in sink of hot water. Wring out. Lay over face & scalp Massage with fingertips. Repeat 3 or 4 times 'til arms, legs & all are rubbed, always towards the heart. Rinse towel in plain hot water and massage again. Breathe deeply! Health is Wealth. Within 9 minutes you feel fresh, mint-clean, saving 90% of your hot water and soap, ready to help teach the whole Human race the Moral ABC of All-One-God-Faith! For We're All-One or none! ALL-ONE! ALL-ONE! ALL-" Yup. The label cuts off there. You can guess where it was going, I'm sure.

Finally I leave you with this tidbit from the history page about "an amazing story about [Dr. Bronner] from when he was placed against his will in an insane asylum in Elgin, Illinois for six months before he escaped, but not before suffering several electric-shock treatments." Explains a lot, no?

Doc Bronner scares me.

Posted by Lisa at 03:15 PM | Comments (0)

September 11, 2000

On the Town

Me, with makeup! Yesterday was a red-letter day, so I decided to commemorate it with a picture: I wore makeup. That makes twice this year, so far. What was the occasion? Meeting a new friend from online. One of the few I have in town, in fact! She and I met at one of the many, many coffeeshops right around campus and then wandered around downtown for a bit, hitting bookstores and having lunch. It was fun. It's been a long time since I wandered around the campus area with someone. Of course, it started pouring rain on my way back to my car. I didn't have an umbrella, so by the time I got to the movie we'd decided to see I looked (and felt!) like a drowned rat. I was literally wringing water from my hair in the car. Feh.

Ann Arbor is a great place for people-watching, but it's starting to make me feel old. I'm so out of it on all the trends, fashion and otherwise. Another sign I'm old: I found myself going 'girls are wearing that now? Ick!' Of course, I did that when I was in high school too, so maybe it's just me. I should take my camera downtown sometime and take some pictures. There's definitely some interesting characters around. When we went into Borders, there were about three boys, maybe early college age, dressed in skater-grunge regalia. One of them had a guitar. When we came out of Borders, the one with the guitar was singing something about not having eaten in thirty days. Forty-five minutes later, when we came out of Starbucks, he was still singing it. I guess they were panhandling, cause they sure didn't look like they were starving. He had a pretty good voice. I was sort of envious in a way. It takes a lot of guts to plant your feet on a street corner and start belting out a song.

(Side note #1: where did college students study before coffeehouses were trendy? I remember just studying in my dorm, myself. Side note #2: don't go to downtown Ann Arbor on a rainy Sunday afternoon and expect to find a seat in any of the coffee shops there. People were circling like sharks, just waiting for people to vacate tables.)

It's nice to have a social life of sorts again. It's odd how low my energy level is, though. I think I'm going to have to build up some stamina before I can turn into a social butterfly again. It'll be good for me, as much as staying out at all hours is good for someone.

I gotta gear up... the Jazz and Blues Festival is this weekend, and I'm thinking I want to go, at least to part of it.

Posted by Lisa at 01:02 PM | Comments (0)

September 06, 2000

General Bitching and Whining

Ugh. I was doing so well with this writing everyday thing. I admit, it's been a rough couple days, maybe weeks. I keep getting sick with some sort of bug. It doesn't do much aside from drain my energy and make me feel sort of flu-ish. Achy and tired and sluggish. That works to squish my mood down, which makes me feel even more tired and sluggish and bleah. Not conducive to lots of good writing.

Labor Day weekend was sort of a disappointment. I didn't get much done, mostly because I felt so awful. Add to that a bunch of guilt for not going to visit my mom like I said I was going to. And guilt for not getting my housework done. And general unhappiness due to plans falling through. You get the idea. Ah well. I'm going to see my mom tonight after work at least. That's something.

I'm also signed up for a short-term group therapy thing. We'll see. I was terribly unhappy with the therapist I was assigned at U of M, so I'm not seeing her anymore. I admit, I got discouraged and didn't try to find another one there. I mean, as guilty as I feel all of the time, I didn't need a therapist who made me practically squirm with guilt when I was with her. I know. I'm not being fair. I should probably practice what I preach, right KT? ;-)

I'm not back on Zoloft regularly. I don't know... it's stupid of me. I didn't like the way that got handled either, and the doctor insisted on putting me on a dosage that didn't work in the past. Didn't matter what I said about being on 150mg before, he insisted on putting me on 50mg. I mean, come on dude. Zoloft isn't exactly a controlled substance. I'm not going junkie on you, I just know what didn't work before. And so, feeling certain that it wouldn't work, I quit taking it. Also dumb of me. I'm being a stereotypical depressive here. Feh.

And by the way, whose bright idea was it for humans to require sleep? Jeez.

Posted by Lisa at 02:47 PM | Comments (0)

September 04, 2000

Sexual Manifesto

If you're my mom or you're squicked by the idea of me talking about sex... you might want to hit that back button on your browser right now.

It's something that's been on my mind a lot lately, partly just due to natural hormones, and partly because it's been nigh on two years since I last, uh, indulged. Well, with someone else, at least. I can so relate to a lot of what Von wrote a few weeks ago, in so many ways. Probably the oddest thing, at least to people who only know me casually, is that I'm really a very sexual person. Admittedly, it's not something I'm normally extremely open about, one because it usually falls into the category of TMI (Too Much Information), and two because, well... as self-assured as I try to be, part of me is fairly certain that most people are a little troubled by the idea of very large people being sexual. I know, I know. It's their problem and I shouldn't cater to it. Consider this my first step in the right direction.

How does it make sense for someone to be very sexual and very shy about it at the same time? I don't know. When I'm at ease in a situation or with someone, I can be completely open and relaxed about it. I find myself being really envious of someone like Jo, who is able to be so open she's almost in your face about who she is. Perhaps not surprisingly, I tend to create and write about characters that are likewise very sexual, and quite honest about it. Living vicariously? Well duh. But then, isn't that what most of roleplay is about? Admittedly, probably the most notorious is Jake. In the course of her two and a half years as a character, she's had about nine partners, unless I've missed someone. Beyond that, she's a formal member of a noble faerie house that might be as likely to knight someone for documenting a new sexual technique as for bravery in battle. She and her House are proof that it is at least theoretically possible to be utterly romantic about being promiscuous. In a scene she did just last night, in fact, while sort of counseling a younger member of her house, she said, "Virtue is not a matter of who sleeps in what bed. It's a matter of the heart." That as much as anything, sums up her philosophy on the matter. (To which Brand commented, "Of course she thinks that, it lets her sleep around and still be good!" I smacked him.)

It pretty much sums up my philosophy as well. In fact, Jake nearly quoted Tom Smith, from "Unicorn Song": "Listen, young women, your virtue is pure, if you live by your own heart's advice." I realized she wasn't too familiar with filk though, so she paraphrased. It's all just a question of whether or not I can live by my philosophy. I suppose I can. I suppose I do, in a way. I don't know. I knew where I was going with this when I started... now I'm faltering. I guess what it all comes down to is that my philosophy is writing checks that my self-confidence can't cash.

I would love to be the type of person who could just come on to someone I found attractive, without being terrified of getting a repulsed look from them. There is, in fact, a rather sizable list of people I'd jump, given the chance to do so without negative consequences (i.e., someone getting hurt, pregnant, diseased, the wrong someone else finding out, getting that repulsed look, etc.). In a way, I'd love for sex to be something I could fall into as easily as I can love. Right now, I can't. It has less to do with morality, I think, and more to do with fear. Being rejected emotionally... that I can handle. That I'm used to. I have enough self-confidence emotionally that I can bounce back from that.

Being rejected sexually? Ouch. Not ready for that one. My body confidence is growing, but it's still shaky. Forcing myself to deal frequently with the fact that many people are not going to find my curvy, fleshy self attractive would probably weaken that confidence more than encourage it to grow. Or would it? I'm afraid to find out. Right now I'm afraid to approach anybody unless they're as blatant as having 'I want to sleep with Lisa' tattooed on their forehead in inch-high letters.

Sometimes I think if I had my way, I'd do away with sexual jealousy, insecurity, all of that. It works for some people. Maybe it's just where I live, but open relationships are becoming more accepted, if not more common. Is it possible to care enough about someone to sleep with them, but be in love with someone else? Sure it is. And I don't just mean empty casual sex, which falls out of the realm of my 'own heart's advice'. I mean caring about someone, desiring them, but being able to let them go. Sometimes I think I want that more than I want an actual relationship. I would like for sex to not necessarily equate love, but to equate caring and respect. I would like for sex to not necessarily equate the breaking or forming of a commitment, beyond that caring and respect. I would love to see fidelity redefined to mean what each member of each relationship (be there two or three or however many) decides it is, rather than a blind acceptance of what society says it is. Society, frankly, has far more interest in who sleeps in which bed than in how people feel. That's faulty logic, to me.

Are people hard-wired to be jealous sexually? Or is it something long ingrained in us through our upbringing? Considering how sexual mores have changed through time, it'd be easy to just assume the latter is true. Heck, even in the Old Testament, no one seems to blink at men like Abraham and David and Solomon having wives and concubines galore. While there is some strife documented (I'm thinking of Sarah and Hagar, off the top of my head), it seems to come more from a struggle for power within the household than from sexual jealousy. I could be wrong. I don't think we have to automatically turn green at the thought of a partner doing the wild thing with someone else. Is it our knee-jerk reaction? Hell yes. Is it possible to overcome our early programming? Sure. Is it a good thing to do so? Depends on who you ask. For me, the answer is yes. I'm working on it.

Where does this leave me now? Still single, still chaste (damn it), still trying to live by what I'm growing to believe.

In other words, business as usual. For now.

Posted by Lisa at 07:04 PM | Comments (0)

September 01, 2000

Audition

Finally, days later, I get to tell y'all about my Choral Society audition Tuesday night.

Lemme cut all the suspense out right now: I didn't make it.

But, it was a near thing. A very very near thing. I made it to the site of the auditions about forty-five minutes early, and ended up filling out my sheet and sitting and chatting with some of the other auditionees. I managed to calm down, for the most part.

Then my turn came. Ack! I nervously followed the director into the lecture hall. Sat my things down, gave the director my audition sheet, gave the accompanist my music. "Go ahead whenever you're ready," he said. "What are you going to sing for us?"

I told him what I was I was going to sing, then took a deep breath, and nodded at the accompanist. The music was a little slower than I would have liked, but in I dived. After what sounded to me like a shaky start, I got more into it. And alternated. At moments I remember thinking, "Oh my god, this sucks SO bad," while at other moments I was awed at the way my voice filled the lecture hall. The director and his assistant kept looking at each other and smiling.

His first words when I finished were "What a gorgeous sound." I blinked and briefly wondered if he'd heard the same performance I had. But he was highly complimentary and asked me about my background and what my voice range was, then tested my range a little. Things were looking very very good. Then he had me sightread. It was a Requiem, but damned if I can remember which one. He quizzed me on key signatures, looking more and more pleased with each right answer.

And then I tried to read the music. Oh my god. Children, I blew goats. Large hairy ones. Everything I ever learned about sightreading went completely out of my head. I couldn't remember rhythms. I couldn't manage to pronounce Latin. I couldn't remember the easiest intervals. I stopped and faltered, even though he gave me chance after chance. It was painful.

He finally sighed and said, "You're almost there, but just not quite close enough." We both tried to work around things a little, but he finally felt like he couldn't put me in his group yet. Yet. He gave me the phone number of a woman who teaches sightreading and told me to call her if I could at all. "When she feels you're ready, call my office." I nodded, probably looking as disappointed as I felt, but he kept on, "Just try eight lessons, then call me. Please. I'm serious. Once you learn how to do this, anything you want to do will be open to you with that voice." I thought he might have been trying to make me feel better. I'm not so sure. This guy is probably the most well-respected choral director in the area. I really got the feeling that he wanted to take me in, just on the basis of my voice, but couldn't because of the sightreading.

So I don't know. It made me feel better about not getting in. I've got the teacher's phone number. I want to give her a call, but I don't know if I can afford the lessons right now. I admit, I'm a little scared. I have a mental block on sightreading. Always have. To me, it's like this mystical process that I'll never quite be able to pull together. Which really, means that I should kick myself in the butt and take the lessons.

In the meantime, I'm looking for a way to get singing regularly again. I wonder if the Gilbert & Sullivan Society is still around...

Posted by Lisa at 05:31 PM | Comments (0)