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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

WNW: Gallows humor

My dark mood continues.

First, a few disclaimers:
  1. This contains spoilers for the January 16 episode of Battlestar Galactica. Massive, massive spoilers.Heck, even my next statement is a spoiler.
  2. If you're freaked out by guns or depictions of blood, violence, or suicide, don't watch this.
  3. The scene is long but important for establishing context. The funny comes at the end.
  4. Have a towel handy in case you start peeing yourself from laughing too hard.

All right. Don't say I didn't warn you...


Link.


I wonder how long it will take before someone makes a music video using this song and clips from movie and TV suicides?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Lie to Me

(spoken)

Hey.
You there.
Tell me I'm the one who sets your world on fire.
Say that I'm the only one that you desire.
Lie to me.

(singing in a minor key)

Hey.
You on the street.
Say that I'm the kind of girl you'd like to meet.
Tell me I make you tingle from your head down to your feet.
Lie to me.

(up tempo)

Tell me that you love me.
Tell me that you care.
Tell me that you need me
Like you need the air.

I know that it's a lie
But it's what I need to hear
To make it through the night
When the Wolf is at my ear.

Hey.
You there.
Lie to me.

(instrumental bridge; key change upward; faster tempo )

Feel like I've been lied to all my whole life
Don't see why that should change even now
Never gonna get to be someone's wife
So lie and say I make your heart go "wow!"

(spoken)
Because even cows get milked once in a while...

(back to original key)

Hey.
You at the bar.
Wanna take me home in your fancy car?
You can even hit me -- it won't leave a scar.
Just lie to me.

Hey.
You on the phone.
Won't you please throw a dog a fucking bone?
All I know is I don't wanna be alone.
Lie, lie to me.

Tell me that you love me.
Tell me that you care.
Tell me that you need me
Like you need the air.

I know that it's a lie
But it's what I need to hear
To make it through the night
When the Wolf is at my ear.

Hey.
You there.
Lie to me.

(fade out)

(spoken; no music; original tempo)

Hey.
You there.
Lie to me.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Twitterpated

Some of you may have noticed that I have given in to the fad and gotten myself a Twitter account. Those of you haven't noticed are directed to the words underneath the picture of cleavage on the right.

This way, if I'm too busy (or too lazy) to update this blog, I will hopefully have something interesting and/or meaningful to Tweet. For instance, this weekend was the drama of "My dad has a heart attack." He's fine now, thanks for asking.

For those who wish a separate bookmark for my gothy Tweets (which should have a better name, like "Sighs of Rapturous Agony" or some such), you may find it here.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A polite request to the political-minded everywhere

Can we please, Please, PLEASE stop talking about Bush now?

Love him or hate him, the man has left office. This President is no more. He has ceased to be a politician. He is an Ex-President.

Let us now, in the spirit of that notable .org, move the fuck on and begin the partisan praising of and/or bitching about Obama.

Let us likewise engage in the nonpartisan skewering of authority figures that our nation is so good at.


Can we do that? Please? For me?


YES WE CAN.*





* It's my prediction that use of "Yes we can" as a punchline is going to be 2009's "The cake is a lie." I'm not a hypocrite, I'm an early adopter.

Friday, January 16, 2009

WNW: Special Star Wars Friday Edition

I am a slack-ass. But I blame it all on feeling yucky all week, so that's fine.

I will now placate you with not one, but two funny Star Wars YouTubes.
Star Wars: Retold (by someone who hasn't seen it)

My friend Amanda had never seen a whole Star Wars film. When I asked her if she wanted to watch the original trilogy she said that she would, but that she already knew what happens. So I took out my voice recorder and asked her to start from the top.

I then created some very basic animation in Final Cut to go along with her narration.


Link.


"Star Wars" a capella tribute to John Williams
The comedic stylings of Moosebutter, featuring possibly recognizable tunes (Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Indiana Jones, Superman, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Jaws, Jurassic Park)


Link.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Great, now they fired the monkeys

I always feel a little weird when I point people to one of Geek Related's posts, because he hits the nail so precisely on the head that paraphrasing them seems like I'm ripping him off and saying "What he said" seems lazy.

Therefore, if you recall when I said this:
Based on all of this, I can only assume that the D&D division of WotC is being run by a particularly retarded group of rhesus monkeys, because this level of gross incompetence is unforgivable.
... then you will know what I mean when I say that somewhere, a group of retarded rhesus monkeys is in search of a job (perhaps in the banking or automotive manufacturing industries?).

Because if your failed, pitiful excuse for an online initiative is now actively preventing dissatisfied customers from cancelling their craptastic subscriptions; and your online representatives are unable to solve the problem; and this asshattery gets reported in the The Consumerist...

Then clearly you have rocks in charge of your (formerly?) multi-million dollar corporation, and are quite happy to watch it auger into the ground and burn in a hellish conflagration.

Seriously. When I called $th Edition (Hah! That was a typo, but by gum I'm keeping it) a disaster of epic proportions, I wasn't being cynical, I was fucking prescient.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Self-Improvement Through Self-Immolation

So, I seem to be stuck in a Fight Club kind of mood today. Which is cool, because I really like that movie. It's been a while since I saw it, but for a while there I made a point to watch it every six months or so.

That movie still speaks to me, and it's not because of its existentialist philosophy (to which I partially subscribe) or the fantastic acting of Ed Norton. It's because it helped me through a very rough time in my life, back when I had been dumped by my fiancee (3/21/03, R.M.E., I still haven't forgotten) and it felt like I had lost everything of value in my life. In fact, I felt like I had nothing worth living for, and I would have killed myself were it not for the fact that I knew that doing so would have hurt, in the most terrible and personal way possible, those few people left who still cared about me.

And then I watched Fight Club, and realized something:
  • Evolve or Die.
  • The Universe doesn't care which path I choose.
  • Entropy, however, wants to keep me from evolving, because that's the path of least resistance.
  • Therefore, anything that prevents me from improving myself is my mortal enemy, and I must kill it with fire.
Which is pretty heady philosophy, you must admit, but it's a bit shoddy in practice. I can rage all day long at things which I perceive as obstacles to self-improvement, but it's not at all productive, and if I take that last line a bit too literally it would result in criminal charges.

Prison, I felt, would be a definite hindrance to my own journey of evolution.

It wasn't until later -- years later, sadly -- that I realized the second, crucial, element of this binary philosophy. It began at my Goth club, where I was quite happily depressed, when I noticed that some woman was giving readings of Tarot cards. I decided to get a piece of this action, because there's little I enjoy more than saying "Nope, you're wrong" when someone tries to analyze me.

I went into it blind, with all the arrogance of "If you're a psychic, you already know who I am and what I want." The woman obligingly cast my future, and one of the cards -- I don't recall which one, and I know she wasn't using a standard deck like a Rider-Waite -- had a dragon on it. I do recall that this card was in the "present" position, and she started to do a fairly typical spiel along the lines of the "Striking the Dragon's Tail" scenario.

"That's me," I interrupted her, stabbing the dragon with my finger. "I'm not that stupid farmer. I'm the dragon." I said this mostly because I was getting irritated with the predictability of the reading and wanted to throw her for a loop, but also because I dislike being categorized so neatly.

I was hoping she'd sputter in an amusing manner. Instead, she quietly murmured, "Friend, get out of your own way." I didn't really know what she meant by that, but I knew that whatever it was, it was important. Not because it was Tarot, but because she had hit a very sensitive and vulnerable spot I didn't know I had. I chewed on this for a long time, trying to puzzle it out.

I finally figured it out last year when I realized that I am the source of all my problems.

Of course, I'm not about to set myself on fire. That would be foolishly self-destructive. What I aspire to do, what I have been trying to accomplish for nearly a year now, is to systematically destroy those obstacles in my life which I have placed in my path. And believe me, it's hard going, because while it's very easy to say "I would sure be motivated to make more of myself if I was starving and freezing in a ditch," the human desire for comfort is a very hard thing to short-circuit. I suspect this is because our minds equate comfort with survival.

I guess, then, the entire point of my post is this: 2009 is my Year of the Phoenix. Either I burn away all my dross and am reborn, resplendent, and rise to the heights to which I know I can climb... or I burn out forever, and accept a life of mediocrity.

Evolve or die.

Self-improvement through self-immolation.

Come watch me, my friends. This is the year I burn brightly, and even if I fail, I'll go out like a viking.

It'll be a hell of a show.

Palette's Rule for Dealing with Bill Collectors

I laugh at them.

No, seriously. It's a great technique and I recommend it for everyone.

Example:
[phone rings]

"Hello?"

"Hi, this is Shit-Sucking Debt Acquisitions Company from Hauppage, New York. We'd like to speak to Erin Palette in vaguely threatening tones." [Editor's note: some dialog changed to reflect what I heard, rather than what was actually said.]

"Ah, Shit-Suckers. I should have known it was you from your preceding fecal halitosis."

"Yes, you really should have. At any rate, we want you to pay us, oh, $700 for a debt that was charged off four years ago, which we bought for pennies on the dollar in the hopes that we could extort money from you with threats, when clearly the original amount wasn't important enough for your old creditor to pursue."

"I see."

"So, you'll be paying us all at once with a credit card, yes?"

"Not at all, Shit-Suckers. I find your attempts at extortion to be laughable, and thus I mock you. Ha hah."

[there is a brief pause at the other end]

"Um... well, you realize that if you do not pay us, we will be forced to take action against you which will adversely affect your credit rating."

"What you fail to comprehend about this situation is that I don't give a flying fuck about my credit rating." [Note: I actually said this line.]

"...."

"I see that my remarkable candor has rendered you speechless. Allow me to continue. You see, since this debt is under a thousand dollars, I know it's not worth the time and effort of an attorney to collect, because his services would cost more than you'd get from me. Therefore, I know you can't sue me, and thus you're a paper tiger."

"But..."

"Furthermore, seeing as how I live with my parents, have no sustainable income, and have no possessions worth taking -- including my car, which is over 10 years old and has over 130,000 miles on it -- you can't put a lien on my salary or seize anything of value."

"If I could..."

"Therefore, I am calling your bluff, you anal remoras, and invite you to spend additional time and money on form letters and telephone calls which will only earn you further contempt and increasingly polysyllabic verbiage, you cretinous decerebrates."

"What..?"

"Insalubrious regards, my fine young catamite."

[hang up]


~ FIN ~

Of course, not everyone has the requisite fucked finances to pull it off like I can. As Troy so delicately put it a few days ago, I am a deadbeat, and the one nice thing about a shitty financial situation is the knowledge that things can't get worse. Once you realize you can't fall off the floor, you find a remarkable freedom.

Tyler Durden says: It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

It's a New Year's Miracle, Erin Palette

Back in December, I found out that I'd managed to overdraw my bank account. This doesn't happen very often, because I don't make a lot of money and I tend to be careful with it. Still, I had gotten preoccupied with Thanksgiving and the annual Screwing Of The Schedules that the holiday season tends to inflict on people, and I wasn't watching my balance nearly as well as I should have been. My first hint that something was wrong was when I deposited my check and was informed I had a negative balance.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, over?

Anyone who has been in this situation knows exactly what a sickening feeling it is to realize that, in order to square things with your financial institution, you have to throw the money you need for such things as gas and food and car insurance into the yawning pit of Overdraft Fees.

Now, there are two ways to fix a situation like this. The first is to be responsible, and call or visit the local bank branch to work something out, perhaps getting some of those overdraft fees removed. The second is to panic, divorce all logical thought from the situation, and hope in vain that the situation will somehow magically resolve itself without any outside input on your part.

Guess which solution I chose?

Yes, I went with the Ostrich Solution, which is one reason I was a nervous wreck all month: I knew I had a problem, but was too scared to contemplate fixing it, so I didn't stop to think about what I could do to fix my problem. And, of course, during this time my problem only got worse. Ironically, I had money during this period, but I couldn't access it, because (again) I didn't want to just sacrifice my funds to Moloch.

I told no one of this because it had become My Secret Shame. I was guarding this information with all the diligence of a rape victim trying to preserve her reputation. About the only time I let on that something was wrong was when my subscription to City of Heroes ran out, and I had to email people that "Hey, my finances are fucked right now, dunno when I'll be back on, please take care of my Superbase during my absence."

(It should have been a major hint to me that asking for help was the required course of action, because within a few days of me mentioning my loss of Hero-connectedness, two people went out and bought me monthly game cards. I'd like to thank those two kind souls, Hyper-Man and LiQuiD, for helping me stay in touch with friends and maintain what little sanity I have.)

Eventually, when got to the point where my phone had been turned off and my car insurance was about to be revoked, I knew that Shit Was Bad and I needed to do something. I finally broke down -- pretty literally, I confess-- and I called Chris Bridges to detail the whole sordid story and ask, weepily, "What do I dooooooooo?"

It is to Mr. Bridges' credit that when he suggested the sensible solution mentioned earlier, he did not append a "Well, duhhhh" to it. In fact, he even went so far as to call the bank on my behalf, explain my dilemma in general terms, and receive assurances that, yes, the bank employees there would be happy to help me, and not tear me into little bitty pieces or publicly humiliate me.

So, finally, that takes us to the title of this piece. It was December 31, party because I love symbolism but mostly because I am slacktastic procrastinator, when I finally dragged my indebted posterior into my local bank. I got there at 4pm, knowing full well that the bank closed at 4:30, because I didn't want anyone else in the lobby to hear my tale of woe and, in their hearts, laugh at my incompetence. Because I'd know if they did. I wouldn't be able to hear them, you understand, but I'd still know.

No, I'm not paraniod. Who told you that?

So I get there, and the first thing I do when I get to the account-person's desk is say, "I need you to be very gentle with me," and then I explain my situation to her. She nods politely and sympathetically, and it's at this moment that I know for a certainty she has children of her own. Evil wench that I am, I seize upon this and act every bit like the "well-meaning but still immature twentysomething" for which I am occasionally mistaken, because I'm certain her kids are the same age.

She says that yes, she can help, and can she have my name and social security number? I give it. She taps on the computer. Information pops up. I am told that my account has been closed...

...

... and that I don't owe any money.

I enjoy the novel sensation of total vocabulary failure for several moments before asking, "Wait. I don't owe anything?"

"Not a thing," I'm told. "You didn't owe enough for this to go to collections, so we just charged it off. Best of all, we didn't report this to a credit agency, so this won't adversely affect your credit rating."

I openly boggle.

"Happy New Year," she explains.

I am reminded of an old Jewish tradition of forgiving unpaid debts at the end of the year. It is as if my financial sins have been wiped clean.

I decide to push my luck. "That's wonderful!" I exclaim. "But now I have the much smaller problem of not being able to deposit these checks without a bank account."

"You could open a new one," she says.

"Really?" I reply, cagily. "I would like that very much, because I've always been pleased with your service, and given how you've treated me today I'd very much like to continue being your customer, but I would think that you -- the bank -- would not want to take another risk on me."

"Well, let's just enter your information, and see if anything pops up saying that we can't give you another account," she says. "If so, you're no worse off."

Nothing pops up.

I open a new account with zero difficulty.

I don't typically use the word "miracle," because I think it's been terribly misused, but let me tell you: when I left that bank, I felt blessed. I felt forgiven. I felt gifted.

Thank you, Deity, for giving me the best present of all: the feeling that someone, somewhere, was looking out for me because I was loved.

Monday, January 5, 2009

My Christmas Experience, Summarized



I survived.

Good riddance to 2008.

Remember: only 354 more shopping days until Christmas 2009!

The Fine Print


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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