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I'm nervous about work tomorrow. I go in at two, and Cindy's there until four-thirty. I'm still not sure if I'm going to wear the rainbow pin, and if I do, I'm not sure if I'm going to mention it or if I'm going to say nothing until she says something first. I don't want this to start some sort of cold war between Cindy and me, and I don't want it to escalate into my quitting or getting fired, but I also don't want to feel like I have to be ashamed of who I am. I don't want to feel like the bigots won. I pray that whatever happens, I have the courage to stand by my beliefs and not to back down or fall apart or give in. Wish me luck, and I'll let you know what happened as soon as I get home tomorrow night.
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For the past few months, I've worn a small pin, about the size of a nickel, on the lanyard around my neck at work. It's got the logo of the NO H8 Campaign on it. NO H8 came out of the Proposition 8 debacle in California, but it's taken on a much wider significance, as far as anti-discrimination goes, as you can see by any of the people who make ads for NO H8 and tell you why they support it.

Anyway, I've had this pin on my nametag lanyard for a few months, and I've only ever gotten positive feedback, usually "Like your pin!" and things like that. I have never once spoke to a customer about it. I have never solicited support for gay marriage, for anti-Prop 8 foundations, or anything of the like. In fact, if anyone ever asked about it, I intended merely to say that it was a pin to show my support for equality and against discrimination. Apparently, a woman called the store on Monday and spoke with Cindy, my manager. She said that she saw my pin and was offended by it, because gay marriage is "against her religion." Cindy then told Roberta, the assistant manager, to tell me to take the pin off... which I did.

I checked Borders policies online, and they do have a "non-political stance" that says employess "should not display [their] political views in the workplace." This line comes directly after a comment about how Borders does "not support any political parties or candidates." So even though it seems they are referring specifically to political candidates and not civil rights movements, I admit that bigotted customers could twist the policy to suit their own ends in their crusade against my NOH8 pin. So fine, I won't wear the NOH8 pin, even though we hold annual charities to support our troops, which is rather political in my opinion.

However, I am very angry at the gall of the customer who called to complain. As I said, I never solicited anything. I never evangelized or disseminated information. I simply had on a pin that suggest we all hate a little less. And what did that customer do? She brought on the hate. Of course.

After I took off the pin tonight, I nearly cried. I felt tears well up in my eyes. I felt like they had won, you know? I felt like I had been forced into silence, like I had to shut up so another woman's religion could speak up. I wanted to fight it, but because of Borders' "non-political stance," I knew I would be standing on shaky ground from the get-go. So I'm not going to wear my NOH8 pin. (Sorry, Adam Bouska, and all the thousands of gay couples who want the same rights and benefits straight couples get.)

But I'm not going to be silenced. I'm not going to be cowed by their homophobia. I'm pulling out my rainbow pin, and I'm going to wear it proudly on that lanyard, and customers can complain 'til their hearts are content, but if my manager even suggests I take it off, I'm speaking up, much louder than a simple LiveJournal or facebook post. Borders does have very strict anti-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation and protect against "any other conduct that has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment." Furthermore, if she asks me to take off my rainbow pin, I'm going to ask her (and all the other associates) to take off their wedding rings and any crucifixes they may have around their neck or in their ears. After all, a wedding ring and a cross are quite literally exactly like my rainbow pin: statements of identity. And if I can't be who I am proud to be, then neither can they.
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Tick tock tick tock tick tock...


Oct. 9th, 2010 04:33 pm
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Awhile back, Moby Dick appeared on a list of the top gay novels ever. I'd never read it, and I remember thinking, "What the fuck? Why is this on here?"

Today, on the GRE, there was a passage from Moby Dick, and now I know why it made the list:
Squeeze! squeeze! squeeze! all the morning long; I squeezed that sperm till I myself almost melted into it; I squeezed that sperm till a strange sort of insanity came over me; and I found myself unwittingly squeezing my co-laborers' hands in it, mistaking their hands for the gentle globules. Such an abounding, affectionate, friendly, loving feeling did this avocation beget; that at last I was continually squeezing their hands, and looking up into their eyes sentimentally; as much as to say,- Oh! my dear fellow beings, why should we longer cherish any social acerbities, or know the slightest ill-humor or envy! Come; let us squeeze hands all round; nay, let us all squeeze ourselves into each other; let us squeeze ourselves universally into the very milk and sperm of kindness.

Would that I could keep squeezing that sperm for ever! For now, since by many prolonged, repeated experiences, I have perceived that in all cases man must eventually lower, or at least shift, his conceit of attainable felicity; not placing it anywhere in the intellect or the fancy; but in the wife, the heart, the bed, the table, the saddle, the fire-side; the country; now that I have perceived all this, I am ready to squeeze case eternally. In thoughts of the visions of the night, I saw long rows of angels in paradise, each with his hands in a jar of spermaceti.
That's like porn, amirite?!

PS: I should mention that 'sperm,' in this case at least, refers to spermaceti, a by-product from whales used for various products. Like perfume, I think. But still! This passage showed up on the GRE, and the little note about 'spermaceti' wasn't until the end of the passage, and I literally had to stop myself thrice while reading it so I didn't start giggling like a schoolgirl.
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Not too much to report.

My sleeping schedule is super-off lately. I've been going to bed at seven or so and waking up at four. This will change soon, because this weekend is going to be Hell. I have the GRE to take at 8:30 in the morning on Saturday, which means I need to wake up at 6:00, and then I work Sunday morning. Fun fun fun!

I bought Beauty and the Beast on Blu-Ray today. Haven't watched it yet, but I did put it in just to see the difference between regular and Blu-Ray... it's pretty amazing. So is Beauty and the Beast, of course. But yeah, Blu-Ray is totally worth it.

Krystal has informed me of a job opening at her company. It's for a copy editor. Literally every single requirement or suggestion of "preferred quality" on the ad is something I can offer. It pays at least $15 an hour, it's nearby but far enough away that if I got the job I could theoretically get my own apartment closer to Pittsburgh, it has full benefits and paid time off, and it's in a field (editing) that is something I think I'd actually like doing. Plus, Krystal works there, and she said it's a smaller company, so she's going to talk to Ellie in HR and see what she can do.

You may think this is a good thing, but it's not. Because now I want to get the job. And not only that, but it's like the moment I heard about it and decided to apply, an entire full-length future popped into my mind, fully formed and dressed in battle gear like Athena out of Zeus's head. You know, happy job, cute apartment, living close enough to visit the parents on the weekends but far enough away that I don't have to be with them every day, with my own finances and a new set of friends and maybe a boyfriend or a cat or even both. It's just so hard, because I develop these fantasies, and they never come true, and I'm going to apply and then when I don't even get a call back for an interview, it's going to devastate me and I'm going to feel rejected and worthless... which is bad, considering I also have to do grad applications soon, which is just a whole nother slew of rejection coming next year.

Sigh. I guess this is life.

Anyway, my mom said not to tell anyone about the job so I don't jinx it, but I'm bad at keeping secrets. Wish me luck.
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I look at a lot of landscape pictures online, mostly to get a feel for the type of worlds I create for my stories. But every time I see a picture of some foreign ecosystem -- whether it's a rainforest or a tundra, a coniferous forest or an arid desert -- I think, "I wish I lived there. I'd be happy there, I bet. Things would be different." I guess the grass really is greener on the other side of the fence, as they say.

I've never really considered myself one of those people who obsess over nature, who feel the urge to bask in the sun or glory in the flower, but it's only pictures of the earth that do this to me, not pictures of fancy cities or gorgeous houses. As odd as it seems, I do think the world would be a better place if we were simpler, less "civilized," more in tune with the planet. I'm not about to give up my technological amenities and go backpacking across the boreal forest, but there is something alluring about the idea. I mean, I hear that so much of the planet is still uncultivated, still wild, and it seems so alien to me. I don't even live in a big city, in a metropolis, but still... do you have any idea when the last time I saw a real forest was? That's a serious question, not a rhetorical one, because I have no idea what the answer is.

I think perhaps this is why I default to fantasy stories. Because I can set them in different civilizations that are still in touch with nature. The culture I've created for Eternity in an Hour is, without intending it to be, my idea of paradise: a society that lives and lets live, that has the amenities of technology without having de-earthed the earth in the process. They live in a house made from a tree, but it has running water and artificial light, for instance. Sometimes I wonder how different my life would be, how different I would be, if I picked up and moved to a little cabin somewhere deep in the woods, with Internet access and electricity but without all the zombie emptiness that "civilization" has dropped on us.

Maybe I should go read Thoreau...

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So get this: I finished not one but two scenes tonight! More than halfway done with Chapter 8 now. Still behind my schedule, but not nearly as far behind as I'd have expected. There's a chance I may finish this thing by the end of the year yet! Woo hoo!
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So, I just watched Letters to Juliet, with Amanda Seyfried (the girl from Mean Girls and Mamma Mia) and Vanessa Redgrave. Oh. Em. Gee.

Let me preface this by saying that I actually enjoyed the movie. Despite what I'm about to say, I found myself smiling throughout the whole thing, cheesing it like whoa at the end.

That said, however... woof. What a terrible movie! It's badly written, there's no chemistry between the main couple, one of the plots is ludicrous and melodramatic, and I'm not even talking about the one that spans 50 years! There are two romances, obviously, the one between Vanessa Redgrave (old woman) and some random old Italian dude and the one between Vanessa Redgrave's grandson, some blond Brit who is alternately cute and busted, and Amanda Seyfried. Well, the 50-year-old romance is cute and endearing because it's so heinous and Vanessa Redgrave's character knows it and acknowledges it, but then there's the young romance between Grandson and Amanda Seyfried, and it's so horribly forced and cheesy. Their first kiss comes out of nowhere, and it's so awkward. And then the end scene, the big romantic moment, she's at this wedding in Tuscany and the bitch climbs up a balcony -- a fucking balcony, come on, people! -- and the dude is like "Amanda Seyfried, what are you doing up there?" and Amanda Seyfried says, and I quote, "I'm leaving! It is too painful here for me." At this point, the dude says something idiotic and forgettable. I, however, would have said, "You dumb bitch, if you're leaving why did you climb up a random balcony?"

Oh, Lord. So bad. But like I said, I enjoyed it. Not enough to buy it -- not full price, at least -- but you know, fun times. Vanessa Redgrave is win, at least. But oh, the script. If I ever write anything this bad, please just shoot me on the spot.
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So, I found out today that Joe Bob, a.k.a. Casty from WoW, is getting a divorce. Big shocker there. This is why homosexuals should not, in fact, marry opposite-sex partners. (I could go into why anysexuals should not marry anyone, but I won't.)
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Last night, I became ridiculously cold for no reason. I felt feverish. I was shivering like a recovering drug addict, and I couldn't get warm, no matter how many layers I put on. I stayed that way for something like an hour and a half, and I still have no idea what caused it. Afterward, I got really, really tired, and I tried to read a book, but I was too exhausted, and that got me thinking about all the books I want to read, need to read, and how much it would suck if I were to die before I got a chance to read them all. That made me realize something: If I died tomorrow, my ghost would not say, "Damn, I wish I had played more WoW while I was alive!" It wouldn't say, "Man, I wish I had spent more time doing absolutely nothing except sitting on my ass, surfing random gossip and GLBT blogs." If I died tomorrow, my ghost would regret not reading more, not writing more. Not finish Eternity. It's such a shame. And yet tonight, I still spent most of my time after work playing WoW. I didn't read or write at all. I played WoW, I played SC2, and then I watched some Glee. (I bought the Blu Ray season today. Amazing!) And after this entry, I'm not going to read or write. Instead, I'm going to go watch one more episode and then go to bed. I tell myself, "Oh, it's too late to read or write. You need large chunks of time for that! You need to be awake, not kinda tired!" Bullshit!

Anyway, not much else to say. Just wanted to mark these thoughts, yet another iteration of the same epiphany I have repeatedly, over and over and over again, on a daily, sometimes hourly!, basis. And without further ado, it is now time for more Glee!
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Every now and again, at the most random times, I get this feeling. It's faint, like a wind whisper or the scent of perfume as someone rushes by. It's this intimation of mortality, this feeling that we are all, every one of us, sitting here, spending seconds and minutes, utterly oblivious to the fact that we could die right now. That's not quite right, though. Not quite oblivious or ignorant, because we obviously know we could die any second. It's just this feeling of vulnerability, like a sitting duck, as they say. We are such insects, you and I, sitting idly around, just waiting for some big oaf to squash us into oblivion. A stroke, a heart attack, an accident. I don't think about this often. I'm not obsessed, and I'm not Emily Dickinson. But like I said, every once in a while it washes over me, and I get so scared and aware. It's so troubling.

Now, to lighter topics! I watched It's Complicated tonight. It's a romantic comedy with Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, and Steve Martin. Meryl and Alec were married once, now divorced, and Steve Martin is Meryl's new love interest. As I'm sure you've figured out, Meryl and Alec end up having an affair, rekindling their old love, blah blah blah. The movie starts out so wonderfully, and indeed, the first hour and fifteen minutes of the movie is great. It's light and funny, with excellent performances, and it's heart-warming, in the way true love can be. But then something happens, something shifts, and it's no longer cute. Meryl suddenly pulls away, she becomes an unsympathetic character, and she never really redeems herself. She spends the last half hour repeating to everyone who will listen that there is no longer a spark between her and Alec, but we've just spent an hour and a half of movie time, which is like ten years' worth of real life time, seeing this great spark, and so nothing computes and it doesn't work out. It's annoying, and I hate good movies that are ruined by idiotic endings. Fail, people! Fail!

I did learn, however, that Hunter Parrish in Blu-ray HD is probably my new favorite thing ever. Yum.

In other news, I'm still having this on-again, off-again lower back pain, mostly on the right side. When it's actively hurting, I'm sure it's a kidney stone; when there's no pain, I'm sure it's just muscular, from the way I sit or the way I sleep or the way I stand or all three put together. It doesn't feel like the pain I had before my last kidney stone, and I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that stones are painless when they're in the kidneys (even if Rae Jean tells me they're not). It's a dull ache, nothing sharp, and certainly nothing that would put a man in the hospital. So if it is a stone, it's still hanging out in my kidney. It needs to stay there, because I'm not in the mood for the excruciating pain I had last year. Or two years ago. How many years ago was that, anyway?

Otherwise, not much to report. I wrote a little bit tonight, half of the next scene in Eternity, and I finished the Cunningham review, so that's a load off my back. I really, really need to set some unalterable deadlines for this grad school business, but I'm bad at that. I am taking the GRE Lit test in something like three weeks, so I should probably start looking over the test prep book for that in the near future. I should also probably pick the schools that I'm applying to, and get out some emails to professors so they know to expect a slew of requests from me in a month or two. I just wish there were some guarantee, some consolation prize, because knowing that I could go through all this trouble and not get in anywhere, that I will probably not get in anywhere, is so discouraging.

Ah, life. I miss my youth, the days when everything was guaranteed and every pain I had disappeared after a single night's rest and I didn't have to do anything or think about anything or worry about anything. I had heartburn, bad heartburn, for the first time a few days ago. Heartburn! Heartburn!!! Can you imagine? Heartburn!!!

I just... I dunno. When did we all get so old?
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So, deciding to roll Horde on Proudmoore was a big mistake. I'm back into gaming pretty hardcore, insofar as I spent literally all of yesterday and most of today playing WoW again. I joined Taint, which is the second-largest guild in the entire world. It has over five thousand characters, and it's LGBT-oriented. Guild chat is always hoppin', and I'm not sure yet if I find it tiring or exciting. I'm very conflicted about the whole thing. We'll see how long I stick with these toons, though. I'm guessing about a week or so.

I did manage to write the review of The Salt Ecstasies for Hipster Book Club. I didn't start reading the Cunningham book yet, which is a problem. I'll have to haul ass to finish even remotely close to the deadline, which is in like four days, but Yennie, my editor, is usually pretty understanding. So I'll manage.

I haven't touched any of the grad school stuff. Big surprise there. This procrastination is going to come back to bite me in the ass sooner or later. Let's just hope I don't eff myself royally.

Anyway, my pizza is done reheating, so I'm going to go and watch some episodes of Will & Grace, which is still the best show ever in my opinion at the moment. I have to work tomorrow, which I'm not happy about. I wanted a long break to get work done, though we all know I'd spend most of the day playing WoW. Tomorrow is also 9-11, which I hate. It still makes me nervous. Do I think a terrorist is really going to hit my little country bumpkin mall? Probably not. Do I think there's a crazy-ass mofo out there who may get an idea and shoot a place up? Yes, I do. It's happened here before, after all.

On that note... good night! If I'm still alive after work tomorrow, I'll say hello then.
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As usual, I find deadlines looming. Ergo, also as usual, I find myself coming up with to-do lists and needs-to-be-dones that'll never keep. On the bright side, I have a nice stretch of days without work coming up, and I hope to use those days to accomplish quite a few things, including but not limited to a review of The Salt Ecstasies by James White, a completed reading of Michael Cunningham's By Nightfall, at least two more scenes of Eternity, and the completion of cursory world-building for Fourteen Lines. I still don't know whether to say Fourteen Lines or "Fourteen Lines," since I'm not sure yet if it's going to turn out to be a novella or a (long) short story. I'm leaning towards the former, though, which is why I opted to italicize in the penultimate sentence. I'm not entirely sure if I can use 'penultimate' in this way, meaning "second to last one" rather than "second from the end," but who knows and who cares! I'm an English rebel!

I caught up on Weeds tonight. I don't know about that show anymore. I loved the first three seasons, tolerated the fourth, was entertained by the fifth, but now, I'm finding it slow and dull. Not in the sense that nothing happens, just dull in the sense that I don't care about any of it. If I didn't love Mary-Louise Parker and think Hunter Parrish was so incredibly hot, I probably wouldn't even bother. The storyline is just veering so wildly out of control. It's like they're desperate to do something different, something bigger, every season now... which sucks, because I liked it just fine when it was the story of a mom who happens to deal drugs on the side. Success gets to your head and then you're effed. So sad.

This is my first official post with the new Dreamwidth journal instead of LiveJournal. I feel a little odd, like I'm leaving behind so many people on LiveJournal. But that's simply not true. I went through my friends list, and the only people whose journal I'll miss are [lj] orpheus78, [lj] fattymcgayerson, [lj] septicidal, and [lj] james0289. I'll miss a few people who don't update their journals much (I'm looking at you, [lj] notclever908), but that's it! And I'll still read them through my OpenID, so I won't even really miss them. And since the only people who comment on my entries nowadays are Poppy and RaeJean, and they've both created Dreamwidth journals, it should be okay. I need to stop feeling like this is some life-changing event and just roll with it. I think too much.

One thing, though, is that I wish I had a better tag system developed over the past six years' worth of entries. At some point, I intend to go back through the tags I did use and work them into a better heirarchy, since Dreamwidth supports multi-level tagging systems, but still, working with half-baked dough still leaves you with half-baked final products, you know? (I'm not entirely sure what the Hell 'half-baked dough' is, but shut up and roll with it.) I've started to convert a few of the tags, and I'll start working on tagging better now, but... yeah. Sad day. I was tempted to start a whole new journal from scratch when I made the switch, but I can't bear to part with the past six years. There were some good times, there were some bad times. Yadda yadda yadda.

I have a dull headache, so I think I may go find something to eat. I had macaroni earlier, but apparently it was not enough. Or this isn't a hunger headache, which is also possible. I generally feel pretty shitty all the time nowadays, so it's hard to tell when a blah feeling is something that I can fix easily or when it's something I need to learn to live with.

I should really update my [personal profile] friendlystars, at some point. Linking to that journal just made me realize that Semagic is not entirely Dreamwidth friendly, since I can't get my friends to load, etc. I should look into this. I'll do that now.
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Ugh. Writing is so hard. While I'm writing these scenes, I think about all the things I'm doing wrong or leaving out. I notice every time I say a character's name, and then I notice just how often I say their names. I notice how sometimes I leave out the surrounding people, how sometimes it feels like my characters don't exist in any "real" world and live in a bubble that consists of them and them alone. And then I realize how little I describe of the world around them, and so then I try to describe it, and it just comes out bad and stilted and cliché. Ugh. Writing is hard. Why do I want to do this again?

Oh, that's right. Because I have to do it. I've always had to do it, ever since I was in first grade. Well, fuck God or Fate or genetics or whatever it is that made me have to do something I'm not good at! Fuck it all!
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I feel the urge to do something drastic. This desire creeps up on occasion, usually when I'm feeling particularly resentful at and frustrated with the life I'm living. It generally finds an outlet in some dramatic yet empty gesture, like deleting my myspace account or decimating my facebook friend list. Unfortunately, I have no myspace account to delete, and I've already deleted every irrelevant friend on facebook, so there doesn't seem to be anything left. Except, perhaps, WoW and StarCraft. Ergo, I'm thinking of uninstalling the programs from my computers. It's not permanent, since I have the CDs, and even if I didn't, I could always download the games from battle.net, but it's rather dramatic, since the installation process takes almost a full day, not to mention all the add-ons and add-on settings that would be eradicated in the process. The only permanent thing, I think, would be to delete all of my WoW toons, and my life isn't so bad that I can bring myself to carry out that massacre quite yet.

Ah, life. Such a silly thing.
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The first thing I need to do, as far as grad school applications go, is to figure out which schools I want to apply to. I work for a bit tomorrow, and then I'm off for two days (Sunday and Monday), and then I work for three days (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday). I'd like to get a hefty chunk of the choosing done then, with a finalized list of the schools drawn up before I go to bed Thursday night. This way, I'll have the next chunk of days-off to work on things like deciding when to take the GREs, who to contact for recommendations, and preliminary revisions on my statement of purpose and writing sample. I haven't got any farther than that as far as planning and setting deadlines go. Baby steps for now, I figure. Baby steps.
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I'm going to try and take a break from gaming for a bit. I get too annoyed at virtual people too easily, and it's not healthy. There's literally nothing holding my interest in WoW anymore, and I enjoy SC2, but nobody plays with me when I ask, and that's half the reason I get so annoyed. I feel so underappreciated there, so second string, so unloved... and that's pathetic! I know you're thinking it, and you're right! It is! I can't believe I feel neglected and unloved by random strangers who live thousands of miles away and who refer to me as "Yins" or "Punctuation" rather than my name! I need help. So I'm trying to quit. I don't know how long I'll be able to stay away, but at least I'm trying.

Perhaps if I can occupy myself with other things, like television and literature and writing, I'll be able to manage an extended absence. It'd be nice if I had real-life people with whom to spend time, because without gaming I'm going to have literally no socialization. (This is where I would normally insert a reference to my current crush, MAW, and how he should talk to me and date me so I have something to distract me from my gaming addiction, but since I'm also trying to work myself out of obsessing over things I can't have, like boyfriends, I'm going to leave out the reference. Look at me making progress already!)

I suppose I can also start trying to work on grad school stuff. I need to set dates for the GREs, I need to figure out if I even need to take the GRE Lit, I need to study for these tests. I need to rewrite my personal statement, and I need to decide which essay to use and then I need to revise that essay. I need to start recruiting recommendations, and I need to start remembering how to send transcripts, and then I need to start selling my body and/or blood and/or plasma and/or sperm so I can afford all the application/testing fees, and then I need to figure out who at each school I need to sleep with so I can actually get into one of them. GOOD TIMES!

In news of a vastly different direction: It's been just over four days since the applications were due for the teaching position at Penn State I'd really like to get. Granted, I'd turned my application way before the deadline, but most people say they probably won't have even begun to go through them until after the deadline. I'm seriously considering emailing the woman in a day or two, but I'm not entirely sure what to say. It's too late to use the "Just verifying you got my application!" excuse, and I'm not entirely sure if it's good form to ask when I can expect an interview, so perhaps I'll just say something about reaffirming my interest in the position and offering any other materials she may need to help in her decision? I have no idea. I'm so bad at this shit. I hate business tact. Professionalism to me seems like such a waste of time and energy. It's almost a form of deceit. What I want to say is, "Hey, can I get an interview? Am I still in the running? WHY NOT?" but instead I have to camouflage it in a bunch of limp cant, and I hate it. Stupi, stupid, stupid, stupid!

It's been about four minutes since I decided to take a break from gaming and I'm already thinking about logging on. Good Lord, I'm so weak!

I'm stuck in a rut with Eternity. I just finished 7.5, which takes place on a lake, and the next major scene takes place several days later in the capital city of Zebelli. Things happen in between that I'd like to mention, but they're not important enough to demand individual scenes, and I'm not sure how to handle the summarizing, how to get from the lake to tZebelli on he third day of the Martyrday celebration, which is when and where the next scene needs to take place. I keep telling myself, "Just write it, even if it's bad! Just write it!" but I'm a perfectionist and I'm not so good with doing things when I know I'm not doing them as well as I could or should be.

As you know, I have a crush on a certain random (Is the phrase 'certain random' an oxymoron?) customer at Borders, and despite signs suggesting he's possibly gay, I've decided to give up hope because I've realized I'm not... I'm not... now I'm struggling for words. I think to myself, "Even if he is gay, why would he like me?" And I don't mean that in a woe-is-me, self-deprecating sort of way. I can't drive. I have oodles of debt and no real job. I live with my parents. That's three huge strikes, and let's face it, I'm not cute enough or charming enough or exciting enough to make those strikes go away. So why would he -- or anyone, for that matter -- want to date someone like me? As much as I hate to admit it, and as much as I want a boyfriend and I want to go on dates and all that silly cheesy stuff, I think I have to face the fact that I'm simply not ready for a relationship yet. The sad thing is I'm not sure if I'll ever be.

(Yes, there is a huge part of me that's fighting this realization, that's saying "You need to meet someone who can help you out of your rut, who can give you the fire under your ass you need to fix things!" And it's true, I think. If I had a guy I cared about helping me along, being my cheerleader, giving me a reason to fix things... I think it'd be a lot easier to do it. But I'm not fucking Sleeping Beauty. I shouldn't need a prince to save me, right? Right!)

(Even as I say that, I'm still thinking I'd like one and probably won't save myself without it. This whole thing is a vicious Catch-22, and I hate it. Can't get a boyfriend without a Real Life, can't get a Real Life without a boyfriend. Fuck everything!)

Oh, well! I suppose I'll go look into finding something edible, and then perhaps I'll watch the So You Think You Can Dance episode from tonight. My DVD player is on the fritz, and so if I want to watch movies or television shows, I have to sit on my ass on this hard chair at my computer, and I'm not too keen on that. I could also read, or I could work on any of that grad school stuff I mentioned, or I could try and work myself out of the Eternity rut. See, Matt? You have lots of things to do that don't involve Internet gaming! SO DO THEM!

EDIT TO ADD: I just experienced an ad for non-paid users on LiveJournal, and even when I clicked CLOSE, it kept on going. Fuck that shit. LiveJournal has totally gone to the shitter. Why don't we all go to dreamwidth now, okay? I'd go myself, but I'll miss you. All two of you that still read and leave comments. :-P
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I have been listening to Aphrodite, Kylie Minogue's new CD, non-stop for a little over two weeks now, and all the songs are still just as wonderful and fresh and exciting as they were when I first started. That, my friends, is the sign of a good CD.

I've been redefining things a lot lately. I used to think that happiness doesn't exist, because it implies a total contentment with your life, the feeling that you don't a single thing, no matter how little, to change. But I think that's probably an exaggerated definition, and I'm thinking lately that happiness has more to do with just having something or someone to make you feel like life is worth it. Because let's face it: Life is not all it's cracked up to be. It's not all bunnies and roses all the time, you know? There's pain and there's suffering and there's hurt. It's this giant struggle, and I think happiness is having something in your life that makes you say, "This struggle is totally worth it."

I have been feeling a bit more dissatisfied lately. I mean, I always feel a little dissatisfied, but it usually only relates to certain parts of my life -- my romantic life, usually -- and it's acute, hitting me like an asthma attack or hives and going away just as quickly. Lately, though, it's much more chronic. It's like a constant dull sensation. When it's not at the front of my mind, it's aching in the back. I can't stop thinking, "Is this it? Is this it? Is this really it?" over and over again.

Today, I sent an application to Penn State Beaver. They had an ad in last weekend's paper asking for instructors in quite a few different fields, and one of the areas was English composition. The only listed requirements were "A master's degree and related experience," and so I applied. The ad did not say a master's degree in the field you intend to teach, so I'm hoping my MLIS + my writing tutoring/chemistry discussion leader experience qualifies me. The more I think about it, the more I want the job. Perhaps because I am feeling so dissatisfied lately, but I like the idea of having a job that actually means something. It's only part-time, and it's not a faculty position, and it's in a small branch campus, but it's something, and it'll look very good if I can use that in a resume when I apply to grad schools. So keep your fingers crossed.

I haven't done anything else on the grad school front. I need to get on that, but along with the dissatisfaction comes laziness and indifference, so it's hard for me to do anything nowadays besides play my game and drown my sorrows in futile flirtations with a bunch of sexually-confused eighteen-year-olds. The irony here is that I don't even really like my game nowadays. WoW bores the living shit out of me. But I play because I like to talk to the other people who play. I need socialization somewhere, and since quite literally everyone I know in real life has abandoned me for one reason or another, the only recourse I have is to the wonderful world of the World of Warcraft. Lucky me.

On the bright side -- I think it's the bright side, anyway -- a new game comes out in a week. I can't remember if I mentioned it here or not, but it's called StarCraft 2, and it's by the same people who do WoW, and it's a lot of fun. I can't see myself playing it nearly as much as I play WoW, but I don't think you're supposed to. It's RTS (real-time strategy), not RPG (role-playing game), and so it's a very different sort of world. But I can see myself becoming quite addicted to it for a few weeks, which is what happened the past few weeks during the beta testing, of which I was a part. So that'll be a nice distraction for a while... although considering how close we're getting to apply-to-grad-school time, distractions are probably not what I need right now.

I will say this: I have been reading a lot more, and I've been writing a bit here and there, so that's also good. I still feel pretty good about being able to finish Eternity by the end of the year -- first draft, not completed manuscript -- but I wish I wrote quicker, since I have so many other ideas I'd like to turn into something more than just a vague notion in my head. Patience, I guess. Patience.

I'm not sure why, but I'm very tired. I haven't been up for more than thirteen hours or so, so I shouldn't be exhausted, but I am. So on that note, I'm going to get ready for bed. I was going to try and finish the scene I was working on earlier, but that's not gonna happen. Patience, I guess...
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Just stopping in for a brief hello. I've posted a few times here, and nobody comments at all, even on items that I think would garner some responses, so I very well may be writing to myself here. But I've always said, ever since I started this thing back in 2003, that I'm keeping a journal for me and for me alone, so even if I am the only person who reads this, so be it! And fuck all of you for ditching me! (Though if you're reading this to see my saying 'fuck you,' the 'fuck you' isn't directed at you, of course. You know what I mean.)

Anyway, I started watching True Blood again. I watched two or three episodes awhile back and didn't really "get" it, but everyone is still all gaga for the thing, so I thought I'd give it another chance. Three more episodes under my belt, and I'm starting to see its allure. There's some great comedic gems in the show, almost always involving Tara, the fiesty black best friend, or Lafayette, the fiesty black gay guy, and I'm starting to hate Sookie and Bill less, so that's a plus. And Ryan Kwanten is incredibly pleasing to the eye, so that doesn't hurt. I'll have to get the second season from Netflix soon. There's only twelve episodes a season, but the episodes are sixty minutes each... like actually sixty minutes, not sixty minutes minus commercials. So each episode feels like it goes on and on and on forever... because it does. But I digress.

I've gotten into a slightly more healthy balance between WoW and real life. I still play a bit more than I'd like to, but I've started to read and write and watch TV more, so that's a good thing. (And let's face it, there's nothing else to do in this town besides read, write, watch TV, and play WoW.) Speaking of writing, I finished 7.4, and I've already started 7.5... so just a scene and a half left in this chapter and then it'll be done! Yay!

The scratches I inflicted upon myself during my last flare up of heated itchiness are finally starting to heal into nothing... so that's good, too.

I started using a new shampoo. It's Pantene Pro-V, the medium to thick hair variety, and it's supposed to smooth down frizzles. My hair looks even better than it did using the Aussie shampoo, so it's a keeper. It's also a shampoo + conditioner in one, so I save time as well! w00t!

Kylie Minogue's CD, Aphrodite, hits the stores this Tuesday. I'm lucky, and so I've already heard it, and it's fabulous. I've been listening to it on repeat for days. I hope it does well here in the States. I promise you this: if she tours, and if that tour comes to Pittsburgh, I will be there, even if I have to go myself, sell my body to get the money for the ticket, and hitchhike to Pittsburgh and back again. I will be there. The best song is easily the title track, but they're all great. You should buy a copy, if you like dance music.

Despite all this "good news," I've been in a huge funk lately. I've been having to bite my tongue, close my eyes, and count to ten more times than I like to admit at work lately, and I've wanted to erupt into a violent rage and storm out on my manager at least twice a day for the past week or so. I have little to no patience with my parents now, so I just avoid them, and I actually have negative amounts of patience with my sister, so I ignore her even when she's present. People in WoW have been pissing me off, which is just sad and pathetic that people I only know through a computer game have any effect at all on my life outside of the game, but it's true. I feel a lot like dinosaurs and mammoths trapped in tar pits. There was a time when I struggled against it, but now I've settled myself to the fact that I'm stuck forever, and so now I feel like I'm just sitting around, waiting until it's over. Which is sad and creepy, since I'm not even thirty yet, and I should probably get some sort of therapy. But, again, that's the way the cookie crumbles, I guess.
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The weather here has been gorgeous the past few days. I didn't work on Tuesday or today, and I spent most of the day with my windows open, listening to good music loudly, and singing and dancing along. It was lovely.

I got a lot done on those days, too. More on Tuesday than today, but today I had the unexpected obstacle of having to go to Walmart for groceries, so that took out quite a chunk of my day. I did manage to finish the Alcestis review for Lambda Literary, which was due like two months ago. I read the book in two days; it was amazing. My review, though, is not so amazing. But I think Lambda has something of a lower expectation than I do, and so I think it'll be okay. I just hope the author of Alcestis doesn't read it and hate me because I do such a poor job of explaining how and why the novel is so amazing.

On Tuesday, I finished the third scene of the seventh chapter of Eternity, and I started the fourth scene tonight, though I only got three paragraphs into it. I'm hoping to finish Chapter 7 by the end of next week, but I dunno if that'll happen, since I've got to work five days (five days!) next week. It's only three scenes, including the one I started tonight, but knowing the way I write, that could take an eternity...

It's actually a little frightening. Once I finish Chapter 7, I'll only have three chapters left to write. Three chapters! And then I'll have to start revisions! (That's scary.) And even scarier, I won't have Eternity to write anymore. I can't imagine life without having Eternity always waiting to be written. I have the sequel, of course, and the prequel, and the Great War novels, and the various short stories, but... still. It's always been Eternity. It'll be weird.

I'm currently experiencing an itchy-skin attack, which is where the lower half of my face and usually at least one extremity becomes incredibly itchy and red, so I'm going to go wet a washcloth and drape it over my face, and then I'm going to try and go to bed. I work tomorrow from two to close, which sucks. I'm hoping I can finish 7.4 tomorrow; it's not a big scene, and I know what has to happen, so it should be easy... 'should' being the operative word.

Okay, my face is driving me crazy. Good night.