Wednesday, October 10, 2012

On Slapping Strangers, and Making Boys Cry

I have a regular bar. Its actually something I recommend any adult over the age of 21 develop. A place where the bar tenders, and waiters all know your name, and favorite drink at least, a place where they'll keep an eye on you when the creepy guy starts making moves, where they'll give you the answers to the trivia questions, and where they'll occasionally grade you on a curve. If you ever come to DC and are visiting me, I'll take you to my regular bar, unless of course its a weekend. Because the only problem with my regular bar is the neighborhood it's in becomes overpopulated with douche-bags on the weekend. And no, I don't mean the feminine hygiene product.

In case you are not familiar with the phenomenon that is the douche bag let me enlighten you. A douche bag is a guy (although in rare circumstances it can be a girl) from somewhere in the north who think's he's god's gift to humanity (even though the only meaningful contribution to the world is giving us fashion to ridicule.) He played lacrosse in high school. It's likely his family has money. And he act's a bit like a character from the Jersey Shore, with a higher education, and less steroids (take this with a grain of salt as I've never seen an episode of the Jersey Shore) . They wear button down t-shits (typically printed in a pattern or flannel) with the sleeves rolled up to the elbows, and the collar on occasion popped, and it's my personal belief the pay the dry cleaners to wrinkle their clothes just a bit.

That being said, even though that's not the regular clientele of my regular bar, when the majority of people in the neighborhood become those people, so on weekends, I avoid the bar like the plague. And I definitely try to avoid that neighborhood on the weekends.

So needless to say, that when a friend I already agreed to go out with (to play cock blocker (please don't make me define this one)) told me we were going to this neighborhood I was less than pleased. But, like I've already said I had committed. Now there are a few things you need to know before this story continues. I like to think that I'm witty, although the truth is, I'm sarcastic, and probably a bit mean. I don't like to be touched (especially by strangers, double especially when I can't see it coming) , and I have a low tolerance for bars that are full of douchebag's and loud, and a lower tolerance for people who deliberately seek out those kinds of bars.

Now Friend A wanted me to go out with her and her roommate, because a guy her roommate was friends with let's call him Tony, had a crush on her, and was getting more and more inappropriate as the night went on. Tony also brought a friend, we'll call Tony's friend Gary. Tony doesn't really have a roll in this story, mostly because he seemed like a fairly normal guy. Gary however, was a total douche. Gary learned, early on that I don't like to be touched in an example of this inappropriateness; he was climbing across the couch, behind me, and stopped with both hands on my shoulders...then I felt something hit the back of my head. Yes, Gary decided it was appropriate to hump the back of my head. So I jumped up and darted across the room, I also might have yelled. At which point Friend A came out of her bedroom and told him that don't like being touched (which he seemed offended by) and that he was lucky, Friend A has seen me dislocate someone's shoulder, an punch a different someone in the face for inappropriate (or surprise ) touching.

Shortly after this, we left for the bar. The first bar we went to was actually quite nice, they had a decent beer selection (although Gary insisted on drinking Bud Light another sign that he was going to be trouble as if the attempted humping of the back of my head wasn't enough), the bar was a little crowded, but mostly quiet. We had been there for about fifteen minutes before we ran into some people that Friend A and I knew, and it was about ten more minutes before Gary started to complain about the bar. His first, and main complaint was that there weren't enough people there, and he wanted to leave and go to the douchyst bar in the neighborhood. Luckily the other girls had enough sense to say absolutely not.

But after a few more complaints we decided to leave and try another bar. Gary practically ran outside where he waited for the rest of us to pay, and finish our drinks. The second bar we went to had a cover, so we decided to go somewhere else, at which point Gary suggested the douchey bar again, and was shot down again. Instead we decided on the Chinese restaurant that served beers the size of a hobbit holding a pint (no joke whenever I go to this bar, which is like never, I hear that exchange from Merry and Pippin, "What is that?" /"this my friend is a pint"/"It comes in pints? I'm getting one" .

Anyway, after everyone ordered their Pint to make you feel like a hobbit (aka a 40 ounce) , Gary decided he didnt like this bar either. Now let it be said, I'm sarcastic, I own the fact that I'm sarcastic, and perhaps a bit mean, but I expect people for giving it back to me. When Gary came up to me and said the bar was lame the conversation went something like this:

Gary "This bar sucks"

Me "Why?"

Gary "It's not crowded enough."

Me (pointing into the crowd of people four rows deep by the bar) "Why don't you go stand over there? That looks like a crowd."

Gary "those people are waiting to buy drinks."

Me "So, it's definitely a crowd. "

Gary "I just don't like this place"

Me "What don't you like about it?"

Gary "It's to quiet."

Me "Oh, so you don't like it cause we can hear each other speak, and don't have people bumping into us spilling drinks on us?"

Gary turns and walks away, presumably to stand in the crowd.

Later I see Gary sitting in the corner pouting, at which point I politely smile and wave and continue talking to the random's Friend A is talking too. Which brings us to another classic example of exaggerated douchyness. Upon meeting one of the randoms, I went to shake his hand, at which poit he decided the more appropriate action would be to kiss my hand, but t the last minute, instead of kissing my hand, he decided to lick my hand, and I decided to slap him in the face. Which he seemed offended by. But to be honest, in my opinion, if you're going to lick a stranger, you deserve whatever is coming to you.

At this point, I retreat to the bar, because it seems safer, roommate asks me where Gary is, I tell her he was pouting in the corner by himself, and she I assume goes off to find him. I'm quite happy sitting at the bar drinking by giant beer, making friends with the other people at the bar, who have not tried to hump my head or lick me so they seem perfectly normal in my book.

However, not too much later, Gary comes back, he runs his hand up my arm and should, and decides to rub the back of my neck. I shove him, yell no, an go back to drinking. Gary runs away. Friend A comes up about five minutes later and asks what I did to Gary. I showed her what he did, and then tell her I pushed him off. She then tells me he is crying. Which, I really don't know what to do about, aside from ignore as he is clearly a crazy person. My personal theory is that in his mind humping someone's head makes them your property, and he was upset that I didn't get that.

After a very awkward cab ride back to friend A's apartment, we all passed out, then in the morning woke up and fled (or at least I did).

And that, is a classic example of why I don't go out on the weekends, or at least I don't go to that neighborhood.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Yom Kippur. Atonement and Inspiration

I had another post that was scheduled to go up today. I was all ready to post it and everything. Actually, for the first time in a long time I have two solid ideas for posts. One about making boy's cry, and the other a quasi rant about dating and society. But today, I decided not to post either of them. See, today is the Jewish day of atonement. You might be wondering why in Judaism there is only one day of atonement. But you have to understand, in Judaism there is no heaven, there is no hell, and there is no absolution. The God of the Old Testament is not the one who sent his son back to forgive mankind for their sins, It's the God that smote cities, and sent plagues, it's the God who sent the flood to wipe out all mankind with exception of the decedents of Noah. Judaism is a hard religion.

Atonement is not about asking for forgiveness and knowing that you will receive it. Atonement is about asking for forgiveness knowing you wont, but hoping that maybe God, this entity that is so above you, so much bigger than you, so much more than you can ever comprehend will take pity on you and forgive you anyway. Yom Kippur is about groveling. It's about fasting, and not fasting thinking that I'm doing a good thing by praying and fasting, that I'm setting a good example, it's about fasting and thinking I'm not doing enough, I could be doing so much more.

It occurred to me today, as I was in temple, that perhaps Leni is Jewish. See, I've struggled for a long time with Leni's character. She has never been very easy for me to write. The biggest issue with Leni is that she actually believes she is not worth saving. Leni believes she has done so much wrong that she is unredeemable, even if the wrong she has done is not her fault, even if the wrong she has done doesn't actually exist.

It's something I've struggled with for a while. How do you portray that. How do you show someone as being afraid of themselves to the extent that they don't believe they deserve forgiveness, or even life, without making them suicidal. Because Leni is not suicidal. She doesn't believe she deserves to live, but she doesn't want to die either.

But perhaps the answer is in Yom Kippur. Perhaps the answer is Leni is Jewish, and she doesn't believe she can be forgiven, but she hopes she can anyway.

I had almost entirely given up on the Sacrifice story. I don't have a firm outline, I don't know how the story will end, although recently I'm remembering why I want to write it. I'm remembering stories about children sentenced to life in prison, which was one of the driving motivators to tell this story, and I'm finding myself motivated again, perhaps its because its getting cold out and Sacrifice has always been a winter story, for when things are hard ...and I'm contemplating a complete rewrite, from the beginning. But in the essence of beginning at the beginning, I'm gonna start this time with an outline.

Maybe the key to writing Sacrifice has always been fasting and cold and religion. It's weird what sometimes inspires you--although this could be like one of those pledges you make under duress and hunger pains that you regret once you take off the rose colored glasses. I guess you'll just have to be like me and wait and see.

Gemar Tov

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I've had a hard time focusing lately. And when I say I've been having a hard time focusing I mean SQUIRREL. No but seriously, I mean I cant seem to think about something for more than fifteen minutes at a Penguin, no wait, that's a squirrel in a penguin costume. And I think this is due, in large part to trying to sort out a new routine.

I've started a new job, and a new part time job. I went on vacation. There was a national holiday. Etc. Typically I would look at this as the perfect opportunity to really set a schedule for myself, when am I going to write, when am I going to sleep when will I work out. When will I knit. But the truth is, since the new schedule started, I've been scheduled up.

This past week for example. I got back from Atlanta Tuesday morning at around 3am, and woke up at 7am for work so Monday night was gone, it passed somewhere along interstate 85, I was probably sleeping through a torchwood cd. Tuesday after work I was too tired to really function (apparently I'm not as young as I used to be and actually need sleep), so I went home and straight to bed, well I checked facebook for the first time in a few days first. Wednesday night I had my tattoo appointment, which went really well, and didn't hurt nearly as much as I thought it would. Thursday I had a haircut appointment, which I forgot about till the salon called me, and even though I probably didn't really need a haircut, I didn't want to pay a cancelation fee so I went anyway. Friday I had a friend come into town, and took advantage of the fact every other person in my age range would be at a party so I did the five loads of neglected laundry I had sitting in the corner. Saturday I had a meeting and a training with the par t time job, then knitting, which brings me to today.

Today opening my laptop and realizing I've not anything that I normally would be doing. I need to redevelop a routine. It's weird. I used to think of myself as being very anti routine. And in alot of ways I still am. I don't like them, I think they can lead you to get stagnated, stuck in a rut, because your never changing what you do week to week. Yet, apparently I need one. Without one it's to easy to be distracted by say the laundry I've been putting off forever because well, it's not very much fun and cause there is nothing telling me I should have done it just doesn't get done (that is until the only clothes I have left to wear to work are Blue skinny jeans and a football jersey and I don't believe any office is quite that casual.

So here it is, the goal (and I'm not a huge fan of goals either)of this week and next week is going to be, develop a new routine and stick to it. Hopefully this will get me back blogging again.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I interrupt your regularly scheduled brodcast to bring you ANOUNCEMENTS

I have a few very important announcements to share, so pardon me as I interrupt your regularly scheduled broadcast with a un-scheduled post.


I'm being hosted by Jeff Harget of Strands of a Pattern today, in his August is Awesome tour. I was amazed when he asked me as it was my first ever request to be a guest blogger somewhere, and I was a bit like, wait, you want me? Are you sure your not confusing me with someone else? I mean Abis is a really common last name, right?

The second bit of news is:

Assuming nothing has gone wrong between when I am writing this and when I wake up tomorrow morning. I am now employed!!!

I am working for an international development non profit (FHI360) doing grant and funding research and data base management type stuff. I'm really excited for this job. Alot of it comes from the fact that it's a job, and the rest comes from the fact that I really liked everyone I interviewed with, which makes me think this is going to be a fun and interesting place to work. (PLUS there kitchen was stocked with multiple kinds of tea).

The third bit of news is:

I'm becoming a semi regular contributor to Never To Fond of Books with Mandi Kaye, who I met at BEA at the Bloggers Conference. We clicked pretty instantly and when she mentioned she needed help on her blog I offered to help out. I'm aiming for a post a weekend but I've not been all that awesome about it.

Fourth (and something I went back and forth on sharing with you guys)

I have an appointment to get a tattoo on Tuesday. I've wanted the same thing, in the same place since I was fourteen years old, so I figure now, when so many things are going right, would be a perfect time to get it.

But because not everything can be good news, I have had some things go wrong the past couple of days. One, my severance check from my old job bounced, so I am broker than broke, especially cause I'm heading down to Dragon Con in a few days and was kinda counting on that money for the trip. And my car battery died (not died as in I left a light on, but died died, DEA dead died). so I'm gonna have to replace that. But really, those are just minor things in the world of things getting lots better.

So go check out my post over at Strands of a Pattern. And go check out Never To Fond of Books! And wish me luck on my first day of work.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

On Revisiting Classics: The changing (or not) face of epic fantasy.

Because I'm feeling lazy, I'm re-posting my guest post from Never Too Fond of Books. Which if you havent checked out you should. I'm gonna be a regular contributer there.

Like many people, J.R.R. Tolkin was my introduction to adult fiction. I had been reading for a really long time, but up until the point when my father gave me his old copy of The Fellowship of the Ring, my favorite books were the Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C Wrede (still some of my favorite books to this day). The thing is, way back fourteen years ago, when I first read Tolkin I loved it. I was totally engrossed in the story, and I think I finished all three books plus some of the appendices in two weeks.

Then I went on to some other fantasy novels. Like Raymond E Feist Rift War Saga/Serpent War Saga, which became my favorite books through high school and the beginning of college. In college I found myself more surrounded by literary novels. Margret Atwood, the Secret History by Donna Taft, Catch 22, found their way onto my bookshelf and into my heart. Of course I can't forget Harry Potter, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norwell, Neil Gaiman and the wide variety of Historical Fiction I found myself reading. Yet I always called myself a fan of Fantasy.

After college my literary interests continued to span a broad range of topics. I picked up Christopher Moore for the first time (and there is a great picture of us somewhere). Continued to read anything by some of my favorite writers I could find, and what was suggested to me by others; how I first heard of Hunger Games, among others. And I discovered a lot of writers that I'd quite happily avoid forever (George RR Martin, C.S Freeman)

It wasn't until I read Brian Sandersons  Mistborn series, which started out really entertaining and took a turn to the why am I reading this. And  Patrick Rothfuss's The Name of the Wind, which reminded me why I love Fantasy novels (and the English language) in the first place. That I decided to go back to my roots (and I'm not talking about a road trip to Georgia). Earlier this year I re-read the Rift War and the Serpent War Saga. I re-read the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. And I just started re-reading the Lord of the Rings.
What I can say (and at this point your probably wondering what's the point) is that I'm surprised. See, between the last time that I read the Lord of the Rings, probably sometime before the Fellowship Movie came out, and now, I've read a lot of other Fiction, and a lot of time has passed. And a great deal of the Lord of the Rings books feel like info dumps, and eons of text  which is full of interesting descriptions but lacks anything resembling pace, and very little dialogue, while the dialogue that's there feels like it's from another time. Which frankly it is.

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of going to a summer time tradition in the DC area, called Jazz in the Garden (it's exactly what it sounds like) with Michael and Robin Sullivan. Now if you're wondering why those names sound familiar it's probably because Michael is the author of the Riyria Revelations Trilogy recently published by Orbit, and Robin, his wife, runs Ridan a small independent publishing company. If you ever want to have an idea what or where the publishing world is going, I wouldn't over estimate a pitcher of Sangria this couple, and sitting back and shutting up. At this particular occasion Robin and Michael were arguing over a fantasy book Robin liked and wanted to pick up. Michael didn't.

Michaels complaints had nothing to do with the plot, but everything to do with the writing. (And I really wish I remembered the title of the book in question). His theory (or at least my drunken understanding of his theory) is that as readers we deserve more than a good story, with a good plot. We need to enjoy the reading of the story, the writing of the story, the journey, as much as the story itself. That in a way, epic fantasy novels have become stagnated in the 1950's.

To be honest I'm not sure what I think about this. When I read books like The Black Sun Rising, or When True Night Falls by C.S. Friedman, where the world is more important than the characters, and I have to slog through hundreds of pages of world building and info dumps. Or Brian Sandersons Mistborn (which I will say Michael liked, although he didn't read the entire series) which starts out by working the world building into the story, but doesn't stop when the reader gets it (he is a classic example of beating us over the head with a magic system), I feel like agreeing with Michael. Other notorious culprits are R.A. Salvatore, Tad Williams, and George RR Martin (no offence intended to any of those authors), and books which I will not name which read basically like glorified Tolkin fan fic.

Now I'm not intending to imply that authors of epic fantasy are too lazy to write well, I'm merely attempting to point out a trend in the genre (or wondering out loud if one exists like love triangles in YA fiction). And wondering if the reason epic fantasy hasn't changed is because the writers fall into such a niche market that the readers practically demand pages upon pages of archaic prose that their mind warps to reading. Or it could be that epic fantasy remains a niche market because writers write this way, and are fans of their own genre in which other writers write this way, and change has become practically impossible because we are so stuck on what has been done before us.  But then I come back to authors like Rothfuss who I've filed his books on my bookshelf under literary fiction vs epic fantasy because the writing is just too good. Or to some degree Sanderson, who if you read just one book on its own doesn't appear to have the classic epic fantasy flaws. And I wonder, are we breaking the cycle?

I also wonder if the reason YA novels, and thriller novels (or fast paced urban fantasy novels like Kevin Hearne or Jaye Wells) are so popular because they are easier to read, and perhaps if epic fantasy will change some of the way it tells a story will it no longer become a niche market, and if that happens, will it still be epic fantasy? And if that does happen, is it a good thing?

As you can tell, I wonder a lot. I hope you enjoyed my first guest post. Sorry it was so long. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


I've never understood the phrase "Pull yourself up by your bootstraps" cause presumably your bootstraps should be on your feet, and really, even if your laying down, it would do you little to no good to try to stand up by pulling on your feet. Maybe if you took your boots off and used them like grappling hooks it might make sense, although that would involve several more steps than pulling.

It's always kind of unnerved me that the saying implies you can get out a bad situation by hard work through comparing it to an impossible task. It's almost as obnoxious as water cups the size of shot glasses. But really, what's that saying. Hard work is a lot but it might not ever get you anywhere without help? Maybe that's why Henry Hoovers policies were so unpopular after the beginning of the great depression.

Wish I could say I was getting anywhere by pulling on my own bootstraps, although I get the distinct feeling I'm pulling myself around in circles. Lately I've had some sever difficulty focusing, and I'm beginning to think I need a proper technology break.  Like me, my backpack, woods and my cell phone turned off and stashed somewhere. Either that or go back to my doctor an get a prescription for Aderol. Although that's not necessarily true.  I was able to finish an entire (short) book this weekend.

It might be more accurate to say that I'm getting frustrated with my job search. You see, thus far the only people who have asked me in for an interview have been pyramid schemes and door to door sales jobs. No offence to anyone that goes door to door, it's just well, I'd rather move home and live in my parents basemet before I take a job like that. The issue with job searching is that there is often little or no return on effort. I call and email and apply, and hear nothing. Which leaves me feeling like I'm spinning in circles and getting no where (which you don't when you spin in circles).

I have to some degree kept myself busy though. I am now going to be guest contributing to Never to Fond of Books. Hopefully my first post will be up this weekend, and it's about the evolution (or lack thereof) of Epic Fantasy...aka why I don't like Game of Thrones (poorly written and predictable).

Here's to hoping that pulling on my bootstraps don't end up with my foot in my mouth. And that I find a job soon before I go insane, or run out of money.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Forgive me I'm Drunk. An Insecure Writers Group Post.

It's Wednesday. And more specifically its the first Wednesday of the month. Which makes it time for Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Group Post.

Some of you that are regulars might have noticed I've not been posting all that regularly lately. And I haven't. Lately it would be a stretch to say I've been insecure, I've just been down right depressed. Normally I would   try to give myself a pep talk and say push threw these negitive emotions and get your self back on your feet. But right now, laying down and giving up seems rather easy (and this is not a suicide referance) that might be cause I'm currently a little bit drunk, or it might be cause I'm a little bit tired.

Let me outline the last two weeks for you.

I got laid off from my job. A job I loved at a company that I'd work with for approximately five years. Why? Restructuring. What does that mean? I don't know.

They had to put my horse down. He wasn't really my horse but he was the last horse I trained before I moved to DC for the above mentioned job.

I've been on a couple interviews, three to be exact, with three pyramid schemes.

Today my car's been towed. Which if you combine with the concerns about money really make it a shitty month.

So yeah. I'm not insecure. I just have no confidence in myself right now. And too much stress to focus on getting some. So if it's okay with you, I'm going to take a day or a week, or maybe two and wallow in self pitty from the flat of my back. And although I'm not interested in that kinda thing, its a great view to upskirt girls.

Forgive me. I'm drunk.