Same as it Ever Was, Same as it Ever Was   


Is there anything more nefarious than a comfortable routine; that well-worn rut that makes our lives organized, sensible, manageable and redundant?



I'm a bit bored with myself at the moment. Does it show?



I'm reading In Cold Blood, and it has made think that perhaps what they say is true; everyone's life is interesting - and everyone does have a story to tell.1 Unfortunately, as Truman Capote isn't penning the story of my life, I'm having a difficult time finding anything of interest in it. I'm terribly bored - and what's worse, I'm mentally restless; so much so that I'm finding it difficult to get motivated to do anything other than work diligently at becoming a mental, physical and social sloth. (After all, why bother doing anything interesting? I'll just get bored again once I'm done.) I spent most of this past weekend lying around watching videos. Hardly the life of the bon vivant I like to imagine I'm cultivating. 2


Don't get me wrong - this is not a mid-life crisis3; I don't want to change my name, sell all my belongings and run-off to become a pearl diver. For one thing, I'm quite fond of my life as it is; I am fortunate to be somewhere I love, surrounded by interesting and creative friends and family and to have a wide variety of opportunities open to me. And for another - I don't think pearl-bearing mollusks grow in the Delaware River. And even if they did, you wouldn't catch me diving in there. It's icky.


And let us not even begin to discuss the bathing suit factor.


I think what I'd really like is a vacation from being myself; some way to step out of my life and experience something entirely different for a while. And then, when I got bored with that other life, I could step easily back into mine, delighted and excited by even my worn red sheets and dinged-up dishes, because they'd be both comfortable and new to me again.


I originally envisioned this Vacation from Self as a sort of life timeshare deal. Let us say, for example, the technology were available to allow you to simply switch places with someone in another time period, in a way that other people in their lives were unaware of the change, and that would in no way harm the fabric of space/time (because we all know how I feel about that). 4 However, the more I thought about it, the more this seemed like a bad idea, because (a) if you decided to travel to the past, it would mean the person you were switching with would have to travel to the future, and the ensuing technology induced freakout would be difficult to explain upon your return, and (even worse) (b) chances are good they'd screw up your life royally (even though, I'm sure, you'd take absolute and impeccable care not to change a thing about theirs.5)



So, on further consideration, I have determined the best way to do this would be to create a situation in which your life is left intact, in some sort of stasis, while you experience your Other Life Vacation outside the normal flow of time. Sort of like one of those PBS reality programs - only without the annoyance of cameras of the one family member who keeps cheating and ruining the experience. Then once your vacation is complete - you step back into your life as though you've never left it; only much more willing to put up with minor annoyances and more excited to do holiday shopping and endure cell-phone talkers at the seasonal big budget moving pictures.


I'm thinking the average experience should be about a month. I couldn't recommend any shorter length of time, since there would need to be an adjustment period...and certainly you could go a longer time, which would be preferred, since you will need time to learn the necessary skills and absorb local culture (this learning part is the most exciting bit to me) - not to mention getting straight the names of your temporary family and friends. However - I couldn't, with good conscience, recommend going for more than a year at time, as although StarTrekius Specionium makes seamless travel, non-disruptive space/time manipulation possible, it cannot arrest the aging process - and you don't want to find yourself 80 years old and living the life of a 40 year old. (You think you would...but you wouldn't. Not only would you be tired - but you wouldn't get to do cool stuff with your friends and loved ones who managed not to age an extra 40 years with great and inexplicable suddeness).


Here are the vacations I am currently considering:



  • Medieval peasant famer: This offers me the benefits of fresh air, connection with the earth, daily deep, dreamless sleep brought on by a hard day's physical labor (a sensation my body has rarely, if ever, known) and..most importantly...the chance to really learn how to grow my own food without the aid of modern technology. (Ever since I saw the first episode of Connections I've been frightened of not knowing how to effectively plow. I know precious little about farming; I know it involves seeds, sun, water and soil - and that you should rotate your crops and keep one field a season fallow....but that's about it. If I ever have to feed Humanity's survivors in the event all technology fails - the race would be doomed. DOOMED!). Not a very exotic vacation, it's true - but it would be nice to put this "plow-phobia" of mine to bed.

  • Bedouin: All I know of desert living comes from Lawrence of Arabia, Dune and, to some extent, the Star Wars trilogy. I am neither a fan of intense temperatures nor of sand (which gets everywhere and is never comfortable) yet I would love to know how to recognize the signs that a sand storm is coming, how to find water when there seems to be none - and perhaps even to appreciate the direct heat of the sun when it helps warm the air so it is not so bitterly cold at night. I'm not sure what time period I'd prefer. Probably pre-Western influx.

  • Pirate: Yaay, Scurvy! Also, sailing skills, sea faring sensations, and a real proper education in survival style swordsplay (hopefully not leanred while being skewered on the pointy end). I have taken some fencing lessons, and they were great, but I doubt they'd help me if I ever encountered an actual duel situation. (Now that we've saluted, allow me to put on this mask and gloves....hey OW THAT HURTS! Oh, I die, I die...and against regulation.) Ah, to be packed together with flithy ruffians on a rickety wooden ship without GPS on the rough high seas, not a bar of soap or toothbrush in sight. The smells alone would be wonderfully hideous; they would certainly make the scent of burnt microwave popcorn that wafts through the office at least once a week seem almost like aromatherapy. Also, I'd get to wear an eyepatch. And a peg leg. And a monkey and a hat as part of my work uniform (All of which, although cool, it seems to me would greatly hamper my sword-fighting abilities).

  • Seamstress: My great-grandmother was a seamstress. My grandmother could sew up a storm (and also knit and crochet like nobody's business). My mother used to make our Halloween costumes, has helped me make Dracula's Ball outfits, and has tried to teach me to sew. Sadly, I did not inherit the "crafty genes"; I am all fingers and thumbs about it - and I actually find the entire process a bit frightening. It's full of all sorts of tiny, sharp bits with which I invariably stab myself repeatedly. And sewing machines! As much as I love gadgets and labor saving devices, I must admit that it takes no small amount of courage for me to sit down in front of one of these infernal machines. Sure, they look innoucous enough - but the moment I put the slightest bit of pressure on the pedal the needle is jammed, the bobbin is broken, the top spool of thread has mysteriously been shot to the opposite end of the room, and stitch removal (with a small and stabby device) invariably takes place. It would probably take an intensive learning experience like working as a seamstress 18 hours a day, seven days a week, in crummy working conditions for me to even become passable at it. And, hey - since it's only a temporary (probably 2-3 month) vacation - it wouldn't be my eyes I was ruining, or my back I was breaking while hunched over those delicated, tiny, invisible hand stitches. And let's say I do it, oh, during mid-to-late 19th Century France - since that's when Zola's Rougon-Macquart cycle takes place, and when I think of seamstresses, some of his characters strangely leap to mind. Besides, if I'm going to be a seamstress it might as well be during an interesting socio-political time.

  • Court Spymaster: (Let's keep in Western Europe - Renaissance era-ish) The cool, fetid air of hidden tunnels in my nose; my soft footfalls on secret stairwells; my face impenetrable while my heart hammers in my chest; a well-placed dirk in the throat of mine enemies and the enemies of the Crown (previous pirating vacation would be helpful here); courtly wit; a cape and a plummed hat and oodles of adventure. Yes please. I suppose I should spend a previous vacation working as a cutpurse first, just to make sure my stealth and vanishing-into-the-shadow skills are up to snuff. Then, perhaps, when I came back, I'd final give a damn about office politics. Or at least be better at them. Also, I feel that this would assist my chess game immensely.

  • A Temple Cat in Ancient Egypt: Because Egypt is high on my list of places to visit someday. Plus - this way I get to be pampered like royalty without all that pesky responsibility. What - why shouldn't some of these vacations be less work-intensive and more - well - vacation like? Sure - I can see what you're saying - wouldn't lying about in the sun, napping at will, having my every whim tend to be disturbingly similar (even not a zillion times more decadent) than the current sloth-like behavior I recently bemoaned? Sure. But I'd be an entirely different species; which is probably about as far outside my own head and sphere of context that I can get.

  • Chartered Account: Mostly because I'm not entirely sure what they do. Accountancy is a great mystery to me - and my math skills could certainly use some brushing up. Big bonus if I could find a chartered accountancy firm similar to the one in The Meaning of Life. (Yes, yes, it does all come back to piracy.)

  • Cartographer/Explorer: Not only would this allow me to better my understanding of Geography (which is poor) - but it would also allow me to travel where there Be Dragons.

  • Original Printing Press Operator: Ink in the nostrails, under fingernails, under skin...but holding some of the first printed books ever in my hand, running my fingers (carefully, so as not to stain them with my ink-enriched fingerprints) over the pristine pages? Perhaps a chance to read works in the original forms that have since been lost? I can just imagine setting the cool, blocky metal type, backwards, feeding in the huge sheets of paper, bringing down the press and then the thrill of lifting it to see the printed word, stamped for all eternity? Heck yeah.

  • Illuminator: Related to my desire to hold original manuscripts (as above) but would allow me to improve my penmanship as well. Also, as I'd likely have to be a monk, this would also help me learn humilty, Latin, to appreciate a more spartan life style, and how to pee standing up.


It occurs to me that I could go on forever - but your patience won't, so I'll stop my list here. However, feel free to pepper the comments with your vacation destinations, as I'll be looking for good travel ideas once this technology is perfected.


You know, I'm going through this Sales Training seminar for work - and one of the things we had to do was turn in a list of our 3 month, 6 month, and 1 year goals. I had a great deal of difficulty making that list, as I'm less goal-oriented than I am experience oriented. I wonder if I could retrieve that list and turn this one in instead. Maybe I could even get the company to pay for these little jaunts. After all, the skills I learn during these vacations could certainly bring added value to my work performance. What employer wouldn't want a vile, sea-salted adventurer able to work a needle as deftly as her sword, well-versed in intrigue and literature, and so spoiled that she expects her own way upon pain of death?


Hmm...maybe these vacations aren't taking me so far outside my true self after all...


1 I suppose one could come to the same conclusion watching "reality" television, which isn't half as interesting as In Cold Blood, but which is certainly more prevalent.


2 Granted, Sunday's all-day movie marathon was largely inspired by the many gin-soaked olives I chomped on at the local piano bar on Saturday night, and the seemingly bottomless martini-well in which they were brined; but I have no excuse for cocooning all of Friday night and Saturday afternoon.


3 At least I hope it isn't; I'd like to think my mid-life point is still a decade or two off yet.


4 And let us say that technology was called StarTrekius Specionium.


5 Excepting, of course, to make it better. After all, you're from their future, you know all about scientific advances - and you'd only make the smallest and most health concious of changes. And if this somehow causes their immune systems to fail or gets them burned at the stake as a witch upon their untimely return...well, you can't really be held responsible for group hysteria or silly superstitions now can you. And besides, what are they going to do, sue you from the past?


6 Oh, let's just say StarTrekius Specionium makes this possible too.

Posted by Sarcasmo on Monday, November 28, 2005
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Monday Morning Madness   


Posted by Sarcasmo on Monday, November 28, 2005
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Has Anyone in the History of Ever   


won a game of Spider Solitaire? Oh..how it taunts me!

Posted by Sarcasmo on Sunday, November 27, 2005
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Friday Follies   


Woe is me, who didn't bother to take off from work today. But not so woe as you, my American brethren, who felt the need to spend today, of all days, shopping. You're all mad..mad I tell you.



I hope those of you who celebrated had a lovely Thanksgiving, and that everyone else had a wonderful week.



Posted by Sarcasmo on Friday, November 25, 2005
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Proof I Should Turn Off the Computer and Go Outside More (But Not Now - It's Dark & Cold)   


Things I found on the Interweb today that simultaneously horrified and delighted me:




Things I found on the Interweb today that just horrified me:




Posted by Sarcasmo on Tuesday, November 22, 2005
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Oops!   


Grant pointed out that I forgot to link to the Monday Morning Quiz this week; so mea culpa an all that.



Posted by Sarcasmo on Monday, November 21, 2005
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Monday Morning Madness   


Posted by Sarcasmo on Monday, November 21, 2005
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Friday Follies   


Posted by Sarcasmo on Friday, November 18, 2005
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Tag, I'm It.   


I've been meme tagged by The Bawdy Cloister, so here goes.



1. Go into your archives.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Post the fifth sentence (or closest to it).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Tag five other people to do the same thing.


(23 and 5 huh? Must be a Discordian conspiracy).
There's only one sentence in my 23rd post, so I'll have to post it:


I Love Egg, and if you like a little silliness for breakfast, you will too!


There - wasn't that a fun trip down memory lane?


As for tagging...I say let's have Chaos have at it. Everyone's tagged. No one's tagged. Robert Anton Wilson is tagged.

Posted by Sarcasmo on Thursday, November 17, 2005
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i, i, i, i   


I'm beginning to wonder if I should change my name to "iStar" - you know - to increase my marketability.

Seriously - that lowercase i is everywhere these days. I bet the rest of the alphabet curses Steve Jobs when they weep into their pillows at night.

Posted by Sarcasmo on Wednesday, November 16, 2005
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The Heat Was Hot and the Ground Was Dry/But the Air Was Full of Sound 1   


I have returned, those two of you who missed me may now rejoice. Unfortunately - having spent three days with little-to-no sleep (my body refused to adjust to the alternate time zone for such a short period of time, and the Vegas attractions refused to adjust their schedules in order that I might sleep and enjoy the fun; who's bright idea was it to put the West Coast so far on the other side of the country anyway) - I have returned something akin to a zombie (and WAY behind my Nanowrimo count). Ah - jet lag.

I did nap a few hours today - so I can at least recognize the letters of the alphabet and understand them when grouped in meaningful ways (during my 4 hour layover this morning, after 20-some hours awake, I reached a point where I was no longer able to read). So - bear with me. My spelling and grammar may be worse than usual.



Various Highlights from My Trip to Vegas (Possibly the Only Place on the Planet Where I Can Be Dorkier Than I Am in Every Day Life) with Sarcasmo Jr.:



1 America, "A Horse With No Name"

Posted by Sarcasmo on Monday, November 14, 2005
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Friday Follies - 'I Am SO Not Money' Edition   



Today's Friday Follies are extra-long as there will be no Monday Morning Madness because I will be away for the next few days. That's right - I'm abandoning my post to go in pursuit of pirates, Paris and pyramids1 with Sarcasmo Jr.. And as this is a vacation, I shall be leaving both the Interweb and my cellphone behind. Coinsider me Super Unreachable Girl for the next few days. I expect I'll go into some sort of lack-of-communication meltdown by 6PM Friday night, but I hear there's lots of shiny things to distract me out there in the desert, so I'm sure I'll survive.



Have a good weekend, y'all.





1 I know, it sounds like stuff that's been in the news lately...but I mean Vegas. Er..baby.

Posted by Sarcasmo on Thursday, November 10, 2005
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Happy Anniversary!!   


to Feanor and Poppy, the stealthiest wedding Ninjas I know.

Posted by Sarcasmo on Thursday, November 10, 2005
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NaNoWriMo Update1   


Technically speaking, I'm a NaNoWriMo cheater, since I'm using the challenge not to write a novel - but to get to some smaller writing projects. Basically, my goal is still 50,000 (non-blog related) words by the end of November - but it won't be a novel by the time it's done.


In fact, I highly doubt it will be 50,000 words, either - but I'll get as close as I can.


In my tradition of putting everything off till the last minute - I'm only 6,490 words in at this point when I should be 10,000; and 5,845 of those were written today. Quite a bit of what I'm writing is related to a project I'm working on with Peccable - so I won't be posting those bits for your reading pleasure enjoyment distraction. However, for those odds and ends that are mine and mine alone, I'll be resurrecting last year's writing excerpt page.



Try not to stand up and cheer all at once.



In addition, my latest excerpts will be available on my NaNoWriMo profile page - which I mention here because I think the book interface is pretty nifty (even if it does refuse to recognize my punctuation).



1 This post is more or less for Grant, who likes to ask me how my word count is going just so he can tell me how much further ahead of me he is.

Posted by Sarcasmo on Sunday, November 06, 2005
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Monday Morning Madness   


Posted by Sarcasmo on Sunday, November 06, 2005
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Friday Follies   


Dear Modern Science: Why you're busy fiddling around with genetic engineering, could you please, please, please create a coffee bean that would produce a rich, dark, flavorful, slightly bitter cup of uber-caffinated coffee that would also whiten the drinker's teeth? If you could, you'd ampliphy the quality of my mornings a zillion-fold.

Heck - a cup of coffee like that would be worth what I'm already paying for a cup of coffees at the local coffee shops.

Posted by Sarcasmo on Friday, November 04, 2005
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Chekov, The Cutlery & Me   


I realized something weird about myself today1. I try to be tidy, but, as is no doubt clear to anyone who's ever been in my apartment that I don't always succeed. I often start projects, then get distracted by other things ("ooh...shiny...") before cleaning up the mess I've made. Dishes used in preparing dinner may lie in various parts of the kitchen; knick knacks and other doodads dot the remainder of the apartment.



I can be stubbornly blind to this sort of clutter, unless it involves one of two things: scissors (such as my sewing scissors or kitchen shears) and knives (especially my chef's knife). If I spot either of these items left by the wayside, I will immediately stop what I'm doing and make sure they are properly put away. Not because I'm clumsy, or because I fear a gaggle of small children will suddenly descend upon my apartment and insist on running around with things, but because (no kidding) a small voice inside my head insists2 that if I leave them out, they are destined to be used in Act 3. Whether it's the Act 3 of my day or my week or my life, I'm never quite sure; but being a common enough trope, I'm not taking the chance to find out.



It's good to know that the lack of sleep I'm gearing up for this month won't result in my losing the boundries between real life and fiction, as it seems I'm already there.


Happy National Novel Writing Month, everybody.


1 "Just *one* thing, Sarcasmo?" I can hear you ask. To which I reply, "Well, just one thing *today*, you snarky bastard."

2 Probably the same voice that worries that the killer might already be in the house after I've locked myself in for the night. And if they already are, I suppose it's better I'm not leaving things lying about with which they can arm themselves.

Posted by Sarcasmo on Wednesday, November 02, 2005
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Saints for Some - Birthdays For Others   


A very happy birthday to SarcasMom! Please go fill her comments with love and birthday wishes - as she is most deserving of both.

Happy birthday, Mom!

Posted by Sarcasmo on Tuesday, November 01, 2005
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I Dig You The Most, Ghost1   


Well, The Most Wonderful TIme of the Year has passed yet again, and thank All Saints for that. I'm much too exhausted to attempt even one more spooky activity, having crammed the past few days with as much Halloweening as possible. Throughout the weekend I was: a scurrilous pirate torturing a sailor on the rack; a mad doctor who wrestled a enormous Man-Turned-Fish and then tranmorgaphied him back into a man2; a sailor tortured by a pirate on the rack3; and Death from the Sandman series. On Saturday alone I wore no fewer than 3 different costumes, and somewhere in between costume changes, found the time to follow giant cloves of garlic4 and a Dracula/Nixon5 head in the Dracula Parade6 with Mouserobot. Unsurprisingly, Saturday's activities were fuelled by naught but sugar and caffeine (I somehow neglected to eat real food). That fact, along with the several hours of dancing I did at Trackerneil's traditionally awesome party post-parade led to an especially achy Sunday on the rack.


Big thanks to Shellefly, for being the kind of gal who isn't afraid to face perilous pirates (or the electric chair) and especially to SarcasMom and SarcasDad for being the kind of cool, supportive parents who take their daughter out to dinner then laugh heartily as she's brutally torn in half by pirates during the post-dinner entertainment. You guys rock.


Halloween proper was wrapped up at Dracula's Ball7 - where I got they pleasure of spending time with my friend Lyn (good), seeing Voltaire perform live (good)8 and got squished up against walls and my toes brutally stomped on due to some poor traffic flow planning (bad). However - it was Halloween and there was dancing - so it was all good in the end. Except now I am up WAY past my bedtime and I have to go to work in a few hours.


Oh - and Nanowrimo has officially begun. Halloween is easy. Now begins the time of I tremble with fear.



1The Rockin' Ghost- The Modernaires

2 Well, to be fair (due to available actors), I actually turned him back into a human woman - but what do you expect when one's working with rubber organs and 19th century technology?

3 Of these, I I liked being on the rack the least (any pirate-themed fantasies I may have notwithstanding) as it gave me very little opportunity to interact with the haunted ship visitors...which is really my favorite part of haunted housedom.

4 The anthropomorphic garlic never ceases to crack me up. Is that weird?

5 In all fairness, the Nixon/Dracula observation was Mouserobot's; not mine

6 And, as is traditional, I charged batteries all Halloween day, then neglected to put them in before the parade- leaving me able to take only a few, blurry photos. Someday I'll be prepared for this thing.

7 My pics from Dracula's Ball are always dismal, since my camera has too slow a shutter speed to take good photos in the dark - and taking flash photos ruins the atmosphere and makes people awfully cranky. It's a shame, really, because some of the costumes are amazing.

8 Although how he could have played Dracula's Ball without playing At the Vampire Club is beyond me. Happily, he did play Goodnight, Demon Slayer - a lullaby I fully intend to learn in full so I can sing it to my nephew. (Just as soon as I teach him what a demon is.)

Posted by Sarcasmo on Tuesday, November 01, 2005
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