Thoughts on Journals

Another one of my disclaimers: it’s 1:40AM right now, and I’m pretty out of it. Not sure if much of what is below makes sense. Forgive me for not editing it, but I’m exhausted.

I’ve been thinking about journaling lately. I’ve been keeping a journal pretty steadily for a while now – I don’t write often, but I keep the same notebook instead of jumping from one to the other, and whenever I write I feel very relieved. I love it. I wonder if I should start doing it regularly, as part of my routine – doing it first thing in the morning or right before I go to bed or else find some better time during the day. It’ll be hard to keep it up during school-time, though, so I need to consider this.

I’ve also been thinking about how so many bloggers manage to write about their personal, everyday lives in an interesting way. I’ve always had a problem with this, partly because I put such low significance to anything that happens to me. Let me clarify – I find whatever happens to me important, but that’s natural and expected; the problem is that I seem to think that nobody else could possibly find anything that happens to me engaging and worth hearing about. Only through therapy have I succeeded in forcing myself to share more of my everyday life with my friends. I used to expect them to yawn – inwardly, if not outwardly – and find me incredibly dull. I’m slowly learning to accept the fact that my friends love me for who I am and want to know what’s going on with me. They shouldn’t need to ply me with endless questions just to get me to tell them about the internships I’m applying to or how my current work-in-progress is going.

But then there’s the issue of the internet. Sure, my friends are interested in me. But why should random readers who stumble on my blog care about what I’m going through? I realize that I read many blogs where people share their personal, daily lives in a way that I find entertaining and I keep coming back to read more. How do they do it, though?

I’ve been thinking of experimenting with adding a new page on my blog, another one that I’ll post to every day, that will be more of a journal. Then this, the main page, would hold my fiction and thoughts on writing.

How about you guys? What are your thoughts on journaling? If you’re a regular, would you be interested in seeing me add a more journal-like page to my blog?

Haunt [Flash Fiction]

The three ghosts glided out of the movie theater, grumbling. It had been a slow night, and they’d finally decided to pass the time by watching a film. They’d been disappointed. It had been a horror movie about ghosts, ghouls, goblins and girls, and none of them – not even the girls – had been represented accurately.

“There are two common mistakes,” the oldest-looking ghost said. “Either ghosts are made to look opaque, or else they retain the wounds and symptoms that they possessed when alive.”

“Don’t start lecturing,” warned the ghost-woman, raising a finger threateningly.

“Yeah, please don’t, dude,” the third ghost said. He picked his nose with his pinkie, digging vigorously in the cavity with his mouth slightly open and a vague expression on his face.

“Gross!” the ghost-woman said, turning away and rolling her eyes.

“You, my young friend,” the first ghost said evenly, “are truly a shameful specimen of the afterlife. We have higher standards than humans, you know.”

“But what’s the point of being invisible if you can’t do the stuff you’re not supposed to do when you’re alive?” the young ghost whined.

The woman and the older man exchanged glances and mouthed a word that looked suspiciously like “newbie.”

“Come,” the elder-ghost beckoned to the two others after glancing at a digital clock displayed over the door of a store selling watches. “It’s late enough to get to work now.”

“I’m so not in the mood,” complained the woman-ghost. “But you gotta do what you gotta do. Or whatever.”

“Indeed.”

And so, with well-practiced moves, the three ghosts ducked into the supermarket and began to haunt it.

Links [Overheard]

“So if your friends hadn’t taken a course with my friend-”

“And you hadn’t come to play board-games with us that one night-”

“Then you never would have talked to me at the party and-”

“You never would have asked me out-”

“And we wouldn’t have known each other at all.”

“Exactly.”

“Huh.”

“Indeed. Life and stuff.”

“Funny how that works out.”

“Yeah. Funny.”

Life, the Universe, and Everything

I’m currently reading “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams, and finally enjoying it as it is meant to be enjoyed. For some reason, I’d started this book twice before and didn’t manage to get through it. Why this was so is mysterious to me because a) I rarely have trouble getting through books and b) it is very readable and hilarious and I have no idea why I ever set it down before.
Now, the whole bit about the Ultimate Question – to anyone who hasn’t read the book, this is a mysterious question about Life, the Universe and Everything – is brilliant, because we never actually know what the question is, although we’re told that the answer is “forty-two.” Why do I think this is brilliant? Because I think that actually both the question and the answer are absolutely useless.
I’ve never really pondered “the meaning of life,” or I haven’t phrased it in that way at least. Sure, I wonder often enough about my own life and the lives of my friends and loved ones, but ultimately, I really don’t think that we each have a single, all-consuming purpose in life, nor do we need an all-encompassing meaning.
No, I believe that life is a series of stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and others, and the only meaning that really matters is that which we give it – one day, it might be the delicious taste of a square of bitter chocolate after a long shift at work, and another it might be the intensity of love that pours out of us as we watch a loved one die in the hospital.
Life is fluid, the Universe is unfathomable, and Everything is what we make of it.

Please Hold, We Will Be With You Shortly

Dear Sir, Madam, Non-Binary Identifier or Automaton,

I would like to point out an apparent flaw in your system. By “you,” I refer, of course, too all companies in general, whether they are private medical practices or credit-card companies. I hope you will forgive me for lumping you all in the same group, and believe me when I say that after extensive research I have come to the conclusion that the issue at hand is relevant to each and every one of you.

It is not a very big problem, to be truthful, but I believe that you could solve it quite simply. Let me come at the matter in a roundabout fashion – please imagine yourselves using a telephone in order to reach a particular service you wish to use or inquire about. Now, think of automated recording that answers. It tells you, in some form or another, that your call is very important, but that other clients are being served at this time. It requests that you stay on the line, and promise to be wish you shortly. After some variation of this form, music begins to play.

I shudder to refer to the tinny loops of notes as “music” but I suppose that it is the best and least offensive name for the noise. In a world that has birthed string-quartets, orchestras, Bach, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Elvis, The Beatles, David Bowie and Pink Floyd, it is incredible that such sounds still exist outside of the endearing false notes of a beginning violinist. Furthermore, in a universe that has come to use radio waves as well as the Internet for transmitting music, it is hard for me to believe that the options for cheap, or even free, music is so hard for companies to come by.

It is my opinion, and I am sure that others will concur, that the collective “you” to whom I write, that such alienating and disturbing music is the cause of many a headache, not to mention heartaches, missed dates and other inconveniences. I will check the statistic on bleeding ears and get back to you on that when I get more information.

If you truly value your customers, will you please consider trying to play something that doesn’t loop every fifteen seconds? I can almost guarantee that your callers will be in a much better mood when one of your highly-trained service providers answer the phone, thus causing quicker and more efficient service, which would lead to more satisfied customers who would use your services more often.

As a Good Samaritan, I am not asking for any share of the extra profit.

Sincerely,

Slightly Ignorant

My Spam Folder

So, here is what my email account spam folder contains. I always find it rather amusing to look at what I’ve been sent each day.

1. “Are YOU Interested? Ilana, you have 1 NEW Person Who Likes You…”

Yes, alright, this used to be a legitimate piece of mail until I started spamming the damn things. A couple years ago, when I was just getting to know Facebook, I somehow let some program called “Are YOU Interested?” get added to my Facebook applications, and even though I’ve tried erasing the damn thing, it haunts me with sad little messages like this. Whoopee, a NEW person likes me! How exciting!

2. “Smaller than you would like to be – Order your Men’s supplement today…”

Okay, first of all, I’m a woman. But whatever. What’s with the capitalized M? Is “man” a proper noun, now? Should I be saying that I am American and Israeli, and those two over there are Men?

3. Florene Dora – “Grow 3-inches more, Experience with BiggerPenis Today!”

Miss Dora, you need to learn grammar, honey, as well as word spacing and when it is proper to capitalize something. Proper nouns, beginning of sentences – learn your capitalization people!

4. Cleotilde Marcie – “15mg x 60 Codeine $264.00 (+4 FreeViagra Pills)”

As lovely as the name Cleotilde is (pretty sure it’s made up), I have no need to get high on codeine. Seriously, it’s sad that people have reduced cough medicine to an abused drug today. Oh, yeah, and I’m a woman (or is it Woman?) and I don’t need any Viagra, thanks.

5. “Proven to work in just weeks – Click here to find out about the revolution…”

See, I don’t open my spam emails, I just read the taglines. This one actually sounds interesting! There’s a revolution going on? A quick one, sold in a bottle? Can I set it to whatever I want? Maybe I could cause a revolution to fix the damned martial law situation in the Israeli Occupied Territories… Of course, if I opened this letter, it’d probably be: “Click here to find out about the revolutionary weight loss pills…” etc.

6. “Ten ways to make her moan in ecstasy…”

Pretty straightforward stuff, although what are they selling? I mean, it’s spam, there’s always money involved. I suppose there’s some manual or something. Or maybe just more Viagra. Yeesh.

7. Hilary Treena – “Now you can buy cializ and Enjoy! 30 pills x 20mg 89.95$…”

Another one who needs to learn how to spell. I had no idea what “cializ” was, so I looked it up. Of course, it’s Cialis, and it’s more erectile dysfunction stuff. Great. I’m a woman, people!!! And anyway, if I were a man and having difficulties, I think I would be nervous taking some knock-off pill that’s spelled wrong.

8. Sherita Angle – “Japanese movement – Large collection of BreitlingRo1ex, Movado…”

Oh, I get it. Ro1ex is actually Rolex? Why not spell it right? You spelled Movado correctly. I assume that this is an ad for fake watches. Seriously, Sherita, if I wanted fake watches, I’d go down to the flea market and buy fake watches. It’s not that hard to do, you know, I don’t actually need the fake privacy of ordering them online…

In conclusion:

Spam-bots are dumb. Spam is stupid. I have no idea how anyone would actually fall for one of these deals and give credit card details to fake companies that will just steal all their money. But hey, spam is a good source of original names for characters, right?


Boggle

Boggle is an under-appreciated game. Big Boggle even more so. You may be asking, what is this strange word? You may be asking, has she finally gone totally batty? Well, maybe not. Maybe it’s a really well known game and the only reason I’m not aware of that is because there wasn’t one [not even one!] set of Boggle at The Black Squirrel, which is the Sarah Lawrence student-run cafe.

Boggle, in case you don’t know, is a pretty simple game. There are sixteen six-sided dice, and there’s a sort of box thing that has little openings the size of those dice. And then there’s a cover. You shake it around until the dice fall into place, and then you see only one side of each of the dice, and those are the letters you get to work with.

You then need to try to write down all the words you can find in that little box of letters in front of you.

That was probably one of the worst explenations of Boggle ever written, but what can I say? I don’t remember how the rule-book words it.

The point is, it’s a fun game. It’s a wordy game. It’s a game I’m really good at. Scrabble? I’m okay. Quiddler? Well, both my brother and Sir B. F. beat me every single time. They have strategies, you see. If you haven’t heard of Quiddler, I highly recommend looking into it.

But Boggle – that’s a game that plays to my strengths. I write fast, I remember that words like “pot” and “tin” and “teem” can all be written backwards and mean something else, so I always get two words when I see these.

It might be possible, ever so slightly, to tell that it’s 1:24AM and I don’t have much to write about. I spent a half hour today starting to write something that Anne Lamott recommends doing in her amazing book, Bird by Bird. Anyone who wants to read a book about writing that’s both honest and hilarious should read it.

So now, without further babbling, rambling, chatting or similar, I bid you, good fellows or fellowettes, good night.