Friday, December 23, 2005

An Exact* Transcript of a phone conversation between me and Kammi Kazi

And by exact, I mean EXACTLY . . . as I remember it.

Though we work on the same floor of the same office building, right down the hall from each other, my friend, Tough Cookie teammate, and co-worker, Kammi Kazi, and I have fallen into the worst habit of calling each other from our desks. Usually, I don't actually walk to her desk unless it's REALLY IMPORTANT -- and yes, by important, I mean gossip that will take more than a minute or two to discuss over the phone.

This is a prime example of what we two grizzled Derby Dolls tend to talk about:


Guess what I’m eating right now.

The pumpkin bread?

Kammi makes this really, really amazing pumpkin bread, which she brings in for the people at work when she's in the holiday mood. She gave me the recipe, but unfortunately the reception of this recipe coincided with the "discovery" that I would need to lose all the weight I had gained in the last three months in order to get back in Derby Doll shape, so I hadn't been able to make it -- though obviously I didn't let that stop me from enjoying the loaves she made.

It’s soooo yummy. I came into the kitchen and saw Mercedes [the office housekeeper] putting it out. And it was like, “Yay!” I would’ve taken two pieces, but she was looking.

What are you doing at work so early?

This conversation is taking place around 7:15 in the morning. Normally I get to work around 8. 8:30 if I'm running late, which I usually only let happen on days that end with a "y".

Well, I’ve got to leave early. I’ve got a 3:45 appointment at the DMV. I lost my license.

Oh no.

Yeah, it’s so stupid. I have no idea where I put it and I looked everywhere.


And it’s even worse, because you have to physically go into the DMV to pick up a new license.

Yeah, that sucks.

Going back over this conversation in my mind, I wonder if Kammi is making sympathetic sounds of listening while doing other things. I wonder this not because I think Kammi an awful person, who won’t give her undivided attention to listening to me whine, but because I do this all the time. And it makes me feel like less of an awful person who won't give her undivided attention to listening to her friends whine when I imagine other people doing the same to me.

And normally, I’d try to go without a license rather than standing in line at the DMV…


But it’s Christmas and I’m terrified I’m going to get pulled over in one of those alcohol testing drag net thingies they do.

Well, you know, if you’re ever driving on the highway, and you see one of those signs that says there’s drug or alcohol testing up ahead. Don’t get off at the next exit. Because that’s actually where they’ve set up the net.


Don’t ask me how I know that.


I’m betting it’s a story. A really long one.

Anyway, here’s that pumpkin bread recipe -- it really is yummy:

Pumpkin Bread
3cups sugar
1c. oil
2c pumpkin
1 1/2tsp cinnamon
1tsp. nutmeg
2/3c. water
3 1/3c flour
2tsp baking soda
Mix all together and bake at 350* for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean and sides start to pull away from the pan. Makes 3 loaves.

Winter Solstice

Yesterday was Winter Solstice

And I went to sleep early.

Even in California, I resent the winter, and can’t wait for the spring.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Mo Daily Show

Daily Show Update.

From the yet to be announced (or even written) play, The Inner-Struggles of a Black, Female Daily Show Fan.

(while surfing on my laptop)
Hey, check it out. The Daily Show FINALLY hired ANOTHER female writer. Her name’s Rachel Axler. Yay!!!

Samantha Bee’s really pregnant. She's probably going on maternity leave.

(with a sad sniff)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Jeans of Champions

Today, I emailed the head of our department and asked if we could wear jeans to work with our Christmas sweaters for the Holiday Potluck, and he said yes. And now everyone is acting like I’m a huge hero for asking. I mean people have literally been coming up to my desk and thanking me all day.

This is a problem, for two reasons:

Much like some inmates prefer to keep their heads down and not to socialize with the general prison population while they serve out their sentences, I don't really like to talk to the other people at work. Also

I’m listening to Breakfast of Champions right now, and I’ve discovered that there’s nothing worse than being interrupted during a Kurt Vonnegut story. Checkit:

Stanley Tucci: (the actor lending his voice to this audiobook): Leon walked into the bar and picked up [recurring character’s] book. He had taken a speed-reading course some years before, so he was able to read very quickly. *

Co-Worker: Hey, Ernessa.

I take off my earphones.

Me: Yes?

Co-Worker: Is it true we can wear jeans to tomorrow’s potluck?

Me: Yes, that’s what Dave said.

Co-Worker: Wow, really?

Me: Yes, really.

Co-Worker: So what happened? You asked, and he just said yes?

Me: Yeah.

Now I'm holding one earphone near my ear, trying to signal that I'd like to go back to my Ipod now.

Co-Worker: Wow. That’s great. Well, I’m definitely going to wear jeans tomorrow.

Me: Yeah, me, too.

Co-Worker: Thanks!

Me: No problem.

I put one earphone back in and start to turn back to my computer.

Co-Worker: Seriously, thanks!

Me: Seriously, it was no problem.

I put the other earphone back in.

Stanley Tucci: Leon began to beat his mistress, believing that she had only slept with him, so that he would buy her a KFC. *

Me: What the fuck???

Now imagine this scenario happening all dang day, and you’ll know why I went home in a seriously bad mood during the “happiest time of the year.”

Plus, I’m still sore from Monday’s practice.

Poor Betty Disable.

*Of course this prose is only an approximation of Mr. Vonnegut's brilliant text.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

My Favorite TV of 2005

Perhaps it’s become apparent in recent blogs that I’ve totally fallen off the TV addiction wagon. If not, here’s further proof :

1. Boondocks: Best new show on television. Brilliant and political and subversive and controversial. It upsets me that one of the most intriguing shows on television is tucked away on Cartoon Network.

2. Battlestar Galactica: So many other people have this on their list, I feel that I don’t having anything to add to the discussion. It’s kind of like writing a paper on Shakespeare at this point. What else can you say, other than "That's right! What he said!"

3. House: My new Law & Order and the first medical procedural drama that actually seems to work. I love that I can watch this any time and anywhere, and I’m working on not minding that horrible soft light they always put on Sela Ward. Though I’m dying to know if the powers-that-be on that show or ageist or if she’s insisted on it in her contract.

4. My Name is Earl: Hella funny. I mean hella funny. So funny it actually made me write the words, “Hella funny.” I can’t believe Jaime Pressley didn't win the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in a comedy. She definitely deserves an Emmy.

5. Veronica Mars: I've never liked Nancy Drew, but man, I dig this chyck.

6. The Shield: Glenn Close – Michael Chiklis, I mean what more is there to say. Plus, CCH Pounder!

7. Nip/Tuck: How can something so delicious also be so well-written? It’s like really tasty, non-fat cheesecake. One would think it couldn’t be done…

8. America’s Next Top Model: What? I said what? You know you snooty bitches watch it, too.

9. Desperate Housewives: One of my new pet peeves is men who complain about how much they dislike this show. Shut the fuck up, we don’t complain about that slut, James Bond, or that psycho, Scarface, you like to hang out with. I shouldn’t have to keep on defending this show . . . or Oprah.

10. The Office: This show would have been higher on my list, but as an office worker, sometimes this show can be really, really true – and that’s not funny.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Betty Disable

Today I went back to practice after a three-month absence and 10+ pound weight gain.

This morning, I had been thinking about doing a blog about how gaining the pounds felt terrible on my conscious but looked great on my chest.

But now I hurt. Like everywhere.

I’ve always been more of a sprinter than an endurance runner – Seriously, the last time I ran a non-treadmill mile, I was in the 6th grade. And even at the height of my roller derby fitness, jamming during practice rendered me all wheezy if I had to do it more than once.

During my absence, which was at first due to business, and then due to laziness, I was somehow managing to convince myself that I was letting the lessons of roller derby really sink into my bones.

I found out today that this wasn’t the case. I could only hang with the pace line for five-minute stints. Not only could I not do the sideways stop our coach was trying to teach us for most of practice, I realized that I would have to re-teach myself power slides and transistions (turning from front to back while skating really fast).

By the end of practice, I was really snotty -- I mean literally snotty. The most disgusting and undocumented biological fact about roller derby is that often when you skate outdoors and above your fitness level, your sinuses just open up, and by the time you're finished with warm up, green stuff is rolling profusely out your nose. Also I was sweaty and cold and really ashamed of myself.

I’m hoping to get back to Kid Vicious status in the next few months. But for now just call me Betty Disable.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Customary Bloggers

Today I went to a reading of Customary Monsters, a play written by my friend and fellow CMU Dramatic Writing Program survivor, Kyle Wilson.

Afterwards at the reception, we got to talking about our respective blogs, with another friend and writer, Debra Boyle, pointing out that I hadn’t updated mine in a really, really long time.

I immediately felt bad, because, I, too, often suffer from the horrible malady of Boredatworkitis, and I know it’s hard when the blogs that I read regularly aren’t updated. Once, when one of my favorite blogs, Overhead Lines, took like a whole week to post new entries, I nearly wrote the blogmaster an angry email. But then I realized it was the holidays . . . and I hadn’t updated my blog either . . . and it’d be lame.

“Yeah,” I said to Debra and Kyle. “I think I’m just going to start writing new entries and back dating them.”

So I started doing that, and now I feel I like it much better. Blogging for me has become like writing a memoir – which I’ve always been good at. As opposed to a keeping a diary – which I’ve never been able to do. Somehow even as a stupid teenager, I knew my teenage thoughts were too inane to record. I would start writing something like, “I really like Billy Henderson” – and then I'd stop to write yet another unpublishable novel about high schoolers in psychologically abusive relationships with vampires – don’t ask, I thought it was really romantic at the time.

Plus, it gives me time to reflect and really think over the events of my life. I’ve been loving writing about being depressed when I’m happy, about lovely times when I’m sad, and about being really insane when I’m only a little insane.

Does this violate blog ethics? What are blog ethics anyway? Lemme know what you think.

Yesterday – and by "yesterday" I mean February 2, 2006, I received a really nice email from my ol’ college bud, Johanna. Here’s the bit that kind of pertains to this post:
And I TOO take time to read your bloggie frequently (something about these temp jobs...they encourage blog overload), though I remain deeply confused as to why I can only see entries from a month ago. Today, for example, I can see an entry from Friday, Dec. 9, 2005. And while I'm sure your Christmas fudge was delicious, I'm curious as to what's happened since...oh...the new year came. And all. :)

Friday, December 09, 2005

Couple's First Christmas Party

Here are the top three highlights:

3. I made white chocolate Christmas fudge with cranberries and almonds, which everybody said they loved . . . after I shoved one of the plates of fudge (placed in five locations throughout the party) at them and said, “Have you tried the fudge? No? Well, you should. I made it from scratch. No, I mean it, you’ve got to try it. I said, TRY IT. Yeah, there you go. How do you like it? You love it? Wow! Gee, thanks. Well, I’ve got to go mingle, but you’re not going to toss the fudge as soon as I turn my back are you? Because CH has a basement that not a lot of people know about. Why are you backing away? I’m not threatening you, darlin’ -- I’m just saying you might want to finish the fudge…” Anyway, remind me to post the recipe next Christmas.

2. For the first time, all my friends from my separate undergrad, graduate school, Derby Doll, and artistic lives gathered together under one roof . . . and then separated into their respective groups in different parts of the house. The Segregationists of the Year award goes to the Writers & Assorted Artists, who disappeared to the deck above the garage a mere hour into the party and only came down at the end to do Alize shots and take pictures in front of the tree.

1. Before the party, CH and I watched A Year without Santa Claus, which I had somehow never seen. After a careful academic viewing, I concluded that this movie had been cheated not only out of an Emmy for TV movie of the year, but also out of a Grammy for the Heatmeiser/Coldmeiser gem.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

My Favorite Movies of 2005

God, I’m sick of introductions to lists. So without further ado, here’s my Best of 2005 Movie list.

1. Me and You and Everyone We Know: My absolute favorite movie of the year hands down. Made me realize the beauty of being an artist again. Plus, the kid that plays the youngest brother is hella cute.

2. The New World: So. Fucking. Beautiful. I didn’t quite know what to do. I’ve never been disappointed by a Terrence Malick (Badlands, Thin Red Line) film, and I’d say this was finest effort yet. And Malick’s natives show up the ones in King Kong for the simple puppet characters they are.

3. Speak: Ridiculously well-done for a cable movie. It broke my heart and made me proud to have once been a girl at the same time.

4. Serenity: So much fun. And well-written. Afterwards, I commented to my fellow friends and playwrights, Clark and Rob, that you could write a book on Joss Whedon structure.

5. 40-Year-Old Virgin: Front to end laughs. Best comedic ending of 2005.

6. The Family Stone: I cried like a fucking baby. I still get a little teary just thinking about it. So unexpectedly good.

7. Battlestar Galatica: Though it originally aired on the Sci-Fi channel in 2004, I didn’t have the pleasure of viewing this movie until Summer 2005. It immediately blew my mind and captured my imagination. Made me consider the reality and hard work of government in a way that my civics class never could.

8. Kung Fu Hustle: Most visually satisfying comedy since Amelie with fantastic action scenes to boot.

9. Syriana: It’s depressing because it’s true (though sorta fictitious). Anyway, it made me want to become an expat – I mean even more than I already want to.

10. Brokeback Mountain: Best human drama of the year in my opin.

Now an excerpt from my latest inner-dialogue mind play, Confessions of a Trifling Blogger:

You the Reader: Ernessa, if this blog dated December 8th, why come you mentionin’ movies that didn't premiere til the end of December (i.e. New World, King Kong) ?

Me, the Blogger: Sssh, don’t worry yo’ pretty lil’ head about it, baby.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

What You Say?

My friend and fellow playwright, Sallie Patrick, wrote one of her very first blog entries about her love of quotes. And I’d have to agree.

Having gathered this list throughout the year, I'm somewhat surprised by what did and didn’t make it. None of the songs I’ve quoted will appear in my upcoming Top Ten Songs blog. Only one of the books I’ve quoted made it on to my top ten books list. And as much TV as I watch, only one thing from that medium appears on this list.

It’s strange how a quote can worm its way into your heart and conscious, staying with you long after you’ve forgotten or ceased to care about the larger work from which it was weened.

The Best Bitter Stuff:

Love’s an excuse to get hurt. And to hurt . . . Do you like to hurt? – Bright Eyes, “Lover I Don’t Have to Love”

I wish I could buy back the woman you stole. – Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, “Y-Control”

It’s not fair how a woman never has to think about shit to keep from coming. Vic, Choke, Chuck Palahunik

There are people in this life who believe being the biggest victim will get them the biggest pork chop at the dinner table. – Hosanna Clark, What You Owe Me, Bebe Moore Campbell

The Spirit’s in the Words:

I am my own priest. – Hosanna Clark, What You Owe Me, Bebe Moore Campbell

God is change. – Lauren Olamina, Parable of the Talents, Octavia Butler

All that you touch you change. – Lauren Olamina, Parable of the Talents, Octavia Butler

Belief initiates and guides action or it does nothing. – Lauren Olamina, Parable of the Talents, Octavia Butler

Half of me is ocean. Half of me is sky. – Tom Petty, “Walls (No. 3)”

Have I Mentioned I’m a Tortured Artist . . .

Nobody becomes an artist unless they have to. – Mother, White Oleander, Janet Fitch

Imagination uses what it needs and discards the rest. Mother, White Oleander, Janet Fitch

Don’t cherish anything. The artist is the phoenix who burns to emerge. Mother, White Oleander, Janet Fitch

Every writer has a splinter of ice in the heart.” – Graham Greene as quoted by P.D. James on NPR

What do I myself think of this particular book? I feel lousy about. But I always feel lousy about my books. – Kurt Vonnegut, Preface, Breakfast of Champions.

…With a Day Job:

“Hard work” is a misleading term. Physical effort and long hours don’t really constitute hard work. Hard work is when someone pays you to do something you’d rather not be doing. Any time you’d rather be doing something other than the thing you’re doing, you’re doing hard work. – George Carlin, When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?

Weirdly Brilliant Quotes from Weirdly Brilliant People:

You should take all [that bitterness] and put it in a play. -- Kyle Wilson

A man goes into a marriage thinking, “Lord, I hope she don’t never ever change. Everything will be alright if she just don’t change.” And a woman goes into a marriage thinking, “Lord, I hope this man change. Everything’s going to be alright if he just makes some changes.” Truth is, ain’t neither of them going to be getting what they want. Those really aren’t very realistic expectations. – Ernest T. Carter (yes, my father)

If you can, try not to quote yourself. You’ll just come off looking like a self-absorbed asshole. – Ernessa T. Carter

And the Random Rest:

An unspeakable beauty announced itself. – Specimen Days, Michael Cunningham

We call them stars, but the ones that shine the brightest are actually planets.” – Liz Phair on NPR.

The boy was as beautiful as Eve. – Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut

So it goes. -- Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut

Don’t judge me! – My Name is Earl, Brett Butler as Earl’s ex-wife’s mother-in-law, after it’s discovered that she’s been lying about wheelchair bound, needing dialysis, and a gambling addiction to which she lost Joy’s new car and her husband’s business.

When I get depressed, I take a little pill, and I cheer up again. And so on. – Kurt Vonnegut, Preface, Breakfast of Champions

You want to know who I am? Who am I? I am who I say I am, and tomorrow someone else entirely. Mother, White Oleander, Janet Fitch

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

An Exact* Transcript of a Cell Phone Conversation with my Sister

And by exact, I mean exactly as I remember it.

So the other day, I'm riding in the car with CH and he says his favorite Notorious B.I.G. song is "Mo Money, Mo Problems" because he said "it's absolutely true."

Oh my God, that's so true!


So, so true!


Truly, truly, true! Seriously, I was just like thinking the same thing yesterday.

Having just balanced my pitiful check book that morning :

Really? Because I was just thinking that the only people who say "mo money, mo problems" are people who've forgotten or don't know what's it's like to be poor.

Sigh . . .You know, Ernessa, when they pay you a lot of money to do something, that means they want more out of you.

As a person who doesn’t get paid a lot for her seriously unstressful job, talking to a family member who gets paid a lot for her weirdly stressful one, I take IMMEDIATE and TOTAL offense.

I can't believe you just said that.


There are people who get paid like absolute shit to do the most stressful jobs.


Do you really think you work harder than a coal miner? Hmm, do you?


Cuz you don't.

I'm just saying money has its share of problems, too

I know that. Really I know that. On my worse days, I’m probably happier than Donald Trump. Smarter than Paris Hilton. Much less evil than George Bush.

And I'm a ton less stressed out than my sister, the person who had to cancel her Thanksgiving trip home, while everyone else got their holiday because she’s an Operations Engineer, the one in charge when things at the chemical factory go apeshit – like they did the day before Thanksgiving.

And my problem list only has 35 entries. Still something mean and stubborn in me makes me answer, “And I’m just saying I don’t agree.”

She gets quiet and changes the subject.

And when the lovely self-righteous anesthesia wears off, I’m grateful that the perfect answer to my assertion that “Mo money doesn’t equal mo problems” never occurred to her:

She could have just said “How would you know?”

That would stung me so bad that I would have had to repeat the story to everyone I know with a hint of chagrinned pride in my voice. Like the roller derby story. Have I told you the roller derby story? Well, here it goes:

Back in April ‘05, the Friday before my second roller derby match, I was talking to my sister on the phone. It was 7pm here.

My shy chemical engineer of a sister, who doesn’t have much of a social life, always asks me about all the social things I have planned for the night, before she gets off the phone.

I rarely say, “Nothing,” and I do believe this is why she keeps me around. Actually I know this is why she keeps me around, because when I decided not to date for three months, she was the only one who didn’t encourage me in this and in fact accused me of being boring a mere two weeks in.

Anyway, during this same non-dating period, she asked me what I was going to be doing with my Friday night. And I told her I was really sore from all the extra practice, so I was going to soak in the bath, and then put on a ton of Ben-gay.”

Without missing a beat, she said, “Strange, I was just talking to Grandma, and she said that’s what she’s doing tonight, too.”

I was so stunned, all I could do was laugh. But maybe that was for the best, because even now, when I think back on it, the only answer I can come up with is, “Well, I’m watching Farscape on Netflix, too. Grandma doesn’t watch Farscape. Grandma probably doesn’t even know about Farscape.”

And I don’t think that would have been much of a comeback.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Sunday Perfect Sunday

Sunday I woke up and two thoughts immediately occurred to me:

1. Tonight was the night that the 10 minute play I had written in 48 hours would premiere as part of the White Elephant Play Festival.


2. I wasn’t going to freak out.

No, I wasn’t going to freak out, even thought the 10-minute alien play, which I sent off with total confidence on Tuesday, was not looking so great in the cold pre-show-actually-getting-seen-by-people morning light .

And yes, the director had called me three days ago, asking about the appropriateness of the aliens laughing at extinct human race, apparently not realizing how scientific and serious these aliens were supposed to be, though I had written the quite explicit alien description of “serious to the point of innocence” in the very first frickin’ stage direction – but I wasn’t going to freak out.

Everything would be fine. And even if it wasn’t going to be fine, there was nothing I could do about it, because unlike a proper play, this whole thing was totally out of my control – so I wasn’t going to freak out.

Or hyperventilate.

Like I started doing when I thought about all the things that could possibly go wrong and being embarrassed in front of the few people I had actually invited.

“I don’t think you should go,” I said to CH as we were looking at trees in Boy Scout lot in Glendale.

“I don’t know what to say to that, since I’m obviously going,” answered CH.

So I decided to just let it go. To not even think about it. To completely clear it from my mind.

“I mean the great thing about L.A. is no one expects good theater when they come out to your event,” I observed to CH while we were unpacking the ornaments we had gotten for the tree. “So if it’s terrible, people won’t be upset with me, they’ll just—“

“It’s not going to be bad,” said CH. He sounded kind of tired.

“How do you know?”

“Because you’re a good writer,” he answered. Still sounding really tired.

“So’s Stephen King,” I pointed out. “And he’s written some really, really crappy books. What’re you going to do if it’s terrible? I think you should dump me. There’s no reason to date a terrible writer.”

He paused. Mind you I had warned him repeatedly in words and with my last play that I was really neurotic. But I think he was just now starting to really get the magnitude of my affliction.

“It’s not going to be terrible,” he finally said.

“Dude, you’re going to feel really bad if it does turn out to be terrible."

CH then gave me like my kazillionth hug of the day and tells me to stop worrying.

So I did.

I focused on enjoying the perfect California weather and our perfect tree on this perfect, perfect Sunday.

“I think we should both just stay here and not go to the play,” I said to CH, two hours later at the CMU annual holiday party. We were eating hor d’voures, and they really were yummy, despite the rising taste of total hysteria in my mouth.

“Stop it,” he said.

“No, seriously…”

“You have to go,” he said.

“No I don’t,” I answered. “I don’t have to do anything but BE BLACK and DIE.”

And, yes, I said it that dramatically, because my terror was so great, it had come to this. It had come to cliché.

After nine hours of my non-stop Woody Allen impression sans the icky adoptive daughter aspect, CH finally started ignoring me.

I admired him for lasting that long. And as he changed the subject, I finally took a hold of myself. I decided for once and for all that I would control my fear and not allow it to control me.

Seriously, like I had read Jane Fonda once say, “Courage is fear that’s taken a really deep breath.”

So I took a really deep breath.

And I said sorry ahead of time to all the friends that came out that night for my play.

And I somehow managed not to faint when the director said, “We’ll see,” with a wan smile before the show.

And I drank two Jack & Cokes before the curtain went up.

And I wondered before my play started how it was possible to be so cold yet sweating at the same time.

And I finally made the connection between the term “cold sweat” and what I felt every time I watched a play I had written performed in front of an audience.

And then I decided to never ever write anything again, because this emotional shit wasn’t worth it.

And then the play went great.

The actors playing the aliens were totally serious to the point of innocence.

Everybody laughed – even me . . . once.

Afterwards, the director, gave me a happy hug.

And all my friends called me a big, fat, liar.

“Honey, it really was great,” CH said to me later that night as we were putting the lights on the Christmas tree.

I just smiled and said, “Thanks." Like no big deal.

I mean, seriously dude, it was just a play.

Much more importantly, the tree turned out really nice. Check it out:

Friday, December 02, 2005

Speaking of Seth MacFarlane...

Does anyone else find it strange that Seth MacFarlane has created not one, but two long-suffering cartoon sitcom housewives that have substance-abuse laced pasts as big ole ho bags?

I mean . . . it’s kind of weird. Because either he’s really lazy and couldn’t be bothered to create an original wife for American Dad, which is bad.

Or like Wes Anderson, he has a few parenting issues he’s trying to work out through his art.

Hey, Seth, I’ve got Oedipus on the phone, and dude, he says you’re really creepin’ him out.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Carpe Yearem - Best Books

Yay! ‘Tis the first day of December, so you know what that means: The obsessive countdown to the end of the year is on, baby!

So this month, instead of enjoying the last days of the year, I’ll be analyzing the ones that have already passed with the religious fervor of the Best Week Ever crew on speed.

In other words, I’ll spend most of December being a typical American.

First up, my top ten books of the year.

Just so you know, this list isn’t compiled from books that were actually released this year – just the books I read this year.

Yes, I know I’m a tad self-involved.

No, that’s not going to keep me from posting this list anyway.

Yes, I'm going to keep this yes-no bit going.

No, I’m not proud of myself.

Yes, I am starting to feel a bit like Seth MacFarlane.

So in particular order:

1. Colors Insulting to Nature by playwright Cintra Wilson. It’s funny because it’s really cynical – and true. It somehow made me feel both better and worse about being a wannabe. If you’re in any way associated with the Biz, you must read this yesterday.
2. The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama. Listening to this book made me remember everything I like about myself and the world – which is pretty hard, since I’m cynical.
3. Big Love by Sarah Dunn. Every recovering female Jesus freak in America needs to read this yesterday.
4. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Somehow these British, boarding school clones revealed more about human relations, than most books I’ve read about actual humans this year. So pissed that the Island’s (probably deserved) dismal box office will keep this book from becoming a movie anytime soon.
5. Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. I suspected that rogue economist, Levitt, chose his co-writer because they kind of have the same first name, but this little book turned out to be hugely intriguing. Plus, knowing about the depressed economics of most gang members is the only thing keeping me off the streets.
6. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. Once I got past the fact that the author is a dead ringer for my friend Kyle Wilson (see the freaky resemblance below), I totally loved this doggie murder-mystery told from the view point of an autistic narrator.

Which is which?

7. The Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler/The Traveller by John Twelve Hawks. In a world where economics drive authors to put out a book a year, often with total disregard for quality, Octavia Butler continues to be one of the best sci-fi writers of her generation. And she’s always worth the wait. The Traveller isn’t nearly as well written -- Think Michael Crichton on a bland, even more ham-handed day – but this debut science fiction manages to feel like a very real take on modern times. It made me want “go off the grid” and move to the desert.
8. The New Rules by Bill Maher. Bill Maher is obviously a really obnoxious asshole with really good politics. If I met him on the street I’d probably despise him. But this book is like weirdly fucking funny and it makes me really fucking love him.
9. Geek Love by Katherine Dunn: This book completely traumatized me. I still can’t really put the experience of reading it into words. Tim Burton holds the movie rights, but I don’t think even he will ever be able to get this made.
10. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini/Life of Pi by Yann Martel: Two books that actually deserve all the hype they’ve gotten.