Because I Simply Don’t Talk Enough.

So here’s the thing:

I’m turning this blog into a podcast. I bought the domain over at http://www.ClaireDeLunacy.com and I’ve migrated this blog over there.

In addition to the occasional scribblings you get from me here (or, er, there, in the future at least), there will be (God help us all) the Claire De Lunacy podcast. That’s right, a whole hour, every week, of yours truly, with call-in guests (it’s true!), some commentary, and a few new surprises (e.g., every tenth caller is randomly either hugged by a stripper,  hit in the stomach by a large, angry Hungarian, or given the power of flight*).

Every week starting NEXT SUNDAY, MAY 2nd, 2010, I’ll be hosting an hour-long free-for-all discussion covering topics (in no particular order) that I’ve posted here on Claire De Lunacy.

I already have the call-in set up, I’ll be posting the info as we get closer to the big day. In the interim, my dear, sweet friends, ruminate on these topics:

1) The hubbub surrounding Israel Luna’s odious “transploitation” film “Ticked Off Trannies with Knives.”

2) Clash of the Smitin’s: Unnecessary Remakes and Why They Suck.

3) And speaking of Things That Should Not Be™, a whole new slew of, er, Things That Should Not Be™ (got a nomination? SEND IT TO ME…NAO!)

4) LGBTidbits™ (Those of you familiar with my Twitter feed will recognize this topic. Everyone else, just be prepared to discuss the week’s LGBT news. Well, I mean, not SUPER prepared. There won’t be a quiz or anything.)

5) The Super-Fun Book Club of Fun-ness™ returns! Our book for the month of May is “American Lion,” a very compelling biography of Andrew Jackson by Jon Meachem (you don’t have to read the entire book for the first podcast, we’ll be discussing it in general and also you get to sit and listen to me explain how the SFBCOF™ works…I know, I know – does the fun ever START?)

6) Random Review: NetFlix for the Wii Or, as I like to call it, “My television’s desperate final ploy to remain relevant to my existence.” (as ploys go, it’s surprisingly effective)

7) SPECIAL BONUS TOPIC!  CASTING: UR DOIN IT WRONG We’ll be discussing how remakes SHOULD be cast, as well as remakes we’d like to see, and a whole bunch of other nerdy stuff that will make the non-nerdy among you (should you exist) throw up your hands and say “But I LIKE Matthew McCan’tActy as Dirk Pitt!

Eventually, I’ll be taking these podcasts into Audacity to strip out all the “erms,” and “uhhhs” and “Doyyyy” sounds. But for the first month or so, it’s the Wild effing West, baby! (something tells me that we’ll earn our “Explicit” rating within the first ten minutes. I know how you think, Hordelings!)

Each week’s info will also be posted to the web site, so don’t get your collective panties in a bunch if there’s something we natter on about that catches your…ear(?) and you don’t have a pencil handy.

I hope to hear from you, friends. It’s sure to be a fun time, or at least more entertaining than having your pinkie torn off by an iPad thief.**

*No, not really.
** OK, to be fair, some people might get off on that, so I will say it’s LIKELY to be more fun. You sick bastards.

It’s not my birthday…

Well the rain falls down without my help I’m afraid
And my lawn gets wet though I’ve withheld my consent
When this grey world crumbles like a cake
I’ll be hanging from the hope
That I’ll never see that recipe again

It’s not my birthday, it’s not today…

– They Might Be Giants, “It’s Not My Birthday”-

There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.

-Louis L’Amour-

No, dear readers, it is NOT my birthday today. That cherished occasion lies nine months in the future. Today is auspicious, however, for at least two reasons:

A) Today was the last day of my IT career. I’ve left behind Very Large Corporation, Inc, and Information Technology alike in order to take up my bindle stick, pluck up my courage, and hop aboard a train bound for Creative Enterprise.

and

B) Today is my “rebirthday.” Exactly 2 years ago today, I received the precious blessing of the state court and changed my legal identity to match my actual one. I may be only two years old, but I’m advanced for my age.

It’s been a busy day, is the point.

I’ve been struggling for years to return to creative work, the victim of an odd (and, at times, cruel-seeming) paradox; despite having zero formal IT training or education, possessing what can only be described as mid-level technopathy led to the assumption that I was and would forever be a “techie,” despite both my frequent side projects in the creative arts and my own hearty protestations to the contrary. Eventually, the time I’d spent in IT (which was, naturally, time away from design and other creative fields, at least according to my resume) reinforced this idea; “Claire must be meant for IT because Claire’s in IT and Claire’s in IT because Claire’s meant to be there.”

Not pretty.

But, the wheel of life spins under our feet regardless of our forward motion, and eventually I was able to – through a series of contacts, design projects and a stubbornness so profound that mules roll their eyes at me –  procure my new position in Marketing and Social Media. My excitement is so profound that I’m pretty sure I’ve been levitating most of the day, which sounds fun until you stop at the grocery and can’t activate the little pressure-plate door opener thing.

But I digress.

As I was packing up my few remaining possessions and saying my goodbyes, I realized how deeply IT has affected me, both as a person and an employee. Yes, there have been challenges to my patience at times – ID-10T errors and PEBKAC abound – but for the most part, even the most grievous frustrations were ameliorated by that magic moment, that singular instant, when I solved someone’s problem. Money has never been a particularly strong motivator for me; my inability to manage it, coupled with the sort of disregard for material gain most people associate with terminal illness or religious mania makes it a poor carrot with which to lead me down the primrose path. However, put me in a place where I am genuinely and consistently helpful to someone, exorcising not just the demons from their Excel macros but the shadows from their workday, and I am a happy camper (provided, of course, that there is gratitude for services rendered…ingrates turn the knob of my Smitemaster 3000 to “11” ).

This has not been an ideal job – what job is, in the final analysis? – but it HAS been a useful one. It’s taught me many things about myself, and the kind of work, environment and interactions I require to feel as though I’m making a positive impact every day. It’s introduced me to some great friends, taught me that trust needs to be earned (not just given away like novelty tokens at a particularly cruddy fundraising carnival), and, perhaps most importantly of all, helped me to understand all the things I’m NOT as well as those I am.

And for that, I will be forever grateful.

It’s been a day of lasts – last login, last cup of tea, last casual sweep of Ice Station Zebra, last hugs and tears and laughs.There will be letters to write, e-mails to exchange, lunches to coordinate; there will be attrition as bodies both peripheral and central in my personal galaxy move closer or break orbit and disappear into space beyond.

But it’s also a day for beginnings. Here I stand, two years as Claire behind me, with (let us hope) many more ahead. The sun has not yet reached its apex; the future stretches before me, a road traveling through sunny heights and icy, shadowed lows. Having reached a fork, I’ve chosen what I hope is the right one, and focus my gaze on the horizon.

No, it’s not my birthday, my friends. But somehow, I still feel as though I’ve been given a gift.


OSI: “Chaos”

I’m once again participating in the poetry fun over at One Single Impression. If you enjoy poems and awesomeness of various stripes, why not pay them a visit?

This is my first post of 2010. Long time readers of this blog will recognize my natural inability to meet most deadlines, which, when coupled with my nigh-pathological avoidance of anything like real work or significance, leads to things like my first blog post of the year arriving in the middle of that year’s first month. What can I say, my life is chaos.

Chaos (she segued so smoothly that she might’ve almost planned it) is, incidentally, the prompt this week over at One Single Impression. Many people think of “chaos” as swirling, netherworldly darkness, a vortex of inescapable doubt and confusion from which nothing, not even light, can emerge unscathed.

So, basically, the inside of Pat Robertson’s head.

Of course, I was also a Dungeons & Dragons fan as a kid (you’re shocked, I know…luckily I am wearing my +8 Kirtle of Snarkslaying), and a bit of a dimestore philosopher, so I am aware that chaos is not purely a force for evil. I refuse to expose myself to Ashton Kutcher in any form, but I am also familiar with Chaos Theory, aka “The Butterfly Effect,” in which a butterfly flaps its wings somewhere on the planet and, via chain reaction, changes the weather elsewhere (although my personal “butterfly effect” reference will forever be “A Sound of Thunder.” Now THAT’S a butterfly effect!) .

Chaos leads to change, which can be ameliorative as well as destructive. It’s just surviving the change so you have a chance to appreciate the improvement that’s the trick. With that in mind, I give you:

CHAOS

Witness: a tableau
The iron wheel of time stops,
Suspended.  And yet.

Life, though stilled, goes on.
And sitting at your table,
In the Springtime sun,

You see quite clearly
Every crystalline droplet
As your wine glass falls,

Spinning toward Earth
In a vermillion fan, an
Impromptu Pollock.

Perfect spheres of red
Orbiting a frozen wave
Of luminescence.

One drop goes astray
Its shadow hangs over your
New cream-colored pump.

The glass itself a
Bar of coruscating flame
Imprisoning sunlight.

All of it beyond
Your reach, just past the tips of
Your straining fingers.

You hear it, then. Whoosh.
Soft, yet powerful; a breeze
Caresses your cheek.

And time’s pitted wheel
Returns to its soft-edged rut
Lights, camera, action.

And then she is there,
Apologetic and lithe
“I’m sorry,” she says

Through cherry lips, quirked
“I should watch where I’m going.”
Dropping you a wink.

And in that moment,
As ebony lashes meet
her porcelain cheek,

You hear it once more
Gentle susurration; the
flap of velvet wings.

And in its wake, your
Tableau for One becomes
a Table for Two


OSI: “Reincarnation”

I’m once again participating in the poetry fun over at One Single Impression. If you enjoy poems and awesomeness of various stripes, why not pay them a visit?

This week’s prompt is “Reincarnation.” I’ve always been fascinated by this concept; the idea that the universe lets us keep trying until we get it right is both reassuring and (for some people, I’m sure) a little scary. With this in mind, I give you:

Reincarnation

Next time I come back,
I will be glamorous and
charming, glib and svelte.

I won’t make the same
Mistakes, won’t let my fool heart
Choose the primrose path.

As Tolkien once wrote,
“All shall love me, and despair.”
But I’ll be smiling.

And although I’ll hint,
Imply, and allude that I
Could give you my heart,

I’ll crave not your love,
Only your adoration;
This door is one-way.

And standing on high,
Ablaze with reflected light,
I’ll know what it’s like, darling

To be you.

Awesome People to Follow on Friday!

Hey, Readers!

I know that The Twitter is not for everyone, but if you do indulge in the occasional tweet, then you’ve got three new friends you haven’t met yet, waiting for you over at the Awesommolier.

Today’s Awesommolier post focuses on three members of the Faithful Horde who are must-follows! Stop by, get to know them, and be sure to click on the SocialVibe link to help bring art to hospitalized kids. There’s no better treat you can bring a sick or injured child than the gift of art!

(By the way, thanks to you, we’ve already provided almost 140 art projects to kids in hospitals! Your participation is super important, and it is also SUPER appreciated. I may be highlighting three members of the Horde every week, but you’re ALL People of Quality™. THANKS! )

OSI: “Evasive Maneuvers”

I’m once again participating in the poetry fun over at One Single Impression. If you enjoy poems and awesomeness of various stripes, why not pay them a visit?

This week, the prompt is “Elusive.” This word, for me, always conjures up two specific memories: Glenn Campbell singing the mind-destroyingly awful “Elusive Butterfly of Love” and my childhood efforts to say this word without spraying everyone with a fine mist (I had a lisp as a child so severe that it took six years of speech therapy to reduce it to its current state of mild Daffy-Duck-itude).

Today, though, I’m thinking about the things we desire the most elude us the most deftly. Whether it’s a word, a meal, a job, a mate…the things that are worth wanting seem to require the most chasing, although it may very well be that their value comes mostly from the difficulty of said chase.

With that in mind, I give you:

Evasive Maneuvers

From the first moment
My eyes touched yours and widened
I felt the hook set.

And though I possess
A sufficient strength of will
There the hook remains.

I’m pushing, pulling
And you hold the line, smiling
And enigmatic

But I wonder, dear
If I threw this hook, and fled
The line going slack

Ringed ripples marking
The point of my departure
Would you cast again?

Or would dawn find you
Standing, eyes wide, fighting now
A hook of your own?

You can’t spell “Personal Identity Theft” without “iPod.”

So here’s the thing:

My mother is eternally at war with any technology more advanced than an 8-track. We bought her an iPod for her last birthday, an act akin to giving a nitrogen-cooled-Cray to someone looking to play Internet cribbage. Ever since then, the calls have been pretty steady:

<RING, RING> (because I apparently have a Bakelite phone, circa 1954)

Yours Truly: “Hello?”

Ma: “Hi, honey. I think someone is trying to steal my identity.”

YT: “Why?”

Ma: “Well, I had to put my credit card in for that eTunes Podstore thing, and now there’s a dollar charge on my statement.”

YT: “Ma, they just do that to verify that your account is valid. The charge won’t be processed, they just want to make sure it works for when you DO purchase something.”

Ma: “Well, nobody’s stealing MY identity. I saw it on the news. Those hackers can get in and steal anything they want! I took that credit card right out of there!”

YT: “OK, Ma, that’s fine. You’ll just have to re-enter it before you can buy anything.”

Ma: “Well, they’d better not try to do anything fishy with my card! I know my rights! What if they try to buy a bunch of drugs?”

YT: “I’m pretty sure that drug dealers stick to cash, Ma, but if you see a charge for “Cucuy’s Cocaine Cartel” on your statement, we’ll talk to the bank.”

My mother views the Internet with suspicion and dread. This is not necessarily a bad thing –  she has a point about identity theft – but her terror is such that the slightest interaction with it becomes a trial. Over a year after receiving her laptop, my mother uses it for exactly two things: playing Mr. Do, a circa-1982 video game most vibrantly remembered from the ColecoVision, and making snowflakes on the Internet.

Snowflakes.

And, the thing is, she’s REALLY into it. She’s apparently the best of the bunch in her little gaggle of Snowflake Friends…everyone compliments her on her structure and symmetry. She’s the glittering silver queen of the (ahem) flakes.

The scary thing is, I see in her the same rabid enthusiasm I have for, say, Guild Wars, and I am forced to ask myself, “am I really conquering evil here, or am I just one more flake in the storm? Am I really more advanced than my technophobe mother, or am I just making fancier snowflakes?”

These are questions destined to remain unanswered, at least if I want to keep my therapy visits to once every two weeks.