Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Lessons Learned or "Justifying A Passtime"

As I've put in more than 200 hours on the game, I figure there must be something or other I am learning from Bejangled (ie. Bejeweled) other than how to avoid writing my thesis...

As you are my captive audience, I have decided to share these life lessons with the class.

1. There are countless color/shape combinations. Some will garner you more points than others. But no matter which combinations you choose--no matter how many quad and quint combos you miss--another series of combinations will quickly present themselves. So just keep playing. And don't freak out. Many paths to the mountain, my friend.

2. There is ALWAYS another move. ALWAYS. Even if you don't see it immediately. Be still. Be patient. The answer will present itself.

3. Similarly, there's always a "do over". Do it again until you are satisfied.

4. No pressure. No one ever received the Nobel Prize for a high score in Bejeweled. Likewise, no Singaporian was ever caned for missing the three-triangle combo in the bottom righthand corner. (Shit! I SHOULD HAVE SEEN THAT ONE!)

5. No game is ever lost before the time runs out. You never know when a 10-second jewel is going to drop from the ceiling right into your lap.

6. Similarly, the whole game can change in 10 seconds.

7. Agonizing over choices only costs you time...and time is your most valuable possession. Don't overthink. Just choose. Deal with the consequences as they come.

As with all lists from here to eternity, I'm gonna try to end this one on 7.

7 is, after all, the epitome of all things "excellence." Just ask the "As is."

**Shout out to my Aces

We Meet Again

Envy called to play today.

I told her I was busy.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

On Failure

Despite my phobia of singing in front of people, high school Erin G got it in her silly lil' noggin that she was going to enter the talent show.

Pale as an olive-skinned teen can be, she entered the chorus room and auditioned with "Flashdance: What a Feeling."

She got in.

Maybe everyone did.

She has since blocked the memory...

She practiced. A lot. And as she did she realized that, while dancing like a maniac (heh. pun.) and soaking onesself with water while backlit made for cinematic magic...her solo, trembly, please-god-don't-look-at-me-why-the-fuck-am-I-doing-this? voice was less than winning material.

So she changed her routine.

To Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Were Made For Walkin'."

Complete with audience participation.

Much to the chagrin of that poor guy in the front row.

Sorry kid.

Anyway, following the performance, the participants circled up all holdy-hands-did-we-make-it?-did-we-make-it? style as the judges announced the winners.

She wasn't third place.

She wasn't second place.

And first place went to a blind kid with perfect pitch who played guitar.

That he smacked people (on purpose!) in the hallway with his cane was irrelevant... This kid was the champion, and this lil' lady was a gogo boot-clad, blue eyeshadow wearing talent show loser.

I didn't take it well.

Losing's never been my strong suit, and my tendency to beat myself up over mistakes that have decades-since past is, ummm, legendary.

Head bowed in shame, I carried my sorry carcass home. Or Richard James did. And I hemmed and hawed about how life was unfair and about how I never should have tried as no one in their right mind would vote against a blind kid anyhow.

The next day at school, when the winners were invited to perform for assembly, my face remained in the all-too-familiar FML scowl.

My teacher, Mrs. Jordan, noticed.

She pulled me aside.

She asked me what was wrong.

My response was an eyes-down, head bowed, "They hated me."

That Mrs. J responded with, "They didn't hate you," is not really the point. What is the point is that I honest-to-gawd believed what I was saying.

One setback. One failed attempt. One crack in the veneer of my Erin facade, and I admitted that I was worthless.

Since childhood, I have had it drilled into me to perform. To be at one's best at all times. That one's worth was not inherent in one's presence alone. One had to prove themselves worthy. And I did so with grades. And accelerated classes. And dance performances. And captaining the show choir. And the Color Guard. And headlining the school musical. And serving as Vice President of the Woodstock Elves. And working a part-time job...

I graduated sixth in my class of nearly 400 and I was livid that a student's weighted grades in science kicked me out of the Top 5 in my last week of school.

I won the "Most Helpful" award in French, despite my inability to do even the most elementary of assignments, including reading "Le Monstre Dans Le Metro," and was voted "Best Tan" every year in the Marching Band.

I won Most Valuable Singer every year in choir.

Was named Best Actress and Best Lead Actress my junior year.

In my senior yearbook, I appeared in more photos than almost any other student.

And I felt fucking invisible.

Today, despite ardent attempts to give my all, I was once again voted out of the top three. Once again, I feel that sinking pit. My eyes are down. My head is bowed.

I've failed, and they hate me.

But this time...this time is different.

Because last time it wasn't the blind kid who couldn't was me.

And this time I do see.

My eyes are down. My head is bowed. But they haven't bested me.

Monday, August 27, 2012

I Am The Terror That Flaps In The Night

I was just struck by a terrifying thought:

As a child, when I lost a tooth, my parents would sneak into my room at night, and exchange a piece of my bones for money!

Then, they would sneak away...all without me knowing!

Am I really THAT sound of a sleeper?

And think of how vulnerable you are in that state!

What if they had been radioactive chimps intent on 3914 Ebeneezer Road domination!?!?!


Who does this to their children!?!?

Great. Now I am terrified, and I can't fucking sleep.

On Triangles...Or Rhinoceros

I lead a remarkable life.

Inexplicably, days and references and happenstance will befall me...and years later, the "meaning of it all" will suddenly strike me with the force of Hurricane Isaac.

***Was that a Hebrew Bible reference or a current events reference? 'Cuz she wrote that thing once about the Jews descending from Issac. But that Florida hurricane is also Issac, right? So is this that? SHHHH! Down front! I'm trying to listen!

So, asides aside, I return to my previous efforts of dancing a jig around the point, which is this: shuffle shuffle.

I tend to draw any ounce of remarkable from the ordinary. And typically, Life will find a way to bring that one atypical aspect to a poignant apex. And that, my friends, is how I reach understanding.

In recent weeks, I have been given the extraordinary gift of a non-too-ordinary individual who has literally re-verbed my placid Me Pond. His pulse ripples through my life like a melody through a crowd--invisible to the eye--yet the swaying of the masses bears testament to the impact of its force.

Knowing nothing of my neuroses involving death, abandonment and flowers, HE provided me flowers that will never die.

Today, it was a rhinoceros, and I love him all the more.


Years ago I loved and lived in a triangle. Two men. One woman. And, as these things so often end...complete and utter devastation.

But, prior to the aforementioned endofitall, one of the men in my ill-fated triangle gave me a wooden rhinoceros in a carved, wooden box.

He kept its mate.

He said it was his way of ensuring we were together all the time.

I haven't spoken to him in two years.

He wrote to me this February.

I did not respond.


Today I find myself in yet another triangle. I am a different point this time, but the situation remains thrice.

Ironic, then, that the rhinoceros should choose this very moment to reappear.


The fear in me screams this triangle will end as the last one. That the rhino may just be The Grim of my tale.

But like Harry before me, perhaps this omen is not as sinister as fear leads me to suspect.

It ended in love and sacrifice for Harry--the only true family he ever knew.


In the realm of triangles, there are three possible options. So maybe my first triangle was acute and obtuse. Perhaps this one is right.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


My friend just had the following conversation with her child:

Branham: (4 years old. Reaching his arms up as high as he can, hops, determinedly, on his tip toes. Then, frustrated...) UHHH!!!

Friend: What's wrong?

Branham: I can't FLY mommy!

Ok. So this is so cute it makes you want to slap a kitten for even trying. But slap/sap factor aside...

I love this.

I love what it says.

Kids have always held a certain fascination for me.

The way their little minds work. Their tiny limbs. (FREAKS!) But most importantly--Their views on the workings of this crazy little blue and green planet.

Seems to me that Neil Armstrong (bless him. rest him.) is the only adult who could claim to have viewed our earth from an equally unique perspective.

And that, dear friends, is a beautiful thing.

Somewhere along the line, we, as people, embrace our inabilities. We learn what is possible and what is not. We learn our limitations.

Children's limitations? Only the scope of their respective imaginations.

Not only did Branham believe he could fly, he did so to such an extent that he was frustrated to learn he could not.

That kind of faith in one's abilities - I ask you - where would mankind be if we continued to embrace those childlike dreams?

Though this concept sends my mind exploring in (insert hyperbolic number here) directions, my two most logical streams of thought lead me here:

1. "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."

When George Bernard Shaw said the previous, he was essentially saying that we all should carry on like children. And I agree. I mean, think about it...aren't you happiest when your daydreams take you places the logical world tells you you cannot, will not or are not allowed to go? Which leads me to my second thought.


You may run for the hills now...

2. In Luke and Matthew, Jesus says (depending on the translation) "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."

I'm no Biblical scholar, but I'm pretty sure he didn't mean that some posthumus place in the clouds is overrun by toddlers. Pretty sure he meant that heaven - that place of perfect mental and spiritual peace - is found in the innocence and wonder and possibility that only children's minds are continuously able to embrace.

But Erin!?!?! You're a Jew!!! So was Jesus. So sue me. The guy was on to something.


If there's one thing I love as much as waxing philosophic, it's irony. And I am struck by the irony that, as adults, we are consistently asking children what they want to grow up to be.

As for me? I am a grown up. And it remains my sincere hope that I can grow up to be what I once was - a kid with stars in her eyes and big dreams in her heart. And, most importantly, an unwavering faith that those dreams are not only still possible, but within my reach.

"Some people say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one..."

Friday, August 24, 2012

Barrett Eben Lawrence

When I was in ninth grade, a boy from my bus gave me the lyrics to a song.

He was a strange boy; the kind your southern baptist parents warned you to steer clear of.

His clothing was all black. Baggy. He wore his wallet on a chain. His hair was dyed. And long. And blonde.

He painted his nails.


In the morning, as I would stand, waiting, for that big yellow petri dish of judgement to pull up to the top of the hill, I was painfully aware of my braces, of whether or not my hair and outfit were acceptable, of whether anyone would notice that I was terrified, or that I lugged a mountain of insecurities around in my off-brand backpack.

I never saw him.

But he was watching me.


I don't remember how it happened, all I remember is the lasting effect.

The invisible outcast from up the street--how he spoke to me. How he told me I was beautiful. How he gave me a white envelope marked with black letters--a high school boy's scrawled handwriting.

How I was afraid to read them, as they were from a band banned from the pillar of the pulpit. How my hand shook when I took them home. How I cried when I began to read.

"I still recall the taste of your tears. Echoing your voice just like the ringing in my ears. My favorite dreams of you still wash ashore. Scraping through my head 'til I don't wanna sleep. Anymore."...

I do not know what moved me most--that I had been seen through my veneer or that I had failed to see the one person who even bothered looking... But as the words unfolded like the paper on which they had been written, I felt my tiny world expand.

I would no longer accept the things I was told by those who claimed to know better. I would no longer forgo forbidden experiences because of the censorship of those who feared all that was and is "different."

I was different.

Barett Eben Lawrence was different.

And he, like the forbidden words, was beautiful.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Broccoli Speak: It's Definitely A Thing

I shall institute a new saying: "broccoli speak."

Were ol' Webster to define it, the breakdown would look a lil' somethin' like this:

broccoli speak: (v) 1. to insist on speaking on a mundane topic without acknowledgement that Erin has just mentioned something epic. 2. to continue on with a blase conversation overlooking Erin's brilliance in the interim.


Friend: What would you like to have for dinner tonight?

Erin: I am writing a new screenplay. Bow before me.

Friend: So...broccoli then?


In short- broccoli speak: (n) a killing offense.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I Disapprove

My inspiration.


Unfortunately for all of us, your external beauty grants pardon for the internal plague of your true person.

Your lovely face like an angel, when you call for a heart in a box.

Just remember, the Wicked Queen died an old hag at the base of a ravine...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Flowers for Algernon

There's no way you could know this, but I always set great significance to flowers dying.

Like clockwork, I timed the demise of my past few relationships. They coincided with the deaths of the flowers I had been given by those very people.

It has become a pseudo paranoia for me--a hard-held belief despite my knowledge of its impossibility.

But tonight, when I am low and unresponsive, you send me an image of flowers you've drawn. Drawn for me. With the simple words, "it's growing!"

You never knew about the flowers...

So how did you intuit that this was exactly what I needed today? And every day?

That the flowers are not only blooming--not only growing--but permanent. From your thoughts to your hands to paper.

Like my words--art.


Without knowledge of my psychosis, you arrived bearing remedy.

I love you. I love you. I love you.

Imperfect you--perfect for me.

Like A 6 Year Old

I continue to operate under the megalomaniacal belief that everything, IS, in fact, all about me.


My therapist recently told me that "the only thing that's wrong with [me] is that I believe something is wrong with [me.]"

That poor, psychotic woman.


Pumpkins are the only gourd that got it right.


In case you are running low:

Complete with clearance rack and "in bulk" discounts.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Back the Fuck Off Okay?

Why do you expect perfection of me?

Did I don my Jesus Christ flops or something?

Gimme a second, 'cause I'll go and change...

Sunday, August 12, 2012

La Petit Mort de Cour

What do you want to know?

That you could have my heart if you want it?

That I'd deliver it up to you, Salome style, with a dance?

I laugh. A morbid testament to my willingness to debase myself.

For you? Well, yes.

But no. Not really for you at all.

The dance, mon cher, is for me.

I rehearsed it in my mind a thousand times prior this.

Aorta on a plate--selfless? Nay. Calculated.

A selfish offering--conceived not in the moment, but centuries prior. For mine is an old soul.

La Delour Exquise.

La petit mort de cour.

That hardest part is having to know, that while you leave with the heart, I continue to hear its beat in my breast.

Synoptic to Poe-etic, the ghostly reverberations of a tale-tell heart.

And I danced for you.

All smiles for you.

But more for me.


You want to tie me up?

I've spent lifetimes tying me down.

There's no pain you can inflict that I cannot match, mon cher.

No suffering that I haven't already endured--and long before this little dance.

Because when you offered me anything I wanted, and I asked for the head of John the Baptist... Well, you shoulda known then that something was wrong long before...

Long before you.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

America: FUCK YEAH?

It is a strange and disconcerting feeling to be both immensely proud of and utterly repulsed by one's own country.

While other nations are pussyfooting about, you know, killing their own people, we are landing on Mars.

And while most potheads I know can't be bothered to leave the sofa, Michael Phelps is being touted as the greatest athlete of all time.

Am I proud? Yes ma'am I am!

But while our rovers navigate the next planet and our athletes continue to amaze, our average citizen cannot afford healthcare.

Always a leader in innovation, we have the most advanced, most powerful (and most- funded) military on the planet. And we also have crazies from Colorado shooting up theaters and temples.

My fellow Americans, what the hell is going on?

Have we gone completely short bus? (I expect to get a strongly-worded letter from Mark Zohn for that one.)

We've proven we have the brains and the what are we lacking?

The moral compass?

Maybe the problem is that only the bad people make the news. I'll concede that possibility...and, through my tv show, I hope to rectify that trend, if only a little bit...

But seriously...what happened to loving one's neighbor? What happened to a sense of community? Of togetherness?

As I recall, the last time Americans took up arms against each other, it didn't go well for either side.

How did we lose sight of this?

We sink or swim together, y'all.

I say it's high time we start uniting under the same flag. We do this just fine when Phelps wins another gold. Suddenly we're all proud to be Americans.

But when an American bombs a Sikh Temple? Well, that was just one crazy man.

Anyone else see a problem with this scenario? I do. We can't just embrace the good in ourselves and overlook everything else. THAT, my friends, is narcissism. And I'm afraid America has developed a textbook case.

If we're going to rally around our accomplishments, we need to own up to our failures as well.

Something in our way of life is breeding crazy like kudzu, and I, for one, would like to stamp it out.

Like all whiners before me, I don't have the answer. Not by way of anything but The Golden Rule (which, I'm pretty sure, would solve all of the world's problems if we let it.)

But so long as we are a country that lauds the individual over the community--so long as advertisers and propagandists breed discontent among our masses--so long as we covet our neighbors' houses instead of bringing our neighbors muffins...well, we're going to operate in discord.

We're gonna hate each other.

And the crazies among us are going to kill each other.

My friends--neighbors--it's not about a lone gunman or the Republicans or the Democrats. It's not even about where you choose to buy your chicken biscuits. It's about whom you choose to share your biscuits.

So--open invitation--you, dear reader, whomever you may be, are welcome to share my biscuit at any time.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

Don't be a good person. There's no profit in it.

So there I am, on the mountain, playing The Band-Aid Game (3 count), minding my own hypochondriacal thoughts, when I hear a scream.

I look up. Situation assessed: Lady. Lost footing. Fell on rocks. Crying. Grabbing ankle. Needs help.

K. So everyone else just walks on by. Not gonna lie--I contemplated the same. But DAMN THIS JEWISH GUILT! It was all, "You know, you really should help your fellow (wo)man. You know you'd want help if you were she. And her boyfriend appears rather hapless. You know, you really should do something about this."

I argued with my inner Jew all the way to the emergency call box, where I swallowed my pride, bent at the waist in terrycloth shorty shorts, and screamed into the vocal holes which I KNOW have not been cleaned since the Carter presidency.

Embarrassed, I relate the details of Ms. Slippy McTripsandfalls to the officers on the other end of the line and, grateful that my Jew finally shut the hell up, I huffed and puffed my way to the top of the mass o' granite.

Where I was met by police officers.

Demanding to know where the lady was.

They couldn't find her anywhere.

A bit surprised about the "good samaritan" response I was receiving from law enforcement, I again recounted the tale of Sally Cantclimb, including a description of her exercise ensemble and hair with poorly-placed streaks--a minor detail but, you know, anything can make the difference in an emergency.

With eyebrows raised the officers let me go...only to encounter two more sets of law enforcement on the way down.

And you know what? I started to feel ashamed of myself! ASHAMED FOR ATTEMPTING TO ASSIST SOMEONE WHO APPEARED TO BE IN NEED. Why? Because the bozos in blue are assuming I invented the whole story to get my jollies! As if!

I mean, Jesus Squeeze Us! Everyone knows that if I were to invent a tale, it'd involve a lawn hose and a bowler hat, NEITHER OF WHICH WERE PRESENT IN MY TALE OF TELLY ANKLETWIST!

So yeah. Doing the right thing? Overrated.

Next time, just walk on by.

Coup De Gras

Films live and die on this shit: you know the scene—crafted tear jerker at the finale—my friends watch, cheeks wet with tears, as one lover utters some variation to the other, “I love you, so I have to let you go.”

Cue rousing music. Cue audible sobs from the audience. Cue Erin’s gag reflex.

Yep. Nausea. The physical reaction so often induced when my mind screams, “Fuck that noise!”

Y’all love each other? Be together. Very simple. And—better yet—don’t make me watch it. That’s my motto.

And then I saunter off—secure in my superiority over all the chumps whimpering into their Kleenex--to watch something with lots of violence and very little dialogue. Like Conan.

But, dear friends, it appears I may be getting soft in my old age.

I know, I know: “Say it ain’t so!”

I’ve been fighting it for a while…but with the embrace of “Casablanca” as my favorite film of all time, well, it’s time I looked my true nature in the face.

Friends, I AM A SAP.

Like an addict standing for the first time in 12-step, I simply MUST put it out there.

I believe in love.

And--what’s more--I have finally stepped into my big girl panties and put down my childhood tantrums.

Sometimes love means we don’t get what we want. Sometimes love IS NOT, in fact, about how someone makes ME feel. And—gawddammit!—sometimes love actually does mandate that I set my own desires aside so someone else can be happy.


It’s like nails on a muthafuckin’ chalk board. I think I may be sick. (Error nausea. The worst kind. Even trumps “Fuck that noise!” nausea. Likely because there’s some pride swallowing involved.)

If there’s anything I abhor more than some rah-rah noise about “love” and “letting go” and “learning” and “growing”, it’s being wrong.

I hate, hate, hatey, hate, hate it.

Like cheese. I hate that shit too.

Still, better late than never in coming to the enlightened, unselfish side of the tracks. The view’s different over here, and I’m trying to get used to the smell…but my faith and my gut tell me I’m right, and, as the nausea subsides, I actually think I’m gonna grow to like it here.

The above is the smash ending to my all-manner-o-awesome blog, but I think my inspiration deserves a shout out. So here goes:

For that certain *selfish someone reading this—you know who you are—the last month with you has opened my eyes to so many things. And though we may not know where the road goes, I know it’s the path I wanna be taking. I’m glad I’m taking it with you. And cap’s tipped to Ms. C as well. She’s shown me much about love and sacrifice. And the power of late night Benadryl.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

So What Does That Say II

For those who delight in the misery of others, the sight of your smile can only be explained as ruse.

If they stopped to think--even for a second--that you might be truly happy, the utter shock of the revelation would literally kill them.

Guess some Grinches will just never see Christmas.

Shame really, as I love me some roast beast.