Fuck Off 2013. I’ve Had Enough of Your Shit.

No, seriously.

With the exception of only one or two actual bright spots, the past twelve months have been crap; a festering, pus-filled boil that is finally being lanced and drained with the arrival of the New Year.

It started out with my dad’s passing, followed immediately by the arrival of Ben’s mother into our home. Her domicile was intended to be only a temporary situation, lasting four to six months.

But yet she’s still here.

While the apartment hasn’t been completely trashed (I’d seen what she’d done to every previous place she’s lived and this is the reason for my reluctance to agree to this in the first place), she has still very much left her mark upon it. (How exactly does one break a toilet seat, or stain black granite countertops?) The woman has far outstayed her welcome and both Ben and I are ready for her to get the fuck out. We delivered her eviction notice just prior to Thanksgiving and endured several days of sub-zero temperatures as a result, confirming my suspicion that she had gotten far too comfortable with the situation and had completely forgotten that this was intended to be only temporary.

No matter. She’s on notice and knows in no uncertain terms that her time is up; that she will be out of this apartment by the end of January.

In late summer, after returning from an awesome vacation to Arkansas where we met up with Erik, his husband, and my longtime friend John (who I’d known for years but had never actually met in person), I quit the job I’d held at Stupid Central© for the previous two years. It was very spur-of-the-moment and done without having anything else lined up beforehand. Yes, my own fault that this contributed to the suck-fest of 2013 and looking back, this may not have been the wisest course of action at the time (at least in such a dramatic and spontaneous fashion), but I’ve long maintained that if you’re miserable at your job, quit and find another one.

By the time mid September rolled around with still no work in sight, Ben and I both wanted—nay, needed—something good from 2013. As our five year anniversary was coming up and coinciding somewhat with a family wedding occurring in Santa Fe, he suggested we pile into his brand new Kia Soul and drive down to the wedding and while there take advantage of New Mexico’s recent rulings on same sex marriage to get hitched ourselves.

That was the best part of this entire fucking year.

At the end of October, after having completely drained my savings, maxed out my credit cards, and suffered through nearly three months of depression, anxiety, and horrible, horrible job interviews—I finally started working again, landing a contracting gig for a large Windows 7 rollout project. It was with a company who had the dubious honor of being named the second worst place in America to work, but my experience there thus far hasn’t been that bad.

The manager told me that the other techs really like me and they were all kind of surprised when I did not express any interest in applying for the permanent opening in the department. I’ve been reevaluating that position over the past couple weeks and after much contemplation, I went ahead and submitted my application last week. No, it’s not perfect, but as Ben pointed out, is any job ever? I didn’t want to go perm at my last job in Phoenix when my contract ended there either, but the manager talked me into it and I ended up staying seven years and made some lifelong friends (including that manager) in the process. So who knows? I figure that at this point it’s at least worth putting it out there to see what happens. Que sera, sera, right?

2014 will be better. It has to be.

Living With Pugs Makes You Do Things

Michael, my last housemate in San Francisco had three pugs. All female, they were named Carlotta, Frances(ca), and Wanita. Carlotta, the little black one, was definitely the alpha female of the group, and also had the most personality. Frances was neurotic and Wanita was the most nonchalant and laid back of the three, providing a stabilizing counterpoint to the antics of the other two.

I’d known Michael for years prior to us living together. We shared a similar twisted sense of humor and love of wordplay. One day, shortly after I’d moved back to Tucson, I received in the mail a hastily thrown together xerox parody one-sheet from him for an upcoming film called Feces. The movie Species was playing at the time, so I immediately caught the humor in the name—especially with the photo he’d used of Carlotta taking a big dump in the back yard of his house.

I thought, “I can turn this into something really amazing” and after receiving a digital copy of the photo he’d used, sat down and went to work. Little did I know what I’d be starting…

Never shy in front of a camera, Michael had taken dozens of amazing photos of Carlotta over the years. One of my favorites prompted the creation of her followup film:

After I returned to San Francisco and Michael and I moved in together, I became much more intimately aware of the dogs’ personalities, and before long they were appearing in my dreams.

One night, I’d dreamt that instead of just one Carlotta, the house was overrun with a multitude. “When a cloning experiment goes terribly wrong.” Thus the inspiration for another one-sheet…

Not wanting to be left out of the limelight, soon her “sisters” demanded screen time.

One afternoon Wanita and Francesca were laying on the sofa in such a way that they looked like one continuous creature buried in a blanket. Immediately I thought “Sandworm!” and grabbed my camera. Another star was born…

The last unfilmed blockbuster Dragon Lady Productions was to produce starred the third of the pug sisters, poor, demented Francesca. As I mentioned earlier, Frances wasn’t really all there at times and had the disgusting proclivity of munching on the most disgusting of self-made snacks she’d left in the back yard. But as they say in Hollywood, turn that liability into an asset…

Absolutely NO ONE will be seated during the horrifying flossing sequence!

It should be noted that Michael was a huge fan of Karen Black, which explains why—even though the films revolve around the dogs’ characters—she is always billed as the star. We’ve kept these posters to ourselves all these years, but now that Miss Black has left the arena, I figure it’s safe to release them onto an unsuspecting world. As far as all the other names are concerned…well, it’s parody after all and the references will undoubtedly be lost on anyone who wasn’t there during their creation to begin with, but hopefully they’ll garner a few chuckles along the way nonetheless.

Sadly, the pug sisters’ film careers came to and end after Cafe eColi, and—like Miss Black herself—have long since left the arena. But they will live on forever in our memories.


Quote of the Day

“I have been courted by various people and government officials to do business in Uganda. I was seriously considering it. However, the dreadful witch hunt against the gay community and lifetime sentences means it would be against my conscience to support this country. I would urge other companies worldwide to follow suit. Uganda must reconsider or find it being ostracised by companies and tourists worldwide. Governments must realise that people should be able to love whoever they want. It is not for any government (or anyone else) to ever make any judgements on people’s sexuality. They should instead celebrate when people build loving relationships that strengthen society, no matter who they are.” ~ Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson, in a statement published on the front page of the Virgin companies’ website.