Hey, Pay Me. Also, WHat if I had a Pet Store??

I guess last Saturday was bleak because I spent it devouring the rest of Nurse Jackie, sipping on a gin & juice with my mind on my money and my money on my mind. Now, I’m nowhere near broke, but what I am is emotionally spent. Socially taxed. Creatively kaput.

You know what’s cute? People think I make money off this blog. (It’s very flattering, and) I’m sort of silly for not making that a reality until now! It’s always been my ideal career to just get paid for thinking thoughts and because people like me. So, make my dreams come true? Hey, pay me.

paypal.me/sdsurvivalguide

I now have a donate link! I appreciate the support SO, SO MUCH if you are able to contribute <3 <3

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Maybe I could make money patenting juice deliver system for birbs!!

Anyway, speaking of money… My current fantasy is to stop telling programmers what to do (that is my Real Job) and instead open a pet shop with my Pa. I mean, it will never be as exciting as the Free Zoo but perhaps it could be more conveniently located? Trendier? San Diego pet shops (F’Zoo excluded) sort of run the range of What If Whole Foods Ran a Pet $tore? to Holy Fuck This is Just A Closet Full of Dog Toys. Neither of these extremes really meet my needs, so I either go to Pet Kingdom or convince my roommate to go there on her way home from jewelry class to pick up a mouse for snakesnake.

Consider this my first exploratory effort. What’s lacking from your pet shop experiences? Do you actually like going to the pet stores? Who else is grossed out by PetCo? Send me a picture of your cat? Are there any animals in here?

Anyway, love you my readers. Less disjointed blog posts coming soon when I’m not being such a weird lil’ stress ball. LIFE IS HARD THO. I CAN’T EVEN TALK ABOUT IT ON MY PUBLIC BLOG THO.

PS.

Pay me?

paypal.me/sdsurvivalguide

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How to Survive Your Own Overwhelming Laziness

I took a Tuesday off, thinking, I can miss one post per month without having to say anything. Then, of course, I got hit by a nasty stomach bug that wiped me out for a week and missed another post. I couldn’t bear to eat anything with more calories than a shot of NyQuil. I did not find my diet of MLP and liquid flu medicine productive of anything more than fevered tosses and turns, let alone an entertaining essay to publish on the internet.

Apparently my cure to feeling like a lump for losing a week to illness is to lump around some more for an entire weekend. I didn’t go out. I just watched an entire season of a medical drama with compelling characters, solid plot, and surprisingly good cinematography.

I have a living cat blanket; I couldn't possibly move

I have a living cat blanket; I couldn’t possibly move

I’m not the kind of person who can ever feel good about wasting a day. Yet I do waste days. Endlessly. Perhaps if I berate myself, the guilt will compel me to quit reading Dear Prudence articles on my smartphone and sit in front of a Google Doc. Sami, sami — this is terrible. You just spent 1 hour and 45 minutes reading advice columns. All you need to do is crank out 750 words today to feel good about yourself. On a good day, you can do this in 26 minutes. So how can you justify 1 hour and 45 minutes reading DP? You’re not even going to retain any of that information! Not even well enough to retell a single story of a desperate and advice-needing life at one of your parties… Not even well enough to mention something you read as a useful anecdote. Sami. Why do you suck so, so, so much?

Of course, then I feel so very, very terrible about myself that there’s no way I can do anything at all. I must make myself feel better with an episode of Nurse Jackie.

Yes, I can often survive my own laziness with some self care and positive thinking.

  • Remember that one week you were, like, really fucking productive? You can do it anytime. It’s just not this week. This week, you’re watching Nurse Jackie.
  • Nobody is paying that close of attention to you. Just watch another episode of Nurse Jackie, it’s fine
  • Existentialism. Fatalism. Everyone dies. There is no afterlife. When you’re in the ground, you aren’t going to regret that you wasted most of a weekend watching Netflix, because you wont be able to feel anything, just like you won’t be able to feel the worms eating your flesh. So just watch another episode of Nurse Jackie, it’s fine.
  • You just got out of a breakup, man. Losing someone you were with for 5 years is hard. You should go easy on yourself and just watch another episode of Nurse Jackie.
  • Just one more episode, then you’ll go for an inspirational walk. I mean but, these episodes are only 26 minutes long. Who’s counting? Two episodes.
  • Today is a cheat day. Tomorrow will be better. All the episodes now, all the productivity later.
  • Once you finish the whole thing, then it can’t tempt you any more. This is a good plan.

If I ever figure out how to defeat my laziness and be the Sami that can write 66 thousand words in 8 months (she exists…in 2014) then I will let you know. In the meantime, I’m going to reward myself for getting my blog post done before 2pm. Nurse Jackie!

Meta Post: This will be the year I teach you to survive

I’m back.

During my month off, I considered restricting or shutting this site down. Movement at my day job made me wonder how long I could maintain somewhat of a personality schism — would my online reputation threaten my professionalism? I opened this website using my real name with the intention of not letting anonymity make me a lazy writer. Ultimately, I stand by my instincts that if being myself publicly closes doors, then I want those doors closed. My privilege of a safety network and specific upbringing entreats me to be myself, and I refuse to only make safe choices.

I have also chosen to put my real name on my writing. I have to hope this choice will make sense when I reflect back on my life… — Feb. 20, 2014

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New interest on an old post, Why is San Diego so Boring, gives me a mission statement for 2016; this is the year I pass on my survival lessons. I vaguely understood my calling to entertain bored friends, locals, and visitors of San Diego. Now, I’d like to put my “thoughtful” hat on again and push this blog’s tone in that direction. That is to say, I’ve recovered from some rough life changes and have the emotional energy to do more than vaguely insult my friends on the internet for laughs!

In 2016, I resolve to:

  • Examine my core tenets and how they are related to “surviving” in “San Diego”
  • Communicate these strategies in entertaining, or at least interesting, blog posts
  • Entwine this year’s posts into a larger, cohesive narrative
  • Find and listen to my audience

Here are some of my plans I might use to do this:

  • Answer questions from the community a la an advice column — which has the added benefit of making SD Survival Guide sustainable long term
  • Involve myself more in local projects
  • Be more conscious in my explorations of the city and subculture so that I can share them here
  • Probe the meaning of “story”
  • Create event series until I find something that sticks
  • Develop a themed posting structure, such as Week 1: “How to survive _____” Week 2: “A question from San Diego” Week 3: “From my list of party ideas…” Week 4: “So, this happened to me (in SD)” — or at least create recurring categories!

FOT28FB

I’m excited to renew this project (and stop being a lazy panda). I don’t know if that means I’ll be posting every week again, or if it still makes sense to do every other. I may even choose a different day (stats suggest Saturday @ 7pm). Regardless, I welcome your input via my “ask” box, email, facebook, text, inconvenient phone call, handwritten note anonymously stuffed in my couch during one of my parties…etc…

Thank you, my dear reader, for your priceless attention.

–sami

Is NaNoWriMo Hard?

The answer is yes. Unbelievably, soul-crushingly hard.

I call this the "Write By Whatever Means..." strategy

I call this the “Write By Whatever Means…” strategy

Last year, I wrote my first complete book in about 10 months. A year later, I am certain the book needs extensive revision and does not make sense to publish now (my first book: a memoir? At age 25? Sami, you delusional, egotistical fool!). All the same, just 10 days ago, I still believed in my incredible abilities to write quickly and make it to the finish line.

That has hilariously all changed, due to the “borderline unsustainable”* schedule required to win National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. 1,667 words a day x 30 days = 50,000 words = screw my social life. I can write 750 words in 25 minutes! I reassured myself. Only if these 750 words are a stream-of-conscious diary entry! I strategically ignored myself.

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Today I am supposed to write 2,905 words. Due to my poor discipline, I am 1,238 words behind my schedule. Therefore, I am procrastinating with this blog post. Even my blog post is difficult, because 10 days of NaNo has changed me.

My inner editor and my inner drafter used to have a fairly loving, symbiotic relationship. Drafter would drag her feet just enough (a.k.a. constantly) to inspire Editor to soften her voice and offer timely, helpful feedback, and the occasional cheerleading. Now, Drafter is forced by the whip of word-count demands to write alone, desperately, sometimes with spelling errors (!). Editor does not take kindly to being silenced, so she lives in the margins of the Google Doc I use to write, leaving behind increasingly abusive comments and rows of yellow highlight.

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Inner Editor would like to point out the timestamps are completely inaccurate and Google Docs should be ashamed of itself.

Before NaNoWriMo, I liked my first “drafts” of scenes enough to often include them nearly verbatim in the final script. Now I hate them. I hate them all, I’m a terrible writer, and I should give up forever. Except…

Into week two, I feel myself approaching a membrane in my consciousness. Where, before, I saw the written word a narrow bridge for the tongueless voices of my thoughts to reach the ears of others, I now see a waterfall to burst a dam. Perhaps I will now, finally, immediately think in words (odd writer that I am, my natural state is to think in pictures and vague emotions, and the words only come after warming and thinning like syrup over flame). Perhaps I will short-circuit the connection between mind and keyboard.

A diorama I made for another writing project

Or, at least, I’ll train myself to draft like rabbits breeding and, at the end, my trigger-happy editor will have a maniacal slaughter.


*words of Kelly Lagor

How to Get Lost

I missed my blog post last week.

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I know what I really need to do is write those heartfelt things, those real things, the kind of writing that’s worth sharing, and not some bogus fluff entertainment. Although sometimes it’s time for that bogus fluff entertainment just to remind you that I’m still here. Every week, I’m still here.

But I haven’t been here. And I don’t know if I will be here.

This will come in starts and stops.

I think I’m losing myself? Maybe? I think I haven’t figured out yet if losing myself is something I do. You know, those sorts of things you maybe kind of do on purpose because your brain is so huge and it does things to organize itself, to maintain itself and grow itself. It takes you awhile to figure out if getting lost is just part of your process, or it’s some sort of crisis, or if it’s a one-time transition.

I’m not really sure if I’m changing, or just the world around me. Oh, I call it “the world,” but it’s really only my world. I look up and the people surrounding me are different people.

Stop. Start again.

There’s this image, this vignette, this set of ideas and sometimes the same words that I return to, and it is… Three years ago on a moonlight night under the oak trees of Pauma Valley, I landed, not with the sense of arriving somewhere new, but of coming home. You could say I found myself. I still have my soaring highs and my dipping lows but I feel chained to this precipice, this night of landing, that gives me this vista. I sit on the rock above the city (my city of self) and look out at purple twilight.

So, maybe, right now, I’m down in the brambles again, getting scratched, pretending to lose myself. Yet I can follow the secure anchor to my lookout, I can tug the line, I can know its there.

Stop.

I’m blurring over the part where sometimes I am so scared.

Start.

Maybe getting older is knowing how to get lost. After a quarter century, I know the mind that waits at home for me. So, I do something completely different. Despite my voracity for change, I falter in it, every time. This faltering is a risk I take, to learn something new — to learn if I am capable of this. I think I am.

My dear, sweet readers… I need to make a little hole. A space for growth. And that means sometimes I won’t be here.

Write to me, this time.

—-
New posting schedule: Every other week, with occasional answered questions or other filler in between.

P.S. I’m going pink for one week because I #StandwithPP

How to Find Your One True Friend

In a courtyard of an odd, multi-unit residential property (house and apartments) in Normal Heights, 30 or so people gathered on the flagstone, clipboards and drinks in hand. Periodically, one of them climbed a ladder to stand above the throng and announce pairs of names from a laptop computer, and a single question. The crowd swiftly reorganized and, nearly manic, shared their answers.

This gauntlet of extroversion lasted from 8pm sharp to midnight. Never before at a party had I connected with so many people so deeply, and, paradoxically, to find my one true friend. You see, we sought to answer the question:  “What if you could only have one platonic friend?” You could take on as many romantic partners and lovers as you want, sure, but pretend you only get one friend.

This whole party premise may just be a joke by and for polyamorous folk.

This whole party premise may just be a joke by and for polyamorous folk.

The event was called “Speed Friending,” and we referred this idea of our “one true friend” as our, “monoplatonic partner.” Much like in speed dating, we rated our time-limited interactions and organizers planned to use computer algorithms to crunch the numbers. (I’m told one organizer wrote the algorithm himself; if there is interest I’ll see if I can provide it.)  One of my friends potential monoplatonic partners disagreed with the premise of rating people he cared about with a number, and participated sans clipboard. “Really,” I had texted him, “the only ethical thing to do is burn all the ratings at the very end.”

For the questions, the organizers chose the 36 that are meant to make you fall in love. That is how I found telling someone that night a self-truism I’d carried with me for a long time, but not really ever voiced out loud, about whether I’d rather be rich or famous. (Seems like I’ve always thought I wanted to be rich, but everything I do seems more geared toward famous. Certainly not rich.) “So to answer the question, yes, I’d like to be famous. A famous writer.”

The rest of us, including myself, did submit the ratings after all. Blank ratings threw wildcards into the system, and some had to leave before data entry concluded and the results could be shared. I made a friendship bracelet while I waited. My monoplatonic friend, actually, was one of the people who left, and so I left that bracelet on a table. Someone seems to have picked it up when I wasn’t looking and, ostensibly, wears it now.