improperlyhuman: (Default)
I've done almost nothing but watch Netflix these past couple of days. I'm surprised at the limited and shitty selection of movies. I'll definitely be cancelling my trial subscription, for which I signed up to access indie science fiction movies.

I'm still struggling to focus, but I have managed to read the first three chapters of Ursula Le Guin's The Lathe of Heaven. The book's premise is interesting so far, but I struggle to keep reading because of all the boring, irrelevant details.

I've lost my patience with verbose, flowery literary bullshit. If I wanted to read poetry, I wouldn't be reading a novel. I don't give a damn about all the adjectives the author can pull out of her ass to describe sunshine. I want to read a story, dammit. Just tell me straight up what the characters did.

I've decided to do almost all of my laundry in the bathtub. This is perfect for someone who has so little clothing. I think only the menstrual pads need to go into a washing machine. That's one load of laundry per month.

I'm going to be loading up on veggies next month. I had 13 ounces of broccoli for dinner and I don't really feel hungry. 123 kcal, baby. This is the way to lose weight. I know the progress of my diet is going to drag ass otherwise. My jeans are too damned tight in the thigh area.

I've been thinking that maybe I progress through the Stronglifts routine too quickly. Maybe I should increase weight every two weeks instead of every week. I'll have to slow it down at some point anyhow. Ain't no way I'll be able to lift an extra 5 lbs. every week once I get up to 200, 250 lbs.
improperlyhuman: truck tipping over on the highway (tipping truck)
Holiday caught me by surprise again yesterday, so I wasn't able to call my health insurance company until today. The runaround I got last time is apparently standard operating procedure. I asked for a list of in-network providers who offer e-therapy. I was given a phone appointment for some type of consultation later this week. After that, I'll have to wait for the consultant to get back to me with a list of providers.

All this just to get some damned names and phone numbers. The insurance company employs clinicians for the purpose of micromanaging clients' search for care.  Whoever calls me sure as hell better not ask any private questions as a prerequisite for service, otherwise I will file a complaint with the state department of Managed Health. I'm not giving out my health info to a complete stranger over the phone. This put me in a sour mood today. I had flashbacks to the last time I dealt with this company.

Mood further soured by the fact that the book I'd been waiting on to complete a job turned out to be a workbook rather than a study guide. It's just a bunch of blank pages.

I blew at least a hundred bucks on technical books yesterday. I hope it pays off. If not, I expect to make it up, as my current main contract will be ongoing.

I've decided on a power rack. It costs two hundred and seventy-nine dollars. My new barbell arrived today. I'm having a lot of trouble disassembling the crappy Wal-mart barbell, which I'd planned to return tomorrow.

Hungry all day. Gonna have to budget for a bit more food next month. Five meals a day instead of four, a couple more bags of kale and potatoes, some rice cakes, and a second jar of peanut butter at the least. I would like to eat at least one pound of greens per day, but that isn't going to happen.

I wish there was such a thing as old-school lesbian lit. I never tire of ranting about my burning hatred of modern fiction. Big thank you to men for a giant hole in another one of my subcultures.
improperlyhuman: (Default)
Not enough time to post! Or rather, not enough time to compose my thoughts.

I came across a hardback copy of Vingt Mille Lieues Sous Les Mers in the specialty (extra dusty, extra old, extra expensive) book section at the annual library book sale last month. [profile] astramance had given me a paperback copy while I was in France, but I never got around to making it beyond the first chapter. In truth, I have a procrastination problem when it comes to French novels (not helped by the fact that the paperback copy is already falling apart, unread) because it bothers me so that I do not know the meaning of every single word. I feel/fear that the reading experience, which in general is all but sacred to me, is/will be inferior and not a true reflection of the books' contents. Well, this beautiful illustrated copy (which is just the first part of the novel) inspired me to dive in.

I am surprised and pleased with my progress in reading comprehension. I know most of the words, and the narrative flows quite satisfactorily. I of course am an old fan of Jules Verne. I am having the time of my life with this novel; just yesterday, I ripped through some fifty pages almost without interruption. Now if I could only achieve this with Russian. German will come in time; it's an easy language.

I received a voicemail from the insurance-provided shrink; no leads on a free evaluation for me so far, and she only has one other resource to which she can turn at this point.

I'm pulling my hair out this weekend because I need to supply my birth certificate to the Housing Authority as part of my housing voucher application. I can't find it anywhere! I usually keep it in a locked fire-proof box; I spent some three hours searching for this on Friday, and found it bereft of the document after exhausting myself in endless turns about the interior of my van. I was not born in this county and will no doubt have a helluva time securing a copy. I wonder why the HA needs a social security card and a birth certificate.
improperlyhuman: (Default)
I had a very angering phone conversation with my mental health insurance company yesterday. The rep. called me with appointment information (why they thought I needed them to make an appointment for me, I don't know) for a provider that I had already contacted, someone who could not perform an AS evaluation. So, I finally decided that I would try this psychiatric evaluation route they've been pushing on me. However, I wanted to know what would happen if the shrink decided that an AS evaluation was warranted, given that there are no appropriately qualified specialists in-network and they will not pay for out-of-network services. She transferred me to a supervisor. The supervisor would not listen to my question, interrupted me repeatedly, and gave impertinent and irrelevant answers. I was asking her about her company's policies, and she kept telling me that the psychologist would decide and that I "needed" to go to my appointment. I was enraged. I finally said nevermind and hung up.

Since she complained about "a lot of back and forth" in addition to refusing to dialogue with me, I will definitely not be calling them again anytime soon. I am going to call my main insurance yet again and to seek a solution. If neither of them will provide services, I will file a complaint with the Dept. of Managed Health Care.

I hate having conflicts with people because they are extremely difficult to forget. The conversations re-play in my mind for hours, days, weeks, months, and I am quite powerless to stop them. After I hung up, I knew that I would have to get out of my van or go insane. It was about 5:30 pm. I took a long walk, all the way out to the city limits, and didn't return until night fall. I felt better but I knew that the thoughts of the episode were still there, lurking in the shadows of my consciousness and waiting to sneak back up on my unless I kept my mind occupied. I did a couple of su doku puzzles (at the "diabolical" difficulty level, so they took me a total of about 45 minutes), then turned to a book I've recently begun re-reading. It is a modern masterpiece of gothic and lesbian fiction: The Marquise and The Novice. It always makes me feel great to read it because la Marquise is sexy as hell. In fact, I wish the story centered on her rather than the comparatively tame protagonist. What I wish for the most, however, is that the story, which tops out at about one hundred pages, was MUCH longer.

I would like to post more, but my hand hurts.
improperlyhuman: (Default)
Maybe I'm finally beginning to crack up. I heard a voice while I was trying to fall asleep last night. I haven't been able to put the situation with the trash guy out of mind, particularly the part about being reported to the city. I keep horrifying myself by imagining parking enforcement knocking on my van window while I'm inside. These thoughts were unconsciously running through my mind last night when a voice said something like, "what do you expect," or maybe "you brought this on yourself." It was like half in my mind and half outside. I'm fairly certain that it was not another case of mistaking an engine for a voice, because I usually cannot make out any actual words when that happens, and the words were rather clear in this case.

I have somewhat succeeded in making grain-free pancakes. I've been looking for an everyday breakfast since I swore off raw oats in the morning. My pancakes are a mixture of cashew meal, tapioca starch, and a bit of flax meal. They are edible, but more work needs to be done because they come out too gooey on the inside. I've found some promising recipes online (where I should have looked before buying expensive ingredients like coconut flour and cashew meal) that I hope to try. These slightly complex culinary adventures can be a bit much in present cooking facilities, however.

For the discerning reader, I include some back cover summaries from novels that will undoubtedly prove to be plotless. The plotless novel, a scourge on literature, has become the norm amongst contemporary writers. Rambling, dull, and often as devoid of thought-provoking lessons as they are of prominent events, these exercises in narcissism suggest the perspective that the totality of episodes making up even the least extraordinary human lives are plots in and of themselves; eschewed is the traditional conflict-resolution format so fundamental to novels. Without further ado, I give you Northline by Willy VLautin:

Fleeing Las Vegas and her abusive boyfriend, Allison Johnson moves to Reno, intent on making a new life for herself. Haunted by the mistakes of her past, and lacking any self-belief, her only comfort seems to come from the imaginary conversations she has with Paul Newman, and the characters he played. But as life crawls on and she finds work, small acts of kindness start to reveal themselves to her, and slowly the chance of a new life begins to emerge. Full of memorable characters and imbued with a beautiful sense of yearning, Northline is an extraordinary portrait of contemporary America...

The descriptive phrase "portrait of" is a dead giveaway for a plotless novel. Note that there is no conflict mentioned in the book, no specific striving on the part of the protagonist. Contrast this with Vacation by Deb Olin Unferth:

Critically acclaimed and praised for its playful inventiveness and delightful prose, Dep Olin Unferth's award-winning debut novel, Vacation, features a man named Myers whose wife has suddenly become suspiciously absent in the evenings. As Myers follows his wife on her evening escapades, hoping to discover her betrayal, he soon discovers she is following a man named Gray, a former classmate of Myers, whose own marriage has fallen apart....

This summary clearly articulates a conflict and a plot progression towards its resolution.

Here is another plotless wonder:

...captures the lives of five siblings as the wander somewhat at a loss through life, and is Robert Walser's last major novel to be brought into English...the Tanner family meetings, separations, quarrels, romances, employment, and lack of employment over the course of a year or two are the threads Walser weaves into his airy, strange, and brightly gorgeous fabric...

What is this about? A family floating through their lives. We are informed that the book will cover a bunch of situations in their lives — jobs, relationships, fights — but none of these stands out, none seem particularly important, none is a point of departure for the story line. Also, "airy"? That a clue to plotlessness. Books with plots are usually not particularly airy because plots necessarily confer substance.

Evelyn Waugh...considered Helena to be perhaps his finest novel. Based on the life of St. Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine and finder of the true cross, this spiritual adventure brings to life the political intrigues of ancient Rome and the early years of Christianity.

Based on this summary, there is some possibility that this book actually has a plot, but the reference to "spiritual" adventure and the lack of reference to specific "political intrigues" portends a story line that is peripheral, lost in a sea of dead-end vignettes.
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