The Return of Pandemonic

I can hardly believe it has been three years since I posted as Pandemonic. However, lest you think I have been lazy, incarcerated, or perhaps both, my real life person has been busy writing novels. Also busy working in the Real Life business, but that’s boring.

So far, I have completed three novels, self-published one, and am in the process of editing the other two. Also working on finishing a fourth. So I have been very busy. I’ve also been blogging in my real name.

So why would I come back to the Pandemonic blog?

In a word, anonymity. I love that while here, I am a nameless, faceless pandemonic person. My other blog features my real name. There I feel as though I can’t quite cut loose as myself. You always have to worry about stepping on someone’s toes. If you can say one thing about the modern man, most of us are too sensitive to take a joke, and too closed minded to look at things from varying perspectives.

This is why Pandemonic’s Time and Space was started: as a way to vent and bitch and moan and be politically incorrect without suffering the slings of Internet trolls. Been there, done that, and I can tell you, it’s no fun.

I nearly forgot the password and the email address I had used to launch this area of WordPress. But…obviously not. Perhaps I am not getting as old as I thought I was.

Anywhooo…I will be changing around the look of the blog. I feel a bigger need for anonymity.

Home Alone

Mr. Demonic and his “boy” (I call him the other “b” word most of the time) are over on the West Coast of the state on a mission. They are moving a classroom from one store location to another one in the same mall.

This calls for an overnight stay. This is because the West Coast is a long drive away. They could come home, but it would be after midnight by the time they get back into town.

I have no problem being home alone. In fact, I rather enjoy the unencumbrance.

For one thing, I can do what I want, when I want. Like eat junk food. I had junk food for dinner, and it was sinfully awful. I will not divulge which form of junk I consumed, just know that my cholesteral is probably peaking even as I type.

For another thing, I can lay out my craft work. Take over the entire living room. I did this, until my fingers got numb. My fingers don’t take long to be numbed.

I can play my etudes on the violin. If Mr. D is home, I can only play melodies. Etudes are studies and they are not supposed to sound harmonius. No, they are supposed to confound your brain and your fingers at the same time, contain more flats than sharps, and sound like the cries from Hell. In fact, they are hellish for the first couple of weeks until I figure out when to shift and what the notes are. In the meantime, it sounds like a cat in heat.

I took the opportunity of Mr. D’s absence at work to get caught up on some other projects. I worked on some computer designed brochures, business cards and the like that I had been putting off for weeks.

I worked out a little too. I work out very little, because working out is boring. I can only take fifteen minutes of it. I cannot work out when Mr. D is around because his workout machine is next to mine. He likes to watch golf or the news, and I like music. He also sweats like a pig. I work up a mild sweat. Sweating like a pig I save for mowing the lawn in 100% humidity.

When Mr. D is gone, I can work on my writing. Thus, my presence here in the dark tapping at the keys. I’m about one third of the way finished with my YA novel. I am working slowly compared to some, but compared to myself only a year ago, I’m on freakin’ fire!

I haven’t heard from Mr. D. I think he took his friend to the casino. Good for them.

I think I will get a glass of wine and go to bed early. I’m entirely wiped out from my loneliness.

Loss of an Albatross

I’ve been in San Francisco for a week, then came home to a big mess. So I have lots of stories, just no time to write. This is in no chronological order, just as how I think of them.

It was a week ago Friday that my son, the dear Mr. Demonic Junior, graduated from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

So ends the saga of parent taking care of child. At almost 22, he is far from being a child anyway. When I was 22, I was engaged for the third time and had years of living alone under my belt but that was another time in a completely different universe.

I had to park under the Civic Center complex which is a good five blocks away. This is because there is no parking near the Conservatory. This lot is underground, so it took a while to find my way to street level and a return of orientation. Thank goodness there’s City Hall. Who could get lost with that as a landmark? I then had to run the five blocks in dressy clothes and high heels against a fairly strong wind coming in from the ocean. But, I made it.

The graduation was exciting! Just as it was getting underway, with a processional provided by a quartet of trombones and horns, a man behind us fell to the floor.

Mr. D overreacted. He kept whispering, “That man is dead! Why don’t they stop the graduation?”

True, he hit the floor with an astounding wallop, but there were at least two doctors in the house, who propped up his head and legs before the paramedics came to wheel him away. I am thinking he suffered from a heart attack of the non-deadly variety.

The ceremony continued. The commencement speaker was Peter Oundjian, who is the conductor for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. I love that guy! He’s been the guest conductor at our TSO (Tundra Symphony Orchestra) and he gives the best speeches. I wanted to meet him after the ceremony, but he was whisked away.

When it came time for Mr. D Junior to receive his diploma, he looked inside to make sure his name was on it. Good idea. At last year’s graduation at Ms. MiniD’s high school, several “graduates” received folders and no sheepskin. That’s because they had requirements to fill.

It would have been bad news to receive an empty graduation folder.

Afterward, there was a reception at the school, where sushi, spring rolls and meatballs and cheese were served. My son hovered over the meatball tray and scarfed down approximately one month’s tuition worth of meatballs. (Yay, Mr. D Jr.!) It was very crowded, and by the time the masses parted, all that was left was spring rolls. I had one. Very tasty.

At the reception, I met up with two of my internet buddies. One was from the Orange Hell Hole at the other side of the world wide web. Those of you who are familiar with the place know of the place I speak. The other was a person I’ve known online since 1997. We are in a “loop” that sprung from a Beanie Baby chatroom. This was the first time I met my friend, but it was like we’ve known each other forever. That’s because we’ve spent the last 12 years trading personal information, Christmas cards and stuff like that.

Later in the day, Mr. D Junior’s girlfriend graduated. Hers was at San Francisco State University, and she has a degree in International Relations. Her graduation was for international students only. It was a different scene, lots of rowdy students and parents crowding the stage. It also didn’t last as long, and refreshments were limited to cake and punch. The Girlfriend’s mother came from Japan.

It was a happy day for the graduates, but a happier day for the parents.

Chaotic Updates

1. The lady from the business card place finally emailed. She was called out of the country for a week, but has promised that my order is placed and will be forwarded posthaste to my son in San Francisco. She also implied there would be a little token enclosed for my tearing my hair out. I hope it’s a wig.

2. I finally hooked up with my attorney. He was in LA, then he was backed up with work when he arrived here on Monday. A vigorous volley of phone tag then ensued. Finally, I called his cell this morning, and he answered it! We had a nice chat, and he was quite helpful about my legal loose ends regarding the end of my book. As luck would have it, his firm has an entertainment lawyer. One of his clients is Elmore Leonard. He offered to read my chicky-book. I asked him “how much” and he said complimentary. I asked, are you sure? It’s a chick book, and he said yes.

3. Cosmetics. A boatload of them came in the mail today. Hallelujah. I hope I remember how to use them.

4. The ending. It’s drawing near. I think I’m a chapter and a half away. This means I should be typing those magic words “The End” by dusk on Sunday.

5. My cheerleaders have been busy cheering and urging (egging?) me on. I am grateful for it, because there were times I might have jumped under the covers and said “screw this noise” – actually, there were a couple of dozen times I’ve felt that way in the last 72 hours alone. So, keep nagging, cajoling, goading, pushing, harassing, bullying, coaxing, hounding, needling, badgering, bothering, spurring, hassling, heckling, riding, nudging, pleading, provoking and poking me along. (Can you tell my Thesaurus and I are close friends?) I need it.

Anyway, things are falling into place.

There is a God, and she is great… 🙂

The Chicken Begins Running With Her Head Off

In eight days, I will be in San Francisco, in advance of a writers’ conference I signed up for last year.

I had good intentions. I paid for the conference back in March. I paid for my plane ticket back in September. I have lined up a rental car using gift certificates, so that’s taken care of. I even have my son dropping me off at the hotel location, because it’s in a very congested and chi-chi area of downtown and parking is $80 a day.

I have toiled at my novel full steam since the first of November. I’ve somehow managed to add an additional 100,000 words since then. There are three, maybe four more chapters to go. I’ve been good, even though I’ve done other things, like work, eat, play the violin, make jewelry, etc. There was the holiday and the extended stay of Ms. MiniD, always a disruptive influence. I’ve even had time to be sick.

Now comes crunch time, and I feel like a chicken with her head cut off.

I have been working with an online business card company that specializes in authors. I had trouble sending in my photograph (actually, the real trouble came finding one that doesn’t make me look like a serial killer) and my emails kept bouncing back. It’s been ten days, and so far no word. In a panic, I emailed again on Saturday. Nothing.

I still need to get with an attorney so I can wrap up the novel. That’s because an attorney plays a prominent part in the ending. I have emailed our business attorney, hoping for some free input. The guy is nice, but he’s one of those super-slick shyster dudes, and his office, in a very trendy neighborhood, likely has a high lease. However, I feel comfortable with him, so I even promised to pay. Hopefully, he’ll be like my other advisors and will take a mention in the beginning of the book instead.

Finally, I have new clothes and have been exercising like a fiend to fit into my old ones. Some writer who sends me newsletters suggested I get a smokin’ hot red dress. I don’t want to look like a hooker, so I bought some red cashmere sweaters instead. After my daughter returned to school (that was the longest six weeks of my life), I found out she raided my bathroom and all my cosmetics are GONE. (I might slap on some make up once in a blue friggin’ moon, so I expect it all to be there when I need it.)

I hope I don’t look like a boob. There’s always the possibility I might laugh too hard, look needy, or become unexpectedly mute.

GAH!

Another Weird Airplane Dream

Perhaps I shouldn’t eat chili dogs, but every once in a while, I get a craving for a hot dog slathered in hot mustard, chili with beans, onions and cheese. That’s what we had for dinner last night, and it could explain my latest weird airplane dream.

Last night, I dreamt that Mr. D and I were again on an airplane. It was a big one, bigger than a 757. I would call it a 787 or a 797, it was that big. As usual, we were seated in the rear of the plane, which was so large that it was ten or 15 seats across.  Not only was it huge, but the seats were tiny. In fact, one fellow traveler pointed out that some seats were much tinier than others. (Think of a concert hall or movie theater where they use smaller seats to give the illusion of a flow down to the stage.)

We were in Colorado and flying home. We weren’t just in Colorado, however; we were on top of Pikes Peak. Pikes Peak is the third highest mountain in Colorado, over 14 thousand feet high. If you’ve ever been there, you would know that the top of Pikes Peak is rocky, strewn with lots of big boulders. You couldn’t land a single engine glider on that summit, much less a jumbo jetliner.

Most of the dream had to do with wrestling our personal effects to the back of the plane. Plane etiquette requires that you use the storage around your seat, although I’ve seldom seen plane etiquette carried forth. By the time we got to the back of the plane, there was little room to put my purse, much less anything larger.

The plane was filled to the brim with all sorts of humanity. It reminded me of those movies you see about third world countries where villagers travel in buses with their chickens and baby goats in little cages.

The back door of the plane was open, and Mr. D all of a sudden sees that we are on the mountaintop. Why it didn’t occur to him before is anyone’s guess. Someone had fashioned a makeshift runway and it wasn’t flat.

Mr. D asked the pilot, “Do you have enough room to lift off?”

To which the pilot answered, “Not really for a plane this size, but if I get going fast enough, we can lift off as soon as we clear the top of the mountain.”

We wanted to jump off after that, but the ground was so far away. Besides, where would we go? (Of course, I knew we could walk down or take the tram that goes down to Manitou. But I didn’t think of that in my dream.) We decided to take our chances and get home on the plane.

Pretty soon, the plane was packed and the pilot taxied, but he was taxiing around the mountain. It was strange.

As soon as he got enough speed to take off, I woke up.

Perhaps I should eat something bland tonight, like a broiled chicken breast and some green beans.

Strange Airplane Dreams

As the Little Fluffy Cat knows, my plate is overflowing right now, but I thought I would post a couple disturbing dreams I’ve had just in the last couple of days. Hopefully, these aren’t psychic in nature and are just the result of the madness going on around me (and in me). So in the interest of getting a second opinion, I’ll let you be the judge.

Dream 1: My husband and I are on a big airplane, probably a 757. I have the middle seat, and he has the aisle. This is because Mr. Demonic is incredibly tall and I am a midget and can fit anywhere, including the backseat of an AMC Hornet and inside my high school locker. We are leaving our Tundra town. If you knew where I lived and were familiar with the airport, you would know that planes have to taxi practically to the next state to take off. Anyway, we are driving along, Mr. D furiously scribbling notes on a pad, and me paying attention to the flight attendant. (This is because as a one-time flight attendant wannabe, I know that their jobs are vital to the safety of passengers. I want to know where my closest exit is.)

At last, it is our turn to depart. The plane takes off slowly. It doesn’t feel right. Sure, it’s a big plane, and it’s practically magic how something so huge can get off the ground to begin with. We are hovering what seems to be only fifty feet from the tarmac. All of a sudden the plane shoots straight up with a tremendous burst of speed. When I mean straight up, I mean perpendicular to the ground. Mr. D and I are facing the heaven, our backs glued to the seats. I grab him and say “This is the end” or something stupid like that.

My next sensation is that the plane does a somersault. I’m pretty sure we are toast.

Then I wake up in a sweat.

Dream #2: The entire Demonic family is taking a trip by plane. It’s a 747, you know, the one with upstairs and downstairs. We’re going to London, don’t ask me why. I have never been and have no desire to go there. It’s not our usual carrier of choice, but an upstart.

Mr. D has secured for us the back of the plane. If you are familiar with train travel, you know that to travel comfortably across country, the best route is to get a sleeping car. We’ve done this on many occasions, especially when my daughter was a baby, my son was a little boy and he was in love with trains. We’ve had the family suite, and it’s great with little kids. Anyway, in the dream, this air carrier had what looked to be a sleeping area. For $150 per person extra, we had our own enclosed space with pull down beds. The airline said we could stay in the sleeping area for our entire stay in London. There were two of these areas, and another family occupied the other one.

When we took off, we were unencumbered by seat belts, and while it was scary, we survived. We laughed, we drank champagne, we ate chocolate. When we arrived in London, everyone else departed, and it was  just us and this other family. The flight attendants tried to get us to deplane as well. They were surly and rude in fact, and were shooing us off. Both Mr. D and the father of the other family were up in arms. They protested with shouts of “but we paid $150 each to stay here!”  We had no other lodging in London and for some reason couldn’t get anything else. The head flight attendant said that the extra charge was just for the trip across the pond. If we didn’t get off, we would be going to Egypt with the rest of the flight. (!)

I woke up again in a sweat.

I don’t think I’m going to sleep anymore.

Update on the November Nutshell Vomit and Drama Episode

1. I haven’t yet received the medical bills. But Mr. Demonic will send them to the BF’s mom, as soon as…

2. My daughter writes her an apology letter. She’s still working on it.

3. The two are still together. They are only apart on Facebook.

4. My husband refers to him as “Doofus” very likely thinking of  “That ’70s Show” when Jackie’s father called Kelso the same. I sort of like that term of endearment.

5. BF is driving Ms. MiniD up to San Francisco on Saturday. This is because the cheapest airfare I could get back to this Frozen Tundra (and believe me, it IS NOW) was for her to leave from San Francisco instead of LA. Don’t ask me, I manipulated the dates on four different browsers before I was satisfied with a plane ticket that wasn’t going to cost us an arm and a leg. (She’s a darling girl, but hardly worth an arm and a leg.)

6. Ms. MiniD recently went through alcohol counseling at school. You may remember that I emailed the Dean. Well, she talked to the Dean and several counselors. They discussed how alcohol works in her system and the steps she should take to lessen the effects. She said they thought she had a high tolerance, and therefore didn’t feel buzzed until it was too late. (I don’t know about this, I’m just reporting what she told me. Sounds crazy.) Ms. MiniD wasn’t at all mad that I ratted her out. Using the safe drinking tips (!) given by the school, she was able to party last weekend at the beach and not throw up! I would say progress has been made, but that would be nuts.

7. Ms. MiniD arrives home Sunday morning. I put her on a red-eye, and she has to be able to catch the connecting flight in Minneapolis. Hopefully, she won’t sleep through the boarding call.

8. Ms. MiniD has prepared a menu of possible dinner items. This is all stuff I normally make, but back then in her high school hey-day, she thought my food was “weird” and so she never ate any of it. Oh, how a semester away changes a person…

9. I’m not looking forward to the partial filling of my empty nest. (The other one has a temporary JOB! Yes! and a wedding to attend to next month.)

A Diversion from the November Nutshell: Charging the Hostess Stand

Many people know me as a fine, upstanding citizen, someone who is basically laid back and mellow. Oh, sure, I used to have quite a temper in my younger days. I would like to think that was the result of my genes, you know, crazy Greek meets similarly crazy Asian. Age and wisdom have diluted my temper, thank God. However, put an obstacle between me and my food, and you might as well declare war.

I love good food, fine wine and new experiences in the gastro-sexual. Yes, I liken my love affair with outstanding cuisine as very close to orgasmic. When Mr. Demonic and I have chats, it’s usually regarding the memorable lunches and dinners we had. There have been many. We oooh and ahhh over the lunches in Napa, French dining in Chicago, big honking steaks in Colorado. Mmm…

Those who know my real last name will know that there aren’t many on the planet with the same last name. We are all related by blood and marriage, my husband’s family coming from a Bohemian background in what is now western Czechoslovakia. Many decendants are still in the other Tundra city, and some in Chicago and northern Indiana. (Those are from my huband’s great-great-uncle who supposedly killed a man.) Some of those Chicago-ites moved to Palm Beach and the Left Coast, so now there are contingents in Florida and California.

There were two times where standing in line waiting for a table got to me. One was at an Outback Steakhouse about fifteen years ago. They were trendy and few and far between, so we took a trek into another city to try it. The other was a local steak house, one that was southwestern in theme and made the best margaritas I have ever had the pleasure of inhaling.

Both times, we sat at the bar and waited for well over two hours. This is because both places refused to take reservations. If you as restaurant owner keep serving me margaritas for two hours (I ingested three), then you get what you deserve. Back then, there were no paging devices, and the hostess would call your name, and not always over the loudspeaker.

Like I said, I’m normally mellow, but I can get pretty cranky when I’m buzzed. Both times I charged the hostess stand and asked “what the hell?” while Mr. D cowered in the dim barlight and hoped no one noticed we were together. Both times, someone answered to the call of our last name.

Yes, we were ripped off!

Now, I would never think to do that to anyone, but why someone would acknowledge being the owner of our last name, I don’t know. Oh yes. To line jump into a better position.

In one case, while I was giving the hostess a piece of my mind, another patron half in the bag walked up and asked where he was in the line, to which I said, “Back off, Dude. We’re next. We’ve been sitting here three hours!”

To which we were next.

For my size, I can be pretty scary.

That’s why I like the local seafood grill. (Just don’t go there for Thanksgiving.) It’s small, cozy, and not many people eat seafood. More people prefer steak. They will also save the same booth for us every Friday night, and always seat us on the same side of the booth. (After all, it is date night.)

Thinking about having our reservation scammed twice is making me ornery. And fiesty. I haven’t been in a minor scrap in a long time.

Maybe tonight we should go to a crowded steakhouse and see if some idiot scams our place in line.

November in a Nutshell Part Deux

A funny thing happened on the way from October to December.

November.

(I always wanted to write something like that. 🙂 )

As many might remember the dim recollection of the US presidential campaign coming to a screeching halt around November 4, so do I. By November 1st, I was way past my tolerance for any more news coverage on Barack Obama and Sarah Palin, and purposefully tuned in to Turner Classic Movies to avoid the news. (Let’s face it, the race was all about them, not the other two guys. Who are they now?)

Election Day turned out a nice day, warm and sunny. In fact, later that week, I picked the last of my tomatoes, and the last one is finally red on my windowsill today. On Election Day, I had to drive my husband, the Dear Mr. Demonic, to the airport at 5:30 a.m. (He did the absentee ballot thing, a very smart move.) He was outbound on a plane to Las Vegas for his annual convention. By the time I returned to my little, soon-to-be frozen city, it was a quarter to seven, and the polls opened at 7. I thought to myself, who the hell would be up this early? And, I’m up and about anyway, might as well vote.

The polls for our precinct is located in a nearby community college. It’s the same college we threatened to send our daughter to, because she could walk to it and it’s a lot cheaper than the private, Catholic college in California that she is attending. The college is basically a courtyard building, where the hallways make a large square and in the middle is some greenery. The hallways are connected. When I entered the building, there looked to be about 25 people in line, which seemed promising. In and out, that’s what I wanted. Still, I knew a record turnout was expected, so I brought the book “How to Get a Literary Agent” by Michael Larsen. (Excellent reference, by the way. I strongly urge all writers to read it.)

My estimate as to the line was wrong. Way wrong. The people in front of me were the first 25, who had already been cleared and were waiting for ballots. Behind them was the rest of my precinct. No joke. I wandered down the first hallway of a hundred or so people, hoping to find the end of the line. When I made the turn to the second hallway, there were another hundred or so people lined up. At the end of that hall, I made another turn, and there was another line, then turned into the final hall, where I finally found the end. There had to be 500 people in line ahead of me.

I settled down to reading my book (standing up) and waited as we slowly proceeded. It took about an hour before I got to the short line, but that was okay, because I managed to almost finish the book. Then it took another fifteen minutes before I got to vote. My ballot was at first rejected by the counting machine, and I had to go back and clean it up. It wasn’t messy. In fact, I am a master at FOSDIC circles, and being a former art major, can color within in the lines with my eyes closed. (Well, at least with my glasses off.) I think that perhaps the machine did not like my choices, so it spit my ballot out. Nevertheless, I returned to my little stand and darkened the circles as prominently as I could. They were so black that they glistened like onyx jewels.

Then I went home and turned off the TV. I avoided newsstands, and refused to talk to anyone. It was obvious who was going to win, and I hadn’t voted for him. (If you must know, I voted my conscience.) If you know me, you know I hate news anyway. Journalism has taken the mucky path down sensationalism and is of the yellow kind these days. Luckily, with my husband off for a week in Vegas, I used the opportunity to make a huge dent in my NaNo efforts. In fact, that week is where I made the most progress.

Hmm… I wonder what that means???