Thursday, February 22, 2007


I don't think I'll be getting a Thursday Thirteen up today, friends. I think I pushed it too much yesterday, because I'm sick again today. I did make it in to work, but I was afraid I was going to lose my breakfast toast on the subway. The only reason I didn't turn around and go home was I knew the contractors would have my bathroom disabled until later this evening. At least here I can fall out in the nurse's office, if I must. (Yes, we have a nurse's office at my job. You never know when a stagehand is going to get beaned by a piece of scenery or an elderly patron is going to have a heart attack.)

If I still had my own office with a door I'd be lying on the floor with the lights off right now. But, I must... soldier on... somehow. For the children...

Mmm. Comfy wristwrest makes nice pillow.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Fun With Home Repair

Since I was home sick yesterday, I got to experience first-hand what the contractors are doing in our apartment (and, by sound, what they’re doing to our downstairs neighbours’ apartment, too).

They were supposed to be there at 8:00 am and leave at 5:00 pm with a functioning bathroom (i.e. one in which we could use the toilet and shower) in their wake. They didn’t show until around 10:00, which was fine, as I was working through a fevered sleep and a half-bottle of bismuth at the time, but it was less convenient when I was still begging them to finish up at 6:30, before my colon exploded. There was a tense period where I thought I’d have to decide between getting an assfull of dirt and plaster dust, or trying to clean off the toilet seat and possibly re-plastering the walls with my own special brew, but I made it just in time.

The toilet and shower do work – although I immediately had to clean them, and the plastic sheeting draping them makes attempting to shower feel like being slowly laminated. The walls are… well, let’s just say they’re olde-timey. As in, the slats and horsehair plaster have been exposed, then most of the plaster disintegrated, leaving a frontier bathhouse sort of feel. On inspecting the condition of the plaster (look! It’s got hunks of actual horse hair in it!) and wood, I suspect they haven’t been touched since the building was built, sometime around 1900. Layer after layer of plaster and paint had just been slapped on top of them for the last hundred-odd years. No big surprise considering the shape we’ve found the rest of the place in.

While I don’t think horsehair plaster is as evil compared to sheetrock as this guy does, he’s got a point in that it’s incredibly messy. I doubt the contractors had much trouble removing ours, considering its deterioration, but the dust is pernicious. Even with plastic sheeting everywhere, we were hacking and sneezing all morning, and the cats, once roused from the protective flanks of their Mommy Who Would Defend Them From The Strange, Noisy Men, quickly became coated. That’s the most troubling part to me, so if you hear I’ve become rich after inventing a claw-proof filter mask for pets, you will know the inspiration. As it is, they won’t even stay out of the piles of debris when we try to isolate them. (“What’s this? Some kind of chemical-soaked rag? I must roll in it!”)

At any rate, with a much improved stomach and most of the dust hacked out, getting to work was actually something of a relief this morning, considering I have the detritus of sheetrocking to look forward to tonight.

Until I discovered they are doing construction on the office next to mine.

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Sunday, February 18, 2007


My poor sister. I called her and my brother in law late Friday night blubbering and babbling. My job has been even more crazy since they told me they're eliminating my position. I had a good talk with my boss, who said she really appreciated me working so hard rather than blowing things off what with all that's going down, and that she'd be happy to be a reference for me. This after telling her that I wasn't going to apply for the new job (with more work and about the same pay) and that we both know it's time for me to move on. I told her I'd be happy to do my work well and train a new person, but I had one request: please don't let HR screw me over by offering me a job I would hate and then saying I quit because I refused it. I know how they work there to try to avoid paying unemployment. She couldn't make any promises, but she said she'd do her best.

At any rate: crazy busy. There's this huge rush to get the subscriptions for next season on line right away, in less time than we've ever done it before, but with more features and information. I wouldn't be surprised if the rush partially has to do with them knowing I'll be gone soon, one way or another, and trying to do it without me would be a huge pain in the ass. So I'm working extra hours at a place where they've refused my raise and laid me off. Am I too conscientious and ethical, here? I can't help it. Plus, I really could use that reference.

I also haven't been sleeping. All week I'm working, stressing about what might come next, trying to put together my design site, looking for and applying to jobs and, oh yes, trying to get the writing assignment (that I hate) for my new class done. Even my usual night-time meds are having a hard time countering all that agitation. So, I'm up past midnight, up in the wee hours, up before the alarm goes off, with bad dreams inbetween. Fun, eh?

All of which leads me to the call on Friday. I had planned to go down to Maryland for the long weekend and see my sister, bro-in-law and niece and nephew, whom I haven't seen in months. I even cancelled the last visit for similar reasons of stress and not feeling well, but it's getting ridiculous. At this rate, the kids will be driving by the time I see them again, and my sister... well, I don't know, but let's face it: my fear is that they're all going to hate me. I know it's ridiculous, but that's what stress does to me. One minute I'm behind on a project, and the next I'll never get anything done and if I did it'd be terrible and everyone hates me and maybe I should run off into the wilderness and be eaten by feral ferrets (I hear it can happen). Or maybe I need a little less caffeine. You pick.

So, on Friday night it all came to a head and I just couldn't see myself schlepping to Port Authority to catch a bus five hours down there and back (which Mrs. Nator was bitching about the whole time, I might add - neither of us likes long rides like that). I called my sister & her hubby and the next thing you know, I was blubbering incoherently about how stressed I was and how I just couldn't make it down there. They seemed okay about it, but maybe they were just glad they wouldn't have to deal with the drama in person.

Oh, who am I kidding? They hate me now and they're telling their kids that I'm an evil Sith Lord. If I ever see my nephew again, he's going to clout me on the head with his plastic lightsaber.

Along with all that, my poor girlfriend, because I am a mess. She's generally quite understanding - as well she should be, considering she went through the same mess a few years ago - but I know my mood swings are hard on her. Sometimes if I'm being cheery she gets this frozen smile on her face, like "oh God, here's the manic, when's the depressive shoe gonna drop?" Don't think I don't see it, hon.

Ah, yes, and one more thing - we got the message on Saturday that the contractors have decided to start tearing apart our bathroom on Monday from 8am - 5pm every day for the next week or two, which I should be happy about on one level, but on the other hand, there goes my one holiday off for a while, as I'll have to make myself scarce from my own home for most of the day, rather than getting the relaxation or time to work on my job hunt that I need.

Deep breath.

So, in summary, I didn't go down to Maryland, which makes me a terrible person. Oh, and I've decided to quit my writing workshop and hope they'll let me take one at a later time, when I don't have all this unemployment shit hanging over my head. Or, you know, I'm a big quitter who will never amount to anything or even figure out what she really wants to do, because she doesn't have the fortitude to shoulder on, etc. Whatev.

So, my main focus will have to be looking for a job, now. The crappiest part is, I can't imagine finding something I like or want. I am so burnt out now, I feel like I'm getting desperate to find a job with a paycheck immediately, and just assuming it will be just as bad or worse than the one I've had. It may very well be that I have potential in a lot of areas, but since I can't pick one and potential doesn't pay the rent. I feel trapped, even though Mrs. Nator assures me she'd rather I be unemployed for a while or work as a barista or something than be miserable.

But do I know how not to be miserable?

I do feel a little bit better for having opted out of travelling and the workshop. The truth is, I need to concentrate on finding a job now, and the more I focus on that in a less-than-hysterical way, the more likely I am to land something that I might actually like, as well as bringing in some cash. Plus, all this desperation and stress is bound to affect me in job interviews. I'm nervous enough about the whole process as it is. Nobody likes it when the interviewee sobs and clings to them.

So, that's my story, for now. Wish me luck. I hope to be able to work a little on the writing on my own, but as much as I want to be dedicated, I can't use writing as a distraction from getting these other things done, right now. At least those couple sessions at the workshop made me realize that I'm a decent writer. If that's all I can get out of it right now, that's enough.

Unless anyone wants to pay me for blogging? Bueller?

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Hi, Dad!

So, my sister gave my father my blog address.

From now on, my posts will be all about kitties and angels. Or maybe even about kitty angels. But definitely not about porn.

Unless it's kitty angel porn.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Thursday Thirteen: Possible Sperm Donors

Since Mrs. Nator and I have discussed having kids a few times recently, I thought I'd dedicate this Thursday to thirteen gentlemen who might be acceptable babydaddies for our spawn.

1. Neil deGrasse Tyson. Incredibly brilliant, handsome and funny? Tyson is a leading astrophysicist, the director of the American Museum of Natural History's Hayden Planetarium, a columnist for Natural History Magazine, the author or coauthor of six books and a witty match for Jon Stewart in his guest spots on The Daily Show. This one is a no-brainer. I mean the pick, not him. Ba-dump-bump.
Alternate: Kip Thorne. Sorry, Hawking, ALS might be genetic.

2. Nelson Mandela. 'Nuff said.
Alternate: Muhammad Yunus. Another brilliant Nobel Peace Prize Winner, currently working to end world poverty. What more can you say?

3. David Bowie. If David Bowie is not one of the coolest, most artistically brilliant men on the planet, I don't know who is. Also, he once spoke to me after stepping on my hand. Really!
Alternates: Rufus Wainwright, as long as the spoiled ego doesn't carry through, or Daniel Craig: English. Cool. HOOOOTTTT.

4. Tiki Barber. Anybody who has been reading this blog long enough knows I loves me some Tiki. Not only is he one of the best running backs to play in the NFL, but he's smart, a shining example of old-fashioned sportsmanship in a game that's become filled with conceited prima donnas, and totally H-O-T-T. I'm going to miss seeing him play for the Giants, who he pretty much carried on his back to the playoffs the last couple years, but I think NBC had the right idea in snapping him up for Today. With his instant likability, crisp delivery and that sweet smile, women all over the U.S. are going to be tuning in to NBC in the morning. Trust me, I'm about as lesbian as you can get, and I still squeal "oooh, Tiki!" every time I see him.
Alternate: Tom Brady, who would get his own entry if Mrs. Nator didn't have something against him.

5. Sir David Attenborough. Unparallelled naturalist and journalist, he has raised awareness of environmental issues and made people the world over fall in love with animals.
Alternates: Animal Planet's snake-handling hottie Jeff Corwin, or Fabien Cousteau, grandson of Jacques and People magazine's "Sexiest Man of the Sea", 2002. How do you say grrrr-OW in dolphin?

6. Sir Ian McKellan. A brilliant actor, witty raconteur, activist, sexy and gay as the day is long. Every time Mrs. Nator and I see him we pine to have him as our friend and mentor. What more could you want?
Alternate: Tim Gunn. Squeee!!!

7. Jamie Hyneman. A modern Rennaissance man, Hyneman has done some seriously cool stuff. Build a killer robot for Battle Bots? Check. Run a SCUBA diving business? Check. According to his bio, he's even wrangled animals. His work ethic, organization skills, drive and smarts are all impressive, and he's clearly a sexy gay daddy type, even if he wants to claim he's married to a woman.
Alternate: Christopher Meloni. Just because he's hot. (And how many biographies prominently include the phrase "sociopath bisexual serial killer"?)

8. Michael Fay. No, not the kid who got caned in singapore. This Michael Fay is the ecologist who completed the Megatransect, a 2000 km across Africa, and the MegaFlyover, a 70,000 mile photographical survey of the continent taken from a small plane at low altitude. Not only does this guy love nature, but he's passionate about conserving it. Not to mention it couldn't hurt to carry the genes of a guy fit and determined enough to hike through huge tracts of jungle documenting every tiny detail.
Alternate: Hugo, AKA "Grub", the son of Dame Jane Goodall. Because maybe some of her would carry over.

9. Jon Stewart. Do I really have to explain?
Alternate: Larry Wilmore, partly for being the creator of The Bernie Mac Show, but mostly on the basis of this clip.

10. Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald from Animal Planet's Emergency Vets and E-Vet Interns. A laid-back, veterinary guru, he won my heart by saying that as a vet sometimes you get to save animals, and it's "good karma." He loves everything from pythons to malinois, is exteremly smart and skilled, kind and patient with animals and interns alike, and adventurous. How many veterinarians host their own show, perform stand-up comedy and have toured with George Clinton, The Rolling Stones and Bob Marley?
Alternate: Dr. Kevin Drygas, because he is a bright, up-and-coming veterinary surgeon who's learning from Fitzgerald, and is also clearly the hunk of the show.

11. Prince. Adewale-Akinnuoye Agbaje. Seal. Like Prince, Seal is very musically talented, and even worked with Wendy & Lisa - big points for that in my book. However, he is not as wierd, short, full of himself or Jehovah's Witness-y as Prince is.
Like Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Seal is British-Nigerian, charismatic, conscientious, spiritual and intense. His father's name was even Adebisi, the name of the character Akinnuoye-Agbaje played on OZ that made us love and fear him. So, best of both worlds, here. The only cons here are are that he may carry a genetic predisposition to the lupus which scarred his face and Heidi Klum might not approve. To which I say: he makes lupus scars look attractive, and Mrs. Nator can take Heidi in a fair fight any day.
Alternate: Taye Diggs. Actually, maybe Seal should be the alternate for Taye...

12. Fareed Zakaria. He may be a bit too centrist for my tastes, but has international relations punditry ever been more yummy? Of course, he'd be off the list if Christine Amanpour were a man.
Alternates: Nicolas Kristof, Lucian Perkins, Keith Olbermann.

13. The Olmos. Because he could act you to actual death, and is a passionate activist.
Alternate: Martin Sheen. He may not have facial scarring like Olmos, but knowing he produced Charlie Sheen bumps him to alternate.

Honourable mention: Ishmael Beah. Because even though I haven't read his book yet, any person who can recover from being an orphaned, forced child soldier on multiple drugs and become a positive, creative human being should have his genes spread around.

Naturally, this list is subject to change. Mostly, it should not be seen as evidence in a sudden interest on my part in actually having a baby soon. But I will give Mrs. Nator the allowance that if she can actually convince one of these men to donate, I will seriously consider it.

Well, the first few, at least.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

La-Di-Frickin'-Da, I'm The Queen of The World

So, I read my first story in the writers' workshop, last night. I read first, because I was overcaffeinated and nervous, and just wanted to get it done. I was pleased to get laughs at some laugh lines, but wasn't completely sure how it was being received until the end, when a couple people immediately said "well, shit -- now I don't want to read my story." They really liked it!

Seriously, pretty much all good comments. Even during the break and after class, people came up to me and said how great they thought it was. Cue head swelling, horn fanfare -- now.

But here's the problem. I'm not usually an overly confident person, but when I heard the rest of the writers' pieces? I honestly thought mine was the best in the class. There were maybe three people who had some good, solid writing in their stories, all of which needed some cleaning up in one way or another, but mine was the most developed and complete. Does this make me a giant jackass?

Listen, I don't want to put people down, but a lot of the folks in the workshop really haven't written before, or in a long time. And though they are lovely people who may have some interesting ideas, their craft is, at this point, in the early stages of development. Honestly, it has been rare that I have been in a class or workshop situation where I didn't think a least a few people's stuff was as good as or better than mine, even without accounting for differences in style and taste. So what does this mean? Have I suddenly developed a huge ego, do I just happen to be in a low-level class, or am I really that damn good?

I feel a bit full of myself, but unsettled. I'd like more of a challenge than the exercises we're being given, and I'd like to have more experienced writers to share comments and ideas with. I even looked into whether there's an intermediate level workshop I could transfer into. But, it seems that this particular organization has "mixed" courses for beginners and intermediate writers, and advanced courses for published authors; that's it. So, what do I do?

Well, I suppose I can just work the assignments and get what I can out of them. You can always learn something new, after all. But I feel disappointed, because I now realize that I'm ready to move a bit farther forward than that, perhaps working towards publication of some other pieces I've been noodling with, and the format and level of this workshop just won't allow for that.

Besides, I'm doing all this while working on my portfolio and looking for a job. I'd rather go at writing full force or have my time free for now to work on those other things. Or, you know, get some sleep.

What do you think? Stick with it, or try to engineer something else, maybe by asking the instructor? Would that make her think I'm an ass?

Honestly, it's nice to really feel that I can write. And hey, if I ever get too big for my britches, I can always go read First Nations. Like my writing could ever be that interesting.

P.S.: They made me switch to New Blogger. Everything look alright to you?

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Monday, February 12, 2007

When in Doubt, Say Mean Things About Celebrities

1. I wonder if anyone else who caught the Grammies last night was as horrified as I was by the plastic surgery parade that was the Smokey Robinson/Lionel Richie/Chris Brown segment. Smokey and Lionel had both had enough skin sliced from their faces to have as few wrinkles as 17-year-old Chris Brown. The effect, however, is eerie. Smokey, in particular, has that look of perpetual, wide-eyed surprise that comes from several too many face lifts. Classy.

2. We've been watching Top Design since Top Chef ignominiously ended, and let me tell you, it is no Project Runway. Not only are the judges and attempted catchphrases boring ("goodbye" is not equal to "auf wiedersehen", people), but Todd Oldham comes across as kind of creepy. We can't tell if his stilted delivery is due to an attempt to seem Mr. Rogers-esque nice, or if he actually cannot read and deliver lines properly (we can't imagine that he actually talks like that - does he?). There's one thing for certain though: he looks like the secret love child of Ellen Degeneres and Bob Denver.

3. If Anna Nicole Smith was our generation's Marilyn Monroe, the world can't end soon enough.

Now, back to work...

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Friday, February 09, 2007

They Got Me

You know how your junk mail box gets filled up with spam with strident or bizarre subject lines? Well, this morning, somebody actually had the creativity to make me open one. The subject line: "Godzilla's Advice!!!"  I literally yelped, "what?!" and clicked.

The message? "Size does matter!" and a link.

Touché, evil spam writer, touché.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


I had a great Thursday Thirteen all outlined, but between work, writing for class and doing stuff for finding a job, it had to go on the back burner.

I'm almost done with a kick-ass Flash movie for my portfolio site, though...

How YOU doin'?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Emotionally Dysfunctional Theatre

In which our heroine pries herself from a fetal position and makes a few cautious taps on her keyboard. Hot buttered Xanax sold in the lobby at intermission...

In other words, I've been a bit of a pill to be around the last few days, kiddies. I held up fairly well to the stress of being "restructured" at work and told to my face by HR that they would never do the kind of dastardly things to me that I know for a fact they have done to several people I know well, including Mrs. Nator. I kept a civil tongue in my head and got things done. I also continued looking through job listings, brushing up on various software and composing cover letters. Then the weekend hit, and I suddenly found myself incapable of little more than rolling over and drooling, or rolling over into my own drool, as the case may have been. The stress had sapped my energy and optimism reserves and it was time for two and a half days of solid wallowing. (I also took Monday off, so as to better savour the complexity of this particular wallow. It was oaky, with harsh tannins, notes of despair and corn chip undertones. Or that might just have been my breath.)

The truth is, what's happening to me is not unusual. It's just the first time it's happening to me. I've known for some time that this job wasn't right for me and I wasn't right for it, but we both seemed necessary to each other. That is, they needed me because I was the only one who knew my way around the company site and how to maintain it, and I needed the money and health insurance. Unfortunately, the more I was thwarted in my attempts to use my creativity to better the site and expand my role, the less I wanted to use my skills at all to help the company, and it showed. My supervisors and I knew that we were only going to get so much out of each other, and resentment built up. What I did was necessary, but I was not important, and they didn't want me thinking I was, lest I realize I deserved better. So why didn't I leave?

I guess I'm an underachiever. I come by it honestly, as I can definitely see when looking at both of my siblings. Something in our minister's-kids' upbringing during the recession of the 1970s made us feel that there was only so far we could get. Both of my siblings are of above-average intelligence, personable and highly skilled, but both have been in jobs for years that they don't particuarly like, and that don't offer them the challenges or rewards they deserve. We had a lot of advantages growing up, but perhaps we were taught to be too cautious or "practical," to refrain from tooting our own horns and expecting too much. As a result, there's a big part of me that believes that I could never have a job that I actually like that would support me. Not only that, but that I don't deserve such a thing or am not good enough for it. From an objective standpoint, I know that I am only exaggerating and holding myself back, but it's hard to shake the feeling that The Powers That Be, whatever they are, don't want me to get too big for my britches and succeed. In other words, as my cantankerous grandmother used to say, "Sweetheart, you can't win for losin'!"

The truth is, I know that I sabotage myself. I know that when I consider a career move, I get overwhelmed by contemplating too many possibilites at once and focussing on the worst of them, trying to inoculate myself against projected failure. I know that when I read a job listing, within a few seconds my eyes will focus on the things that don't look good about it - aspects that may be difficult or skills I don't yet have. Even when I remind myself that I didn't know how to use much of the software I now use when I applied for this job over eight years ago, and that employers are usually looking for someone that they think fits with the company, not just a set of specific tools on a list, it's hard for me to check the visceral fear that wells up. It's that kneejerk emotional reaction that floods my brain with paralyzing chemicals, and the next thing I know I'm sleeping most of the weekend and crying during Diana Ross's last song in The Wiz.*

On top of all this, I've never been terrific with change. Yeah, I know, change is opportunity, blah blah blah. Unfortunately, enough of my formative experiences, from my parents' divorce when I was little to my first live-in lover cheating on my with a good friend, have involved changes that were both forced upon me and unpleasant. I suppose if I were an optimist, I'd be gushing about how the difficult times only made me better, and led me to some of the awesome aspects of my life today: a nice home, a loving family and friends, the best damn girlfriend anyone could have. There are even times in my life when I've been in a good space that I realized all this. But I usally revert to my glass-half-empty ways. This means that, for me, change is not only uncomfortable and uncertain, as it is for many, but perceived as a veritable Harbinger of Doom. In my little world, the cable guy can seem like the four horsemen of the apocalypse, especially if he's mucking with my premium channels.

So what's to be done about it? Well, the first thing is to take one step at a time. I can't get myself my dream job instantly, but I can do a little bit of resarch each day, and I can send out a couple applications every weekday, too. The second is to speak calmly and positively to myself. I have people rooting for me. If I have eight out of ten skills listed in a job listing, that's pretty good. The worst thing prospective emplowers can do is say no to me, and since I don't know the details, I can't even know if I want the job, yet. I also don't have to know I have one grand purpose in life that I must fulfill right away. Who does that? Shut up, Mother Theresa, who asked you?

Maybe it's time to consider that if I am overwhelmed by the range of possibilities in my life, that's a good thing. I am interested in writing, so I'm starting my writing workshop today. That doesn't mean that I must be the next Shakespeare or die. I can also explore other things I find interesting, and while all of them can be included in my future employment, none of them have to be forever. Likewise, I may be limited by certain factors, like what I can afford and how much time I have, but I'm not in a forced labour camp in Siberia being given the options of break rocks or starve (or both). I may not get to live the life of a leisurely gentleman scholar of centuries past, but I have more open to me than the majority of people in the world.

Good things are possible, and I not only need to believe that, but be able to imagine and be open to them. Right after this nap.


*Okay, it actually started during Lena Horne's turn as Glinda the Good. As she sung to Dorothy, I found myself whinging "why can't I believe in myself as Lena believes in meeeee?"

I Find This Very Disturbing

There's no way a computer-generated M&M character should look this much like me. Besides the fact that I don't usually wear a corporate logo on my cootch, that is.

At least I got to put myself on a nice beach.

Thanks for the link, Trish.

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Gayest, Geekiest Thing Ever

Are you ready?

It's this.

Want to know something else?

I would actually play that game.

Maybe I am the Gayest, Geekiest Thing Ever.


That's it for now, kids. The Lying Liars Who Want To Screw Me Over at work have exhausted me this week. Have a fabulous weekend. And go watch the Superbowl, even if you don't like football. It's got men in tight pants, and Prince! (If that's not redundant.)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Dangers of Google

It is becoming more and more clear to me that I am not the only one who Googles myself. Some of y'all probably remember the incident wherein I blogged about a Margaret Cho stand-up routine being unfunny, and noted she had mentioned that she was in a lawsuit with her ex-manager. Shortly thereafter, her former manager actually contacted me, wanting to know more about what Margaret said. Not wanting to get caught in some kind of spat/legal proceeding I had nothing to do with, I dropped the matter. Not so with the manager, as I noticed her address showing up in my site meter records now and again for months afterwards. (Of course, she could just like my blog. If so, hi there, Margaret Cho's ex-manager! Can you get me a comedy writing gig? Let's do lunch!)

Now, something a little bit more unsettling has occurred. It seems a certain well-known mentalist/paranormalist/magician who shall go unnamed in this post in case he's still Googling himself, found a post I'd written several months ago that mentioned him, and decided to email me about it. It was a nice email, flattering my blog in the beginning, saying I'd made keen observations on his routine and noting that I'd tried to be objective. Taking a bit of a wounded tone, however, he then mentioned some sources I'd referred to that indicated an organization he is affiliated is a nefarious, pseudo-religious group for the purpose of making its leader rich and powerful. He said that wasn't his experience, and he'd be happy to "dialogue" with me, to better represent himself authentically.

As in the previous case, my first reaction to this was "how did this person find my little corner of self-indulgent chatter?" We all know that Google (and other search engines) and Technorati have made it possible to find thousands of instances of certain words one is seeking. However, the fact that these people are able to find my obscure blog this way is not just impressive ("wow - Google really can find anything") and alarming ("yikes - guess my little rants aren't as under-the-radar and anonymous as I thought") but somewhat telling.

I say telling for two reasons. One, it shows that the folks writing me are actively looking to see what information is drifting about the Intrawebs about themselves. It's something most of us do at one point or another, but one has to be especially circumspect to find a minor outpost of the blogosphere like mine, which proves a certain hyper-vigilance. Two, it is telling because of the search terms they would have to enter to find my posts that referred to them. In the mentalist's case, for example, if you search for his name on Google, my blog doesn't seem to come up - at least for the first ten pages of results I bothered perusing. But, run a search for his name and the word "cult"? It's right there on the first page. Very interesting.

I mean, does someone search for the word "cult" attached to their name because they've been unfairly associated with that word, or do they search for that word with their name because they are affiliated with a cult and that information has been posted before on the Internet? It's a little chicken and egg, but it's a curious quandary, and it brings me to my next reaction to these emails: "why do these people care what I wrote?"

Seriously, both of those posts were throw-away bits in pieces rife with purely subjective opinion on this matter and that - ramblings and rants, if you will. To search for a mention of oneself so thoroughly is one thing, and to take the mention so seriously as to contact the author, however little-known, is another. On the one hand, I can understand the impulse - I'm sure if I found a blog mentioning me I might be tempted to clarify things or say howdy. On the other, I'm not a public figure, so I wouldn't expect to be mentioned, and I imagine if I was a public figure, I'd ignore it or let my PR rep handle it, you know?

I guess my third and final reaction, then, is... just being kind of squicked out. Not only have my toss-away comments been noticed, but these people attempted to communicate about them with me in private. It just seems too personal, somehow. Not to mention, anyone affiliated with a strict religious/spiritual group scares me a bit, anyway, whether it's technically a "cult" or not. When it comes to true believers and my fear of attempted indoctrination, I'm just as wary of priests, imams and rabbis as I am of gurus and "enlightened ones". Hey, organized religion? I'm an equal-opportunity eschewer!

So, yeah. I don't think I'll be answering that email. No offense.

At any rate, all this leads me to one last question I've been pondering, and maybe those of you who regularly visit here can give me your opinions on it. As you know, in the past I worked as an animal communicator, but I don't anymore. My practice and its results were pretty successful, but I gave it up after being overwhelemed with work and stress, plus going through surgery, which seemed to alter my outlook on a lot of things, somehow. Now that I am applying for jobs in more traditional, AKA scientific or hands-on based animal organizations, I've wondered if I should take down my old AC website in case one of my interviewers Googles me, sees it, and thinks I'm a big crank.

The problem here is partially my own ambivalence about my past practice. At this point, I think of myself as neither a strict believer or non-believer in AC. I cannot deny some of the freakishly accurate readings and results I got in my sessions, things I never would imagine. On the other hand, I know that people tend to believe in things mainly because they want to and it's comforting, and I want neither to deceive others nor myself, even unintentionally. I've also been mentally blocked in terms of AC, and whether that is because I'm anxious and unresolved about it or my anxiety is causing the block, I can't say. Another chicken and egg.

My point being, if I thoroughly believed in AC, I probably wouldn't want to "closet myself" by hiding my past, just to get a job. I'd figure that if the interviewer wasn't open to what I'd done, that job wasn't the right one for me. However, if I truly had given up on bellieving in AC, I'd have taken my damn site down, already, and it wouldn't be an issue. Unfortunately, when it comes to animal behaviourists, advocates and researchers, it's very like religion: you believe in Science or you believe in God (or something spiritual beyond science, at least), and there's little room for anything in-between.

So, what do you think? Take down the old site for now, or leave it up? In the past I've been proud of its design and writing, but now I'm not sure. On the other hand, it's a part of who I've been and am, and it's not like I'm going to be able to erase the Village Voice article on my old career that comes up every time I Google myself. If someone wants to find out what I've been up to, they probably will.

I'll be taking votes and comments. In the meantime, I'll also be making a list of who NOT to blog about, lest they take offense track me down. Can someone confirm the spelling of "Kim Jong-il"?

P.S.: No Thursday Thirteen this week, kiddies. I think this is enough.