Category Archives: struggles

Peer Review

in the throes of flash fiction contest
limit: 1000 words
time remaining: mere hours
genre: horror
with co-entrant Beret via gchat

Gina: I’m at 1100 and only one person is dead. and he was already dead

Beret: Obviously we have the start of longer stories we will have to do another day, in all of our extra time

Beret: in the meantime. CRAP

Gina: Maybe I’ll cut a character. One fewer to kill

Beret: I have fantasy. I don’t even have anything magical yet.

Gina: you should end with: “and he lived happily ever after”. now give me an ending and we’re all set

Beret: ok. “he dies”

Gina: all the hes are already dead. there are only shes left

Beret: well don’t kill them. maybe they become part of the evil machine

Gina: I’m at 1100 words. there is no time to assimilate, only maybe to die

Gina: maybe they die of word count

Beret: well cut 108 words, and then say: “and then they all died spontaneously and forever”

Beret: I’m helpful





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Filed under festive activities, struggles, writing

Since August

When I met The Boy’s parents, they took us to see the Broadway production of August: Osage County. He had seen it already. I had not. As the lights went down, he turned to me, as if realizing, and, with trepidation said, “You know, this might not have been a good idea.”

It was true. This play – while stunningly beautiful – is pretty much the story of the worst possible outcome of my life. It was two and a half hours of Steppenwolf showing me what might happen if I’m not very, very careful. By the end of the show, I was hysterically sobbing, unable to stand for the ovation. Unable to get up to let others exit.

It was not, needless to say, the best impression I could have made.

Now, it’s true that I cry pretty easily. Those ASPCA commercials kill me. As do Kleenex and long-distance phone service commercials – manipulative motherfuckers that they are.  August was bad though. And since then, it seems as though The Boy has been very, very wary of showing me anything I might find upsetting.

For my birthday, he gave me a book of short story/memoirs, a book he was currently reading. “She writes like you,” he said. I’d like to think so, because she’s good, this Sloane Crosley, whom I kind of hate because she’s clever and funny and moderately famous for publishing all the stuff I think about but haven’t managed to get written down.

“You’ll like this,” said The Boy.  “But …  don’t read the one about the bear.”

“Why not?”

“There are sad animals. Trust me.”

A day later he called me.  “Also don’t read the one about the cat.”

“Why not?”

“Just don’t.”

Later he called again.  “The last story! I want to prepare you! You have to know I didn’t know about it!”

“What are you talking about?” I was bewildered.

“The book!  I just read the last story!”


“I didn’t know, I swear! It doesn’t mean anything!”

“Just tell me what you’re talking about.”

It turns out that the last story in the book includes a narrative of the author being cheated on and subsequently broken up with.

“Ok,” I said. “And why is this such a terrible thing for me to read?”

“Well, I gave it to you for your birthday,” he said. “And that’s not the kind of thing a boyfriend should give, with that kind of parting message. I didn’t want you to think it meant anything.”

It might be time to toughen up.


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Gina vs. Time Warner

May 30th, 2013.  10:02 pm – Message, via “contact us” page on

Dear Customer Service,


I work for a non-profit.  I do not make much money.  I am paying far more than I can afford for the cable that is – frankly – what I often cling to after weeks of of cranky teenagers, belligerent and/or apathetic administrators, and, often, 14 hour days. Why is it that I rarely, if ever, start something on-demand without it stuttering out on me, with that yellow triangle pop-up telling me the program is ‘not currently available’, and forcing me to restart?  Again? And again? And freaking again?

I realize The Bachelorette is not intellectual viewing.  This is not something I admit to without a sense of shame.  But it’s what, dammit, I want to watch so I don’t have to think about test scores and graduation rates and hungry kids and deadlines for two magical, unrealistic hours.  Having to restart this show – I kid you not – over a dozen times after finally having those two hours after three weeks without a day off has left me seething with hatred.  Seething.

It’s not like this is the first time.  This happens every time.  Every time!  Old shows, new shows.  Shows I’ve already watched!  Stutter, stutter — die.  Restart.  Restutter.  Redie.

I’ve already given up calling the support number over my abysmally slow internet service.  I’ve decided my time is better spent waiting for a page to load than to speak with yet another condescending ‘support provider’ who asks me what I expect, I live in Brooklyn. “It’s crowded there.”

If I had a choice in cable, I would run have leaped from this train long ago.  However, since I live in New York, I do not get a choice.  I realize this means you have no actual incentive to fix this issue – but please. For the love of all that is dear and precious, afford me this ONE BIT OF HAPPINESS and give me on-demand that works. Let me watch bad reality television and detective shows all in one sitting.  Surely, surely this is not too much.

Yours in fury,


May 30th, 10:29 pm – Response, via email 

Thank you for contacting Time Warner Cable. Your feedback has been received. If a response is needed, please Chat Online or Call Us.

The hours of operation for chat support are 24 hours a day; Seven days a week.

Many customers find the link below helpful.

Customer Service:

We all knew there would be no real answer to this message. I do not expect a follow up.  I do not expect this issue to be resolved.  But it’s out there.  And I can only assume that when I run screaming into the street, armed with a chair leg and demanding justice, the words “Time Warner” will grant me instant leniency, if not immunity.

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I wait at the corner of Church and MacDonald every Tuesday.  The 35 Limited theoretically comes every six minutes, but often I’m there up to ten.  That’s an additional four minutes a week I stand and stare at this:

feeling more and more stabby every week.

I suppose one could argue it’s marginally better than the place next door:

but I suspect I’m the kind of girl who prefers tainted drink to poor grammar.


Filed under struggles, surroundings


Dear Upstairs Neighbors,

Everyone should have a hobby.  I am so pleased you have found one.  I do wish, however, you had not chosen clogging, which is the only explanation I can find for the intervals of consistent rhythmic pounding – with occasional crashes – taking place above my head this afternoon.

I like Law & Order too, which I think is pretty common knowledge.  That BUM BUM, thing, though – it’s kind of loud.  It’s especially loud when the TV is turned up to full volume.  It’s especially, especially loud when the TV is turned up to full volume and pressed against the window to the airshaft right outside my bedroom.  It’s not terribly pleasant waking up because you think Mariska Hargitay is breaking into your apartment.

And, finally,

Love is a wonderful thing.  As is sex, with or without the former.  I am especially pleased that you have chosen to think about your health and play it safe.  But really – are trash cans so hard to come by, on the upper floors?  Is there really a pressing need to drop your used condoms onto my fire escape?  What if I had a plant out there, man?

Please remember the ground floor dwellers,




Filed under struggles, surroundings


I am going to Spain next week.  The fact that I looked at the weather forecast for Madrid and thought to myself, “Forty-five degrees?  Fabulous!  I won’t need a coat!” says something about how I feel about temperature these days.

Today: is cold.   I do not get adorable and rosy-cheeked like a Swedish beer maiden in the bitter wind.  Instead, I get blotchy (on a good day) and welted (today).  After running up and down 6th Avenue for the better part of the morning, I made the mistake of looking in the mirror – only to discover that I looked like the ‘before’ bit of a Proactiv commercial.

I’ve found it helps, sometimes, to slather myself in Eucerin before venturing into the winter world – better shiny than cankered – but, today, neglected to take precautions.  And am paying for my lack of foresight.

I miss the days I thought 60 degrees was all kinds of chilly.

Here, even the trees are suffering.

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Today’s Status

10% worrying about the weird leprosy-like blotches that appear on my face when I’m out in weather below 20 degrees.

15% huddling by the radiator.

10% being infuriated by capitulation to technology.

10% having splendid time playing with new iPhone.

5% worrying over cat post-vet.

5% being irritated by cat post-vet.

10% trying trying trying to eat healthy despite the fact Bogota will deliver right to my door.

10% recovering from all night Freaks and Geeks marathon.

5% wishing for cupcakes.

20% worrying I will fall and hit my head and die alone and no one will notice and the cats will starve to death because they will not want to eat my face, what with these weird leprosy-like blotches.

New York and I are at a bit of an impasse at the moment.  Kind of circling, eyeing each other suspiciously.  Tempting one another closer with a happy little moment only to throw Arctic Windchill and laugh gleefully a moment later.


Filed under struggles