May 23, 2005

Fun with Hawaiian Insurance

So, now that we're happily ensconced in a hotel here in Hawaii (we have no actual place to live as yet, but hopefully soon), I went to change my car registration from Virginia to Hawaii. Lo and behold, you need a safety inspection first. So I went to the safety inspection place and waited for thirty minutes in line, only to be told that my Virginia insurance isn't valid here; you must have Hawaiian insurance.

So off I went this morning to the State Farm office in my (apparently uninsured) car. The nice lady in the very big mu-mu (yes, some people actually wear those here) typed up all the necessary forms. While she was typing, we had the following conversation:

Insurance lady: [peering at a form] Does you or your husband have the birthdate of July 29, 1977 [not the actual date]?

Me: Oh, that's my birthday.

Lady: Oh, we're the same sign!

Me: [blank look. What sign?] Um, okay.

Lady: [leaning in and whispering conspiratorialy] We Leos really like to be the boss, don't we?

Me: Oh, um, yeah. I guess.

Lady: So, your husband's birthday is April 27?

Me: Yes.

Lady: Wow, that is so uncanny! My husband and I were just like that--he was an Aries and I was a Leo. Just like you guys!

Me: Oh, that's nice.

Lady: Of course, we're divorced now.

May 18, 2005

WT, Part 4: Alabama and Mississippi

They say that life moves more slowly in places like Alabama and Mississippi. I have discovered that this is because EVERY SINGLE ROAD IN THOSE STATES IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION. I am not kidding. We drove for five hundred miles on a four-lane highway that had been narrowed to two, so our nine-hour trip took twelve hours instead. We amused ourselves most of the way through Alabama by saying, "Greenbow, Alabama," and "Jenny: The most beautiful name in the whole world," in a Forrest Gump accent over and over again.

Mississippi is the same as Alabama, only with even worse roads. Also, the water is brown, and I don't mean the water in Old Man River. We stopped at a Hardees and the water was absolutely terrifying. I'm fairly sure that washing my hands in the bathroom actually made them dirtier.

WT, Part 3: Louisiana

Louisiana has more cows than one might expect. You'll be driving through a swamp, surrounded by brackish water sprouting trees thickly hung with Spanish moss and chock full of snakes and alligators, and all of a sudden, there will be a herd of cows, happily trodding through the water, getting cool in the shade and munching on pussywillows. It was quite odd.

We spent three days in New Orleans. They were wonderful days, and I was very happy to get to visit, and I was equally happy to get to leave. New Orleans is just too much of all the good stuff--too much good food, too much alcohol, too much river-and-weeping-willows-and-soft-jazz-playing-on-the-street. It was a little overwhelming. I did buy a very cool tee-shirt that says "Born Again Wiccan" on it, although I haven't been brave enough to wear it yet. I was seriously tempted to wear it in front of the King's family in Georgia, but I was afraid some of them would lynch me, particularly his cousin, who is a snake-handling, fundamentalist preacher as well as a world-champion, Olympic-level bow hunter. He can hit a deer at 500 yards, so he can sure as hell hit me.

If you happen to be going to New Orleans, I have only one recommendation--Mena's Palace. Of all the great food in that city, it's the best. It's a tiny hole in the wall, cash only please, next to a fabulous used bookstore in the Quarter. Get the shrimp po'boy. Trust me.

May 17, 2005

Why the Publishing Industry Is in Such Sorry Shape

I just got an e-mail from my agent to all her clients. She's got a buyer from a publishing company who is looking for five new authors who want to write a series of three books each, for print and audiobook publication. It's a big company with the potential for really decent sales.

The catch is, the buyer wants, and I quote, deeply serious literary work, "like Tom Clancy."

That's right, Tom Clancy. If the publishing industry now considers Tom Clancy's books to be serious literature, I might as well just stab myself in the eye with my pen and be done with it right now.

WT, Part 2: South Carolina

South Carolina: The State of Nothing Except Billboards for Things in Other States

Seriously, there's just not a lot there. We drove for like six freaking hours through South Carolina, and only saw four people. And seventeen million trees. We arrived at the King's father's house for an overnight visit. The King's dad took off when he was about six months old and never came back. They've only seen each other a handful of times in his entire life, and the King's dad remarried three times after divorcing his mom. Despite that, and despite the sheer excruciating boringness that is South Carolina, we had a good time. The King's dad was extremely welcoming and friendly, and I ate shrimp that had been pulled from the Charleston River only hours before, and the King and I stood on the banks of the river just as the sun went down, watching the shrimp boats sail in, and kissed. It was like a scene out of the Prince of Tides, only without the rape and violent physical abuse and stuff. Oh, and I ate my first boiled peanut.*

* It was better than you'd think, really.

May 13, 2005

WT: Part 1a, More North Carolina

I left a few vital things out of my previous post on North Carolina. The first is that we stopped for dinner at a steakhouse that looked popular, in some tiny town in the middle of nowhere. The food was actually quite good, but my first clue that I definitely wasn't in familiar territory was that the King ordered the house special, which was meat with a side of meat. I'm not kidding--beef ribs and steak. My second clue was the somewhat offputting fact that there was a dead squirrel ON OUR TABLE. The entire restaurant was decorated in dead, stuffed animals. Yum.

Also, I discovered why the King and I are soulmates: When we order bacon cheese fries, I let him have all the bacony ones, and he lets me have all the cheesy ones.

Finally, there is a very special restaurant in North Carolina called the Risque Cafe. I haven't actually eaten there, but I'm sure it's something very unique. You see, it's a combination porn shop and eatery. That's right, stop in for a club sandwich and a side of fries, get a naked lady on your lap. It's just off I-95, so if you're ever down that way, do stop in and let me know if it's as terrifying inside as it appears to be from the outside, and if the naked ladies actually serve the food, or if that's against some sort of North Carolinian health code.

May 12, 2005

Internet Irony 2, Or, Why I Am an Idiot

Um, yeah, so now that I put up that last post, the one with the dirty, dirty word in it (in capital letters, no less!), this stupid hotel computer won't let me view my own blog. Yep, you'd think I would have thought of that earlier.

Internet Irony

In between attempting to post about my trip (next up: South Carolina!), I visited Grrl's blog, which I've been missing terribly. I read her latest post, no problem, and then went to comment on it. BEEP! The hotel computer I'm using threw up a big red box that said "PAGE BLOCKED!! This page contains material that may be harmful to children! The forbidden word is "FUCKED!"

So, um, I can't read Grrl's comments because there's a bad word in them, but you're perfectly happy to show me what that word is? So, like, if my hypothetical kid* were trying to get to a dirty page, she'd be blocked, but you'd be happy to tell her that the page includes "hot chocolate scat enema stories?"** Righto.

* Ha! Hypothetical kid. Like that's ever going to happen. Ha ha.

** No doubt I'm going to get some very cool keyword hits off that last paragraph. For all of you that got here looking for enema stories, believe me, I like them as much as the next girl, but I just don't have anything for you.

May 11, 2005

Whirlwind Tour: Part 1

North Carolina: The Home of Cigarettes. Okay, technically that's not actually the state motto, but it might as well be. The picturesque forest that runs along I-95 through North Carolina is covered with cigarette factories, and everyone in the entire state either works there or uses the product. I think they kick you out of the state if you don't.

We saw a billboard that said, "North Carolina: We Support the Military More Than Any Other State." I immediately thought, "North Carolina: We Like to Kill People Too!" Perhaps that was uncharitable of me.

We drove through North Carolina quickly, stopping only once, to see the Girl Who Is Prettier Than Me. When I was in junior high and high school, I had two best friends, Caroline and Anne. Caroline was the pretty one, Anne was the daredevil, and I was the smart one. Every guy we ever met would have killed to get with Caroline, and she could have given a rat's ass about any of them--she just wasn't that interested. But for all that, she got knocked up when we were seventeen, and I lost track of her during college. I admit I was secretly a little happy when she got pregnant--she might be gorgeous, but at least I got to go to college.

So anyway, I hadn't seen her for ten years, and then about a month ago, Anne told me she had moved to North Carolina. I wrote her, and we arranged to get together for lunch. It was good to see her, but I was rather bitter by the end. You see, not only is she still the Girl Who's Prettier Than Me, but she is happily married and has not only one, but two beautiful daughters. Looks like I really did waste my fertile years getting an education. Damn it, and damn that pretty girl.