On Clay Aiken's transformation...

...from nerdy guy with big ears and big feet, to object of the screaming, hysterical, drooling, fainting, panty-throwing adoration of thousands of women. (Though he still has big ears and feet -- and he dances like a stick figure.)

Dominic: It's a ploy to make nerdy guys hate their self-image and become as obsessed with their looks as everyone else!
Me: Maybe if more nerdy guys paid just a little bit of attention to their looks, they'd get more attractive women and thus breed a race of good-looking, intelligent people who would eventually take over the world by dint of good hair and technological/information savvy.
Dominic: Ahh, touché.

Ooh, something to note.

If you don't get all the inside jokes in that interview thing, don't worry. I'm really manic right now, and also...um, well, not making a lot of sense. So. I'll write a follow-up post tomorrow. It'll give me something to do other than download 10,000 floors for my Sims.

The Interview Game.

This is something that several people I know should do. Here are the rules! Roguey asked these questions.

-- Leave a comment saying you want to be interviewed.
-- I will respond by asking you 4 - 6 questions.
-- You will answer those questions in a new post on your LiveJournal.
-- You will include this explanation in your post.
-- If and when other people want to be interviewed, you will ask them 4 - 6 questions.

1. What's the secret to winning at laser tag?
Well, obviously, when you're in a chaotic situation with many black walls, loud pounding music, and lots of people running around armed with Luxury Sedans, you need to...cheat. By this, I mean that if you have three people on your team playing against eighteen other people on two opposing teams, one of your three people should...cheat. The best way to accomplish this is for her to be tall and entirely devoted to standing in front of the home base sensor so that no one can shoot it. She needs to be a strong person, willing to withstand the slings and arrows of misfortune -- or at least of small children hurling insults, laser beams, and (entirely accurate) accusations of being a cheater at her. Also, it helps to have a hyperactive future SWAT team member on your side, as well as a girl who spends the whole time shooting people at long range and then hiding to laugh her head off at the puzzled expressions on their face when they're silently deactivated. Five squared.

2. Favorite local food?
It's gotta be the toasted rav. No, really. It's gotta be the...you know what? Missouri's only local food is corn. And I don't really like corn that much. So, I really have to say that my favorite local food is the food I cook in my own kitchen. Locally. Or the kimchee at Okii Mama.

3. Where's the best place to look for high contrast demonspawn?
On the longest tram in the world. Either that, or wherever you find crowds of giggling, moronic teenagers standing in the dark with a camera that has a little bitty flash. Of course, why you should want to look for them is quite beyond me. In my opinion, they should be taken out and inhumanely shot. ...but that's just me.

4. What do you really want to be when you grow up?
An Oscar Mayer Weiner. Or possibly, you know, a writer and a communication theorist. Whichever works out best -- it's not like I'm gonna set my future in stone right now.

5. Do you like protons, neutrons, electrons, or nuclei best?
Electrons. They're negative, and I can really sympathize with that.

6. Now assign each of the above to everyone you know!
Um?

IN WHICH my life is being complicated.

Albuquerque was amazing — pirates, burritos, really silly tourist stuff, big long tram rides in the dark in the mountain, horrible girls, epic videogames and mixtapes, and boys...among other things, with a bigger update when I'm less awful.

In the complicated vein...

-- My mother and I are clashing over the fact that I'm messy.
-- There's issues with me needing to close down utilities at one apartment and open them at another.
-- There's complicated love triangles and quadrangles and FREAKIN' POLYGONS all over wherever I look. Meanwhile, I haven't been interested in a boy or had a boy interested in me for over a year.
-- WORK STRESS. The issue is out late and crap and huge pile of crap and advertising rates and e-mail issues and server issues and new-year issues and design issues and content update issues and OH MY FREAKING GOD.
-- There's issues with me needing to go up and clean my apartment, and pack everything up and move it to a storage space, and clean the apartment from top to bottom, and move the boxes to the new apartment and unpack them.
-- There's issues with me possibly not GETTING a storage space and instead having to get a UHAUL and tow all my stuff to my parents' house and then back.
-- I have to drive at least seven hours tomorrow.
-- This hotel room I'm in is really expensive.
-- Dominic is not talking to me. Or he's really mad at me. I don't think I can handle that.
-- SCHOOL STRESS. So much unresolved stuff, with the appeal and the D and the change in class schedules and the papers my ENGL 205 teacher LOST and the residency paperwork.
-- LACK OF MONEY. Big honking debt to my parents. Big expenses this month and next.
-- Sadness at leaving Albuquerque.
-- Missing of my online friends and the Columbia friends.
-- Oral surgery to cancel and reschedule.
-- Bigtime room cleaning and waiting hell from my parents as soon as I get home tomorrow.
-- I'm going to need another oil change soon, and also I think my tires need rotating, and my wiper blades want replacing, and there's bug guts all over my windshield
that I think got BAKED on, because I CANNOT get them off.
-- Slaughterhouse-Six. Tanking. Stickers not done for Otakon. Advertising not happening, updates not being updated, crap crap crap crap crap.

I want to cry. Or die. Or both.

All my moral support is mad at me or gone or not available.

I don't think I can deal with any of this.

The Great Escape.

I did something crazy that I will never, ever admit to my mother that I did: I drove straight to Albuquerque from work, seventeen hours. It took me several tanks of gas; innumerable full-caffeine, full-sugar Cokes; three No-Doz; one Wendy's spicy chicken sandwich, 1/2 bag of Hot & Spicy Chex Mix, and 1/4 package beef jerky; 5 excellent CD's overplayed to a criminal degree; and two really long phone calls: one to Prince and one, at the end, to Ashleigh.

I started out at noon from Columbia and got to Kansas City just a little before two. As ever, that part of the drive was boring. The only things to see along the way are lots and lots of nudie bookstores and a huge fireworks factory store, plus the outlet mall in Odessa. And it didn't improve once I crossed the border into Kansas...oh no.

Let the records show that Kansas state, particularly along the turnpike, is possibly the most stultifying thing I have ever driven through. It was very green, and very flat, and very abandoned-looking. The most interesting part of that segment of the drive is that there were, occasionally, cows.

Most of the rest of the drive was uneventful. I spent a lot of time with no signal on my cell phone, listening to music. I got to Oklahoma City by the time I'd projected, 8:30 p.m., but was in a "driving groove," as it were. Keeping going seemed the easiest, and so I did. I was psyched to get to Amarillo...

...except then, just inside the Texas border, I hit dead-end traffic. We were stopped for an hour and a half, not moving an inch. Eventually, I got tired of wondering why and called 911 from the temperamental cell phone, pulling the "I'm-18-and-alone-and-scared-and-please-tell-me-what-is-going-on" routine, which worked like a charm. "Oh, ma'am, there was a real big accident up ahead of you. They're clearing it out now."

Hallelujah.

Still, even after that call it was quite a while before we began moving again, so I called Prince and we rambled at each other for a bit. Lucky thing he was up that late! When the traffic started moving again, my signal started flaking out again, so we said goodbye and I kept on driving.

At some point during Texas, I stopped at one of the many, many Love's Travel Centers. I pulled in, got a drink and some gas, and left...and promptly missed the exit onto the freeway, instead hitting an insane one-way access road that went on and on for miles. By the time I managed to turn around and drive all the way back to the same exit I'd missed, I'd lost at least forty minutes.

Amarillo came and went pretty peacefully. And then it got hard.

At another Love's Travel Center, I ended up calling Ashleigh and having her talk me through the last two hours. I got there really late and Ashleigh put me to bed, where I lay twitching from caffeine overdose for a good hour...and then fell asleep.

What an excellent trip.

The Maneater Work Ethic.

Elie: "We're totally dedicated to this paper. I mean, look. We're here now. The Maneater is at the top of our list of priorities."
Tim: "Good."
Me: "Yeah, after we went shopping, stopped for iced tea, bought shoes and stopped for dinner, we came straight here!"
Tim: "That's the kind of thing I want to hear."

The Trip to ABQ, Part One.

I've begun my pilgrimage to Albuquerque...almost. On Sunday, I drove to Columbia and have been schmaltzing around waiting to go to work. I'll go to work tomorrow and leave directly from there, stopping only to run a few errands and then skipping town, ABQ or bust.

Ian Guerin said that he was going to send me a route that would shorten my trip anywhere up to 4 hours -- and he hasn't sent it yet, so it looks like it's going to be the old 17-hour drive anyway. There's NO WAY I can make that in one day, so I'm going to have to plan on stopping just outside of Oklahoma City anyway.

Hopefully I can find somewhere to stay that I can get Internet access!

Today I got all excited about the trip and bought Roguey some presents. :) Can't wait to see her.