Saturday, September 30, 2006

One more day of freedom...

and then it's back to the salt mines (30:30). Not even sure if I can finish this round with the TPM deadline... and my Friday the 13th driving exam hanging sword-like over the head. But I figure it's better than biting my hair and twirling my nails while I stare deeply into worry.

TPM update:

The first batch of submission replies has begun to trickle out. Am scheduled to send out a batch of 5 acceptances every week until the 14th. The multiple selves, namely Ellen, Angela, Anne and (H)arlem have been arguing and fighting endlessly over which poems to include and why. They actually pose very good reasons... which makes them rather scary and threatening in a way, especially once they start going after each other's blood.

Because of my rather anal personality, I counted the amount of poets whose works I've read to date: 332. Since each sends an average of 4 poems in a submission, 1328 would a rough total of the poems I've read so far. Not really a huge amount, but choosing 15 poems out of 1328 gives TPM a 1% acceptance rate. Yikes. And it's not over yet.

Recent acceptance:

Fringe accepted three poems (all, incidentally, from my 2nd 30:30 round):

rest : stop
through blinds
That time my upper lip swelled up

for their November 2006 issue. I'm super pre-Halloween hoppy because this 'zine is such a delight to read.

     Submission date: 12 August 2006
     Reply date: 28 September 2006

Driving update:

Went through my 19th and 20th driving lessons like a pro —erm— killer. Blah. I really have the sinking feeling that I won't pass the damn exam. Have been hoping the instructor would change the date, but he says I can do it. Pooh. The cheeky fella even added: "Don't worry. I have faith in your driving. Look, I'm so relaxed now. I can even close my eyes... to the danger."

Didn't know whether to teehee or kick him on the shin. Hee. I did hit him accidentally on the head yesterday while putting my backpack on the backseat. He went: "You really *are* dangerous!"

I had the grace to give a modest snicker. Revenge, finally!

Am scheduled for three more lessons next week... still having trouble taking roundabouts and busy intersections. Thing is I get claustrophobic when surrounded by other cars and the poor brain goes into system crash. Tomorrow I have a practice scheduled with the husband. I will not forget to bring a strong adhesive tape this time.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Running low on gas...

Probably here's where Nicole, the mountain mamma will say: I knows I wasn't imagining that hideous gas cloud hovering over my home. Call it a girl thing.

I didn't mean that kinda gas, of course. Just running low on energy these days. Must've slept for twelve hours yesterday and still I felt gooey. Blah. Blame it on autumn, they say. Looking forward to yoga class tomorrow... hopefully, that and a bit of coffee will get me back on my feet.

Recent publications:

Yay! Just received the Autumn 2006 issue of Poetry Salzburg Review. It's a beaut! I can be spied maturely taking risks with RC boating here while old Mulch... well, she's obsessed with Nigel and Angie and giving tips on how to bury the dead. Really. At her age, too. Tsk.

My poem, Lapis lazuli is now up in the Post-Summer/Pre-Fall issue of Poetry Midwest. The PDF file is downloadable for free here. It's a wonderful issue — a particular treat to read is Claudia Grinnell's A Town With an Airport Like That.

Was thrilled to discover that the editor just had a bouncing baby boy last September 21. Wooohooo!

Driving update:

Still rather jittery. Practiced with the husband last Sunday. He was all head-shakes and grunts. According to the self-proclaimed expert, I don't curve around the roundabout, but make sharp 90° degree turns. The problem is I don't see any difference between the two. It was quite a letdown since I've been feeling particularly good and cool about my driving lately. Hee. At any rate, I refuse to trust such observations coming from the man who spilled my kefir grains during a sharp turn around a corner. Needless to say, we argued jabjabjab about it all the way home.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Taking a short rest from 30:30

Well, I did it!! Finished my 3rd round in 30:30 last Wednesday.

Poems added to the list —

21. About Your Parrot
22. Outside the Cathedral, With St. Paul
23. chopping board
24. Bathroom
25. A Driving Student Restarts the Car
26. A Driving Instructor's First Experience with a Tango Teacher
27. A Driving Instructor's First Brush with Death
28. pacifier (from An Encyclopedic Guide to Counteracting Bad Luck)
29. A Driving Student Reconstructs the Three-Point Turn
30. Headlines Sestina

The last poem was actually for the The Supermarket Tabloid Sestina Challenge. Check it out — it's a riot!

Recent acceptances:

juked accepted my poem, Typo for a future update.

     Submission date: 10 September 2006
     Reply date: 18 September 2006

The Nthposition editor accepted other two spanking-new poems for their December issue:

About Your Parrot
A Driving Student Restarts the Car

     Submission date: 19 September 2006
     Reply date: 19 September 2006

Recent publication:

My poem, Portrait of the Other Husband as a Clock is now up in the September 2006 issue of Boxcar Poetry Review. Wonderful issue! Thrilled to be sharing space with these fine poets, too: Jon Ballard, Pris Campbell, George David Clark, Michael Estabrook, Amanda Laughtland, Willie Lin, Marty McConnell, Benjamin Morris, Erin Elizabeth Smith, Laurie Soslow and John Sweet.

Driving update:

Finally! Am rather pleased with myself after my 18th driving lesson this afternoon. Even the cheeky instructor admitted that he's amazed at my recent progress. No kidding.

Am getting the hang of parking and three-point turns. Even got a "star" rating from the instructor. (Yeah right, the evil Miss Mumps will say, Star Wars, you mean.)

Still having a problem following directions though... and most of the time I still have no idea where I am and where I'm heading.

Driving exam really fixed on Friday the 13th. Everyone's been warned to stay at home and lock their doors. I should mention that I can rev up the car until it sounds like a chainsaw. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Stuff received through the post:

Making Love by Marius Brill
• my US$30 loot from flashquake

Some words about the Burano tour:

Hah. It was a success. **preening**

Had a fabulous time time, too! Took John Amen and his wonderful wife, Mary to Burano yesterday. The husband (mine) was rather doubtful, going "Why Burano of all places?" — but I still think Burano is a must-see in Venice... more than Lido or other islands. They seemed really pleased with the multi-colored houses and took a bit of pictures here and there. Afterwards I managed to bring us to Ca' Pesaro: Museum of Modern Art — getting lost only once during the long walk to the place. Hee.

Did get lost on my way back to the bus station. But I was half-drunk after our dinner and at nighttime all the streets in Venice look alike.

Got home ten minutes before midnight —unlike Cinderella's pumpkin— crawled to bed and played Civ 4 with droopy eyelids. Totally exhausted.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Playing hooky...

sort of. Told myself I wasn't going to start playing it — not now with all sorts of deadlines hanging over my head. But the husband installed it in the laptop. I peeked. And eeeeek, I'm obsessed (again) with Civilization 4. Am having a hard time concentrating... the husband has even threatened to send me to the rehab center for video game addicts. Hee.

And I simply adore the music by Christopher Tin. I swear just listening to it puts me in a hypnotized state where the only thing that passes through my mind is: Play Civ 4. Play Civ 4. You know you wanna do it. You know you do. Yesssss. Yesssss.

Hope to finish the game sometime this week... then I can put it away and get on with my life. Sheesh.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Writing and —guess what?— driving update

My poem, Cat Woman is now up in Issue #13 of Tattoo Highway. Am sharing the honorable mention with none other than the crazy Bayesian spam, Michi. Yay!!

Recent acceptances:

Tipton Poetry Journal accepted A Driving Instructor's First Water Bottle for their Fall 2006 issue — and made me one happy bunny.

     Submission date: 12 September 2006
     Reply date: 12 September 2006

Very quick response time, too!! Probably because the deadline is fast coming up — if anyone plans to send them work, do so by September 30 — or forever hold your piece. Hee.

Eclectica accepted three poems for their October/November issue:

After Richard's Swivel Chair Broke (word poem)
A Driving Student Takes a Blind Corner (word poem)
One-Room Flat
Doing a yeti dance because the word poems (as well as the soon-to-be Tipton poem) are spanking fresh out of 30:30. Not to mention that I tickled myself pink writing them.

     Submission date: 30 August 2006
     Reply date: 14 September 2006

A rather new online journal, Bare Root Review accepted an oldish poem, Elsewhere.

     Submission date: 10 September 2006
     Reply date: 14 September 2006

They've got a broken link to their guidelines on the front page, so enter through "Archives" and then click on "About Us" — they only accept submissions during January, April and September.

Recent rejection:

A terrific UK-based print journal, Mslexia sent their regrets —

     Submission date: 2 June 2006
     Reply date: 14 September 2006

Despite the long response time, I plan to pester them for a long, long time. Hee. Overseas writers get to send via e-mail — wasn't sure they would reply, so am really glad they did. It's a paying market and accepts submission only from women. Not sure if that's good or bad. Hee.

They also have wonderful writing exercises for bad muse days. And run theme issues — which I love. Good thing I checked just now, too. The deadline for the next issue is on September 30.
The theme: RAIN.

Driving update:

Blah. Still having a hard time trying not to be a public hazard. Went through my 14th and 15th driving lessons like a maniac. Even though, today, the instructor praised my ability to start the car... adding, as afterthought, that it's the rest I'm having problems with.

Lamented about it to a childhood friend. Since she wanted to learn the mechanics of driving, she used to accompany me when I did my driving lessons more than ten years ago. When I told her about being called assassina. She e-mailed back quickly saying: "Yes, assassina is a very apt term for you. I still cannot erase the memories of riding at the back seat while you were taking your driving lessons."

Whatever happened to friendship? Whatever happened to white lies?

Have been scheduled, tentatively, to take the driving exam on October 13. Yikes.

Books ordered and received:

These came by post today —

Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde
Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The £210 cheque...

from the Frogmore editor arrived yesterday morning. Wheeee!!

Another great reason to drain dry some more wine bottles for the next couple of weeks or so. Hee.

As if to add extra celebration to the aging process, my mom actually called yesterday to greet me. Apart from mispronouncing my name since birth, she is now spreading the rumor that my birthday is on the 9th, not the 7th. Ahem.

Okay, so I may have missed that flight to Zurich and twice I locked myself out of the house keyless and mobile-phoneless... but these are normal things that occur naturally to normal people. Compared to the rest of the clan, I'm a serious, levelheaded and totally dependable person.

Recent acceptance:

Will have two poems: Lemony Squeezation and The Twentieth Secret Love Poem in Velvet Avalanche, a print anthology of sensual poetry edited by Donna Hill and Jeremy Hoemsen. It is slated to go to print by the end of September. Such a thrill. Yay!

     Submission date: 16 March 2006
     Reply date: 9 September 2006

30:30 update:

Am beginning to believe that I can actually finish this third round! Only ten more days to go.

Poems to date —

14. The Anon. Manuscript Writer Gets to Page 24
15. Lost-and-Found Article #2403WRD
16. The doorways have eyes
17. Mask
18. Still Life with Le Journal
19. Observances of a Domestic Nature
20. What did you learn from the dead? —Gina Franco

Between the 30:30 challenge, the Pedestal subs reading, the social drinking and re-installing my Sims... I have a hard time staying awake in bed at night with the laptop acting as a hot water bottle on my paunch.

Found this picture of my darling pooch lying around. She breathes new life into the expression "dog-tired". Since I haven't had time to shave my eyebrows, we've begun to look scarily alike.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

13th driving lesson, new laptop & 42opus

Blah. Had my 13th driving lesson yesterday evening with the cheeky instructor. Sadly, it confirmed my suspicions: that the other instructor was using the double controls while I drove. No wonder I looked good. Waaaaaah!!

Because of the dark, I had a hard time seeing, too. The instructor ended up invoking the highest deity: OH GOD. So, it's back to square one, I guess.

Birthday present:

Wheeeeee! I'm now the owner of a new laptop — was supposed to get it next year before going back to Manila, but the husband insisted for the birthday. I suspect it's a ploy to keep me and my ever-growing Sims population away from his new computer. Because of my annoying —erm— knack for catching viruses and worms over the internet, I wanted to go for the MacBook initially. But the 13.3-inch ouch-my-myopic-eyes screen (as opposed to the 15.4" of the laptop) dissuaded me. Plus, the delish idea of playing with my Sims in bed (now doesn't that sound inflatable-doll kinky) is a dream. I mean, if I die, they can bury me directly in that position. Hee.

Recent acceptance:

42opus accepted two poems for a future: A setting sun and It could have been a centerfold.

     Submission date: 8 May 2006
     Reply date: 4 September 2006

Okay, so I'm another year older:

A little fish (with the initials N.C.D.) sent me an e-greeting that addressed me as "arelene" — as if to prove that, with age, I've become a plural form of my own name. Tsk.

Well, off to get jolly drunk!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Flashquake and 6 other things

The Fall 2006 issue of flashquake is now up! Have two poems there:

The Weight of Seasons
On Seeing the Body Hit Ice (editor's pick)

Check out the artwork of Wolff Bowen in this issue — its' absolutely gorgeous. Never seen anything like it.

6 things I'll bet no one knew about me:

Have been tagged by Michi into revealing 6 virtues about myself. No sins — because I realize that anything I state here may be used against me in the court of law. Hee.

I'm a southpaw. And so is the husband. According to Stanley Coren in The Left-Hander Syndrome, there is a high probability that the cause of our left-handedness is brain damage. No kidding.

I have two white hairs on my head which never fail to freak me out.

I share the same birthday with Harry Sinclair Lewis, Edith Sitwell, Elia Kazan, Buddy Holly, Chrissie Hynde, and —last, but not the least— Melvin Edward Mays (one of FBI's most wanted).

Okay, this should've been a job for Nicole: Once I left garlic, hot pepper and olive oil sizzling in a saucepan too long. The whole thing caught fire. When I saw the two-foot flame, I also had a brief vision of the condo burning to the ground — and the whole town pointing sooty, accusing fingers at me. I was already thinking about how to haul all the computers out of the house. Thank heavens the husband got home that moment and managed, after burning off the hair on his arms, to put the saucepan under the faucet. The spicy-hot smoke was particularly painful to nose, eyes and throat — I felt as if I'd been dipped in a pool of Tabasco acid.

I like my steak raw and all bloody, please.

No sense denying it: I'm a Lit major drop-out.

It's Cathy's birthday:

Discovered through that Cathy Guisewite is celebrating today. I've got particularly fond memories of reading her comic strips in my —erm— youth. Had a good friend who kept me hooked on books and books of her stuff. Damn, but I never imagined she was this old (1950). Hee.

Monday, September 04, 2006

The house is in leaks...

and I feared going half-deaf. Otherwise, it was an uneventful, middling sort of weekend.

Leaks and lakes:

The drain pipe in the kitchen burst last Friday because the good husband —erm— poured some kind of caustic soda down the drain. For months I dissuaded him from doing it, saying: "Actually, I don't mind using the plunger. I'm good at it, which makes it doubly fun."

Unfortunately, husbands never listen to their wives. And he even did it behind my back. The caustic soda ate through the whole metal pipe. He worked on it the whole afternoon... while I continued reading Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair, occasionally looking up to raise an eyebrow.

The pipe's been changed. Now the leak is coming from the part where he didn't screw back the P-trap well. Have left all the plastic bags and bottles of house-cleaning stuff on the kitchen floor to remind him that there's still a leak. Last night he commented something like: "Maybe it's time you put these bottles back under the sink. They're quite a hindrance here."

I replied soberly: "They have a nice amiable presence and don't bother me at all. If this [the leak] goes on, they'll be family. I'll start calling them by their first names."

He muttered something about sending me to Dr. House (who happened to be nailing someone's head to the operating table) if I'm not careful.

* * * * *

The toilet's been leaking, too. The rubber gasket is all eaten up and needs to be changed. Since big, neanderthal arms won't fit into the small opening of the tank (one of those cask-of-amontillado behind-the-wall types), I shall have to do it myself. It's rather fun though. I like dipping my arm into that abyss. The water's cold. Makes me feel all very creature-from-the-black-lagoon smug for some reason.


My left ear went rather half-deaf for a week — strange sensation as if it failed to pop on a plane. Over the weekend, I threatened to bring it to the GP come Monday. Hah. It stopped sulking and went back to normal activity last night. Which is just as well, since after years and years of looking for it, I still haven't found my health card. Grunt. Where I hide my things I'll never know.

30:30 update:

Pfew! Have survived Day 13. Have also adjusted well to the constant gush of TPM submissions... it's the rest of my old habits that are in shambles: haven't played the Sims 2 in ages, much less uploaded their clothes and furniture on the new computer.

     Poems to date —

     9. Love Letter
     10. A Secret Love Poem that Doubles as a Map of Antarctica
     11. Leak
     12. Tusk
     13. acrylic
           (from An Encyclopedic Guide to Counteracting Bad Luck, page 24)

The last poem is an attempt for the Sidebrow Page 24 Project. It's one of the craziest 'zines I've seen — and I just plain love it. Check it out!