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  string(4565) "Since I had sex with George Clooney it's occurred to me that I'm better than everyone else. I'm aware that some of you think that just because George Clooney kissed me twice — THAT'S RIGHT GEORGE CLOONEY KISSED ME TWICE THAT'S PRACTICALLY MAKING OUT WHICH IN THE BIBLE BELT MEANS WE HAD SEX YES I HAD SEX WITH GEORGE CLOONEY SEX WITH GEORGE CLOONEY SEX WITH GEORGE CLOONEY — to say we had sex is pushing it, but I invite any of you to get kissed by George goddam fucking Clooney and NOT consider it a sexual experience. Grant just shook hands with the man and to this day he keeps thrusting his paw in people's faces: "Smell my hand!"

So unless anyone else here has had sex with George Clooney, then I guess I will serve as the authority on what it's like, and it's stupendous. Afterward I even clung to him a little, like a little squid. I've always had issues with letting go, and it's always surprising to me how gracious people can be in allowing me to cling.

Take my airline job. For three years after I appeared on "The Tonight Show," I still donned my apron every weekend to serve people Cokes across the Atlantic. My supervisor, Sam, would often holler, "What the hell are you still doing here?" as though I had better places to be. (By the way, Leno kissed me, too, as did Elijah Wood, the other guest, so Clooney is not the first celebrity with whom I have fornicated.) But because banks won't let you take a tape of yourself on "Leno" to the counter and say, "So we're good on my mortgage, right?" without demanding actual cash to go with it, I still couldn't bring myself to trust a buck unless I was breaking my ass to make it.

Then my airline went bankrupt, which was probably not very much my fault, and the day came when Sam my supervisor pointed out – not with actual words, but still – how greedy it would be for me to keep my position when doing so would take it away from another girl who really needed it. But don't make me out to be all benevolent, because like I said, I have issues with letting go, and I would have clung to that job until they pried the peanuts from my cold, dead fingers. But I could see Sam was holding my employee file like it was all heavy from all the notations from the hundred times I called in sick over the years, probably most noteworthy my personal tapeworm panic of 1998, and I got the point.

So I didn't leave to be nice, I left for my own damn good. Today, though, I am really grateful to Sam, because if he had not gently ushered me out of that job, I might not have gone on to have sex with George Clooney and become better than everyone else. By the way, when I hugged Sam goodbye I clung to him like a little squid.

Now here Creative Loafing just declared bankruptcy — again, probably not very much my fault. In fact, the editor, Ken, was in the actual act of declaring it to the staff when I floated in with my own declaration that I'm jumping ship to become a columnist at Atlanta magazine. I would have noted my perfect timing if I wasn't way too busy having group sex with celebrities.

Anyway, people have long been telling me I hog this column space – I'm not gonna name specific names, but they start with "G" and end with "rant and Lary" – and how I should move on and let someone with more talent (aka any other writer at Creative Loafing and three-quarters of the people who enroll in my writing seminars) showcase their creativity, and I know they're right, but I have that problem with letting go. In fact, I never thought I'd let go of this column until I'd embarrassed Ken so much he had to ask me to. But no matter how hard I tried, Ken never asked me to let go.

But then I had sex with George Clooney and changed. So don't let anyone tell you I'm leaving to be nice, to give someone else a chance, to free up the budget or whatever – in fact, I take no credit for the fact that after I left Delta they were able to pull their own asses out of bankruptcy. No, after eight years I am stepping aside for my own damn good. Still, though, when I hugged Ken goodbye I clung to him like a little squid.

"Hollis, let go," Ken said, "You're embarrassing me."

Well, it's about fucking time, I thought. But I continued to hug him anyway, because I don't work for him anymore and I don't have to do what he says. Besides, I have issues with letting go, and it's always surprising to me how gracious people can be in allowing me to cling.

Hollis Gillespie founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy. Her third book, Trailer Trashed, is out now. www.hollisgillespie.com."
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  string(4622) "Since I had sex with George Clooney it's occurred to me that I'm better than everyone else. I'm aware that some of you think that just because George Clooney kissed me twice — THAT'S RIGHT GEORGE CLOONEY KISSED ME TWICE THAT'S PRACTICALLY MAKING OUT WHICH IN THE BIBLE BELT MEANS WE HAD SEX YES I HAD SEX WITH GEORGE CLOONEY SEX WITH GEORGE CLOONEY SEX WITH GEORGE CLOONEY — to say we had sex is pushing it, but I invite any of you to get kissed by George goddam fucking Clooney and NOT consider it a sexual experience. Grant just shook hands with the man and to this day he keeps thrusting his paw in people's faces: "Smell my hand!"

So unless anyone else here has had sex with George Clooney, then I guess I will serve as the authority on what it's like, and it's stupendous. Afterward I even clung to him a little, like a little squid. I've always had issues with letting go, and it's always surprising to me how gracious people can be in allowing me to cling.

Take my airline job. For three years after I appeared on "The Tonight Show," I still donned my apron every weekend to serve people Cokes across the Atlantic. My supervisor, Sam, would often holler, "What the hell are you still doing here?" as though I had better places to be. (By the way, Leno kissed me, too, as did Elijah Wood, the other guest, so Clooney is not the first celebrity with whom I have fornicated.) But because banks won't let you take a tape of yourself on "Leno" to the counter and say, "So we're good on my mortgage, right?" without demanding actual cash to go with it, I still couldn't bring myself to trust a buck unless I was breaking my ass to make it.

Then my airline went bankrupt, which was probably not very much my fault, and the day came when Sam my supervisor pointed out – not with actual words, but still – how greedy it would be for me to keep my position when doing so would take it away from another girl who really needed it. But don't make me out to be all benevolent, because like I said, I have issues with letting go, and I would have clung to that job until they pried the peanuts from my cold, dead fingers. But I could see Sam was holding my employee file like it was all heavy from all the notations from the hundred times I called in sick over the years, probably most noteworthy my personal tapeworm panic of 1998, and I got the point.

So I didn't leave to be nice, I left for my own damn good. Today, though, I am really grateful to Sam, because if he had not gently ushered me out of that job, I might not have gone on to have sex with George Clooney and become better than everyone else. By the way, when I hugged Sam goodbye I clung to him like a little squid.

__Now here ''Creative Loafing''__ just declared bankruptcy -- again, probably not very much my fault. In fact, the editor, Ken, was in the actual act of declaring it to the staff when I floated in with my own declaration that I'm jumping ship to become a columnist at ''Atlanta'' magazine. I would have noted my perfect timing if I wasn't way too busy having group sex with celebrities.

Anyway, people have long been telling me I hog this column space – I'm not gonna name specific names, but they start with "G" and end with "rant and Lary" – and how I should move on and let someone with more talent (aka any other writer at ''Creative Loafing'' and three-quarters of the people who enroll in my writing seminars) showcase their creativity, and I know they're right, but I have that problem with letting go. In fact, I never thought I'd let go of this column until I'd embarrassed Ken so much he had to ask me to. But no matter how hard I tried, Ken never asked me to let go.

But then I had sex with George Clooney and changed. So don't let anyone tell you I'm leaving to be nice, to give someone else a chance, to free up the budget or ''whatever –'' in fact, I take no credit for the fact that after I left Delta they were able to pull their own asses out of bankruptcy. No, after eight years I am stepping aside for my own damn good. Still, though, when I hugged Ken goodbye I clung to him like a little squid.

"Hollis, let go," Ken said, "You're embarrassing me."

Well, it's about fucking time, I thought. But I continued to hug him anyway, because I don't work for him anymore and I don't have to do what he says. Besides, I have issues with letting go, and it's always surprising to me how gracious people can be in allowing me to cling.

''Hollis Gillespie founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy. Her third book,'' Trailer Trashed'', is out now. [http://www.hollisgillespie.com/|www.hollisgillespie.com].''"
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  string(4805) "    And other acts of farewell   2008-10-08T04:04:00+00:00 Moodswing - Sex with George Clooney   Hollis Gillespie 1223585 2008-10-08T04:04:00+00:00  Since I had sex with George Clooney it's occurred to me that I'm better than everyone else. I'm aware that some of you think that just because George Clooney kissed me twice — THAT'S RIGHT GEORGE CLOONEY KISSED ME TWICE THAT'S PRACTICALLY MAKING OUT WHICH IN THE BIBLE BELT MEANS WE HAD SEX YES I HAD SEX WITH GEORGE CLOONEY SEX WITH GEORGE CLOONEY SEX WITH GEORGE CLOONEY — to say we had sex is pushing it, but I invite any of you to get kissed by George goddam fucking Clooney and NOT consider it a sexual experience. Grant just shook hands with the man and to this day he keeps thrusting his paw in people's faces: "Smell my hand!"

So unless anyone else here has had sex with George Clooney, then I guess I will serve as the authority on what it's like, and it's stupendous. Afterward I even clung to him a little, like a little squid. I've always had issues with letting go, and it's always surprising to me how gracious people can be in allowing me to cling.

Take my airline job. For three years after I appeared on "The Tonight Show," I still donned my apron every weekend to serve people Cokes across the Atlantic. My supervisor, Sam, would often holler, "What the hell are you still doing here?" as though I had better places to be. (By the way, Leno kissed me, too, as did Elijah Wood, the other guest, so Clooney is not the first celebrity with whom I have fornicated.) But because banks won't let you take a tape of yourself on "Leno" to the counter and say, "So we're good on my mortgage, right?" without demanding actual cash to go with it, I still couldn't bring myself to trust a buck unless I was breaking my ass to make it.

Then my airline went bankrupt, which was probably not very much my fault, and the day came when Sam my supervisor pointed out – not with actual words, but still – how greedy it would be for me to keep my position when doing so would take it away from another girl who really needed it. But don't make me out to be all benevolent, because like I said, I have issues with letting go, and I would have clung to that job until they pried the peanuts from my cold, dead fingers. But I could see Sam was holding my employee file like it was all heavy from all the notations from the hundred times I called in sick over the years, probably most noteworthy my personal tapeworm panic of 1998, and I got the point.

So I didn't leave to be nice, I left for my own damn good. Today, though, I am really grateful to Sam, because if he had not gently ushered me out of that job, I might not have gone on to have sex with George Clooney and become better than everyone else. By the way, when I hugged Sam goodbye I clung to him like a little squid.

Now here Creative Loafing just declared bankruptcy — again, probably not very much my fault. In fact, the editor, Ken, was in the actual act of declaring it to the staff when I floated in with my own declaration that I'm jumping ship to become a columnist at Atlanta magazine. I would have noted my perfect timing if I wasn't way too busy having group sex with celebrities.

Anyway, people have long been telling me I hog this column space – I'm not gonna name specific names, but they start with "G" and end with "rant and Lary" – and how I should move on and let someone with more talent (aka any other writer at Creative Loafing and three-quarters of the people who enroll in my writing seminars) showcase their creativity, and I know they're right, but I have that problem with letting go. In fact, I never thought I'd let go of this column until I'd embarrassed Ken so much he had to ask me to. But no matter how hard I tried, Ken never asked me to let go.

But then I had sex with George Clooney and changed. So don't let anyone tell you I'm leaving to be nice, to give someone else a chance, to free up the budget or whatever – in fact, I take no credit for the fact that after I left Delta they were able to pull their own asses out of bankruptcy. No, after eight years I am stepping aside for my own damn good. Still, though, when I hugged Ken goodbye I clung to him like a little squid.

"Hollis, let go," Ken said, "You're embarrassing me."

Well, it's about fucking time, I thought. But I continued to hug him anyway, because I don't work for him anymore and I don't have to do what he says. Besides, I have issues with letting go, and it's always surprising to me how gracious people can be in allowing me to cling.

Hollis Gillespie founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy. Her third book, Trailer Trashed, is out now. www.hollisgillespie.com.             13028323 1275765                          Moodswing - Sex with George Clooney "
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Moodswing

Wednesday October 8, 2008 12:04 am EDT
And other acts of farewell | more...
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  string(4627) "Grant now believes his black ass has special powers, and I would never have believed him except for yesterday. But before I tell you what happened, and by the way I cannot wait to tell you what happened, I have to explain that Grant has been saying lately that things happen to him, special things, when he's wearing his black ass, as opposed to when he's wearing the white one, even though he bought both from the same online fake padded-ass purveyor.

"Why would your black ass be magic and the white one not be?" I asked.

"I don't question the magic," he said. "I just sit back and let it happen."

But Grant's definition of magic must be a lot more sweeping than mine, because I don't exactly consider magical the fact that he makes more bartending tips when he's wearing his black padded ass instead of the white one or none at all, and the fact remains that he almost always wears the black one. He simply prefers it – especially now that he thinks it's magical – so if special things are going to happen the odds are better of them happening during black-ass time.

And let me take a minute to say, also, that you cannot even tell Grant is wearing a padded ass unless he yanks it up past his waistband to show you. In fact, if you ask me Grant would have to wear 50 pairs of those padded underwear for them to have any effect, because Grant's natural ass is not just flat, it's concave.

But maybe Grant is just trying to take it slowly, the building of his ass; maybe he doesn't want to burst on the scene with a butt where up until recently there was none at all. Who knows, there might need to be some sort of acclimation process. I'm reminded of the passengers on the international flights I used to work, and how they'd plug their ears and pop a handful of Valium to ensure they experienced as little of the journey as possible, so when they arrived they were not prepared. This is opposed to back in the day when people traveled by camelback to the horn of Africa and whatnot. They couldn't help going from one place to the other without acclimating to the people they encountered along the way.

Anyway, Grant and I are in Beverly Hills, an occasion to which Grant credits the power of his black ass. I personally credit our visit with the fact that I wrote a book and the film rights got optioned and it was, like, hard work and shit, but whatever. We had a meeting at the Polo Lounge in the Beverly Hills Hotel, which is a super nice place that evidently, and surprisingly, has no door policy or discrimination process at all, because they let Grant wade on in wearing faded Vans, frayed cutoffs, a T-shirt that said, "Smile You Empty Soul," and a trucker hat emblazoned with a picture of him wearing a trucker hat emblazoned with a picture of him. He was also carrying a plastic bag from the 99-cent store.

We had not gotten two steps past the hostess podium when Grant whispered to me, "George Clooney." And that was all he said, but then that is all he had to say. And I heard Grant say the magic words. I heard him say "George Clooney," but I could not turn around just then on account of how, you know, the perfection of that man's visage might cremate my corneas. But Grant was wearing his padded black ass, so he pushed me on toward Mr. George goddamn fucking Clooney, who had gotten up from his table to greet us – OK, not us in general, but our friend Laura in particular, who was with us, so that counts – and Laura, like, introduced me to George goddamn fucking Clooney, said my name that actually went into his ears and triggered his synapses and everything, and, I swear this is true, GEORGE CLOONEY KISSED ME!!!!!! GEORGE CLOONEY KISSED ME I SWEAR HE DID YOU CAN ASK GRANT HE WAS THERE GEORGE CLOONEY KISSED ME ON MY RIGHT CHEEK I HAVE GEORGE CLOONEY DNA ON MY CHEEK HE KISSED ME ON MY CHEEK KISSED ME KISSED ME KISSED ME.

And right there I was reminded of the passengers I used to serve on the international flights again. Because here Grant and I were, somehow having arrived at the Beverly Hills Hotel, somehow the guests of one movie star and thereby privy to this conversation with another – Grant with his magic black ass and me with my corneas set to cremate, and it occurred to me that I missed the acclimation process. I am unprepared. Then George goddamn fucking Clooney said goodbye and kissed me AGAIN! I SWEAR IT HAPPENED ASK GRANT GEORGE CLOONEY KISSED ME AGAIN HE KISSED ME TWICE TWO TIMES I MADE OUT WITH GEORGE CLOONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hollis Gillespie founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy. Her third book, Trailer Trashed, is out now. www.hollisgillespie.com"
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  string(4713) "Grant now believes his black ass has special powers, and I would never have believed him except for yesterday. But before I tell you what happened, and by the way I cannot ''wait'' to tell you what happened, I have to explain that Grant has been saying lately that things happen to him, special things, when he's wearing his black ass, as opposed to when he's wearing the white one, even though he bought both from the same online fake padded-ass purveyor.

"Why would your black ass be magic and the white one not be?" I asked.

"I don't ''question'' the magic," he said. "I just sit back and let it happen."

But Grant's definition of magic must be a lot more sweeping than mine, because I don't exactly consider magical the fact that he makes more bartending tips when he's wearing his black padded ass instead of the white one or none at all, and the fact remains that he almost ''always'' wears the black one. He simply prefers it – especially now that he thinks it's magical – so if special things are going to happen the odds are better of them happening during black-ass time.

And let me take a minute to say, also, that you cannot even tell Grant is wearing a padded ass unless he yanks it up past his waistband to show you. In fact, if you ask me Grant would have to wear 50 pairs of those padded underwear for them to have any effect, because Grant's natural ass is not just flat, it's ''concave''.

But maybe Grant is just trying to take it slowly, the building of his ass; maybe he doesn't want to burst on the scene with a butt where up until recently there was none at all. Who knows, there might need to be some sort of acclimation process. I'm reminded of the passengers on the international flights I used to work, and how they'd plug their ears and pop a handful of Valium to ensure they experienced as little of the journey as possible, so when they arrived they were not prepared. This is opposed to back in the day when people traveled by camelback to the horn of Africa and whatnot. They couldn't help going from one place to the other without acclimating to the people they encountered along the way.

__Anyway, Grant and I__ are in Beverly Hills, an occasion to which Grant credits the power of his black ass. I personally credit our visit with the fact that I wrote a book and the film rights got optioned and it was, like, hard work and shit, but ''whatever''. We had a meeting at the Polo Lounge in the Beverly Hills Hotel, which is a super nice place that evidently, and surprisingly, has no door policy or discrimination process at all, because they let Grant wade on in wearing faded Vans, frayed cutoffs, a T-shirt that said, "Smile You Empty Soul," and a trucker hat emblazoned with a picture of him wearing a trucker hat emblazoned with a picture of him. He was also carrying a plastic bag from the 99-cent store.

We had not gotten two steps past the hostess podium when Grant whispered to me, "George Clooney." And that was all he said, but then that is all he had to say. And I ''heard'' Grant say the magic words. I heard him say "George Clooney," but I could not turn around just then on account of how, you know, the perfection of that man's visage might cremate my corneas. But Grant was wearing his padded black ass, so he pushed me on toward Mr. George goddamn fucking Clooney, who had ''gotten up from his table to greet us'' – OK, not ''us'' in general, but our friend Laura in particular, who was ''with us'', so that counts – and Laura, like, ''introduced'' me to George goddamn fucking Clooney, said my name that actually went into his ears and triggered his synapses and everything, and, I swear this is true, GEORGE CLOONEY KISSED ME!!!!!! GEORGE CLOONEY KISSED ME I SWEAR HE DID YOU CAN ASK GRANT HE WAS THERE GEORGE CLOONEY KISSED ME ON MY RIGHT CHEEK I HAVE GEORGE CLOONEY DNA ON MY CHEEK HE KISSED ME ON MY CHEEK KISSED ME KISSED ME KISSED ME.

And right there I was reminded of the passengers I used to serve on the international flights again. Because here Grant and I were, somehow having arrived at the Beverly Hills Hotel, somehow the guests of one movie star and thereby privy to this conversation with another – Grant with his magic black ass and me with my corneas set to cremate, and it occurred to me that I missed the acclimation process. I am unprepared. Then George goddamn fucking Clooney said goodbye and kissed me AGAIN! I SWEAR IT HAPPENED ASK GRANT GEORGE CLOONEY KISSED ME AGAIN HE KISSED ME TWICE TWO TIMES I MADE OUT WITH GEORGE CLOONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

''Hollis Gillespie founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy. Her third book,'' Trailer Trashed'', is out now. [http://www.hollisgillespie.com/|www.hollisgillespie.com]''"
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  string(4891) "    Is there a way to prepare for making out with movie stars?   2008-10-01T04:04:00+00:00 Moodswing - Acclimation process   Hollis Gillespie 1223585 2008-10-01T04:04:00+00:00  Grant now believes his black ass has special powers, and I would never have believed him except for yesterday. But before I tell you what happened, and by the way I cannot wait to tell you what happened, I have to explain that Grant has been saying lately that things happen to him, special things, when he's wearing his black ass, as opposed to when he's wearing the white one, even though he bought both from the same online fake padded-ass purveyor.

"Why would your black ass be magic and the white one not be?" I asked.

"I don't question the magic," he said. "I just sit back and let it happen."

But Grant's definition of magic must be a lot more sweeping than mine, because I don't exactly consider magical the fact that he makes more bartending tips when he's wearing his black padded ass instead of the white one or none at all, and the fact remains that he almost always wears the black one. He simply prefers it – especially now that he thinks it's magical – so if special things are going to happen the odds are better of them happening during black-ass time.

And let me take a minute to say, also, that you cannot even tell Grant is wearing a padded ass unless he yanks it up past his waistband to show you. In fact, if you ask me Grant would have to wear 50 pairs of those padded underwear for them to have any effect, because Grant's natural ass is not just flat, it's concave.

But maybe Grant is just trying to take it slowly, the building of his ass; maybe he doesn't want to burst on the scene with a butt where up until recently there was none at all. Who knows, there might need to be some sort of acclimation process. I'm reminded of the passengers on the international flights I used to work, and how they'd plug their ears and pop a handful of Valium to ensure they experienced as little of the journey as possible, so when they arrived they were not prepared. This is opposed to back in the day when people traveled by camelback to the horn of Africa and whatnot. They couldn't help going from one place to the other without acclimating to the people they encountered along the way.

Anyway, Grant and I are in Beverly Hills, an occasion to which Grant credits the power of his black ass. I personally credit our visit with the fact that I wrote a book and the film rights got optioned and it was, like, hard work and shit, but whatever. We had a meeting at the Polo Lounge in the Beverly Hills Hotel, which is a super nice place that evidently, and surprisingly, has no door policy or discrimination process at all, because they let Grant wade on in wearing faded Vans, frayed cutoffs, a T-shirt that said, "Smile You Empty Soul," and a trucker hat emblazoned with a picture of him wearing a trucker hat emblazoned with a picture of him. He was also carrying a plastic bag from the 99-cent store.

We had not gotten two steps past the hostess podium when Grant whispered to me, "George Clooney." And that was all he said, but then that is all he had to say. And I heard Grant say the magic words. I heard him say "George Clooney," but I could not turn around just then on account of how, you know, the perfection of that man's visage might cremate my corneas. But Grant was wearing his padded black ass, so he pushed me on toward Mr. George goddamn fucking Clooney, who had gotten up from his table to greet us – OK, not us in general, but our friend Laura in particular, who was with us, so that counts – and Laura, like, introduced me to George goddamn fucking Clooney, said my name that actually went into his ears and triggered his synapses and everything, and, I swear this is true, GEORGE CLOONEY KISSED ME!!!!!! GEORGE CLOONEY KISSED ME I SWEAR HE DID YOU CAN ASK GRANT HE WAS THERE GEORGE CLOONEY KISSED ME ON MY RIGHT CHEEK I HAVE GEORGE CLOONEY DNA ON MY CHEEK HE KISSED ME ON MY CHEEK KISSED ME KISSED ME KISSED ME.

And right there I was reminded of the passengers I used to serve on the international flights again. Because here Grant and I were, somehow having arrived at the Beverly Hills Hotel, somehow the guests of one movie star and thereby privy to this conversation with another – Grant with his magic black ass and me with my corneas set to cremate, and it occurred to me that I missed the acclimation process. I am unprepared. Then George goddamn fucking Clooney said goodbye and kissed me AGAIN! I SWEAR IT HAPPENED ASK GRANT GEORGE CLOONEY KISSED ME AGAIN HE KISSED ME TWICE TWO TIMES I MADE OUT WITH GEORGE CLOONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hollis Gillespie founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy. Her third book, Trailer Trashed, is out now. www.hollisgillespie.com             13028270 1275586                          Moodswing - Acclimation process "
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Moodswing

Wednesday October 1, 2008 12:04 am EDT
Is there a way to prepare for making out with movie stars? | more...
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  string(4669) "Giant Michael always swore he'd never open another restaurant, but then he always swore this while I was bugging him for a bartending gig at either of the two he already owned. "Bitch, I have all the bartenders I need," he'd say as I harangued him, "and no I won't open another restaurant just so you'll have something to do while you should be writing. And by the way, it's never effective to address your potential boss as 'retard.'"

I started haranguing him after Keiger refused to hire me at the Local, which infuriated me, especially since Keiger hired Grant, which shows he has no standard for employees or concern for his patrons whatsoever. So I figured I'd go to Keiger's competitor, see?

"Whaddaya think about that?" I goaded him.

"You should be writing," Keiger responded. "Don't you have a book due or something?"

Lord, sometimes I think Keiger and Giant Michael are in cahoots to keep me out of the working class. I've known them both for more than a decade and every time I ask them for a job they tell me I'm a writer, "that's your job." Don't they know it's part of my creative process to be bad at a blue-collar gig while I'm scribbling for my real one? I used to be a flight attendant, and I was terrible at that job! It was wonderful. I got three book deals and a T.V. deal out of it. Then my airline went bankrupt (probably not because of me), and ever since I've been pining to recreate that perfect balance of avoiding one job while doing another.

"Hell yes I have a book due," I said. "I can't write it unless I'm supposed to be busy doing something else. Please let me bartend, just for one night."

"You're a good writer but you are the worst bartender," he said. Lord, I seriously don't know how Keiger bases his assessments, because the one time I did bartend for him at the Local all his customers practically passed me around on their shoulders at the end of the night, so profuse was their love for me. "That's because you don't charge people!" Keiger hollered.

"That's my process. Don't denigrate my process," I hollered back. "By the way, notice how popular the place is now? You're welcome."

Occasionally I still go to the Local and act like I own the place. Keiger allows me to behave this way because we used to date and I let him off easy when that phase in our friendship ended. I figure he's either so grateful I didn't make a horrible scene or so terrified I'm still set to stage one that he sort of lets me get away with murder. I've discovered this affords me way more power over him than when I was his actual girlfriend, because, in essence, he's really worried I still love him. The secret is I do, but not in a way that he needs to be worried about. I would never ever tell him this, though, because if I did he might stop being afraid of me, and the power, I tell you, is intoxicating.

But in the end Keiger's ultimate appreciation of profit always outweighs his fear of me and he puts his foot down about any more official guest bartending gigs at the Local. So even though I love him – and Grant, too – this means war. And if you're gonna go to war it's good to have a giant on your side. One visit is all it took, and Giant Michael did not even for a second hardly hesitate at all, pretty much, this time when I proffered the guest bartending idea.

He's opened a new place regardless of the fact that he swore he never would. It's an artsy Mexican bistro called the Bone Garden, which is so hip it's practically secretly located. It took me a month to become cool enough just to patronize the place, and even then I had to go with Grant, who, for some reason, is always afforded a red-carpet welcome wherever the hell he goes.

Michael met us at the door, weary from working endless hours, which I recognized as a perfect time to pry on his resolve. He agreed to let me bartend one night – Thursday, Sept. 25 – but made me promise I'd charge people. I never dated him, so he's not afraid of me, so I probably have to keep that promise. Knowing me, though, I will buy a lot of rounds and then talk Michael out of making me pony up for them.

"Maybe Lary can show up and distribute pornographic refrigerator magnets," I volunteered helpfully, not disclosing that the last time I guest bartended at the Local, Lary commandeered the Jäger machine and hosed down the crowd with free hooch before passing out under the sink. I got a whole book chapter from that one night alone.

Giant Michael nodded distractedly. He looks exhausted, I thought giddily. This'll be perfect.

Hollis Gillespie founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy. Her third book, Trailer Trashed, is out now. www.hollisgillespie.com"
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  string(4739) "Giant Michael always swore he'd never open another restaurant, but then he always swore this while I was bugging him for a bartending gig at either of the two he already owned. "Bitch, I have all the bartenders I need," he'd say as I harangued him, "and no I won't open another restaurant just so you'll have something to do while you should be writing. And by the way, it's never effective to address your potential boss as 'retard.'"

I started haranguing him after Keiger refused to hire me at the Local, which infuriated me, especially since Keiger hired Grant, which shows he has no standard for employees or concern for his patrons whatsoever. So I figured I'd go to Keiger's competitor, see?

"Whaddaya think about ''that''?" I goaded him.

"You should be ''writing''," Keiger responded. "Don't you have a book due or something?"

Lord, sometimes I think Keiger and Giant Michael are in cahoots to keep me out of the working class. I've known them both for more than a decade and every time I ask them for a job they tell me I'm a writer, "that's your job." Don't they know it's part of my creative process to be bad at a blue-collar gig while I'm scribbling for my real one? I used to be a flight attendant, and I was terrible at that job! It was wonderful. I got three book deals and a T.V. deal out of it. Then my airline went bankrupt (probably not because of me), and ever since I've been pining to recreate that perfect balance of avoiding one job while doing another.

"Hell yes I have a book due," I said. "I can't write it unless I'm supposed to be busy doing something else. Please let me bartend, just for one night."

"You're a good writer but you are the worst bartender," he said. Lord, I seriously don't know how Keiger bases his assessments, because the one time I did bartend for him at the Local all his customers practically passed me around on their shoulders at the end of the night, so profuse was their love for me. "That's because you don't ''charge'' people!" Keiger hollered.

"That's my ''process''. Don't denigrate my process," I hollered back. "By the way, notice how popular the place is now? You're welcome."

__Occasionally I still__ go to the Local and act like I own the place. Keiger allows me to behave this way because we used to date and I let him off easy when that phase in our friendship ended. I figure he's either so grateful I didn't make a horrible scene or so terrified I'm still set to stage one that he sort of lets me get away with murder. I've discovered this affords me way more power over him than when I was his actual girlfriend, because, in essence, he's really worried I still love him. The secret is I do, but not in a way that he needs to be worried about. I would never ever tell him this, though, because if I did he might stop being afraid of me, and the power, I tell you, is intoxicating.

But in the end Keiger's ultimate appreciation of profit always outweighs his fear of me and he puts his foot down about any more official guest bartending gigs at the Local. So even though I love him – and Grant, too – this means war. And if you're gonna go to war it's good to have a giant on your side. One visit is all it took, and Giant Michael did not even for a second hardly hesitate ''at all'', pretty much, this time when I proffered the guest bartending idea.

He's opened a new place regardless of the fact that he swore he never would. It's an artsy Mexican bistro called the Bone Garden, which is so hip it's practically secretly located. It took me a month to become cool enough just to patronize the place, and even then I had to go with Grant, who, for some reason, is always afforded a red-carpet welcome wherever the hell he goes.

Michael met us at the door, weary from working endless hours, which I recognized as a perfect time to pry on his resolve. He agreed to let me bartend one night – Thursday, Sept. 25 – but made me promise I'd charge people. I never dated him, so he's not afraid of me, so I probably have to keep that promise. Knowing me, though, I will buy a lot of rounds and then talk Michael out of making me pony up for them.

"Maybe Lary can show up and distribute pornographic refrigerator magnets," I volunteered helpfully, not disclosing that the last time I guest bartended at the Local, Lary commandeered the Jäger machine and hosed down the crowd with free hooch before passing out under the sink. I got a whole book chapter from that one night alone.

Giant Michael nodded distractedly. He looks exhausted, I thought giddily. This'll be ''perfect''.

''Hollis Gillespie founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy. Her third book,'' Trailer Trashed'', is out now. [http://www.hollisgillespie.com/|www.hollisgillespie.com]''"
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I started haranguing him after Keiger refused to hire me at the Local, which infuriated me, especially since Keiger hired Grant, which shows he has no standard for employees or concern for his patrons whatsoever. So I figured I'd go to Keiger's competitor, see?

"Whaddaya think about that?" I goaded him.

"You should be writing," Keiger responded. "Don't you have a book due or something?"

Lord, sometimes I think Keiger and Giant Michael are in cahoots to keep me out of the working class. I've known them both for more than a decade and every time I ask them for a job they tell me I'm a writer, "that's your job." Don't they know it's part of my creative process to be bad at a blue-collar gig while I'm scribbling for my real one? I used to be a flight attendant, and I was terrible at that job! It was wonderful. I got three book deals and a T.V. deal out of it. Then my airline went bankrupt (probably not because of me), and ever since I've been pining to recreate that perfect balance of avoiding one job while doing another.

"Hell yes I have a book due," I said. "I can't write it unless I'm supposed to be busy doing something else. Please let me bartend, just for one night."

"You're a good writer but you are the worst bartender," he said. Lord, I seriously don't know how Keiger bases his assessments, because the one time I did bartend for him at the Local all his customers practically passed me around on their shoulders at the end of the night, so profuse was their love for me. "That's because you don't charge people!" Keiger hollered.

"That's my process. Don't denigrate my process," I hollered back. "By the way, notice how popular the place is now? You're welcome."

Occasionally I still go to the Local and act like I own the place. Keiger allows me to behave this way because we used to date and I let him off easy when that phase in our friendship ended. I figure he's either so grateful I didn't make a horrible scene or so terrified I'm still set to stage one that he sort of lets me get away with murder. I've discovered this affords me way more power over him than when I was his actual girlfriend, because, in essence, he's really worried I still love him. The secret is I do, but not in a way that he needs to be worried about. I would never ever tell him this, though, because if I did he might stop being afraid of me, and the power, I tell you, is intoxicating.

But in the end Keiger's ultimate appreciation of profit always outweighs his fear of me and he puts his foot down about any more official guest bartending gigs at the Local. So even though I love him – and Grant, too – this means war. And if you're gonna go to war it's good to have a giant on your side. One visit is all it took, and Giant Michael did not even for a second hardly hesitate at all, pretty much, this time when I proffered the guest bartending idea.

He's opened a new place regardless of the fact that he swore he never would. It's an artsy Mexican bistro called the Bone Garden, which is so hip it's practically secretly located. It took me a month to become cool enough just to patronize the place, and even then I had to go with Grant, who, for some reason, is always afforded a red-carpet welcome wherever the hell he goes.

Michael met us at the door, weary from working endless hours, which I recognized as a perfect time to pry on his resolve. He agreed to let me bartend one night – Thursday, Sept. 25 – but made me promise I'd charge people. I never dated him, so he's not afraid of me, so I probably have to keep that promise. Knowing me, though, I will buy a lot of rounds and then talk Michael out of making me pony up for them.

"Maybe Lary can show up and distribute pornographic refrigerator magnets," I volunteered helpfully, not disclosing that the last time I guest bartended at the Local, Lary commandeered the Jäger machine and hosed down the crowd with free hooch before passing out under the sink. I got a whole book chapter from that one night alone.

Giant Michael nodded distractedly. He looks exhausted, I thought giddily. This'll be perfect.

Hollis Gillespie founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy. Her third book, Trailer Trashed, is out now. www.hollisgillespie.com             13028193 1275418                          Moodswing - Free booze at the Bone Garden "
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Moodswing

Wednesday September 17, 2008 12:04 am EDT
Trying to weasel into the working class | more...

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  string(4547) "I'd close my blinds, but my laziness outweighs my confidence that there are actually people outside interested in my half-nakedness. I actually believe they wouldn't really see me without looking twice anyway, and by the time they did their second take I would be somewhere else, skirting around at another vantage, ducking and dodging.

Because when it comes to laziness, I am inept. It takes a lot more energy to hop from hiding spot to hiding spot as I scurry to get dressed than it does to simply walk over to the window and twist that little stick that comes with all the cheap-ass brands of plastic blinds you buy at Lowe's. But if I did that then this place, which is already small, would be small and dark, and I am under the illusion that the more light you let in the larger the place looks. In fact, I should knock out my ceiling and install skylights, because I believe there's always more than one way to let the light in.

My mother taught me this trick when we were about to move again and looking for our 11th residence. I was 9 and had never noticed skylights before, then one day we walked into a house for rent and not only did it have skylights but a "cathedral ceiling." Let me say it was rare when I saw my mother excited about anything. Usually when I saw her she was trying to wind down from a day at work, sucking on her seventh menthol and turning the pages of a Mario Puzo novel, but here she was in this tiny empty house, so excited that every time she talked about the ceiling it was in capital letters, as in, "Look at this CATHEDRAL CEILING! I always wanted a CATHEDRAL CEILING!"

This was news, since my mother was an atheist. So that day in the potential rental house, I had no idea what my mother meant by "cathedral ceiling," because until then I had only been to church a total of maybe four times, and the church was square and squat and made of cinder block like a public toilet. This church did not have a "cathedral ceiling," but it did have a podium from which the preacher called forth sinners who were eager to accept Jesus into their hearts – "Open up and let the light in!" he'd holler – but perhaps more important is that the church had a bus that picked up the kids in our apartment complex every Sunday.

My atheist mother figured maybe a little religion wouldn't hurt us kids, and it certainly wouldn't hurt her to get us out of the house for a few hours so she could smoke her menthols and read her crime novels in peace, could it? But then one Sunday the church secretary went and kept me from heading to the preacher podium to get my soul saved for the fourth time that month ("You were saved last week, dear, and the week before that"), and when my mother heard about it she took issue. Because make no mistake, my mother may have been an atheist, but her sense of thrift outweighed her sense of conviction, and no one was gonna gyp her kids out of saved souls if saved souls were being handed out that day.

"You should be able to get your soul saved as many damn times as you want," she grumbled. "Stingy bastards."

We moved after that, and my father joked that it was due to the fact that the church bus would still come and wait for us every Sunday, and my mother was too lazy to wave it off with her lit cigarette from our second-floor window anymore. But if that were the case, then my mother was inept when it came to laziness, because it took a lot more effort to pack up all our asses and leave.

By then I had become a fearful Christian and my mother was still an atheist, but between the two of us she was the only one who knew what a cathedral ceiling looked like. We never did rent that particular house, because it turns out skylights and cathedral ceilings are expensive amenities, but I'll always remember my mother standing in the center of the tiny living room of that strange house, exclaiming with a sweep of her arm, "Look how the light opens this place up."

I always figured the day would come when my mother feared hell enough to finally accept Jesus into her heart, but she was as inept at being fearful as she was at being lazy, and she stayed an atheist until the day she died. Historically there had not been a lot of things my mother and I held in agreement, but by then there were at least two beliefs we had in common: one, that light always opens a place up, and two, that there is always more than one way to let it in.

Hollis Gillespie founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy. Her third book, Trailer Trashed, is out now. (www.hollisgillespie.com)"
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  string(4597) "I'd close my blinds, but my laziness outweighs my confidence that there are actually people outside interested in my half-nakedness. I actually believe they wouldn't really see me without looking twice anyway, and by the time they did their second take I would be somewhere else, skirting around at another vantage, ducking and dodging.

Because when it comes to laziness, I am inept. It takes a lot more energy to hop from hiding spot to hiding spot as I scurry to get dressed than it does to simply walk over to the window and twist that little stick that comes with all the cheap-ass brands of plastic blinds you buy at Lowe's. But if I did that then this place, which is already small, would be small and ''dark'', and I am under the illusion that the more light you let in the larger the place looks. In fact, I should knock out my ceiling and install skylights, because I believe there's always more than one way to let the light in.

My mother taught me this trick when we were about to move again and looking for our 11th residence. I was 9 and had never noticed skylights before, then one day we walked into a house for rent and not only did it have skylights but a "cathedral ceiling." Let me say it was rare when I saw my mother excited about anything. Usually when I saw her she was trying to wind down from a day at work, sucking on her seventh menthol and turning the pages of a Mario Puzo novel, but here she was in this tiny empty house, so excited that every time she talked about the ceiling it was in capital letters, as in, "Look at this CATHEDRAL CEILING! I always wanted a CATHEDRAL CEILING!"

This was news, since my mother was an atheist. So that day in the potential rental house, I had no idea what my mother meant by "cathedral ceiling," because until then I had only been to church a total of maybe four times, and the church was square and squat and made of cinder block like a public toilet. This church did not have a "cathedral ceiling," but it did have a podium from which the preacher called forth sinners who were eager to accept Jesus into their hearts – "Open up and let the light in!" he'd holler – but perhaps more important is that the church had a bus that picked up the kids in our apartment complex every Sunday.

__My atheist mother__ figured maybe a little religion wouldn't hurt us kids, and it certainly wouldn't hurt her to get us out of the house for a few hours so she could smoke her menthols and read her crime novels in peace, could it? But then one Sunday the church secretary went and kept me from heading to the preacher podium to get my soul saved for the fourth time that month ("You were saved last week, dear, and the week before that"), and when my mother heard about it she took issue. Because make no mistake, my mother may have been an atheist, but her sense of thrift outweighed her sense of conviction, and no one was gonna gyp her kids out of saved souls if saved souls were being handed out that day.

"You should be able to get your soul saved as many damn times as you want," she grumbled. "Stingy bastards."

We moved after that, and my father joked that it was due to the fact that the church bus would still come and wait for us every Sunday, and my mother was too lazy to wave it off with her lit cigarette from our second-floor window anymore. But if that were the case, then my mother was inept when it came to laziness, because it took a lot more effort to pack up all our asses and leave.

By then I had become a fearful Christian and my mother was still an atheist, but between the two of us she was the only one who knew what a cathedral ceiling looked like. We never did rent that particular house, because it turns out skylights and cathedral ceilings are expensive amenities, but I'll always remember my mother standing in the center of the tiny living room of that strange house, exclaiming with a sweep of her arm, "Look how the light opens this place up."

I always figured the day would come when my mother feared hell enough to finally accept Jesus into her heart, but she was as inept at being fearful as she was at being lazy, and she stayed an atheist until the day she died. Historically there had not been a lot of things my mother and I held in agreement, but by then there were at least two beliefs we had in common: one, that light always opens a place up, and two, that there is always more than one way to let it in.

''Hollis Gillespie founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy. Her third book,'' Trailer Trashed'', is out now. ([http://www.hollisgillespie.com/|www.hollisgillespie.com])''"
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  string(4801) "    There's always more than one way to let the light in   2008-09-10T04:04:00+00:00 Moodswing - Cathedral ceiling   Hollis Gillespie 1223585 2008-09-10T04:04:00+00:00  I'd close my blinds, but my laziness outweighs my confidence that there are actually people outside interested in my half-nakedness. I actually believe they wouldn't really see me without looking twice anyway, and by the time they did their second take I would be somewhere else, skirting around at another vantage, ducking and dodging.

Because when it comes to laziness, I am inept. It takes a lot more energy to hop from hiding spot to hiding spot as I scurry to get dressed than it does to simply walk over to the window and twist that little stick that comes with all the cheap-ass brands of plastic blinds you buy at Lowe's. But if I did that then this place, which is already small, would be small and dark, and I am under the illusion that the more light you let in the larger the place looks. In fact, I should knock out my ceiling and install skylights, because I believe there's always more than one way to let the light in.

My mother taught me this trick when we were about to move again and looking for our 11th residence. I was 9 and had never noticed skylights before, then one day we walked into a house for rent and not only did it have skylights but a "cathedral ceiling." Let me say it was rare when I saw my mother excited about anything. Usually when I saw her she was trying to wind down from a day at work, sucking on her seventh menthol and turning the pages of a Mario Puzo novel, but here she was in this tiny empty house, so excited that every time she talked about the ceiling it was in capital letters, as in, "Look at this CATHEDRAL CEILING! I always wanted a CATHEDRAL CEILING!"

This was news, since my mother was an atheist. So that day in the potential rental house, I had no idea what my mother meant by "cathedral ceiling," because until then I had only been to church a total of maybe four times, and the church was square and squat and made of cinder block like a public toilet. This church did not have a "cathedral ceiling," but it did have a podium from which the preacher called forth sinners who were eager to accept Jesus into their hearts – "Open up and let the light in!" he'd holler – but perhaps more important is that the church had a bus that picked up the kids in our apartment complex every Sunday.

My atheist mother figured maybe a little religion wouldn't hurt us kids, and it certainly wouldn't hurt her to get us out of the house for a few hours so she could smoke her menthols and read her crime novels in peace, could it? But then one Sunday the church secretary went and kept me from heading to the preacher podium to get my soul saved for the fourth time that month ("You were saved last week, dear, and the week before that"), and when my mother heard about it she took issue. Because make no mistake, my mother may have been an atheist, but her sense of thrift outweighed her sense of conviction, and no one was gonna gyp her kids out of saved souls if saved souls were being handed out that day.

"You should be able to get your soul saved as many damn times as you want," she grumbled. "Stingy bastards."

We moved after that, and my father joked that it was due to the fact that the church bus would still come and wait for us every Sunday, and my mother was too lazy to wave it off with her lit cigarette from our second-floor window anymore. But if that were the case, then my mother was inept when it came to laziness, because it took a lot more effort to pack up all our asses and leave.

By then I had become a fearful Christian and my mother was still an atheist, but between the two of us she was the only one who knew what a cathedral ceiling looked like. We never did rent that particular house, because it turns out skylights and cathedral ceilings are expensive amenities, but I'll always remember my mother standing in the center of the tiny living room of that strange house, exclaiming with a sweep of her arm, "Look how the light opens this place up."

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Hollis Gillespie founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy. Her third book, Trailer Trashed, is out now. (www.hollisgillespie.com)             13028150 1275335                          Moodswing - Cathedral ceiling "
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Moodswing

Wednesday September 10, 2008 12:04 am EDT
There's always more than one way to let the light in | more...
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  string(4559) "My mechanic told me I can't hit anything with my car anymore, so I guess there goes the rest of my day. Originally I had planned to spend it practicing backing my trailer into my driveway, but already a big hunk of the morning had been wasted reattaching my front bumper, which somehow got torn off after only the first few minutes.

"You're missing a bracket, so that bumper is just glued on," my mechanic, whose name is Kong, informed me. "The slightest tap and it will fall back off again."

I am still unsure how my front bumper got torn off as I was backing up. I do recall that my bumper was attached when I drove off, trailer in tow, from my book signing at Outwrite Bookstore the night before, and it probably stayed that way all the way home, at which point, after copious practice backups – turning the front this way so the back would go that way – after I thought I'd backed it in successfully, after I'd patted myself on the back for a job well-done, after I'd turned the key off in the ignition of my car, I looked forward to notice that I'd left a big hunk of it behind.

"How did that happen?" my daughter Mae asked as she walked right on by my bumper and did not help me pick it up or anything.

"Oh, hell if I know," I said.

"Quarter!" she yelled. Mae charges me a quarter for every bad word she hears me say, and she's very entrepreneurial, so her definition of profanity is a lot more broad than mine.

"'Hell' is not a bad word!" I insisted.

"Quarter!"

"I can say 'hell'!"

"Quarter!"

Even though she's only 8, I remember a hundred years ago when she was born, the idiocy of my conviction that I could continue my life as it was and somehow she would fit right into it. New parents always think they can pull that off, which explains why you see babies in trendy bars a lot, because their trendy parents still think their lives haven't changed. I personally practically grew up in a bar, though not a trendy one, where my dad spent his days and where Kit the beehived bartender used to pay me a quarter to erase the bad words off the bathroom walls. Like Mae, I was an entrepreneurial child, and there were a lot of bad words on the bathroom walls. It turned out Kit was partial to most of them and the only one she really wanted erased was the word "nigger," which appeared, at the most, maybe three times a week. Still, though, the gig wasn't bad, and I was able to save enough money to buy a bongo drum from the liquor store next door.

It was probably around then when I realized the tool of my future trade would be words, many of them bad ones, and I remain quite partial to most of them. Expression is essential, I keep telling my kid. You can't interfere with someone else's and you can't let someone else interfere with yours. I'm very big on that, even though I stopped playing OutKast in my car the day 3-year-old Mae sang along with the words, "I got my mouth on my mike and my hand on my dick!"

By then I'd already published two books with the words "bitch" and "slut" in their respective titles. I figured readers would get the joke, and most of them did, but still there were a few cerebral cinder blocks out there who took big enough offense that it actually eventually affected Mae, who asked me, "Why do you use bad words in your books?"

So I had to remind her that, you know, freedom of expression is super important, and you have to be careful because one of the most common ways to inhibit another's expression is to declare offense to it. In fact, no single word is a bad word, it all depends on the context surrounding it, and you can't point to a single word standing alone and call it "bad" any more than you can point to a pile of flour on a table and call it cake. It depends on how you mix it. Until then it's all just ingredients.

Now my third book is out, and the cover is different than I had originally planned, because I'd planned on continuing the joke by putting the word "whore" in the title, but by the time the book was due the joke wasn't so funny anymore. Lord, but isn't that always how it is? You have kids and your life changes without you even knowing it. You might think you're progressing just as you always have, but really you're just backing along ass first, turning your life this way to make it go the other way, and just as you're patting yourself on the back for a job well done, you look forward to see you've left a big hunk of it behind.

Hollis is touring with the Shocking Real-Life Memoir-Writing Seminar and her latest book, Trailer Trashed (www.hollisgillespie.com)."
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"You're missing a bracket, so that bumper is just glued on," my mechanic, whose name is Kong, informed me. "The slightest tap and it will fall back off again."

I am still unsure how my ''front'' bumper got torn off as I was ''backing'' up. I do recall that my bumper was attached when I drove off, trailer in tow, from my book signing at Outwrite Bookstore the night before, and it probably stayed that way all the way home, at which point, after copious practice backups – turning the front this way so the back would go that way – after I thought I'd backed it in successfully, after I'd patted myself on the back for a job well-done, after I'd turned the key off in the ignition of my car, I looked forward to notice that I'd left a big hunk of it behind.

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By then I'd already published two books with the words "bitch" and "slut" in their respective titles. I figured readers would get the joke, and most of them did, but still there were a few cerebral cinder blocks out there who took big enough offense that it actually eventually affected Mae, who asked me, "Why do you use bad words in your books?"

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Now my third book is out, and the cover is different than I had originally planned, because I'd planned on continuing the joke by putting the word "whore" in the title, but by the time the book was due the joke wasn't so funny anymore. Lord, but isn't that always how it is? You have kids and your life changes without you even knowing it. You might think you're progressing just as you always have, but really you're just backing along ass first, turning your life this way to make it go the other way, and just as you're patting yourself on the back for a job well done, you look forward to see you've left a big hunk of it behind.

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  string(4771) "    The things we leave behind   2008-09-03T04:04:00+00:00 Moodswing - Bad words   Hollis Gillespie 1223585 2008-09-03T04:04:00+00:00  My mechanic told me I can't hit anything with my car anymore, so I guess there goes the rest of my day. Originally I had planned to spend it practicing backing my trailer into my driveway, but already a big hunk of the morning had been wasted reattaching my front bumper, which somehow got torn off after only the first few minutes.

"You're missing a bracket, so that bumper is just glued on," my mechanic, whose name is Kong, informed me. "The slightest tap and it will fall back off again."

I am still unsure how my front bumper got torn off as I was backing up. I do recall that my bumper was attached when I drove off, trailer in tow, from my book signing at Outwrite Bookstore the night before, and it probably stayed that way all the way home, at which point, after copious practice backups – turning the front this way so the back would go that way – after I thought I'd backed it in successfully, after I'd patted myself on the back for a job well-done, after I'd turned the key off in the ignition of my car, I looked forward to notice that I'd left a big hunk of it behind.

"How did that happen?" my daughter Mae asked as she walked right on by my bumper and did not help me pick it up or anything.

"Oh, hell if I know," I said.

"Quarter!" she yelled. Mae charges me a quarter for every bad word she hears me say, and she's very entrepreneurial, so her definition of profanity is a lot more broad than mine.

"'Hell' is not a bad word!" I insisted.

"Quarter!"

"I can say 'hell'!"

"Quarter!"

Even though she's only 8, I remember a hundred years ago when she was born, the idiocy of my conviction that I could continue my life as it was and somehow she would fit right into it. New parents always think they can pull that off, which explains why you see babies in trendy bars a lot, because their trendy parents still think their lives haven't changed. I personally practically grew up in a bar, though not a trendy one, where my dad spent his days and where Kit the beehived bartender used to pay me a quarter to erase the bad words off the bathroom walls. Like Mae, I was an entrepreneurial child, and there were a lot of bad words on the bathroom walls. It turned out Kit was partial to most of them and the only one she really wanted erased was the word "nigger," which appeared, at the most, maybe three times a week. Still, though, the gig wasn't bad, and I was able to save enough money to buy a bongo drum from the liquor store next door.

It was probably around then when I realized the tool of my future trade would be words, many of them bad ones, and I remain quite partial to most of them. Expression is essential, I keep telling my kid. You can't interfere with someone else's and you can't let someone else interfere with yours. I'm very big on that, even though I stopped playing OutKast in my car the day 3-year-old Mae sang along with the words, "I got my mouth on my mike and my hand on my dick!"

By then I'd already published two books with the words "bitch" and "slut" in their respective titles. I figured readers would get the joke, and most of them did, but still there were a few cerebral cinder blocks out there who took big enough offense that it actually eventually affected Mae, who asked me, "Why do you use bad words in your books?"

So I had to remind her that, you know, freedom of expression is super important, and you have to be careful because one of the most common ways to inhibit another's expression is to declare offense to it. In fact, no single word is a bad word, it all depends on the context surrounding it, and you can't point to a single word standing alone and call it "bad" any more than you can point to a pile of flour on a table and call it cake. It depends on how you mix it. Until then it's all just ingredients.

Now my third book is out, and the cover is different than I had originally planned, because I'd planned on continuing the joke by putting the word "whore" in the title, but by the time the book was due the joke wasn't so funny anymore. Lord, but isn't that always how it is? You have kids and your life changes without you even knowing it. You might think you're progressing just as you always have, but really you're just backing along ass first, turning your life this way to make it go the other way, and just as you're patting yourself on the back for a job well done, you look forward to see you've left a big hunk of it behind.

Hollis is touring with the Shocking Real-Life Memoir-Writing Seminar and her latest book, Trailer Trashed (www.hollisgillespie.com).             13028111 1275238                          Moodswing - Bad words "
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Moodswing

Wednesday September 3, 2008 12:04 am EDT
The things we leave behind | more...
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  string(4683) "I made 77 friends in one day last week, which makes me nervous. Like, are they going to start asking me for things? I seriously cannot deal if they start wanting me to be their bridesmaid, for example, or to help them move, or to give them lifts to the airport. I'm already a walking wad of disappointment wrapped up in excuses when it comes to my in-front-of-me friends – Daniel, Grant and Lary – the ones who actually sit across the café tables from me and complain about my recent penchant for pillbox hats, for example. It's damn daunting enough just to be friends with this collection of hermit crabs, but now I've got 77 more, and that was just in the one day. The meter on my Facebook page is still, like, clocking, or whatever it does when it counts your friends. Are they gonna need me to help them deal with bad breakups and their grandparents' deaths or anything? Because isn't that what friends do for each other? Good friends?

My good friend Daniel would be a good example, even though he thinks I'm not speaking to him lately – probably because I haven't spoken to him lately. He missed the launch party of my third book, and even though the place was so packed you could hardly stand in there, his absence was felt, baby, yes it was. I am trying to stay mad at him, but I keep remembering what a good friend he's been, like the time he rocked me in his arms over a decade ago as I bawled my eyes out over a breakup. Lord, like that was any reason to cry – since then I have had plenty of real reasons to cry, believe me, like the birth of my child, who was so big when she was born she practically came out holding car keys and a learner's permit. Daniel was there for that, not the actual bloody birth part, but close enough.

But where was he the night of my launch party, huh? Sure, I got the phone message saying he was sick, blah, blah. Ha! I say Daniel's sick ass should have been there even if he had to drag bags of intravenous fluids behind him. Sick! Like I haven't used that excuse a hundred times myself. I'm missing my deadline as I write this. "I'm sick," I muled pathetically to my editor. "Seriously."

So who needs Daniel when I have 77 friends on Facebook? On Facebook it's easy to "friend" people, you just kinda click and then you know all kinda crap about them. Yesterday my Facebook friend Kyle Keyser, for example, was reading porn to the blind. Kyle is a huge friend whore, it looks like, because he has, like, badillions of friends. I could learn from him. Grant, who is both my Facebook and in-front-of-me friend, ignores requests all the time. He actually asks people if he knows them before accepting their friend requests.

"Lord, how do you deny friends?" I asked. This is one of the reasons it took me so long to finally start surfing the wave (or ocean) of virtual friendships, because I knew I would never deny friend requests. But then my friend Rennie (in-front-of-me) lauded Facebook as different from MySpace, knowing I hated MySpace, and not just because someone who is not me created a MySpace space for me as though he were me, which freakin' mortified me. And what's worse is I got all these friend requests and I had no idea why or what for or how to handle them, meaning all these people were ignored by me but it wasn't me, it was some guy who they thought was me. See? Hate. MySpace.

But Rennie said Facebook is different. For one, you can "unfriend" people once they become burdensome. It's very easy. You just click. Unfriend. How great is that? So I can friend everyone at first and then turn around and unfriend all the retards, stalkers and child-molesting masturbators, not to mention the people who promise to come to my book-launch party and then don't show up.

But every time I try to unfriend Daniel in my head, I keep remembering all the friend things he's done for me in the dozen years I've known him, like when he held me when I cried over something he must have known was stupid but it wasn't stupid to me at the time. Like when I went and bought a house in a bad neighborhood and had a baby and stopped drinking and wrote books and got them published and followed my heart only to realize true dreams take lots of proper feeding and caring, and who was there helping me feed and care for them all these years? "Your sick ass should have been at my book-launch party!" I should shout at him, but then he would know I'm not really angry, and I don't want him to discover I've already forgiven him, that my head won't let me unfriend him. Ever. I can't just click.

Hollis is touring with the Shocking Real-Life Memoir-Writing Seminar and her latest book, Trailer Trashed (www.hollisgillespie.com)."
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  string(4745) "I made 77 friends in one day last week, which makes me nervous. Like, are they going to start asking me for things? I seriously cannot deal if they start wanting me to be their bridesmaid, for example, or to help them move, or to give them lifts to the airport. I'm already a walking wad of disappointment wrapped up in excuses when it comes to my in-front-of-me friends – Daniel, Grant and Lary – the ones who actually sit across the café tables from me and complain about my recent penchant for pillbox hats, for example. It's damn daunting enough just to be friends with this collection of hermit crabs, but now I've got 77 more, and that was just in the one day. The meter on my Facebook page is still, like, clocking, or whatever it does when it counts your friends. Are they gonna need me to help them deal with bad breakups and their grandparents' deaths or anything? Because isn't that what friends do for each other? Good friends?

My good friend Daniel would be a good example, even though he thinks I'm not speaking to him lately – probably because I haven't spoken to him lately. He missed the launch party of my third book, and even though the place was so packed you could hardly stand in there, his absence was felt, baby, yes it was. I am trying to stay mad at him, but I keep remembering what a good friend he's been, like the time he rocked me in his arms over a decade ago as I bawled my eyes out over a breakup. Lord, like that was any reason to cry – since then I have had plenty of ''real'' reasons to cry, believe me, like the birth of my child, who was so big when she was born she practically came out holding car keys and a learner's permit. Daniel was there for that, not the actual bloody birth part, but close enough.

But where was he the night of my launch party, huh? Sure, I got the phone message saying he was sick, blah, blah. Ha! I say Daniel's sick ass should have been there even if he had to drag bags of intravenous fluids behind him. Sick! Like I haven't used that excuse a hundred times myself. I'm missing my deadline as I write this. "I'm sick," I muled pathetically to my editor. "Seriously."

__So who needs Daniel__ when I have 77 friends on Facebook? On Facebook it's easy to "friend" people, you just kinda click and then you know all kinda crap about them. Yesterday my Facebook friend Kyle Keyser, for example, was reading porn to the blind. Kyle is a huge friend whore, it looks like, because he has, like, badillions of friends. I could learn from him. Grant, who is both my Facebook and in-front-of-me friend, ignores requests all the time. He actually asks people if he ''knows'' them before accepting their friend requests.

"Lord, how do you ''deny'' friends?" I asked. This is one of the reasons it took me so long to finally start surfing the wave (or ocean) of virtual friendships, because I knew I would never deny friend requests. But then my friend Rennie (in-front-of-me) lauded Facebook as different from MySpace, knowing I hated MySpace, and not just because someone who is not me created a MySpace space for me as though he ''were'' me, which freakin' mortified me. And what's worse is I got all these friend requests and I had no idea why or what for or how to handle them, meaning all these people were ignored by me but it wasn't me, it was some guy who they thought was me. See? Hate. MySpace.

But Rennie said Facebook is different. For one, you can "unfriend" people once they become burdensome. It's very easy. You just click. Unfriend. How great is that? So I can friend everyone at first and then turn around and unfriend all the retards, stalkers and child-molesting masturbators, not to mention the people who promise to come to my book-launch party and then don't show up.

But every time I try to unfriend Daniel in my head, I keep remembering all the friend things he's done for me in the dozen years I've known him, like when he held me when I cried over something he must have known was stupid but it wasn't stupid to me at the time. Like when I went and bought a house in a bad neighborhood and had a baby and stopped drinking and wrote books and got them published and followed my heart only to realize true dreams take lots of proper feeding and caring, and who was there helping me feed and care for them all these years? "Your sick ass should have been at my book-launch party!" I should shout at him, but then he would know I'm not really angry, and I don't want him to discover I've already forgiven him, that my head won't let me unfriend him. Ever. I can't just click.

''Hollis is touring with the Shocking Real-Life Memoir-Writing Seminar and her latest book,'' Trailer Trashed ''([http://www.hollisgillespie.com/|www.hollisgillespie.com]).''"
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  string(4936) "    If only real life was as simple as Facebook   2008-08-27T04:04:00+00:00 Moodswing - To friend or unfriend   Hollis Gillespie 1223585 2008-08-27T04:04:00+00:00  I made 77 friends in one day last week, which makes me nervous. Like, are they going to start asking me for things? I seriously cannot deal if they start wanting me to be their bridesmaid, for example, or to help them move, or to give them lifts to the airport. I'm already a walking wad of disappointment wrapped up in excuses when it comes to my in-front-of-me friends – Daniel, Grant and Lary – the ones who actually sit across the café tables from me and complain about my recent penchant for pillbox hats, for example. It's damn daunting enough just to be friends with this collection of hermit crabs, but now I've got 77 more, and that was just in the one day. The meter on my Facebook page is still, like, clocking, or whatever it does when it counts your friends. Are they gonna need me to help them deal with bad breakups and their grandparents' deaths or anything? Because isn't that what friends do for each other? Good friends?

My good friend Daniel would be a good example, even though he thinks I'm not speaking to him lately – probably because I haven't spoken to him lately. He missed the launch party of my third book, and even though the place was so packed you could hardly stand in there, his absence was felt, baby, yes it was. I am trying to stay mad at him, but I keep remembering what a good friend he's been, like the time he rocked me in his arms over a decade ago as I bawled my eyes out over a breakup. Lord, like that was any reason to cry – since then I have had plenty of real reasons to cry, believe me, like the birth of my child, who was so big when she was born she practically came out holding car keys and a learner's permit. Daniel was there for that, not the actual bloody birth part, but close enough.

But where was he the night of my launch party, huh? Sure, I got the phone message saying he was sick, blah, blah. Ha! I say Daniel's sick ass should have been there even if he had to drag bags of intravenous fluids behind him. Sick! Like I haven't used that excuse a hundred times myself. I'm missing my deadline as I write this. "I'm sick," I muled pathetically to my editor. "Seriously."

So who needs Daniel when I have 77 friends on Facebook? On Facebook it's easy to "friend" people, you just kinda click and then you know all kinda crap about them. Yesterday my Facebook friend Kyle Keyser, for example, was reading porn to the blind. Kyle is a huge friend whore, it looks like, because he has, like, badillions of friends. I could learn from him. Grant, who is both my Facebook and in-front-of-me friend, ignores requests all the time. He actually asks people if he knows them before accepting their friend requests.

"Lord, how do you deny friends?" I asked. This is one of the reasons it took me so long to finally start surfing the wave (or ocean) of virtual friendships, because I knew I would never deny friend requests. But then my friend Rennie (in-front-of-me) lauded Facebook as different from MySpace, knowing I hated MySpace, and not just because someone who is not me created a MySpace space for me as though he were me, which freakin' mortified me. And what's worse is I got all these friend requests and I had no idea why or what for or how to handle them, meaning all these people were ignored by me but it wasn't me, it was some guy who they thought was me. See? Hate. MySpace.

But Rennie said Facebook is different. For one, you can "unfriend" people once they become burdensome. It's very easy. You just click. Unfriend. How great is that? So I can friend everyone at first and then turn around and unfriend all the retards, stalkers and child-molesting masturbators, not to mention the people who promise to come to my book-launch party and then don't show up.

But every time I try to unfriend Daniel in my head, I keep remembering all the friend things he's done for me in the dozen years I've known him, like when he held me when I cried over something he must have known was stupid but it wasn't stupid to me at the time. Like when I went and bought a house in a bad neighborhood and had a baby and stopped drinking and wrote books and got them published and followed my heart only to realize true dreams take lots of proper feeding and caring, and who was there helping me feed and care for them all these years? "Your sick ass should have been at my book-launch party!" I should shout at him, but then he would know I'm not really angry, and I don't want him to discover I've already forgiven him, that my head won't let me unfriend him. Ever. I can't just click.

Hollis is touring with the Shocking Real-Life Memoir-Writing Seminar and her latest book, Trailer Trashed (www.hollisgillespie.com).             13028051 1275022                          Moodswing - To friend or unfriend "
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Moodswing

Wednesday August 27, 2008 12:04 am EDT
If only real life was as simple as Facebook | more...
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  string(4167) "I don't take it personally when I get accused of inventing my friends Grant and Lary, because sometimes I wish they were imaginary, too, especially given their penchant lately for "keeping things real." That was their excuse last month when they tried to kidnap a visiting colleague of mine, tie him to a tree and talk him out of collaborating with me on a television project. "Are those guys for real?" he yelled at me once he was safely back in California. I've been hearing that question a lot lately. So to put everybody's doubt to rest, the following is an ACTUAL CONVERSATION that is practically verbatim, and occurred between the three of us at Java Vino coffee house at 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 13, 2008. If you drove by, you would have seen the three of us out there, me with my laptop pecking away as these two demented dicksacks bloviated about life in general and being professional characters in particular:

Lary: I just figured out how I'm going to win the Nobel Prize for solving two world problems, the global food deficit and the overcrowded prison system. Here's the solution: We eat the convicts.

Grant: In other parts of the world cannibalism is common, so somewhere it's already an accepted practice. It would just be a matter of opening your mind. But it would take a long time to get people comfortable eating people.

Lary: Two meals. It would take missing two meals. I conducted a study in my basement.

Grant: Lary, I would love to have the time – or the drugs – you have on your hands.

Lary: It's a delicate balance.

Grant: I don't know if I slept on my arms wrong or not, but I woke up with old-people wrinkles all over the backs of my arms.

Lary: You got it from your parents. Pretty soon your toes are going to start falling off like your dad's did.

Grant: I am not going to handle old age well when it happens.

Lary: The worst thing about old age is that denial doesn't work. Those wrinkles on your arms are gonna start working their way up.

Grant: I know, I was looking at them in the rearview mirror on the way over here. Hollis, I would say that 75 percent of the people who read your column think we're not real.

Lary: Are we real? Or are we just voices in her head?

Grant: Both.

Lary: Hollis, you are one of the few people I know whose voices in her head are real.

Grant: I admire you, Lary, for your drugs, but I've been too chicken to do drugs. You're freer than I am.

Lary: No, you're freer than I am, 'cause I don't want a dick pointed at me.

Grant: You've gone there in your mind.

Lary: Yes, and it didn't seem like a good idea.

Grant: Are you still set to suck your first cock when you turn 60?

Lary: I'm going to Thailand when I turn 60.

Hollis: I'm going with you!

Grant: Let's go now! Why wait?

Lary: Thai dick for everyone!

Grant: Hollis, you need to polish your shoes first.

Hollis: Lord, look who's talking. You have to wade knee-deep through strange DNA just to get out of bed every morning.

Grant: Hollis, I know the title of your next book. You should call it Crack Moms for Christ.

Lary: Crack Dads for Dick

Hollis: Fetal Alcoholic

Lary: Hollis Gillespie's Baby Shaker

Grant: Hollis, you know one of the hardest things about you writing about us is? It's how to filter what comes at us as a result. I have to learn to process all the personal contact.

Lary: You just need more guns. I don't have a problem.

Grant: I have the problem.

Lary: Refer to your seminary training. Probably the best thing you could have done with your seminary background is become a bartender at the Local.

Grant: Monday night is ministry night.

Lary: I've seen him there passing out therapy.

Grant: Therapy in a cup. You wanna tall therapy or a short therapy? I minister to my flock.

Lary: All flocks are misguided. But your following has a better chance than most, because religion is fucked up.

Grant: If people were really set free, they'd be fearless, but the church is fear. They have all the money, though, so who wins?

Lary: Who needs money when you've got guns?

Hollis is touring with the Shocking Real-Life Memoir-Writing Seminar and her latest book, Trailer Trashed. (www.hollisgillespie.com)."
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__Lary: I just figured out how I'm going to win the Nobel Prize for solving two world problems, the global food deficit and the overcrowded prison system. Here's the solution: We eat the convicts.__

__Grant: In other parts of the world cannibalism is common, so somewhere it's already an accepted practice. It would just be a matter of opening your mind. But it would take a long time to get people comfortable eating people.__

__Lary: Two meals. It would take missing two meals. I conducted a study in my basement.__

__Grant: Lary, I would love to have the time – or the drugs – you have on your hands.__

__Lary: It's a delicate balance.__

__Grant: I don't know if I slept on my arms wrong or not, but I woke up with old-people wrinkles all over the backs of my arms.__

__Lary: You got it from your parents. Pretty soon your toes are going to start falling off like your dad's did.__

__Grant: I am not going to handle old age well when it happens.__

__Lary: The worst thing about old age is that denial doesn't work. Those wrinkles on your arms are gonna start working their way up.__

__Grant: I know, I was looking at them in the rearview mirror on the way over here. Hollis, I would say that 75 percent of the people who read your column think we're not real.__

__Lary: Are we real? Or are we just voices in her head?__

__Grant: Both.__

__Lary: Hollis, you are one of the few people I know whose voices in her head are real.__

__Grant: I admire you, Lary, for your drugs, but I've been too chicken to do drugs. You're freer than I am.__

__Lary: No, you're freer than I am, 'cause I don't want a dick pointed at me.__

__Grant: You've gone there in your mind.__

__Lary: Yes, and it didn't seem like a good idea.__

__Grant: Are you still set to suck your first cock when you turn 60?__

__Lary: I'm going to Thailand when I turn 60.__

__Hollis: I'm going with you!__

__Grant: Let's go now! Why wait?__

__Lary: Thai dick for everyone!__

__Grant: Hollis, you need to polish your shoes first.__

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__Lary: ''Crack Dads for Dick''__

__Hollis: ''Fetal Alcoholic''__

__Lary: ''Hollis Gillespie's Baby Shaker''__

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__Lary: You just need more guns. I don't have a problem.__

__Grant: I have the problem.__

__Lary: Refer to your seminary training. Probably the best thing you could have done with your seminary background is become a bartender at the Local.__

__Grant: Monday night is ministry night.__

__Lary: I've seen him there passing out therapy.__

__Grant: Therapy in a cup. You wanna tall therapy or a short therapy? I minister to my flock.__

__Lary: All flocks are misguided. But your following has a better chance than most, because religion is fucked up.__

__Grant: If people were really set free, they'd be fearless, but the church is fear. They have all the money, though, so who wins?__

__Lary: Who needs money when you've got guns?__

''Hollis is touring with the Shocking Real-Life Memoir-Writing Seminar and her latest book,'' Trailer Trashed''. ([http://www.hollisgillespie.com/|www.hollisgillespie.com]).''"
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  string(4423) "    And other bad advice from my imaginary friends   2008-08-20T04:04:00+00:00 Moodswing - Crack moms for Christ   Hollis Gillespie 1223585 2008-08-20T04:04:00+00:00  I don't take it personally when I get accused of inventing my friends Grant and Lary, because sometimes I wish they were imaginary, too, especially given their penchant lately for "keeping things real." That was their excuse last month when they tried to kidnap a visiting colleague of mine, tie him to a tree and talk him out of collaborating with me on a television project. "Are those guys for real?" he yelled at me once he was safely back in California. I've been hearing that question a lot lately. So to put everybody's doubt to rest, the following is an ACTUAL CONVERSATION that is practically verbatim, and occurred between the three of us at Java Vino coffee house at 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 13, 2008. If you drove by, you would have seen the three of us out there, me with my laptop pecking away as these two demented dicksacks bloviated about life in general and being professional characters in particular:

Lary: I just figured out how I'm going to win the Nobel Prize for solving two world problems, the global food deficit and the overcrowded prison system. Here's the solution: We eat the convicts.

Grant: In other parts of the world cannibalism is common, so somewhere it's already an accepted practice. It would just be a matter of opening your mind. But it would take a long time to get people comfortable eating people.

Lary: Two meals. It would take missing two meals. I conducted a study in my basement.

Grant: Lary, I would love to have the time – or the drugs – you have on your hands.

Lary: It's a delicate balance.

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Grant: Both.

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Grant: I admire you, Lary, for your drugs, but I've been too chicken to do drugs. You're freer than I am.

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Grant: Are you still set to suck your first cock when you turn 60?

Lary: I'm going to Thailand when I turn 60.

Hollis: I'm going with you!

Grant: Let's go now! Why wait?

Lary: Thai dick for everyone!

Grant: Hollis, you need to polish your shoes first.

Hollis: Lord, look who's talking. You have to wade knee-deep through strange DNA just to get out of bed every morning.

Grant: Hollis, I know the title of your next book. You should call it Crack Moms for Christ.

Lary: Crack Dads for Dick

Hollis: Fetal Alcoholic

Lary: Hollis Gillespie's Baby Shaker

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Lary: You just need more guns. I don't have a problem.

Grant: I have the problem.

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Grant: If people were really set free, they'd be fearless, but the church is fear. They have all the money, though, so who wins?

Lary: Who needs money when you've got guns?

Hollis is touring with the Shocking Real-Life Memoir-Writing Seminar and her latest book, Trailer Trashed. (www.hollisgillespie.com).             13028021 1274955                          Moodswing - Crack moms for Christ "
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Moodswing

Wednesday August 20, 2008 12:04 am EDT
And other bad advice from my imaginary friends | more...
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"And I make better tips, too," he noted.

Grant is not the only assless bartender at the Local. In fact, Grant claims, asslessness is rampant among the male employees there, so he has taken it upon himself to fix that problem. Hence the big shipment from eBay, where lately Grant has been fulfilling all of his padded-ass needs. "I got three more for myself, too," he exclaimed. "So now I have two white ones and two black ones."

I am relieved he is excited about his big delivery of padded asses, because this means there might be a lull in his talk about possible implants, as he obviously assumes I'd be the one to nurse him through the procedure, like I'm really gonna take time out of my life to position his bendy straws so he can suck his juice while convalescing ass-up on a special mattress. So I think the removable butt is a much better option.

"You should see me," Grant insisted. "I'm a completely different person."

So of course I saw him, and I don't know what I expected, except to say that when someone tells you he'll be wearing fake buttocks the next time you lay eyes on him, at the very least you're gonna expect to notice a difference. Instead I simply saw the same vacuous concave that is the standard for Grant's rearview, although Grant kept insisting there was a huge difference.

"Look," he said, jumping up and down, the big balloon pockets jingling. "Seriously, look," he continued, twisting his tiny hips back and forth like a dashboard hula doll with huge head and a big barrel chest. "My pants aren't falling off!" Twist, twist. Hop, hop. "Look!"

We were in public, and people started looking. So when Grant undid his belt and yanked his padded underwear above his waistband – to show me the miracle ass itself, since evidently I was missing its effect – I felt forced to falsely concede a perceived improvement. "Wow," I said, nodding my head thoughtfully, "that's impressive."

At that Grant sat down on his padded ass and smiled. At least he's happy, I thought, because it's funny the things your friends think they need, things that you could insist with every molecule of your oxygen are unnecessary, but things they're somehow fixated on nonetheless. For example, I have a girlfriend who thinks she needs a college degree even though she is already an immensely successful advertising executive, and another friend who believes his entire life would fall into place if only he got his helicopter license.

Lary himself was adamant he needed a renovated bathroom complete with heated-tile floors and multinozzled "shower wing," even though the rest of the warehouse in which he lives still contains piles of industrial debris from when the place used to make potato chips. Still, Lary spent more than a year knocking down walls, redirecting water lines and picking out fixtures before the official unveiling, a party that could have been held in the oversized jetted bathtub alone. All of us had long ago stopped insisting the new bathroom was necessary, so by the big night we were all resigned to the fact that Lary felt this was what he needed, and who were we to stand in the way? "Wow," we all exclaimed at his palatial lavatory, "that's impressive."

I once spent an entire winter in a pair of black Coach ankle boots with four-inch heels, certain I needed them to offset the 10 pounds I'd gained after spending a month recovering from a break-up by repeatedly planting my face into a big bowl of cake batter. I also took to wearing turbo-padded bras during that time, certain that my newly pronounced cleavage could distract people from my newly size-12 ass. Until I discovered the boots and their magical effect on my physique, I'd wallowed around in a slough of despond, sucking all the fun out of the air every time I met Grant and Lary for coffee. Then the day came when I wore the boots and bra.

"Look!" I insisted to Grant, jumping up and down, jiggling. "Look! You can't even tell I've gained weight!"

"Wow," said Grant, peering at me over his tea cup, "that's impressive."

Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (www.hollisgillespie.com)."
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"And I make better tips, too," he noted.

Grant is not the only assless bartender at the Local. In fact, Grant claims, asslessness is rampant among the male employees there, so he has taken it upon himself to fix that problem. Hence the big shipment from eBay, where lately Grant has been fulfilling all of his padded-ass needs. "I got three more for myself, too," he exclaimed. "So now I have two white ones and two black ones."

I am relieved he is excited about his big delivery of padded asses, because this means there might be a lull in his talk about possible implants, as he obviously assumes I'd be the one to nurse him through the procedure, like I'm really gonna take time out of my life to position his bendy straws so he can suck his juice while convalescing ass-up on a special mattress. So I think the removable butt is a much better option.

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So of course I saw him, and I don't know what I expected, except to say that when someone tells you he'll be wearing fake buttocks the next time you lay eyes on him, at the very least you're gonna expect to notice a difference. Instead I simply saw the same vacuous concave that is the standard for Grant's rearview, although Grant kept insisting there was a huge difference.

"Look," he said, jumping up and down, the big balloon pockets jingling. "Seriously, look," he continued, twisting his tiny hips back and forth like a dashboard hula doll with huge head and a big barrel chest. "My pants aren't falling off!" Twist, twist. Hop, hop. "Look!"

We were in public, and people started looking. So when Grant undid his belt and yanked his padded underwear above his waistband – to show me the miracle ass itself, since evidently I was missing its effect – I felt forced to falsely concede a perceived improvement. "Wow," I said, nodding my head thoughtfully, "that's impressive."

__At that Grant sat down__ on his padded ass and smiled. At least he's happy, I thought, because it's funny the things your friends think they need, things that you could insist with every molecule of your oxygen are unnecessary, but things they're somehow fixated on nonetheless. For example, I have a girlfriend who thinks she needs a college degree even though she is already an immensely successful advertising executive, and another friend who believes his entire life would fall into place if only he got his helicopter license.

Lary himself was adamant he needed a renovated bathroom complete with heated-tile floors and multinozzled "shower wing," even though the rest of the warehouse in which he lives still contains piles of industrial debris from when the place used to make potato chips. Still, Lary spent more than a year knocking down walls, redirecting water lines and picking out fixtures before the official unveiling, a party that could have been held in the oversized jetted bathtub alone. All of us had long ago stopped insisting the new bathroom was necessary, so by the big night we were all resigned to the fact that Lary felt this was what he needed, and who were we to stand in the way? "Wow," we all exclaimed at his palatial lavatory, "that's impressive."

I once spent an entire winter in a pair of black Coach ankle boots with four-inch heels, certain I needed them to offset the 10 pounds I'd gained after spending a month recovering from a break-up by repeatedly planting my face into a big bowl of cake batter. I also took to wearing turbo-padded bras during that time, certain that my newly pronounced cleavage could distract people from my newly size-12 ass. Until I discovered the boots and their magical effect on my physique, I'd wallowed around in a slough of despond, sucking all the fun out of the air every time I met Grant and Lary for coffee. Then the day came when I wore the boots and bra.

"Look!" I insisted to Grant, jumping up and down, jiggling. "Look! You can't even tell I've gained weight!"

"Wow," said Grant, peering at me over his tea cup, "that's impressive."

''Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy ([http://www.hollisgillespie.com/|www.hollisgillespie.com]).''"
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"And I make better tips, too," he noted.

Grant is not the only assless bartender at the Local. In fact, Grant claims, asslessness is rampant among the male employees there, so he has taken it upon himself to fix that problem. Hence the big shipment from eBay, where lately Grant has been fulfilling all of his padded-ass needs. "I got three more for myself, too," he exclaimed. "So now I have two white ones and two black ones."

I am relieved he is excited about his big delivery of padded asses, because this means there might be a lull in his talk about possible implants, as he obviously assumes I'd be the one to nurse him through the procedure, like I'm really gonna take time out of my life to position his bendy straws so he can suck his juice while convalescing ass-up on a special mattress. So I think the removable butt is a much better option.

"You should see me," Grant insisted. "I'm a completely different person."

So of course I saw him, and I don't know what I expected, except to say that when someone tells you he'll be wearing fake buttocks the next time you lay eyes on him, at the very least you're gonna expect to notice a difference. Instead I simply saw the same vacuous concave that is the standard for Grant's rearview, although Grant kept insisting there was a huge difference.

"Look," he said, jumping up and down, the big balloon pockets jingling. "Seriously, look," he continued, twisting his tiny hips back and forth like a dashboard hula doll with huge head and a big barrel chest. "My pants aren't falling off!" Twist, twist. Hop, hop. "Look!"

We were in public, and people started looking. So when Grant undid his belt and yanked his padded underwear above his waistband – to show me the miracle ass itself, since evidently I was missing its effect – I felt forced to falsely concede a perceived improvement. "Wow," I said, nodding my head thoughtfully, "that's impressive."

At that Grant sat down on his padded ass and smiled. At least he's happy, I thought, because it's funny the things your friends think they need, things that you could insist with every molecule of your oxygen are unnecessary, but things they're somehow fixated on nonetheless. For example, I have a girlfriend who thinks she needs a college degree even though she is already an immensely successful advertising executive, and another friend who believes his entire life would fall into place if only he got his helicopter license.

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I once spent an entire winter in a pair of black Coach ankle boots with four-inch heels, certain I needed them to offset the 10 pounds I'd gained after spending a month recovering from a break-up by repeatedly planting my face into a big bowl of cake batter. I also took to wearing turbo-padded bras during that time, certain that my newly pronounced cleavage could distract people from my newly size-12 ass. Until I discovered the boots and their magical effect on my physique, I'd wallowed around in a slough of despond, sucking all the fun out of the air every time I met Grant and Lary for coffee. Then the day came when I wore the boots and bra.

"Look!" I insisted to Grant, jumping up and down, jiggling. "Look! You can't even tell I've gained weight!"

"Wow," said Grant, peering at me over his tea cup, "that's impressive."

Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (www.hollisgillespie.com).             13027944 1274806                          Moodswing - A padded ass "
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Moodswing

Wednesday August 13, 2008 12:04 am EDT
Wow, that's impressive | more...
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  string(4855) "I find it incredible that Lisa keeps insisting she doesn't need help even though her whole damn house just burned down. If it were my house that burned down, I'd be wallowing in the drama like a dinner-theater actress, waist-deep in debris, calling for TV film crews to document my suffering. Long after the inferno was extinguished I'd still be flagging down passing helicopters for repeated rescue evacuations, asking the pilot to let me out at the nearest quickie mart so I could stockpile the free flavored creamers they keep at the coffee station. But evidently that's just me.

"We're fine," Lisa insists. "Seriously."

Seriously? Fine? "You're not fine!" I insist back. "Your whole damn house burned down!"

OK, maybe it wasn't her whole house that burned down, but there is no arguing that the chunk that did incinerate was sizeable enough to boot her family into the streets.

OK, maybe her family is not in the streets, maybe it's staying in the house of a friend away on vacation, but still, that big column of smoke that could be seen from the next county? That fleet of fire trucks and police cars? That army of neighborhood hens heading through the community ready to donate skin grafts? That was their flaming house in the middle of all that.

Me, I was too busy telling our mutual friends I couldn't believe Lisa didn't call me to tell me her house was burning down to check the messages on my worthless cell phone to hear that she actually called me to tell me her house was burning down. Thank God no one was hurt. Lisa's 8-year-old son Alex is my daughter's classmate and karate partner. They live up the way from us, in one of those fabulous old rolling homes that seem to go on forever. Every time I go over there I discover another wing I hadn't seen before.

"Where did that side porch come from? Did you just have that added?" I asked Marshall just the other week, prefire. He was cooking burgers on their back deck, which itself is bigger than my own entire house – which is separate from the side porch I'd just discovered.

"That?" Marshall said with a wave of his spatula. "That's been there."

Well, it ain't there anymore thanks to an incident involving a house-painting crew and a blow torch, but don't quote me. I can tell you without a doubt that I probably have no idea if the house-painting crew working on Lisa's house was using a blow torch to remove the old layer of paint before applying the new layer; all I know is the back of Lisa's house burned off. Lisa said Alex's bedroom caught the brunt of the fire.

"He seems to be handling it OK," Lisa said, adding that the construction crew to rebuild their house was already on the job. She and Marshall were about to take Alex back there for the first time to see if he could salvage anything, and I met them there with my girl so Alex could have company as he assessed the ruins of his room. Afterward the report was that the only toy of his that survived the fire was one single St. Patrick's Day beanie bear. "And that is like the worst of all the beanie bears, too," my daughter later confided.

Now I'm certain there is a planet-load of people milling around – wringing their hands, casserole in tow, dramatic exclamations at the ready – eager to assist Lisa and Marshall, but Lisa has always been the genius organizer of the neighborhood. She's the one who, if it were one of our houses that burned down, would spearhead the fundraiser to get the Four Seasons to house our whole family while pushing up her sleeves to personally help hammer together a Taj Mahal in replacement. So we're all still milling, waiting for someone like Lisa to organize us, while all Lisa keeps saying is, "Really, we're fine."

"Oh, please! She's not fine!" I told Tammie, our other neighbor. "We're going to help her whether she wants it or not!"

"Yes!" Tammie agreed. "We're gonna smother her with help!"

Yes! We're gonna galvanize the neighborhood any minute now, synchronizing meal deliveries and clothing donations and barn-raising parties even though, you know, I guess Lisa and Marshall probably don't want to live in a barn. But, hey, I say who can't use a barn? Take the barn! I have other useful friends eager to help, too. The psychic Miss Sherrie Cash, for example, wants to donate feather boas and butterfly clips, and my other friend Daniel is insisting on donating the entire collection of Precious Moment figurines his mother has been sending him since he moved here 20 years ago. So Lisa's not getting out of this without our help, Tammie and I declared firmly. In fact, I was so consumed with my resolution to help Lisa that I didn't notice my phone ringing again.

"Seriously," Lisa was saying into my voicemail. "We're fine."

Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (www.hollisgillespie.com)."
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  string(4917) "I find it incredible that Lisa keeps insisting she doesn't need help even though her whole damn house just burned down. If it were my house that burned down, I'd be wallowing in the drama like a dinner-theater actress, waist-deep in debris, calling for TV film crews to document my suffering. Long after the inferno was extinguished I'd still be flagging down passing helicopters for repeated rescue evacuations, asking the pilot to let me out at the nearest quickie mart so I could stockpile the free flavored creamers they keep at the coffee station. But evidently that's just me.

"We're fine," Lisa insists. "Seriously."

Seriously? ''Fine?'' "You're not fine!" I insist back. "Your whole damn house burned down!"

OK, maybe it wasn't her ''whole'' house that burned down, but there is no arguing that the chunk that did incinerate was sizeable enough to boot her family into the streets.

OK, maybe her family is not in the ''streets'', maybe it's staying in the house of a friend away on vacation, but still, that big column of smoke that could be seen from the next county? That fleet of fire trucks and police cars? That army of neighborhood hens heading through the community ready to donate skin grafts? That was their flaming house in the middle of all that.

Me, I was too busy telling our mutual friends I couldn't believe Lisa didn't call me to tell me her house was burning down to check the messages on my worthless cell phone to hear that she actually called me to tell me her house was burning down. Thank God no one was hurt. Lisa's 8-year-old son Alex is my daughter's classmate and karate partner. They live up the way from us, in one of those fabulous old rolling homes that seem to go on forever. Every time I go over there I discover another wing I hadn't seen before.

"Where did that side porch come from? Did you just have that added?" I asked Marshall just the other week, prefire. He was cooking burgers on their back deck, which itself is bigger than my own entire house – which is separate from the side porch I'd just discovered.

"That?" Marshall said with a wave of his spatula. "That's been there."

__Well, it ain't there__ anymore thanks to an incident involving a house-painting crew and a blow torch, but don't quote me. I can tell you without a doubt that I probably have no idea if the house-painting crew working on Lisa's house was using a blow torch to remove the old layer of paint before applying the new layer; all I know is the back of Lisa's house burned off. Lisa said Alex's bedroom caught the brunt of the fire.

"He seems to be handling it OK," Lisa said, adding that the construction crew to rebuild their house was already on the job. She and Marshall were about to take Alex back there for the first time to see if he could salvage anything, and I met them there with my girl so Alex could have company as he assessed the ruins of his room. Afterward the report was that the only toy of his that survived the fire was one single St. Patrick's Day beanie bear. "And that is like the ''worst'' of all the beanie bears, too," my daughter later confided.

Now I'm certain there is a planet-load of people milling around – wringing their hands, casserole in tow, dramatic exclamations at the ready – eager to assist Lisa and Marshall, but Lisa has always been the genius organizer of the neighborhood. She's the one who, if it were one of our houses that burned down, would spearhead the fundraiser to get the Four Seasons to house our whole family while pushing up her sleeves to personally help hammer together a Taj Mahal in replacement. So we're all still milling, waiting for someone like Lisa to organize us, while all Lisa keeps saying is, "Really, we're fine."

"Oh, ''please''! She's not fine!" I told Tammie, our other neighbor. "We're going to help her whether she wants it or not!"

"Yes!" Tammie agreed. "We're gonna smother her with help!"

Yes! We're gonna galvanize the neighborhood any minute now, synchronizing meal deliveries and clothing donations and barn-raising parties even though, you know, I guess Lisa and Marshall probably don't want to live in a barn. But, hey, I say who can't use a barn? Take the barn! I have other useful friends eager to help, too. The psychic Miss Sherrie Cash, for example, wants to donate feather boas and butterfly clips, and my other friend Daniel is insisting on donating the entire collection of Precious Moment figurines his mother has been sending him since he moved here 20 years ago. So Lisa's not getting out of this without our help, Tammie and I declared firmly. In fact, I was so consumed with my resolution to help Lisa that I didn't notice my phone ringing again.

"Seriously," Lisa was saying into my voicemail. "We're fine."

''Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy ([http://www.hollisgillespie.com/|www.hollisgillespie.com]).''"
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  string(5112) "    We're going to help whether they want it or not   2008-08-06T04:04:00+00:00 Moodswing - A seriously fine fire   Hollis Gillespie 1223585 2008-08-06T04:04:00+00:00  I find it incredible that Lisa keeps insisting she doesn't need help even though her whole damn house just burned down. If it were my house that burned down, I'd be wallowing in the drama like a dinner-theater actress, waist-deep in debris, calling for TV film crews to document my suffering. Long after the inferno was extinguished I'd still be flagging down passing helicopters for repeated rescue evacuations, asking the pilot to let me out at the nearest quickie mart so I could stockpile the free flavored creamers they keep at the coffee station. But evidently that's just me.

"We're fine," Lisa insists. "Seriously."

Seriously? Fine? "You're not fine!" I insist back. "Your whole damn house burned down!"

OK, maybe it wasn't her whole house that burned down, but there is no arguing that the chunk that did incinerate was sizeable enough to boot her family into the streets.

OK, maybe her family is not in the streets, maybe it's staying in the house of a friend away on vacation, but still, that big column of smoke that could be seen from the next county? That fleet of fire trucks and police cars? That army of neighborhood hens heading through the community ready to donate skin grafts? That was their flaming house in the middle of all that.

Me, I was too busy telling our mutual friends I couldn't believe Lisa didn't call me to tell me her house was burning down to check the messages on my worthless cell phone to hear that she actually called me to tell me her house was burning down. Thank God no one was hurt. Lisa's 8-year-old son Alex is my daughter's classmate and karate partner. They live up the way from us, in one of those fabulous old rolling homes that seem to go on forever. Every time I go over there I discover another wing I hadn't seen before.

"Where did that side porch come from? Did you just have that added?" I asked Marshall just the other week, prefire. He was cooking burgers on their back deck, which itself is bigger than my own entire house – which is separate from the side porch I'd just discovered.

"That?" Marshall said with a wave of his spatula. "That's been there."

Well, it ain't there anymore thanks to an incident involving a house-painting crew and a blow torch, but don't quote me. I can tell you without a doubt that I probably have no idea if the house-painting crew working on Lisa's house was using a blow torch to remove the old layer of paint before applying the new layer; all I know is the back of Lisa's house burned off. Lisa said Alex's bedroom caught the brunt of the fire.

"He seems to be handling it OK," Lisa said, adding that the construction crew to rebuild their house was already on the job. She and Marshall were about to take Alex back there for the first time to see if he could salvage anything, and I met them there with my girl so Alex could have company as he assessed the ruins of his room. Afterward the report was that the only toy of his that survived the fire was one single St. Patrick's Day beanie bear. "And that is like the worst of all the beanie bears, too," my daughter later confided.

Now I'm certain there is a planet-load of people milling around – wringing their hands, casserole in tow, dramatic exclamations at the ready – eager to assist Lisa and Marshall, but Lisa has always been the genius organizer of the neighborhood. She's the one who, if it were one of our houses that burned down, would spearhead the fundraiser to get the Four Seasons to house our whole family while pushing up her sleeves to personally help hammer together a Taj Mahal in replacement. So we're all still milling, waiting for someone like Lisa to organize us, while all Lisa keeps saying is, "Really, we're fine."

"Oh, please! She's not fine!" I told Tammie, our other neighbor. "We're going to help her whether she wants it or not!"

"Yes!" Tammie agreed. "We're gonna smother her with help!"

Yes! We're gonna galvanize the neighborhood any minute now, synchronizing meal deliveries and clothing donations and barn-raising parties even though, you know, I guess Lisa and Marshall probably don't want to live in a barn. But, hey, I say who can't use a barn? Take the barn! I have other useful friends eager to help, too. The psychic Miss Sherrie Cash, for example, wants to donate feather boas and butterfly clips, and my other friend Daniel is insisting on donating the entire collection of Precious Moment figurines his mother has been sending him since he moved here 20 years ago. So Lisa's not getting out of this without our help, Tammie and I declared firmly. In fact, I was so consumed with my resolution to help Lisa that I didn't notice my phone ringing again.

"Seriously," Lisa was saying into my voicemail. "We're fine."

Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (www.hollisgillespie.com).             13027874 1274660                          Moodswing - A seriously fine fire "
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Moodswing

Wednesday August 6, 2008 12:04 am EDT
We're going to help whether they want it or not | more...
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  string(4722) "I hope Shannon doesn't mind that I plan to have sex with her husband. It should help that it won't be actual physical sex, but rather florid imaginary sex, the kind that involves, like, I don't know, harnesses and stuff. Not that harnesses are all that floridly imaginative, but I'm a bit rusty at imaginary sex these days.

That's why I'm glad Shannon's husband Mike has enough imagination for everyone in the room. For instance, you'd need a lot of it to come out on stage in a Japanese kimono and kabuki make up like he does sometimes, all 6'4" bald-headed, 250 pounds of him singing "Lonely Guy" in a baritone when he heads the band KingSized. You really seriously have to wonder about a guy like that, and one of the things you wonder about is whether he'd be a blast in the sack. It is not even something I can control. The thought just pops into my brain like a craving for nicotine.

"I could climb him like a jungle gym," I keep thinking, and I have to slap my brain back because I, like, know his wife. But Jesus God, what is a girl gonna do? Let's not forget that I've seen him naked, I'm pretty sure. I still don't know if that was my own imagination or what, but I could have sworn he flashed the audience some full frontal the last time I saw him onstage at the Laughing Skull Lounge, where he headlines the "Showbiz What Sizzles" burlesque show with the Dames Aflame. It was quick, and there wasn't exactly a spotlight, but I swear I saw it and I say that right there makes the trip worth it. It also probably explains why a big chunk of the audience at these shows is female, which you wouldn't normally expect at a burlesque show, even a damn classy one with sequined pasties like this one. So if Shannon doesn't want women to have imaginary sex with her husband, she ought to tell him to stop making their imaginations go wild with all his onstage antics, because it's not like I can control myself.

In fact, because of Mike I'm in grave danger of revisiting the horniness of my post-adolescence, which was when my head was full of the crap-packed pages of all the epic romances I read – all those images of cleavages bursting with yearning and groins that detonated with desire. I must have spent years sitting around all day imagining passionate love-like stuff with French noblemen or whatever, which evidently entailed a lot of fainting into their arms, because for some reason these books made fainting into a man's arms sound like the sexiest thing a girl could do.

But reality wrecks everything. For one, I really don't faint that easily. Until then I had only a few times come across any actual fainted people — once when I accidentally walked into a public toilet at a Tijuana market to find a man passed out in a pool of sewage — and it was not sexy at all, but fantasies die hard. In the end I figured I could force the sexiness from the pages of the chick porn and into my real life, figuring once I lay there all helpless in a boy's arms he'd glimpse the curve of my neck and thus cue his groin to commence detonating.

But I picked the wrong boy to practice on. First, he did not even hold his arms out to catch me, and second, no matter how enticingly I exposed my nubile shoulders, all he did was grumble at me to get my stupid ass up. Looking back I have to be thankful my ploy didn't work, because if it had I shudder to think how I'd have been trained to garner male attention in the years to come. I might have turned into someone like my Dad's drinking pal Rosie, who had skinny legs and a barrel belly, and who used to ask the neighborhood boys to come in and help her with hard-to-reach zippers and such. Instead I got my stupid ass up, and now I am nothing like Rosie.

But I am also alone and dateless and I've been this way for a super long time, so it really doesn't do me any good to go to a burlesque show to imagine acrobatic sex with Shannon's husband all over the place. Or maybe it does, who knows. Maybe it will open the door to something other than imaginary sex with someone else some day. I hate to even admit that, because the last thing lonely people like to confess is that they long for something different for fear that their longing will wear like warts on their skin and repel people. But maybe it's not the end of the world to let go and be carried away, to fall into the arms of your own imagination and see where it takes you. And if a big guy in kabuki makeup brings it out in you, then I say that right there makes the trip worth it. Shannon will just have to understand.

Attend the book launch party for Trailer Trashed! Aug. 5, 7-10 p.m., at Paris on Ponce, 716 Ponce de Leon Place. 404-249-9965. For more info: www.hollisgillespie.com."
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That's why I'm glad Shannon's husband Mike has enough imagination for everyone in the room. For instance, you'd need a lot of it to come out on stage in a Japanese kimono and kabuki make up like he does sometimes, all 6'4" bald-headed, 250 pounds of him singing "Lonely Guy" in a baritone when he heads the band KingSized. You really seriously have to wonder about a guy like that, and one of the things you wonder about is whether he'd be a blast in the sack. It is not even something I can control. The thought just pops into my brain like a craving for nicotine.

"I could climb him like a jungle gym," I keep thinking, and I have to slap my brain back because I, like, ''know his wife''. But Jesus God, what is a girl gonna do? Let's not forget that I've seen him naked, I'm pretty sure. I still don't know if that was my own imagination or what, but I could have sworn he flashed the audience some full frontal the last time I saw him onstage at the Laughing Skull Lounge, where he headlines the "Showbiz What Sizzles" burlesque show with the Dames Aflame. It was quick, and there wasn't exactly a spotlight, but I swear I saw it and I say that right there makes the trip worth it. It also probably explains why a big chunk of the audience at these shows is female, which you wouldn't normally expect at a burlesque show, even a damn classy one with sequined pasties like this one. So if Shannon doesn't want women to have imaginary sex with her husband, she ought to tell him to stop making their imaginations go wild with all his onstage antics, because it's not like I can control myself.

In fact, because of Mike I'm in grave danger of revisiting the horniness of my post-adolescence, which was when my head was full of the crap-packed pages of all the epic romances I read – all those images of cleavages bursting with yearning and groins that detonated with desire. I must have spent years sitting around all day imagining passionate love-like stuff with French noblemen or whatever, which evidently entailed a lot of fainting into their arms, because for some reason these books made fainting into a man's arms sound like the sexiest thing a girl could do.

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But I picked the wrong boy to practice on. First, he did not even hold his arms out to catch me, and second, no matter how enticingly I exposed my nubile shoulders, all he did was grumble at me to get my stupid ass up. Looking back I have to be thankful my ploy didn't work, because if it had I shudder to think how I'd have been trained to garner male attention in the years to come. I might have turned into someone like my Dad's drinking pal Rosie, who had skinny legs and a barrel belly, and who used to ask the neighborhood boys to come in and help her with hard-to-reach zippers and such. Instead I got my stupid ass up, and now I am nothing like Rosie.

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But reality wrecks everything. For one, I really don't faint that easily. Until then I had only a few times come across any actual fainted people — once when I accidentally walked into a public toilet at a Tijuana market to find a man passed out in a pool of sewage — and it was not sexy at all, but fantasies die hard. In the end I figured I could force the sexiness from the pages of the chick porn and into my real life, figuring once I lay there all helpless in a boy's arms he'd glimpse the curve of my neck and thus cue his groin to commence detonating.

But I picked the wrong boy to practice on. First, he did not even hold his arms out to catch me, and second, no matter how enticingly I exposed my nubile shoulders, all he did was grumble at me to get my stupid ass up. Looking back I have to be thankful my ploy didn't work, because if it had I shudder to think how I'd have been trained to garner male attention in the years to come. I might have turned into someone like my Dad's drinking pal Rosie, who had skinny legs and a barrel belly, and who used to ask the neighborhood boys to come in and help her with hard-to-reach zippers and such. Instead I got my stupid ass up, and now I am nothing like Rosie.

But I am also alone and dateless and I've been this way for a super long time, so it really doesn't do me any good to go to a burlesque show to imagine acrobatic sex with Shannon's husband all over the place. Or maybe it does, who knows. Maybe it will open the door to something other than imaginary sex with someone else some day. I hate to even admit that, because the last thing lonely people like to confess is that they long for something different for fear that their longing will wear like warts on their skin and repel people. But maybe it's not the end of the world to let go and be carried away, to fall into the arms of your own imagination and see where it takes you. And if a big guy in kabuki makeup brings it out in you, then I say that right there makes the trip worth it. Shannon will just have to understand.

Attend the book launch party for Trailer Trashed! Aug. 5, 7-10 p.m., at Paris on Ponce, 716 Ponce de Leon Place. 404-249-9965. For more info: www.hollisgillespie.com.             13027836 1274557                          Moodswing - Chick porn "
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Moodswing

Wednesday July 30, 2008 12:04 am EDT
Making the trip worth it | more...
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  string(4821) "There's been a one-armed baby in my tree all month, which I didn't think would be a big deal until the neighbors kept pointing it out like I misplaced it or something. Like I've been looking for it everywhere and I just need to be reminded where I put it.

"There's a baby in your tree," said the lady who delivers my mail.

"I know," I said.

"Where's its other arm?" she asked.

"I have no idea."

I also have two feet and a torso in my flower bed, but nobody points those out, even though I personally think they deserve mention. Daisies sprout up from the ankles of the feet, as well as from the neck hole of the torso, which wasn't easy to accomplish, because the torso did not come with a neck hole. I had to drill that my own self, and it turns out that old mannequin pieces are not made from lightweight Styrofoam like I always kinda thought. They are made from, like, heavyweight Styrofoam, covered with a thick flesh-colored shell that can crack off in chunks if you're not careful. And their arms come off easily, too.

"I love that the baby only has one arm," said Grant when we spotted it. We were at a vintage store called Paris on Ponce, which is not so much a store as it is another planet – or, more aptly, it is the smoking aftermath of a collection of planets that have collided to form multiple concrete-floored fields of beautiful debris, and that's not even mentioning the stage and the dance floor. And the loading docks. And the railroad. You could probably move in and inhabit one of the dozens of vintage vignettes they have set up in there before the proprietors, my former neighbors George and Judy Lee, discovered you and inevitably hired you to unload truckloads of lovely junk, all while plying you with plates of cookies.

I think that's how those two found Shane, an employee who is really good at creating the vignettes for Paris on Ponce. The place has a whole section just for pink flamingos. Or it did until I got there; now all the flamingos are in my yard. That was Shane's idea, as were the dismembered mannequin planters, though it was Grant's idea to put the baby in the tree, a brilliant move, if you ask me. You don't really expect a baby to be found in a tree, missing an arm.

George and Judy don't know this but their place reminds me of the store my mother opened after she left her government-contract job. It was a fraction of the size, but still I used to spend entire afternoons there picking my way through all the lovely junk, marveling, for it was largely stocked with all the useless loot my mother had stolen over the years, containing anything from the fireplace mantle from our 11th family address to the patio furniture taken from the apartment complex where she resided at the time.

And let's not forget the pool cues she commonly stole from all the bars in all the neighborhoods we ever lived in since the late '70s. My sister's theory is that our mother was trying to get the attention of our father, who called himself a trailer salesman even though you'd be pretty hard-pressed to sell a trailer sitting on a barstool all day with the grade-school asses of me and my sisters in the background perfecting our bank shots. But my own theory is more complicated; I think our mother stole the pool cues to populate our home with acceptable keepsakes so when she eventually broke it apart we'd have pleasant reminders of our past as opposed to the painful ones. It must have been effective, because all her children ended up blooming incongruously to their predicament.

So of course when I saw the stack of pool cues at Paris on Ponce I grabbed them in commemoration of my klepto mom, because in the end I'm grateful for the way my parents were, because it gave me something to write about once I quit being mortified by my past. Now my third book is coming out, and that is why I was at Paris on Ponce with Grant; so I could create a vignette to go with it. The book is called Trailer Trashed, and I was looking for kitschy things to populate the vintage trailer I plan to pull around the Southeast in celebration of its release, though most of the stuff I collected I brought straight home with me and distributed throughout my yard.

The pool cues now line the path that leads to my front door, which I think is appropriate. I like being reminded of the home I had then as I enter the home I have now, with the baby in the tree and the pink flamingos in the yard, which is itself dotted with dismembered mannequin planters blooming incongruously to their predicament. I couldn't ask for more, really, than to open a door every day after picking my way through all this lovely junk.

Attend the book launch party for Trailer Trashed! Aug. 5, 7—10, at Paris on Ponce, 716 Ponce de Leon Place, Atlanta, 404.249.9965. For more info: www.hollisgillespie.com."
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"There's a baby in your tree," said the lady who delivers my mail.

"I know," I said.

"Where's its other arm?" she asked.

"I have no idea."

I also have two feet and a torso in my flower bed, but nobody points those out, even though I personally think they deserve mention. Daisies sprout up from the ankles of the feet, as well as from the neck hole of the torso, which wasn't easy to accomplish, because the torso did not come with a neck hole. I had to drill that my own self, and it turns out that old mannequin pieces are not made from lightweight Styrofoam like I always kinda thought. They are made from, like, ''heavy''weight Styrofoam, covered with a thick flesh-colored shell that can crack off in chunks if you're not careful. And their arms come off easily, too.

"I love that the baby only has one arm," said Grant when we spotted it. We were at a vintage store called Paris on Ponce, which is not so much a store as it is another planet – or, more aptly, it is the smoking aftermath of a collection of planets that have collided to form multiple concrete-floored fields of beautiful debris, and that's not even mentioning the stage and the dance floor. And the loading docks. And ''the railroad''. You could probably move in and inhabit one of the dozens of vintage vignettes they have set up in there before the proprietors, my former neighbors George and Judy Lee, discovered you and inevitably hired you to unload truckloads of lovely junk, all while plying you with plates of cookies.

I think that's how those two found Shane, an employee who is really good at creating the vignettes for Paris on Ponce. The place has a whole section just for pink flamingos. Or it did until I got there; now all the flamingos are in my yard. That was Shane's idea, as were the dismembered mannequin planters, though it was Grant's idea to put the baby in the tree, a brilliant move, if you ask me. You don't really expect a baby to be found in a tree, missing an arm.

__George and Judy don't__ know this but their place reminds me of the store my mother opened after she left her government-contract job. It was a fraction of the size, but still I used to spend entire afternoons there picking my way through all the lovely junk, marveling, for it was largely stocked with all the useless loot my mother had stolen over the years, containing anything from the fireplace mantle from our 11th family address to the patio furniture taken from the apartment complex where she resided at the time.

And let's not forget the pool cues she commonly stole from all the bars in all the neighborhoods we ever lived in since the late '70s. My sister's theory is that our mother was trying to get the attention of our father, who called himself a trailer salesman even though you'd be pretty hard-pressed to sell a trailer sitting on a barstool all day with the grade-school asses of me and my sisters in the background perfecting our bank shots. But my own theory is more complicated; I think our mother stole the pool cues to populate our home with acceptable keepsakes so when she eventually broke it apart we'd have pleasant reminders of our past as opposed to the painful ones. It must have been effective, because all her children ended up blooming incongruously to their predicament.

So of course when I saw the stack of pool cues at Paris on Ponce I grabbed them in commemoration of my klepto mom, because in the end I'm grateful for the way my parents were, because it gave me something to write about once I quit being mortified by my past. Now my third book is coming out, and that is why I was at Paris on Ponce with Grant; so I could create a vignette to go with it. The book is called ''Trailer Trashed'', and I was looking for kitschy things to populate the vintage trailer I plan to pull around the Southeast in celebration of its release, though most of the stuff I collected I brought straight home with me and distributed throughout my yard.

The pool cues now line the path that leads to my front door, which I think is appropriate. I like being reminded of the home I had then as I enter the home I have now, with the baby in the tree and the pink flamingos in the yard, which is itself dotted with dismembered mannequin planters blooming incongruously to their predicament. I couldn't ask for more, really, than to open a door every day after picking my way through all this lovely junk.

''Attend the book launch party for ''Trailer Trashed!'' Aug. 5, 7—10, at Paris on Ponce, 716 Ponce de Leon Place, Atlanta, 404.249.9965. For more info: www.hollisgillespie.com.''"
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  string(5051) "    Blooming incongruously to my predicament   2008-07-23T04:04:00+00:00 Moodswing - Lovely junk   Hollis Gillespie 1223585 2008-07-23T04:04:00+00:00  There's been a one-armed baby in my tree all month, which I didn't think would be a big deal until the neighbors kept pointing it out like I misplaced it or something. Like I've been looking for it everywhere and I just need to be reminded where I put it.

"There's a baby in your tree," said the lady who delivers my mail.

"I know," I said.

"Where's its other arm?" she asked.

"I have no idea."

I also have two feet and a torso in my flower bed, but nobody points those out, even though I personally think they deserve mention. Daisies sprout up from the ankles of the feet, as well as from the neck hole of the torso, which wasn't easy to accomplish, because the torso did not come with a neck hole. I had to drill that my own self, and it turns out that old mannequin pieces are not made from lightweight Styrofoam like I always kinda thought. They are made from, like, heavyweight Styrofoam, covered with a thick flesh-colored shell that can crack off in chunks if you're not careful. And their arms come off easily, too.

"I love that the baby only has one arm," said Grant when we spotted it. We were at a vintage store called Paris on Ponce, which is not so much a store as it is another planet – or, more aptly, it is the smoking aftermath of a collection of planets that have collided to form multiple concrete-floored fields of beautiful debris, and that's not even mentioning the stage and the dance floor. And the loading docks. And the railroad. You could probably move in and inhabit one of the dozens of vintage vignettes they have set up in there before the proprietors, my former neighbors George and Judy Lee, discovered you and inevitably hired you to unload truckloads of lovely junk, all while plying you with plates of cookies.

I think that's how those two found Shane, an employee who is really good at creating the vignettes for Paris on Ponce. The place has a whole section just for pink flamingos. Or it did until I got there; now all the flamingos are in my yard. That was Shane's idea, as were the dismembered mannequin planters, though it was Grant's idea to put the baby in the tree, a brilliant move, if you ask me. You don't really expect a baby to be found in a tree, missing an arm.

George and Judy don't know this but their place reminds me of the store my mother opened after she left her government-contract job. It was a fraction of the size, but still I used to spend entire afternoons there picking my way through all the lovely junk, marveling, for it was largely stocked with all the useless loot my mother had stolen over the years, containing anything from the fireplace mantle from our 11th family address to the patio furniture taken from the apartment complex where she resided at the time.

And let's not forget the pool cues she commonly stole from all the bars in all the neighborhoods we ever lived in since the late '70s. My sister's theory is that our mother was trying to get the attention of our father, who called himself a trailer salesman even though you'd be pretty hard-pressed to sell a trailer sitting on a barstool all day with the grade-school asses of me and my sisters in the background perfecting our bank shots. But my own theory is more complicated; I think our mother stole the pool cues to populate our home with acceptable keepsakes so when she eventually broke it apart we'd have pleasant reminders of our past as opposed to the painful ones. It must have been effective, because all her children ended up blooming incongruously to their predicament.

So of course when I saw the stack of pool cues at Paris on Ponce I grabbed them in commemoration of my klepto mom, because in the end I'm grateful for the way my parents were, because it gave me something to write about once I quit being mortified by my past. Now my third book is coming out, and that is why I was at Paris on Ponce with Grant; so I could create a vignette to go with it. The book is called Trailer Trashed, and I was looking for kitschy things to populate the vintage trailer I plan to pull around the Southeast in celebration of its release, though most of the stuff I collected I brought straight home with me and distributed throughout my yard.

The pool cues now line the path that leads to my front door, which I think is appropriate. I like being reminded of the home I had then as I enter the home I have now, with the baby in the tree and the pink flamingos in the yard, which is itself dotted with dismembered mannequin planters blooming incongruously to their predicament. I couldn't ask for more, really, than to open a door every day after picking my way through all this lovely junk.

Attend the book launch party for Trailer Trashed! Aug. 5, 7—10, at Paris on Ponce, 716 Ponce de Leon Place, Atlanta, 404.249.9965. For more info: www.hollisgillespie.com.             13027789 1274460                          Moodswing - Lovely junk "
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Moodswing

Wednesday July 23, 2008 12:04 am EDT
Blooming incongruously to my predicament | more...
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  string(4648) "I did not even know it was possible to break your actual ass, but that is what I did. In fact, weeks later I am still limping around like an extra in Dawn of the Dead, complete with moaning, groaning and slobbering. As expected, I am surprised at the lack of sympathy from the collection of heartless barnacles that make up my friends, which now includes my doctor, seeing as how I lied to his receptionist to snake my way into his office ahead of all the patients who had actual appointments.

"No, really," I insisted, suppressing the moaning and groaning but not the slobbering, "we go way back. I'm just here to say hi. Go tell him he has a visitor."

I was as convincing as O.J. professing his innocence, especially since I was clutching my own ass like a toddler looking for a toilet, but still she did as I asked and my ploy, like, worked. Within minutes I was writhing around in one of my doctor's examination rooms, resenting him for laughing at me.

"What the hell were you doing on a skateboard?" he chuckled, noting a "contused left ilial tuberosity" in my file.

"Well, Mark," I said, initiating our first-name basis in light of how I went to all the trouble of pretending to be his personal friend and all, "I'm from California, and I'm very athletic."

This was, of course, another lie. Not a complete lie, because I am from California and I did used to be very athletic, but these days, to be truthful, all this limping and slobbering is not a big departure from my normal countenance in its uninjured state. But God forbid I admit that to Chris, my old flame from high school who tracked me down and enticed me back out to California by using the masterful ploy of having not changed a single molecule since he was 17 years old. For example, he was a champion skateboarder back then and he – Jesus – still is.

He is also just as exasperating, annoying and aggravating as he ever was, all characteristics that I must find fairly irresistible, because how else do I explain that he not only talked me into visiting him but he got me on a skateboard as well, for maybe five seconds before I fell off and hit the ground like a sack of wet cement. I rolled around on the asphalt, wailing like a sick sea elephant while he tried to comfort me with the assurance that if I decided to have sex with him that night he'd let me take the easy route and "be the bottom." I would probably have put him in a headlock but for the fact that he really is quick on his feet. So instead I just lay there like a mummy in a peat bog. A noisy mummy.

"C'mon, don't give up," he implored. "Stand up."

Perhaps this is just my recollection, but I remember him skating circles around me then, and this, too, is not that different from when we were kids. Perhaps this is just my recollection, but I really had given up — not just on the asphalt right then, but back then when we were kids. I was always timid, brooding and basically tortured over any myriad of disasters, both invented and actual, and I remember Chris breaking my ass back then, too. I remember once we were on a catamaran in the tranquil waters of Mission Bay, and I was all set to wile the time away with thoughts of inventive suicide but for Chris singing "My Sharona" at the top of his lungs, which gravely interfered with my mindfully cultivated sense of despair.

It was an effective and thoroughly unintentional method of directing my thoughts from killing myself to killing him instead, which you have to admit is an improvement. I guess I will always be grateful to him for that, as well as for the fact that, because I wasn't popular enough to pick my friends back then, Chris literally picked me to be his. I don't know why, seeing as how, at the time, he was an über-adored world champion skateboarder and I was hardly more than an awkward corner ornament at parties like the one where we met. But he plucked me out of the crowd like a factory defect and we became friends, then lovers, then friends again. Now here we were, a hundred years later, with me prone like a dead possum and him standing over me, telling me not to give up.

Earlier I'd tried to push him off his board, but not only is Chris quick on his feet, it's impossible to knock him off his balance. This is really infuriating to think about when you're on the asphalt with a broken ass after just an attempt to follow suit. It was so infuriating, in fact, that I forgot I had given up. "Stand up," Chris kept cajoling, and amazingly I stood up. I got back on the board.

Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (www.hollisgillespie.com)."
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  string(4709) "I did not even know it was possible to break your actual ass, but that is what I did. In fact, weeks later I am still limping around like an extra in ''Dawn of the Dead'', complete with moaning, groaning and slobbering. As expected, I am surprised at the lack of sympathy from the collection of heartless barnacles that make up my friends, which now includes my doctor, seeing as how I lied to his receptionist to snake my way into his office ahead of all the patients who had actual appointments.

"No, really," I insisted, suppressing the moaning and groaning but not the slobbering, "we go way back. I'm just here to say hi. Go tell him he has a visitor."

I was as convincing as O.J. professing his innocence, especially since I was clutching my own ass like a toddler looking for a toilet, but still she did as I asked and my ploy, like, ''worked''. Within minutes I was writhing around in one of my doctor's examination rooms, resenting him for laughing at me.

"What the hell were you doing on a skateboard?" he chuckled, noting a "contused left ilial tuberosity" in my file.

"Well, ''Mark''," I said, initiating our first-name basis in light of how I went to all the trouble of pretending to be his personal friend and all, "I'm from California, and I'm very athletic."

This was, of course, another lie. Not a complete lie, because I am from California and I did used to be very athletic, but these days, to be truthful, all this limping and slobbering is not a big departure from my normal countenance in its uninjured state. But God forbid I admit that to Chris, my old flame from high school who tracked me down and enticed me back out to California by using the masterful ploy of having not changed a single molecule since he was 17 years old. For example, he was a champion skateboarder back then and he – Jesus – ''still'' is.

He is also just as exasperating, annoying and aggravating as he ever was, all characteristics that I must find fairly irresistible, because how else do I explain that he not only talked me into visiting him but he got me on a skateboard as well, for maybe five seconds before I fell off and hit the ground like a sack of wet cement. I rolled around on the asphalt, wailing like a sick sea elephant while he tried to comfort me with the assurance that if I decided to have sex with him that night he'd let me take the easy route and "be the bottom." I would probably have put him in a headlock but for the fact that he really is quick on his feet. So instead I just lay there like a mummy in a peat bog. A noisy mummy.

"C'mon, don't give up," he implored. "Stand up."

__Perhaps this is just__ my recollection, but I remember him skating circles around me then, and this, too, is not that different from when we were kids. Perhaps this is just my recollection, but I really had given up -- not just on the asphalt right then, but ''back then'' when we were kids. I was always timid, brooding and basically tortured over any myriad of disasters, both invented and actual, and I remember Chris breaking my ass back then, too. I remember once we were on a catamaran in the tranquil waters of Mission Bay, and I was all set to wile the time away with thoughts of inventive suicide but for Chris singing "My Sharona" at the top of his lungs, which gravely interfered with my mindfully cultivated sense of despair.

It was an effective and thoroughly unintentional method of directing my thoughts from killing myself to killing him instead, which you have to admit is an improvement. I guess I will always be grateful to him for that, as well as for the fact that, because I wasn't popular enough to pick my friends back then, Chris literally picked me to be his. I don't know why, seeing as how, at the time, he was an über-adored world champion skateboarder and I was hardly more than an awkward corner ornament at parties like the one where we met. But he plucked me out of the crowd like a factory defect and we became friends, then lovers, then friends again. Now here we were, a hundred years later, with me prone like a dead possum and him standing over me, telling me not to give up.

Earlier I'd tried to push him off his board, but not only is Chris quick on his feet, it's impossible to knock him off his balance. This is really infuriating to think about when you're on the asphalt with a broken ass after just an ''attempt'' to follow suit. It was so infuriating, in fact, that I forgot I had given up. "Stand up," Chris kept cajoling, and amazingly I stood up. I got back on the board.

''Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy ([http://www.hollisgillespie.com/|www.hollisgillespie.com]).''"
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  string(4882) "    Standing up instead of giving up   2008-07-16T04:04:00+00:00 Moodswing - Back on the board   Hollis Gillespie 1223585 2008-07-16T04:04:00+00:00  I did not even know it was possible to break your actual ass, but that is what I did. In fact, weeks later I am still limping around like an extra in Dawn of the Dead, complete with moaning, groaning and slobbering. As expected, I am surprised at the lack of sympathy from the collection of heartless barnacles that make up my friends, which now includes my doctor, seeing as how I lied to his receptionist to snake my way into his office ahead of all the patients who had actual appointments.

"No, really," I insisted, suppressing the moaning and groaning but not the slobbering, "we go way back. I'm just here to say hi. Go tell him he has a visitor."

I was as convincing as O.J. professing his innocence, especially since I was clutching my own ass like a toddler looking for a toilet, but still she did as I asked and my ploy, like, worked. Within minutes I was writhing around in one of my doctor's examination rooms, resenting him for laughing at me.

"What the hell were you doing on a skateboard?" he chuckled, noting a "contused left ilial tuberosity" in my file.

"Well, Mark," I said, initiating our first-name basis in light of how I went to all the trouble of pretending to be his personal friend and all, "I'm from California, and I'm very athletic."

This was, of course, another lie. Not a complete lie, because I am from California and I did used to be very athletic, but these days, to be truthful, all this limping and slobbering is not a big departure from my normal countenance in its uninjured state. But God forbid I admit that to Chris, my old flame from high school who tracked me down and enticed me back out to California by using the masterful ploy of having not changed a single molecule since he was 17 years old. For example, he was a champion skateboarder back then and he – Jesus – still is.

He is also just as exasperating, annoying and aggravating as he ever was, all characteristics that I must find fairly irresistible, because how else do I explain that he not only talked me into visiting him but he got me on a skateboard as well, for maybe five seconds before I fell off and hit the ground like a sack of wet cement. I rolled around on the asphalt, wailing like a sick sea elephant while he tried to comfort me with the assurance that if I decided to have sex with him that night he'd let me take the easy route and "be the bottom." I would probably have put him in a headlock but for the fact that he really is quick on his feet. So instead I just lay there like a mummy in a peat bog. A noisy mummy.

"C'mon, don't give up," he implored. "Stand up."

Perhaps this is just my recollection, but I remember him skating circles around me then, and this, too, is not that different from when we were kids. Perhaps this is just my recollection, but I really had given up — not just on the asphalt right then, but back then when we were kids. I was always timid, brooding and basically tortured over any myriad of disasters, both invented and actual, and I remember Chris breaking my ass back then, too. I remember once we were on a catamaran in the tranquil waters of Mission Bay, and I was all set to wile the time away with thoughts of inventive suicide but for Chris singing "My Sharona" at the top of his lungs, which gravely interfered with my mindfully cultivated sense of despair.

It was an effective and thoroughly unintentional method of directing my thoughts from killing myself to killing him instead, which you have to admit is an improvement. I guess I will always be grateful to him for that, as well as for the fact that, because I wasn't popular enough to pick my friends back then, Chris literally picked me to be his. I don't know why, seeing as how, at the time, he was an über-adored world champion skateboarder and I was hardly more than an awkward corner ornament at parties like the one where we met. But he plucked me out of the crowd like a factory defect and we became friends, then lovers, then friends again. Now here we were, a hundred years later, with me prone like a dead possum and him standing over me, telling me not to give up.

Earlier I'd tried to push him off his board, but not only is Chris quick on his feet, it's impossible to knock him off his balance. This is really infuriating to think about when you're on the asphalt with a broken ass after just an attempt to follow suit. It was so infuriating, in fact, that I forgot I had given up. "Stand up," Chris kept cajoling, and amazingly I stood up. I got back on the board.

Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (www.hollisgillespie.com).             13027742 1274363                          Moodswing - Back on the board "
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Moodswing

Wednesday July 16, 2008 12:04 am EDT
Standing up instead of giving up | more...

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  string(4663) "Grant's mother was in town again and, as ever, I was amazed that she didn't murder me the minute she saw me. Not that I deserve to be killed just for telling the truth about her horny-assed son in newspapers, books and magazines published all over the world – because Lord Jesus God, if you are a writer and you have a person like Grant in your life, you ought to drop everything just to watch him instruct illegal immigrants on the art of baton twirling – but because I, uh, write about her sometimes as well.

How can I not? Take the time she caught her eighth husband (or third, or something like that – OK, maybe he wasn't even her husband) in her closet masturbating into her boots (I'm pretty sure). I just love that. "Leather Smeller" is the nickname her son gave the man. And the reason Grant is so good at twirling batons is because his mother herself was a majorette when she was a girl, and not just any majorette, but like the regional master majorette champion in the tri-county area of the Southeast region. She still has the legs, too, and she will show you. "Arch your back," she used to tell Grant, "and don't forget the backward toe kick when you catch the baton." She was still giving him pointers as recently as last month. She is hardly bigger than a baton herself these days, and next to her Grant looks like a big performing bear, but she can still twirl like a damn whirly gig, and that is saying something.

Plus she doesn't kill me when she sees me, so I am crazy about her, just like I am crazy about Daniel's mom, not in the least because she doesn't seem to mind me at all, even though I told the world her son spent years pretending to be a retard to sell fake folk art. I also said that she sincerely believes her Precious Moment figurines really will increase in value over time, and this faith might be the reason her son grew up to be addicted to the Home Shopping Network. Lauren Hutton ought to pay Daniel's mom a commission on the sales of her "Non-Streak Tanning Towelettes" if you ask me, because last year Daniel bought enough to keep his skin the color of suitcase leather throughout five lifetimes. And don't get me started on the truckload of ergonomic coat hangers he bought last month, or even the barrage of JPGs he e-mailed me afterward detailing the before-and-after transformation once he implemented them into his closet.

"My clothes will be less wrinkled now!" Daniel exclaimed. Never mind that he won't spend a cent on a professional haircut, opting instead to trim his hair his own damn self, using toenail clippers, but at least his ratty-headed self is gonna be wearing second-hand overalls that have had the wrinkles ergonomically hung out of them, at least there's that, and ultimately I probably have Daniel's mom to thank for that.

She would never dream of killing me because I suspect Daniel would never dream of letting her read anything I've written about him, and seeing as how she's a Wal-Mart greeter in a tiny Texas border town, it's not all that hard to shield her from my books. But Grant, on the other hand, makes sure to send his mother highlighted copies, with the corners dog-eared on pages where the passages are of particular pride to him, even the part about how he likes to have group sex with the Mexicans he picks up on Buford Highway. "But don't believe the part about how I like to get my colonics at the do-it-yourself car wash," he'll demure.

Lary won't admit he has a mother, insisting he was not birthed from human loins at all, but rather that he crawled fully formed from a tar pit somewhere. But his sister found me online and forwarded some actual baby pictures of Lary, and in them he is not feasting on his weaker siblings, so he is human after all. I hear his mother is really religious, and would probably try to save my soul if I met her, which might be why Lary shields me from her. Lary is always worried my soul will be saved rather than sold.

My own mother died too young, and I don't know if she would have been friends with those of Daniel, Lary and Grant. In fact I can't think of three mothers more unlike mine – and three more unlike each other – than these, yet here they'd raised three people I can't live without. I need them like an engine needs certain essential components. Sure I could operate fine without them for a while probably, but it would be just a matter of time before I'd start to collapse like a wheel without spokes. That is why, with my own mother gone, I tend to love these other mothers instead.

Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (www.hollisgillespie.com)."
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  string(4705) "Grant's mother was in town again and, as ever, I was amazed that she didn't murder me the minute she saw me. Not that I deserve to be killed just for telling the truth about her horny-assed son in newspapers, books and magazines published all over the world – because Lord Jesus God, if you are a writer and you have a person like Grant in your life, you ought to drop everything just to watch him instruct illegal immigrants on the art of baton twirling – but because I, uh, write about her sometimes as well.

How can I not? Take the time she caught her eighth husband (or third, or something like that – OK, maybe he wasn't even her husband) in her closet masturbating into her boots (I'm pretty sure). I just love that. "Leather Smeller" is the nickname her son gave the man. And the reason Grant is so good at twirling batons is because his mother herself was a majorette when she was a girl, and not just any majorette, but like the regional master majorette champion in the tri-county area of the Southeast region. She still has the legs, too, and she will show you. "Arch your back," she used to tell Grant, "and don't forget the backward toe kick when you catch the baton." She was still giving him pointers as recently as last month. She is hardly bigger than a baton herself these days, and next to her Grant looks like a big performing bear, but she can still twirl like a damn whirly gig, and that is saying something.

Plus she doesn't kill me when she sees me, so I am crazy about her, just like I am crazy about Daniel's mom, not in the least because she doesn't seem to mind me at all, even though I told the world her son spent years pretending to be a retard to sell fake folk art. I also said that she sincerely believes her Precious Moment figurines really will increase in value over time, and this faith might be the reason her son grew up to be addicted to the Home Shopping Network. Lauren Hutton ought to pay Daniel's mom a commission on the sales of her "Non-Streak Tanning Towelettes" if you ask me, because last year Daniel bought enough to keep his skin the color of suitcase leather throughout five lifetimes. And don't get me started on the truckload of ergonomic coat hangers he bought last month, or even the barrage of JPGs he e-mailed me afterward detailing the before-and-after transformation once he implemented them into his closet.

__"My clothes will be__ less wrinkled now!" Daniel exclaimed. Never mind that he won't spend a cent on a professional haircut, opting instead to trim his hair his own damn self, using toenail clippers, but at least his ratty-headed self is gonna be wearing second-hand overalls that have had the wrinkles ergonomically hung out of them, at least there's that, and ultimately I probably have Daniel's mom to thank for that.

She would never dream of killing me because I suspect Daniel would never dream of letting her read anything I've written about him, and seeing as how she's a Wal-Mart greeter in a tiny Texas border town, it's not all that hard to shield her from my books. But Grant, on the other hand, makes sure to send his mother highlighted copies, with the corners dog-eared on pages where the passages are of particular pride to him, even the part about how he likes to have group sex with the Mexicans he picks up on Buford Highway. "But don't believe the part about how I like to get my colonics at the do-it-yourself car wash," he'll demure.

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My own mother died too young, and I don't know if she would have been friends with those of Daniel, Lary and Grant. In fact I can't think of three mothers more unlike mine – and three more unlike each other – than these, yet here they'd raised three people I can't live without. I need them like an engine needs certain essential components. Sure I could operate fine without them for a while probably, but it would be just a matter of time before I'd start to collapse like a wheel without spokes. That is why, with my own mother gone, I tend to love these other mothers instead.

''Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy ([http://www.hollisgillespie.com/|www.hollisgillespie.com]).''"
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  string(4888) "    I'm amazed they don't murder me   2008-07-09T04:04:00+00:00 Moodswing - Other mothers   Hollis Gillespie 1223585 2008-07-09T04:04:00+00:00  Grant's mother was in town again and, as ever, I was amazed that she didn't murder me the minute she saw me. Not that I deserve to be killed just for telling the truth about her horny-assed son in newspapers, books and magazines published all over the world – because Lord Jesus God, if you are a writer and you have a person like Grant in your life, you ought to drop everything just to watch him instruct illegal immigrants on the art of baton twirling – but because I, uh, write about her sometimes as well.

How can I not? Take the time she caught her eighth husband (or third, or something like that – OK, maybe he wasn't even her husband) in her closet masturbating into her boots (I'm pretty sure). I just love that. "Leather Smeller" is the nickname her son gave the man. And the reason Grant is so good at twirling batons is because his mother herself was a majorette when she was a girl, and not just any majorette, but like the regional master majorette champion in the tri-county area of the Southeast region. She still has the legs, too, and she will show you. "Arch your back," she used to tell Grant, "and don't forget the backward toe kick when you catch the baton." She was still giving him pointers as recently as last month. She is hardly bigger than a baton herself these days, and next to her Grant looks like a big performing bear, but she can still twirl like a damn whirly gig, and that is saying something.

Plus she doesn't kill me when she sees me, so I am crazy about her, just like I am crazy about Daniel's mom, not in the least because she doesn't seem to mind me at all, even though I told the world her son spent years pretending to be a retard to sell fake folk art. I also said that she sincerely believes her Precious Moment figurines really will increase in value over time, and this faith might be the reason her son grew up to be addicted to the Home Shopping Network. Lauren Hutton ought to pay Daniel's mom a commission on the sales of her "Non-Streak Tanning Towelettes" if you ask me, because last year Daniel bought enough to keep his skin the color of suitcase leather throughout five lifetimes. And don't get me started on the truckload of ergonomic coat hangers he bought last month, or even the barrage of JPGs he e-mailed me afterward detailing the before-and-after transformation once he implemented them into his closet.

"My clothes will be less wrinkled now!" Daniel exclaimed. Never mind that he won't spend a cent on a professional haircut, opting instead to trim his hair his own damn self, using toenail clippers, but at least his ratty-headed self is gonna be wearing second-hand overalls that have had the wrinkles ergonomically hung out of them, at least there's that, and ultimately I probably have Daniel's mom to thank for that.

She would never dream of killing me because I suspect Daniel would never dream of letting her read anything I've written about him, and seeing as how she's a Wal-Mart greeter in a tiny Texas border town, it's not all that hard to shield her from my books. But Grant, on the other hand, makes sure to send his mother highlighted copies, with the corners dog-eared on pages where the passages are of particular pride to him, even the part about how he likes to have group sex with the Mexicans he picks up on Buford Highway. "But don't believe the part about how I like to get my colonics at the do-it-yourself car wash," he'll demure.

Lary won't admit he has a mother, insisting he was not birthed from human loins at all, but rather that he crawled fully formed from a tar pit somewhere. But his sister found me online and forwarded some actual baby pictures of Lary, and in them he is not feasting on his weaker siblings, so he is human after all. I hear his mother is really religious, and would probably try to save my soul if I met her, which might be why Lary shields me from her. Lary is always worried my soul will be saved rather than sold.

My own mother died too young, and I don't know if she would have been friends with those of Daniel, Lary and Grant. In fact I can't think of three mothers more unlike mine – and three more unlike each other – than these, yet here they'd raised three people I can't live without. I need them like an engine needs certain essential components. Sure I could operate fine without them for a while probably, but it would be just a matter of time before I'd start to collapse like a wheel without spokes. That is why, with my own mother gone, I tend to love these other mothers instead.

Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (www.hollisgillespie.com).             13027689 1274254                          Moodswing - Other mothers "
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Moodswing

Wednesday July 9, 2008 12:04 am EDT
I'm amazed they don't murder me | more...
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  string(4608) "You would think that a flaming forklift would grab my attention, but it's surprising how unobtrusive those things are in real life.

"The forklift is on fire," Chris said to me almost casually, and I wouldn't have noticed anything was amiss but for Chris walking past me pretty fast. Other than that, you would have thought everything was absolutely as it should  be, though you have to take into consideration that we were in a factory warehouse that distributes skateboard wheels, which means there was a lot of stuff going on that competed for my focus.

Take the hobo standing across from me asserting his theories on post-apocalyptic survival and how, in the future, when the Chinese people come to his door to steal his milk, he's prepared to blow off their heads with a shotgun. I argued that that seemed like an extreme response to someone coming to your door to borrow food, and milk is not even a necessary staple, either, if you ask me.

"I will blow those fuckers away," he kept saying, "and if you can't do it yourself, you better move in with me so I can do it for you."

"Oh my God, this is his way of hitting on me!" I realized, and I was really charmed by that, because it's been a while since someone offered to shoot the heads off pillaging Chinese people for me. "Did you hear that?" I said to Chris, because the hobo was his friend, after all, or at the very least the old guy lived in a car in front of this very warehouse, which contained Chris' business. I wanted Chris to take some pride in how nicely his friends were treating me – what with their offers to let me live with them in their underground bunkers in New Mexico and all – but Chris was at that moment rushing from a flaming forklift.

I do have this to say about a forklift that has caught on fire: They don't smell good.

So you would think that the smell alone would have alerted me to the danger, but I took that in stride, too, because oddly the smell of a burning forklift fits right in with a noisy skateboard-wheel warehouse populated by recovered beach bums and homeless conspiracy theorists. My old friend Chris fits into neither of those categories, but his employees do, and if I was ever looking for a part-time job in Huntington Beach, Calif., I would want to work at Chris' wheel warehouse, where a burning forklift hardly merits a startled brow. In the end it barely occurred to me that I had cause to be alarmed before Chris was back with a blanket to smother the flames. Afterward everyone went about with business as though it was perfectly normal for a smoldering forklift to serve as a centerpiece in their work area.

"Oh," I thought, "I could fit in here."

Don't get me wrong, I don't require my friends to have forklifts, but I do consider it a huge perk – an even bigger one if the forklift is on fire. Because how a person handles a flaming forklift is a good test of their personality, if you ask me. Do you run away screaming? Do you shield your loved ones? Do you panic?

My own response was the opposite of panic, which is not to say that I remained calm, but that I remained oblivious. I saw the flames, I smelled the burning gasoline, and I heard my friend rush by while uttering the words, "The forklift is on fire," but my brain didn't add those things together in order to create a sense of impending danger. Instead, I accepted the circumstances and laughed about them later, after the fire was out, with everyone else.

Even the hobo survivalist was laughing, and I thought that said something, to be able to find something to laugh about when you're living in your car, when the end of the world is right around the corner, when you're staving yourself against the necessity of murdering the inevitable throng of Mongols eyeing your milk supply. "The end of the world is coming," he continued to warn between guffaws. "Make no mistake about that."

"I won't make that mistake," I assured him. I didn't tell him that I think the end of the world has already come and gone. I think it comes and goes every damn day. I think it commonly crashes to pieces at our feet in any myriad of ways. I think most days we wake up with heartbreak and regret burning in our breasts, and how we handle it says a lot about our personalities. Do you run away screaming? Do you shield your loved ones? Do you panic? Or do you simply accept the circumstances? Do you throw a blanket on the flames and laugh about them later, after the fire goes out, with everyone else?

Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (www.hollisgillespie.com)."
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  string(4650) "You would think that a flaming forklift would grab my attention, but it's surprising how unobtrusive those things are in real life.

"The forklift is on fire," Chris said to me almost casually, and I wouldn't have noticed anything was amiss but for Chris walking past me pretty fast. Other than that, you would have thought everything was absolutely as it should  be, though you have to take into consideration that we were in a factory warehouse that distributes skateboard wheels, which means there was a lot of stuff going on that competed for my focus.

Take the hobo standing across from me asserting his theories on post-apocalyptic survival and how, in the future, when the Chinese people come to his door to steal his milk, he's prepared to blow off their heads with a shotgun. I argued that that seemed like an extreme response to someone coming to your door to borrow food, and milk is not even a necessary staple, either, if you ask me.

"I will blow those fuckers away," he kept saying, "and if you can't do it yourself, you better move in with me so I can do it for you."

"Oh my God, this is his way of hitting on me!" I realized, and I was really charmed by that, because it's been a while since someone offered to shoot the heads off pillaging Chinese people for me. "Did you hear that?" I said to Chris, because the hobo was his friend, after all, or at the very least the old guy lived in a car in front of this very warehouse, which contained Chris' business. I wanted Chris to take some pride in how nicely his friends were treating me – what with their offers to let me live with them in their underground bunkers in New Mexico and all – but Chris was at that moment rushing from a flaming forklift.

__I do have this__ to say about a forklift that has caught on fire: They don't smell good.

So you would think that the smell alone would have alerted me to the danger, but I took that in stride, too, because oddly the smell of a burning forklift fits right in with a noisy skateboard-wheel warehouse populated by recovered beach bums and homeless conspiracy theorists. My old friend Chris fits into neither of those categories, but his employees do, and if I was ever looking for a part-time job in Huntington Beach, Calif., I would want to work at Chris' wheel warehouse, where a burning forklift hardly merits a startled brow. In the end it barely occurred to me that I had cause to be alarmed before Chris was back with a blanket to smother the flames. Afterward everyone went about with business as though it was perfectly normal for a smoldering forklift to serve as a centerpiece in their work area.

"Oh," I thought, "I could fit in here."

Don't get me wrong, I don't require my friends to have forklifts, but I do consider it a huge perk – an even bigger one if the forklift is on fire. Because how a person handles a flaming forklift is a good test of their personality, if you ask me. Do you run away screaming? Do you shield your loved ones? Do you panic?

My own response was the opposite of panic, which is not to say that I remained calm, but that I remained oblivious. I saw the flames, I smelled the burning gasoline, and I heard my friend rush by while uttering the words, "The forklift is on fire," but my brain didn't add those things together in order to create a sense of impending danger. Instead, I accepted the circumstances and laughed about them later, after the fire was out, with everyone else.

Even the hobo survivalist was laughing, and I thought that said something, to be able to find something to laugh about when you're living in your car, when the end of the world is right around the corner, when you're staving yourself against the necessity of murdering the inevitable throng of Mongols eyeing your milk supply. "The end of the world is coming," he continued to warn between guffaws. "Make no mistake about that."

"I won't make that mistake," I assured him. I didn't tell him that I think the end of the world has already come and gone. I think it comes and goes every damn day. I think it commonly crashes to pieces at our feet in any myriad of ways. I think most days we wake up with heartbreak and regret burning in our breasts, and how we handle it says a lot about our personalities. Do you run away screaming? Do you shield your loved ones? Do you panic? Or do you simply accept the circumstances? Do you throw a blanket on the flames and laugh about them later, after the fire goes out, with everyone else?

''Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy ([http://www.hollisgillespie.com/|www.hollisgillespie.com]).''"
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  string(4881) "    And other tips for the end of the world   2008-07-02T04:04:00+00:00 Moodswing - How to survive a flaming forklift   Hollis Gillespie 1223585 2008-07-02T04:04:00+00:00  You would think that a flaming forklift would grab my attention, but it's surprising how unobtrusive those things are in real life.

"The forklift is on fire," Chris said to me almost casually, and I wouldn't have noticed anything was amiss but for Chris walking past me pretty fast. Other than that, you would have thought everything was absolutely as it should  be, though you have to take into consideration that we were in a factory warehouse that distributes skateboard wheels, which means there was a lot of stuff going on that competed for my focus.

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"I will blow those fuckers away," he kept saying, "and if you can't do it yourself, you better move in with me so I can do it for you."

"Oh my God, this is his way of hitting on me!" I realized, and I was really charmed by that, because it's been a while since someone offered to shoot the heads off pillaging Chinese people for me. "Did you hear that?" I said to Chris, because the hobo was his friend, after all, or at the very least the old guy lived in a car in front of this very warehouse, which contained Chris' business. I wanted Chris to take some pride in how nicely his friends were treating me – what with their offers to let me live with them in their underground bunkers in New Mexico and all – but Chris was at that moment rushing from a flaming forklift.

I do have this to say about a forklift that has caught on fire: They don't smell good.

So you would think that the smell alone would have alerted me to the danger, but I took that in stride, too, because oddly the smell of a burning forklift fits right in with a noisy skateboard-wheel warehouse populated by recovered beach bums and homeless conspiracy theorists. My old friend Chris fits into neither of those categories, but his employees do, and if I was ever looking for a part-time job in Huntington Beach, Calif., I would want to work at Chris' wheel warehouse, where a burning forklift hardly merits a startled brow. In the end it barely occurred to me that I had cause to be alarmed before Chris was back with a blanket to smother the flames. Afterward everyone went about with business as though it was perfectly normal for a smoldering forklift to serve as a centerpiece in their work area.

"Oh," I thought, "I could fit in here."

Don't get me wrong, I don't require my friends to have forklifts, but I do consider it a huge perk – an even bigger one if the forklift is on fire. Because how a person handles a flaming forklift is a good test of their personality, if you ask me. Do you run away screaming? Do you shield your loved ones? Do you panic?

My own response was the opposite of panic, which is not to say that I remained calm, but that I remained oblivious. I saw the flames, I smelled the burning gasoline, and I heard my friend rush by while uttering the words, "The forklift is on fire," but my brain didn't add those things together in order to create a sense of impending danger. Instead, I accepted the circumstances and laughed about them later, after the fire was out, with everyone else.

Even the hobo survivalist was laughing, and I thought that said something, to be able to find something to laugh about when you're living in your car, when the end of the world is right around the corner, when you're staving yourself against the necessity of murdering the inevitable throng of Mongols eyeing your milk supply. "The end of the world is coming," he continued to warn between guffaws. "Make no mistake about that."

"I won't make that mistake," I assured him. I didn't tell him that I think the end of the world has already come and gone. I think it comes and goes every damn day. I think it commonly crashes to pieces at our feet in any myriad of ways. I think most days we wake up with heartbreak and regret burning in our breasts, and how we handle it says a lot about our personalities. Do you run away screaming? Do you shield your loved ones? Do you panic? Or do you simply accept the circumstances? Do you throw a blanket on the flames and laugh about them later, after the fire goes out, with everyone else?

Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (www.hollisgillespie.com).             13027640 1274147                          Moodswing - How to survive a flaming forklift "
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Moodswing

Wednesday July 2, 2008 12:04 am EDT
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  string(4794) "When I was young there wasn't much on cable-free television in the horror-movie department, so we had to make do with the requisite smattering of Japanese acid-trip offerings that included, but was not limited to, Godzilla, Rhodan and another movie called The Gargantuans, which basically had Tokyo being attacked by multicolored plush toys. These movies were, of course, about as scary as a preschooler jumping from behind a bush and yelling, "Boo." But given the lack of variety available at the time, my sisters and I watched them anyway, commenting, of course, on how weird it was to hear articulate English sentences emerge from lips that looked like they were trying suck golf balls through a beer bong.

But then one day a new movie was added to our repertoire, the plot of which seemed to consist of nothing more than a collection of Japanese soldiers on a submarine being terrorized by a creeping clear liquid. This substance, if it dripped on them, would make them disappear, leaving nothing but their empty clothing behind, bloodless and disembodied. I have absolutely no idea how the director accomplished this given the simplicity of the script, but that movie remains two of the most terrifying hours I ever spent as a child.

"Don't just stand there!" we'd scream at the hapless victim, frozen in fear, on the television screen, because we knew that being frozen in place was the worst thing you could do, because that is how the monster gets to you. "Run! Jump! Fly!" we'd holler.

My sisters and I never learned the name of the movie, and we never even learned the name of the monster, because we didn't speak Japanese, and with this movie they didn't bother to dub it with English or even add subtitles. There was no need. The terror was conveyed so effectively by other means, such as the claustrophobic confines of the set, the eerie violins in the soundtrack, the empty clothing littered around waiting to be stumbled upon in the dark, and the panic.

So my sisters and I simply named the monster "Stuff," and for years afterward, if we wanted to frighten each other, we would wait until late at night, when each of us would be in our respective beds located inches away in the same room, and we would whisper, "I see Stuff coming in under the door," or, "Stuff is right there by your foot," or, "Mom and Dad just got killed by Stuff and now it's oozing up from the cracks in the floor." The result was always the same; we would curl up under the covers and shiver until the wave of fright passed us by.

My brother, though, was impervious to the movie. "Fuck Stuff," he'd say, "What's to be afraid of? There's no blood, no guts, no head on the end of a hatchet. It's just clear liquid, for chrissakes."

But he was wrong. Stuff was scary, and today I continue to marvel how apt the image of that movie remains, because today I believe the essence of fear is rooted in the loss of yourself and those you love. For example, I remember when my father died, from a heart attack and not the attack of a Japanese movie monster, and I remember him later laying in his coffin, his body as empty of himself as the clothing left behind by the victims of Stuff. "Where did he go?" I thought. Regardless of the generic eulogy delivered by the funeral-parlor preacher who never met my father, there were no certainties, none, except that he was gone, and there was only emptiness in his place.

But when you don't die young, Stuff creeps up on you over time anyway – under the door and through the cracks in the floor – it happens a tiny bit at a time; a piece of you is lost here, another there, and before long, if you aren't careful, you're nothing more than walking laundry, and the people who love you are looking at you like they're wondering where you went. Sometimes you even ask yourself, "What happened to me?" even though you know the answer: Stuff got to you.

At this point you become terrified not of the things you lost, but of the things you might find, because all those lost pieces of yourself are still littered around waiting to be stumbled upon in the dark; dreams, longings, loves, aspirations and other evidence that you were once fresh and unfettered by stuff that had been so heavily crapped on you over time. How terrifying it would be to encounter these things laying around, bloodless and disembodied, so you think the best way to keep yourself safe is to not encounter anything at all, to simply remain in place, weighted.

But I am here to tell you that being frozen in place is the worst thing you can do, because that is how the monster gets to you. You have to run, jump, fly. You have to say to yourself, "Fuck Stuff."

Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (www.hollisgillespie.com)."
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But then one day a new movie was added to our repertoire, the plot of which seemed to consist of nothing more than a collection of Japanese soldiers on a submarine being terrorized by a creeping clear liquid. This substance, if it dripped on them, would make them disappear, leaving nothing but their empty clothing behind, bloodless and disembodied. I have absolutely no idea how the director accomplished this given the simplicity of the script, but that movie remains two of the most terrifying hours I ever spent as a child.

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My sisters and I never learned the name of the movie, and we never even learned the name of the monster, because we didn't speak Japanese, and with this movie they didn't bother to dub it with English or even add subtitles. There was no need. The terror was conveyed so effectively by other means, such as the claustrophobic confines of the set, the eerie violins in the soundtrack, the empty clothing littered around waiting to be stumbled upon in the dark, and the panic.

So my sisters and I simply named the monster "Stuff," and for years afterward, if we wanted to frighten each other, we would wait until late at night, when each of us would be in our respective beds located inches away in the same room, and we would whisper, "I see Stuff coming in under the door," or, "Stuff is right there by your foot," or, "Mom and Dad just got killed by Stuff and now it's oozing up from the cracks in the floor." The result was always the same; we would curl up under the covers and shiver until the wave of fright passed us by.

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But when you don't die young, Stuff creeps up on you over time anyway – under the door and through the cracks in the floor – it happens a tiny bit at a time; a piece of you is lost here, another there, and before long, if you aren't careful, you're nothing more than walking laundry, and the people who love you are looking at you like they're wondering where you went. Sometimes you even ask yourself, "What happened to me?" even though you know the answer: Stuff got to you.

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But I am here to tell you that being frozen in place is the worst thing you can do, because that is how the monster gets to you. You have to run, jump, fly. You have to say to yourself, "Fuck Stuff."

''Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy ([http://www.hollisgillespie.com/|www.hollisgillespie.com]).''"
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  string(5029) "    Remain frozen in place and Stuff will get you   2008-06-25T04:04:00+00:00 Moodswing - The monster   Hollis Gillespie 1223585 2008-06-25T04:04:00+00:00  When I was young there wasn't much on cable-free television in the horror-movie department, so we had to make do with the requisite smattering of Japanese acid-trip offerings that included, but was not limited to, Godzilla, Rhodan and another movie called The Gargantuans, which basically had Tokyo being attacked by multicolored plush toys. These movies were, of course, about as scary as a preschooler jumping from behind a bush and yelling, "Boo." But given the lack of variety available at the time, my sisters and I watched them anyway, commenting, of course, on how weird it was to hear articulate English sentences emerge from lips that looked like they were trying suck golf balls through a beer bong.

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"Don't just stand there!" we'd scream at the hapless victim, frozen in fear, on the television screen, because we knew that being frozen in place was the worst thing you could do, because that is how the monster gets to you. "Run! Jump! Fly!" we'd holler.

My sisters and I never learned the name of the movie, and we never even learned the name of the monster, because we didn't speak Japanese, and with this movie they didn't bother to dub it with English or even add subtitles. There was no need. The terror was conveyed so effectively by other means, such as the claustrophobic confines of the set, the eerie violins in the soundtrack, the empty clothing littered around waiting to be stumbled upon in the dark, and the panic.

So my sisters and I simply named the monster "Stuff," and for years afterward, if we wanted to frighten each other, we would wait until late at night, when each of us would be in our respective beds located inches away in the same room, and we would whisper, "I see Stuff coming in under the door," or, "Stuff is right there by your foot," or, "Mom and Dad just got killed by Stuff and now it's oozing up from the cracks in the floor." The result was always the same; we would curl up under the covers and shiver until the wave of fright passed us by.

My brother, though, was impervious to the movie. "Fuck Stuff," he'd say, "What's to be afraid of? There's no blood, no guts, no head on the end of a hatchet. It's just clear liquid, for chrissakes."

But he was wrong. Stuff was scary, and today I continue to marvel how apt the image of that movie remains, because today I believe the essence of fear is rooted in the loss of yourself and those you love. For example, I remember when my father died, from a heart attack and not the attack of a Japanese movie monster, and I remember him later laying in his coffin, his body as empty of himself as the clothing left behind by the victims of Stuff. "Where did he go?" I thought. Regardless of the generic eulogy delivered by the funeral-parlor preacher who never met my father, there were no certainties, none, except that he was gone, and there was only emptiness in his place.

But when you don't die young, Stuff creeps up on you over time anyway – under the door and through the cracks in the floor – it happens a tiny bit at a time; a piece of you is lost here, another there, and before long, if you aren't careful, you're nothing more than walking laundry, and the people who love you are looking at you like they're wondering where you went. Sometimes you even ask yourself, "What happened to me?" even though you know the answer: Stuff got to you.

At this point you become terrified not of the things you lost, but of the things you might find, because all those lost pieces of yourself are still littered around waiting to be stumbled upon in the dark; dreams, longings, loves, aspirations and other evidence that you were once fresh and unfettered by stuff that had been so heavily crapped on you over time. How terrifying it would be to encounter these things laying around, bloodless and disembodied, so you think the best way to keep yourself safe is to not encounter anything at all, to simply remain in place, weighted.

But I am here to tell you that being frozen in place is the worst thing you can do, because that is how the monster gets to you. You have to run, jump, fly. You have to say to yourself, "Fuck Stuff."

Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (www.hollisgillespie.com).             13027597 1274057                          Moodswing - The monster "
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Moodswing

Wednesday June 25, 2008 12:04 am EDT
Remain frozen in place and Stuff will get you | more...
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  string(4641) ""I've had my requisite two beers and two tequilas, and I feel I am now qualified as a carpenter. I am headed over to your house with a chain saw. I hope you are home."

Normally I'd be frightened if I knew there was a drunk guy with a chain saw on his way to my place, but this is Tequila Lary we're talking about, and when Tequila Lary wants to come over you should let him. Tequila Lary will have picked your place because, right around his third shot, he will have remembered that the last time he was in your yard he noticed that maybe your rain gutters need cleaning or something, and all of a sudden it will have occurred to him how to devise a solar-operated flushing system composed of five rusty pitch forks and 20 rotating crowbars, and he will need to implement his invention right then. Afterward you will never have to worry about cleaning your gutters again, which is worth the occasional concussion if you ask me.

But I should caution you to make sure it's Tequila Lary you're getting, and not Jäger Lary. Jäger Lary will fix the leak in your bathtub, sure, but not before installing a covert turd cam in your toilet before he's done. And he'll build you a tree house, sure, with an outdoor shower and everything, but then he will also rape all the woodland creatures in your yard while he's at it, probably.

So thank God it was Tequila Lary on his way over to my place and not Jäger Lary, and what normally would have frightened me made me excited instead. Tequila Lary picked my place! I wonder what inefficiency he felt inspired to fix, because truthfully there are so many. There is my washroom, for example, which is so small I practically have to climb over my washer to get to my dryer, and don't get me started about the utility shed out the back of my house with the missing roof. It will take a lot of tequila to fix everything. The chain saw, though, is a mystery. What do I have wrong with my place that requires a chain saw?

"You need an outdoor cat crapper," Lary insisted when he got here.

"What the hell is an outdoor cat crapper?" I griped.

But Lary did not answer. Instead, he simply took his chain saw and, literally, without even measuring anything – or even carefully calculating potential gas-pipe placement or electrical lines or anything – he just-like-that cut a hole in my house. I knew better than to get in the way, because this was still a drunk man with a running chain saw, so instead I just holed myself up in the vintage trailer I keep in my crumbling driveway and tried to get used to the idea that this might be my permanent residence for a while, in case this turns out to be the first time the genius of Tequila Lary takes a turn to the dark side.

One hour, two margaritas and a hundred lungfuls of gasoline fumes later, Lary was done. He banged on the door of the trailer and told me to take a look, so I ventured outside, but only after insisting he turn off the chain saw, because by then he had begun to gesture with it as though it was one of those metal pointers favored by self-involved geography professors.

The hole he cut into my house turned out to be precisely the size of a standard pet door, and the hole's placement allowed access from my laundry room, which is part of my house, to the shed out back, which is not, though it is perfectly enclosed and now, compliments of Tequila Lary, covered with a new roof of corrugated fiberglass. Plus he'd installed a ramp structure that led from the hole in my house to the spot on the ground where, I was told, I could put the litter box.

I have to say the entire getup was worthy of the genius we have come to expect from Tequila Lary. I did not even know I needed such a thing. "Oh, you needed it," said Lary, who was the one who, last year, had searched the neighborhood to find Jethro, my outdoor cat who up and broke my heart by disappearing one day. It turned out he was trying to die without saying goodbye. Lary stood there as I clutched Jethro's weakening body to my chest and bawled. Ever since I've hoarded my other two cats in the house, terrified to let them outside lest they had a mind to do the same. According to Lary, the fumes from the litter box had begun to cremate his corneas.

"There," Lary said. "Now your cats can go outside to crap without being outdoor cats."

Before I could thank him he had already tossed his chain saw into the back of his truck and was driving off, leaving me there next to my new outdoor cat crapper, grateful. Tequila Lary strikes again.

Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (www.hollisgillespie.com)."
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  string(4707) ""I've had my requisite two beers and two tequilas, and I feel I am now qualified as a carpenter. I am headed over to your house with a chain saw. I hope you are home."

Normally I'd be frightened if I knew there was a drunk guy with a chain saw on his way to my place, but this is ''Tequila Lary'' we're talking about, and when Tequila Lary wants to come over you should let him. Tequila Lary will have picked your place because, right around his third shot, he will have remembered that the last time he was in your yard he noticed that maybe your rain gutters need cleaning or something, and all of a sudden it will have occurred to him how to devise a solar-operated flushing system composed of five rusty pitch forks and 20 rotating crowbars, and he will need to implement his invention ''right then''. Afterward you will never have to worry about cleaning your gutters again, which is worth the occasional concussion if you ask me.

But I should caution you to make sure it's ''Tequila'' Lary you're getting, and not ''Jäger'' Lary. Jäger Lary will fix the leak in your bathtub, sure, but not before installing a covert turd cam in your toilet before he's done. And he'll build you a tree house, sure, with an outdoor shower and everything, but then he will also rape all the woodland creatures in your yard while he's at it, probably.

So thank God it was Tequila Lary on his way over to my place and not Jäger Lary, and what normally would have frightened me made me excited instead. Tequila Lary picked my place! I wonder what inefficiency he felt inspired to fix, because truthfully there are so many. There is my washroom, for example, which is so small I practically have to climb over my washer to get to my dryer, and don't get me started about the utility shed out the back of my house with the missing roof. It will take a lot of tequila to fix everything. The chain saw, though, is a mystery. What do I have wrong with my place that requires a chain saw?

"You need an outdoor cat crapper," Lary insisted when he got here.

"What the hell is an outdoor cat crapper?" I griped.

But Lary did not answer. Instead, he simply took his chain saw and, literally, without even measuring anything – or even carefully calculating potential gas-pipe placement or electrical lines or ''anything'' – he just-like-that ''cut a hole in my house''. I knew better than to get in the way, because this was still a drunk man with a running chain saw, so instead I just holed myself up in the vintage trailer I keep in my crumbling driveway and tried to get used to the idea that this might be my permanent residence for a while, in case this turns out to be the first time the genius of Tequila Lary takes a turn to the dark side.

__One hour, two margaritas__ and a hundred lungfuls of gasoline fumes later, Lary was done. He banged on the door of the trailer and told me to take a look, so I ventured outside, but only after insisting he turn off the chain saw, because by then he had begun to gesture with it as though it was one of those metal pointers favored by self-involved geography professors.

The hole he cut into my house turned out to be precisely the size of a standard pet door, and the hole's placement allowed access from my laundry room, which is part of my house, to the shed out back, which is not, though it is perfectly enclosed and now, compliments of Tequila Lary, covered with a new roof of corrugated fiberglass. Plus he'd installed a ramp structure that led from the hole in my house to the spot on the ground where, I was told, I could put the litter box.

I have to say the entire getup was worthy of the genius we have come to expect from Tequila Lary. I did not even know I needed such a thing. "Oh, you needed it," said Lary, who was the one who, last year, had searched the neighborhood to find Jethro, my outdoor cat who up and broke my heart by disappearing one day. It turned out he was trying to die without saying goodbye. Lary stood there as I clutched Jethro's weakening body to my chest and bawled. Ever since I've hoarded my other two cats in the house, terrified to let them outside lest they had a mind to do the same. According to Lary, the fumes from the litter box had begun to cremate his corneas.

"There," Lary said. "Now your cats can go outside to crap without being outdoor cats."

Before I could thank him he had already tossed his chain saw into the back of his truck and was driving off, leaving me there next to my new outdoor cat crapper, grateful. Tequila Lary strikes again.

''Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy ([http://www.hollisgillespie.com/|www.hollisgillespie.com]).''"
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Normally I'd be frightened if I knew there was a drunk guy with a chain saw on his way to my place, but this is Tequila Lary we're talking about, and when Tequila Lary wants to come over you should let him. Tequila Lary will have picked your place because, right around his third shot, he will have remembered that the last time he was in your yard he noticed that maybe your rain gutters need cleaning or something, and all of a sudden it will have occurred to him how to devise a solar-operated flushing system composed of five rusty pitch forks and 20 rotating crowbars, and he will need to implement his invention right then. Afterward you will never have to worry about cleaning your gutters again, which is worth the occasional concussion if you ask me.

But I should caution you to make sure it's Tequila Lary you're getting, and not Jäger Lary. Jäger Lary will fix the leak in your bathtub, sure, but not before installing a covert turd cam in your toilet before he's done. And he'll build you a tree house, sure, with an outdoor shower and everything, but then he will also rape all the woodland creatures in your yard while he's at it, probably.

So thank God it was Tequila Lary on his way over to my place and not Jäger Lary, and what normally would have frightened me made me excited instead. Tequila Lary picked my place! I wonder what inefficiency he felt inspired to fix, because truthfully there are so many. There is my washroom, for example, which is so small I practically have to climb over my washer to get to my dryer, and don't get me started about the utility shed out the back of my house with the missing roof. It will take a lot of tequila to fix everything. The chain saw, though, is a mystery. What do I have wrong with my place that requires a chain saw?

"You need an outdoor cat crapper," Lary insisted when he got here.

"What the hell is an outdoor cat crapper?" I griped.

But Lary did not answer. Instead, he simply took his chain saw and, literally, without even measuring anything – or even carefully calculating potential gas-pipe placement or electrical lines or anything – he just-like-that cut a hole in my house. I knew better than to get in the way, because this was still a drunk man with a running chain saw, so instead I just holed myself up in the vintage trailer I keep in my crumbling driveway and tried to get used to the idea that this might be my permanent residence for a while, in case this turns out to be the first time the genius of Tequila Lary takes a turn to the dark side.

One hour, two margaritas and a hundred lungfuls of gasoline fumes later, Lary was done. He banged on the door of the trailer and told me to take a look, so I ventured outside, but only after insisting he turn off the chain saw, because by then he had begun to gesture with it as though it was one of those metal pointers favored by self-involved geography professors.

The hole he cut into my house turned out to be precisely the size of a standard pet door, and the hole's placement allowed access from my laundry room, which is part of my house, to the shed out back, which is not, though it is perfectly enclosed and now, compliments of Tequila Lary, covered with a new roof of corrugated fiberglass. Plus he'd installed a ramp structure that led from the hole in my house to the spot on the ground where, I was told, I could put the litter box.

I have to say the entire getup was worthy of the genius we have come to expect from Tequila Lary. I did not even know I needed such a thing. "Oh, you needed it," said Lary, who was the one who, last year, had searched the neighborhood to find Jethro, my outdoor cat who up and broke my heart by disappearing one day. It turned out he was trying to die without saying goodbye. Lary stood there as I clutched Jethro's weakening body to my chest and bawled. Ever since I've hoarded my other two cats in the house, terrified to let them outside lest they had a mind to do the same. According to Lary, the fumes from the litter box had begun to cremate his corneas.

"There," Lary said. "Now your cats can go outside to crap without being outdoor cats."

Before I could thank him he had already tossed his chain saw into the back of his truck and was driving off, leaving me there next to my new outdoor cat crapper, grateful. Tequila Lary strikes again.

Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (www.hollisgillespie.com).             13027547 1273954                          Moodswing - Tequila Lary strikes again "
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Moodswing

Wednesday June 18, 2008 12:04 am EDT
The genius of a drunk man with a chain saw | more...
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  string(4861) "I was hoping to run into some reality stars while I was out in L.A., because I figure they flit around out there like fruit bats. But the only one I saw was Daniel Vosovic from the second season of "Project Runway," and he was already too encrusted with suck-ass glommers for me to make it worse for him. Don't get me wrong; I am not at all above tackling a reality TV star in public if I'm the only one subjecting him to the imposition, but I can't jump into the fray once it's already started. In short, I can initiate the misery, I just can't add to it.

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"Lord Christ on the cross!" I squealed, "I can't wait to hear what you have to say about all the sickos who didn't make it through the screening process!" Because, let's face it, the criteria does not seem to be too tough. It seems to me you can be covered in cold sores with a taxidermied donkey leg hanging out your ass and they'd still unclip the velvet rope and wave you through. Half the contestants on "America's Next Top Model" are practically swatting at imaginary insects the entire show. And "Shot at Love with Tila Tequila" is a complete circus sideshow. It's almost as if they'd hung audition posters in the psych wards of county prisons.

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"Most likely," he qualified. "It all depends on what the producers are looking for."

I cannot wait for the reality show where the producers are looking for candidates who like to eat people, but until then I'll have to make do with "Top Chef," I guess. I didn't get cable until last year, so my addiction is young. There are still a number of shows, such as the one with the collection of plastic cactuses who are supposed to represent housewives living in Orange County, that I couldn't watch unless I was chained to a chair with my eyelids propped open with paper clips. But I'm told that it will be just a matter of time before there's nothing left of me but two eyes and a spinal cord coiled around a bowl of popcorn on the couch, pulsating to the jingle of the BRAVO network.

Thankfully the reality nurse was more forthcoming about her experience with the selection process. She disclosed that in any reality program where accommodations were to be shared – which is like, almost all, isn't it? – each contestant has to be screened for communicable diseases, most notably sexually transmitted diseases, because evidently there is plenty of copulating going on behind the camera as well as in front, and evidently the network doesn't want to be sued for pimping people off on each other without disclosing to everyone what they're in for.

"I cry every time I have to tell someone they're HIV positive," the nurse said. Lord Christ, I would, too. That's got to be awful. I never thought about it like that. How ironic, to audition for a reality show only to be handed more reality than you were willing to face. Once, the nurse recalled, the producers were screening contestants for a show that, I swear to God (I think), offered up a male virgin. So they, like, had to find one, which was no easy task – and in Los Angeles, no less. Anyway, the producers finally settled on someone who seemed like the perfect prospect – he was wide-eyed, demure, young and supple – only to hand him over for the medical exam and learn he was a walking incubator for venereal diseases.

"He tried to tell us he was clean when he came in, so we must have been the ones who infected him," she said. Shaking her head like someone who truly has seen it all.

I shook my head, too. Can you imagine? But then later, after I had cut the nurse short because she'd reminded me there was a "Project Runway" marathon airing as we spoke, I remembered there was a time not too long ago when reality shows held no appeal to me whatsoever. I was clean when I came in, I realized.

Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (www.hollisgillespie.com)."
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So I did not corner any reality stars or even contestants during my trip to L.A. for the national Book Expo last week, but I encountered something else that I have since convinced myself is ''even better'': I met – I swear this is true; he was standing right in front on me, or sitting, anyway – I actually met face-to-face the psychiatrist who evaluates the mental stability of the contestants who audition for cable-TV reality programming. And not only that, I met the nurse who administers their physical exams as well. To me this was like hitting the mother lode.

"Lord Christ on the cross!" I squealed, "I can't wait to hear what you have to say about all the sickos who didn't make it through the screening process!" Because, let's face it, the criteria does not seem to be too tough. It seems to me you can be covered in cold sores with a taxidermied donkey leg hanging out your ass and they'd still unclip the velvet rope and wave you through. Half the contestants on "America's Next Top Model" are practically swatting at imaginary insects the entire show. And "Shot at Love with Tila Tequila" is a complete circus sideshow. It's almost as if they'd hung audition posters in the psych wards of county prisons.

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"Most likely," he qualified. "It all depends on what the producers are looking for."

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"Most likely," he qualified. "It all depends on what the producers are looking for."

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Thankfully the reality nurse was more forthcoming about her experience with the selection process. She disclosed that in any reality program where accommodations were to be shared – which is like, almost all, isn't it? – each contestant has to be screened for communicable diseases, most notably sexually transmitted diseases, because evidently there is plenty of copulating going on behind the camera as well as in front, and evidently the network doesn't want to be sued for pimping people off on each other without disclosing to everyone what they're in for.

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Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (www.hollisgillespie.com).             13027477 1273773                          Moodswing - Young addiction "
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Moodswing

Wednesday June 11, 2008 12:04 am EDT
More reality than you can handle | more...
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  string(4782) "It's a good thing my mother could design weapons of mass destruction, because she would have made a crappy cosmetologist. She could not even curl her own bangs, for one, let alone those on other heads. And don't get me started with the false eyelashes. She never wore them herself, but she brought home sample after sample and glued them to my eyelids, not to mention those of my sisters, along with every other sample of experimental beauty product they were passing out at the community college where she took night courses in cosmetology. It was to be her fallback career, she kept insisting, when the day finally came that her job building bombs for the government proved unreliable.

That day never really came, but she kept preparing for it nonetheless, practicing her newly acquired beauty techniques on my sisters and me. She once gave me a perm that simply injected my long hair with some kind of super frizz so it stuck out horizontally on either side of my center part. That, in combination with my skinny limbs at the time, caused her to joke that I looked like a walking capital letter "T." You would think these failures would have deterred her from pursuing a career in beauty, but as long as she had willing lab mice like me upon which to bestow her ministrations she kept up the classes. I will never forget the mud-mask period, during which she kept all our faces caked in minty-smelling green sludge for days at a time, it seemed, certain we'd emerge with flawless skin for our efforts.

"This stuff is actually edible," she'd say, suppressing a gag as she tasted a tiny bit off the tip of her finger. I remarked that it was a good thing, since we had more jars of mud mask than we did of anything else in the cupboards. At that we laughed until our masks cracked like overdone pie crusts.

My skin didn't seem any better off after the mud immersion than it did before, but my mother insisted that it wasn't the immediate result that mattered, but that we were nourishing future layers of the epidermis. It sounded like bunk to me, but regardless of my mother's limited talents when it came to beautifying the people around her, she certainly seemed happier when she was trying, as opposed to when her talents were directed toward destruction, where there seemed to be a bigger demand.

But for all I know she could have been a crappy missile scientist, too. I really have no idea, considering that I lack any method of measuring an effective weapon to judge my mother's ability to build one. I do recall several occasions when her co-scientists praised her abilities in my presence, and considering that these same people often recommended her for future contracts, I have to believe she was good at her job, if not enthusiastic about it.

I also remember her once remarking that the government paid her the same if the bomb worked well as it did if it didn't work at all, so it was all the same to her. It might or might not be a comfort to know that she didn't always work directly for the government of the United States, but sometimes for that of the Swiss, who in turn had been contracted by Turkey and Saudi Arabia, to name a few. "I have no idea how they're going to be able to operate this missile," she once said of the Saudi clients who had contracted the Swiss weapons company where she worked, which in turn had contracted her from her company in California. "None of the equations add up, and the jibbity jabber doesn't fit into the zimmity zoo, thus rendering the doobie dauber ineffectual."

As soon as she saw I wasn't listening, she'd change the subject, often to the latest beauty product that was the rage of her night-course classmates, like the new setting gel made from banana extract, or whatever. Before I knew it I'd be facing a mirror with a head full of the stuff, and she was running her fingers through my hair, murmuring about its suppleness. "You're such a beauty," she would say over and over, which gave me pause, because I did not have the same opinion about my reflection.

But if I've learned anything since growing up, it's that reflection is relative, and perhaps when my mother was looking at me she was reflecting on the gratitude that bombs were not the only things she produced in her life. That even if she was a bad beauty-school student, at least she endeavored to produce beauty in a world where it seemed such endeavors were becoming less and less valuable. True, my mother could not curl her own bangs, but she could build a bomb and then, when that didn't make an interesting topic of conversation with her daughters, she could learn about beauty products and talk about that instead.

Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (www.hollisgillespie.com)."
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  string(4828) "It's a good thing my mother could design weapons of mass destruction, because she would have made a crappy cosmetologist. She could not even curl her own bangs, for one, let alone those on other heads. And don't get me started with the false eyelashes. She never wore them herself, but she brought home sample after sample and glued them to my eyelids, not to mention those of my sisters, along with every other sample of experimental beauty product they were passing out at the community college where she took night courses in cosmetology. It was to be her fallback career, she kept insisting, when the day finally came that her job building bombs for the government proved unreliable.

That day never really came, but she kept preparing for it nonetheless, practicing her newly acquired beauty techniques on my sisters and me. She once gave me a perm that simply injected my long hair with some kind of super frizz so it stuck out horizontally on either side of my center part. That, in combination with my skinny limbs at the time, caused her to joke that I looked like a walking capital letter "T." You would think these failures would have deterred her from pursuing a career in beauty, but as long as she had willing lab mice like me upon which to bestow her ministrations she kept up the classes. I will never forget the mud-mask period, during which she kept all our faces caked in minty-smelling green sludge for days at a time, it seemed, certain we'd emerge with flawless skin for our efforts.

"This stuff is actually edible," she'd say, suppressing a gag as she tasted a tiny bit off the tip of her finger. I remarked that it was a good thing, since we had more jars of mud mask than we did of anything else in the cupboards. At that we laughed until our masks cracked like overdone pie crusts.

My skin didn't seem any better off after the mud immersion than it did before, but my mother insisted that it wasn't the ''immediate'' result that mattered, but that we were nourishing future layers of the epidermis. It sounded like bunk to me, but regardless of my mother's limited talents when it came to beautifying the people around her, she certainly seemed happier when she was trying, as opposed to when her talents were directed toward destruction, where there seemed to be a bigger demand.

__But for all I know__ she could have been a crappy missile scientist, too. I really have no idea, considering that I lack any method of measuring an effective weapon to judge my mother's ability to build one. I do recall several occasions when her co-scientists praised her abilities in my presence, and considering that these same people often recommended her for future contracts, I have to believe she was good at her job, if not enthusiastic about it.

I also remember her once remarking that the government paid her the same if the bomb worked well as it did if it didn't work at all, so it was all the same to her. It might or might not be a comfort to know that she didn't always work directly for the government of the United States, but sometimes for that of the Swiss, who in turn had been contracted by Turkey and Saudi Arabia, to name a few. "I have no idea how they're going to be able to operate this missile," she once said of the Saudi clients who had contracted the Swiss weapons company where she worked, which in turn had contracted her from her company in California. "None of the equations add up, and the jibbity jabber doesn't fit into the zimmity zoo, thus rendering the doobie dauber ineffectual."

As soon as she saw I wasn't listening, she'd change the subject, often to the latest beauty product that was the rage of her night-course classmates, like the new setting gel made from banana extract, or whatever. Before I knew it I'd be facing a mirror with a head full of the stuff, and she was running her fingers through my hair, murmuring about its suppleness. "You're such a beauty," she would say over and over, which gave me pause, because I did not have the same opinion about my reflection.

But if I've learned anything since growing up, it's that reflection is relative, and perhaps when my mother was looking at me she was reflecting on the gratitude that bombs were not the only things she produced in her life. That even if she was a bad beauty-school student, at least she endeavored to produce beauty in a world where it seemed such endeavors were becoming less and less valuable. True, my mother could not curl her own bangs, but she could build a bomb and then, when that didn't make an interesting topic of conversation with her daughters, she could learn about beauty products and talk about that instead.

''Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy ([http://www.hollisgillespie.com/|www.hollisgillespie.com]).''"
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That day never really came, but she kept preparing for it nonetheless, practicing her newly acquired beauty techniques on my sisters and me. She once gave me a perm that simply injected my long hair with some kind of super frizz so it stuck out horizontally on either side of my center part. That, in combination with my skinny limbs at the time, caused her to joke that I looked like a walking capital letter "T." You would think these failures would have deterred her from pursuing a career in beauty, but as long as she had willing lab mice like me upon which to bestow her ministrations she kept up the classes. I will never forget the mud-mask period, during which she kept all our faces caked in minty-smelling green sludge for days at a time, it seemed, certain we'd emerge with flawless skin for our efforts.

"This stuff is actually edible," she'd say, suppressing a gag as she tasted a tiny bit off the tip of her finger. I remarked that it was a good thing, since we had more jars of mud mask than we did of anything else in the cupboards. At that we laughed until our masks cracked like overdone pie crusts.

My skin didn't seem any better off after the mud immersion than it did before, but my mother insisted that it wasn't the immediate result that mattered, but that we were nourishing future layers of the epidermis. It sounded like bunk to me, but regardless of my mother's limited talents when it came to beautifying the people around her, she certainly seemed happier when she was trying, as opposed to when her talents were directed toward destruction, where there seemed to be a bigger demand.

But for all I know she could have been a crappy missile scientist, too. I really have no idea, considering that I lack any method of measuring an effective weapon to judge my mother's ability to build one. I do recall several occasions when her co-scientists praised her abilities in my presence, and considering that these same people often recommended her for future contracts, I have to believe she was good at her job, if not enthusiastic about it.

I also remember her once remarking that the government paid her the same if the bomb worked well as it did if it didn't work at all, so it was all the same to her. It might or might not be a comfort to know that she didn't always work directly for the government of the United States, but sometimes for that of the Swiss, who in turn had been contracted by Turkey and Saudi Arabia, to name a few. "I have no idea how they're going to be able to operate this missile," she once said of the Saudi clients who had contracted the Swiss weapons company where she worked, which in turn had contracted her from her company in California. "None of the equations add up, and the jibbity jabber doesn't fit into the zimmity zoo, thus rendering the doobie dauber ineffectual."

As soon as she saw I wasn't listening, she'd change the subject, often to the latest beauty product that was the rage of her night-course classmates, like the new setting gel made from banana extract, or whatever. Before I knew it I'd be facing a mirror with a head full of the stuff, and she was running her fingers through my hair, murmuring about its suppleness. "You're such a beauty," she would say over and over, which gave me pause, because I did not have the same opinion about my reflection.

But if I've learned anything since growing up, it's that reflection is relative, and perhaps when my mother was looking at me she was reflecting on the gratitude that bombs were not the only things she produced in her life. That even if she was a bad beauty-school student, at least she endeavored to produce beauty in a world where it seemed such endeavors were becoming less and less valuable. True, my mother could not curl her own bangs, but she could build a bomb and then, when that didn't make an interesting topic of conversation with her daughters, she could learn about beauty products and talk about that instead.

Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (www.hollisgillespie.com).             13027448 1273710                          Moodswing - Beauty product "
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Moodswing

Wednesday June 4, 2008 12:04 am EDT
Reflection is relative | more...
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  string(4707) "The closest thing I have to a sex life lately happens in my shower. Don't get high expectations. I'm not having fun; it's just that I've been howling a lot in there these days, and recently while I was howling ("Ooooh! Ahhhh! Oh my GOD!" Shudder, shudder), I realized that if someone came to the door right then they'd think I was busy having hot buffalo sex, when actually what I'm having is the opposite of hot. What I'm having is, in fact, cold: freezing cold showers compliments of Whirlpool, not to mention Lowe's, the hardware hangar that sits like an al-Qaeda compound on the outskirts of my neighborhood. It has been a week now since I've had hot water in my home.

Not that I don't have a brand new hot-water heater, of course I've got one of those. I got it after my old one stopped bothering to heat water past lukewarm level, and I figure if you're gonna have a hot-water heater, it's not unreasonable to expect better than lukewarm. It wasn't even the first one I bought at Lowe's that day. See, I'm picky, because the first hot-water heater I bought at Lowe's that day, once I got it out of the box, revealed a big dent in the top. But "dent" doesn't really describe it accurately. "Kind of crushed" would be more accurate, as though it had landed on its head after being pushed out of a helicopter at a fairly high altitude. So, preferring something that didn't look like it had been bombed in exchange for the brand-new dollars I spent for it, I put it back in the back of my car.

I would like to point out here that a hot-water heater is an actual appliance, exactly like how a refrigerator or a stove is an appliance, and it is just as big if not bigger than these things. I thought about calling one of my truck-owning friends to help, but I'm too beholden to them after my last unhitched-trailer-rolling-down-the-highway-and-landing-in-an-irrigation-ditch disaster to hope for any of them to rally to my side again so soon afterward. So I did it my own damn self, pretty much, marveling at how adept I've become at shoving big-ass things into the back of my car. The other day, for example, Daniel and I picked up a 6-foot utility cabinet off the side of the road and put it into the back of my car. Daniel didn't think it would fit, and he was right, but half of it did, thus enabling me to secure the other half with the passel of bungee cords I keep on hand for just such occasions. Bungee cords, by the way, do not work as an alternative to an operating trailer hitch.

But the fact that I am adept at shoving big-ass things into the back of my car does not mean I enjoy lugging around brand new hot-water heaters. I don't even like to buy brand new hot-water heaters, let alone two in one goddamn day. If it were left to my regular philosophy I would've tracked down a used one on Craigslist, but I have bought used appliances before, and the fact is they pretty much only work half as well.

As opposed to new appliances bought at Lowe's, which evidently don't work at all. Because after I hauled the one with the crap dented out of it back to Lowe's – where the guy at the return counter was pleasant though not apologetic at all, or even impressed that I lugged that hot-water heater home and back my own damn self – I bought another one, dragged its rotund ass out to my car and back home.

This time, though, before I bought it I did a visual check to make sure it didn't have its head bashed in like the last one. Sadly, that is about the only pretest measure you can make when it comes to hot-water heaters. The next test is to pay $450 to have it installed, a process that requires hacksaws, cement and soldering irons, then after it's installed you turn it on, run your hot water and, like, I dunno, expect it to work.

My problem, I guess, is that my expectations are too high. For one, I at least used to have lukewarm water that came from a rusty old water heater, but that wasn't good enough. So now I have freezing cold water that comes from a shiny new water heater, and when I call the number on the owner's manual it's answered by someone living in India, and I feel bad complaining about my lack of hot water when I once worked a flight back from Bombay during which I heard a passenger complain about having to "step over the corpses in the gutter." The person in India tells me it will be next Monday before they can dispatch a "technician" to assess my problem. I would have expected something sooner, but by now my expectations have hit rock bottom, and there is nothing else for me to do but go back into the shower and howl.

Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (www.hollisgillespie.com)."
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  string(4769) "The closest thing I have to a sex life lately happens in my shower. Don't get high expectations. I'm not having fun; it's just that I've been howling a lot in there these days, and recently while I was howling ("Ooooh! Ahhhh! Oh my GOD!" Shudder, shudder), I realized that if someone came to the door right then they'd think I was busy having hot buffalo sex, when actually what I'm having is the opposite of hot. What I'm having is, in fact, cold: freezing cold showers compliments of Whirlpool, not to mention Lowe's, the hardware hangar that sits like an al-Qaeda compound on the outskirts of my neighborhood. It has been a week now since I've had hot water in my home.

Not that I don't have a brand new hot-water heater, of course I've got one of those. I got it after my old one stopped bothering to heat water past lukewarm level, and I figure if you're gonna have a hot-water heater, it's not unreasonable to expect better than lukewarm. It wasn't even the first one I bought at Lowe's that day. See, I'm picky, because the first hot-water heater I bought at Lowe's that day, once I got it out of the box, revealed a big dent in the top. But "dent" doesn't really describe it accurately. "Kind of crushed" would be more accurate, as though it had landed on its head after being pushed out of a helicopter at a fairly high altitude. So, preferring something that didn't look like it had been bombed in exchange for the brand-new dollars I spent for it, I put it back in the back of my car.

I would like to point out here that a hot-water heater is an actual ''appliance'', exactly like how a refrigerator or a stove is an appliance, and it is just as big if not bigger than these things. I thought about calling one of my truck-owning friends to help, but I'm too beholden to them after my last unhitched-trailer-rolling-down-the-highway-and-landing-in-an-irrigation-ditch disaster to hope for any of them to rally to my side again so soon afterward. So I did it my own damn self, pretty much, marveling at how adept I've become at shoving big-ass things into the back of my car. The other day, for example, Daniel and I picked up a 6-foot utility cabinet off the side of the road and put it into the back of my car. Daniel didn't think it would fit, and he was right, but half of it did, thus enabling me to secure the other half with the passel of bungee cords I keep on hand for just such occasions. Bungee cords, by the way, do not work as an alternative to an operating trailer hitch.

__But the fact__ that I am adept at shoving big-ass things into the back of my car does not mean I enjoy lugging around brand new hot-water heaters. I don't even like to ''buy'' brand new hot-water heaters, let alone two in one goddamn day. If it were left to my regular philosophy I would've tracked down a used one on Craigslist, but I have bought used appliances before, and the fact is they pretty much only work half as well.

As opposed to ''new'' appliances bought at Lowe's, which evidently don't work ''at all''. Because after I hauled the one with the crap dented out of it back to Lowe's – where the guy at the return counter was pleasant though not apologetic at all, or even impressed that I lugged that hot-water heater home and back my own damn self – I bought ''another one'', dragged its rotund ass out to my car and back home.

This time, though, before I bought it I did a visual check to make sure it didn't have its head bashed in like the last one. Sadly, that is about the only pretest measure you can make when it comes to hot-water heaters. The next test is to pay $450 to have it installed, a process that requires hacksaws, cement and soldering irons, then after it's installed you turn it on, run your hot water and, like, I dunno, expect it to work.

My problem, I guess, is that my expectations are too high. For one, I at least used to have lukewarm water that came from a rusty old water heater, but that wasn't good enough. So now I have freezing cold water that comes from a shiny new water heater, and when I call the number on the owner's manual it's answered by someone living in India, and I feel bad complaining about my lack of hot water when I once worked a flight back from Bombay during which I heard a passenger complain about having to "step over the corpses in the gutter." The person in India tells me it will be next Monday before they can dispatch a "technician" to assess my problem. I would have expected something sooner, but by now my expectations have hit rock bottom, and there is nothing else for me to do but go back into the shower and howl.

''Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy ([http://www.hollisgillespie.com/|www.hollisgillespie.com]).''"
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  string(4945) "    My expectations are too high   2008-05-28T04:04:00+00:00 Moodswing - Howling in the shower   Hollis Gillespie 1223585 2008-05-28T04:04:00+00:00  The closest thing I have to a sex life lately happens in my shower. Don't get high expectations. I'm not having fun; it's just that I've been howling a lot in there these days, and recently while I was howling ("Ooooh! Ahhhh! Oh my GOD!" Shudder, shudder), I realized that if someone came to the door right then they'd think I was busy having hot buffalo sex, when actually what I'm having is the opposite of hot. What I'm having is, in fact, cold: freezing cold showers compliments of Whirlpool, not to mention Lowe's, the hardware hangar that sits like an al-Qaeda compound on the outskirts of my neighborhood. It has been a week now since I've had hot water in my home.

Not that I don't have a brand new hot-water heater, of course I've got one of those. I got it after my old one stopped bothering to heat water past lukewarm level, and I figure if you're gonna have a hot-water heater, it's not unreasonable to expect better than lukewarm. It wasn't even the first one I bought at Lowe's that day. See, I'm picky, because the first hot-water heater I bought at Lowe's that day, once I got it out of the box, revealed a big dent in the top. But "dent" doesn't really describe it accurately. "Kind of crushed" would be more accurate, as though it had landed on its head after being pushed out of a helicopter at a fairly high altitude. So, preferring something that didn't look like it had been bombed in exchange for the brand-new dollars I spent for it, I put it back in the back of my car.

I would like to point out here that a hot-water heater is an actual appliance, exactly like how a refrigerator or a stove is an appliance, and it is just as big if not bigger than these things. I thought about calling one of my truck-owning friends to help, but I'm too beholden to them after my last unhitched-trailer-rolling-down-the-highway-and-landing-in-an-irrigation-ditch disaster to hope for any of them to rally to my side again so soon afterward. So I did it my own damn self, pretty much, marveling at how adept I've become at shoving big-ass things into the back of my car. The other day, for example, Daniel and I picked up a 6-foot utility cabinet off the side of the road and put it into the back of my car. Daniel didn't think it would fit, and he was right, but half of it did, thus enabling me to secure the other half with the passel of bungee cords I keep on hand for just such occasions. Bungee cords, by the way, do not work as an alternative to an operating trailer hitch.

But the fact that I am adept at shoving big-ass things into the back of my car does not mean I enjoy lugging around brand new hot-water heaters. I don't even like to buy brand new hot-water heaters, let alone two in one goddamn day. If it were left to my regular philosophy I would've tracked down a used one on Craigslist, but I have bought used appliances before, and the fact is they pretty much only work half as well.

As opposed to new appliances bought at Lowe's, which evidently don't work at all. Because after I hauled the one with the crap dented out of it back to Lowe's – where the guy at the return counter was pleasant though not apologetic at all, or even impressed that I lugged that hot-water heater home and back my own damn self – I bought another one, dragged its rotund ass out to my car and back home.

This time, though, before I bought it I did a visual check to make sure it didn't have its head bashed in like the last one. Sadly, that is about the only pretest measure you can make when it comes to hot-water heaters. The next test is to pay $450 to have it installed, a process that requires hacksaws, cement and soldering irons, then after it's installed you turn it on, run your hot water and, like, I dunno, expect it to work.

My problem, I guess, is that my expectations are too high. For one, I at least used to have lukewarm water that came from a rusty old water heater, but that wasn't good enough. So now I have freezing cold water that comes from a shiny new water heater, and when I call the number on the owner's manual it's answered by someone living in India, and I feel bad complaining about my lack of hot water when I once worked a flight back from Bombay during which I heard a passenger complain about having to "step over the corpses in the gutter." The person in India tells me it will be next Monday before they can dispatch a "technician" to assess my problem. I would have expected something sooner, but by now my expectations have hit rock bottom, and there is nothing else for me to do but go back into the shower and howl.

Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (www.hollisgillespie.com).             13027405 1273625                          Moodswing - Howling in the shower "
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Moodswing

Wednesday May 28, 2008 12:04 am EDT
My expectations are too high | more...
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  string(4636) "Grant is alive, and that fact alone is evidence that I am a changed person. "I now promote peace and harmony and all that important shit," I tell him, spouting some of the canons of the yoga ashram Annie had me join recently. I am gingerly sipping my Yogi tea, which tastes like dusty, ground-up nutshells. Lately I've hardly even had to pick my tongue up off the concrete in fits of caffeine deprivation. "I'm a changed person," I continue, "if not, I would have killed your worthless ass back in Charlotte last week when you almost got us thrown in jail."

I am referring to when Grant, drunk, raided a Charlotte grocery store and attempted to pilfer all their baked goods by walking out with them hidden – half-masticated, wrappers and all (probably) – in his mouth.

Grant, though, is not at all convinced I am a changed person. "Do I need to remind you that the last time you went somewhere to seek help to become a better person you were asked to leave the building?" he tries to remind me, but his memory is faulty. It was he who was asked to leave, or asked not to return, or something like that. He had joined some traveling snake-oil seminar designed to make him a more loving person by the end of the weekend, but they'd asked that he not return after the first day.

"That wasn't me, that was Lary," Grant reminds me, and this time I realize he's right. It was our other friend Lary, who, in that instance, had taken to telling the other attendees that just because he was a child molester doesn't mean he didn't deserve love, too. Lary's former girlfriend Mary Jane had asked him to sign up for the seminar, but she should have known better. Lary will do anything you ask, but then he will make sure he does it in a way that ensures you'll never ask him again. For example, Lary has helped me move four times, and each time he demolishes 40 percent of my possessions, thinking this would keep me from asking him again, but what he doesn't know is I don't need that shit anyway. Especially now, fresh from having renounced any attachment to earthly stuff, including, but not limited to, anger and resentment.

"I'm cleansed," I quip. "I'm like a screen door; it all just flows through me." Sip, sip.

"Bitch, you are not a screen door," Grant says. "You are more like a human hair trap."

"Goddammit!" I shriek, "I am not a human hair trap! Lord Jesus God, far be it for me to rise above your decrepit ass and try to be a better person! I am just looking for some peace. Peace, I tell you! And all you wanna do is drag me back into the cesspool to wallow with you so you won't be alone." I try to sip my tea, but to be honest I really do kinda hate the taste, so I smash my cup back on the table and glare at Grant.

He looks back at me smiling, with his eyes all sweet and blue as blow-torch flames. "Hair trap," he says as he sucks down his coffee, and I would have put him in a headlock if not for the fact that his head is the size of a hot-air balloon. It's one of the first things I noticed about him when I first met him a dozen years ago, his huge head and his huge smile to go with it. I was working a blue-collar job and hauling around a big bag of soon-to-be-broken dreams, but then Grant insisted we begin to meet up regularly to report on the progress of our hopes and aspirations.

If not for those fairly consistent confirmations I doubt I would have had the courage to take many steps toward changing the person I was then into the person I am today. For example, I remember once Grant and I both tried our hardest to become alcoholics, but then in the end we figured there was way too much commitment involved to pursue that goal effectively. Then once I thought I should actually consider getting an office job because I thought I didn't have any other options. "Bitch," Grant chided me, "have I taught you nothing?"

Now here he is sitting across from me, all these years later. "OK," he says, his giddiness subsided, all serious now. This is, after all, one of our infamous affirmation sessions. "What is it you want again?"

What I want, I want to tell him, is to be a changed person, but then I realize that's all I've ever been, thanks to him. A dozen years worth of hopes and aspirations; today it turns out that some are realized, some are dashed, but a lot are still standing, which suddenly strikes me as remarkable. It takes a lot to still be standing after a dozen years. All those hopes and dreams – this friendship – they don't pass through me. They stick.

Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (www.hollisgillespie.com)."
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  string(4698) "Grant is alive, and that fact alone is evidence that I am a changed person. "I now promote peace and harmony and all that important shit," I tell him, spouting some of the canons of the yoga ashram Annie had me join recently. I am gingerly sipping my Yogi tea, which tastes like dusty, ground-up nutshells. Lately I've hardly even had to pick my tongue up off the concrete in fits of caffeine deprivation. "I'm a changed person," I continue, "if not, I would have killed your worthless ass back in Charlotte last week when you almost got us thrown in jail."

I am referring to when Grant, drunk, raided a Charlotte grocery store and attempted to pilfer all their baked goods by walking out with them hidden – half-masticated, wrappers and all (probably) – in his mouth.

Grant, though, is not at all convinced I am a changed person. "Do I need to remind you that the last time you went somewhere to seek help to become a better person you were asked to leave the building?" he tries to remind me, but his memory is faulty. It was ''he'' who was asked to leave, or asked not to return, or something like that. He had joined some traveling snake-oil seminar designed to make him a more loving person by the end of the weekend, but they'd asked that he not return after the first day.

"That wasn't me, that was ''Lary''," Grant reminds me, and this time I realize he's right. It was our other friend Lary, who, in that instance, had taken to telling the other attendees that just because he was a child molester doesn't mean he didn't deserve love, too. Lary's former girlfriend Mary Jane had asked him to sign up for the seminar, but she should have known better. Lary will do anything you ask, but then he will make sure he does it in a way that ensures you'll never ask him again. For example, Lary has helped me move four times, and each time he demolishes 40 percent of my possessions, thinking this would keep me from asking him again, but what he doesn't know is I don't need that shit anyway. Especially now, fresh from having renounced any attachment to earthly stuff, including, but not limited to, anger and resentment.

__"I'm cleansed,"__ I quip. "I'm like a screen door; it all just flows through me." Sip, sip.

"Bitch, you are not a screen door," Grant says. "You are more like a human hair trap."

"Goddammit!" I shriek, "I am not a human hair trap! Lord Jesus God, far be it for me to rise above your decrepit ass and try to be a better person! I am just looking for some peace. ''Peace'', I tell you! And all you wanna do is drag me back into the cesspool to wallow with you so you won't be alone." I try to sip my tea, but to be honest I really do kinda hate the taste, so I smash my cup back on the table and glare at Grant.

He looks back at me smiling, with his eyes all sweet and blue as blow-torch flames. "Hair trap," he says as he sucks down his coffee, and I would have put him in a headlock if not for the fact that his head is the size of a hot-air balloon. It's one of the first things I noticed about him when I first met him a dozen years ago, his huge head and his huge smile to go with it. I was working a blue-collar job and hauling around a big bag of soon-to-be-broken dreams, but then Grant insisted we begin to meet up regularly to report on the progress of our hopes and aspirations.

If not for those fairly consistent confirmations I doubt I would have had the courage to take many steps toward changing the person I was then into the person I am today. For example, I remember once Grant and I both tried our hardest to become alcoholics, but then in the end we figured there was way too much commitment involved to pursue that goal effectively. Then once I thought I should actually consider getting an office job because I thought I didn't have any other options. "Bitch," Grant chided me, "have I taught you ''nothing''?"

Now here he is sitting across from me, all these years later. "OK," he says, his giddiness subsided, all serious now. This is, after all, one of our infamous affirmation sessions. "What is it you want again?"

What I want, I want to tell him, is to be a changed person, but then I realize that's all I've ever been, thanks to him. A dozen years worth of hopes and aspirations; today it turns out that some are realized, some are dashed, but a lot are still standing, which suddenly strikes me as remarkable. It takes a lot to still be standing after a dozen years. All those hopes and dreams – this ''friendship'' – they don't pass through me. They stick.

''Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy ([http://www.hollisgillespie.com/|www.hollisgillespie.com]).''"
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"That wasn't me, that was Lary," Grant reminds me, and this time I realize he's right. It was our other friend Lary, who, in that instance, had taken to telling the other attendees that just because he was a child molester doesn't mean he didn't deserve love, too. Lary's former girlfriend Mary Jane had asked him to sign up for the seminar, but she should have known better. Lary will do anything you ask, but then he will make sure he does it in a way that ensures you'll never ask him again. For example, Lary has helped me move four times, and each time he demolishes 40 percent of my possessions, thinking this would keep me from asking him again, but what he doesn't know is I don't need that shit anyway. Especially now, fresh from having renounced any attachment to earthly stuff, including, but not limited to, anger and resentment.

"I'm cleansed," I quip. "I'm like a screen door; it all just flows through me." Sip, sip.

"Bitch, you are not a screen door," Grant says. "You are more like a human hair trap."

"Goddammit!" I shriek, "I am not a human hair trap! Lord Jesus God, far be it for me to rise above your decrepit ass and try to be a better person! I am just looking for some peace. Peace, I tell you! And all you wanna do is drag me back into the cesspool to wallow with you so you won't be alone." I try to sip my tea, but to be honest I really do kinda hate the taste, so I smash my cup back on the table and glare at Grant.

He looks back at me smiling, with his eyes all sweet and blue as blow-torch flames. "Hair trap," he says as he sucks down his coffee, and I would have put him in a headlock if not for the fact that his head is the size of a hot-air balloon. It's one of the first things I noticed about him when I first met him a dozen years ago, his huge head and his huge smile to go with it. I was working a blue-collar job and hauling around a big bag of soon-to-be-broken dreams, but then Grant insisted we begin to meet up regularly to report on the progress of our hopes and aspirations.

If not for those fairly consistent confirmations I doubt I would have had the courage to take many steps toward changing the person I was then into the person I am today. For example, I remember once Grant and I both tried our hardest to become alcoholics, but then in the end we figured there was way too much commitment involved to pursue that goal effectively. Then once I thought I should actually consider getting an office job because I thought I didn't have any other options. "Bitch," Grant chided me, "have I taught you nothing?"

Now here he is sitting across from me, all these years later. "OK," he says, his giddiness subsided, all serious now. This is, after all, one of our infamous affirmation sessions. "What is it you want again?"

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Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (www.hollisgillespie.com).             13027344 1273497                          Moodswing - The human hair trap "
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Moodswing

Wednesday May 21, 2008 12:04 am EDT
A changed person is all I've ever been | more...
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  string(4775) "That will be the absolute last time I drag Grant's drunk ass into a grocery store late at night. It's not like I haven't been traumatized enough by my own childhood, when visits to the grocery store elicited freak factors out of both parents. My father boycotted our neighborhood store because it stopped cashing his checks, so he used to drive us across town to the grocery "thrift" store, where they sold discontinued items, like the genius jars of peanut butter with gobs of grape jelly already in them. And when my mother grocery shopped she inevitably threatened to leave me behind every time – this was probably due to the fact that I desperately wanted her to make good on her threat.

So I already have issues with grocery stores. I did not need to trigger post trauma by sitting by and saying nothing while Grant hoovered two giant margaritas with extra shots of artisan tequila during dinner before the grocery run. We were in Charlotte, having taken my memoir-publishing seminar on the road seeing as how we had such a successful charter year in Atlanta. I'd just had my fifth protégé contact me to say she'd gotten a book deal, which makes me, of course, burst about a billion capillaries as I take all the credit for her success. Grant was with me in Charlotte because he had characteristically horned in from the beginning, this time by insisting he could be a distinguished guest instructor, hence the "Grant Henry 'Fuck Fear' Enlightenment Lecture" portion of the seminar. I agreed to let him do it if for no other reason than it would be fun to see him beaten by a mob with the kindling he uses to make his own artwork, which would be easily accessible since the seminars are normally held in his gallery.

But I let Grant stick around because it turned out his enlightenment lectures were actually, I guess, enlightening after all. Everyone loved him. I'm still at a bit of a loss over that one, as one time his philosophy seemed to boil down to nothing but "tip big and consider suicide!" But whatever, I don't judge.

In Charlotte Grant refused to help me stock up on finger food for my (our!) seminar the next morning until after we'd had dinner at his favorite Mexican restaurant. Grant had been bloviating about that restaurant the entire drive up, and couldn't wait to stumble through its doors like a desert wanderer onto an oasis. It was there that he sucked back the super margaritas and further refused to do anything preparatory for the next day until after he'd hit his other favorite place, Smelly Cat Coffee House, where he planned to bestow the owner with a paint-by-numbers picture of a kitten, which he'd augmented with the words "Jesus Loves a Smelly Pussy" painted across the top. Luckily she was not there to receive it so Grant left it with the cashier, who, like, loved it. Whatever, I don't judge.

Next we had to hit the Rat's Nest so Grant could talk me into buying more vintage dresses that are too small for me, and it was here that we figured out the owner had opened a bar down the road called the Thirsty Beaver. "Bitch, we are not leaving Charlotte until we go to a bar called the Thirsty Beaver!" Grant hollered. "The Thirsty Beaver! The Thirsty Beaver!"

Grant, even though he is an actual bartender, is nonetheless a complete booze-weenie himself, and by this time he'd started entwining himself in everything again, including, but not limited to, the sister of the owner of the Rat's Nest, who had, to her very dubious credit, reopened the store to let our late asses inside. "The Thirsty Beaver!" Grant kept hollering, and I knew it was just a matter of minutes before his lips would start puckering again and I'd have to pop the poor girl off of his suction.

I insisted we get the provisions at the grocery store before going to the bar, but by that time the only store open was some grimy ghetto joint that looked a lot like the grocery thrifts my dad used to take me to. I did one sweep through with a cart before looking back to see that Grant had stuffed an entire aisle of out-dated baked goods into his mouth without so much as, like, paying for it or anything. Luckily all the wrappers were still stuck to him under a crust of honey-bun icing, so I could hand them to the cashier to hopefully pay for what he ate so we wouldn't get our asses thrown in jail, not that it helped at all that Grant kept shouting the name of the bar, which by that time the booze in his brain had morphed into another name entirely.

"Smelly Beaver! Smelly Beaver!" he kept shouting, and with that I ushered Grant, my distinguished guest instructor, out the door so he could vomit in the parking lot.

Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (www.hollisgillespie.com)."
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So I already have issues with grocery stores. I did not need to trigger post trauma by sitting by and saying nothing while Grant hoovered two giant margaritas with extra shots of artisan tequila during dinner before the grocery run. We were in Charlotte, having taken my memoir-publishing seminar on the road seeing as how we had such a successful charter year in Atlanta. I'd just had my fifth protégé contact me to say she'd gotten a book deal, which makes me, of course, burst about a billion capillaries as I take all the credit for her success. Grant was with me in Charlotte because he had characteristically horned in from the beginning, this time by insisting he could be a distinguished guest instructor, hence the "Grant Henry 'Fuck Fear' Enlightenment Lecture" portion of the seminar. I agreed to let him do it if for no other reason than it would be fun to see him beaten by a mob with the kindling he uses to make his own artwork, which would be easily accessible since the seminars are normally held in his gallery.

But I let Grant stick around because it turned out his enlightenment lectures were actually, I guess, enlightening after all. Everyone loved him. I'm still at a bit of a loss over that one, as one time his philosophy seemed to boil down to nothing but "tip big and consider suicide!" But whatever, I don't judge.

__In Charlotte__ Grant refused to help me stock up on finger food for my (our!) seminar the next morning until after we'd had dinner at his favorite Mexican restaurant. Grant had been bloviating about that restaurant the entire drive up, and couldn't wait to stumble through its doors like a desert wanderer onto an oasis. It was there that he sucked back the super margaritas and further refused to do anything preparatory for the next day until after he'd hit his other favorite place, Smelly Cat Coffee House, where he planned to bestow the owner with a paint-by-numbers picture of a kitten, which he'd augmented with the words "Jesus Loves a Smelly Pussy" painted across the top. Luckily she was not there to receive it so Grant left it with the cashier, who, like, loved it. Whatever, I don't judge.

Next we had to hit the Rat's Nest so Grant could talk me into buying more vintage dresses that are too small for me, and it was here that we figured out the owner had opened a bar down the road called the Thirsty Beaver. "Bitch, we are ''not'' leaving Charlotte until we go to a bar called the Thirsty Beaver!" Grant hollered. "The Thirsty Beaver! The Thirsty Beaver!"

Grant, even though he is an actual bartender, is nonetheless a complete booze-weenie himself, and by this time he'd started entwining himself in everything again, including, but not limited to, the sister of the owner of the Rat's Nest, who had, to her very dubious credit, reopened the store to let our late asses inside. "The Thirsty Beaver!" Grant kept hollering, and I knew it was just a matter of minutes before his lips would start puckering again and I'd have to pop the poor girl off of his suction.

I insisted we get the provisions at the grocery store before going to the bar, but by that time the only store open was some grimy ghetto joint that looked a lot like the grocery thrifts my dad used to take me to. I did one sweep through with a cart before looking back to see that Grant had stuffed an entire aisle of out-dated baked goods into his mouth without so much as, like, ''paying'' for it or anything. Luckily all the wrappers were still stuck to him under a crust of honey-bun icing, so I could hand them to the cashier to hopefully pay for what he ate so we wouldn't get our asses thrown in jail, not that it helped at all that Grant kept shouting the name of the bar, which by that time the booze in his brain had morphed into another name entirely.

"Smelly Beaver! Smelly Beaver!" he kept shouting, and with that I ushered Grant, my distinguished guest instructor, out the door so he could vomit in the parking lot.

''Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy ([http://www.hollisgillespie.com/|www.hollisgillespie.com]).''"
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So I already have issues with grocery stores. I did not need to trigger post trauma by sitting by and saying nothing while Grant hoovered two giant margaritas with extra shots of artisan tequila during dinner before the grocery run. We were in Charlotte, having taken my memoir-publishing seminar on the road seeing as how we had such a successful charter year in Atlanta. I'd just had my fifth protégé contact me to say she'd gotten a book deal, which makes me, of course, burst about a billion capillaries as I take all the credit for her success. Grant was with me in Charlotte because he had characteristically horned in from the beginning, this time by insisting he could be a distinguished guest instructor, hence the "Grant Henry 'Fuck Fear' Enlightenment Lecture" portion of the seminar. I agreed to let him do it if for no other reason than it would be fun to see him beaten by a mob with the kindling he uses to make his own artwork, which would be easily accessible since the seminars are normally held in his gallery.

But I let Grant stick around because it turned out his enlightenment lectures were actually, I guess, enlightening after all. Everyone loved him. I'm still at a bit of a loss over that one, as one time his philosophy seemed to boil down to nothing but "tip big and consider suicide!" But whatever, I don't judge.

In Charlotte Grant refused to help me stock up on finger food for my (our!) seminar the next morning until after we'd had dinner at his favorite Mexican restaurant. Grant had been bloviating about that restaurant the entire drive up, and couldn't wait to stumble through its doors like a desert wanderer onto an oasis. It was there that he sucked back the super margaritas and further refused to do anything preparatory for the next day until after he'd hit his other favorite place, Smelly Cat Coffee House, where he planned to bestow the owner with a paint-by-numbers picture of a kitten, which he'd augmented with the words "Jesus Loves a Smelly Pussy" painted across the top. Luckily she was not there to receive it so Grant left it with the cashier, who, like, loved it. Whatever, I don't judge.

Next we had to hit the Rat's Nest so Grant could talk me into buying more vintage dresses that are too small for me, and it was here that we figured out the owner had opened a bar down the road called the Thirsty Beaver. "Bitch, we are not leaving Charlotte until we go to a bar called the Thirsty Beaver!" Grant hollered. "The Thirsty Beaver! The Thirsty Beaver!"

Grant, even though he is an actual bartender, is nonetheless a complete booze-weenie himself, and by this time he'd started entwining himself in everything again, including, but not limited to, the sister of the owner of the Rat's Nest, who had, to her very dubious credit, reopened the store to let our late asses inside. "The Thirsty Beaver!" Grant kept hollering, and I knew it was just a matter of minutes before his lips would start puckering again and I'd have to pop the poor girl off of his suction.

I insisted we get the provisions at the grocery store before going to the bar, but by that time the only store open was some grimy ghetto joint that looked a lot like the grocery thrifts my dad used to take me to. I did one sweep through with a cart before looking back to see that Grant had stuffed an entire aisle of out-dated baked goods into his mouth without so much as, like, paying for it or anything. Luckily all the wrappers were still stuck to him under a crust of honey-bun icing, so I could hand them to the cashier to hopefully pay for what he ate so we wouldn't get our asses thrown in jail, not that it helped at all that Grant kept shouting the name of the bar, which by that time the booze in his brain had morphed into another name entirely.

"Smelly Beaver! Smelly Beaver!" he kept shouting, and with that I ushered Grant, my distinguished guest instructor, out the door so he could vomit in the parking lot.

Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (www.hollisgillespie.com).             13027320 1273451                          Moodswing - The distinguished guest instructor "
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Moodswing

Wednesday May 14, 2008 12:04 am EDT
Whatever, I don't judge | more...
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  string(4768) "I'm still generally amazed by the debris caused by drunk people, and I'm not just talking about my dad and all the empty peanut packets he left strewn on the floorboard of our family Fairlane because, "Peanuts mask booze breath better than chewing gum. That right there is knowledge, little girl!" I'm also talking about the Local and any morning after a night when Grant bartended there. It seriously looks like the aftermath of a bomb explosion, and I probably don't need to remind you that I actually know what the aftermath of an actual bomb explosion actually looks like. For one, there is debris everywhere.

"Debris was everywhere," complained Grant about his closing shift the night before, and then he started going into specifics, which included discarded panties and the like, but I stopped him because I didn't want to think in specifics. I only wanted to think in generalities.

"Generally," he said, "the place looked like a plane wreck."

I thought that was a coincidence, because just the other day I heard a plane crash on my street again. First I should explain that, ever since I was in my early 20s, whenever I hear an explosion I always think it's due to one of two things: a plane crash or a bomb. This is due to the fact that, on the one occasion when a bomb actually did explode near me, all I did was sit there wondering why it was thundering outside when there weren't any rain clouds in the sky. I was in France, and that should explain it, because France is fucked up.

Today when I hear an explosion I am quick to categorize it with an appropriately drastic cause because I don't want to miss out again. So when I heard this most recent explosion in the middle of the night, I was certain it was a plane crash. It could not have been a bomb, I thought, because with a bomb everything explodes upward and then has to come back down, whereas with a plane wreck the crash is fairly finite after the impact, unless the pilot was trying to, like, land the plane on a suburban street, which has happened, but even then there is more of a rumbling sound than a splatter sound, so this had to be a plane wreck.

Before I went outside I turned off my porch light because I didn't want to illuminate my approaching outline as I investigated. What if the guy who brought down the plane with the shoulder-mounted grenade launcher was still nearby? I wouldn't want to give him an advantage by not having my eyes adjusted to the darkness.

Once I was outside I discerned it must have been a small plane that crashed, because other than a telephone pole, a tree and the fronts of two houses across the street, nothing seemed to have been all that demolished. Then of course there was the fact that there did not seem to be a plane anywhere ... but there was debris, I tell you. Plenty of debris.

There were just three other people standing around, one of whom was drunkenly talking on her cell phone while the other two instructed us to stay away from the wreckage. "But what caused the wreckage?" I whispered, just in case the grenade guy was waiting to launch another one in the direction of our voices. "Lightning, I think," was the answer, though no one could say for certain, as the street lights had been blown and we couldn't venture close to ground zero due to all the downed electrical lines. When the firemen arrived, the first thing they asked was, "Who's the driver of that car?"

"What car?" I asked.

"That car," they said, pointing, and it wasn't until then, with the help of the fire engine headlights, that I saw the underside of a large sedan that had evidently flipped into the front porch of the house across the street. "Lord, God!" I thought, "The driver of that car has got to be dead."

"I'm the driver of that car," slurred the girl with the cell phone. The rest of us stared at her. She looked pretty damn good for someone who just missed a curve to tear through a telephone pole, a tree and two houses to end up upside down on someone's porch.

So it wasn't a plane wreck or a bomb or a grenade launcher after all; it was just a drunk driver. The next morning my neighbors and I went out to investigate a little closer, sifting through the debris, talking to the telephone repair guy who had been charged with re-erecting the demolished pole. Evidently the floor of the flipped car had been littered with toy action figures that were now littering our neighbor's lawn. "Thank God her child wasn't in the car with her," someone said.

But I didn't want to think about the specifics. I only wanted to think in generalities, and once again I was generally amazed by the debris caused by drunk people.

Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (www.hollisgillespie.com)."
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  string(4818) "I'm still generally amazed by the debris caused by drunk people, and I'm not just talking about my dad and all the empty peanut packets he left strewn on the floorboard of our family Fairlane because, "Peanuts mask booze breath better than chewing gum. That right there is knowledge, little girl!" I'm also talking about the Local and any morning after a night when Grant bartended there. It seriously looks like the aftermath of a bomb explosion, and I probably don't need to remind you that I actually know what the aftermath of an actual bomb explosion actually looks like. For one, there is debris everywhere.

"Debris was everywhere," complained Grant about his closing shift the night before, and then he started going into specifics, which included discarded panties and the like, but I stopped him because I didn't want to think in specifics. I only wanted to think in generalities.

"Generally," he said, "the place looked like a plane wreck."

I thought that was a coincidence, because just the other day I heard a plane crash on my street again. First I should explain that, ever since I was in my early 20s, whenever I hear an explosion I always think it's due to one of two things: a plane crash or a bomb. This is due to the fact that, on the one occasion when a bomb actually did explode near me, all I did was sit there wondering why it was thundering outside when there weren't any rain clouds in the sky. I was in France, and that should explain it, because France is fucked up.

Today when I hear an explosion I am quick to categorize it with an appropriately drastic cause because I don't want to miss out again. So when I heard this most recent explosion in the middle of the night, I was certain it was a plane crash. It could not have been a bomb, I thought, because with a bomb everything explodes upward and then has to come back down, whereas with a plane wreck the crash is fairly finite after the impact, unless the pilot was trying to, like, land the plane on a suburban street, which has happened, but even then there is more of a rumbling sound than a splatter sound, so this had to be a plane wreck.

Before I went outside I turned off my porch light because I didn't want to illuminate my approaching outline as I investigated. What if the guy who brought down the plane with the shoulder-mounted grenade launcher was still nearby? I wouldn't want to give him an advantage by not having my eyes adjusted to the darkness.

__Once I was outside__ I discerned it must have been a small plane that crashed, because other than a telephone pole, a tree and the fronts of two houses across the street, nothing seemed to have been all that demolished. Then of course there was the fact that there did not seem to be a plane anywhere ... but there was ''debris'', I tell you. Plenty of debris.

There were just three other people standing around, one of whom was drunkenly talking on her cell phone while the other two instructed us to stay away from the wreckage. "But what caused the wreckage?" I whispered, just in case the grenade guy was waiting to launch another one in the direction of our voices. "Lightning, I think," was the answer, though no one could say for certain, as the street lights had been blown and we couldn't venture close to ground zero due to all the downed electrical lines. When the firemen arrived, the first thing they asked was, "Who's the driver of that car?"

"What car?" I asked.

"''That'' car," they said, pointing, and it wasn't until then, with the help of the fire engine headlights, that I saw the underside of a large sedan that had evidently flipped into the front porch of the house across the street. "Lord, God!" I thought, "The driver of that car has got to be dead."

"I'm the driver of that car," slurred the girl with the cell phone. The rest of us stared at her. She looked pretty damn good for someone who just missed a curve to tear through a telephone pole, a tree and two houses to end up upside down on someone's porch.

So it wasn't a plane wreck or a bomb or a grenade launcher after all; it was just a drunk driver. The next morning my neighbors and I went out to investigate a little closer, sifting through the debris, talking to the telephone repair guy who had been charged with re-erecting the demolished pole. Evidently the floor of the flipped car had been littered with toy action figures that were now littering our neighbor's lawn. "Thank God her child wasn't in the car with her," someone said.

But I didn't want to think about the specifics. I only wanted to think in generalities, and once again I was generally amazed by the debris caused by drunk people.

''Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy ([http://www.hollisgillespie.com/|www.hollisgillespie.com]).''"
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  string(5000) "    The generalities of drunk people   2008-05-07T04:04:00+00:00 Moodswing - Plenty of debris   Hollis Gillespie 1223585 2008-05-07T04:04:00+00:00  I'm still generally amazed by the debris caused by drunk people, and I'm not just talking about my dad and all the empty peanut packets he left strewn on the floorboard of our family Fairlane because, "Peanuts mask booze breath better than chewing gum. That right there is knowledge, little girl!" I'm also talking about the Local and any morning after a night when Grant bartended there. It seriously looks like the aftermath of a bomb explosion, and I probably don't need to remind you that I actually know what the aftermath of an actual bomb explosion actually looks like. For one, there is debris everywhere.

"Debris was everywhere," complained Grant about his closing shift the night before, and then he started going into specifics, which included discarded panties and the like, but I stopped him because I didn't want to think in specifics. I only wanted to think in generalities.

"Generally," he said, "the place looked like a plane wreck."

I thought that was a coincidence, because just the other day I heard a plane crash on my street again. First I should explain that, ever since I was in my early 20s, whenever I hear an explosion I always think it's due to one of two things: a plane crash or a bomb. This is due to the fact that, on the one occasion when a bomb actually did explode near me, all I did was sit there wondering why it was thundering outside when there weren't any rain clouds in the sky. I was in France, and that should explain it, because France is fucked up.

Today when I hear an explosion I am quick to categorize it with an appropriately drastic cause because I don't want to miss out again. So when I heard this most recent explosion in the middle of the night, I was certain it was a plane crash. It could not have been a bomb, I thought, because with a bomb everything explodes upward and then has to come back down, whereas with a plane wreck the crash is fairly finite after the impact, unless the pilot was trying to, like, land the plane on a suburban street, which has happened, but even then there is more of a rumbling sound than a splatter sound, so this had to be a plane wreck.

Before I went outside I turned off my porch light because I didn't want to illuminate my approaching outline as I investigated. What if the guy who brought down the plane with the shoulder-mounted grenade launcher was still nearby? I wouldn't want to give him an advantage by not having my eyes adjusted to the darkness.

Once I was outside I discerned it must have been a small plane that crashed, because other than a telephone pole, a tree and the fronts of two houses across the street, nothing seemed to have been all that demolished. Then of course there was the fact that there did not seem to be a plane anywhere ... but there was debris, I tell you. Plenty of debris.

There were just three other people standing around, one of whom was drunkenly talking on her cell phone while the other two instructed us to stay away from the wreckage. "But what caused the wreckage?" I whispered, just in case the grenade guy was waiting to launch another one in the direction of our voices. "Lightning, I think," was the answer, though no one could say for certain, as the street lights had been blown and we couldn't venture close to ground zero due to all the downed electrical lines. When the firemen arrived, the first thing they asked was, "Who's the driver of that car?"

"What car?" I asked.

"That car," they said, pointing, and it wasn't until then, with the help of the fire engine headlights, that I saw the underside of a large sedan that had evidently flipped into the front porch of the house across the street. "Lord, God!" I thought, "The driver of that car has got to be dead."

"I'm the driver of that car," slurred the girl with the cell phone. The rest of us stared at her. She looked pretty damn good for someone who just missed a curve to tear through a telephone pole, a tree and two houses to end up upside down on someone's porch.

So it wasn't a plane wreck or a bomb or a grenade launcher after all; it was just a drunk driver. The next morning my neighbors and I went out to investigate a little closer, sifting through the debris, talking to the telephone repair guy who had been charged with re-erecting the demolished pole. Evidently the floor of the flipped car had been littered with toy action figures that were now littering our neighbor's lawn. "Thank God her child wasn't in the car with her," someone said.

But I didn't want to think about the specifics. I only wanted to think in generalities, and once again I was generally amazed by the debris caused by drunk people.

Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (www.hollisgillespie.com).             13027258 1273324                          Moodswing - Plenty of debris "
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Moodswing

Wednesday May 7, 2008 12:04 am EDT
The generalities of drunk people | more...
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  string(4522) "Annie's tits are her favorite topic of conversation, which befuddles me. Granted, her breasts are unquestionably magnificent, especially considering she's not even 5 feet tall and once gave birth to a child. I hear having kids wrecks your breasts, though that did not happen to Annie or even to me, come to think of it. In fact I hardly even had breasts before I gave birth, when I used to have to wear one of those robo-bras with underwires that could practically grab fat from the back of my thighs and reposition it. But then I had a child and I woke up in the hospital the next morning wondering what the hell happened to my chest, and how the hell do women walk around with these things?

Anyway, I am not arguing the fact that Annie's tits are awesome – no one would argue that – but what befuddles me is that they're her favorite topic of conversation when there are so many other things about her that are fascinating. Take, for example, and this is just off the top of my head, the fact that she keeps getting hit by cars.

"I don't 'keep' getting hit by cars," she argued with me. "It just happened the three times, and I'm practically positive that third time was the last time."

If you ask me, it did not just happen the three times; if you ask me she's just counting the hits that resulted in her hospitalization, but even so, that's a lot. I've only been run over by a car once, if you could call it that. I was in Costa Rica minding my own business walking along the esplanade when all of a sudden I was rolling around on the hood of an old rusty Cutlass. The driver simply got out to make sure I wasn't dead, yelled at me like it was my fault, then drove off. This is the reason I kind of hate Costa Rica to this day.

But Annie hardly takes getting hit by cars personally at all. Even the last time, when a big truck driven by drunk rich boys ran her down on its way to crashing into a popular Buckhead diner. She would have died if not for two miracles. One, she's so tiny that her waist fit inside that space on the bumper where the front license plate is supposed to go, so the truck didn't completely crush her when it took her crashing through the restaurant and pinned her to a table. And two, one of the diners at the table she was pinned to happened to be a trauma surgeon. Still, though, they initially thought she was dead. They even called the "Angel Ambulance," which is what they do when a small child has met with a fatality. But they were soon to discover two surprises. One, not many small children have magnificent tits. And two, Annie was not dead.

But she was close. She had to fight to come back from that one. Evidently the truck, which did not crush all of her, nonetheless crushed her pancreas, which I hear is a pretty important organ. She was in the hospital a long time after that, fusing a lasting friendship with her nurse, a sort of saint named Mary Jane who happened to be my crazy-ass friend Lary's ex-girlfriend. I remember Mary Jane talking about Annie a decade before I met her myself. She called her "supernatural."

Annie became a little famous after the accident, seeing as how she was the tiny thing who survived being run down and then run through a restaurant by a truck. She has put it behind her except sometimes she gets a little worried she's not finished getting hit by cars. I can totally understand that; I was worried about that just sitting next to her. It didn't help that we were in a car at the time.

Years ago Mary Jane told me about Annie, how this tiny, tiny girl with a mop of flame-red hair got run down by a drunk and fought with the ferocity of a mountain lion to take each breath as she lay in a hospital bed after that. Now here it is more than 10 years later and I'm sitting next to Annie, marveling how she has the courage to drive a car again after her history of getting hit by such a number of them.

But car wrecks are behind her, she's pretty sure. Besides, she didn't fight so hard in that hospital bed just so she could go home and hide inside where cars can't reach her. "A person can't live like that," Annie says, her blue eyes ignited. You can't spend your life afraid to get in the front seat. You can't spend it waiting for the next wreck. You have to find something else to do, like get married and have a child. You have to find something else to talk about, too, like your magnificent tits.

Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (www.hollisgillespie.com)."
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''Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy ([http://www.hollisgillespie.com/|www.hollisgillespie.com]).''"
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"I don't 'keep' getting hit by cars," she argued with me. "It just happened the three times, and I'm practically positive that third time was the last time."

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But Annie hardly takes getting hit by cars personally at all. Even the last time, when a big truck driven by drunk rich boys ran her down on its way to crashing into a popular Buckhead diner. She would have died if not for two miracles. One, she's so tiny that her waist fit inside that space on the bumper where the front license plate is supposed to go, so the truck didn't completely crush her when it took her crashing through the restaurant and pinned her to a table. And two, one of the diners at the table she was pinned to happened to be a trauma surgeon. Still, though, they initially thought she was dead. They even called the "Angel Ambulance," which is what they do when a small child has met with a fatality. But they were soon to discover two surprises. One, not many small children have magnificent tits. And two, Annie was not dead.

But she was close. She had to fight to come back from that one. Evidently the truck, which did not crush all of her, nonetheless crushed her pancreas, which I hear is a pretty important organ. She was in the hospital a long time after that, fusing a lasting friendship with her nurse, a sort of saint named Mary Jane who happened to be my crazy-ass friend Lary's ex-girlfriend. I remember Mary Jane talking about Annie a decade before I met her myself. She called her "supernatural."

Annie became a little famous after the accident, seeing as how she was the tiny thing who survived being run down and then run through a restaurant by a truck. She has put it behind her except sometimes she gets a little worried she's not finished getting hit by cars. I can totally understand that; I was worried about that just sitting next to her. It didn't help that we were in a car at the time.

Years ago Mary Jane told me about Annie, how this tiny, tiny girl with a mop of flame-red hair got run down by a drunk and fought with the ferocity of a mountain lion to take each breath as she lay in a hospital bed after that. Now here it is more than 10 years later and I'm sitting next to Annie, marveling how she has the courage to drive a car again after her history of getting hit by such a number of them.

But car wrecks are behind her, she's pretty sure. Besides, she didn't fight so hard in that hospital bed just so she could go home and hide inside where cars can't reach her. "A person can't live like that," Annie says, her blue eyes ignited. You can't spend your life afraid to get in the front seat. You can't spend it waiting for the next wreck. You have to find something else to do, like get married and have a child. You have to find something else to talk about, too, like your magnificent tits.

Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (www.hollisgillespie.com).             13027205 1273216                          Moodswing - A history of wrecks "
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Moodswing

Wednesday April 30, 2008 12:04 am EDT
And other topics of conversation | more...
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  string(4638) "The last thing Grant needs is another dead stepfather. It seems like just the other day that the last one died, leaving all kinds of things to be cleaned out of the house. Even though Grant is a four-star scavenger, he's still pretty particular about the trash piles he'll pillage, and his dead stepfather's stuff didn't exactly meet his standards. This is largely because Grant's older brother lived a lot more within rummaging distance, and all the good stuff had already been picked over. So by the time Grant got there the only things left were one laptop and a pile of his stepfather's leather clothing, which was not enticing. Up until the day he died, Grant's stepfather had been known as "Leathersmeller" due to the time he was discovered naked in his bedroom closet sniffing his wife's boots and humping a pile of old coats, so it's no wonder all Grant left with was the laptop.

Anyway, Grant's present-day stepfather is not dead yet, but it's not exactly a good sign when one second he's strolling around in the back yard and the next he all of a sudden falls over unconscious and starts spewing from every orifice. In the end it turned out he had a stroke, and after hearing how it came upon him I will do everything I personally can to avoid my own stroke in the future, let me tell you, because I had no idea strokes could be so embarrassing.

Anyway, doctors must not be all that alarmed by strokes down in Florida anymore, because evidently they just cleaned Grant's stepfather up and sent him home a few hours later, and now he seems to be doing fine. Still, Grant is all atwitter over the fact that his stepfather could have a stroke in the morning and be home to finish his oatmeal later that afternoon.

"They must have missed something," Grant surmised. "Either that or strokes aren't what they used to be."

I could not give any advice, seeing as how my own dad dropped dead from an old-fashioned heart attack back when heart attacks were still a big deal. These days it's a whole different story. These days a heart attack is hardly cause for alarm. Just the other year a man had a heart attack on the same plane I was sitting in and I had no idea it had happened at all. It does not say a lot about me that I was an actual flight attendant on the crew, either, and I only learned of the heart-attack passenger as we were checking into our layover hotel after the crew coordinator overheard me tell the clerk that our flight over had been uneventful.

"Whaddaya mean 'uneventful'?" she hollered at me. "A man had a heart attack, for chrissakes." Lord, did I feel like an idiot. All I can say is it's a good thing I am no longer relied upon to care for people in planes.

But if Grant had a heart attack or even a stroke I would care for him if he needed me to. I've even told him this but it doesn't comfort him all that much. He keeps saying I have to shoot him in the head if he ever falls over and starts spewing from every orifice. I argued that that's a stupid reason to shoot someone, but he's pretty adamant that he doesn't want to have to spend the rest of his life being grateful to the person who cleaned up after him that day. "So just put a bullet in my brain," he said, without even considering the fact that if I did that then his brains would be just one more thing for me to clean up. I swear, some people are so selfish. Besides, Grant knows that I'd nurse him even if there's nothing left of him but wires attached to his head in a fish bowl.

"Bitch," he insists. "I said put a bullet in my brain."

Grant has been thinking a lot about this stuff because if this stepfather doesn't recover it will be at least his second dead stepfather in his life, and that isn't even counting his real dad, who is not dead but has been having a lot of toes amputated lately. But that's just the way it is with parents, I say. They keep getting older and they keep dragging you along with them, and before you know it you're a parent yourself and your kids are probably looking at you like you're dragging them somewhere, too. Grant's own daughter hasn't started looking at him like that yet, but I often make sure to remind him that it's just a matter of time.

I suppose I'm lucky that both my parents died young and before either had amassed a very big mess, I guess. So I can't talk, but I can wonder. For example, I wonder what else is the purpose in life if not to make sure you collect enough people you love in your heart to help you clean up your messes when you make them.

Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (www.hollisgillespie.com)."
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  string(4680) "The last thing Grant needs is another dead stepfather. It seems like just the other day that the last one died, leaving all kinds of things to be cleaned out of the house. Even though Grant is a four-star scavenger, he's still pretty particular about the trash piles he'll pillage, and his dead stepfather's stuff didn't exactly meet his standards. This is largely because Grant's older brother lived a lot more within rummaging distance, and all the good stuff had already been picked over. So by the time Grant got there the only things left were one laptop and a pile of his stepfather's leather clothing, which was not enticing. Up until the day he died, Grant's stepfather had been known as "Leathersmeller" due to the time he was discovered naked in his bedroom closet sniffing his wife's boots and humping a pile of old coats, so it's no wonder all Grant left with was the laptop.

Anyway, Grant's present-day stepfather is not dead yet, but it's not exactly a good sign when one second he's strolling around in the back yard and the next he all of a sudden falls over unconscious and starts spewing from every orifice. In the end it turned out he had a stroke, and after hearing how it came upon him I will do everything I personally can to avoid my own stroke in the future, let me tell you, because I had no idea strokes could be so embarrassing.

Anyway, doctors must not be all that alarmed by strokes down in Florida anymore, because evidently they just cleaned Grant's stepfather up and sent him home a few hours later, and now he seems to be doing fine. Still, Grant is all atwitter over the fact that his stepfather could have a stroke in the morning and be home to finish his oatmeal later that afternoon.

"They must have missed something," Grant surmised. "Either that or strokes aren't what they used to be."

I could not give any advice, seeing as how my own dad dropped dead from an old-fashioned heart attack back when heart attacks were still a big deal. These days it's a whole different story. These days a heart attack is hardly cause for alarm. Just the other year a man had a heart attack on the same plane I was sitting in and I had no idea it had happened at all. It does not say a lot about me that I was an actual flight attendant on the crew, either, and I only learned of the heart-attack passenger as we were checking into our layover hotel after the crew coordinator overheard me tell the clerk that our flight over had been uneventful.

"Whaddaya mean 'uneventful'?" she hollered at me. "A man had a heart attack, for chrissakes." Lord, did I feel like an idiot. All I can say is it's a good thing I am no longer relied upon to care for people in planes.

__But if Grant__ had a heart attack or even a stroke I would care for him if he needed me to. I've even told him this but it doesn't comfort him all that much. He keeps saying I have to shoot him in the head if he ever falls over and starts spewing from every orifice. I argued that that's a stupid reason to shoot someone, but he's pretty adamant that he doesn't want to have to spend the rest of his life being grateful to the person who cleaned up after him that day. "So just put a bullet in my brain," he said, without even considering the fact that if I did that then his brains would be just one more thing for me to clean up. I swear, some people are so selfish. Besides, Grant knows that I'd nurse him even if there's nothing left of him but wires attached to his head in a fish bowl.

"Bitch," he insists. "I said put a bullet in my brain."

Grant has been thinking a lot about this stuff because if this stepfather doesn't recover it will be at least his second dead stepfather in his life, and that isn't even counting his real dad, who is not dead but has been having a lot of toes amputated lately. But that's just the way it is with parents, I say. They keep getting older and they keep dragging you along with them, and before you know it you're a parent yourself and your kids are probably looking at you like you're dragging them somewhere, too. Grant's own daughter hasn't started looking at him like that yet, but I often make sure to remind him that it's just a matter of time.

I suppose I'm lucky that both my parents died young and before either had amassed a very big mess, I guess. So I can't talk, but I can wonder. For example, I wonder what else is the purpose in life if not to make sure you collect enough people you love in your heart to help you clean up your messes when you make them.

''Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy ([http://www.hollisgillespie.com/|www.hollisgillespie.com]).''"
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  string(4883) "    Who's gonna clean up your mess?   2008-04-23T04:04:00+00:00 Moodswing - Another dead stepfather   Hollis Gillespie 1223585 2008-04-23T04:04:00+00:00  The last thing Grant needs is another dead stepfather. It seems like just the other day that the last one died, leaving all kinds of things to be cleaned out of the house. Even though Grant is a four-star scavenger, he's still pretty particular about the trash piles he'll pillage, and his dead stepfather's stuff didn't exactly meet his standards. This is largely because Grant's older brother lived a lot more within rummaging distance, and all the good stuff had already been picked over. So by the time Grant got there the only things left were one laptop and a pile of his stepfather's leather clothing, which was not enticing. Up until the day he died, Grant's stepfather had been known as "Leathersmeller" due to the time he was discovered naked in his bedroom closet sniffing his wife's boots and humping a pile of old coats, so it's no wonder all Grant left with was the laptop.

Anyway, Grant's present-day stepfather is not dead yet, but it's not exactly a good sign when one second he's strolling around in the back yard and the next he all of a sudden falls over unconscious and starts spewing from every orifice. In the end it turned out he had a stroke, and after hearing how it came upon him I will do everything I personally can to avoid my own stroke in the future, let me tell you, because I had no idea strokes could be so embarrassing.

Anyway, doctors must not be all that alarmed by strokes down in Florida anymore, because evidently they just cleaned Grant's stepfather up and sent him home a few hours later, and now he seems to be doing fine. Still, Grant is all atwitter over the fact that his stepfather could have a stroke in the morning and be home to finish his oatmeal later that afternoon.

"They must have missed something," Grant surmised. "Either that or strokes aren't what they used to be."

I could not give any advice, seeing as how my own dad dropped dead from an old-fashioned heart attack back when heart attacks were still a big deal. These days it's a whole different story. These days a heart attack is hardly cause for alarm. Just the other year a man had a heart attack on the same plane I was sitting in and I had no idea it had happened at all. It does not say a lot about me that I was an actual flight attendant on the crew, either, and I only learned of the heart-attack passenger as we were checking into our layover hotel after the crew coordinator overheard me tell the clerk that our flight over had been uneventful.

"Whaddaya mean 'uneventful'?" she hollered at me. "A man had a heart attack, for chrissakes." Lord, did I feel like an idiot. All I can say is it's a good thing I am no longer relied upon to care for people in planes.

But if Grant had a heart attack or even a stroke I would care for him if he needed me to. I've even told him this but it doesn't comfort him all that much. He keeps saying I have to shoot him in the head if he ever falls over and starts spewing from every orifice. I argued that that's a stupid reason to shoot someone, but he's pretty adamant that he doesn't want to have to spend the rest of his life being grateful to the person who cleaned up after him that day. "So just put a bullet in my brain," he said, without even considering the fact that if I did that then his brains would be just one more thing for me to clean up. I swear, some people are so selfish. Besides, Grant knows that I'd nurse him even if there's nothing left of him but wires attached to his head in a fish bowl.

"Bitch," he insists. "I said put a bullet in my brain."

Grant has been thinking a lot about this stuff because if this stepfather doesn't recover it will be at least his second dead stepfather in his life, and that isn't even counting his real dad, who is not dead but has been having a lot of toes amputated lately. But that's just the way it is with parents, I say. They keep getting older and they keep dragging you along with them, and before you know it you're a parent yourself and your kids are probably looking at you like you're dragging them somewhere, too. Grant's own daughter hasn't started looking at him like that yet, but I often make sure to remind him that it's just a matter of time.

I suppose I'm lucky that both my parents died young and before either had amassed a very big mess, I guess. So I can't talk, but I can wonder. For example, I wonder what else is the purpose in life if not to make sure you collect enough people you love in your heart to help you clean up your messes when you make them.

Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (www.hollisgillespie.com).             13027147 1273079                          Moodswing - Another dead stepfather "
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Moodswing

Wednesday April 23, 2008 12:04 am EDT
Who's gonna clean up your mess? | more...
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  string(4636) "Beets freak me out. And my friend Annie totally agrees with me. In fact, she has a bigger freak factor concerning beets than even I do because she used to work as a busboy at a cafeteria and a big tub of stewed beets once emptied onto her head from the top shelf of the industrial refrigerator. It happened because Annie is so short that she can never fully reach anything from the top shelf, so she does what a lot of short people do, which is to simply poke at whatever is up there, moving it this way and that, until finally it kind of topples in her direction, in which case the plan – I suppose – is to catch it and go on with her business.

She actually did this with the big tub of beets, which boggled me but I didn't ask her about it because I didn't want to prolong the post-trauma. I sure as hell would never poke at a big tub of beets. In fact, if I ever encountered a big tub of beets I would probably surround it with flares and flag people away. But not Annie, she went back there and poked at that tub until it toppled over and all those beets spilled out like alien guts onto her head. The worst part is that her boss made her finish her shift that way, covered in beet juice.

"I was the saddest purple busboy you ever did see," she recalled. "Soon after that I broke my foot, got dumped by my boyfriend and lost my job, all in a week. I think it was beet voodoo."

If you ask me, Annie should have known better than to poke the beets, but she was probably young at the time and didn't yet know that beets are evil. They're a root food, for one, and roots can lurk underground unsuspectingly, gaining proximity until they suddenly crack the surface and emerge.

So I am doubly grateful that Annie is here with me today at the grocery store to keep me company as I shop for all the crap I need for the diet I'm starting tomorrow. Beets are on the list, and I'm told I have to eat them because they are an important component in the magical combination that is somehow supposed to make me hot by May 28, the date of the Los Angeles book exposition, which is the industry launch of my third book.

Not only do I have to get back into fighting shape to look like my author photo – because I hate it when authors have great book-jacket photos then when you see them in person they look like a bag of bacon fat – but my former California high-school boyfriend has made it known he plans to track me down and copulate with me for old times' sake the second I set foot on our old turf.

"Lucky you," Annie said, and she meant it. I had shown her pictures.

"I CAN'T LET HIM SEE ME LIKE THIS!" I shrieked, because I look nothing like I did in high school, when I was a varsity tennis player and had a rocket body and a curtain of hair that hung to my waist. But Annie keeps trying to reassure me that he is not expecting a 17-year-old, because if he was, she says, "then he can go park his pedophile ass across the street from your old high school and start stalking."

Until I heard about my impending reunion it had been a stupendously long period of time since I had even thought about sex. In fact, I guess, probably — and I'm not proud of this — somewhere in the back of my head I was figuring I'd never have it again. Because how else can I justify my standard wardrobe choice lately, which is to wear whatever sticks to me from the floor when I roll out of bed in the morning? That's not to mention my standard grooming practice, which is hardly more than patting myself down with the Handi Wipes I keep in the cupholder of my car, and that's not even taking into account my standard diet, which, since Christmas, has consisted solely of deep-fried chocolate-covered butter sticks, practically. How else can I justify that?

Annie thinks I'm exaggerating, but she is one to talk. She hasn't changed since she was in grade school, probably. Not only that but she's happily married and has no hang-ups other than the beets, and you can't blame her for that. As a teenager when I first sampled beets I remember thinking this must be what it tastes like when a skunk empties its musk glands into your mouth. But today beets are the secret ingredient to my new diet and I guess I will eat them, because I don't want to break the spell that the diet promises. Who knows, maybe the spell is that the root food will root out the girl I was; maybe she's been in there all along, lurking beneath the surface, gaining proximity, waiting for a reason to crack the surface and emerge.

Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (www.hollisgillespie.com)."
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  string(4668) "Beets freak me out. And my friend Annie totally agrees with me. In fact, she has a bigger freak factor concerning beets than even I do because she used to work as a busboy at a cafeteria and a big tub of stewed beets once emptied onto her head from the top shelf of the industrial refrigerator. It happened because Annie is so short that she can never fully reach anything from the top shelf, so she does what a lot of short people do, which is to simply poke at whatever is up there, moving it this way and that, until finally it kind of topples in her direction, in which case the plan – I suppose – is to catch it and go on with her business.

She actually did this with the big tub of beets, which boggled me but I didn't ask her about it because I didn't want to prolong the post-trauma. I sure as hell would never poke at a big tub of beets. In fact, if I ever encountered a big tub of beets I would probably surround it with flares and flag people away. But not Annie, she went back there and poked at that tub until it toppled over and all those beets spilled out like alien guts onto her head. The worst part is that her boss made her finish her shift that way, covered in beet juice.

"I was the saddest purple busboy you ever did see," she recalled. "Soon after that I broke my foot, got dumped by my boyfriend and lost my job, all in a week. I think it was beet voodoo."

If you ask me, Annie should have known better than to poke the beets, but she was probably young at the time and didn't yet know that beets are evil. They're a root food, for one, and roots can lurk underground unsuspectingly, gaining proximity until they suddenly crack the surface and emerge.

So I am doubly grateful that Annie is here with me today at the grocery store to keep me company as I shop for all the crap I need for the diet I'm starting tomorrow. Beets are on the list, and I'm told I have to eat them because they are an important component in the magical combination that is somehow supposed to make me hot by May 28, the date of the Los Angeles book exposition, which is the industry launch of my third book.

Not only do I have to get back into fighting shape to look like my author photo – because I hate it when authors have great book-jacket photos then when you see them in person they look like a bag of bacon fat – but my former California high-school boyfriend has made it known he plans to track me down and copulate with me for old times' sake the second I set foot on our old turf.

"Lucky you," Annie said, and she meant it. I had shown her pictures.

"I CAN'T LET HIM SEE ME LIKE THIS!" I shrieked, because I look nothing like I did in high school, when I was a varsity tennis player and had a rocket body and a curtain of hair that hung to my waist. But Annie keeps trying to reassure me that he is not expecting a 17-year-old, because if he was, she says, "then he can go park his pedophile ass across the street from your old high school and start stalking."

__Until I heard__ about my impending reunion it had been a stupendously long period of time since I had even thought about sex. In fact, I guess, probably -- and I'm not proud of this -- somewhere in the back of my head I was figuring I'd never have it again. Because how else can I justify my standard wardrobe choice lately, which is to wear whatever sticks to me from the floor when I roll out of bed in the morning? That's not to mention my standard grooming practice, which is hardly more than patting myself down with the Handi Wipes I keep in the cupholder of my car, and that's not even taking into account my standard diet, which, since Christmas, has consisted solely of deep-fried chocolate-covered butter sticks, practically. How else can I justify that?

Annie thinks I'm exaggerating, but she is one to talk. She hasn't changed since she was in grade school, probably. Not only that but she's happily married and has no hang-ups other than the beets, and you can't blame her for that. As a teenager when I first sampled beets I remember thinking this must be what it tastes like when a skunk empties its musk glands into your mouth. But today beets are the secret ingredient to my new diet and I guess I will eat them, because I don't want to break the spell that the diet promises. Who knows, maybe the spell is that the root food will root out the girl I was; maybe she's been in there all along, lurking beneath the surface, gaining proximity, waiting for a reason to crack the surface and emerge.

''Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy ([http://www.hollisgillespie.com/|www.hollisgillespie.com]).''"
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  string(4850) "    Revealing the root   2008-04-16T04:04:00+00:00 Moodswing - Beets are evil   Hollis Gillespie 1223585 2008-04-16T04:04:00+00:00  Beets freak me out. And my friend Annie totally agrees with me. In fact, she has a bigger freak factor concerning beets than even I do because she used to work as a busboy at a cafeteria and a big tub of stewed beets once emptied onto her head from the top shelf of the industrial refrigerator. It happened because Annie is so short that she can never fully reach anything from the top shelf, so she does what a lot of short people do, which is to simply poke at whatever is up there, moving it this way and that, until finally it kind of topples in her direction, in which case the plan – I suppose – is to catch it and go on with her business.

She actually did this with the big tub of beets, which boggled me but I didn't ask her about it because I didn't want to prolong the post-trauma. I sure as hell would never poke at a big tub of beets. In fact, if I ever encountered a big tub of beets I would probably surround it with flares and flag people away. But not Annie, she went back there and poked at that tub until it toppled over and all those beets spilled out like alien guts onto her head. The worst part is that her boss made her finish her shift that way, covered in beet juice.

"I was the saddest purple busboy you ever did see," she recalled. "Soon after that I broke my foot, got dumped by my boyfriend and lost my job, all in a week. I think it was beet voodoo."

If you ask me, Annie should have known better than to poke the beets, but she was probably young at the time and didn't yet know that beets are evil. They're a root food, for one, and roots can lurk underground unsuspectingly, gaining proximity until they suddenly crack the surface and emerge.

So I am doubly grateful that Annie is here with me today at the grocery store to keep me company as I shop for all the crap I need for the diet I'm starting tomorrow. Beets are on the list, and I'm told I have to eat them because they are an important component in the magical combination that is somehow supposed to make me hot by May 28, the date of the Los Angeles book exposition, which is the industry launch of my third book.

Not only do I have to get back into fighting shape to look like my author photo – because I hate it when authors have great book-jacket photos then when you see them in person they look like a bag of bacon fat – but my former California high-school boyfriend has made it known he plans to track me down and copulate with me for old times' sake the second I set foot on our old turf.

"Lucky you," Annie said, and she meant it. I had shown her pictures.

"I CAN'T LET HIM SEE ME LIKE THIS!" I shrieked, because I look nothing like I did in high school, when I was a varsity tennis player and had a rocket body and a curtain of hair that hung to my waist. But Annie keeps trying to reassure me that he is not expecting a 17-year-old, because if he was, she says, "then he can go park his pedophile ass across the street from your old high school and start stalking."

Until I heard about my impending reunion it had been a stupendously long period of time since I had even thought about sex. In fact, I guess, probably — and I'm not proud of this — somewhere in the back of my head I was figuring I'd never have it again. Because how else can I justify my standard wardrobe choice lately, which is to wear whatever sticks to me from the floor when I roll out of bed in the morning? That's not to mention my standard grooming practice, which is hardly more than patting myself down with the Handi Wipes I keep in the cupholder of my car, and that's not even taking into account my standard diet, which, since Christmas, has consisted solely of deep-fried chocolate-covered butter sticks, practically. How else can I justify that?

Annie thinks I'm exaggerating, but she is one to talk. She hasn't changed since she was in grade school, probably. Not only that but she's happily married and has no hang-ups other than the beets, and you can't blame her for that. As a teenager when I first sampled beets I remember thinking this must be what it tastes like when a skunk empties its musk glands into your mouth. But today beets are the secret ingredient to my new diet and I guess I will eat them, because I don't want to break the spell that the diet promises. Who knows, maybe the spell is that the root food will root out the girl I was; maybe she's been in there all along, lurking beneath the surface, gaining proximity, waiting for a reason to crack the surface and emerge.

Hollis Gillespie authored two top-selling memoirs and founded the Shocking Real-Life Writing Academy (www.hollisgillespie.com).             13027087 1272960                          Moodswing - Beets are evil "
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Moodswing

Wednesday April 16, 2008 12:04 am EDT
Revealing the root | more...