Saturday, June 24, 2006

Things I Saw At Cocoa Beach

-Two pelicans totally doing it midair

-A hotel clerk and a security guard standing ten feet apart and insisting upon having multiple conversations via walkie-talkie

-A woman wearing men’s underwear. I don’t mean cute boxers or boy-shorts. I mean… men’s underwear. Like, Hanes-Not-Her-Way.

-The volume on the TV in my by-the-hooker hotel room turning itself off every night at 11 PM

-Four manta rays on a weekend double date at the Cocoa Beach Pier, which I, with my keen marine science-based mind, originally identified as trash bags.

man I miss living there at:

Friday, June 23, 2006

RUN AWAY! update

I have a pattern here.

There's a little tiki hut right outside my door, and I sit there and type until my computer battery runs out. It is very squinty work. Then I go inside and plug into the hairdryer outlet above the toilet, which is the only one in the entire room that doesn't throw out sparks when I link up, and I sit on the toilet seat and type until the battery is up again. Then: Back outside.

I was up at six AM and feel no need to rest. So this is the secret to battling fatigue while writing: Have a disgusting bed.

I eat cheese with crackers and reheated spaghetti I made earlier in the week. The Starbucks barista just attempted to pick me up ("You're a writer? I'M a writer! Screenplays!" Oh, shut up and steam the milk, Speilberg.)

Number of half-cans of Coke remaining: 1

Yesterday I tried walking on the beach, which I thought would be romantic and writerly and instead was It was low tide and the Seaweed Ocean Barf was in town. Thanks for the encouragement, Ocean.

This morning I watched the sun rise. So THAT'S how the big orange disk gets up there. I need to figure out a way to not have to get up early to see that again.

I went to the first grocery in which I ever made a deli visit all by myself--when I came to town for my interview at the Kennedy Space Center, I went to a Publix and loaded up on sandwich thingies. You cannot underestimate how a deli ticket in the hand marks entry to Big Girlhood. They didn't remember me.

back to the toilet seat at:

Thursday, June 22, 2006


O Starbucks. O blessed wireless access.

I am not in the Blonde Bachelorette Pad, Northern Edition. This is because I have run away. I'm struggling to finish a manuscript, but my bed and my general self keep interrupting. I'd be in the middle of a paragraph, and get up to hurtle around the apartment, as I often do while in Supposedly Creative Mode, and then, mid-hurtle, I'd notice things like, "Huh... I really should organize those two cans of BeefARoni in the pantry." As a result, I have a self-imposed deadline for June 28, and at last check I am on page... zero.

So I have run away to a one-night-stand special on the Space Coast. Nightly rack rate: Eight cents, and the bedspread shows it. I checked in, admired the heavily advertised color TV with HBO, and wheeled it directly into the ocean. All day, it's been me and my laptop and the Very Scary Comforter. I am going to bend each molecule of my considerable self-discipline to departing with a completed rough draft.

I shall return to my current Swamp Position anon, at which point I will still likely be on page zero, but will leave behind the best-ironed drapes in all of Cocoa Beach.

go baby go at:

The Cape

Because there is never enough incompetence to go around, I'm volunteering as an educator at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Space and Missile Museum, which means that for the first time in oh, about four years now, I'm "badged to the Cape" again.

I crossed the river to the Kennedy Space Center to visit Nick the NASA Poobah, and on our way across the complex we ran into Sammy Gemar (I call him "Sammy," because we are BFF's like that) a mission specialist who has flown on Atlantis, Discovery, and Columbia.

"This is Mary Beth," said Nick. Mary Beth proceeded to drop her sunglasses on the famous astronaut's foot.

These things happen, at the Cape.

We went to see the recently raised Mercury capsule, Gus Grissom's formerly lost Liberty Bell 7, which sat in low light and high majesty. The restorers did a magnificent job, positioning the capsule so that viewers can still see the white crack workers painted on the side. Nick and I walked around and around the display, whispering--it was the type of place where you whispered. For a while he hung back quietly and... just... looked at it. I do believe he and Gus were having a conversation.

I dined with G-Force at the employee cafeteria at the Space Station Processing Facility, largely because of how the receipt prints out:

"Where'd you go for lunch?"

"Oh, the Space Station. It's Sub Day!"

You'd think the dining hall at a place called the Space Station Processing Facility would be this modern, exotic wonder with people teleporting in and out of the food pellet line, but no. It has limp salads and ketchup packets angry bowls of cole slaw just like everywhere else.

People ask me why I don't work for NASA anymore. Here's why:

I parked at the Operations and Checkout Building, which is where the astronauts live when they come to town, and I like walking in and out of the same doors they use when heading to the launchpad. This is because I am very, very lame. It's the best way I know of to feel important by proximity.

The thing about the O&C is, (I call it "the O&C," because we are BFF's like that) it's a government building constructed in the 1960's, and like all government buildings constructed in the 1960's, it bears the Stamp of the Age of Public Ugly, and is identical and boring in all directions.

So when you park your car on one end of the building, it's very, very easy to wander around the parking lot at the other end of the building wondering if the Space Cops have towed your car.


right! at:

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Game On

The Boyification of Jim The Small Child Nephew continues. His father plays hockey, and so Jim shall watch hockey. "Hockey!" he says happily, pointing at the television, even when soccer is on. Father and son watched the entire Stanley Cup series.

Okay, father and son watched the first period of the entire Stanley Cup series. Then Country The Brother-In-Law announced that the game was over and everybody had to go to bed, and Jim The Small Child Nephew would trot off to his room, assuming the players were headed to their big boy beds as well instead of forty more minutes of slamming one another into walls.

faceoff at:

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