A rare Xan appearance on the blog today. Every year I say I'm going to stop neglecting the blog, but I'm never as diligent as I plan to be when the new year comes around. I haven't even kept up my blog on MySpace, I've been using it mainly to keep track of my Pez collection total. Which, by the way, is up to 641, I think. I really need to do another physical count. I'm not going to do the count anytime soon however, because I have 2nd degree chemical burns on my legs.
Now that sounds a little melodramatic. I wasn't actually diagnosed with 2nd degree burns, I'm just assuming 2nd degree because my legs look similar to 2nd degree burn photos I've seen online. I've been playing "Wiki Doctor" and doing the ever so accurate self diagnosis from the internet. And, it's not as scary as it sounds, the chemical in question that burned me was Veet, a depilatory. Technically, that is a chemical, but it's nothing that would turn someone into the Joker or anything.
The funny thing is, I never used to shave or remove my leg hair in any way. When I was in high school, it was this alterna-girl unspoken rule that you weren't supposed to shave your legs. It was a small bit of leftist rebellion that required only laziness to achieve, so it was a popular trend. And while I proudly displayed my hairy legs during the summer, in the colder months, this created a problem for me. You see, this was the 1990s, and one of the alterna-girl fashion trends was to wear tights under cutoff jeans. I actually still dig this look, and I can't wait for it to come back. And after about 3 hours of being covered in tights, hairy legs start to itch like mad, so I had to break down sometimes and shave my legs, succumbing to the media's standard of beauty etc. etc.
This being driven to the point of madness by the itchiness of winter legs thing was my motivation to get rid of my leg hair 2 days ago. I don't like to use actual razors because I am convinced that there is no way that I can do it without injuring myself. I've been shaving since the 5th grade, and every damn time I find out the hard way (usually when putting on lotion, ouch!) that surprise, I've nicked myself again. I finally got sufficiently fed up with that, so I decided to go with depilatory. Depilatory has it's drawbacks-it can be expensive, and it will stink. No matter how much the manufacturer tries to provide a "Fresh scent", it still smells like a perm. It's also a chemical intended to basically, melt your hair away from your body from the follicle, so if you have skin that is the least bit sensitive, or you get it wet during the application process, it can burn you. And the burning sensation lasts for a few days. Aloe vera gel has been wonderful to me, but I'm still in a lot of pain. It's better now than when the photos are taken, but still, it hurts.
And since I haven't been able to go many places so far this year (the flu kept me in bed and this burn makes walking sound like torture) I've been trying to get some reading done. I have a stack of books I have been meaning to read that is about as tall as I am, and this doesn't even include the comics that have been stacking up for months now. So far in 2009 I've read 9 books, which doesn't seem like much to me considering a few of them were quite thin and fast reads, and others were the guiltiest of guilty pleasures of readers, tv show tie-ins. Specifically, the "Supernatural" tie-ins. I love that show, and the books aren't bad as a tide-me-over until the next episode. I've read the first 2 and the 3rd just arrived from amazon.com.
I also finally finished "The Book of Lost Things" by John Connolly. I purchased it in 2007 I think, started it, put it away, picked it up again, put it away, started other books, you know the score. I decided to get it finished once and for all so it wouldn't taunt me, and it was a fun read, but not my favorite book. It has a very "Labyrinth" feel to it, so it is fun, but a very "boy" story.
For Christmas I got one of Mary Woronov's novels, "Niagra" which I enjoyed very much, although the main character is about the saddest thing ever. I recommend her as a writer, and am anxiously awaiting the arrival of her novel "Snake" which should be arriving from a seller I found on the Amazon Marketplace any second now.
While I had the flu I had no energy or attention span, so I basically just stayed in bed and listened to DVD commentaries. Specifically, commentary from "The Simpsons" DVDs since I've seen the episodes so much, all I had to do was listen and I could pick where the episode was by the references made in the commentary. Sad, I know. Standard commentary cast of writers, directors, Matt Groening, and they all mentioned a Simpsons writer named John Swartzwelder as being a fantastic writer who never does commentaries. Matt Groening also mentioned he wrote novels. This sounded interesting to me, so I ordered the title with the earliest copyright date from amazon.com. It arrived, and these are no frills books. Paperbacks that look like they should say "Novel, net wt. 7oz" on the cover. The book I got was "The Time Machine Did It", which is a time traveling detective story. I loved it, and highly recommend his work.
Another writer I discovered from some form of gadget is Simon Rich. After downloading the Stanza application for my iPod Touch, I went searching for free e-books to download. The Stanza app turns your iPod into an e-reader, so I now have an iPod that is part Kindle. Not that I don't still want a Kindle. Anyway, on the list of free downloads from Random House, I found a book called "Free Range Chickens". It's not a novel, just vignettes of alternate points of view that are extremely funny. For example, one of them is a conversation between God and an angel during which God complains that Simon Rich is not attending Temple even though he swore he would after praying for God to make sure "Perfect Strangers" was not cancelled. Simon Rich is a writer for SNL, and I am convinced after reading this and his first book "Ant Farm" that if you see something funny on SNL and it's not Andy Samburg, it's Simon Rich.
Other than Mary Woronov, Carrie Fisher and Gene Wilder are two other movie stars with books I finished recently. While I couldn't get into Gene Wilder's novel "My French Whore", my favorite book I've read so far this year is Carrie Fisher's new memoir, "Wishful Drinking". She has led one hell of a life, and she is hilarious. The style of this book made me feel like I was listening to her tell me these stories, and I found myself devouring it completely in about 2 hours. I highly recommend this one.