Monthly Archives: September 2009

Real Jews Don’t Run for (Local) Office

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Laura’s Brother-in-Law (Note: he’s not Jewish)

Laura never thought she’d live to see the day, but someone in her family is running for office! Local office!  Dutchess County Legislature in District 11!  Laura has no idea what a County Legislature is, where District 11 is, or what a County Legislator actually does, but if Laura lived in New York State and could vote, she’d vote in this election.

Why?  Because her brother-in-law* is running for office!

(*Laura’s not going to mention any names here just in case his opponent Googles him or Bings him — she wouldn’t want some stupid fun branting to get in the way of his actual real-life campaign, not that it really would, since this brant is much more about Laura than it is about him, but you never know what dirty tricks people resort to in local politics….)

Obviously, no one in her direct gene pool is running for office (no offense, super-cool-artist-sister-Linda-in-LA).  Real Jews, as Laura has often liked to define them in different ways, don’t really enter politics, especially local politics, and Laura thinks she knows why:  they’re usually not photogenic enough.  Laura knows she’s making a really dumb stereo-typical-ethnic statement here and of course she’s KIDDING (hey, the soon-to-be former mayor of Newton, Massachusetts, is David Cohen), but seriously, if Laura were running for her local County Legislature (not that she even could — because she doesn’t think she lives in a county) her election photo would look nothing like her brother-in-law’s.

And she means that as a compliment.  To her brother-in-law.

No, if Laura were running for office — local office — the day the photographer was supposed to arrive to take her picture for her campaign, the humidity would be in the DOUBLE DIGITS, quite possibly in the 99th PERCENTILE of humidity, because every single time she has to do something important, something outside of her bedroom and in public, something that involves a PHOTOGRAPH OF HERSELF, it’s always always ALWAYS extremely humid if not actually RAINING.  Her hair, in the grotesque humidity that would undoubtedly be present on her CAMPAIGN PHOTO-TAKING DAY, would go from vertical (hanging down) to horizontal (frizzing up and sticking out sideways), as it did while “down the [Jersey] Shore” this past August, turn into a giant frizzball, and cause the photographer to paw around desperately in his camera bag for a SUPER-WIDE-ANGLE LENS.

Unlike her brother-in-law’s hair, Laura’s hair would not be straight and smooth and relaxed on a day when it needed to be — when it was going to be recorded for posterityWhen it needed to sell itself. No, Laura’s hair is self-sabotaging, always fucking up when Laura most needs it to be good, or at least to be seen and not heard.  For some reason — and Laura has never really figured out the reason for this — her hair is constantly in a state of crying for help — so much so, that she knows she should really think about sending it away to one of those scary-military-camps-for-problem-teens.  Her hair would not cooperate and because it would not cooperate, Laura just knows it would completely ruin her chances for running for local office.

Not to blame her inability to win local office on her humidity-sensitive hair.  Laura would never win local office because there’s no way she could possibly stay awake long enough to know what was going on, what was on the agenda, what everyone else’s opinions were, and what her own opinion should be.  I mean, Laura can barely stay awake during a playdate, or a school fundraising meeting, let alone for discussions about trash pickup and recycling and taxes and land use laws.  (Laura has no idea if those are the things he would be doing if when he gets elected — but if they are, Laura would not be up for the job, and her hair would be the least of her problems).

Now, if local politics involved issues like Hair-Product Referenda or Frizzy-Hair-Tax Overrides, or other policies and laws having to do with hair-challenged people, Laura would sign up to run in a second.  And she’d even have a chance of winning because with her ridiculous campaign photo, she’d be the poster child for the hair-challenged.

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Laura Has Turkey Neck

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And now for something completely different.

Laura’s going to take a temporary Comcast-bashing hiatus to talk about something vastly more personal and important:  her Turkey Neck.  Yes, for those of you loyal brant-readers who have either never met Laura or haven’t seen her in a long time,  Laura has to admit that her once taut neck isn’t what it used to be (neither are other once-taut body parts, but that’s another brant).  She can’t remember when she first noticed her turkey neck — what the exact moment in time was when she realized, in horror, that the little crepey little patch of neck skin, immortalized by Nora Ephron in her bestselling book title, was the onset of the most dreaded sign of aging: turkey neck.  But it was at least two years ago and she swears she hasn’t quite been the same since.

Laura could say it a hundred more times — turkey neck! turkey neck! turkey neck! — but saying it over and over and over won’t make it go away or make her any less depressed that there’s nothing she can do about it. So imagine her surprise when yesterday, while at Costco, she saw this giant display for StriVectin cream.  She loves that phony-important capital “V” in the middle of the word, separating “Stri” from “Vectin” — as if there’s a medical reason for it — or even a LATIN reason for it: “Stri” as in “Turkey” and “Vectin” as in “Neck” — and she loves the bash-you-over-the-head marketing line:  GOT TURKEY NECK? What team of marketing geniuses came up with that?  A bunch of women embarrassed and saddened by their aging necks?  Laura doesn’t think so.  Probably a bunch of 40-something slick ad-guy Mad-Men wannabes types trying for uber-cleverness and go-for-the-jugular shock value.  Whatever happened to the subtle mind-fuck of “subliminal advertising”?

Laura was at Costco yesterday because sometimes after school Ben begs to stop on their way home so he can have a Churro (or two) (or three) (but Laura never says yes to three, only two) (even though two is already one too many) (but Ben’s starving after school and he’s thin as a rail) (okay she’s getting off this parentheses train right now).  Laura’s Costco membership ran out about a year ago and she’s been feeling too cheap to drop $50 on a new one so sometimes, after Ben has his churro(s), they walk the aisles and look around pretending that they have still have a membership and could buy stuff if they wanted to but are just, this once, choosing not to.  It’s kind of pathetic, doing a Fake Costco Shop, but it kills an hour and gets a few hundred steps in which is always a bonus when she’s wearing her pedometer on her beltloop like a big old turkey-necked goofball.

Yesterday they had arranged to meet Laura’s parents at Costco — they met at the snack bar and then Laura glommed on to her mother’s Costco card so she could buy brisket for the holiday and Popcorn Chicken for Ben and a four-pack of Clorox wipes for herself and that’s when she saw the giant display of GOT TURKEY NECK? cream.  If Laura weren’t watching her pennies she seriously would have considered buying the cream, but she’s got to save her money for a REAL turkey for thanksgiving, not turkey neck cream for herself.  Feeling virtuous as she went through the checkout line and spending only $48, she marveled at her frugality and self-restraint until she got back in her car and adjusted her rear view mirror.  There she suddenly came face to face with something her stupid Clorox wipes wouldn’t be able to wipe away:

Her Turkey Neck.

So now she’s saving up for a new Costco membership and some “Stri” = Turkey “Vectin” = Neck dream-cream.

Comcast Still Sucks: Update

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Despite the “rant” in “brant” Laura doesn’t usually assume her readers (both of them) particularly enjoy ongoing multi-part multi-day screeds about bad cable companies, but she figured she should just post a brief update since a few friends have asked about the status of her rage vis a vis Comcast.

She wishes she could say her rage was completely gone, remedied by THE ACTUAL SHOWING UP OF A TECHNICIAN YESTERDAY, but unfortunately that’s not the case.  Because:

1) The technician who showed up yesterday was the same one who’d done the installation a month ago.  Laura would like to make clear right here and right now that John Nicholson is a very nice guy and it was not HIS fault that he damaged the connection to her Alarm company to begin with:  as he explained to her yesterday, the original work order from Comcast stated that Laura HAD NO ALARM SYSTEM.  Again, she wants to make clear that she likes John Nicholson very much and he is NOT one of the bad players on the Comcast team.

2)  Laura would like, in her own defense, to say here what she said to the very nice John Nicholson yesterday: that she is a very reasonable, usually polite person who understands that mistakes are made.  When she opened the door at five on the dot yesterday and saw John standing there, trembling slightly (he’d been briefed that she was, as he said a “VIP VIP”), she felt badly that he thought he was going to get reamed for his previous mistake.  He couldn’t have been nicer and is the only genuinely likeable and helpful person she’s dealt with from Comcast.  Because of that, she thinks Comcast management should take notice of him and give him a promotion and a raise.  That, or another cable company should hire him and put him out of his misery at Comcast.

3) But back to the story of yesterday:  apparently, because Laura had made such a “scene” on the phone and in her second (or third) email to “Rick” without a last name on the Comcast Website, John Nicholson informed her that he finished his last job at 2 p.m. and was instructed not to take any other jobs so that he could arrive at her house for her 5 o’clock appointment EXACTLY ON TIME.  Laura felt bad for John — and a little bad for herself since she couldn’t help but feel like that directive made her sound like a MADWOMAN who was INSISTING ON SOME KIND OF RIDICULOUS DEMENTED PUNCTUALITY.  Regardless, he was there and immediately began to try to fix the situation with the cut wires.  After about 20 minutes of having to run up and down the stairs — down to the basement, up to the third floor, back to the basement, out to the truck, back up to the third floor, into the hall coat closet — he told Laura that he’d fixed the connection to the alarm company.  So Laura called the alarm company to do a test and indeed John was right:  after purposely setting off the big noisy house alarm, the alarm company verified that the connection was working and all was right again with Laura’s (cable/phone world).

4)  Not so fast.   The very nice and smart John Nicholson had the presence of mind to make sure that after the test was completed with the alarm company that Laura check to make sure her phone was getting a dial tone — you see, alarm systems are connected through the phone, and so once the phone transmits the problem to the alarm company, the phone is then supposed to go back to being a regular phone again and stop being an alarm-company-problem-alerting-conduit.  Of course, when Laura tried to get a dial tone, there was no dial tone, and thus began ANOTHER CHAPTER IN THE BAD-COMCAST ONGOING MULTI-PART MULTI-DAY SCREED.

5)  After several back and forths with a technician from her alarm company, it was clear that the alarm company was going to have to come out to Laura’s house to fix the problem.  When Laura heard this, she asked the alarm company if they were going to charge her for this.  Probably, the technician said, which of course, makes sense.  Except that Laura then realized that she was going to have to get COMCAST to pay for that service call since, well, IT WASN’T HER FAULT THAT HER PHONE LINE/ALARM LINE ISN’T WORKING PROPERLY: IT’S THEIR FAULT.  Poor John then had to call his supervisor, DENNIS, who then had John inform her that when the alarm company comes to fix the situation they should call Dennis but that COMCAST WON’T PAY FOR ANYTHING THAT HAS TO DO WITH LAURA’S SYSTEM UNLESS IT DIRECTLY RELATES TO THEIR ACTIONS HAVING TO DO WITH HER SYSTEM.

6)  Laura stared at John Nicholson and tried to make a joke of it all — by this point, John was just trying to suffer through being put in an INCREDIBLY UNCOMFORTABLE SHITTY POSITION due to Comcast’s continued idiocy.  Laura said to John that what Dennis had said was one of the stupidest things she’d ever heard — first, because of course she wouldn’t expect Comcast to pay for something that had NOTHING to do with them and second, because UNTIL COMCAST SHOWED UP AND STARTED TOUCHING HER WIRES SHE HAD NO PROBLEM WHATSOEVER WITH HER ALARM SYSTEM AND PHONE LINES.  She said to John that she was getting unhappier by the minute and that Comcast’s customer service was somehow having the reverse effect of what it was supposed to accomplish:  it was making her MADDER when it should have been making her LESS MAD.

7) And so now Laura has to spend YET ANOTHER DAY full of annoyance and rage: waiting for her alarm company to call; waiting for them to come; walking them through the house to help them find wires and wireboxes; waiting for them to reach DENNIS THE COMCAST MENACE and waiting to hear what INCREDIBLY ANNOYING THING HE WILL SAY; then bracing for yet another argument with Comcast about paying for the service call from the alarm company.

8) Laura would like to add here, for the record, something she wishes she’d said yesterday at the beginning of this whole multi-part mult-day screed:  that she knows that people have FAR worse problems than being tormented for weeks by a cable company.  This problem is minor compared to some of the awful things people have to do deal with.  But she figures since she has a brant she might as well use it….

Comcast Sucks

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First of all, Laura is risking all sorts of copyright infringement by posting that brilliant “COMCAST BLOWS” graphic above because she doesn’t know who to credit and she can’t stop herself from using it even though she’s not able to credit whoever/whomever created it.  She’s hoping that whoever/whomever (note to self: must relearn who/whom rule) created that “COMCAST BLOWS” logo/sign will understand that Laura just HAD to use it, in good faith, because, well, COMCAST BLOWS and venting and ranting and branting THIS MINUTE was absolutely necessary for her mental health.

Or, as Laura twittered last night, COMCAST SUCKS.

Laura really hopes that Comcast’s PR department routinely scans the web for people complaining about how much COMCAST SUCKS because she really hopes they see this and probably a thousand other blogs about how much they suck.  Maybe, if they do, they’ll figure out that they should do what they can to STOP SUCKING.

There are few things more boring than listening to someone vent and rant and brant about a stupid cable company SUCKING, because, well, everyone knows that cable companies SUCK and the real story would be someone who has a story about a cable company NOT SUCKING.  But despite all the usual CABLE COMPANIES SUCK stories Laura has heard or has acquired on her own over the years regarding her own experiences with cable companies — botched installations, missed appointments, egregious cable-guy butt-cracks — this current STILL UNRESOLVED PROBLEM WITH COMCAST takes first prize in her own personal pantheon of shitty cable company stories.

Laura’s not going to bore you (for too long) with the details of her sad sorry tale of CABLE COMPANY MISCONDUCT, but suffice it to say that her first big mistake was thinking that she could improve on the general SUCKINESS of RCN by switching to COMCAST.  So stupid.  How did she get to be 47 years old without knowing that ALL CABLE COMPANIES SUCK and to go from ONE TO THE OTHER only increases your exposure to their maddening suckiness?  So that’s where it started.  The beginning of the end. Switching.  In came Comcast, and during their routine installation they apparently cut the connection to the alarm system that hooks up her house to the alarm company for burglary/fire/flood etc.  Laura had no idea they’d done this — until her alarm company called the following week and said their weekly Monday test to her house had failed and had they had any phone work or cable work done that could have caused the failure.

Funny you should mention that, Laura said to the Alarm Company person, We just switched to Comcast….

And so began one of the most aggravating never-ending STILL UNRESOLVED SUCKY CABLE COMPANY EXPERIENCES of her life.  She can’t tell you how many HOURS she’s spent on the phone trying to get a fucking COMCAST TECHNICIAN to show up — the first time she tried, they gave her an appointment almost TEN DAYS out of her phone call which Laura thought was kind of unacceptable given the fact that it was COMCAST’S FAULT for damaging her connection to her alarm company and because having a connection to an alarm company for fire and theft is KIND OF IMPORTANT.  Laura complained to a supervisor and managed to get an appointment in three days — only when the day came and Laura had moved things around to be home for the three-hour-window of the technician’s visit NO TECHNICIAN ARRIVED.  This was because THE COMCAST REPRESENTATIVE NEVER ACTUALLY GENERATED A WORK ORDER FOR A TECHNICIAN TO VISIT HER HOUSE BECAUSE SHE FORGOT TO ENTER IT INTO THE SYSTEM. (<–that’s pretty much a direct quote)

Laura then complained AGAIN to ANOTHER supervisor who AGAIN gave her some bullshit about not being able to get a technician out to fix WHAT THEY HAD DAMAGED for another WEEK TO TEN DAYS, and when Laura refused to get off the phone until they gave her an appointment SOONER than a week to ten days, she was told she could EMAIL HER COMPLAINT ON THE COMCAST WEBSITE.  Apparently, they have this “EMAIL RICK” thing where you get to EMAIL this NON-EXISTENT “RICK” WITH NO LAST NAME as if USING THE NAME “RICK” WITH NO LAST NAME is supposed to inspire a sense of comfort and FUN in the irate customer who is emailing with a complaint.  NOTE TO COMCAST CUSTOMER SERVICE GENIUS TEAM:  Emailing some NON-EXISTENT “RICK” with NO LAST NAME is FUCKING ANNOYING and a complete BULLSHITTY WAY of dealing with customer complaints and only makes the irate customer MORE IRATE.

So, in addition to wasting several hours on the phone and waiting for a technician who never showed up, now Laura wastes ANOTHER HOUR crafting a SCREED to “RICK” which gets her an auto-response email from Comcast saying they’ve received her complaint and someone will be in touch.  Well, sure enough, someone “REACHES OUT” to her (that’s the language the customer representative actually uses) and begins a 7-8 phone call fiasco during which she tries to arrange for a technician to call Laura directly to make a new appointment for service.  This finally happens — a technician-guy calls her directly and they make an appointment for YESTERDAY AT 5 P.M.  Laura is diligently home at 5 P.M. because THAT’S WHEN THE APPOINTMENT WAS SCHEDULED FOR and guess what?  THE TECHNICIAN DIDN’T SHOW UP.

ANOTHER irate hour is spent on the phone as Laura tries to find out WHY THE FUCK the technician isn’t here THIS TIME and is told that, no, her appointment wasn’t for 5 p.m. (“We don’t do that,” the Comcast representative informs her), it was for a “4-7 p.m. window.”  Laura demands to speak to a supervisor (a complete farce) and is then informed that the technician is indeed in her area.  The problem is that Laura has to go to a MEETING and can’t HANG AROUND INDEFINITELY for this technician who is ALLEGEDLY in her area.  So the Comcast representative realizes that that technician probably doesn’t even have to enter Laura’s house to fix the connection (it’s outside) and assures her that even though Laura has to leave, he will let the technician WHO IS ALLEGEDLY in the area that he can fix the situation without entering the house, and that he will give the technician Laura’s cell phone number AND the number to the Alarm Company so that they can test the connection and make sure the technician has fixed the problem.

So Laura leaves to go to her meeting.  But when she returns two hours later there is a message on her home voicemail:  it’s from COMCAST, a few minutes after Laura had left for her meeting, saying “THE TECHNICIAN IS AT THE HOME AND RECEIVING NO RESPONSE FROM THE DOORBELL OR BY PHONE SO HE’S LEAVING AND WE’RE CANCELLING THE APPOINTMENT.”

Laura at that point can literally feel her blood pressure EXPLODE and she gets on the phone A-FUCKING-GAIN and tries to explain to yet ANOTHER CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE what has happened and how unacceptable the situation is. She gets transferred to someone else, put on hold, then fucking DISCONNECTED, at which point she writes ANOTHER SCREED TO “RICK” WITH NO LAST NAME demanding a technician fix the problem.

Needless to say, it’s 9:45 a.m. and Comcast has not called or emailed.  Laura completely apologizes for boring you with the details of the situation –she hadn’t intended on doing that but it just all came out.  Feel free to share your horror stories with Laura and she will continue to update her loyal brant-readers on the progress — or, more likely, NON PROGRESS, of the situation.  She will try to keep her updates brief and less boring, but she can’t guarantee she can reduce her use of CAPS and the EFF word.

“No You Don’t Want Laura Reading Your F@*&ing (Manu)Script.”

A few days ago, Josh Olsen, a semi-successful screenwriter, published a piece in the Village Voice.  It was called, “No I Won’t Read Your Fucking Script” and, like most screeds, it quickly made its way around the Web:  people posted links to it on Twitter and on Facebook, which is where Laura saw it.  She retweeted it onto Twitter and was quickly informed that there was a huge controversy about the piece taking place on Facebook and other forums where people where commenting quickly and rabidly — either in support of Josh’s position, or against it.  It’s probably unnecessary to post any excerpts from the piece since, obviously, the title makes it pretty clear what his point is — No, he won’t read your fucking script, in case someone wasn’t quite sure — but for the sake of sharing, Laura will post a brief snippet here:

I will not read your fucking script.That’s simple enough, isn’t it? “I will not read your fucking script.” What’s not clear about that? There’s nothing personal about it, nothing loaded, nothing complicated. I simply have no interest in reading your fucking screenplay. None whatsoever.

If that seems unfair, I’ll make you a deal. In return for you not asking me to read your fucking script, I will not ask you to wash my fucking car, or take my fucking picture, or represent me in fucking court, or take out my fucking gall bladder, or whatever the fuck it is that you do for a living.

It goes on, of course, to tell the story (one of many, Laura is sure), of being asked to read something, saying yes reluctantly, only to realize that the thing he’s agreed to read sucks, then trying to decide whether or not to be honest with the writer about the fact that it sucks, deciding to be honest (big mistake), and then regretting the whole thing when, post-critique-email, he is informed by the person who connected the loser-writer with the semi-successful-screenplay-writer, that he is “a dick.”

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This is Joel Olsen, and while Laura has no idea whether he’s a dick or not, she does know that if she wrote a piece like Joel’s it would be called:  No, You Don’t Want Laura To Read Your Manuscript Because Every Now And Then She Will Totally Fuck Up and Say, With The Best Of Intentions, That She Will Read It, But Then, Inadvertently, Because Life Gets Out of Control In One Way Or Another, She Will End Up Not Reading It and Feel Really Bad About Fucking Up.

Laura read Joel’s screed and while of course she could relate to the many times she’s been asked to read something that she knows will probably suck, and then being in the extremely awkward position of having to decide what to do about it, much more often than that she has read things by friends and acquaintances that have been really really good.  But occasionally, and she can remember with a sick feeling in her stomach right now several instances of this, she has said she’s going to read something and then she ends up not reading it: either it gets buried under a huge pile of shit (literally) and she unearths it months later, or she starts it and then gets completely run over by life events and things that feel completely beyond her control, and before she knows it three or four or five months has gone by and the situation seems beyond apology.  She’s tried to get better about this over the years but she knows that even though she’s tried and even though she’s had some excellent and very valid excuses reasons for fucking up in this way, the fact remains that it’s pretty inexcusable when it happens and she wishes it didn’t.  For anyone reading this brant who has been disappointed by Laura in this very way, she’s truly sorry.

Laura’s not sure whether the answer is to completely stop saying yes or to say yes and force herself to get better on the follow through part, but either way, Joel Olsen’s piece certainly struck a nerve with a lot of people.  It struck a different nerve with Laura — the guilty shitty I’m a fuck-up nerve — so she’s going to stop branting and add a note to her long list of things to do this week:  Go through house and find manuscripts I promised to read but didn’t so someone doesn’t write a piece about her: “No You Don’t Want Laura Reading Your Fucking (Manu)script.”

Turning into a Masshole

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mass-hole (noun)

(from Urban Dictionary)

1. For residents of Massachusetts, it is an achieved title for driving faster, being wreckless, cutting other drivers off often, and having no patience for other drivers on the road.

2. For non-residents of Massachusetts, it is a term of dislike for the people of Massachusetts that drive like an asshole.

  • I was such a masshole today when I went down route 128 at 98 mph.
  • Don’t even think about cutting me off, you masshole!

*

Laura doesn’t know why she woke up thinking about Massholes — or, more precisely, thinking about how sick she is of Massholes — but she did, and so that’s what she’s going to brant about in the few minutes she has before running around all day doing a bunch of shit she doesn’t want to do.  Waking up with the word “masshole” in her head is making her think that maybe she’s turning into a masshole herself, and that’s something she definitely doesn’t want to do.

Laura certainly has exhibited symptoms of what she calls Massaholic Reverse Road Rage — meaning, rage she feels at other drivers — massholes — who cut her off, drive with outrageous rudeness and/or disregard for human life and safety, and behave like, for lack of a more creative way of putting it, assholes.  Eagle-eyed brant readers will recognize this topic from previous brants, and while Laura hates to repeat herself she can’t help herself because while she is usually pointing (though — and this is important: not giving) the finger at other massholes and yelling to herself in the privacy of her own car about how hard it is to drive in Massachusetts and how it’s a bloodsport and how simply getting in your car and heading out to buy a quart of milk sometimes feels like strapping yourself into some kind of live video game where you can get killed and blown up at every single turn, this time she fears that some of that massaholic behavior might be rubbing off on her.

She wrote earlier this summer about driving into New York City for a 22-minute meeting and getting a $115 ticket for blocking the box — by like, an inch! — and the other day at school pick up she did something that made her fear that she is herself turning into the sort of massaholic driver she loathes.  It wasn’t anything terrible  — she didn’t actually cut off a whole line of cars snaking into the school’s parking lot and pick-up line — but she could have.  Caught red-handed by the head of school pulling into the driveway straight off the ramp from the highway when there was no room for her, Laura felt a sense of shock and horror at her unintentionally and potentially catastrophic massaholic behavior: though she hadn’t actually cut anyone off (can she say that enough?), she could have, and that would have made her look like a gigantic masshole to a bunch of people she encounters five days a week.

Laura hasn’t spent the last 25 years in therapy for nothing: leading an unexamined life would be a total waste of all the money she’s spent trying to better herself.  So this week, coming face to face with the fact that she has the makings of being a complete and utter masshole herself, has forced her to do some serious self-reflection and soul-searching.  Just in time for the Day of Atonement in two weeks…

Escape Fantasy Disorder: Moving Brants (again)

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Laura was doing her usual Art Carney arm-flailing routine — you know, making a big deal about getting back to work and starting to write various things:  her brant, a new project, another new project — and she was doing all the usual bullshitty procrastinative behavior she usually engages in before sitting down to start working again after a long lapse — when she suddenly decided she wanted a whole new look to her brant. Something clean and simple.  Something readable. Something that didn’t have a bright red background and 8 pt purple type.  Something that people of her age and eyesight limitations could easily make sense of without having to squint and hold the laptop up to their faces and paw around for one of those pairs of cheap cheesy magnifying eyeglasses from CVS.

Something, too, that would take some time to set up and thus postpone her actual writing.

Loyal brant-readers may remember that about a year ago, in preparation for the publication of Get Over Yourself!, Laura set up a whole new little brant after deciding her existing brant on WordPress was too fucking complicated to use:  she was having trouble posting photos (“having trouble” is an understatement: she spent about 2 weeks realizing there was no way she could post photos on her brant, no matter how many times she tried or how many web-sperts she consulted).  And so after leaving the original brant that was attached to her spam-infested website, www.laurazigman.com, she started a brand new brant on Blogger (www.laurasbrant.blogspot.com), one she designed in the signature black and red and yellow theme that her amazing web guy had designed her site with.  Laura really enjoyed the new brant — its friendly colors, its user-friendliness:  Laura could change things around practically with her eyes closed, it was so easy, putting up new book jackets and video clips of Hugh Jackman without swearing, feeling like she could keep her brant fluid and fresh with a few simple clicks.  But sitting down to contemplate a new back-to-branting post, she realized there was something about the design that was making her feel like her head was going to explode.

Now, to be honest, most things these days make Laura feel like her head’s going to explode —  re-entering the whole routine of going back to school, running the house, cleaning the house, tackling paperwork, getting her work started — but she realized that her overly-visually-stimulating brant template shouldn’t be one of those things.  She also realized that she had to something that was both productive and procrastinative, and creating a new brant out of whole cloth seemed just the thing that fit the bill.

So after looking through the many template designs back at WordPress, she decided on this new design — she loves the cleanness of it, the white space, the big easy-to-read type (Laura isn’t getting any younger even if her readers are).   And more than that, she loves the idea of starting fresh.  Somewhere new. Somewhere else.  This of course fits into Laura’s long-self-documented pathology of “Escape Fantasy Disorder” — her compulsion to move and escape her current residence/job/city/life and move to another residence/job/city/life, forgetting that despite the physical move and change of scenery, there is one constant that can’t be changed: Laura herself.  Which is to say that Laura has had to learn that no matter where she goes, no matter where she moves to and escapes to, no matter where she sets up a new shop, there is one thing she can’t leave behind: herself.  She has to take herself with her, no matter how much she wishes sometimes she could just be rid of that ultimate bit of baggage: her gigantic self, full of anxiety of failure and past disappointments.  If only she could pack herself away in a huge steamer trunk and shove it in a closet somewhere and be free!  Free to brant and write and express herself without all the self-doubt and self-consciousness and fear of nothing coming out the way she wants it to.  But of course, she can’t.  She is stuck with herself, and always will be, no matter how many times she moves and changes addresses, no matter how many apartments and houses she starts over in, no matter how many brants she designs and redesigns and moves on from.

And so she’s asking you to indulge her latest Escape Fantasy Disorder move: her move from Blogspot to WordPress.  She hopes you’ll change the bookmark on your bookmark toolbar, if that’s how you find her, or that you’ll continue to follow her brant updates on Facebook and Twitter.  She wishes there were a way to import her original brant — the one from her website — over here, but she’s not sure she can, which means for anyone looking for her “Breast Brants” about her experiences with breast cancer, or any of the other brants written between 2006-2008, you’re still going to have to go back to www.laurazigman.com.

Laura’s going to try to follow the lead of a fellow writer friend (and lead singer/songwriter for Sugar Snow), Simone, who has started blogging every Monday, by aspiring to post a new brant every week, once a week.  This will take organization — in Laura’s head, where things are not normally very organized — and discipline, and she’s going to try to come up with a writing schedule and stick to it.  After all, despite  her protestations and feelings of unworthiness in this regard — feeling like a writer who hasn’t really been writing enough — this is what she does.  It’s the only thing she does, and the only thing she loves to do, and so she’s going to start doing it more regularly.

Here.

On her new redesigned clean white big-type brant:  https://laurazigman.wordpress.com.

With its new title:  “Hear Laura Brant.”