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The further adventures of an insomniac...


I've tried being a morning person lately.

It's actually been working. When I went to New Mexico last week, I had to get up super-early for my flight. Then I had to get up super-duper early to go skiing. And then early to drive out to Santa Fe and hang out with my uncle. And then, you guessed it, a quadruple-early-wake-up-call for my flight back on Sunday.

You know, my idea of vacation doesn't include waking up at 7 a.m. every morning. I don't even get up that early for work. If I'm awake at 7 a.m., it usually involves some sort of bodily function or the cat jumped on my face, making me dream that I was kissing Fidel Castro or something.

So ever since I got back from New Mexico (they're an hour earlier anyway), I've been having an easier time getting to work on time and, in some bizarre cases, even early.

"It's a morning person. It can't possibly be Omar."

My co-workers think I've been body-snatched. They keep covering their faces in case the Alien is ready to burst from my chest.

My body doesn't tend to work like this. I'm one of those people that doesn't fully wake up until about 11:30 a.m. and who reaches the peak of alertness at about 11 p.m., making my optimal writing time from about 11 to 2 a.m. In fact, most of Terribly Happy is written about that time, and then uploaded the next day from work.

(Further production notes: Gnomes produce all the graphics for this site.)

Right now, it's late at night. I'm sitting at my desk at home and listening to a CD that never fails to make me feel all gushy and groovy. It's The Score by The Fugees. Remember that CD? Back before it was Wyclef and Lauryn Hill. Go listen to it again, or Napster it or something. It's a damn good CD, especially the first few tracks.

I think this process -- this whole staying up late and writing until it's time to go to bed -- I think it's a kind of decompression. You run around the whole day, listening, watching, observing, storing up data. Then you come home, have dinner, do the mundane things that life makes you do, and at the end of the night, you upload it all and then go to bed, your mind unburdened and clear.

I don't remember the exact line, but in the movie version of Naked Lunch (I tried really hard, but as a teen was never able to get through the William S. Burroughs book), there's a line where somebody says that a writer lives their life just like everyone else. They just file a report at the end of the day.



Phlegm-Fest 2001 update:

Feeling much better now. The phlegm is almost gone. The sore throat is a memory. I think I will be in near-perfect health tomorrow night when we go see Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

That movie better kick ass. I stared down death and survived to see it.



My friend/co-worker Dale has started writing on online list that's pretty funny. He is the only other person at the paper who also happens to do sketch comedy, which is a crazy coincidence in that we now work in the same tiny office.

It's called Seven Signs. Go check it out. Dale's got mad comedic stylings.



Cedar Fever is upon us in Austin.

Let me tell you a little something about Austin. Austin is beautiful. Lots of live music. Really smart, well-educated population. A liberal bent (except for all the disciples of Dubya). It's really a great place to live.

But in January, it becomes Hell on Earth.

For some reason, every January, there is a convergence of flu and Cedar Fever.

Cedar Fever is pretty much hay fever, but in this part of the country, the huge cedar trees in the area start bursting with pollen and everybody in town, whether they've ever had allergies before or not, gets overcome by horrible allergies.

Then this is also flu season. Woe to the poor bastard who gets stricken by the flu and Cedar Fever at the same time.

Last year, my allergies were so bad that I actually went to the Austin Allergy Clinic and saw a specialist. He prescribed Allegra D, which I have been singing the praises of ever since, and also recommended some common sense (well, it wasn't common sense to me, but it makes sense now) tips for preventing allergies. Stuff like not using feather pillows and not letting the cat anywhere near my bed.

It seems to work — they year, I got hit by the flu, but I've avoided Cedar Fever, while a lot of my co-workers have been completely laid out with allergies.

I'll never forget this, though. I thought Cedar Fever was this very invisible, innocuous thing, like the Green Party. But then I was doing a story over at Origin Systems (that great company that created the "Ultima" and "Wing Commander" games) a while back. One of their executives was talking to me, and we were standing at his office window, which overlooks the huge 360 bridge and a bunch of trees and water. He pointed out the cedar trees in the area and how they were just starting to burst. You can actually see the trees explode with pollen. Here's a picture from KVUE, one of our TV stations, if you don't believe me:



How about that happy crap? That's what goes up your nose and into your lungs. Big, nasty clouds of spore.

Welcome to Austin. You'll like the beer, but you'll love the cedar.



Feel free to ignore this, and I'll just see you on Monday, but if you have an online diary, you should definitely go to (which is a great listing of online journals, Weblogs, etc...) and vote in The Diarist Awards. And list your site there if you aren't already indexed while you're at it. Or find some new journals to read there. Really, it's a very handy site.

And I'm not just saying that because Terribly Happy is eligible for Best New Journal for the fourth quarter. Really, that's not what I'm saying at all.

Well, maybe just a little.

Oh, and the illustrious Tracy is getting ready to debut her top-secret site, which I have promised to pimp regularly. She says it will be about her "fight against skank." I'll keep you posted.

Have a great weekend!



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