Shithouse rat

I'm a bipolar writer in the Naked City. I'm not playing with a full deck. I don't have all my dots on the dice. My cheese is sliding off my cracker. I don't have both oars in the water. I'm a bubble off plum. In other words, I'm crazier than a shithouse rat. These are my stories. Comments--short or long, nasty or nice--always welcome!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Eat, blog and be merry

Waiting for Guests to Arrive
Originally uploaded by ScarFoot.
Perhaps some of you recall the '80s movie The Hunger, adapted from a book by the horrormeister Whitley Streiber. In the movie, Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie play glamorous NYC vampires. Very cool film, by the way--the first scene alone was worth the price of admission. It opens in a nightclub to the strains of "Bela Lugosi's Dead" by Bauhaus. There they are, Bowie and Deneuve, who even in real life appear to be ageless--terminally chic in their shades; cool, sleek predators trolling the place for their next vic. It's one of those gothy-punky NYC nightclubs where everyone looks like a ghoul anyway. The place is packed with young beautiful people who seem to be simultaneously mocking and worshipping death.

Deneuve plays an ancient vampire who is beautiful, ageless, and immortal. She's lived for countless centuries. Every 200 years or so, she selects a "life" partner and turns him or her into a vampire too. All is blissful--even though a lot of mortals have to be sacrificed along the way for their blood feasts--and her partners live a century or two without aging a day.

The problem is that eventually her partners do age and disintegrate, but they don't die. At this point, she puts them in some tomb-like mausoleum in her Manhattan mansion and visits them from time to time. They are still alive--barely-- and she still "loves" them, but being a serial monogamist, she moves on to the next partner. But of course, I think at the end one of her new lovers (in this case, Susan Sarandon) manages to kill her or turn her into an old shrew or something.

Anyway, the point I'm making is that there's probably not that many people who could handle the notion of living forever. For one thing, everyone you ever loved would die, and your health--well--maybe not so great. And more to the point, what would it be like it you had all the time in the world to do--well--anything? (This notion, by the way, was supported by a recent poll I read in, I think, the New York Post which said that the average age people wanted to live was, like 87 or something. Very few wanted to live to see 100.)

If organisms could exist without a struggle to survive, I think there would be very little progress or evolution. Part of the life force involves a fight to get what we need--whether it be food, or love, or sex, or recognition, or money, or a clean toilet. The needs become more sophisticated and complex as we move up the food chain. BG's cat, being a cat, has simpler requirements. Food, fresh water, a clean place to shit, pigeons in the window to vex her, and some love and attention are all this kitty needs to be happy. Well, except for the fact that being an indoor cat with no real access to any mice or other wildlife to hunt, every evening she does a mad crazy dash around BG's apartment. After reading up on cat behavior, I've learned this is normal and necessary. A housecat must do this because her instinct requires her to engage in some hunting/chasing/fleeing activity that she cannot satisfy for real in captivity. In other words, her life is so cushy that she needs to let her hair (or fur) down a little and pretend there's some reason to dash madly around the safe, secure apartment where she needn't hunt for her dinner or flee from dogs with an attitude. (That's not her BTW--she'd never sit still for a tea party).

By the same token, I feel that knowing we are mortal and that we have to struggle to get what we want gives us a sense of urgency. Sine we won't have forever, there is a "deadline" attached to everything we hope to accomplish in our lifetimes. If we had forever to pursue our goals, I think the world would come to a standstill in the same way it would if we didn't need to eat or compete--even if we only compete with ourselves.

Which all leads up to my observation--unscientific as it may be--that a lot of bloggers seem to be quitting, going on hiatus, and/or in a deep funk. It is very jarring to visit site after site that you assume will always be there and log on one day to find that this will be a blogger's last post. Some stop because they can't handle flamers; some to pursue other interests like writing a book; some because they've found that blogging is preventing them from pursuing their "real" lives to their satisfaction.

But it is always a shock to see a site that has become very popular just give it all up. It smacks of some sort of deep disillusionment and despair to totally quit something that you've worked hard to establish. I'm talking here of bloggers who have stayed the course, rather than those who try blogging and then give it up after a few months, realizing it isn't for them.

Maybe they realize that life is indeed short, and they don't want to spend one hundred years in front of a computer screen. One of my ex-boyfriend's brothers died sitting in front of his computer, which seemed very poignant to me. Is that what I want to do--sit in a tiny apartment all day and blog myself to death?

Since I emerged from yet another very severe depression about two years ago, I have gone through a few hypomanic periods. There is perhaps no way to describe what it feels like to go from the depths of hell back into the world of the living feeling not just normal, but invincible. It's like you've gotten a new lease on life. Moreover, most of my hypomanic episodes seem to happen in early spring, which feels kind of like your life is in rhythm with nature as it blossoms again after a long, cold, dark winter.

So although the illness is still with me, I feel like I've been given a reprieve, and feel very grateful. But I also know that now is the time to enjoy life to the fullest, because with every passing year that races by, I'm closer to the end and I want to cram as much as I can into it.

But--aside from the fact that my hypomania has taken a hike-- there are things that worry me. I worry about the fact that BG and I smoke so much. I worry about the fact that since I started blogging, I'm not eating right or exercising, and that BG and I don't spend time doing as many things together. We used to go for outings and long walks. Now BG goes alone while I stay home worshipping my computer screen. BG is seven years older than me, and has his own medical issues--including HIV, which he contracted years ago when he used to share needles. He was never a full time user or genuine addict, but he did like to indulge and at the time no one knew about the virus. He never cheated or stole for his habit, and continued to work and just use on the odd weekend. So although, knock wood, he is doing really well with the meds he's on, he always tells me that he has a three-month reprieve, because he gets his T-cells and viral load tested every 90 days. His viral load is undetectable and his T-cells are sky high, which is very good. But still, this is something he has to contend with.

My parents both died very young from heart disease. They smoked, they ate the wrong foods, and they didn't exercise. Guess who's following in their footsteps? I'm 48, and my father only lived to see fifty; my mother 57 (and she died before my dad).

At the same time, things seem to be falling apart so completely in the world that if I were of a certain bent, I would believe that the Apocalypse was nigh. Corruption, riots, war, natural disasters, new viral strains, terrorism, scandal, abuse of power, deception, and on and on.

Like some folks, BG tries to avoid watching the news. I, on the other hand, find myself drawn to it all like a car wreck. I can't turn away from the horrors, awful as they are to behold.

So in the midst of all this mess, I've come to some realizations:

The world as we know it might come to an end at any time.

I have no guarantees that I won't have another horrifying bout of major depression.

BG and I will not live forever, and unless we have a suicide pact or we get nuked, we will probably not die at the same time, leaving one of us bereft.

The up side of all this, however, is the fact that knowing that life has a deadline means that I should try to live each day as if it were my last, cliche or no. I don't have forever to do the things I want to do.

And perhaps that's one reason why some very successful bloggers have decided to call it quits. As for me, no way--but it might behoove me to get back to more of the "we" time BG and I had and to do all the things we've put off doing, whether it be traveling or trying to meet new people or further exploring the city we love. I'd hate to think that our only consolation if we got bombed out of existence would be that quitting smoking and eating right would have been a waste of time after all.


At 11:46 AM, Blogger Becky said...

Wow, you said a mouth-ful here.
What did I get from it . . .?
. . . so I better GET BUSY and LIVE.
A. That includes weeding the garden, organizing my closets and cleaning the catbox.
B. Staying true to my Blogg and continue to blogg even if I belive that no one else is interested in reading it.
C. I forgot what "C" should be, I'm too scattered!
2. MAKE A DATE to exercise and lift some weights so I'll have Madonna Arms. Set my Phone Calendar to call me away from the computer to do just that.
A. Maybe that exercise could include chasing the cat around the apartment. We'd both benefit!
Because even though I'm gonna die, I may as well enjoy the healthest life I can while I'm here.
3. "Get back to more of the "we" time and do all the things we've put off doing, whether it be traveling or trying to meet new people or further exploring the city we love."

PS: A very big THANK YOU for the honor of having one of my photograph's added to your blog.

At 12:00 PM, Blogger jessie said...

i dont know about immortality. maybe if the world wasn't so horrible it would be ok. i do think it would be really cool to be able to see what the world is like 100 years from now but not the way things are going these days. i'd fear seeing death and destruction like we've never before seen except in the movies.
i say enjoy what life has to offer, and don't be afraid of trying something new, crazy or otherwise, we're all gonna die of something anyway so we may as well have fun doing it!

At 9:10 PM, Blogger jane said...

Gosh, the picture alone made me decide to go get some cake & I don't even know if theres cake in that pic!

I hear you about people closing their blogs. I've noticed that mostly about bipolar people. So many are down right now & sites are just dropping like flies.
It is disturbing, as readers when they don't say they're leaving. Because of the nature of our illness, one can only wonder if they're okay. I still find myself worrying, especially about those blogs that are just stagnant & not closed. It's like they left for the day & just decided not to come back?
I'm glad you wrote about this because it's been on my mind for quite some time.

At 12:56 AM, Blogger fugusashi said...

You're right about many established bloggers quitting. You're right that if you're blogging all the time, you're not really living.

You certainly don't owe the internet anything. Nothing at all.

I have an admission to make: I read most blogs for the comments. There are really only two or three blogs that I read for the content. Your's is one. One of the others quit. The other is trudging gamely on, but hanging by a thread I think.

I hope you don't decide to quit blogging. Cutting back is healthy, though.

Best wishes.

At 9:33 AM, Blogger Timothy said...

As per your usual, great blog! Thank you.

At 7:07 PM, Blogger cell13 said...

Do you ever notice, that while your reading, It becomes a
" distentive voice " in ones head ?

Thats what I'm reading.

Next time

At 10:40 PM, Blogger Timothy said...

Where's Johnny? I may have to get some of the old vinyl out. There is a nice live album from 1973(?) I have that has a great version of "Jumping Jack Flash." Any one know the name of his band back in the day? And.

At 10:26 AM, Blogger E-E said...

Hi e.b.!

No worries... my blog os not gone... just taking a break, that's all, esp. while my dad is in the hospital.

I'm still reading you and following you carefully!

This was a great post.... esp. about the "we" time ...I take it as 'me' time for now... and about blogging.
I am not going anywhere.
I may change my name, switch my links, play hide and seek... but,
I love to write too much.

At 11:56 AM, Blogger crallspace said...

In Bush's America, we are as unsafe as can be... you should live every day as if it were the last.

At 4:03 PM, Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

I wonder how many of these popular blogs that cease are due to the hit counter. That when the hit number goes down for some reason on a post or two and then they spaz out wondering what haappened. That is why I don't keep a hit counter. When I first started, I did not give a rip if anyone read my shit or not but now that I would like to know how many read it, I would like to know how few read it.

Love the name of your blog it shows origanality.

At 10:00 PM, Blogger Walker said...

Hunger, cool movie I haven't watched it In awhile, I may just do that tonight.
Oddly enough death is what makes us live.
Just think how we would view flowers, art, a cherry cheese cake and all the other things we love if we lived for ever.
You couldn't appreciate them as much because they will always be there making them mundane and boring.
Now being mortal and knowing death could just be around the corner you could appreciate smelling the roses and cheese cake.
The thing is that we are evolving and living longer. So we may still be in danger of forgetting to smell the roses until its to late. So go out there for some cheese cake and live it up.

At 12:33 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Thank YOU for putting that amazing picture on Flickr! The photos on your blog are great--it looks like you do a lot of living--traveling around and meeting all sorts of interesting people. Chasing the cat around the apartment--lol! That too...

At 12:34 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Yes, I find it hard to be too optimistic with the state of the world. But in that case, as you say, why not let loose a little?

At 12:36 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Yes, it is disturbing because some people don't really say anything about taking a break. If you don't have an e-mail address, there's really no way of knowing what happened to them. And when you've come to know someone through their blog, that can be quite a wrenching experience.

At 12:38 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Thank you! I love to visit you too. Yes, sometimes I feel a little weary and disillusioned with the blogging thing too. Maybe I need a vacation myself. And you're right when you say you don't owe the internet anything. How true!

At 12:41 AM, Blogger BiPolar Guy said...

Yeah, blogging can be addictive. But I saw this article a while ago on Blogging

and it certainly relates to me. So I'll stay blogging - damnside cheaper than seeing a therapist and less confusing too!

At 12:41 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Thank you! Well, the only album I really know is Nothing but the Blues, which BG plays a lot. It's awesome.

BG may be doing some more work on Johnny this morning--he doesn't paint every day though.

At 12:43 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

Cell 13:

Thanks for the comment/compliment...I appreciate your visits.

At 12:45 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

Emerald Eyes:

So sorry to hear about your dad. You are a chameleon (did I spell that one right?) Never know what you'll be up to next, or where! That's part of the fun though...glad you'll be back when you're ready.

At 12:55 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


My sentiments exactly. I started the day reading your Bush post, and then the link you provided about the voting irregularities. I then did a search and found this link detailing how pre-9/ll intelligence info was resolutely ignored. I must say it was a gloomy start to the day, but I'd rather not keep my head in the sand. Thing is, none of this is a surprise. Just to aggravate myself even further, I visited A Conservative's Conservative and witnessed once again the deep denial of the blogger and his sycophants. Apparently anyone who disagrees with his crap is a troll. Oh well...thanks for visiting!

At 1:00 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

:p fuzzbox:

Yes, some people prefer not to have site meters, but they can be useful in tracking not only the number of visitors but where they're from, etc. etc. And then you can also see all the twisted search terms people use via the various search engines to wind up on your blog. It's hard to explain, but it can be very amusing.

At 1:04 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


As always, you put it all so succinctly.

The other thing that occurs to me is that we are fascinated by death and darkness--it's part of life, after all. What would be the meaning of light without darkness, good without evil? Oh well, not to get too metaphysical...

At 1:10 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

bipolar guy:

Yes, absolutely--blogging and the internet in general seem like better--and cheaper--therapy than any I can think of. I wasn't able to access the link you mentioned, but I also ran across a bunch of articles about blogging today--pro and con--as well as blog addiction articles. I love blogsites devoted solely to blogging--they're like crack!

At 1:20 AM, Blogger jane said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 6:20 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

You guys know I never delete comments, but i just got one that I'm sure is spam. The reason I'm commenting about it here is because it sounds like one of those things that might infect your computer with spyware or something if you upload it. So if anyone gets a comment from a "Sarah" about a free video Ipod, I'd delete it. I just did.

At 9:12 AM, Blogger The Blind-Winger Jones said...

Thanks for a thoughtful post. It made a lot of sense.

At 9:16 AM, Blogger Webmiztris said...

wow - I had no idea about BG...

yeah, I don't want to live to 100, but I don't want to die anytime soon either. Damn cigarettes! Why must they be so damn good!

At 1:56 PM, Blogger cleverabuse said...

didnt have time to read everything i have missed but wanted to say thanks for your kind words and thoughts and i look forward to catching up and hearing from you

At 3:34 PM, Blogger Assorted Babble by Suzie said...

I feel much like you - I'm 46, smoker, heart disease....and here I sit in front of this computer. Lately though, I have been trying to find a healthy least 20 minutes of exercise...if only a walk....getting out more...(even though w/my illnesses including Fibro and being reclusive, etc.)it is difficult but helping. Bought tons of far I'm sticking to it....w/protein and my olive oil.

I miss many of my blogger friends that have stopped or backed away...actually I am somewhat guilty myself...due to the above mentioned...but I want to start focusing on more things...I am just going to have to MAKE myself stick to it.

Enjoyed your post.....and thanks for visiting me w/sweet comments.
Oh yeah, I'm a News Junkie....BAD!!FOX NEWS stays on constantly....right now I am flipping to the trial of Carlie...since I am an advocate to put these sex predators to death.

At 4:21 PM, Blogger Doofi said...

unfortunately i'll be cutting down on blogging myself. A job that requires me to actually work will do that. I will of course, inform all the little hatesters. There is just too much hate in the world to end the blog entirely, but the furious pace will have to cease and subside to the originally intended normal levels. Hate on!

At 10:06 PM, Blogger digibrill said...

I remember that movie, the Hunger. Yeah it was hip back in high school. Anyway, that all led to quitting blogging and the length of life. I don't plan on quitting, though I've been a straggler on the reading of others. Sorry I haven't been here over the weekend. Good stuff.

Life is short, too short for all the time in front of a screen, but people have also created a community, so it's not a complete waste. I wish and will pray for many more years for you both.

At 11:23 AM, Blogger cell13 said...

That was a compliment, to let you know.

Next time

At 3:25 PM, Blogger Leslie said...

What a well-written, thoughtful post, Elvira. I so rarely read to the end of long posts, so congrats, you held my attention. Now if I can just remember all my thoughts...:)

Immortal life: I agree. B-O-R-I-N-G. Yeah it'd be cool to see us live on the moon and learn how to fly, but we'd have to watch all the people we love die, as you said. There wouldn't be any urgency, reason, or motivation to do ANYTHING. Why do it today when you have a million more tomorrows? The fact that we are mortal only means that we need to learn how to balance and prioritize the time we do have.

I haven't been on blogger long enough to see people say "Sayonara" to their blogs, but I can understand why people do it. Sometimes I spend so long on blogger that I think I might be seriously missing out on something in my own life. But when I feel that way, I just step back and do something I enjoy, just for me. Plus, being here has really expanded my world, both literally and figuratively. On several occasions, people's expertise has helped me with questions that I wouldn't have been able to find someone else. And it's just COOL to know that I have a place to stay, should I ever be in their part of the world.

It's blogger for us, babe!

As far as health goes, well that's a significant part of my life. I have 3 diseases, a laundry list of ailments, and I'm 22. Life, for me, isn't composed of years. It's composed of day after another. That's okay with me, though, because I still count many blessings in my life. Deep breath, and I hope for the best.

At 10:33 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

Hey you guys...thanks so much for all the comments! I'll come back and answer the later ones asap!

At 10:12 PM, Blogger Neil said...

It was so great to get to know you better through this post. And the basic message -- to live life to the fullest -- is something we all need to remind ourselves. Thanks.

At 8:16 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Thanks...just saw your blog photos of York, btw...I'm awestruck!

At 8:20 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Yep, all sorts of mayhem in Shithouse land...schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, substance abuse, what have you.

Ah, the cigs, the cigs...but if I remember correctly, you only smoke a handful a day (don't know how many a handful might be to you, lol). If I smoked only that much, I'd feel postively virtuous! But yes, a nasty habit, or so I hear.

At 8:21 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Ah, welcome back to blogland. I know you've been through some rough times. It's good to see you again.

At 9:27 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


thank you, my compadre in the struggle to transcend It's good to hear that you're striving to balance everything. The thing is, it's kinda impossible to keep up with all the blogs you like, post yourself, AND try to "get a life" outside the confines of the screen. But it sounds like you're doing it!

At 9:29 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


A job that interferes with your blogging! I hate when that happens! Slowing down on your blog? Hate that too! But I'm grateful that the hate will continue apace, albeit a slower one.

At 9:32 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Wow, thanks so much for your kind thoughts. I too plead guilty to failing to keep up with my fellow bloggers. Even with my blog obsession, it's really hard to do. And you're right--it is a community, and a good one. Anyway, glad you'll still be blogging away.

At 9:36 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

Cell 13:

Oh man, a big apology is in order from me. I didn't realize you'd proceeded with your blog beyond the first "testing" post, and just now checked it out. In fact, I was beginning to wonder if you were literally in a (prison) cell--lol...All i can say is wow...great stuff. Sorry to hear that you're going through such a hard time, but I'm glad you're sharing it--I think it helps others too.

Jeez, this is what I mean--falling behind on the visits to other sites. You must think I'm one of those blog snobs who never visits other bloggers or leaves comments. Once again, sorry...I've just posted a bunch of belated comments to your posts.

At 9:43 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Wow! Thanks so much for the comment. Sounds like you feel a lot the way I do. It's amazing to me also how so many bloggers I've encountered have debilitating conditions--mental and/or physical--but manage to carry on (and blog on). I also try to keep the one day at a time thing in mind. It makes a lot of sense. And though I know I have to get out more, the blogging thing is now a big part of my life as well, so I don't regret my time on it.

As far as long posts...yeah, I know what you mean. When you're trying to keep up with a lot of bloggers you like, taking the time to read a long one can be daunting. I've tried to make them shorter than I originally did, but I can't really stifle myself too much. I have the sneaking suspicion I'd get more visitors if I could keep them short and sweet, but I guess I gotta be me. I don't post everyday, so I guess when I do I want to let it all out, and a lot of times my posts cover a lot of stuff. Anyway, I appreciate the fact that you took the time to read it, and I of course need to catch up with your latest posts. as well.

At 9:46 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Thank you so much for the compliment. It really means a lot, esp. coming from you! You have an awesome blog. I've just scratched the surface, but all the posts I've read are such a riot! I really feel honored that you've visited and commented to mine.

At 9:56 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Thank you so much for the compliment. It really means a lot, esp. coming from you! You have an awesome blog. I've just scratched the surface, but all the posts I've read are such a riot! I really feel honored that you've visited and commented to mine.


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