My four-year headache anniversary

This is your brain on magnets

Happy anniversary to my headache and me! We’ve been together for four years now. One of the interesting things about having a blog is that it makes you realize how much your perception of an event can change over time. You can read an entry from four years ago and not agree with anything you said. You can be happy and smiling next to someone in a photograph, and four years later drawing devil horns and a tail on that person’s image.

So it is with my headache, which I first mentioned in this entry on PastaQueen.com before going on to chatter about a pizza cutter shaped like a piranha and an ice cream scoop shaped like a whale. Oh, dear. What a clueless girl. If someone had pulled me aside and said, “Four years from now you will have received a Chinese translation of a book your wrote about the horrible years to come that will be illustrated to hilarious effect,” I would have been like, “What?” I can only imagine what bizarre stories the me from four years in the future could tell the present me.

Alas, all I can do is putter through, clueless and blinded to all the ways I will continue to change.

The only thing better than a Chinese version of your book is an illustrated Chinese version of your book

Please don't eat the cover!

Whenever I receive a package I’m not expecting I assume it’s a bomb. Or anthrax. Or a pig’s heart. (You won’t think I’m so silly when I’m killed one day by an anthrax bomb hidden in a pig’s heart!) So when I opened the package that had been left under my welcome mat I was deliriously happy and surprised to discover that it was the Chinese version of my book, Chocolate & Vicodin. I started hollering, “Yes, yes, yes!” to myself so loudly that my downstairs neighbors must have thought I was getting some Valentine’s Day lovin’. Ever since the translation rights sold last year I’ve been curious to see what my book would look like printed in Chinese characters. How they would translate “Angerballz” in my acknowledgements section? I started to flip through the book to see, and that’s when I noticed it.

This book was illustrated!

Pill poppin' mama

The beginning of each chapter includes an image depicting the content of that chapter in hilarious, overly-literal fashion! The story of my life had been illustrated! I do believe this is THE MOST AWESOME THING EVER. The girl even sort of looks like me, if I were thinner, never changed my clothes, and had boobs. In chapter one above I’m chomping on pills that look like baguettes, one of which has blinded my left eye, while I’m either shaking my fist towards the sky or trying to knock myself out with an awkward right hook. This totally happened, I’m sure. I just don’t remember it because of all the pills I took.

Just take my blood, why dontcha'?

I love that the doctor in this one is wearing one of those weird shiny, metal circle thingies like no doctor I have ever met. I will give the illustrator realism points for the MRI films in the background, though I can’t tell if they captured my venous angioma in proper detail.

Chocolate and Vicodin

Hey, it’s chocolate and Vicodin! Just like the title! This should have been the cover, right?

Sympathy for your coworker

I want to send this to my old work friends and ask them which coworker they think they are in this illustration. I also love that the illustrator thought I brought an entire IV stand to work when I actually just had a lead inserted in my hand for treatment at home. I bet I would have gotten a lot more sympathy if I’d dragged the whole stand around! Good thinking!

I don't even know how to tie a noose knot

I know I am totally twisted, but this illustration had me laughing forever. I don’t even know how to tie a noose!

Treatment of allergic!

This image gives me great faith in the quality of the translation for the rest of the book.

I'm a porcupine!

The acupuncture picture is tied for first as my favorite. I don’t know which part I love more, that I’m a porcupine or that my money is flying away on wings. Does this mean the value of the yuan is rising?

I should send this to my old chiropractor

I should send this picture to my old chiropractor. I’m sure he’d love to have it framed for his office.

Road to the clinic

Evidently the road to my headache clinic wound through the mountains. And I drove there with with my head out the car window. On the wrong side of the car.

MRI

This image is the best actual depiction of what I went through. That look on my face? That was TOTALLY how I felt after a year of all these effing tests the told me nothing worthwhile.

Massage

It’s interesting that the massage therapist is depicted as being Chinese, whereas the acupuncturist was somewhat indistinct. It makes me wonder how they translated my thoughts on Eastern medicine, and what any Chinese readers will think of my views on Western and Eastern medicines. At least it looks like I’m having a good time!

Trippin!

Here is the other image that is tied as my favorite. I think I’ve found a new profile picture! I love the swirligig eyes!

Run, Jennette. Run!

I like how triumphant this picture is, but I’m probably running away because the clinic HAS AN ARM. Creepy!

So there you go! The story of my life in images. If the illustrator of this book ever stumbles upon this post, I want him or her to know that in all honesty I love, love, LOVE, these images. No sarcasm. I love it in the same way I love the opening of Katamari Damacy or the Mr. Sparkle commercial from The Simpsons. I love that there is some weird, alterna-world version of my book out there. I can tell that the illustrator really did read the book, or they at least received notes from someone who did. I’m particularly charmed that the girl looks sort of like me, so I’m guessing they had my author photo to work off of. If not, good guess you guys!

I had been having a rather crap day because my headache has been partying rather hard in anticipation of its four-year anniversary in two days, but as soon as I got this book I was instantly ecstatic. It made my day. My week. Hell, it made my month. It is truly one of the most awesome things I have ever received. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I’m not sure where in China this book will be available. I’d like to imagine it in bookstores or airports or little news stands. Maybe workers at Foxconn will read it in their barracks while they’re suffering from horrible headaches caused by those toxic chemicals they inhale so we can buy iPhones at affordable prices. I dunno.

I do know that I absolutely love this interpretation of my work. I love that you read it backwards, like a Japanese manga. I love that there’s a bizarre clip art image of an angry man on the cover trying to eat the title. I love that there is an ad for a book on how to pass the GMAT on the inner flap. I love it all.

Someone on Twitter suggested I have these images framed, and I am so down with that. I received six copies, so I can cut one up in the name of home decor. It looks like this might be the purchase page on the Chinese publisher’s web site if you’re dying to get a copy. I’m sure they’d be happy to watch your money fly toward them on wings.

New York, New York: Be my tour guide

Definitely not the Old York

I’m going to be in New York for several days near the end of February and the beginning of March, so I’m trying to figure out what to do while I’m there (other than sleep in someone else’s bed Goldilocks style and feed their cats while I’m at it). One of the best things about being a freelancer is that I can work from anywhere with a wi-fi connection, and I don’t need permission to take off, so I try to take advantage of that as much as possible. I got a round-trip flight from Raleigh-Durham to New York at only $130, all fees included. Combine that with a free place to stay and this might be my cheapest vacation ever. I’ll have to do work while I’m there to meet several deadlines, but I plan to make the most of my leisure time.

I like to plan, plan, plan, so I want to accumulate a list of ideas for how to spend my time. Give me some suggestions! I’ve been to New York a few times before. The first time was on a high-school band trip in which we hit the big tourist attractions like the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. I went again with my mom after college as a graduation present. That time we saw a Broadway show and spotted a real celebrity, Tom Cavanagh. The last two times I went was in 2008 when I was doing book promotions, so I got to stay in a hotel for free and was driven to the airport in a shiny black car, but I was only in town for a day each time. I managed to see Chinatown, the banking district, Times Square, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Ground Zero under construction, and a lot more of Central Park than I intended to when I got lost. I also ate at Jamba Juice and Tasti D-Lite.

So, what else should I see? I’ll probably try to make it to a Broadway show, and I’d like to see the Ground Zero memorial. Other than that, I haven’t done any research because I thought I’d let you do the research for me. Delegating! It’s awesome! Where should I go? What should I eat? Where is the best place to find free wi-fi? Thanks!

Zumba giveaway winner

The winner of the Zumba giveaway was Robin from Florida who has already claimed her prize. Thanks to everyone who entered. Your ideas for what you’d do with the toning sticks kept me entertained while I was approving comments. I wish you all could have won! But I think the world is safer if we’re not all armed with toning sticks.

The Super Bowl: It’s not just for Sundays

Superbowl XLVI

All photos in this post are by hubsterdisney from thisphotoset which is CC BY-NC 2.0

I feel like I left Indianapolis and they’re having a big party without me, probably because I left Indianapolis and they’re having a big party without me. Indianapolis is hosting of the 46th Super Bowl this week which means everyone gets a 20-foot tall lesson in Roman numerals.

Roman numerals

Indy has been prepping for this event for years, and you could hardly go a month in that town without hearing something about it on the news. They expanded the convention center and even built a shiny new hotel. (Literally, very shiny.) But it wasn’t until I saw the photos and videos published this week that I started to comprehend that the Super Bowl isn’t just about dozens of hulky men running around a fake grass field. This is, like, a FESTIVAL.

I lived in Louisville, Kentucky for eight years, so I am no stranger to the Derby Festival that runs for two weeks, a somewhat absurd amount of time to spend revving up for an event that takes about two minutes to complete. But hey, they shoot tons of fireworks off the Ohio River and there’s a balloon race that’s usually cancelled for weather and even a half-marathon that detours onto the track at Churchill Downs, so a good time is had by all.

The Super Bowl is evidently the same sort of event, something that gives the city an excuse to PAH-TAY! They started closing downtown streets and setting things up over a week in advance of the game. There are too many concerts and live stages for me to count. They’ve installed tons of heat lamps on the street, which I wish they would keep up indefinitely. (After all, I am the woman who moved 600 miles away to escape the cold Indiana winter.) To add to the confusion, streets are now sporting new signs naming them after football teams.

Where the streets have new names

There are 36 Indy racecars lined up on Meridian Street, each one skinned with the colors and logos of an NFL team. Around the corner from that Jimmy Fallon is filming his show live from Indy all week. I also learned the downtown Nordstrom’s had closed because they’re now using the space as a “Huddle” spot to warm up at if you’ve gotten cold wandering around the blocked off streets. Or you can get your blood flowing by jumping in a huge hamster wheel and attempting to run 100 yards for the win.

That is the biggest hamster I've ever seen

The biggest attraction appears to be the zip line they’ve set up on Capitol Avenue, a street that they’ve covered in Astroturf and renamed Touchdown Alley. Zip lines are the trendy new thing that have popped up in places like the Vancouver Olympics and in Las Vegas on Fremont Street.

Touchdown alley

I used to drive down Capitol Avenue every day on my way home from work, but never once did I think, “Geez, I really wish I could zip line home instead.” Obviously I wasn’t being creative enough in my mode of transportation. I bet it’s rather cold zipping across downtown like that, so I hope everyone is bundled up under their safety helmets. That is, if you can make it to the top of the stairway. View a video of an Indy Star reporter zipping down the line here.

Zip line

Indy really is a nice town, and if it didn’t get so effing cold and grey in the winter I probably would have stayed there. The stadium and convention center and hotels are all close together downtown, so you can walk anywhere you need to go. Which is good because you won’t be driving. The traffic must be crazy right now, so I’m glad I don’t work downtown anymore. Under normal circumstances I would often got annoyed by single lane closures for construction, and there was that one time my route to the Tea Room was totally blocked by a gay pride parade. They’ve even blocked off several roads near my old apartment in Broad Ripple, which was already difficult to get to because of narrow roads and heavy pedestrian traffic. I guess that’s what happens when George Clinton & The P-Funk All-Stars perform at a stone’s throw away from the trail I used to run on.

Before I saw all these pictures of the festivities I was glad I wasn’t in Indy anymore because I wouldn’t have to deal with the traffic and a city so packed that people were renting out their houses to strangers for big profits. But now I have to admit I’m a bit bummed that I don’t have a chance to see all the crazy up close and personal. It’s made me think that I make far too many decisions in my life based on traffic. Perhaps it is worth idling in a car for an hour to experience certain things. My hatred of gridlock is pretty strong though. Maybe I can start taking a zip line every where instead.

Keep reading: 

Want second helpings? Devour more entries in the archives.

 
 
Chocolate & Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn't Go Away Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir

Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, chronic headache sufferer, (former?) weight-loss inspiration, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She was formerly known as PastaQueen. You can contact her if you promise to be nice.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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Twitter: jennettefulda

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