Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Laying it On The Line

I am back on anti-depressants.

Some of you may not know that I was ever on them in the first place. Well, not in the first place. The first place was an apartment on Dale Avenue, and we moved out when I was three months old.

No no, I went on anti-depressants when I was nineteen and in danger of flunking out of college (which, eventually, did happen), and at the time I was willing to try them. It worked a bit. It helped. But after a while, I didn't like how I felt. My range of emotion was diminished. In the depths (but I don't want it to sound like they were very deep depths, because my depression was classified as "subclinical"), I was churning out between two and eight pages of writing a day. And looking back on some of it, it was emotionally raw and laced with irony and pessimism. Anger, too. Baffled confusion at a world gone mad, and me without a place in it. The medication killed the feelings. And the pages.

This time, I have not been very prolific in my pages leading up to this moment, this opening of the container and washing down the first pill moment. I've just been stressed and unhappy, but erratically so. Manic, they used to call it. Bipolar some people would say. No. Not that far. I went to the same doctor. He didn't remember me, and I remember his accent being not quite as thick. He classified me again as "Subclinical" which is a term for depression that is borderline, easily manageable but often more disruptive than full blown depression. I think last time he hit, this time he may have missed. Maybe he hit, just less solidly.

Why would I tell everybody something so personal?

A year ago last week, a good man died. He once said "There's no freedom unless you're vulnerable first." This is me being vulnerable. Being free. I just took my third pill (no no, no...I didn't just take three in a row, I got them on Monday), washed it down with the last of the Tropicana OJ, the healthy heart with Omega 3 (so I don't have to take fish oil pills), and sat down to compose this post. My cat is drinking water from his bowl, and it's time to feed him for the evening, take the trash out, and settle into bed for a little Silverblatt Chapters 10-11, Media Literacy worksheet, cuddling, and eventually, sleep. The most sought-after side-effect that I remember having from taking these the first time was that I could sleep at night. I'm looking forward to that. That's about it though.

I keep my antidepressants together; in fact, the first pill I took on Monday got washed down with my other antidepressant. I keep the pills behind the canister my coffee beans are in. I find it hilarious, the juxtaposition of these two things, but yet the power. My coffee is whole bean, organic, fair-trade. Grind it up, brew it, drink it. My pills are processed to the hilt. Developed and manufactured in a lab. Do not crush. Take whole. Yes, I started drinking coffee. A habit I am comfortable picking up. I tried smoking again. Go ahead, Mom. Call me out on it. I already called myself out. Stupid thing to do. Won't happen again. Coffee I can handle. Cigarettes belong in a fantasy version of me, the one that gets to stand in Humphrey Bogart's trench coat and punch Peter Lorre in the face with his own gun. Coffee I can handle. I have a flask. I've never used it. I don't plan on it. Cigarettes give you a light-headed buzz because they deprive you of oxygen. Alcohol impairs your ability to drive, rationalize, think, and is also a depressant. Seems like a bad idea to supplement antidepressants with booze. The drowsy eye alcohol warning should not be misconstrued as a winking eye alcohol suggestion (anyone? anyone? reference?). But makes you jittery and gives you energy. It elevates the heart rate in an overabundant quantity, which I have not done since the day I found out the coffee stand in the St. Paul student center accepted flex dine (I drank FIVE chai tea lattes that day. the big ones). It is a vice that is acceptable. And, like the alcohol I restrict myself to (mostly), I have standards. That is why my coffee is organic, fair trade, whole bean. It meant I had to buy a grinder. It means I will eventually want to buy a new coffee maker. But it's there. And I use it.

To close, I will give you the lyrics to a favorite song of mine.

My antidepressant
Hope-giving Holy Mud.
If I only, if I
Only drink enough!
I can see clear my escape,
I can see into another
Into another state.

From Coffee Girl by MK Ultra (you should totally check them out, along with John Vanderslice)

Monday, February 11, 2008


Well, aside from the positive response from The Murder Hour and Molly, my big announcement about actually being a writer has been met with a resounding silence. Apparently, I should stick to politics.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Unfinished (and also unstarted) Play

I was super excited when I started school at Webster in the fall of 2006: It was the right size, I liked the people, it was close, it was quaint. It was fun. The classes were awesome. And I found out there was a one-act play festival called Surfacing. So I wrote a play and submitted it, and it was not picked.

But, I was friends with one of the readers/directors and the assistant artistic director as well, and they both said they liked my play, but that it was passed over for casting reasons (and apparently, one of the other directors was so upset it wasn't picked, he almost quit). But I didn't actually know the extent of all of that until last night.

But before I get there, let me just explain about this year. I took two semesters' worth of playwriting classes so I would have a nice selection of work to submit to Surfacing for this year. And when it came down to it, the only one I wanted to submit was too long. So I set about to write a new play, only I started too late and my idea was too grandiose and I missed the deadline.

Well, life goes on, right? I have another year to craft a play.

Only Thursday, which was already shaping up to be kind of a lousy day for various reasons, I got an e-mail from the Artistic Director (last year's assistand AD), and she asked me to write a play for her to direct for Surfacing.


So, I met with her last night after work at Jimmy Johns in Maplehood, and we discussed what she wants. And what she wants is a new play by Elliot M. Rauscher. Sweet!

Only, I have a week and a half to get enough of a rough draft to cast from. So, okay, I've got a deadline.

But this is exciting! I actually got commissioned to write a play. Somebody likes my work so much that they will, sight unseen, agree to produce one of my plays. Guys, get this...Elliot IS a Writer! Yeah!

If it comes down to being a writer or running for president, I guess I'll be a writer. But I think I can handle both. I mean, actually, being a writer is a good thing in a president; don't we all want a literate president? I know I do.

Anyway, I just thought I would give you all the good news. I'll post more about when the festival is so you can come see my play. It'll be in April some time. It's exciting! Oh, and don't expect to see any excerpts from it on will be all fresh and new for you in April. And if you can't make it, well, that's your own fault. For reals.

Music to blog by: Rufus Wainwright - The Art Teacher

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Further Policy Information

A couple of questions were asked, and I feel I should address them quickly, though they address among the more controversial issues...abortion and gay marriage.

Alright, well...idealistically, I am pro life. This not only means I do not condone abortion, I also do not condone the death penalty. But that's just idealistically. I don't openly oppose abortion. There are situations (rape, incest, date-rape, etc) where abortion is quite understandable. But using abortion as a means of contraception is right out. I think education is important. Oh, yeah, that reminds me, get rid of abstinence-only education. But, don't stop teaching abstinence. Let young people (and some older folks could use with a refresher course probably) know that the only way to truly prevent STDs and unwanted pregnancies is to (surprise surprise) not have sex. But remember that people are going to make decisions based on what they may want at a particular moment in time, so it's best for them to be armed with the knowledge that there are consequences to their actions, and that they can take steps to minimize these consequences. But that's sort of a different topic. Back to the issue at hand. But no, education is important there, too. And support. Alternatives should be looked at, advised; adoption is a big one, of course. So...idealistically pro-life, but politically pro-choice.

And so to Gay Marriage. Right, look...if two men (or women) want to have sex with each other (again, being responsible people who take precautions when necessary), how does that hurt me? I mean, unless they decide to do it on my couch while I'm trying to sit on it, chances are it will have no negative effect on me. In fact, if anything, it will make both of those people happy, they will feel more fulfilled, they will spread their joy through kindness, and it might trickle on over to me. I know, I know...some people experience joy through killing other people. Well, that's different, isn't it? Killing somebody is actually hurting somebody. It's,'s killing them, right? So there's that issue right there. Alright, fine, let them have sex, you may say, but why should they get to enjoy the same rights as a married man and woman? Well...why shouldn't they? I mean, if they're happy, healthy members who contribute to society, might make them happier if they could have the same benefits as men and women. And I don't just mean civil unions, but that's a start. Right, see, two men living together in a happy, monogomaus relationship can't file their taxes jointly. If one gets sick and is put in the hospital, and is unresponsive, unless the other is listed in a legal document as having Power of Attorney, the hospital will refuse the other entrance or any legal right in the decision making process. How is this even remotely fair?

Okay, that was just a basic, preliminary run down. These are complex issues, as complex as the economy, defense, education and foreign policy, but even moreso because they are both divisive issues. Face it: nothing is more politically divisive than abortion. But I heard it summed up best on NPR last week; given the choice between a pro-life candidate and a pro-choice candidate, the pro-choice voter is more likely to weigh other factors before casting their vote, while the pro-life voter is more likely to cast their vote on that single issue.

All that aside, the Republican party will most likely never make a strong effort to overturn Roe v. Wade. They may promise it, and they may run on a strong Pro-Life platform (like our current president, who executed more inmates in Texas than the rest of the country combined over his term as Governer), but successfully overturning the Supreme Court decision means they lost their largest swath of single issue voters.

Last week, on ABC's show Boston Legal, James Spader's character suggested that perhaps the nation should vote on Abortion, that the issue should become less of a political football for the candidates to fumble around with and be put into the hands of the American People. I think that's a tremendously great idea myself. This is a democracy, let the people decide. Take one issue away from the candidates so they can focus on the business of running the country. You know?

This is all just slip-shod and unfounded political rant at this point, but I am going to tell you the truth, an average American should be able to run for president. So hell, it actually started as a joke, but I mean it. I'm running in twelve years. Watch for me.

Oh, and I've had two people request to be my running mate. Unfortunately, I'm still waiting to hear from my original invitee, Jerry. But keep throwing your hats in the ring. Annie, you show promise, you could provide a nice Liberal/Conservative balance to my Raging Liberal/Moderate Liberal political stance. And Lisa...sorry, but I already have a job for you: Speech Writer.

Oh, and one more thing: I hope you went out and voted today (if, you know, your state had an election). I know I did. And while I care who you vote for a little bit, it is actually more important that you do vote. I'd rather disagree with your vote than disagree with you for staying at home.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Addressing the Issues

My environmental stance is pretty easy to understand; invest in alternative fuel sources accross the board. I'm tired of people saying Solar is too unreliable, wind is too unreliable, etc. Here's what you do, see: Where it's windy, you put turbines. Where it's sunny, you put solar panels. Oh, and put solar panels on the turbines. Geothermal? Hell yes. Water? Well...I don't want to build any more dams, because there's really no way to do it without incurring a little bit of environmental damage. But we can utilize what we've got in place. I don't think we should build any more coal plants myself, and I thought that even why Kathy's paycheck depended on new coal plants. As for oil, we need to invest in better public transit systems in metropolitan areas. St. Louis' Metrolink is, since the addition of the cross county line, little better than a joke. I know we don't have the large population or urban acreage that cities like Chicago, Boston and NYC have, but that doesn't mean we don't need to build a better mass transit infrastructure. And also, as part of that, we should make our cities more bicycle and pedestrian friendly. And locally grown food? Yeah, it should be cheaper and not more expensive. Tax incentives for those who power their homes with wind or solar, who buy cars with a certain EPA MPG estimate. Oh, and we need to increase the MPG standard. 33 mpg standard? Okay, fine, but that's shy of Europe, and they seem to be doing just fine over there. So...incentives for cities and individuals who take steps themselves, and government mandates and higher standards.

Strengthening the dollar? First off, improve the economy, but really, we should cut back on defecit spending. You see, state governments have to balance their budget every year, but the federal government can just keep borrowing from China? where are we getting all of this money for the economic stimulus package? We're borrowing it. And, considering the sub-prime lending crisis helped put the economy in the tank this time around, I think borrowing money to fix it is laced with a fair enough amount of irony already. The irony will be complete if we're borrowing with an adjustable interest rate. Which, when you think about it, we are; with the falling dollar value, borrowing a billion dollars from China now may mean paying them back seven billion later, or more. We just need to pull the American economy back to America. I'm not saying we shouldn't trade with other nations, or that we shouldn't help other nations with their finances.'s like building bridges, schools, and hospitals in Iraq. Shouldn't we tend our own garden first? Trade is good, I'm not saying that. But we need to remember that a good measure of an economy is looking at how many exports vs imports. You want more exports. Just look at the labels at your local Wal Mart. Most of it was made where? China! Great. But that means the money doesn't stay here. It goes there.

You see, the economic stimulus package will from China, and give it to the people of this country. They will take that money and they will likely NOT save it. They will pay down their high interest credit cards, just so they can then put more on the credit card and max it out again. And what will they buy? Stuff made in China. Which means all that money goes back to China, twice. Once now when we buy their stuff, and again when we get around to paying them back the loan. This is a terrible system upon which to base what should be the strongest economy in the world.

Anyway...turns out, I actually am too young to run for president, by ten years. So I can't actually run until the 2020 election, during which I will be thirty-seven years old. But hey, I've got twelve years to put together a stellar campaign. So let's get going on it folks! Rauscher for President in 2020!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

An Announcement

I am launching an exploratory committe to begin my campaign for the Presidency of the United States. I will be accepting contributions in person. I take checks, cash, spare change, or money orders.

You want my stance on issues? Just ask. I'm here to answer America's needs. But a brief run down:

The Economy-

Trickle down doesn't work. At all. Giving the rich people more money so they can spend it in the hopes that it stimulates the economy enough to create low-wage jobs for currently unemployed people living below the poverty line? Reaganomics. If it really worked, things wouldn't be so grim. My idea? Trickle up economics! Just think of trickle down economics reversed.

Health Care-

Single Payer. Government sponsored. "Oh my God, Elliot's a COMMUNIST! GET HIM!" No. Socialized medical care is not communism. Nor will it lead to communism. What it will lead to is healthy people living in America. Yeah. Good idea, huh?


Amnesty for those who are gainfully employed or attending an institution of higher learning. Children under 16 and under automatically granted amnesty if their parents have been granted amnesty. If not, there should be a process that allows them to stay with a relative or other trusted guardian so they can complete school. If they're 17 or 18 and enrolled in high school, the same applies to them. And if you want to come to America, there should be less beaurocracy. Basically, I want to de-Vogonize certain aspects of the government. Cut through the red tape.


See Health Care. I mean, come on! Education should be available to everybody! We're getting to a point in our country where the only people who can go to school are the very rich (because they can afford it) or the very poor (because they'll get grants, scholarships and loans that will cover it all), leaving the middle class far behind. For instance, my parents had two children in college at one point, and they were helping us pay. We'd fill out our FAFSAs and the government would look and say, "Well, you make X per year, so you can afford Y per year." Well, but what the government didn't take into account was that while they could afford Y per year, they couldn't afford Y x 2 per year. So, like health care, education should be accessible.

Foreign Policy-

I think I'd just apologize profusely to Europe in general, never use the phrase "Coalition of the Willing" again, and then dance the Charleston on top of the Statue of Liberty until everybody was satisfied that we're not so bad. Then I'd pull the troops out of Iraq, try and actually find Bin Laden (remember that guy? Yeah, he attacked us. Saddam never did. Really), and then I'd make Bono from U2 my secretary of state. He could totally get things going.

Other Miscellaneous Things-

Make sure arts get more funding in schools and communities. For example, it'd be nice if a school district pumped the same amount of money into the Football program and the Marching Band program. Both are physically demanding. Both help develop cooperation, leadership, and stuff like that. I'm not saying increase the funding for band to match that of football, or decrease football to match band, but to even them out. That way, the band won't have to sell so much candy to buy new uniforms, but the football team will have to get out and hustle a little for new helmets. Get it? Also, a municipality should not spend millions of dollars on a new baseball stadium without considering how much it's spending on things like the local professional symphony. Seriously. Why is St. Louis City (and county) paying for The New Busch Stadium? Well, because it will generate revenue and people will enjoy it. But try telling the people that the city is spending even one fourth of that amount on renovating Powell Symphony Hall. There would be an outcry! Why can't the Symphony fot the bill? Well, why couldn't the Cardinals foot the bill? Clearly, they're a very well run business; and that's what they are, a business. And so is the Symphony. And don't get me wrong, I LOVE baseball. Baseball is, in my mind, America. And while the steroid scandal shames America, I still love baseball. but that's another story. I'm getting way off base here. Another thing I would do as president is give all of my friends cushy cabinet posts. Get your requests in now! I've already got a speech writer and a Secretary of the Interior in mind. And remember, Secretary of State is going to U2's Bono. I also have a lock for Ambassador to New Zealand., yeah. The field was looking kinda thin, and Jerry's looking for a candidate (Jerry? Running mate? Eh?), so I thought, why not?

My fellow Americans....elect me, your pal, Elliot M. Rauscher. I will bring dignity to an office that is in desperate need of it. I will bring opportunity where there is none. And I will bring my cat to the White House, where he will likely hiss at every visiting dignitary. And, also, I will bring my large television and have seriously awesome movie nights for all of my staff. What do you say, America? Are you with me?

Oh, one more thing...I pledge to end the writers' strike once and for all. I will force the production companies to come to terms the guild agrees with wholeheartedly. And then, we can finally get back to watching new episodes of The Office.