I’ve been a bad blogger.

I swear, this happens every time we move. Whatever ability I have to multitask gets tossed out the window. I think the last time I posted anything was almost two weeks ago, and my friendKevin’s had a guest post waiting patiently for just as long. It’s going to have to wait one more day, however, as I thought it would be lame to redeem myself with someone else’s words.

I’m about to end my hiatus with a little hippie ju-ju.

Have you heard of the term, ‘excessive signifier?’ I had a professor in college use it in reference to Steven King’s The Shining. The Overlook Hotel, he said, acted as an excessive signifier.

Okay, hold on for just a second here. I need to throw in a disclaimer. It’s been almost 4 years since I sat in a classroom (Holy crap, is that right? Yikes.), and I can’t be totally sure that I’m using this term correctly. After a few minutes of looking it up on the internet, I decided to just write it as I remember it and accept any advice or criticisms if I screw it up.

Aaaaanyway, what I remember is that an excessive signifier is something that takes certain underlying, possibly dormant qualities in people, and amplifies them, well, excessively.


The Overlook Hotel, according to my professor, took Jack Torrance’s negative, quietly lurking personality traits and amplified them, causing him to go on a psychotic, family-murdering rampage. He didn’t actually murder his family, but he sure put a serious amount of effort into his attempts.

Our old apartment was kind of like that.

Paul didn’t start seeing topiary animals come to life, and our cupboards didn’t fill to the brims with booze or anything, but that apartment sure was good at bringing out our negative qualities. The slightest bit of stress would put us all in a snappish, pissy mood, and a sink full of dishes could throw me into a sighing and whining rampage.

Where’s the hippie ju-ju, you ask? Don’t worry, I’ve got it right here.

After this move, I’m totally convinced that homes (and a bajillion other things) contain energy. Sometimes it’s good energy, and sometimes it soul-sucking, motivation-draining, negative energy. That was the case in our last apartment.

Before we moved there, Paul and I were jogging every other day. We were budgeting machines, and we had, at the very least, a wee bit of structure we could grasp onto in order to keep us organized.

As soon as we moved into The Bad Place, our exercising stopped. I lost my ability to wake up with Paul and slept in almost every morning. I had no place to work, and you could see the dirty dishes from almost any vantage point in the whole apartment. It had a total of two windows, and the ugliest brown carpet you’ve ever seen. I was disappointed almost every time I opened the door to come home.

Now, I know I wrote a post about taking what you have and turning into something you love. I had big plans for that place…and they just never happened. Remember the excessive signifier? Some of my demons involve staying motivated and sticking to projects that I start. That place found those lazy demons and scattered them about, letting them soak right down to the base of that poop-brown carpet.

Suddenly, however, we had a breakthrough and ended up moving out. We’ve now got a beautiful apartment in Omaha, that even has an extra room for Charlie’s toys. I’ll definitely be posting more about our new home in the near future.

This brings me to a question, and I’d really appreciate some input.

We were lucky. If Paul wouldn’t have gotten this teaching opportunity, we’d still be in that apartment with all those demons. How can we prepare ourselves for negative energy like that? I refuse to believe that we have to succumb to our surroundings, and I’m asking you guys to help me with an escape plan. I’ll take whatever answers you’ve got, whether they’re purely logical or chock-full of hippies.

Do any of you live in a place that just brings you down? Have you in the past? What do you do to overcome those feelings, and how did they work?