Friday, May 30

Miracle Fruit?

Saw this interesting item last night. Seriously?

..because if so, then i want in. Guzzling vinegar, biting into lemons with aplomb, and eating toast points with huge dollops of mustard sounds like just the thing!

It's like i was telling Nat: i'm pretty sure that those foods taste sour for a reason. Can't say with a certainty just what the reason is, but i'm pretty sure our tongues generally know what they're doing. However........................... i want one. You happy now? i said it. i want to freakin' flavor-trip.

Hey, did you ever do that taste bud experimenting dealio in school (say, around 6th grade) where you put different foods (er, the same foods?) on different parts of your tongue? How much fun was that?! It's okay, i won't tell anyone.
On a lighter note: this is killer. To be honest, "The Handless Organist" caused me to fall into pieces, and i had to take a break. Then when i got to "Free Indeed!" i was cracking up all over again, and by "Chicken Coupe De Ville" i was just riveted.

Enjoy, folks.

Music matches.

Last night, while watching Lost (yes, goddammit, i can't fucking tear my eyes away even though it's not even a good show anymore), i was struck by an extreme nostalgia when Jack pulled up to the funeral parlor blasting The Pixies' "Gouge Away" from his Jeep. What a memory!
Standing at the bus stop on Shattuck and Alcatraz, 8:15 in the morning, waiting for the 43, in the rain, underneath my (long-gone) favorite umbrella, the one with the old-fashioned opera posters on it. Long black skirt, black slip flowing out underneath (shut up- i had great fashion sense!), and crumbling black boots that i couldn't throw away. Walkman blasting the Doolittle album, smoking a cigarette and thinking about the first cup of coffee i would drink at work. Climbing aboard the sleepy, steamy bus; avoiding the stares of startled citizens; eyes glued to the floor, snaking my way to the back and trying not to drip water all over everybody's feet. Settling in for the 35-minute ride, smiling and watching the splashing, glistening world go by outside as i popped in Liz Phair's Exile In Guyville.
For this reason, those 2 albums are forever melded together in my mind. Where there is one, there is always the other.

And before all that, before i moved in with Nat, i lived with my best friend Jan near Ashby and Sacramento. I couldn't stand taking the 88 down San Pablo, so i woke up earlier and just walked all the way to work. Took me about 45 minutes, sometimes more if i was dawdling. I would always play the same 3 albums: PJ Harvey's Dry, Bjork's Homogenic, and the Cranes' Loved. Other albums made their way in from time to time: Tones on Tail's Everything, Bauhaus' Mask. But it it those first three i remember the best. They were raw, emotional, beautiful, at a time when i was the loneliest i had ever been. I needed them.
And before even all of that, when i was still a teenager living in Albany, i would walk around at night by myself listening to Depeche Mode's Violator, and Peepshow by Siouxsie Sioux. I would visit my friend Abbey at work and just lose myself in the confusion of the music.

When i first moved here to San Diego, i heard Kings of Leon (Youth and Young Manhood) in a cafe and loved it. That was the same time that "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley was playing on radios everywhere, so those two sounds are forever associated.

Wow, i can't figure out a way to end this extremely dull post so i'll just say this: remember Drew Barrymore's weird school teacher character in Donnie Darko? Do you remember how she wrote "Cellar Door" on the chalkboard, and said, "This famous linguist once said that of all the phrases in the English language, of all the endless combinations of words in all of history, that 'Cellar Door' is the most beautiful?" Well, i always thought that was hogwash. I mean, "Cellar Door"? Oh really, J. R. R. Tolkien, oh really? (said in the manner of Tina Fey.)
Certainly there are more beautiful words than those. What about "shimmering" or "roses" or "celestial" or "svelte", diaphanous, cacophony, susurration, and melt? Lavender, honeycomb, beehives. Galaxy, stardust, sagebrush, violins. softly whispering, or supple or ravishing... radishes and rhubarb, verdigris, filigree, luminous viscosity, a silvery canopy of leaves, her unwavering gaze. The list is endless i suppose. I guess everyone has his or her own favorite words and/or phrases. Perhaps i shouldn't be such a hater?
The end.

Thursday, May 22

Lynda Barry!

Going to be!
At Comic-Con!, f**k.

Here i was, all thrilled that we weren't going this year. I mean, last year was great: getting to meet Los Bros. Hernandez was definitely a high point in my life. But the crowd was a tad much. And when i say "tad", i mean like tens of thousands of people too much. It was somewhat... stifling. Plus, i had left Nat's debit card at home, and we only had enough money on us to get us both home.
Okay, that's not entirely true- also, we had two whole dollars. So, famished, we purchased an ancient bag of nasty trail mix (-$1.00) and something to drink, water probably (-last dollar). And the saddest part? No, it wasn't choking on decades-old pumpkin seeds or masticating shriveled pieces of pineapple, but the fact that we had to spend Nat's lucky two-dollar bill. I think i gave it to him years ago, when we first started seeing each other. i had a couple of two-dollar bills, pieces of treasure from my childhood, and thought it would be charming, or romantic (see how delusional love can make you?) somehow, to present him with one.
Anyhow, he kept it in his wallet all these years. We never spent it. It was something we would get down to in the wallet, glance at, and not even think of as legal tender. It would just make us smile at each other.
And we had to spend it. The horror! We were so cranky from not eating that the day was almost ruined- you know how those little things can do that to an all-day excursion. Inwardly i told myself that i would never go again.

But for Lynda Barry, i could be persuaded to spend my remaining two-dollar bill ;)

She's such a charmer; we saw her once and only once, at "Diesel, a bookstore" (hahaha- every time i think of that place, i hear the lady with the funny accent [swedish?] on the answering machine) on College Ave. in Oakland. It was for her release of One Hundred Demons. She was very nervous, so she explained that she would be starting out the evening with a solo rendition of "You Are My Sunshine". The reasoning was, if she could belt out that song in front of more than a hundred complete strangers, she could do anything. The rest of the night would be cake.
It was awesome :) She sang sweetly and earnestly, and we waited in a long line after the reading to get our copy of the book signed and tell her (us the nervous ones, now) how great she was. I think i even managed to scrawl out a few of my own demons during the following few evenings. I miss Ernie Pook's Comeek more than anyone i know, except maybe Nat.
(So it looks like she has a new book out, What It Is. That's it- we're going!)


So i remember reading an interview with Zac(h?) Condon, the frontman of the band Beirut, about what he had chosen to name his band. He mentioned something about how awful it would be if fighting erupted there again, and now it has. I wonder how he's dealing with that? And what are some other, similar band names? Japan. Boston. Architecture in Helsinki?
Nah, that's stretching it.

But on that note, i've been making lots and lots of themed playlists (yes, this is a good argument that i have too much time on my hands).
#1: Songs with colors in their names. ("Red Right Hand" by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, "Orange Crush" by R.E.M., "She's a Rainbow" by the Rolling Stones, "Gold Lion" by Yeah Yeah Yeahs etc.)
#2: Songs that spell something out. ("Washington, D.C." by The Magnetic Fields, "D.A.N.C.E." by Justice, etc.)
#3: Songs with handclaps. (! a personal favorite sound in songs.)
#4 (in progress): Songs with whistling. So far this consists mainly of Andrew Bird tracks, but there are a few other gems in here as well; an Irish drinking song, the Air track "Alpha Beta Gaga", that whistling refrain from Kill Bill, and so on.

My next project is going to be place names, i decided. Cities, states, countries. Or maybe just cities? Not sure yet. I'm sure this is all really interesting for you guys, too. Don't worry! I'll post a list of the songs once i'm done :P The good news is, i'm sure this will all be over soon. I mean, how many new themes can i possibly come up with?!

In other good news, i've started another blog to deal with my memories. When i started this whole thing, it was a way to sort of clear out and untangle all of the mumbo-jumbo and memories i have stacking up in the ol' attic... things i can never seem to stop remembering, and longing for. I'm definitely a slave to nostalgia, and for me it's not really a good thing. I mean yeah, i enjoy a memory now and then, but to live one's life firmly entrenched in the past is just not healthy. So this blog was helping with that. Little by little, i can purge myself of the anecdotes that threaten to sink me with their combined weight day after day. However, there were too many people that i had to chronicle, and this made it seem tedious (especially for any actual unlucky readers out there!). So i remembered a project someone else was doing, x365 (see previous post), and decided to go ahead with that.
So, freedom!
Also, all hail fresh strawberries and grapefruit with Odwalla's Vanilla Al'Mondo Super Protein drink (god, i can't believe i actually just typed that) as a chaser.

Friday, May 16

Dearie Me.

Yeah, so it's a good thing i'm not crazy (ahahaha, that's a laugh) or else this would make me dive happily over the deep end:

Stop-Motion Wall Art

Hm. It is insane, awe-inspiring, nauseating... pure genius. Pretty much, i wanna hang out with these guys. Like ASAP. How much is a ticket to Buenos Aires, anyway? ::looks it up::
Okay, about two thousand dollars. I get that. I mean, that's assuming i left right away, i.e. tomorrow, and everybody knows it's always more expensive to fly during the weekend.

I do have some old cans of paint lying around... but perhaps i'll stick to trying out the Bokeh thing instead. Paint was never one of my strong mediums anyway.

So it's interesting to go from reading something unbearably bad like White Teeth to reading something incredibly great, like King, Queen, Knave. It's that feeling of relief, or pure delight, even, at seeing words being used they way they downright oughta be. It's why Nabokov really is one of the greats. Same way reading James Agee was such a pleasure after trying to work my way through... oh, what was it... doesn't matter now, anyway :) And Alice Munro! Read her short stories. They grab ahold of you and don't let go, honest. I'm not a movie poster, i speak the truth! I know many of you "just don't like short stories". Well, that's crap. Sorry. So get on it! I suggest Open Secrets. You will feel like you are remembering old friends.

Speaking of short stories, Nat and i have yet to go on our own personal "[The] Long Walk". I read lots of Stephen King as a morbid middle-school bookworm, and years later managed to force a few of his tales into Nat's skeptical fingers. But some of his short stories really are great- like "The Mist" (the monsters are not just under your bed and in your closet anymore. they are outside, everywhere.), "The Raft" (themes of sex and death), "The Monkey" (pure evil toy madness), "Beachworld" (sand and minds slipping away), "The Jaunt" (silly, but it realizes my fears of time travel), The Milkman shorts (a spider in a milk bottle ::shudders with pleasure::), and last but definitely the opposite of least, "Uncle Otto's Truck".
For some reason this last one really fucked me up. It's such a simple story, really, and nothing even happens in it, i daresay. Or does it? Anyway, i was never really able to look at automobiles the same way after that, especially old trucks. Especially old trucks up on cinderblocks. Especially old trucks up on cinderblocks in a field somewhere! Psh. Thanks a lot, Stephen King.

Anywho, The Long Walk. Yes. We will take one; it will be along the railroad tracks near here. I will fight my urge to tie a piece of checkered cloth to the end of a long stick and fill it with meager provisions. This would seem to be rude for anyone we encounter who actually does happen to be a vagrant, a vagabond. (i can't help it! ever since i was little, ever since the very first time i ever came across that image- the bum with the hard luck and the bag on a stick- i have wanted to don a pair of overalls, chew a piece of hay while whistling, and tramp along through the undergrowth while marveling at life's ups and downs; maybe mostly just the downs.)
We will walk North, i think. North along the tracks as far as they will take us. Despite the absence of "teammates", an elusive cash prize, and a lorry running alongside us filled with armed soldiers ready to shoot us if we slow down, it will be just the same as in the story. We will walk as if our lives depended on it, we will not stop. We will walk forever. We will never give up!

Next time: Should i make a "List"? i mean, let's be honest. i have a lot of people i need to purge.

Tuesday, May 13

So yeah. I dreamed about the earthquake in China. The boyfriend thinks i'm nuts, but i know i'm not.
Yesterday morning i awoke from a dream about the worst earthquake imaginable happening. I was still living here in San Diego, i think, and hiking up a steep mountain trail to visit a nature preserve or something. Around a bend, there were some guys with a truck working on the road, and it appeared that my path was blocked. I was just starting to ask if it was possible to get through, when my words were suddenly swallowed up by the ground violently shaking and undulating. We were all knocked off of our feet, and suddenly the Earth literally rotated, somehow(!), so that down was up and all around. i found myself dangling into nothingness and grabbing clumps of dirt and grass, desperately trying to hold on and stay alive while everything around me moved and shook. Clods of dirt fell on my head, tumbled off my shoulders, and disappeared beyond my frantic kicking legs to the shoreline "down below", which seemed to be a million miles away... It was kinda like the ending to that movie Sunshine- did anyone see that? Time and space were all skewed and maniacal. It was terrifying.
Then the earth re-aligned, there were several, violent aftershocks and suddenly i was lying on the path gasping for breath and wide-eyed with fear. I looked around, but the truck and all but one of the road crew guys were gone. He looked scared. i told him i wanted to go home, and pointed down toward the beach, but he just shook his pale face at me and said "uh-uh. It's all gone, now. You can never go back." I was crying and crying because i knew i would never see Nat again.

Hm! Then i woke up, made coffee, and tried to shake the feeling of almost having died. I turn on the computer to check my email, and there it is. A story about a horrible earthquake in China, having occurred hours before. What in the hey? Did i feel it happening, somehow? Did i "predict" it? Was it just totally f***ing random??? I suppose i'll never know. I have lived through a terrible earthquake (the Loma Prieta, 7.1, in the Bay Area; i was almost eleven), so i suppose it is possible that this was merely a dream pieced together with the brain's natural detritus (memories/experiences). Bizarre, either way.

Obviously, i feel terrible for everyone there. As with all natural disasters, my heart goes out to them. i hope that soon they can get back to some semblance of normalcy.

In other news, because i hate feeling all heavy, i have been noticing lately in my news-reading YouTube-ing forays that an awful lot of folks are freaking out over being "FIRST!" in the comments to any given video (or article). Of course i find it to be extremely annoying, mostly because i feel like you would have to be one self-important son of a bitch to get your jollies that way. But then i began to notice another phenomenon: a growing number of "Frist!"s.
Now, generally someone later on in the comments will remark on the sorry state of the #1 commenter's life. They will point out that in their haste to be something so lame as "First!", they actually managed to spell the word itself incorrectly. And for awhile i would force a "fft" of bitter agreement out at these observations, until it dawned on me that perhaps this "First" phenomenon has actually (please forgive my use of the word) evolved. Maybe, just maybe, it has mutated much the way that leet speak has, into a purposeful misspelling. (See "teh" or "!!!11!!1!")
Seeking to further my knowledge on this subject, i typed "frist first comment" into my Blackle search bar and waited for the results. Hmmm... not much, to be honest! But i did find a farcical representation of a generic first-poster here, which was somewhat enjoyable. And the comments to that video itself were further illuminating. However, it looks like the post is from a year ago, which means i'm way behind on my internet trends. Not surprising. I guess if anyone were reading this blog, they're probably type "old" in the comments below, but that is a whole 'nother phenomenon. I'm sure the "old."sters and the "Frist!"sters are nothing but the best of friends; people who are just whizzing around, experiencing the internet as one would "experience" a book if they just held it open with one hand and flipped the pages quickly past their thumb with the other, not actually reading a thing but maybe picking up on some random, chaotic words.

In other news, there are wild parrots, crows, seagulls, and even the occasional duck flying by our windows at any given time of day. Lovely.

Monday, May 12

Ooh, Babe It Ain't No Lie...

So have you ever listened to Elizabeth Cotten? Wonderful stuff, that is.

Meanwhile, where the hell have i been?
Answer: nowhere special. Nat was in Canada at the 8th Annual Logic, Math and Physics conference, presenting a paper of his that was accepted there. And the poor sap had to give his talk on his birthday! Boo. He was gone for a week, and had to take the laptop with him. At first i thought i would be fine, considering that this time 2 years ago we didn't even have a computer, and i used to always think i would never even need one... but yeah. I was hurtin' for a few days there. No email, no looking up the bus schedule, checking the weather, reading the news and all of my favorite blogs, etc.
But in a way it was a break that i needed. Instead, i burned through 4 1/2 library books and went on a lot of long bike rides, drank a few root beer floats after dinner. i enjoyed sort of an inner peace and quiet that maybe i hadn't had in quite some time. Being prone to sensory overload is a hard thing to be in this mad and crazy world. Sometimes i wish i weren't so sponge-like.

Then Mother's Day was coming up, and the flower shop that i work for from time to time during the holidays gave me a call; asked if i'd like to help out for a few days. So the past 3 have been toil, toil, and more toil. When i was younger i worked (full-time) at a flower shop, one that was actually somewhat bigger and where there was more work to do. The difference is that then, i was 23 and actually enjoyed living in the city i was living in. i was tired after work, sure, because i work hard, but i was never this tired. It's possible i'm just out of shape, but i think the reality is just that i am now older ;)
Still, it's always nice to be around flowers again, even though your hands get thoroughly trashed. i already have multiple cuts on the insides of my fingers, dry, cracked skin on my hands, and perma-dirt under the ol' fingernails. But it's nice to have proof of an honest day's hard work. i only wish the flower shop had more variety: nowhere are the sweet peas, snowball viburnum and lilacs that i used to find at my flower shop back home. Instead i sell people orchids that are dyed blue, irises, mums, gerbera daisies, lilies, alstroemeria. With fern added in at the end. Don't they know that there is so much more out there? Don't they know that you don't need every color represented in a bouquet?
People always say "oh, i would just love to work at a flower shop!" as if it's all sugar and roses. But where do you think we get our giant biceps? I'll tell you: from lifting buckets of water all day long. And i already mentioned the hands. And the constant sweeping, changing of brackish and slimy water, removing dead leaves and thorns from stems, pinching browned petals. There are many sides to a thing. i always laugh at how different the flower shop looks when you are standing on the outside looking in. You don't see the girls knee deep in green detritus, feet aching from standing all day. You don't see the tired minds trying to remember what flowers need your utmost attention, and the teeth-clenching when you help a customer who says "just make me up something nice.", and then decides that they don't like a single thing you suggest. Or when you pick out the freshest, most closed roses, and they say "i dunno.. those look a little tired." Good times!
But really, we don't care. Because we're here to give you beauty. At the cost of the farmworkers who slaved to grow (usually with pesticides) and pick these flowers for you at a very low wage. At the cost of the flower shop owners who wake up at 3 in the morning to get to the market early so that they can pick out the best and most awe-inspiring flowers for you to have in your home, all the while worrying about the straggling economy and the fact that they are working with highly perishable goods. And then we get to us, the over-worked flower girls, who come to work early and go home late, trying to be stoic and enjoy ourselves while working our fingers to the bone, so that your shopping experience is not marred, somehow.
And none of that matters when i come home with the five stems i selected based on their individual loveliness: an arching, orange french tulip; a strong, deep purple tulip; a tiny coral rose, and a perfect lavender one; the yellow dahlia with pink tinge, who resembles almost the rising sun itself.