Thursday, December 31

Things i did on vacation.

Discovered a new love for Louis Armstrong (beyond "What a Wonderful World" and "Mack the Knife").

Drove up the California coast and visited elephant seals, including brand new babies and two (huge!) fighting, braying bulls. Fantastic.

Glimpsed Hearts Castle from afar, realized that we should probably go sometime.

Finally saw Big Sur.

Ate way too much chocolate.

Decided that the cheap ticket price on Virgin America ($49!) from SFO to San Diego was not worth it when multiple advertisements were blared at me during takeoff. Not okay. Need to re-think future travel plans. (Hey, remember when movies cost less AND had no ads? Yeah. Those were the days.)

Realized how lucky lucky lucky i am, in more ways than i can count.

Realized how utterly cheeseball i am, a prime example of which is illustrated by the previous sentence.

Now, even though i've always maintained that "time", as we know it, is an arbitrary measure, happy new year to you all. Hope the days ahead are full and mostly devoid of:

-and so on and so forth.

Here's to simpler, happy times.

Monday, December 14

twirling, whirling.

i truly do not recommend washing your face while you are sobbing quietly. Not only does the bowliness of the sink magnify your pathetically held-back sobs, but you will be rubbing snot all over your face. Trust me on this. On a related note, one day i may begin categorizing the colors of human malady. i have been coughing up some soul-shuddering shades of green lately, and the interest with which i scrutinize these things is beyond me. Why do we study them so? It reminded me of having a bad bruise: what could be more arresting than waking up each day to see what new hue has appeared on your thigh? Magenta, grey, blue-green? And in the seventh grade i used to tie rubber bands around my finger tips to experience the plethora of sensations: cold. numb, colorful. Pointer fingers always turned an angry red, like a schoolmarm. Ring fingers were always meekly pale and jaundiced, while pinkies turned alarming shades of purple, like children holding their breath. There probably wouldn't be much of a market for this type of collection, though. Maybe i'll stick to collage.

In other news: mistletoe has been hung, greens festoon the apartment, the tape and wrapping paper and scissors are lying about. It may be frantic, but it's the happy kind. We even had–wait for it– rain.

Next year we are sending out a photo card with us in christmas sweaters! It will be grand. i'll have to try and give it some sort of seventies photo-finishing effect, plus i need to practice my poses.
Also: i'm thinking of having a buy-nothing holiday next year? Might be nice, you know: only friends, family, games, baked goods, (hopefully) snow, candles, and so on and so forth? No, cardboard boxes, packing slips, removing (or neglecting to remove) price tags. Hmmm. Sounds like a win.

Catch you on the flipside.

Monday, November 30

Bad things come in threes.

It's true!*

The visiting fam and i rented 4 movies from Blockbuster to fill the void left by the fact that i don't have television (apologies to anyone who ever stays with us in the future!) to help entertain. Here's how it went down:

Year One: Jack Black literally eats a piece of shit in this movie. Is there anything else that needs to be said? (Although, one small concession offered here, because the first shot of Michael Cera shows him gathering strawberries while talking to them lovingly. So delightful and tender.) To be fair, i was in the kitchen for about 85% of this film, and only listening, but the review stands. Also: David Cross plays Cain, and is tragically not funny, something i'd heretofore thought impossible. Sort of an ADD version of Mel Brooks' History of the World.

Echelon Conspiracy: So, the half-nerdish half-suave techie "hero" looks and sounds exactly like Doogie Howser here, and that's the only thing this movie's really got goin' for it. Which is sad, considering that Ving Rhames and Martin Sheen are also present. What a terrible waste. Think Bourne Supremacy as a student film. Also, texting plays a major role in this film. Ouch.

Sunshine Cleaning: Can i have this hour and a half of my life back? Please? This was one of the worst films i've ever seen, in almost every way: Terrible script, annoying acting, hollow premise and character development, wasted talent (Steve Zahn and Alan Arkin both), just– everything. The best part was the one-armed man, although when is that ever not the case? i learned from this movie that i want to kill Amy Adams, even adorable children cannot save a waste of celluloid, and that maybe i don't want to be involved with crime scenes in any way, after all. (used to watch C.S.I. and dream, who didn't?) The only memorable or moving scene was Emily Blunt hanging from an elevated train track at night, train flying by overhead and sparks being thrown about. But still, i do not forgive.

Worst. Movie. Ever.

Our fourth and final selection, a wildcard movie about used-car sales called The Goods, ended up being the surprise favorite. Jeremy Piven, Ving Rhames (again!), Ed Helms, and Craig Robinson (as a highly unstable, yet dedicated DJ) wound up making our night. A team of crack used-car salespeople converge on Temecula to save a friend's car lot. The comedy is a little hard to pin down–base? raunchy? something like that, only better–but the wit is sharp and you are definitely rooting for these people, although you will never, ever, understand why. i read a review somewhere stating that only people with mental problems would find this film funny. Guilty as charged.

*NOTE: i found this Thanksgiving-era post in my 'drafts' folder. oops! Bet you're wishing i'd left it there, aren't you? AREN'T YOU?! Well, too bad. And since you made it this far, i will reward you with this, via flaunted's photostream on Flickr.

Tortoise Burger by flaunted.

Just look at all that turtley goodness.


Sunday, November 22

Sing a song of sixpence.

"Four and twenty blackbirds, bakin' up a pie."
(this is how Nat and i always sing it– so much more wonderful to imagine a throng of them in the kitchen; sifting flour, measuring spices, and rolling out dough.)

Anyway, here is an interesting little piece about crows (and how rather rad they are). Our avian friends never cease to amaze me. Make sure to scroll down and take the identification test, too. It's a touch one! Nat and i guessed the first one correctly, but it became more and more difficult after that. i'm convinced that it's in the eyes, and the beak feathers.

In other news:

i received a gift of (flowering) narcissus bulbs from a friend recently, and couldn't be happier.

Last night, after dinner with friends, we listened to An Elvis Christmas–loudly–on the drive home. Now we're dreaming of snow... hopefully this winter we will make it up North again. Unfortunately, during dinner, one of our servers decided it would be really great to brush his arm against our dining companion's breasts– three separate times. The table was crowded, and the space limited, so she told us not worry, that he was just trying to find a place to set down the rice, aloo gobi, dal... It was difficult not to storm out; i suppose, though, that if she was not upset about it then i should not have been. But how awful! As someone with very, er, minor amplitude, i have never had to worry about this particular offense. But seeing it happen in person was rather disgusting. Thank goodness i was able to quell my rage with my appletini.

And will someone please watch the movie Kontroll, so that we can talk about it here? What the deuce is happening at the end? There are too many possible scenarios for us to be happy with any one choice... definitely an enjoyable film to watch, though. Thank you, Netflix, for that "Dark/Psychological/Foreign" category you came up with, there. Bravo. Keep 'em comin'.

Thursday, November 19


Fuck. My toilet has a leak.

The HOA was giving out dye tablets to check for invisible leaks, and it just felt... irresponsible not to do it. i dropped 'em into the tank and swirled 'em around. Within minutes, there was a little bit of blue in the bowl, and when i asked my dad about it over the phone he schooled me on the few areas where there could be a leak. i went to have a look at the three bolts that hold the tank to the bowl, and wouldn't ya know it? There was blue. A tinge of blue on all of the threads– one of them was even collecting a drop of water that threatened to fall. I suppose it's been dripping that way, infinitely slo-o-o-owly, for quite some time. It's an old toilet. But it never made a sound! How was i supposed to know?!

Anyway, now that i do know, it's DIY fix-it time. Normally, i don't have a problem with this option since i hate
a) strangers in my home and
b) spending money,
but a toilet (my only toilet!) is not something i want to ruin. Reading up online, it has become apparent that while fixing this leak will not be an impossible task, it will be time-consuming and labor-intensive, not to mention the fact that i own one hammer, six or seven screwdrivers (?!), and a pair of pliers, but not a single wrench. Damnit!

So things will be interesting. Waiting for Nat to get home so we can discuss the sitch. Unfortunately, i'm not all that sure that we solve problems well together, so i'm leery of venturing into this project together. But i suppose that's just the way it will have to be! We're going to have to learn eventually, right? And what better place to have that lesson than in the Tiniest Bathroom Known To Man? Sounds like a rollickin' good time.

(By the by, you don't need dye tablets– powdered drink mix (like Kool-Aid), instant coffee, or food coloring will also work. Do it! Save water!)

This thrilling and entertaining Toilet Post has been brought to you by:

Orange Juice. Now if you'll excuse me, i have to go pee.

Monday, November 16

(Are you watching the Leonids? i hope so.)

"Outcry Over Obama's Bow"? Really, Yahoo! News? Really. Sorry, but i'm pretty sure that the nearby article "Why Girls Love Twilight Stars" will make for a much more intelligent and insightful read. Perhaps it's time i switched free email providers- YEAH, i said it! Although, if only there was some kind of assurance that i wouldn't be forced to read asinine article headlines every day. Dang.

In other news, they are announcing Chubbo McCubbo's official name tomorrow over at the San Diego zoo; if the idiots voting chose "Blissful San Diego" i am officially fucking moving.

Also, i have a question: does anyone out there soak and cook their own chickpeas? Because i'm pretty sure that you could set up a fairly accurate test of whether or not someone has Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder by setting them in front of a bowl of soaked chickpeas and observing what happens next. If they have issues, like me, they will sit there for an hour and methodically peel off all the damn skins, one, after the next, after the next... after the next. Or, maybe this is just my glimpse into what my Own Personal Hell will be like: a never-ending bowl of chickpeas, with the skins still on.... Nat always tells me to leave them on BUT I CAN'T, I CAN'T!!

...please send help.

Saturday, November 14

Stuck in the middle with you.

So the better half's family drove down from L.A. this afternoon so we could all celebrate his mom's birthday. Our adventures started out well enough: first we hit up the charming, dusty bookstore DG Wills, where nat's parents hit it off immensely with the owner (who was sitting outside drinking wine with friends when we arrived, !). You would be hard pressed to find a nicer fellow anywhere.
(Incidentally, when nat and i first moved down here, i went around applying at every bookstore i could find, and when i asked this man if the place was hiring, he chuckled and said, "nope... it's just me." Damn. There is exposed wood everywhere, and so much bric-a-brac!)
The place is filled to the gills with books: poetry anthologies, new literature, old kids' books, dictionaries, latin, greek, maritime, art, classics, and so on and so forth. Various antiquated metal objects are everywhere, even up in the rafters; a typewriter, an anchor, an old iron stove.
i snagged a Valentine postcard from 1911 Minnesota:

Dear Mrs. Doll How are you? We are all well We are having lovly weather It will soon be spring than I will expect you down. Mrs. Beebel (?)
[Check out the abbreviation for Cincinnati ("Cin'ti") and the postage square (i assume someone already pilfered the treasure that was the stamp): "United States and Possessions". Awesome.]

Also, a first edition of a late-discovered Wilhelm Grimm tale, Dear Mili, illustrated by Maurice Sendak. i am super excited about this one. It's in great condition, and i hope my kids will read it someday in the wintry light on the floor of their bedroom.

After that, we thoroughly discombobulated a young counterboy at the cafe next door (ugh, we were totally That Annoying Family Who Are Ordering Together But Not All Ready At Once. Sorry, dude.), and then raced to the shore to try and check out the seals. The light was fading too fast, but we managed to enjoy 15 minutes of seal silhouettes and intermittent barking. We then made the poor decision of taking nat's mom to the British pub we recently discovered. We couldn't sit inside because nearly half of the tables were "Reserved" (for a giant group of assholes on a pub crawl, we later discovered), and the space heater near our table outside wasn't working. Then nat's mom's chips were cold, as was her fish, AND her peas... The usual '80s alternative radio they play was, instead, atrocious contemporary light rock, and two of our meals came out ten minutes after the rest. It was tough to enjoy the evening, but then nat's mom called basketball "netball" and everything was well again. Also, we all ended up eating cake and watching Eddie Izzard at home afterward, so who's complainin'? i think a valuable lesson for me to learn, should i ever give in to it, is to quit convincing myself that everyone else is having a horrible time and just enjoy myself. Magnifying and lingering on the tiny problems is never a good idea, and even if i'm not the one doing it, i always manage to convince myself that it's my fault anyway. Good times!

Thank goodness the NyQuil dependency i've built up all week has finally (mostly) disappeared. Gotta get up nice and early tomorrow; my first day back at work after a week of being ill. Let me just say this: i am not excited, not even a little. Especially considering that we're having an employee meeting an hour after i open the shop, which is about the time i'm done opening in the first place. This means there will be no "settling in" period. Better make sure i bring an extra cup of coffee to work; my boss is the type of woman who thinks that saying "Ow! Charlie bit me" is (and ever was) hysterical, and told me that her costume for Halloween was "a Chinese lady".

i will need all the help i can get.

Friday, November 13

Dear Diary,

So, the incredibly sweet and rambunctious grimalkin that we all got to meet last christmas was hit by a car a few days ago, and has moved on from this earthly life.

He was lanky, and feisty: self-confidence was not lacking in this one. One (cold) morning i went down to the microwave in the garage to re-heat a cup of coffee, and i heard scritch-scritch-crunch-scritch. There was Bugsy, behind the recycling, eating a bird he'd killed, and one that was about his size, too. The feathers were black and white, spotted and striped... he looked up at me plainly, alert: what? i'm just down here eating. But each night he would dial back up the kitten-tude, and paw open the bedroom door so he could curl up at our feet, purring and kneading, hungry for love.

He was a very special cat (i know: which ones aren't?), and i can't decide if i was lucky to meet him, or if it just made this loss extra sad. Nah, scratch that. i was lucky, for sure. And apparently, i was also the only one who ever took a photo of the little guy, which i am now using as a motivation for finally getting my 9,000 rolls of film developed. We need to fashion a little shrine, a place to hold and resonate our collective grief.

Meanwhile the dog, beforehand a snubber of the cat's affections, has now taken to sniffing around Bugsy's food bowl, and checking for him around the perimeter of the house. She's gettin' it.


Decided to try and drink some coffee today, unfortunately i don't believe that my system was ready. Just feel jittery and gross. Can't wait for things to be back to normal. The holidays are coming; my boss is asking me about scheduling on Thanksgiving. It's sure to be a whirlwind. Before we know it, christmas will be here again, and then gone. Don't believe i'll even have snow to show for it this year. Ah, the passing of time. Pay attention– it's quick.

A friend has sent me two old manual cameras. Sure wish this gladdened my heart instead of filling me with dread... when's the last time i even snapped a picture? It's been ages. Perhaps that's part of the problem. Need to get out more.

Love to all.

Thursday, November 12

Marginally better.

Wow, so i just bit off a righteous hangnail and let me tell you, there is little more disturbing than blood spatter all over the keys of a bright white MacBook. (Nat, if you're reading this, don't worry: i used the 180 proof.) ::shudder::

Spent the day tiptoeing around the place, trying my best not to cough. You see, i sneezed so much in the past two days that the slightest cough (or giggle) sends me into the higher levels of my pain threshold. Not fun times.

Decided it would be best to spend the evening in bed, watching Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte, since my mom and bro have been pestering me to watch it since forever, and really– who can ever have enough Bette Davis? What a talent.

(still bleeding over here, by the way.)

Not much more to say today except that it will be so nice to taste my dinner. i really hope that gets to happen tonight.

And, just because (i had to!):

Tuesday, November 10

you know you're sick, when:

~After a full (9 hours!) night of sleep, you wake up feeling like you've just taken a long tumble down an extremely rocky cliffside.

~Your face is leaking.

~Parts of your back hurt that you never even knew existed. (Are those actually internal organs? Maybe.)

~One minute you are throwing open windows and stripping to a tank top, and the next you are wearing two sweaters, socks and sweatpants, curled up in bed under the Extra Blanket.

~Your brain's processing power is so feeble that you find yourself watching "Bolt" on your computer. (Thanks, Netflix!)

~Your go-to meal is toast, toast, and more toast.

On the other hand, being ill offers up a great reserve of time in which to read all those books you have laying next to your bed. i just finished reading Logicomix, wherein i learned a great deal about Bertrand Russell (and logic/math in general), through the über-accessible vehicle of the graphic novel. Also interesting has been Oliver Sacks' An Anthropologist On Mars, where i've just heard the tale of the man who was in a traffic accident and afterward became (completely!) colorblind, seeing the world in only shades of black and white (and grey). Ugh! If you think that sounds nice, well– you're mistaken. Just check out his offering of fruits, all pieces of which he has painted grey. Try and salivate over that leaden orange. No really, go ahead! To make matters worse, this man was a painter and could no longer enjoy his craft, or the works of others (unless they were black-and-white photographs, which remained unaffected). He even noted a distinction in tone between black-and-white TV and color TV with the color turned all the way down.

Also reading There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby: Scary Fairy Tales, by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya. Bone-scraping stuff. Real, and harsh. Much less magical than, say, Angela Carter. More bleak and numbing. But good.

Listening to older Animal Collective and newer PJ Harvey. One is emotional, palliative, and jubilant, while the other is rough and unsettling. Actually, they both are all of those things.

Off to tea and... well, toast.


Illustration: PESTLE AND MORTAR.

Tuesday, October 20

'Fame', the four-letter word.

i'm sorry, but i find it extremely disheartening that the number one search on Yahoo! right now is "Balloon Boy Incident".

First of all: Why the word "incident"? Would simply typing "balloon boy" not be sufficient? i wonder why they didn't add "hoax" "not a hoax?" and "Octomom" in there for good measure. Suppose i'll have to give credit where credit is due.

Secondly: Why are all three words capitalized? Do people not understand case sensitivity, and/or the lack thereof?

And third: Ugh, just ugh. Playin' right into their hands, you are.

Monday, October 19

a green-eyed, yellow-bellied, silver-tongued dark horse.


t's been ages. What have you been up to? As for me:

~saw a black widow.
~accidentally vacuumed up a pair of underwear.
~won an orchid (Cattleya) at an orchid fair.
~finally procured a jar of artichoke hearts (note: waited waaaaay too long to discover this).
~bit my nails back down to stumps.
~found out what blue Curaçao tastes like. verdict? not so great.


~currently experiencing some sort of (pre-?)midlife crisis.

That last one is probably due to the fact that i will soon be entering into my third decade of life on this zany, spinning marble and haven't got anything of substance to show for it. Nor, for that matter, a whole lot of prospects on the horizon. But i think it's because i have been way too busy hiding under a rock to see anything. Hope this can be helped.

In other news: don't you just love bright green trees against a gunmetal sky?

And don't you just hate putting pillowcases on pillows? Yeah. Me too.

Thursday, October 1


Monday, September 28

Don't call it a comeback.


earest Darlings,

(That lovely letter D was acquired here.)

Fall seems to have quietly arrived, an event which never ceases to put a(n inner) smile on my (inner) face. The light grows... bluer, somehow, and coldly. i feel more alive, and more comfortable. Surely someone somewhere has researched this phenomenon? i can't possibly be the only one who feels this way. Everyone has their "it" season, and for me it's autumn all the way: crisp and haunting, dusky white-gold and burnt. It fairly crackles.

Anywho, how've you all been? i love that my last post makes it look like i discovered the Panda Cam and dropped off the face of the earth to forever watch. That's only halfway true. But i would definitely say that i've been in a slumber of sorts, waiting to be re-awakened. i truly hope that this is that awakening...

We spent the end of summer traveling to the land of bear- and huckleberry-covered mountains, learning about Liberace at his museum in Vegas (who knew he was such an excellent pianist?!), reading lots of wonderful books (The Road being one of them), and renting scads of movies (finally saw Paper Moon and loved it).

Hope your worlds are fine, fine, fine. Looking forward to having things to write about.
::fingers crossed for interestingness in daily life::

Until then, here is this. Toodle-oo!

Monday, August 24

Panda-Cam. Sigh.

it seems i just can't stop telling everyone about this.

There is a new baby (almost one month old!) giant panda at the San Diego Zoo. They have a camera installed for your viewing pleasure. Watch as giant man-maiming panda paws gently pick up and cradle the tiny one. i honestly can't tear my eyes away... this could be bad, folks.

It's hot here these days. August is almost away. That means three years here. Three years of... not much, to be honest. Strange, how time gets away from us.

I've decided that nostalgia is for the lazy and uninspired. Time to move along.


In other news: i may have found the "midget homes" of San Diego, which aren't as exciting as they seemed. And there is a ruined mansion in the hills of Los Angeles that we need to get to ASAP. Here are what some movies would have looked like if they had been mass-market pulp paperback books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 19


...i went to Disneyland.

It was fun.

Very fun.

i purchased two Ewoks there. They are my my new good buddies.

Been a long time since i checked in over here. Trying to get a job, trying to quit smoking, trying to get up the nerve to use my dad's awesome (heavy!) camera that he gave to me FOR CHRISTMAS. You know, months ago? Trying to keep my penny collection from overflowing the cup i was holding them in; failing. Reading lots of good books. Renting lots of movies. Trying to make the most out of this summer because i know that Nat will be scarce when it is over.
Cleaned the heck out of the apartment today: tossed and mauled half a lemon down the garbage disposal, bleached the kitchen garbage can, vacuumed, bagged up the recycling, and so on and so forth. Brought home a single, lovely red rose in a moment of pure cheesiness. Not sure where i am in my thought patterns these days. "Scatterbrained", i think they call it...

Hoping to post some book covers soon (i know you've all been waiting feverishly!)... and, strangely, compose a list of things to do before i, you know, die. In fact, i can't believe i haven't done it already. But it's time. They are stacking up, by gum. Time to take stock and catch 'em before they all slip away.

And how are all of you? Good? fine. carry on then.

Wednesday, July 22

is it weird that i've held FIVE separate screwdrivers today?

...yeah, it is.

in other news: do you like how i lied to you guys about taking a computer break? Yeah. it's a bad habit i have. The one about not following through with my plans. ::sigh:: In my excuse it's unbearably hot here and i've cleaned the whole house and read all my books, so yeah. Suck it. a girl needs a little downtime, ya know?

a few brief, completely dull items:

~Today was opening day at the Del Mar racetrack. i officially loathe "hat day". How many rich, bitchy, rushed, picky, and rude women did i have to help this morning? Way, way, too many. To be honest, i couldn't care less about tiny men kicking their drugged-up horses to a froth and decorating your gods-damned giant hat with appropriately-color-matched flowers for your little breezy sun dress. And what is up with people not understanding that flowers need water to survive? Have they never seen a dead plant, bush, tree, etc.? i am alarmed by the high levels of stupidity that i encounter sometimes. Just a clear and plain lack of thought that some tend to exhibit. Is that learned? Or just forgotten?

~Also today, my co-worker called me after my shift to inform me that we've won the (2008) Reader's Choice award for Best Flower Shop! Hmm... after my attitude today, i must confess that i'm somewhat surprised. But still, it is a little pocket of nice in a month of blah.

~Tomorrow Nat and i are heading out to Comic-Con, even though we swore we weren't going this year. a free pass will do that to you, though. i hope i don't have a crowd-induced nervous breakdown this time. Cross your fingers! Hopefully i'll take some good photos, at any rate. And we'll be able to see a preview of the new Terry Gilliam flick, which should definitely prove... interesting.

Fare thee well, alls. Go fly a kite! Or read a book! Or drink frosty root beer floats! Or get a new houseplant! (Or an outdoor plant, if you're the lucky sort to have earth with which to wash your hands.) Or pick some fruit somewhere! Bust out some origami, or a paper airplane! Show someone how to play with a non-newtonian fluid! Try and do a handstand! Tie a piece of ribbon around your wrist! Send someone a postcard! Go pet kittens at the pound! Find your nearest swingset, and swing! Look at your old photographs! Make some gyoza! Climb a tree! And cut your toenails, because really: it's time.

...whew! sorry. sometimes i need to remind myself that the possibilities really are endless.

Tuesday, July 21


Just though i'd mention briefly the passing of Frank McCourt, author of (among other things) the 'memoir'* Angela's Ashes, a piece of reading of which i'm very fond. From what i gather, this book seems to polarize readers to a great degree. i just remember being unable to put it down, and feeling very connected and drawn in to his world via the writing style; it was one of my first encounters with written dialogue sans quotation marks, which i rejoiced upon discovering. Almost everyone in the book is a sad case, to one degree or another; one, an over-alcoholic father capable of scant few redeeming acts (the occasion on which he sucked the killing phlegm out of his infant son's nose being one that completely floored me. i will never forget it.).

In any case, if you hated the book, that's your impression, and you're entitled to it. If you loved it, i am right there with ya. And if you haven't cracked the spine yet, i hereby strongly encourage you to do so (assuming you have a few heartstrings left). He is a magnificent story-teller. May Irish oyes smile upon you, Frank, and thanks for leaving your story behind.


In other news: the longest full solar eclipse of the 21st century occurred today (not visible from N. America, of course! zounds.), and Nat found the larva of a ladybird near our bathroom sink... fine and lovely omens those are, i do decree.

*i find a memoir to be a very malleable interpretation of "facts", or "events". The very term suggests that any words strung together by the author are at the liquid mercy of their own personal memory. This is part of the human condition. Otherwise they would be called "autobiographies", and as we all know, even then the truth can be diluted indeed. i mention this because a lot of the negative reviews i have heard about his book tend to sit pretty squarely in the "well, he obviously embellished" column. Who among us hasn't?

Wednesday, July 15

a return to an end

Not that anyone would be missing anything, but i think i may stretch out this computer-abstinence thing i've got goin' on. While Nat was away, i realized that far too many of my waking hours had been spent peering intently into the little screen of my MacBook, searching for something (anything!) more interesting and better-spent pursuing than my actual dismal existence... this saddened me quite a bit. True, i worked quite a bit this past weel, and spent too much of my leisure time watching a bunch of movies (Once, Control, Amélie, Tokyo!, and other good'uns), but i actually got some other stuff done, as well. Like finally picked up a book off the shelf that i'd not got around to reading. And dusting the HECK out of my bedroom, which lifted a ton of weight off the old conscience, and probably the lungs, too. i realized that i've been running, and hiding, and procrastinating, for too long. it's time to figure some stuff out. i don't have any idea what i want out of life, and that cannot be a good thing.
As much as i want to check in with The Daily Coyote and Pioneer Woman, it is simply too tempting. Remember the time when we didn't have computers? i sure do, because it wasn't really all that long ago for me. 2006, i believe. And i did stuff back then. San Diego has deadened me to the point where i would rather hole up in my room all day and read about amazing stuff that other people are out there doing than go out and live my own damn life. It's gotta stop. i can't be so closed-off anymore. There are things that need to be sorted out, figured out.

And as much as this is probably just wishful thinking, i would like to take a break? From all of the amazing things that the internet has to offer. It's time.

In other news: what do you think makes a bird fly in any one direction? Do they leap up and just... follow the wind? Head towards the light? Find a favorite tree? Do they have favorite trees? Or is there some other instinctual force moving them ever forward, onward? i want to know the answers to these things.

The other morning, i awoke at 7:34 a.m. to a loud rumbling sound. i precisely remember my very first thought: oh fuck, is my upstairs neighbor slamming doors at 7:30 in the morning now, or what? But then i woke up a tad more (read: opened my eyes, which had been glued shut with sleep) and realized that i was standing in the bedroom doorway. Instinctively. And it hit me: there was an earthquake! Cool! And i did the right thing, without even thinking about it... how bizarre. Is this because i am a California Kid? Who knows. i was impressed with myself, anyway. It was like someone i didn't know was living right beneath the surface, a take-charge kinda gal who knew how to deal with what life threw at you. i liked that.

Also, a friend of mine from work lost a roommate to an intentional drug overdose last week. Another friend from work actually witnessed a man falling from six stories up and landing on the car in front of her. He did not live. i guess what i'm saying is: life is short. You know it, and i know it, and now they know it too late. There are so many things to do, and so little time to do them. All i know is that if i died tomorrow, i would not be happy. This has got to change. Be it reading books, or taking a different bike ride, or a new bus route, i need to get out of here. There is no time like the present.

i may check in from time to time (who am i kidding, i know i will), but it's sayonara for a little bit. Curtain call, or what have you. Perhaps this is only... an intermission?

Joanna Newsom - "En Gallop"

Tuesday, June 30

Switzerland, and sharks!

Watch out, y'all, because pretty soon i'm going to post a bunch of book covers. A bunch of academic book covers.

Over the years, Nat has amassed quite an extensive collection of logic/physics/math/philosophy books. More than once, i have found myself staring off into space while thinking intently, only to find my eyes boring into the cover of one of these dense tomes... They have become sort of a wallpaper for my life. i see them strewn about on almost every flat surface of our home. Some are abstract, while others make use of famous works of art. And others are simply one solid color and a title, bam. i find them endlessly interesting, for whatever reason, and so you will soon be subjected to them too. It will be so....... lame, probably. But that's what you get for visiting me here.


In other news, Nat is heading off to Geneva tomorrow morn, and taking Ol' MacBook with him. So i will be alone, so very alone. It will be interesting to see how i manage to cope with this situation! i never realized how hooked i'd gotten to this dang thing. Who knew a brick of subservient plastic could be so... friendly? And informative?

Meanwhile, i present for your enjoyment the curious case of the Helicoprion:

There has been much conjecture about the extremely unusual spiral formation of its teeth. This was, i think, the first artist's rendering that Nat and i saw, and of course we were intrigued. There have been other depictions, but we finally found this article, which seems to make sense of this peculiar (and seemingly self-devastating!) dental arrangement– it was probably rolled up in the throat cavity! Sort of reminiscent of the moray eel. Very interesting stuff going on.

Have a lovely week, and make sure to at least light a sparkler at some point. Ciao bellas!

Saturday, June 27

the same, but different.

Hey, wanna know something kinda cool?

Your lungs are asymmetrical. Yeah, that's right. Those mothas don't match.

So, typically*, your right lung has three, count 'em 3, "lobes". And your left lung has but two. The lower of which, by the way, has an amazing little depression in it, one that your heart fits right snug into: the Cardiac Notch.

...How fucking cool is that? Here is another link, with some technical jargon if that's your thang.

i can't even remember how i stumbled upon this information recently, but i was amazed. Much like i was in the 4th or 5th grade when i learned that we have 206 bones. It seemed like an awful lot to me at the time.

So yeah. Earlier today, Nat and i dusted off our copy of The Anatomy Coloring Book, which we bought at the student store on UC Berkeley campus ages ago. We'd brought it home, eager to learn and color within (or without!) the lines, when a fight began only minutes in to our endeavor. You see, i'd colored a vein and its nearby artery the same color– red. Can you imagine? The nerve of me.
Nat was rankled. The parts were all lettered, he told me, right there in the left margin, and everything was supposed to be a different color so that you could easily distinguish one from the other. Had i even read the instructions before i began marking the page with serpentine carmine strokes? What had i been thinking?

i'm sure i stomped off at this point, and needless to say, the ($26!) book was never opened again. Cue to something like seven years later, and we managed to have quite a lot of fun learning about the Mastication Muscles. We kept everything color-coded, for the most part, but here and there maybe a tooth was blacked out, or a flower added around a skull's eye socket, Día de los Muertos-style. Just to keep it real, you know? And also, fun. Finally.

*Unless you are, say, Catherine O'Hara, who among others has a fairly rare congenital condition known as Situs Inversus. Your organs are mirrored from most others! Hurrah, you're a natural freak-show! Neat. Although sometimes, this condition causes heart disease and/or chronic sinusitis, which of course are not at all neat.

Thursday, June 25

round and round and round

So we're going to the county fair today. Which means fun, in all of its various forms: sounds, lights, fatty foods, and endorphins. So then why am i finding it impossible to stop worrying about nuclear war?
i know that North Korea has been full of bombast for about as long as i can remember... but it feels different to me right now, somehow. i keep having this vision of being at the apex of the Ferris wheel, looking out into the sunset, and then suddenly witnessing a horrible sight as a cloud of light and death explodes on the horizon.

... but i guess you could say i've always had an over-active imagination. It doesn't help that ever since i learned about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, i've been magnetized toward first-hand accounts from the days when the bombs were dropped there. Seriously, it is subject matter that i can't seem to get enough of, maybe because it seems to offer solid proof of what i've felt all along: that we are a despicable race of selfish, greedy, impetuous, hypocritical, vulnerable, unhappy beings. (Sorry, that was a lot of adjectives there, and described those on both sides of the issue, i should say.)

i recently came across some watercolors that were painted (more recently) by people who were at ground zero during the atomic attacks in Japan. never have i been more horrified, or more fascinated. Check them out for yourselves if you have the fortitude. It is most humbling.


In other news, Clarence Thomas is an ass. But i am still ever so grateful for this winning ruling for the Arizona teen who was strip-searched for Ibuprofen. Ridiculous that someone should be traumatized (for life, no doubt) because they had IBUPROFEN on their person somewhere. i don't care if it was prescription strength. Someone needs to deal with their power-control issues.

see you all later, sorry for the weightiness. To counteract heavy thoughts, i highly recommend.....

....going to the fair!

Saturday, June 20

[new] old remedies.

To instill a sense of physical reality into your wandering soul, cut open a lemon and, using your hands, rub the juice smartly into a good-sized handful of dry fettuccine. Hold this powerful talisman under your nose. Close your eyes, and inhale deeply while feeling the undeniable power (and magical combination of smoothness+grit) of the pasta beneath your fingers.

...okay, that's all i've come up with so far, but it was quite a moment. Now go, go and make pesto*.

*although, don't make the pesto if it is midnight and you've had an hours-long, fairly serious fight with your sweetheart, leaving you both psychologically unsettled, causing you to put in way way way way way way WAY too much garlic, so much that it hurts to eat it, delicious though it may be. Because then you will have some seriously unpleasant dreams and wake up with Flaming Garlic Esophagus. Not fun.


In other news: i recently discovered the adorable comics of Lucy Knisley. Apparently Lynda Barry was her graduate advisor while she was working on her thesis, which does not surprise me, given her colorful, whimsical style and keen insight into all things Childhood... like Flintstones Vitamins! Enjoy.
(and here's one just for my mom and bro, although i'm sure many other cat-lovers will understand, too...)

lord, save us (from ourselves).

So, i'm looking up the ifs and the hows of popping popcorn with coconut oil (what? i'm trying not to buy butter so much) and while the majority of the information i found was informative and even exultative, somewhere along the way i stumbled upon this gem of a paragraph on the "about" page of

When Brian was nine years old he came to realize that he was a sinner in the eyes of God, deserving Hell; but that Jesus Christ came to die for his sins, would forgive him, and save him. All he had to do was by faith repent of his sins and trust Christ to be his Savior. If you have any questions about going to heaven, serving God or popcorn...

...seriously? When you were nine, Brian? Was that around the same time that you started referring to yourself the same way that Bob Dole does? Interesting. And what's the deal with that sentence that trails off there, at the end? Should we contact you for some sage wisdom? Or are you implying that we're already screwed because we don't know the answers yet? Please advise.


The people who know Brian would tell you that he is known for the following two things: serving the Lord and selling popcorn. His main goal in life is telling people everywhere how to be saved.

Holy hell. Sorry, but i guess i'd rather get my "Lady Finger Popcorn" and "Buttery Topping" (thanks for not including an ingredient list on that, btw) from someone whose main goal in life was, well, producing quality popcorn products, not proselytizing. Sorry, chappie! i'm sure you're a nice fella, though, and surely Heaven-bound, which is all that matters, really, in the end.

Whew! Were you wondering whether there was any possible subject on this earth safe from my acerbic and inexhaustive negativity? Really, you should know better.

Wednesday, June 17


The other day at work, i heard a bicycle bell ringing merrily away. Usually when this happens, i can expect to look up and see Nat, because he knows that i hate his bike bell (whose sound is of the piercing, insistent dingdingding! variety) and thinks that it is hilarious to ride up and hail me with it.

However, i noted a distinct brrrriinging noise that was inconsistent with Nat's bell, and when i looked up i saw that it was a short, stocky man riding a penny-farthing down Garnet Avenue. A passerby and i watched in awe as the guy tooled on down the road into the sunset. His remark? "Well! You don't see that every day."

No. You certainly don't.

And today on the bus, heading up to the UCSD philosophy department softball game (profs won, boooo!!), Nat and i witnessed a middle-aged woman with a head of silver curls wearing a floor-length purple velvet cape. it was very mysterious, indeed. But not a costume– i could tell. Reminded me a bit of my grandma, who also used to own a cape. i hope to grow up into this fashion as well. Completely fantastic!


In other news: i've finally received that book i won from Goodreads, but i can't for the life of me seem to devote any particular moment to crack it open. Feels like a bit too much pressure, since it is strongly encouraged that i read and then review it. Never been good at reviews, really. i tend to get too personal. In any case, typing these past few sentences has inspired me to pick it up. Let the criticizing begin!

Sunday, June 14


Okay, i survived. But just barely.

Item: i was still taping the groom's boutonniere (in my sweatpants) when the car arrived to pick up the flower arrangements, roughly 20 minutes before the wedding was scheduled to begin. This may have been the worst part, because i was fussing over everything too much, with time against me, and my fingers were literally cramping and had to be manually moved into their natural positions more than a couple of times.

Item: at the last minute on Friday, i had a friend pick up some dahlias and freesia for me, both of which i ended up having to toss because they were total garbage.

Item: the "Circus" roses that i purchased on Tuesday were almost completely dead by Friday night. This was just poor judgment on my part. i should have known that they were no good when i picked them out. Nevertheless, it added to the panic. i had to use them anyway, which made me sad. This wedding party deserved better.

Item: After setting up the arrangements on the tables outside, the wind began to pick up. During the bride's "thank you" speech, i was over at the tables, righting the 6 or so that had completely toppled over, spilling water all over the hand-sewn (by her mom!) table runners. Luckily the sun was out, so they managed to get mostly dry. Some of the flowers were a little crushed, and after re-filling the jars with water, all we could do was place them on the ground, up against the table legs for stability. i figured we could just put them back up after there were people sitting at the tables, acting as windbreaks. This was not a fun time for me. Nat helped me out immensely.

Item: Went to pin on the groom's boutonniere. Realized i had no idea how to do it. Fabulous! Jury-rigged it as best i could, only to have it fall partially off during one of the toasts. There was a brief pause in the reception so that the bride could fix it. Mortification.

On the plus side, everyone seemed to love the flowers, and 100% of people who found out that i did them were completely astonished... i took this as a compliment, because what else can one do?

Not sure i would ever do it again, and most assuredly would never do it again without a helper. i'm not sure people quite realize the amount of work it takes to get flowers cleaned and arranged, much less picked and bunched (which i personally have never done). At the market i made sure to give the farm workers big smiles and respect. We obviously couldn't do any of it without them. i also have yet to meet any actual growers, but i hope to someday. It would be nice to see the whole line: from the pure numbers (supply & demand type issues, i.e. what to grow and when) and need (acreage, fertilizer, watering, etc.), tending and picking, sorting and bunching, to selecting and prepping, then care and selling. What a whirlwind those stems go through. And the amount of green detritus left in the wake is certainly mountainous. You should have seen my living room!

Sad that i A) didn't take a single picture and B) didn't have more time to make everything perfect. But it was nice to help out a friend and to get a little (a lot?) more experience under my belt. It's helpful when you are wondering if you could do it for a living... although the jury is still out on that one. You'd have to ask Nat, who saw me at possibly my absolute worst. i thought i was going to black out from the stress! But it sort of plateaued, and then i just rode the high. Interesting feeling. Plus the accolades were not as awful as i'd feared. Scrutiny is my number one fear, as we all know.

Some pictures of the wedding here and here. My only advice to anyone else doing this? TAKE PICTURES. Even though i keep telling myself that i "literally didn't have a second free", just borrow yourself some time. It is worth it. i regret nothing more than that. Honest advice that we all know anyway.

And now, no more about flowers. i'm boring you, i'm boring me, it is done to death. Work at 8:00 am tomorrow, ugh. Too soon. i don't want to see another gerbera daisy for the rest of my life...

The Leftovers (thought there'd be more! whew.).

Friday, June 12

breathe. breathe.

So i'm doing the flowers for a friend's wedding.

Self-destruction imminent.

Why do yellow freesia exist, but just not today?

Can i wire a brassidium orchid bloom from my own plant for a corsage? Will it hold up?

And why the hell do flowers need so much damned attention? Do people realize how much work it takes to make them sit there and look pretty?

Does any of it really matter, anyway?

...probably not.

I will report back once the storm has cleared. Right now my balcony looks really, really pretty, though :)

(no wonder every flower shop owner that i have ever met is basically bat-shit insane. (no offense, guys and gals))


Friday, June 5

quick, when's my birthday?!

Um, y'all?

...yes, please!!!

Wednesday, June 3


So the night before last, i finally crack open my copy of Anna Karenina (it's been five years, at least, since i decided to read it), and as i open it to the first page, my eyes alight upon a sentence near the end of the introduction, on the opposite page. A sentence that, with a particular three-word combination, gave away the entire ending of the book.

The next morning i woke up bleeding, like a stuck pig, if you'll pardon the expression. There just seems to be nothing more apt, although i have yet in my life to witness an actual stuck pig, which is something i am immensely grateful for.

Later that afternoon i found out that the flower shop is probably going under, and possibly soon. Which means i will be out of a job, and with little or no warning.

What on earth could happen next? Please, give it to me! i can take it!

So this morning there was a freak hailstorm here in P.B.! Utterly bizarre for a place where the weather is fair (and dreadfully dull) 98% of the time... i thoroughly enjoyed it from inside, although i think i may have heard the loudest peal of thunder in my entire life, which of course wreaked havoc on my rabbitish heart. Then the sky opened up for about ten or fifteen minutes, after which the clouds abruptly parted and heavenly sunshine poured down yet again. So basically all i got to experience of this "storm" once i left the house was the lingering aroma of warm, wet, concrete and an afternoon sky filled with dreamy, resplendent clouds. Hey- i ain't complainin'.


Side note: i just realized the sheer genius of having Alanis Morissette play a role in a movie where she doesn't utter a single sound the entire time... There is something wondrous in that.

Monday, June 1


Some links to make you feel worse about yout artistic skills:

~Dan Park. My 4 faves here are Share, Swim, Jenny Lewis, and Subway Dreams. Frakkin' amazing! Seriously, otherworldly good.

~Simon Schubert's scored paper craft... go ahead, click on one! Whoever said that nothing couldn't be something?

~John Reinfurt. Check out his portfolio (my fave is The Contortionist), and sketchbook (of which "Firebear" and "Mythological Creature No. 7" are personal standouts)... this guy's got talent coming out of his ears. His use of color is extraordinary, and the attention to detail is clear and simply perfect... i want to gaze at them all day long.

~Craig Kanarick's Candy Art. Mostly just photographs of candy, but if you like candy like i like candy, then you'll probably be enthused! His composition is pretty fab, plus: there is such a thing as Italian silver licorice?!

~Veronique Meignaud. Wow. The colors! i especially love "Column Atmosphere".

That being said, all art is subjective. So where did i find all of this amazingness? Drawn!, that's where. So go and find your own favorite stuff. It is chock-full, i tell you: chock. full. Happy hunting...

Blackbirds on the roof again.

Listening to Swami on a Saturday night. i was in bed, finishing my book. Nat was busy at the desk, as usual. Suddenly a song came on the radio and i found myself looking, really looking, at the radio, as if it were telling me something very, very important. When it was almost over (and possibly gone forever), i snapped out of it, sat up and said "what is this?"

"i know!" Nat looked at me with wide eyes and we realized that we'd both been wonderfully somewhere else for those few moments...

i asked if maybe it was the Dead Kennedys, but Nat thought not. He looked it up (thank you internet, for the umpteenth time) and found it right away: The Undertones' "Teenage Kicks". This again proves that i was born in the wrong decade.

From John Peel:

'Teenage Kicks' came on the radio, and I had to pull the car over to the side of the road. There's nothing you could add to it or subtract from it that would improve it.

...i couldn't have said it better myself.

Listen, but don't watch (this is for ears and hearts only):

Flaming June.

May Grey is over; we're officially in June Gloom season. If i hear the words, "jeez, where's the sun at?" or "yeah, what crappy weather we're having, huh?" one more time, i might just lose it once and for all.

In other news: June is Birthday Month. Did you guys know that? Does anyone else know what i'm talking about? There are five big ones this month (that i can think of right now, anyway), plus me and Nat's anniversary. Phew. It's gonna be hectic.

Not to mention that the county fair is coming up... yay! Let's see, last year Marilena did the bungee jump, and the year before that we ate deep-fried Snickers and ogled gemstones all night long. Wonder what this year will have in store. (i can't believe we're in year three down here in SoCal. What a world.)

i helped a minimum of 3 incredibly intoxicated individuals on Sunday (one of them tried to sneak-attack a pigeon), and on Friday afternoon i met a woman named Purple. She asked me if i was a Gemini, to which i replied, "no, but i do have Gemini rising." she goes, "well, obviously!" as if that explained everything, or that she had known all along. Come on, lady. i enjoy astrology/tarot just as much as the next gal, but don't embarrass yourself. No, i shouldn't be cruel. She was actually really nice, and i realized that i was heading down a road where i might end up just like her some day: still riding a bicycle at age 50+, still wearing too much eye makeup, and possibly enjoying the color purple a little too much (as in: her plush bike seat, leg-warmers, shirt, backpack, eye shadow, handlebar streamers, etc.). But it's okay. i hope to remain free-spirited and young at heart. It's sort of what keeps me going, especially on days when North Korea is testing long-range missiles, the Taliban kidnaps hundreds of schoolchildren, and an entire passenger jet is lost at sea.

The insomnia does tend to set in... what are we doing with our lives?

Are you happy with the way you spend your time?

What are you really supposed to be doing?

Does it really matter what anyone should be doing?

Sometimes i am alarmed by the broadening gaps in my thought processes. Where short, neuron-rich connections used to spark and fly, i am noticing myself more and more drift away along long, echoing misty chasms that twist and spiral along (seemingly endlessly) with the grooves of my neural flesh. Kind of like "the Nothing" from Neverending Story.

But enough rambling. here it is. Happy June.

Thursday, May 28

non-sequiturs, for sures.

The national spelling bee is tonight!

Normally i don't close on Thursdays, but a co-worker is enjoying a much-deserved vacation in Costa Rica, so it's off to work i go, in just a few minutes here. If i manage to close at 8:00 on the dot (basically impossible), and pedal home furiously without hitting any red lights (also impossible), then i will only miss about 20 minutes or so. Hmph. Right now i'm kind of wishing that Costa Rica didn't exist.

Found a 'y' in a small branch on the sidewalk; it looks just like a snail's adorable eye stalks. Also, there was an "x" in two cast away palm frond leaves at work the other day. Perfect as can be. i was tempted to stand on them, but sometimes when "x" marks the spot, it is not in a good way.

Found out i am an "eternalist", which means that i believe the past, present, and future are all true and real... unfortunately, i realized afterward that i don't really believe in the measurement of time at all, so this label is basically null.

Once, in middle school, i noticed a weird smell emanating from the kitchen. It was coming from the big, low, sliding drawer where we kept all of our potatoes. i went to check it out, because i hadn't watched enough horror movies yet.

i slid open the drawer carefully. It was very heavy.

i opened the hinged top.

And then my world was only fruit flies.

A great, disgusting swarm of them streamed out, heading right for my eyeballs, nostrils, and other soft places. i gagged at the smell and ran screaming into the backyard with my arms waving maniacally. Turns out some of our potatoes had gone rotten, and were just sitting there in that dark drawer, deliquescing. A lone fruit fly must have discovered this treasure, and thus the Great Fruit Fly Army was born. Just thinking about them down there, replicating, really skeeves me out. It also makes me think that we probably just should have eaten more goddamn potatoes that week. Ever since that day, i have had a huge problem with fruit flies... i would rather have my kitchen overrun with ants, or even tarantulas. ::shudder::

So i am reading The Kite Runner (fabulous book, so far!) these days. When the light from our star lamp hits the title words on the book's cover, it creates an amazing, otherworldly red. It is as if the letters are suddenly made of neon, or volcanically lit from within. As if the book itself was filled with bright, red-hot magma. i swear i must have sat there for five minutes, ruminating on this. Where is my mind? To be fair, it was past one in the morning, and tired is as tired does.

Bye for now.

Thursday, May 21

Aaron Koblin

Take a gander at Ten Thousand Cents.

Using Amazon's Mechanical Turk service, Mr. Koblin has digitally rendered a one-hundred-dollar bill by parceling it out to be drawn by ten thousand random people in one tiny increment each, with fascinating results.

The end visual aspect is quite pleasing, especially if you have done this sort of artwork yourself (block-by-block type of stuff; not knowing what the finished product is supposed to be). The bill looks pretty great. But take a closer look, and you will see the variety within: the spot-on squares, alone with the mistakes.

Some of the participants took their work very seriously, considering the penny they were paid for their output. They went for color gradations, texture, scale– the whole shebang. Others almost seemed as if they couldn't be bothered to finish their tiny square: either they gave up right away, or even after what seemed like a solid initial effort. At times you may wonder what led the person to put down the mouse. Did their boss walk in? Teakettle begin to boil? Internet connection severed? We will never know. But watching these squares (okay okay, rectangles!) take shape before your eyes offers some interesting insights into human behavior.

If you are like me, you'll go for the (seemingly) blank, beige areas first, and marvel at how far some people go to get it just so. Then start clicking on each obviously-errant block to see why and how the mistakes were made. Watching as some folks take the hardest path possible can be maddening, indeed. It is balanced by the ones who take their time, consider the brush shape and size they will use, and then if they make it to a 3rd color, you know that they are in it to win it.

Have fun!


If you have a few moments (okay, more like half an hour), sit with a cup of coffee and listen to some music while you watch the slideshow of winners' shots from the 2009 New York Photo Festival.

Just to give you fair warning, there is some unpleasantry. Birth defects, homelessness, stark death. But you will find joy, along with the pain.

My favorites were Elliot Ross's Animals series (those eyes!), Tyler Brown's single shot "Filamentis" (if anyone can tell me what this is a photo of i will love you dearly), Ernesto Bazan's photo book Cuba (multi-faceted wowness), and another photo book called Strangely Familiar: Acrobats, Athletes, and other Traveling Troupes.

i was also quite struck by student Ed Ou's honorable mention piece for the "Social Documentary Essay" category, Under a Nuclear Cloud. As i mentioned above, these are a bit hard to look at, but i have always been intensely drawn to the ramifications of the human race's development (and eventual use and misuse) of nuclear energy. Lastly, student Patrik Budenz's photo book Post Mortem knocked my socks off. At first i could barely look at these clear, intimate portraits of bodily death, but then i realized that this is a basic truth, pure and simple. So i began to see them through another lens, a photographer's lens. They are great shots, no doubt about it. The subject matter is (for me, at least) hard to grapple with, but i was able to set it aside, for the most part. There is still mystery in the simplicity of it all.

One of the truly amazing things about photography is the ability for those images to grab more than one individual and join them together somehow, even though geographically (and spiritually, socially) they may be thousands of miles apart. i don't doubt that there were others around the globe watching these same images along with me, and feeling their minds open up as their thoughts began to travel..... to travel..........

Anyway, here is a nice image of some daffodils (narcissus?) to make everything better. Toodles.


Tuesday, May 19

( ( (:vibrations:) ) )

So there was an earthquake 'round these parts on Saturday night. A magnitude 4.7, which is certainly not a whopper, but enough to make you look a little more closely at how secure your bookcases are.

We were out having dinner at the time, with a group of fine feathered folks, to say goodbye to a dear friend who is leaving the country. At one point i noticed something odd hanging from the rafters above a fellow dining-companion's head.

Allison, i said, if there's an earthquake, just make sure you move backwards really quickly!

She looked up and laughed. An odd, wrought-iron candelabra of sorts was dangling a few feet above her, holding two spoons and two (rather sharp-looking) forks.

When we found out later that night that there'd been a tremor around the same time we'd all been having dinner, she and i looked at each other immediately across the room.

What in the...?

Later, at an apartment gathering (the natural extension of many dinner-parties), i was outside on the back porch having a cigarette with friends, admiring a particularly robust and delicious-looking basil plant. Inspired, i pinched a leaf off, rubbed it between my fingers a bit, and threw it into my vodka-and-guava juice cocktail. Success! The basil flavor was not quite as strong as i'd hoped, and my explanation was offered up as we headed inside: well, it's not muddled, but it'll have to do.

Now, the very minute Nat's head popped into the living room through the sliding glass door, the first words he heard were "muddled basil". He stopped short, looked back at me with wide eyes. Entering the room, i asked the guy who'd uttered the phrase if he had just seen me drop the basil leaf into my drink.


i don't even think he knew there was a basil plant out there. We were all a bit mystified, to say the least. i already have the crystal ball and the Tarot cards, now i just need to work on honing my skills.

(unless word gets out, and someone decides to persecute me for being a 'witch'. that would certainly put a damper on things.)

Saturday, May 16

the tang of memory.

well, well!

Nat's mom bestowed upon us a couple of lovely little treasures, the Book of Trees and Wild Animals of North America. Both are diminutive in size, the latter no bigger than a postcard, and the bindings have begun to crumble away, revealing old stitches and yellowing glue. A (rather naughty) boy named Phillip William Knight was presumably the original recipient of these two teensy tomes; he has scribbled over more than half of the pages in Wild Animals, including the (now faded) color illustrations, but thankfully left the nicer color plates in the Book of Trees untouched.

The Book of Trees appears to have been published in 1939, and features such informative tidbits as: How a Twig Grows, Cross Section of a Leaf, How Fruit Trees are Grafted, and White Pine Board (showing grain).

Front and back covers:

Inside pages:

(i chose the paper birch for you guys because it is maybe my favorite tree. When i was a kid i would collect the catkins and sprinkle them as fairy dust into my multitudinous potions.)

Wild Animals of North America is much more basic, but no less enthralling. i can't find out when this one was published, but if you ever needed a basic run-down on the Ocelot, Marten, Chipmunk or Alaskan Fur Seal, this is your go-to guide.

(i decided upon the musk-ox here because, well, just look at the drawing! Outstanding.)

We can forgive them their mouldy odors because it is so stirring to imagine all of the eager pairs of eyes that have pored through their pages. Young, impressionable brains, hungry for knowledge, back in a time when the natural world was more revered than it is today. i only wish we had kept sacred much more of that respect, but one can always hope for a resurgence?

('scuse the weird image-editing. i'm not so great at this yet.)