Saturday, January 31

Lump slipped on a kiss and she tumbled into love

Wow. Lots of bad news today... sometimes i have to be reminded that i am actually lucky to live in this country; you know- in a country with freedom of speech? Yeah. That's always nice.

In other news: went on a [slightly drug-addled] long walk with Nat yesterday. i met him up on campus, where he was waiting for me in the grad student lounge, avoiding a colloquium that he probably should have been attending. But girlfriends are more important, right? Hah- that's pretty rich. Truth is, we are only more important sometimes ;)

Grabbed some Cracker Jacks (PRIZE INSIDE!) and a banana, among other things, and raced off to beat the sunset. This task was not accomplished, as i had sadly arrived on campus late thanks to San Diego's fabulous(ly shitty) transportation system. We hurried down the hill to the Scripps Institute, where we thought we felt an earthquake but it turned out to be a jogger on the pedestrian suspension bridge connected to the building, which is itself a sprawling '70s-style (er, late '60s, apparently) open-area complex with tons of wood and balconies everywhere. Pretty nice, and the sky after sunset was certainly lovely enough. Sort of a persimmon stripe near the horizon, with Venus and the waxing crescent moon continuing their nightly duet further up in the sky.

i took a bunch of night-time photos with a roll of (400 speed) color Kodak film that expired in 1997 (it was in the camera bag my dad gave me this past x-mas); definitely tried not to get attached to any of those shots, because who the hell knows what expired film is going to do? i guess we'll find out.

Opened the Cracker Jacks, and the prize was slightly more interesting than the crap pencil-topper we got last time (a goofy-looking spelunker; please tell me, how does that make sense on a pencil?): one side had a disgusting drawing of a clam who looked like he had been drinking for ten days, and the flip side had a Ren and Stimpy-esque drawing of a cow who was looking suspiciously to his right, and believe me when i say that a sketchier pair of eyes has never been, well, sketched. We folded the paper along the creases as instructed and then- voila! the animals were 'talking'. Wow, thanks. It was so gross-looking; we ended up leaving it on the bus for someone else to be slightly disturbed by, after i gave the clam purple lipstick and long eyelashes in a failed attempt to make it palatable.

Eventually we made our way down to the shoreline, but before we leaped off the concrete wall to the sand below, a small swarm of strange creatures began heading toward us, gliding swiftly and effortlessly across the sand. We stared: what in the hell were they? Rats? Birds? Another couple on the beach was having the same internal discussion. They stared on from the water side. Eventually we realized that it was a group of small shore birds, probably about forty or fifty, and because it was so dark we couldn't see their legs. It was a bit like watching air hockey, but if the pucks were birds and all moving in formation, or like watching the motion of a school of fish, but on land.... it was fuckin' weird the way they seemed to glide and float that way. i took a couple of flash photos, but what we really needed was a video camera to convey the motion of these guys. It was so strange. They also had this adorable way of intermittently hopping up into the air.

Down the beach a ways (it was so dark i couldn't even see my feet hitting the sand), a gaggle of high school kids were hanging out by one of the fire pits. Friday night antics. Two girls broke off and ran towards the water, where their conversation went something like this:

#1: Oh my god, is that a-
#2: YES!
#1: Oh my god, it is!!!
#2: I TOLD YOU!!
Both together: AHAHAHAHAHA!! ::running and squealing back to friends::

Then they came back with camera phones and began to take pictures of the thing in question, laughing and cackling the whole time, while running and prancing halfway away like fucking idiots. Turns out it was a dead seal on the beach, which apparently is the most hilarious thing in the world for these assholes. Nat and i were basically filled with rage. Eventually we came upon a swanky hotel/restaurant (barf, who wants to watch boxing and basketball while they wine and/or dine?), where we asked to use their phone and call animal control. ::sigh:: kids these days! But seriously: i'd like to think that if we stuck around, at least one of those kids would have some decency and actually feel bad for the poor thing? Maybe even tell their friends to show a little respect? Orrrrrrrrr maybe not.

Um, where was i? Oh yeah. Ended up at a Starbucks, where i'm pretty sure the guy put our caps on backward deliberately, and Nat's drink leaked all over his hand. Hm. Then we walked through La Jolla, where i stole a sweet pea sprig from someone's yard, and held it up to my nose for like half an hour straight. We went into a couple of art galleries, which was mostly enjoyable. Took to some classical paintings of copper pots and lemons, told the gallery owners wed be back when we were rich and famous. i bailed on eating dinner at a fairly fancy Italian restaurant because, well, i'm a fucking anxiety case. There were too many well-dressed couples and even someone singing opera, which was really beautiful, but sort of overwhelming. Then some young guy walks by and sees us looking at the menu, and goes, "It's really good. Seriously, i get take-out from here every night." i thought that was pretty cute, but i was still too freaked. Ugh, why do i always get so scared when i'm in a chi-chi area? Is it because i have multiple safety pins holding my backpack strap on? Or that my shoes are well-worn? That my nails are bitten to the quick? The huge amount of eye makeup that i hide behind? Not sure, but whatever it is, i'm fucking sick of it. Not that i really want to hang out in these uppity spots, but you know. It would be nice not to panic at the sight of high heels and well-groomed hairdos.


Had a hankering for nachos on the bus ride home. Whipped up the whole deal: refried beans, fake ground beef, avocado, tomato, sour cream, black olives, jalapeños, tomatillo salsa, and of course, cheese. Lots and lots of sharp cheddar. Also, reminded myself not to get that kind of blue corn chips again, because never in my life have i seen so much salt! Jesus, Mary and Joseph.. Is there a way to remove salt from those? Enjoyed our nachos with a bottle each of Jarritos (tamarindo for nat and mandarina for me) while we watched Lust, Caution on Netflix. Thought it was Wong Kar-Wai, turned out to be Ang Lee. It's still good though! Totally enjoying it, plus it has Joan Chen, whom nat recognized from Twin Peaks. Yeah.

To reduce the risk of actually boring anyone to death, i'm going now. See y'all on the flip side.

Wednesday, January 28

i killed my dinner with karate

Hm, i just heard a newsman talking about the passage of the stimulus package, and he referred to "President Obama". i actually started. Guess it finally sank in! In other news: Republicans are big babies*:

The US House of Representatives has passed President Barack Obama's $825bn (£576bn) economic stimulus package.

Passed by 244 votes to 188, no Republicans backed the plan, saying it was too expensive and would not work.

It must now be approved by the Senate, where it could face stiff opposition as the Democrats have a slimmer majority.

After the vote, Mr Obama urged members of Congress not to "drag our feet or allow the same partisan differences to get in our way".


Yeah, it kinda goes like this: you can't please everyone, all of the time. Why don't we just try a little, here? Grow up. And more tax cuts? Fuck, why don't we just say that no one should ever have to pay anything, anywhere? That would certainly please them, and in turn they would kiss and re-elect your sorry asses, until the roads started crumbling and emergency services were shut down. Then they would be after your head. Why is it so hard for people to pay money for THINGS THEY USE IN THE COUNTRY THEY LIVE IN?

Also: why are we giving Israel money? i'm just curious, considering that they are bombing people with weapons we gave them- oh wait, that's right up our alley, actually. But seriously. Why is this still happening? i mean fuck, i'm not saying we should support Hamas instead, i simply propose a world-wide agreement in which any and all countries actively involved in a war/military move/coup/etc. etc. should be denied any funds. Would that be so hard? Punish the punishers.

Wow, am i insane? Posting something politically charged? Great, now i'm going to piss someone off. Ah, well. Such is life. This is what happens when i drink too much coffee and then listen to the news. Sorry, folks.
One more thing: Can we just put Blagojevich in his own monkey cage at the zoo? i think he needs some serious humility.

Okay okay, i'm done, i swear. i'm off to bicycle some of this rage out.

*Sorry, that was lame. i know more than a few lovely Republicans. It was just for ranting's sake.

Monday, January 26

Dear KALX DJs,

If you're going to play a song, and the band name is hard for you to pronounce? Yeah, new rule: Instead of saying "i'm not even going to try and pronounce this..." can you actually just fucking give it a go instead? i am so sick of this. Some of us actually listen to the radio because we desire new music and then what do you give us? A tease and no further information.


Come on, just embarrass yourself instead. It's no big deal, i promise! i do it all the time.

No one you know.

p.s.) Thanks in advance.

Saturday, January 24

Saturday used to mean cartoons and tree sap

Huh. For some reason, i really hate the people on Flickr whose profile photos are of themselves holding a camera up to a mirror, taking a picture of their own face. UGH! Why do you do this, people?!

(although, is that any less irritating than using a photo of a seahorse that you found somewhere on the internet? not sure.)

For some reason i'm in a mood today, no big surprise though. Gaining weight from not smoking; it's been just over three weeks now. i need to get out of the damn house and ride my bike, is what i need to do. Took home some flowers from work yesterday- seems like my whole (measly!) paycheck goes towards flowers sometimes... i guess it all balances out in the end? I'll take a picture and then someday far far away i will get the film developed and you can see the black beauties, freesias, tuberoses, belles of ireland, and the silver vase. It will be fan-fucking-tastic.

Got lost on this Flickr photostream today... do you ever just want to be someone else for awhile? Of course you do.

Hafta buy Nat a new chair today. Someone put a sign up in the lobby for a pretty blue stuffed office-type chair for only ten bucks! There's gotta be something wrong with it, but i don't have a car and i need a chair, so i takes my chances.

Well, the birds are chirping outside, like, "get a f*!%@in' move on!" So move i do.

p.s.) Saw a good movie last night, The Lives of Others. Made me crave more info on the fall of the Berlin Wall, or rather life in East/West Berlin beforehand... what a fucked up world we live in! Why are things so split off like that? And who the fuck do people think they are? Honestly. But yeah, it is a pretty engrossing film, i highly recommend it.
Although the main actor looked a lot like Kevin Spacey, which was fucking me up for some reason.

p.p.s.) Yesterday there were some damn fools in front of the grocery store selling cosmetics, of all things (to sell on a folding table in front of a health food store on a Friday afternoon). They saw me coming out and must have had collective heart-attacks to see who could savage me first... i told them no thank you, and then good luck!, but with a rude face, after they continued to hound me. Can you just please take a hint? Beyond that, can you just please fuck off and die? And as i walked away, i heard the strains of a Genesis song on their little portable boombox. hahahahaha, wow! It's like they knew exactly what would hurt me the most.

Thursday, January 22

Um, can i have this dress?

i've been throwing around a fairy tale in my head for some time now, and this fits right in...

(here is some of her other lovely papery stuff.)

Wednesday, January 21


It's official: we are going to S.F. on the weekend of Feb. 6-8 for the S.F. Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt!! i am so excited, i can barely contain myself... not sure where we are staying yet, though, which is a (small) source of concern. Do we wanna stay in a hostel in S.F., and be right where the action is? Or stay with friends in the East Bay, and intrude up on their privacy? It's a tough call. i can't freakin' wait.

Insert Title Here.

Well, on the plus side, i had a most excellent bike ride with Nat and his dad on Sunday evening. Stopping for food, however, was most abominable. Let's just say that beach tourists can't understand why anyone would ever NOT wear as few clothes as possible. Also, remember staring problems? They still exist.

In any case, we probably rode about 5 miles one way, then turned around to head back to the car. (There is a loooong path right above the beach, which we took from Hermosa up past LAX.) As we neared the place where it all began, the sun was setting, and it was absolutely amazing. Speaking of staring problems, we stared at the sun a lot. (ha, ha: once, in high school, i dropped acid and sat staring at the sun as it went down. Don't ever do that, please.) It seemed to take forever to go down, which was fine with us... the whole world around us was glowing with pink and orange and coral hues, turning to roses and violets and eventually the light was leaving and the grass began to exude that sharp, eveningtime smell that it gets when it starts to cool off. i was listening to "I Love A Man In A Uniform", by Gang of Four (groovin' song!), and then, because i am super cheesy (and because it came on right afterwards on Shuffle mode), "She's So High" by Tal Bachman. Ah, the nineties.
Anyway, the sunset reminded Nat and i of Sirena Beach, from Super Mario Sunshine, if any of you have ever played that game. It was lovely, like a dream.

Some minuses of our trip included eating quite possibly the worst meal of my life at an English Pub in San Pedro, and getting extremely mad at Nat's parents for micro-managing me in the kitchen while we were all making lunch on Monday afternoon. Blame it on the PMS; i actually walked out of the room. :/ Never had that problem with his parents before.

Some pluses, though, were getting to watch Labyrinth again after all these years, and re-watching some X-Files gag reels that Nat's sister owns. So hilarious. And what is the deal with Labyrinth? Her wicked stepmother tells her that she wishes she would date: lady, the girl is like fourteen years old! What in the hey? But anyway. We all love David Bowie and his balls. (Go on, click it- i'm not a perv.)

We also got to open some belated x-mas gifts, which were wonderful: Nat's sis gave me Anne of Green Gables on DVD (::swoon::), and Nat the book on astrophysics that Brian May (of Queen!) co-wrote. Too cool! Nat's mom gave me my very first pop-up book, of The Nutcracker, which i am utterly enthused about. i don't know why it took so long for me to have one of these; i love them so much! And we got some cute English-themed (always!) fridge magnets: Nat's was a jar of Marmite, and mine was a ration card from WWII. His mom is so cute :) Also, they always do the christmas stockings thing, where you get a bunch of chocolates and nuts and fruit and small gifts all in one container, and it is so much fun. We never did that in my family, but i'm hoping to do it for my kids (if i ever have any).

Um, anything else? Hm. Did i watch the inauguration? Nope. Know why? i guess i'm not one for ceremony. Especially not state ceremonies that are rife with religious under(or is it over?)tones. ::shrug:: Call me a wet blanket, i don't care. Isn't it enough that i am thrilled for our new president? i am not totally naïve, though. i know he will disappoint a lot of us. i know he will be different than he presented himself to be. But they all do that, don't they? Par for the course, at this point. i guess i'm trying not to be too hopeful, lest i get let down. The earlier in his campaign, the more i liked him, and i am pretending like everything is going to be fine. Just fine! He has a lot of work ahead of him. Of course we wish him luck ;) At least now i am not ashamed to be an American, at least not as much.

Until next time.

p.s.) On making an "Animals" playlist, i went in thinking that Cat would be predominant. How wrong i was! Apparently (in my music library, anyway), it's Horse, Dog, and then various Birds (Swan, Raven, Sparrow, Chicken, Eagle, etc.), followed by varieties of Fish/Sea life (Herring, Lobster, Octopus, Starfish, and so on). Who knew?

Saturday, January 17

Zippy Monkeyfanny + Temporary Spastic 4 Eva!

(Do you remember the Wu Tang Clan Name Generator? Holy shit, that's great.)

Goin' to Los Angeles tomorrow morning. Takin' the train. (I'm sure i'll be listening to Eagles of Death Metal the whole way there.) Fun fun fun! The most exciting part will be sitting on the left side of the car, so i can watch the coast for half the trip. Lovely. Oh, and we got a new Harper's in the mail, which means a new Harper's puzzle for me to tackle. Does life get any better? Do i get excited about the stupidest things? Probably.

Time always seems... slower at Nat's parents' house. And there are cats, which is nice. And windchimes. Will report back on Monday, if there is anything to tell!

(wow, i love my list of "L" tags: David Lynch, hairy legs, laptop, Las Vegas, Legos, life is lovely, list, literature, Long Walk, Los Angeles, lost luggage. Quite a mélange.)

Thursday, January 15

The great wide world.

Here is a nice video to watch if you would like to be on the edge of your seat for about 6 and a half minutes:

And here is one from some wacky Japanese show (aren't they all?) showcasing the amazing defensive posturing and aggressive pomp of the Southern White-faced Scops Owl:

Last but not least, i have finally put aside my (misguided?) fear and distrust of dolphins, thanks to this astonishing water ballet:


Wednesday, January 14

People stop and stare, they don't bother me.

For x-mas, my sister gave me two tins of lovely Russian tea that they sell at her work. Went to the cupboard this mornin', to make a cup- but i could only find one of the tins, and it was (of course) not the one i was pining for. What the hell? A search of basically the entire apartment was fruitless... then i remembered:

i left it on the freakin' plane.

Now let me tell you something, folks: don't put shit in the seatback flap in front of you when you're on an airplane, okay? Not even for a nanosecond. None of that "oh, i'll just put this here for a second while i-" bullshit. Because it is not for a second- it is for fucking ever. The minute your hand leaves that item, it is gone. For serious. You will never see that thing again. Those who have done it know exactly what i am talking about. And did i learn when i lost my lens cap on the way to Hawaii years and years ago, DID I? Nope. It's like Bushy says: "Fool me once, shame on- shame on you. Fool me- you can't get fooled again!"

This all being said, it's just a fucking tin of tea and i should really get over it.


As much as i detest the film My Fair Lady, it does have some awfully adorable songs in it. After having my first cup of coffee in almost 2 weeks (!), i found myself in the kitchen singing a hammed-up version of "On the Street Where You Live". Good times. Not embarrassing at all, nope nope. The reasoning behind all of this is that when i first met Nat, almost 9 years ago, he used to sing these two songs and i thought it was the cutest thing ever, of course. Too bad i then watched the movie, though. Ick. The ending had me in a rage, much like the sentiment behind the song "Love the One You're With".

Oh, really? You've "grown accustomed to her face"? How darling. Nothing says true love better than a woman bringing a man his slippers. Barf.


After this bout of singing musical numbers, i moved on to "Johnny Get Angry", then realized that i have a million* other 'Johnny' songs. Time for another playlist!

>Johnny Angel ~Shelley Fabares
>Johnny Sunshine ~Liz Phair
>Goodbye Johnny ~Gun Club
>I'm Straight ~Jonathan Richman ("Hippie Johnny" in lyrics like 50 times)
>Little Johnny Jewel ~Siouxsie & The Banshees
>Sleep Walk ~Santo and Johnny (okay, this one was a reach.)
>Johnny, Are You Queer? ~Josie Cotton
>Johnny Get Angry ~Joanie Sommers
*"a million" may have been a slight, slight exaggeration.

Well, off for an evening bike ride to burn off some of this caffeine... and to try not to think about cigarettes. What am i, zen all of a sudden? (My mom used to sometimes say, try and run around the house ten times without thinking of a wolf. It was supposedly some sort of zen exercise... zany!)

Monday, January 12

The real surreal life.

Stayed up 'til 7:00 am last night (?!), helping Nat type his paper. He left it until the last possible minute, which is how we found ourselves in that sitch. But i always like to help when i can... it's not like i've got a whole lot else goin' on.
Basically, Nat is an old-fashioned type of guy: he still hand-writes all of his papers, then types them up. To most people, especially in this golden age of The Laptop, that is a complete and utter waste of energy. But this is simply how he rolls. So while he sat on the bed, consulting his texts and scribbling away, sometimes feverishly crossing off whole paragraphs at a time, looking dazed for minutes at a time and smoking a cig every thirty minutes, i was up here at the table, faithfully working my way through subject matter that was simply beyond me.
A lot of the time, i can (pretty) easily follow what Nat is saying in his papers, even if i have no background in his topic (quantum mech, physics, logic), because it is an essay. It just follows. And he is a good writer- gets A's, across the board. But for whatever reason, last night i was strugglin'. Typing each page was taking me upwards of a half an hour! What the hell?!

Sample sentence:

On the other hand, acts which are merely about individual things and their individual moments are not categorial, even though they might exhibit the logical structure of subject-predicate.

or wait! Here's an even better one:

If Husserl is here saying that a categorial act yields a general concept from particular founding acts, then all that remains for this to be transformation is for this general concept of a relation to be turned into a concept of the same property possessed by the relata.

...uhhhh, yeah. That is so true. Anyway, that's why he's the thinker, and i'm just the typer. The unfortunate end result of all of this was that i got to hit the hay at seven, whereas Nat had to stay up and edit the damn thing, then actually go to school from 11 to 6:30. :/ Yeesh. it is awful, running on no sleep, and i hate the thought of him out there trying to cross the street and such. Such is the life of a grad student, i suppose... if they don't suffer for their papers, then who will read them knowingly, scratching their chins and nodding their heads in interested agreement?

Hands on a typewriter

Sunday, January 11

It's a small world.... after all.

Three examples (in ascending order):

1) A few years ago, i was at a get-together. You know the kind: my sister's co-worker was having a housewarming party. There was lots of beer, an awesome soundtrack playing loudly from the crappy boombox in the (dirty) kitchen, and tons of fashionable, hip people i didn't know. We spent most of the night in the hostess's bedroom, playing with her fat, orange cat and talking about books and music; generally hiding from everyone. As the one o'clock hour approached, suddenly a bunch of people were sitting on the floor near our little group, talking animatedly. i turned an ear over to their conversation and heard little snippets, which began to slowly fill me with a creeping dread: Have you heard from Caty recently? -Ugh, that fucking suckup. i went to culinary school with her, and she's such a snob! -Yeah, i just saw her on some stupid cable-access show, showing that shitty bakery where she works and all of those crappy cakes she makes. -Yeah, anyone here could bake a better cake than her! That bakery sucks. Their cakes are so dry and awful. -Seriously, if i wanted tasteless, rock-hard butter spread on dry bread, that's where i'd go. ::laughter, laughter::

Oh, MY god. They're talking about a woman i work with. That "shitty bakery" is where i work, for fuck's sake. Suddenly i am on the verge of a panic attack. My body is tingling, and i can barely hear what my sister or my boyfriend are talking about. i smile nervously and try to shrink away into nothingness, realizing that if Hilary or Nat hear what the people next to us are saying, the jig is up. They will say something, and i do not want that. i just want to fucking leave- like, now. So i jump up and kind of hint to them that i'm tired and have to work in the morning (at the shittiest bakery on the planet!, my mind cackles insanely), so i'm gonna get going. They seem a little startled, probably wondering why i'm suddenly itching to hie on out, but they are game. The group near us has moved on to talking about comics, or something. Outside, we unlock our bikes and get pedaling. A block away i break my silence, and they are laughing in disbelief. Why didn't you say anything?! they ask me. Ah, for the two people that arguably know me best out of anyone in the world, they don't know me at all.
The funniest part about all of this was that while our bakery was pretty widely-known as a cut above the rest (in terms of pastries, cookies, tartes, eclairs, etc.), our cakes really did suck. They were just not very good, and desperately needed (still need?) to be updated. So even though i basically agreed with these people, could i bring up the hilariousness of it all and have a laugh with them, these complete strangers? Nope. Absolutely not.

Sometimes i wish i was someone else.

2) A girl i work with right now (Apes) at the flower shop was running in the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco this past October. She invited me along, as she was driving up and knew that i missed my hometown (Berkeley, actually, but anywhere near the Bay is close enough!) and would love to get up there for a visit. So of course i accepted, to cheer her on and to visit my best friend up there. In the days before we left San Diego, we got to discussing San Francisco. i asked her if she had ever been up there, and her answer was Only once.
Apparently she was passing through with some friends years ago and her one desire was to go out to a live music show on the one night they were there. They ended up at some dive-y place, listening to a terrible band called The Vanishing. Apes said: i remember the name because my friend commented: 'God, i wish The Vanishing would just vanish!!'
So, at this point in her story i was grinning wickedly. What, what?!? Apes asked me. i shook the blush from my cheeks and offered up the nugget of truth: Hey Apes, guess what me and Nat's favorite local band was back in the day when we lived up there?
Oh my god. She looked at me with giant eyes. Heather, i'm so sorry!!
i was falling on her laughing, now. It's okay! Hey, different strokes for different folks, you know? i can understand why someone wouldn't like them, absolutely- they are very noisy and the singer was a bit of a prima donna, anyway i just think it's funny that you got to see them! i wonder if we were even at the same show...!
(they were fairly short-lived and this was back in 2001 or so, and Nat and i were so sad when they broke up and/or moved to Germany.)

3) The craziest one for me, though, happened on my first or second day of work at my last job, a French bakery (see part 1, above :P) in Oakland. It was 8:30 or so, half an hour after we'd opened, and i was high on No Sleep and New Job. We were very busy, but i was having a good time. i send a customer off with a bag full of various combinations of flour, butter, and sugar, and make eye contact with the next person in line. He comes up to the counter, a short, dark-haired man in jeans and a dress shirt. What can i get for ya? i smile and raise my eyebrows. Uhhh, excuse me, this is strange question... were you just in Paris? comes out, in a thick French accent. He looks almost shell-shocked or something. i became absolutely breathless in a matter of seconds. People nearby are kind of staring out of the corner of their eyes, and pretending not to listen to this strange exchange. Yes! i say, incredulous. We just got back a month and a half ago! We went to Europe for 2 weeks! And we were in Paris for a few days How did you know that?! He smiles at me as he pulls out his wallet. Because i live there! And i saw you, in front of the Notre Dame one day! You were with a... rather tall gentleman ::holds his hand way above his head:: Wow. i was just reeling, it was really way too weird for words. He said he was visiting the Bay Area on business, and had heard about this bakery and thought he would try it. How amazing, honestly. We just smiled and smiled at each other, as people around us shared in the moment. When he left with his pastries, weaving through the crowd towards the front door, i knew i would never see him again. But it was a great feeling, for some reason. And i never even got his name.

Saturday, January 10


Alright, so i was in a dolorous mood last night, and decided to make a Sad Songs playlist, à la Guy Maddin. (Wow, i just totally learned how to type characters with a French accent. Coolio.)

Along the way, i realized that half the songs i was choosing could easily go on a Dreamy playlist, something i've been meaning to make for Nat as a study aid when he needs to put the old headphones on. So after putting lots of Cat Power, Low, Magnetic Fields, and PJ Harvey on the first one, i hoped the second one would be more diverse. Incorrect! After the thousandth Cocteau Twins song, and the hundredth by My Bloody Valentine and the third Mazzy Star selection, it was even more specialized. Ah well- praise be to the Shuffle option!

In any case. Have you listened to Low? i only have Things We Lost in the Fire, but what an album it is. To understand better what it sounds like, imagine an even slower, more wistful Sufjan Stevens. i know what you're thinking: is that even possible? Well, yes. Yes it is. They might even be a tad more lo-fi, but i'm not positive. Once i listened to Sufjan's "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" while smoking a cigarette outside a strip mall in Las Vegas, staring at a tree blowing in the wind, with huge cumulus clouds in the background, and i almost lost my mind.

(In a good way.)

That's all for now.

Wednesday, January 7

Feelin' fine.

After being sick for a week, i think it is gone, gone, gone. My sister pointed out that my sudden stoppage of nicotine inhalation may be adding some uncomfortable elements to my current lung snafu... anyway, i've coughed up some pretty nasty stuff (don't you love reading this?) and been inside for about five days now, so yeah. Think i'm ready to hit the great wide world now, with my new, amazing (hopefully) lungs.

It also came to my attention that i haven't had any coffee since January first, which sincerely amazes me. It's just that when i'm sick, even the thought of a cup of joe sort of makes my skin crawl. So should i use this as an opportunity to wean myself off of the black stuff? Not that i drink it black, in fact i prefer milk and sugar- brown- sugar.. but still. Someone as high-strung as me probably doesn't need to be imbibing any caffeinated beverages on the whole. Hm. i think i'm gonna go with it. See if i can mellow out a little, which would indeed be nice. Walking down the street without feeling like i'm going to have a panic attack for absolutely no reason would be a welcome change, that's for sure.

Also, hooray: my chapped hands have finally healed up. For some reason, while we were up North, the skin on my knuckles got seriously fucking fucked. At the airport on the way home, i was fairly certain that people were avoiding me because they didn't want to catch whatever i had... what they didn't know was that i was merely lotion-deprived, and had probably washed too many dishes and made too many snowballs. Seriously: it was gnarly.

And i forgot to tell you all about one of the most fun things we did on our winter vacation: the Redneck Dog Run. (those are my sister's words, so it's okay.)
On the second night we were there, Hilary drove Nat and i and three dogs up to a remote road in the snowy wilds. i squeezed in the back of the tiny Nissan truck with Eris, Hilary's brown-sugar with bat-ears pit bull, and Nat got the shottie. Her bf's two black lab (with some Newfoundland? anyway, they had big paws) adorables rode in the bed, tongues lolling in the icy cold. We were trying to beat the light, but failed, and ended up running the dogs in the blue half-light that is my favorite time of day, and into the darkness.

Basically once you're at the beginning of the road, you let the dogs out, and start the car and drive. We probably topped out at fifteen or twenty, the dogs racing along in front of us almost the whole time. They are leaving lovely tracks in the (no longer) unspoiled snow on the side of the road, which reminds me of Winnie the Pooh for some reason. Eris actually manages to look small next to Zeke and Jack, and when they bound ahead of her she shifts gears and always regains her ground. Eventually, Eris and Zeke run off the road somewhere, where we lose track of them for about 15 minutes. We use this time to get out of the car and have a snowball fight, and throw some hunks of ice up in the air for Jack. Why do dogs love this game so much? No matter. We love it too.
Driving back down the road, whistling into the cold air for the last 2 dogs, hoping that all is well. Finally a black shape: Jack's brother is back. But where is Eris? Ah, here she is, looking humbled, indeed. We will never know where they were that evening. She hops back in the back of the cab with me, and we all head home. The dogs are tuckered out all night. And i sincerely hope that i get to do this again someday.

p.s.) if you have a lot of free time, and i'm sayin' a LOT, then get lost over at the Weblog Awards. i've found some funny stuff, like Sleeveface and Raymi and my new music blog. And if any of these aren't your cup of tea, there is plenty more where that came from. But honestly, you might lose an afternoon. And an evening, and the wee hours........

Monday, January 5

As someone who grew up with lots of wooden/handmade toys (as well as He-Man and She-Ra dolls, Garbage Pail Kids, and so on), i have a soft spot in my heart for all things crafty, but especially toys.

For instance, we had a small green rolling wooden platform with a space in the middle, where a bright red wooden egg would sit, bumping against the wheels and turning round and round and round, as long as you were moving. Instant happiness! Another favorite was a knitted doll, which was Little Red Riding Hood, The Wolf, and her Grandma all in one (i'm sure i've already described this one to you, no?). i swear sometimes, if i could just get this doll back (we sold it at a garage sale when i was still a kid)...

In any case, the reason i am bringing this all up is because of something distressing i stumbled upon while skipping around the blogworld. It is the CPSIA, and it concerns toy safety and consumer protection. Unfortunately, it is another badly-worded and hastily thought-through law which will undoubtedly hurt many small toy businesses and individuals, most notably craftspeople.

While i understand the need for safety in this area, a quick, panicky blanket will not help things in the right way. i certainly hold out hope that with enough people pointing out the need for an amendment to this public mollification, they may in fact add some provisions. We'll see? Thanks for listening. If you want to read more, click on the bear button on the right-hand side of this page. 35 days left to!

(To be honest, i have absolutely not read the full text of the Act. And maybe it is because i am sick, or have not had coffee or cigarettes in 4 days, but i felt like i should "get involved", by which i mean passively posting a limited amount of information on my tiny blog.)

Sunday, January 4

End of the year gripes.

Well, i've finally flown enough to experience a canceled flight. That's not to say, of course, that such an occurrence couldn't happen to a first-time flier. But it was the manner in which it came to pass that was so... interesting.

We left for our 9:45 p.m. flight a bit late from my mom's house: 8:30. We probably arrived at the airport around 8:50, and we still had to wait in line and check a bag. Problem. Our bag (we were sharing, so we brought our huge one), which i had of course so carefully and precisely packed, weighed a whopping 68 pounds. That's 18 over the limit. Now, the maximum 50-lb. checked bag costs only $15 to fly. The overage we were at was going to cost an extra fifty. So $65 altogether! No thanks. The lady kindly informed us that we could spend $10 and just buy an extra carry-on bag somewhere, and put 18 pounds of stuff into it. We thought about it, then ended up opening the damn bag and removing a bunch of stuff, redistributing it into the carry-ons we already had. Not very fun, but it ended up working out okay.

Ran through security, found a bar, ordered a double vodka-and-ginger ale, and we realized they were beginning to board our flight. Ran to the gate, and- what was this? Every single chair around the gate was empty... there was no activity whatsoever! Had we missed the plane? Impossible! i'd been watching the clock carefully the whole time... suddenly a businessman hurried around us to the guy at the counter of Gate A10. "..canceled..." was the muffled word we heard. The man in front of us looked cranky, and ran off. Turns out there was "poor visibility" (read: fog) at Lindbergh Field in San Diego, so the flight had been canceled a mere ten minutes ago. Which helped to assuage my rage at the fine folks at the ticket counter who had somehow seen fit not to inform us of this fact. Turns out they hadn't known yet.

Well, i found a payphone to call my mom, and Nat went to play a dollar on the nickel slots (yes, in Vegas there are slots by each and every gate). We re-booked for the next day, and went to get our checked bag bag, where we were told that as long as we didn't absolutely need it that night, it was being re-tagged somewhere for our flight the next day. But if we wanted we could wait up to 2 hours for it and then check it in the next day all over again. Nope! We decided to trust them.

Big mistake.

The next day, same rigmarole, only without having to check a bag. Forgot i had a tiny swiss army knife with my carry-on (they hadn't caught it the day before, wtf?!), so i had to "surrender" it. We made it to the gate with plenty of time to spare. Then our plane was an hour late, then it was a tiny Canada Air plane, which freaked me out, and then- AND THEN! We arrived in San Diego. Waited at the carousel. Watched nervously as all of our fellow passengers retrieved their bags and flounced happily away. After a few empty turns, we realized our bag was a no-show.

Horrible, horrible feeling, that is.

Visited the "customer service" desk, where we were "helped" by someone who had no idea where our bag was our when they would find it. i really wish i could say i was nicer to this woman than i was. Basically, they tag the bag when you give it to them, but they can only check on it if it is at an actual airport somewhere. If it anywhere in between, in transit, on a ramp, whatever, they have no clue. So that's not fun.

We left the airport in a grouchy mood, and spent New Year's Eve feeling anxious and annoyed. Miraculously, at five minutes to midnight, we received a call. They had found our bag, wonder of wonders! It was a wonderful feeling, and it felt like a much better way to end the year.

They drove it to our place the next day, and everything was fine. Nat and i postponed our quitting smoking resolution for a day, and went for a long evening walk up by the beach in La Jolla. i felt like i was coming down with something, which could not have been more true. It is now the fourth, and i have been sick for 3 days. Tissues, Ricolas, body aches, sleeping 'til noon. I'm finally hacking up some stuff, which may or may not be related to quitting smoking, which is definitely making me cranky. i remembered it taking a few days for that to kick in, but not this time. i want one, and i want it bad.

Now i'm busy chasing the last of this illness away, drinking lemon juice, honey, cayenne, and ginger infusions. Good times! Anyway, at least now i'm not going to die of lung cancer (apologies to anyone who has lost someone to a smoking-related illness). Hopefully it will stick this time. Right? Right.

Friday, January 2

Montana Adventures!

So i got way too many wonderful gifts on christmas. Stained glass tools, my dad's old camera and its related equipment, books, cds, just wonderful stuff. My mom over-tinseled her side of the tree, which probably drove my sister crazy because she hates tinsel in the first place.

It snowed all day long, truly a "white christmas". i took Nat cross-country skiing at the little place just down the road from our house, which is a golf course during the summer. We fell on the first little downhill, and Nat broke (bent, i should say) his ski pole trying to stop. i myself face-planted into a snowbank, but laughed the whole time. We tried to bend the pole back, but to no avail. He skied the rest of the course with it bent, and we paid the $10 replacement fee after about 3 hours of schussing around, taking turns on and off the pre-made ski tracks.

We tracked deer through the cemetery, following their cloven hoof-prints and finding fresh droppings (so exciting!), in spite of the falling snow. i looked left, and right, but it (or they) was long gone. The Stillwater River, which runs through town, froze, melted, and then re-froze, confusing the lingering flocks of ducks who were living there.

We drove Nat up to Big Mountain to check out snowboarding info, and he ended up dragging my sister along. They were up there for a good 6 hours, falling on their butts every step of the way, but having a gay old time. Nat is quite hooked now, i fear, and living in San Diego with no car does not exactly help matters. Big Bear is a mere 2 hours away, but we have to get there first. We've definitely created a monster.

We watched icicles slowly form off the eaves above the back porch, where we smoked many many last cigarettes. i made a so-so apple pie, and my mom made her famous fruitcake. (No really, it gets eaten.) Met the sister's boyfriend, who welcomed us the first morning we were there with eggs and huckleberry pancakes. It was heaven. He even made us breakfast on our last day there, which was a nice bookend to the trip.

We drank lots of coffee, slept in almost every day, and romped in the snow. Nat and i made snow angels our second day there, which were promptly filled in by the falling flakes. He was mesmerized on our walk to the cemetery by the tiny six-sided delicate wonders that were landing on his gloves. Actual snowflakes! We mused on how many, many flakes had to fall to create such a thick, powdery blanket. Snowmen were basically impossible due to the fluffy nature of the snow... in Vegas it was a cinch because it just stuck right to itself when you rolled it. Nat did, however, hit me with such a rock-hard snowball that it left a bruise on my thigh.

He also tried to make a snow-trapezoid, and broke a large icicle off the roof, which i dubbed a unicorn horn, and stuck it sticking straight up on the snow-covered boulder in the front yard. He learned how to chop wood, and i re-learned. Mostly i focused on the kindling, which was always more fun for me anyway. My brother split the logs with seemingly no effort, and my mother let out a war whoop to assist in splitting hers. Crackling fires inside the house, upstairs and down.

On Christmas day, my sister had to go to her old work location and clean for two hours, which i thought was just ridiculous, so i offered to help. We arrived around 5 p.m., just as it was getting dark outside. Once inside the coffee shop, i swept floor mats, rolled them up and hoisted them up on top of upended chairs. She swept the expansive floor with a giant push-broom, and i followed behind with a mop and a giant tub of hot vinegar-water, which was black by the time i was through. We were exhausted at 7:00, and decided to take the trash bags in the back of her truck to the dump, which turned out to be a bad idea. Around 7:30 or so, on our way home from tossing the trash, we ran out of gas on the dark and snowy highway. On an incline. The weird thing was, i could have sworn i predicted it, that her truck was low on gas. And so we slid slowly backwards, five, ten, twenty feet. It was nightmarish, but luckily no one passed us on the road because she didn't have her license and we were worried about highway patrol. Thankfully the truck started again, and we put-putted our way up the hill, with the truck basically dying again, but this time as we pulled into someone's well-placed driveway. She ran inside to ask them if they had any gas, but ended up calling home instead, since they were all waiting on us with dinner. What a night! My mom had to put everything on hold and take the gas can down the road, fill it up, and then find us on the side of the road in the other direction. Needless to say, we were extremely happy to get home safely.

It was hard to say goodbye to my dad and my sister, leaving them up there in the snowy North. It is tricky not to feel guilt when one family member sacrifices so much to take care of the parent who has suffered a debilitating health problem... i know it is hard for her up there, and for him. They aren't necessarily the best of friends, and she hates her job. He is sort of stuck all day in the sunken, basement-like living room downstairs, but at least he has the dog, who loves him. i am so glad i got to see everybody in one house, under one roof just like the old days. i think we are a bit more grown up, now, which led to less fighting overall. But the hackles still get raised, the buttons are there, waiting to be pushed. At the end of the day, though, i'd like to think that we all truly love one another. And actually, that i know. Here's to that love remaining until the next time.