Saturday, February 28

"a cold toad thumpily flounders."

Apparently my current idea of "dinner" is eating the rest of the bag of Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos with the rest of the tub of cottage cheese.

If that sounds gross to you, then you just don't know what livin' is.

Unrelated: Malevolent Owls is back!

Also unrelated: In San Francisco, there is a building which sits in a parking lot, on the corner of Stanyan and Frederick, just south of where Haight Street ends (right by the eastern entrance to GG Park). On the back (North) wall of this building there used to exist something that warmed the cockles of my heart every time i passed by... a bold, public decree, simply (black) spray-painted in (rather) enormous capital letters:


...was all it said. But does one really need to say more? i mean, have you seen Gas Food Lodging?

My question is: Does anybody know if this graffitoed billet-doux still exists? i would ever so much like to know. Little help?

Thursday, February 26

a renewed faith in humanity.

aw, i'm so smitten.

i was just listening to a DJ i love (Disco Shawn), and remembered this great day my sister and i had something like ten years ago. He played a Magnetic Fields song, and we were on our way to get Jack in the Box, i think. it was a quiet day; half rain, half sun. Soft, grey clouds everywhere. One of those late afternoons that seem like they last forever and like you could be anywhere, everywhere, forever. We sat in the parking lot of Ace Hardware and ate our fast food while listening to the rest of his set. We talked about how great he was, and who knew i would still be listening to him all these years later? i really miss my sister sometimes and it makes my stomach hurt.

Anywho, i wrote him a gushing email of sorts, and requested that song ("A Chicken With Its Head Cut Off") for memory's sake. And he played it! So, so great... i've got my head in the clouds, now. Time for a bike ride up to where the bullfrogs all hang out, and the little birds flit back and forth from tree to tree. What are they doing up there? Spring has sprung. i could say that over and over again, i love it so much. Also, for some reason i think i'm going to play that ending song from Trainspotting while i ride, but only the first, best part (you know what i mean).

The Importance of Being Folk

(taken from the band Adult.).

Maybe it's all the Joan Baez and Peter, Paul and Mary i listened to (via my mom) as a youngster, but i have a special affection for folk music. You know, songwriting? It's a bit hard to find these days, but it's coming back! Honestly, i herald the resurgence of Folk.

As i've previously mentioned, if you had asked me ten years ago if i would be listening to all of these stripped-down, bare-bones songs, i would have probably laughed in your face. But hearing Fleet Foxes on the radio the other night gladdened my heart, because it is the sign of a slowdown. The return to a slower, quieter, more ponderous place. The kind of music that softly grabs your thoughts and runs with them, weaving a small story along the way, depositing you kindly back down with a renewed gentleness. Does that make any sense?

Not that i'm advocating the abolition of loud noisy thrashy songs. Come on, we need those, too. But it's getting a little loud in our modern world. Taking it down a notch is just fine by me. Bring back the Folk! Bring songwriting and actual singing talent back to the forefront, not production values and flashiness. Let's just all fucking smooth out a little.
And hey, if it's not your cup of tea, it's just not. Hey, i understand! No worries here, friend. i like so many different kinds of music, and i never take anything (musical taste-related) personally. Here is my song of the week. It just keeps popping into my head, especially the ending refrain (i don't know what i have done/i'm turning myself into a demon). I'm not very familiar with Fleet Foxes (or their version of this song), only a couple of their songs (here's a great one) have made it to my ears. But oh, how glad i am to have ears.

workin' woman's woes.

Just FYI: Walking up to me at work and saying "Yeah, i need some flowers." after i ask if i can help you is NOT amusing. Nor is it clever, original, or helpful in any way. Seriously. And when i ask for the TINIEST bit of input, please don't interrupt me and say, "i dunno, that's your job. You're the expert."

Seriously. Seriously?

I'm the expert at what your girlfriend/mother/best friend likes? Wow, i had no idea. How thrilling.

Uh-uh. No. This is not how it's going down.
It can then take quite awhile to extract any minute fragment of information, such as:

a) the occasion
b) if there is any flower or color the recipient particularly adores/abhors
c) should we go tall or short?
d) should this be a one-sided arrangement (i.e., the vase is against a wall)?

i could go on, but basically: just help me out a little here. Yes, i know that it is my job to make you an arrangement, but every little bit helps. It would be like me walking into a grocery store and saying to the first employee i see, "yeah, can you just, like..... pick me out some stuff? i wanna have dinner with my boyfriend tonight, so i need some food. I'm sorry, what's that? What do we like? Oh, i don't know- you're the one who works here; isn't food like, your area of expertise?"

Yeah. See how ridiculous that is? i cannot tell you how many times a person will say, "Just make me something; whatever you want" and then 5 or ten minutes later they are coming over and hemming and hawing about something i have put in (or left out). i'm not a mind reader here, folks. Just throw me a bone.

And for the record? Putting an iris next to a stargazer with a piece of solid aster thrown in "to brighten it up" is like pairing SpaghettiOs with sliced banana, served with a glass of (sour) grapefruit juice. IT JUST DOESN'T WORK. Trust me. Trust me on this.

We're done, you may go. Think about what i've said.

Tuesday, February 24

Universal radioooooooooooooo

If you're ever at IKEA and you see a small, unassuming grey plastic-with-a-wire halo wand hanging out underneath a sign that says "PRODUKT $1.79" near the kitchen flatware section, don't pause. Don't hesitate and think, What is this? Is it a steamer, or what?? Just calmly, quietly, put down your weird shaggy rugs and mirrors that you don't particularly want or need, pick up the mysterious PRODUKT instead, and take it to the nearest check-out counter. Promptly go home and make yourself a hot beverage. Add milk (or soy, or half and half, whatevs). Put 2 AA batteries into your new Magical, Mystical Foaming Wand. Dip it into your cup. Press the button. Presto, blammo– you have foam. And i'm not talkin' wimpy foam. i mean like, creamy goodness. I'm pretty sure this thing could whip cream if it wanted to. So get to it. And it's not like me to advocate cheapo, crappy, extraneous gadgets, but this was one i simply could not refuse... And i could not be happier about being weak-willed.

Also: does anyone else have the faucet-mounted PUR water filter that looks like a Cylon?

And did you know that that little boring white button mushroom you buy at the store for your boring salad and soup is also a freakin' Portobello, but in baby form? Yeah, you're welcome. i love to blow people's minds.

On that note, here is the most amazing fish in all the lands. For real, though. When Nat showed me this i just sat there shaking my head and saying, "No.! No wait seriously, no!" It was rather difficult to get my mind around, and all i could think was: why did it take until i was 29 years old for me to find about this fish? That is simply wrong. All i will tell you about it is that part of it is transparent. And why is this so hard, considering all the amazing bioluminescent deep-sea creatures i've ogled in the past? Dunno. Something about the halfway-ness of it, just.... trips me the hell out. If you're into that sort of thing, have a look-see. It's kind of why life's worth living. Here is some more info, with some better explanations of the fish's facial features and inner workings. Amazing.

Whew, the real nerdy posts take a lot out of me. Sliced my thumb up but good at work today. Saw a pair of wild parrots in love, screeching across the sky. Everything was slow and quiet today. Song of the week is "Mannequin", by Wire. How come i never knew about these guys? They're the ones Elastica stole all their riffs from (it's okay, Justine & Co., i still love you, grudgingly.).

Monday, February 23

Me and my rhythm box

So one of the (few and far between?) great things about San Diego is, interestingly enough, the radio stations. Perhaps it is the proximity to L.A., but the main radio stations down here are not complete and total crap! They have a propensity towards '90s grunge (Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Bush etc.), which just takes me right back to high school. They don't cut off the freaking songs or talk over the intros, and the local music hour is not something that makes you want to run out and buy earplugs. The station i'm speaking of mainly is FM 94.9, KBZT.

Weekday nights from 10:00 at night to 2:00 in the morning, they have Big Sonic Chill (please come back, Midori, we miss your tiny voice), which is just what it sounds like to you, only probably better. A good 85-90% of the songs are totally enjoyable, plus you get to make fun of their self-advertising mini-spots: "Carnal... kinky.... salacious." –Hilarious! But they definitely play the goods: Boards of Canada, Cocteau Twins, Mazzy Star, Air, Portishead, Cat Power, Maps, et al. Good for Nat, since those are the hours when he is usually trying to get all the studying done that he'd put off all day/week. Very chill indeed.

But the best part, the crowning glory, is Swami. If you are like us, and not going anywhere on a Saturday night (don't front, you know you stay at home too!), don't miss this rockin', swingin' program. Swami plays the oldies but goodies, the kind of songs that would actually be playing on the stereo of the Coolest Party Ever, and probably only on vinyl. Everyone would be smiling, and actually dancing, there would be tiki torches out back by the pool, where the men would be in porkpie hats and rolled-up jeans and the ladies would be in vintage swimsuits and have painted toenails. Someone would hand you a Tom Collins, and you would go and have a limbo in the rumpus room... He plays lots of '50s and '60s stuff, originals of songs you didn't even know were covers ("Love Buzz" is a prime example, even though i still think Nirvana's version is much sexier), surf guitar jams, old R & B, the occasional punk anthem, jump-n-jive, doo-wop, you name it. Seriously, try and stop your body from moving when you listen to Swami. Go on, try it!

::waits patiently::

Yeah, see–you can't. Let all the children boogie.

Also worth noting:
The other night, as we were fleeing along the bandwidth from some Feist song or another, we stumbled onto something great: the 11th Hour program on 105.3. Listening to Apoptygma Berzerk ("Nonstop Violence"!), Siouxsie, Bauhuas and Sisters of Mercy all in one fell swoop brought us right back to everything i loved (the eyeliner, the Amaretto sours, the music) and hated (the clubs, the clothing, the 'tudes) about the goth/industrial scene from back in the day. it was like i was twenty again. You could practically smell the clove cigarette smoke wafting from the speakers...

Now the only thing we have to do is figure out how to pull the plug on the Sunday morning Bob Marley-fest they got goin' on every week on 94.9... EVERY WEEK! Seriously, i have had to start training myself to set the alarm to "buzz" instead of "radio" on Saturday nights so that i don't have to wake up to "Buffalo Soldier" or some extended bootleg version of "I Shot the Sherriff". Ugggghhhh. No offense, but the only 2 Bob Marley songs i can handle are "Natty Dread" (for obvious reasons) and "Could You Be Loved". Beyond that, i think i've heard enough for the rest of my life, thank you. Sorry to all the Marley-o-philes out there. i know you love him; i know he's great. But if there's one thing i have had enough of in San Diego, it is Bob freakin' Marley. Oh! and Sublime, but don't even get me started on that one. ::shudder::

p.s.) This is all just personal opinion, obviously. Nothing i say has any merit, so feel free to write it all off as dreck, and carry on!

Poor, mad Crystal + handsome Paul Fairchild = yes, please.

Had a lot of fun on Sunday at the mushroom fair. My camera is pitiable compared with the fancy ones i saw there, though... my pics won't be the greatest, but hey. It's not like i'm going to see them until a year from now anyway; i think i have about 8 undeveloped rolls of film lined up on the little table by my front door. Read: no money + lack of awesome film processing place nearby. Damn.

There were mustard-colored mushrooms, delicate lavender-hued mushrooms, itty-bitty mushrooms, slime molds, lichens, disgusting delicacies... and a lady with a huge black pet rabbit in a baby carrier strapped to her person. i shit you not. We later saw this woman on the trolley on our way out of the park. She is 100% for fucking real.

Afterward, i spent $1.50 (well, a fiver, actually, but the rest was a donation) on 3 books at a rummage sale: a children's book called Mirette on the High Wire (featuring coolio Degas-meets-Monet watercolor illustrations), Susan Minot's Folly (because i really liked Evening), and a little paperback called Mansion in Miniature, which i am sure will be the gem of the bunch. Here is the recap from the back cover:

The dollhouse was a Georgian mansion in miniature, breathtakingly realistic, as lovely and fragile as Crystal Fairchild herself. And Crystal's pretty sister Karen was delighted at the chance to visit isolated Fair Island and help put the finishing touches on this doll-sized wonderland.

(Whoa, they are playing "Big Bottom" by Spinal Tap on KALX right now.... wow. Just, wow. Sorry for this interjection, but i am blazed right now.)

So, continuing on:

But when Karen arrived at her sister's home, Crystal greeted her not with friendship but with fear, muttering that her dead husband's family was holding her prisoner and they'd never let her escape. Poor mad Crystal, seeing villains everywhere but in her little dollhouse world. Karen could easily tell that the Fairchilds were only trying to help Crystal. Certainly handsome Paul Fairchild–who had swiftly captured Karen's heart–would protect Crystal from any harm. But Karen was wrong, and for once only Crystal perceived the truth and recognized the horror which was reaching out to engulf them both– a horror that could find them anywhere, that could pursue them even into Crystal's dollhouse sanctuary, claiming its two helpless victims and leaving their precious creation tainted by an overpowering legacy of fear. . . .

Thank you, 1977.

We then walked around to the cactus garden in Balboa Park, which is one of my fave places for black and white photos around these parts. Please go, if you haven't been. It's pretty stunning. Also, there was a giant "Z" on the slope across the canyon nearby: a jogging path, i think.

Headed back into the park, and stopped at a gathering crowd to watch a magic show on our way out. Put a(nother) fiver in the guy's hat at the end, because he was pretty hilarious. i'm such a kid when it comes to slight of hand and cheap magic wands... pretty sure i said "whoa!" more times than all of the six-year-olds around me combined. How embarrassing.

Walked up to Hillcrest to get Indian food (Paneer, how do i love thee? Let me count the ways...), hopped on the bus to get home, home, home. Nat had never seen Dead Poet's Society (!) before, so we started to watch it on YouTube before i lost it and decided that we needed to watch it on a proper television. Netflix'd it. So excited! Oh Neil, Knox... i will see you soon.

Other highlights of this day included: Butterflies. There were scads of them, flitting along on the air. Painted Ladies, methinks. So beautiful to see every year.
Not as lovely, but almost as colorful, was the painted bathroom we came home to that evening. As we were rushing to leave earlier that day, Nat had knocked over a burning candle from the back of the toilet. We didn't have time to clean it up, so it was left 'til later. Arriving home, it looked like someone had snuck into our bathroom to have a bout of explosive diarrhea. The upside? The entire house smelled like Espresso. The downside? Brown drips and smears all over the wall, the floor... it was a soy candle, and i will just say that soy wax is somewhat, erm, runnier than paraffin. Hooray! Used my good spatula to scrape it all off. Whaddya gonna do?

Saturday, February 21

So there is a Carnavale festival in Little Italy tonight. Should i go? My worry is that there won't be enough of this:

La Dame aux fruits

La vie en rose


...which is sort of the whole reason i would want to go at all. Don't give me cheesy floats and street vendors, i just want the costumes, the costumes!


(by the way, if you click on those you will be able to see the much more excellent large versions... i haven't mastered the Blogger layout yet, and i don't know how to mess with HTML code yet either. The next-size-up of these was just a shade too big; i find that this happens a lot with YouTube videos also. Does anyone know how i can mess with the sizes? Or even change the Blogger template itself to have a wider text area? Grr.)

Like a hot dog?

The post office was out of the cool stamps yesterday (Edgar Allen Poe, Chinese New Year Ox), so i went with the Sunflowers.

Bought a bunch of cardamom to fill up my empty jar in the cupboard; when i got home the jar was magically full. Hmm! The weeks to come will be filled with chai and rice pudding, and i finally have an excuse to make (one of our faves:) chocolate-chip pear bread. Yummmm. Hard to justify, really, but now i have all this cardamom, so, yeah. Sorry. It's gotta happen. Life is so tough that way.

A ferocious gamma-ray burst was recorded by NASA's Fermi Telescope. Cool stuff:

This burst's tremendous power and speed make it the most extreme recorded to date., that just gives me the shivers. i love thinking about all of that stuff happening, way out there... among the stars and the spheres and the spirals and the spacedust. It's really awesome, in the true sense of the word. ;)


Friday, February 20


Dude! i forgot all about the spectacular suits of armor for cats and mice designed and created by Jeff deBoer. Please please please give it a look, you won't be sorry. The feeling is somewhat reminiscent of when Ralph gets on the motorcycle and says, "Vroom, vroom!", only much more sinister and archaic. You can almost hear the chink! of swordplay and see the whiskers flying.

Also, you guys already know that i'm obsessed with clouds, right? Well, yeah. Here's why, pretty much.

The little birds outside are chirping for me to come and play with them. Time to pump up my tires and zoom. Have a lovely friday night, y'all.

Horse Art 09

(Driftwood horse by Heather Jansch.)
::in Ricky Gervais voice:: Uh, if you're feeling sad, yeah? Eat some Blackberry Cabernet sorbet. Go on, try it- it's delicious. And if you're feeling blue? Then Hazelnut Chocolate gelato is for you... By Ciao Bella! In your grocer's freezer case! ::holds up product, smiles, tooth twinkles::


(oh, it is so good)

-and i'm very excited about Sunday: The San Diego Mycological Society's Mushroom Fair in Balboa Park. Be there or be.... less dorky than us, but anyway. You know you want to go! Last time i went to one of these (in San Francisco, years ago; Nat lost his Canterbury Cross necklace in the grass somewhere in Golden Gate Park), i stared at mind-blowing close-up photos of fungi for almost 45 minutes, listened to a mini-lecture on how mushrooms propagate (spores! falling, floating, and more!), and learned how to make Your Very Own Spore Print In Your Own Home. Also, maybe i can hear an even better mushroom story than the one my sister told me about Shaggy Manes: She picked some, put them in a bowl on the kitchen table, and when she went downstairs the next morning to decide how best to devour them, all she found was a bowl filled with inky black liquid. What the hell? That's right, my friends- deliquescence. Bask in its glory.
Okay, let me just come right out and say something. Something divisive.

i love the new Animal Collective album, Merriweather Post Pavilion. Okay?

Can you deal? Because i know that i just either lost or gained 20 Indie Points, depending on just how indie you are. But all of that could not be more irrelevant, because i simply love listening to these songs. i wake up with them in my head. i hum them all day long, until Nat finally puts one on so i will shut up. And he enjoys them, too, which must say something...

And i would also love to point out (like 99% of other people giving this album a good review) that i was never a fan of these guys before this. To be honest, i had only heard them fleetingly through someone i used to work with and was not particularly grabbed with what i heard, so i moved on. But then a few weeks ago i heard the track "Summertime Clothes" on KALX, and was deeply impressed with the under-watery vocals and marching backbeat. It lingered in my head until i looked up some of the (insanely romantic) lyrics and found out who it was. Soon after, through a different DJ, same radio station, i heard "Brother Sport". That was it, i was done.

i sat there on a chair, in a room, in an apartment building, in a city, in a state, on a continent, on a globe, and just sort of.... went away. Somewhere else. And it was nice. It was mighty nice. Went and bought the album while up in Berkeley on a mini vacation and could not be more glad i did. "My Girls" is insanely listenable, dance-y, catchy as catchy can be. (wow, i had to really command my hands not to type "catch-as-catch-can" right there; funny how sometimes the body can seem to go on manual override.) Other notable tracks are "Daily Routine" (tinkly, subtle) and "Also Frightened", which i didn't like at first because the chorus is sort of... aggressive seeming. But now i can't get enough, of course. It is almost Beatles-esque. "In the Flowers" builds to a sweet and melancholy almost-urgency before it fades away.

All in all, it just feels rather... joyous. i can't even deny it. It leaves you with an open, quiet feeling, like stripping away the detritus and starting fresh, somehow. Although, having had a listen to some of their back-catalog, i will be brutally honest here and say with some certainty that i am not going to run out and buy any of their other albums. But it's okay, because for now, with this album, i am totally drinkin' the Kool-Aid, and enjoying every last otherworldly sip.

Wednesday, February 18

Ümläüts... ¨

Went to IKEA for the first time ever today. It wasn't so bad, really. i was kind of expecting more of a zoo, to be honest, but i guess a late Thursday afternoon is a good time to go! Got a stainless steel mixing bowl (i can finally stop making muffin batter in my saucepan) and a box-style cheese grater to replace the old one we had with its one remaining plastic side on the metal itself, resulting in a very precarious experience every time cheddar was showered on soup. Also picked up a PEVA shower curtain (the whole reason for going in the first place), some tea lights (hey, they were cheap and smelled like vanilla, what's a girl to do?), and a small wand (apparently of the magic variety) that purports to foam milk right there in your cup there. Well howdy-do! Is this as exciting to anyone else as it is to me? i will report back on that once i've procured the 1.5V batteries.

Impulse-purchased some Swedish Fish (damn you, IKEA!) at the check-out, promptly ate most of the bag. April convinced me to do the Self-Checkout, and it was remarkably easy... i wanted to try it because i had never done it before and she was there with me and said she does it all the time... i guess i just always felt like it was wrong somehow, that machines were taking over human jobs and why the fuck are people so afraid to interact with other people anyway? In any case, i probably won't do it again. Although i totally could have stolen a chocolate bar that wouldn't scan, but i did the right thing and gave it to an employee... one more thing: they have Cloudberry Preserves there. Cloudberry! i felt like Veruca Salt in there: Who's ever heard of a Cloudberry? It was truly magical. Next time, next time...

(By the way, can someone actually go ahead and just build Willie Wonka's chocolate factory? i'm all over that. We need the golden tickets and everything... for serious, though.)

In other news:

PJ Harvey and John Parish are touring the US; will be in LA on March 23rd. The hefty price tag ($48) will probably keep me away from this one, even though i would kiss her feet if i could. Also, i would rather see her just on her own (wasn't extremely crazy about Dance Hall At Louse Point), but if i find out that she sang "Silence" and i missed it, then off of a cliff i will go.

Fun Facts!

1) Once in high school, i got shit-faced (wow, horrible expression, that!) drunk at Indian Rock (a big rocky park in the hills just above the town i lived in) with some friends and ended up running in the dark down the path toward the main street, crying and blubbering and insane. Like i said, really really drunk. The next day i looked at my notepad and saw that i had scribbled, Nobody understands me, not even Stephen King...! next to a picture of a devilish face while i was making the stumbling journey home. Hilarious! i saved that page for years, until it got lost. i like to think that somebody somewhere has it, though. i need to think that.

2) When i was seven, i was home sick from school and squatting on the counter-top, waiting for my toast to pop up from the toaster. i was leaning on my elbow, which was leaning on my knee, and i was staring at those two glowing slots and having some sort of daydream. The toast popped up - POW! - and i fell backwards, startled from my reverie. Landed on my left elbow, shattering the joint and sending bone fragments a few inches into my upper arm territory. Got a concussion, had surgery hours later by a (handsome) specialist, and now i have a frowny-face scar on my elbow to remind me: :(

3) When i was 5 or 6, my first boyfriend (and really, my first love) got bit in the face/neck by my family dog, who was half-wild. i saw it all happen. He passed out right there on the street and an ambulance came and took him away. i thought he was dead. i never saw him again, until a couple of years ago at an ambient noise/video show in San Francisco that a friend convinced me to go to. When we looked in each other's eyes it was like we were standing in the sunshine holding hands amidst the smells of fresh grass and wet concrete and the sound of faraway lawnmowers all over again.

4) When i was a freshman or sophomore in high school (the fact that i can't remember which is actually very telling), i stayed up for three days on a meth and whiskey bender. (Sorry, mom.) At this period of my life, i was both sensationally numb and overly emotional, and decided that it would be interesting to put a cigarette out on my arm. And then another. And then another, until i had burned a crude face, not smiling nor frowning, near the aforementioned elbow scar. It seeped and was disgusting and took forever to heal. i regret it to this very day. Needless to say, my left arm is rather.... interesting, and i hardly ever wear short sleeves.

5) Another time, after staying up for days on the nose candy but without the whiskey, i got really really sick and slept for literally three days. i think i woke up a few times to go pee, but other than that i just stayed in bed, asleep, periodically hacking up phlegm into a jar near my bed. When i woke up, it was a weekend, and the sun was gloriously setting. The light was persimmon-colored, a deep russet glow, and the sun was so far North that it was flooding my bedroom with intense orange light. i simply woke up and realized that i felt... alright again. And calm. My mom was making soup, or stew, in the kitchen, and the front door was wide open because it was summer. Birds were chirping busily, talking about their day. i could hear my brother somewhere, strumming lazily on his acoustic guitar. That beautiful, sad, late afternoon was when i made a solemn oath never to sniff shit up my nose ever again. i was tired of being removed from the world.

6) i love slide guitar.

7) i am really good at spelling.

8) i am obsessed with birds.

9) i love to cook, but i am not great at it

10) my dearest wish is to run away and join the circus.

Now wasn't that fun? Just had to open up the ol' brain and let some of the stuff tumble out, thanks for listening.

Boo, hiss.

Wow, i am so mad right now.

Someone sent me a "message" on Yelp, which basically poked fun at a shitty situation i had recently at a local photography shop. i didn't know that making an 8x10 print would result in the picture (from the negative) being cropped. So sue me. i never said i was a member of MENSA, okay? Nor am i a professional photographer. It just simply didn't occur to me that this would happen; i had never done it before, and i was rushing. The print in question was to be a christmas gift for my dad, so it was also kind of important to me.

When i went to get it re-done, they were totally haughty, and alluded that it was my "fault", or that i had mis-communicated or something. But the thing was: i wasn't trying to lay any blame. i went in there practically with my tail between my legs because i hate having to point out a problem with anything, ever. All i wanted was for them to re-do it, and they didn't offer to once. (i would have paid, obviously!) They brusquely offered me my money back and didn't explain any of the process to me. So i took the refund and high-tailed it, vowing never to return.
(For those of you that have heard this story before, my apologies.)

So the "message" i received on Yelp was this smug little nugget:

"I had to laugh at your review of [ ]. You show me a way to make an 8x10 print of something originally in a 2x3 format without stretching it or cropping it and I'll buy you dinner every night for a year! Not their fault. Think before you review and look foolish. I think offering you a refund was more than fair!"

Uhhhh, yeah. Message received, dude. You might as well lock arms with the employees, point at me and laugh. Seriously, is this how you spend your time? Making other people feel stupid? What a gem you are, sir, truly. Can't wait to meet you some day, then we can talk about how much better we are than everyone else! It'll be great to make fun of those who don't possess the same specialized knowledge that we do. Yay for us!

So i sent him a hot-headed reply, probably not the wisest thing to do. But hey, i was bristling. This episode already embarrassed me, and to then have someone treat me like we're back in 4th grade, after the fact, was just too much. As i pointed out, nowhere did i say it was "their fault"- i was merely upset at the level of arrogance and indifference i noticed among the staff there. And judging from some of the other reviews, i am not alone in this view.

Oh well. Guess we can't all be perfect, and this guy's message finally made me realize that. Everything seems so much clearer now, now that i know i am sub-par. "Think before you review and look foolish"? Wow. Yes, sir. Aye aye, Cap'n. Duly noted, motherfucker. How about this one: "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all"?

(although, to be fair, my review of the shop wasn't exactly nice, but that's not the point, dammit!)

Alrighty, that's enough of that. This is such old news. Time for heather to simmer down a little. Time for a bike ride, fast-like, while listening loudly to something appropriately angsty or even just angry: maybe a little Adam Ant, or Bauhaus, or some old PJ Harvey. Possibly even Elastica, Faith No More, Fugazi? ::mosies away making a playlist::


In other news: Some excerpts from an interview with Andrew Bird that i found:

"I've always been obsessed with moss and moose's horns. The number eight, the sort of roundness of the number eight," he says.


"I think of like, when I was a kid, and I would get my Sherlock Holmes magnifying glass and throw myself down in a pile of mulch or something and go in there and pretend that I was microscopic," Bird says. "I wanted to capture that kind of woody, mossy, decaying kind of sound."


Why couldn't the world have just revolved a little differently, and he and i could be dear, dear friends?

My sleeping heart woke, and my waking heart spoke

Hm. There was a lovely little "f" in my bowl of honey-mustard pretzels tonight, and earlier at work after i'd clipped a handful of sunflowers, i noticed that two of the stems had rolled into the perfect shape of a capital T! It was awesome, especially since Ted from inside the grocery store was outside visiting me on his break at the time. "T" for Teddy.

Busy here tonight checking student papers for plagiarism. This time it's Voltaire's Candide, which of course makes my mind rush all over the random associations therein, like Cabaret Voltaire (a band which a cute boy i once knew adored) and yeast infections (candida, ick). Very exciting. ::yawn::

Sometimes i think i have a touch of that Super-memory business. Feels like i can never forget people, places, colors, temperatures, smells, moments. i am constantly re-living memories in my head, which makes living in the moment very taxing. Seems like i can never catch up to myself, or something. More on this later.

For now, here's the best scene from Teen Witch! Enjoy.

p.s.) Resuscitated most of my dead links over there on the right, in case anyone was having any problems... i love how flattering it is to think that anyone is actually here, ever. Remarkable!

Monday, February 16

Bright Grey Skies...

...and bright green tree tops in front of them. Is there a lovelier thing? Not at present.

Valentine's Day was insane. i worked almost eleven hours at the flower shop, and made $101 dollars in tips- is that madness or what? For some reason i always feel weird about receiving tips. i guess it's a "service" industry, but honestly: it's my job. i get paid for it. Tips are unnecessary! And yet, why can i not just smile and say thank you? Instead i feel undeserving. Time to get over that, methinks. Especially when you get home and you have thorns in your shoes, leaves in your bra, pollen on your face, and your hands are completely cracked and dark with ground-in dirt. Kind of makes the hundred bucks look more well-deserved.

Other than that, we don't really rock the Valentine's Day around these parts. Too much forced Hearts-and-Pink Shit, or something. Besides, i eat chocolate constantly and almost always have flowers in the house, so hey. It's all good. Nat went out and picked up Thai food for dinner, which is all i could have asked for, as i was about as useful as a baby sloth when i got home that night. We watched some of "Penelope", which was a pretty cute film. For some reason i love Christina Ricci, and it also has Catherine O'Hara (from Beetlejuice!)and the totally crushable Peter Dinklage (from The Station Agent!) so how can you go wrong?

Have some mega-cramps today. The sky is so, so lovely, and tomorrow my TV will go bye-bye, which will be exhilarating. Except, i will miss watching PBS.... and i found out we can watch Life On Mars online, and Lost if we absolutely have to, so it'll be okay. No worries. And i promise, i won't turn in to one of those people who throws out the "i don't own a TV" bullcrap. i still like shows, but now i won't waste as much time watching them. Not to mention the relief of no more effing commercials. And of course we'll still watch movies on it. Trusty old thing!

Saw Andrew Bird play last night; it was a mixed bag, even though i love him ferociously. He was a little under the weather, a wire came loose somewhere around 3/4 of the way through his set, so things got a little pained. He brought it all back together, though. And mostly, his studio tracks are the better versions of his songs, with rare exception. Still amazing to watch him perform, though. Guy's got feeling. And quite a repoire with the audience, which is nice. He was (unusually) performing at SOMA (all-ages, alcohol-free), which prompted me to buy one of those tiny bottles of Grey Goose and a bottle of cranberry juice at the liquor store (ha ha, the sign just says "LIQ O" right now), and mix it up at the bus stop. Can't be walking into a show all panicky now, can we?

Happy mid-February, everyone. Go listen to some Donovan.

Monday, February 9

Dear Airport Bathrooms:

Can you get your shit together, please? No pun intended?

When i put the seat cover on the seat, usually i unbutton my pants before i sit down to piss, so how about not flushing before i even get my cheeks on the seat, thereby taking the damn cover down with you?! It took me five minutes to rip that thing in the right places without reducing it to shreds, for fuck's sake. And while we're on the subject of flushing: how about not doing that while i'm still actively using the damn toilet, thereby spraying my ass with toilet water? Yeah, that'd be tops, thanks. Peachy keen.

As for the sink area: If you're going to have Automatic-Sensor Everything, can you make sure it actually works, please? When i put my hands under the soap dispenser, nothing comes out. But when i move my hands away from the soap dispenser, a pathetic little squirt of white soap (note to phallic automatic soap-dispenser liquid soap companies: Pick a different color, i implore you.) falls down onto the counter. Great, now i actually have to clean up after a robot. This is just not okay.

So hey- thanks for listening, stay super sweet and have a great summer!

p.s.) Some city workers found the remains of a mammoth in downtown San Diego, while excavating some earth to build the foundation for a new multi-million dollar law school. This makes me sad because i would rather be living in the time of the mammoths than in the time of things like "New Multi-Million Dollar Law Schools". Blah.... at least this find is one more chink in the creationists' armor. Sorry, guys, but we're sad for you because you're just lying to yourselves! It'll be okay, i promise.


Woke up Sunday morning to a delicious continental breakfast at Hotel Wright: strong coffee, apricot-wheat soda bread, and a chocolate croissant. We had a very lazy morning, in spite of the fact that we only had half a day to hang out in Berkeley. Just couldn't seem to get motivated! Drank more coffee, watched some of the MTV channels (Addie just got cable). Jesus Crisis! 99% of what i saw/heard was complete garbage, the remaining one percent only barely tolerable.... What has happened to music? i guess i should rephrase: What has happened to music television? Does anyone here remember when MTV was actually good? Like, you could see a Cars video, or Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, or Love and Rockets, Prince, Duran Duran, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, or Nirvana; shows like Yo! MTV Raps, 120 Minutes, Remote Control, Liquid Television, Sifl 'n Olly. Aw heck, i'm gettin' all misty-eyed.

Said our goodbyes to Addie, took the bus down Telegraph Ave. (more memory lane!) to Amoeba to buy some music. $91 later, we emerged with 5 CDs: new Andrew Bird and Animal Collective for me, old M83 and Boards of Canada for both of us, and an old Coil album for Nat. i love that place to death. This may have been the only time that someone did not walk up to me and say, "excuse me, do you know where i can find [insert musician's name here]?" Shucks. i'm losing my edge.

Ran into another friend, Katrina; went and got a delicious white mocha, headed for downtown Berkeley to eat Linner at Cancun. The nopales mole burrito was, for the very first time, disappointing. But it don't matter: we had 5 different kinds of salsa with our chips, and they were all damn delicious.... Pumpkin seed, Avocado, Cascabel, and i then mixed Strawberry with Tomatillo. Mmmmm! The watermelon agua fresca was so-so, but i probably should have known better since it is not melon season. Horchata next time, which is always safe.

It started to rain as we left, which made me worry about the plane being delayed (it wasn't). Katrina took us to get gelato (usually i'm more of a plain ol' ice cream gal, but i'm not sure why!) and i got a fairly nasty combination: Green Tea (macha) and Chai Chocolate, on a plain cone. Weird. Nat's combo was much more appealing (and delicious): Persian Lime and Rosewater. So amazing! Katrina got Lebanese Yogurt, which is what i would get if i ever went again. Although the best flavor i ever had was Orange Cardamom, lawd-a-mercy.

(wow, can i talk about food into the wee hours? Yep.)

Ran to the car through the rain, which was immensely enjoyable because i miss doing that. Listened to the soundtrack for Darjeeling Limited on the way to the BART station. ::sniff::... it was hard to get out of that car. i didn't want to get on a plane. i didn't want to say goodbye to Katrina. i didn't want to go back to sunny and boring San Diego. i didn't want to leave flavorful food, bookstores, rainy nights, good coffee, movie theaters, and music stores... but away we went. Off on the train, and back to airport, where it all began. Garlic fries with mayo in the airport bar. Vodka ginger ale and lime for me, Bailey's on ice for Nat. We read Amoeba's annual list of "Music We Like" while we waited.

Flight home was uneventful. i ordered a vodka tonic instead of vodka ginger ale, and Nat pointed out that it tasted like rubbing alcohol. Yee-haw! We both had to pee, which i thought was unusual, but even more strange was the fact that the woman next to me had to go, as well! She stood up before i even had to ask her to move, so we all went together. Weeeeeeiiiiird.

Managed to listen to a few of the songs off of that Allison Krauss/Robert Plant album, and they were totally decent. i might have to buy it, if not for me then for Addie.... we landed in San Diego, and our hearts sank along with the plane. On the curb we saw a guy in flip-flops and shorts, even thought it was 54 degrees, and we just looked at each other and sighed. Back to the grind. Can't wait to get out of this place.

Treasure Hunt!

Saturday morning, we watched a terrible espionage/romance/action TV show while we got ready to rock. Drank some horrible, awful, Maxwell House in the hotel room (but i ask you: is there anything funner than brewing a pot of coffee in your bathroom? i think not), and checked out at noon. While we waited in the lobby for the shuttle back to SFO (and BART), we chatted with a lovely woman who was in town for a fund-raiser for the Memphis Blues Association. She was soooo cute, and had the nicest smile you've ever seen... She was originally from the East Bay, like us, and was just visiting from San Antonio. As we said goodbye and got on the shuttle, a little part of my brain wanted to turn around and just tag along with her all day.

At the airport, i found a payphone so i could call my friend and have her meet us in the city around 3. There was a woman who was stuck on hold on a phone nearby; she had lots of luggage, and was obviously traveling (backpacking?) by herself. She gave me change for a dollar, and to return the favor Nat went to get her a soda because she couldn't leave the phone. Turns out she had been stranded here on her way to Hong Kong, and her final destination was Malaysia. i gave her the old "everything will be alright!" speech, and she said that yeah, she had slept with her crystals the night before, and tried to go with the flow, etc. It was pretty cute. Kind of an interesting karma exchange goin' on. We wished her happy travels and moved on to a delicious breakfast: pancakes, scrambled eggs, hash browns, grapefruit juice, and some seriously amazing coffee. Thanks, Lori's Diner! Because last time, you sucked.
Bought some nail polish and eye glitter at an airport cosmetics counter (damn them), and tried in vain to find a roll of film for my camera. Turns out every place i tried only had disposable, DIGITAL cameras. WTF? Thanks, guys. i know i'm behind the times, but seriously. Help me out a little here- i can't possibly be the only person who has an analog camera at SFO? Grr.
At the BART station, an adorable French family asked us for help with the ticket machine, so we showed 'em some moves. The woman ended up pressing the wrong button anyway, and had to ask the station agent for help. Since they were heading to the same stop as us, we decided to sort of hang around and make sure they didn't need any more help. Riding the BART through S.F. was melancholy, indeed. Miss that place so much it makes my stomach hurt. Got off the train a half hour later, helped the French family on to a good samaritan who said that he would lead them to the street that they were looking for. It felt very good to be of service, and again: it felt like karma was involved, somewhere... hmm!

Streetside, we headed toward Justin Herman Plaza (where we were meeting Addie in a half an hour for the Treasure Hunt), hoping to find a place to stow our bags until the evening. i knew that such lockers existed (like at the Port Authority in NY, and lots of train/bus stations around the world) but we hadn't had any luck yet Apparently, SFO had gotten rid of their lockers after 9/11 ::sigh::. Addie managed to spot us in a crosswalk before we could go meet her, so we all got our tickets from Will Call a little early and decided to check the Ferry Building for lockers. (oh p.s. this is right after the strap on my backpack broke, only hours after i predicted it. we had to jerry-rig it with some crap safety pins from Walgreen's. boo!) In the Ferry Building, we realized at once that there would be no locker storage here. It was just a very yuppy farmer's market/upscale shopping type of venue, which was cute and all but not what we needed. Two security guards shook their heads, but pointed us in the direction of the Amtrak building, right next door. On our way, we ran into the girlfriend of an old friend of mine, who waved us over to the fruit stand where she was shopping. It was nice to see her, especially since the old friend i mentioned has decided to be angry with me and not talk to me for more than a year now. I have no idea why, and she led me to believe that there was nothing wrong on his end, why did i think he was mad? Hm. Very peculiar. i'll have to deal with that later.

We sailed onward, and the Amtrak agent told us with raised eyebrows that storage was $3 per bag, but that we had to actually be travelling somewhere, wink wink. He said it looked like we really wanted to see Santa Barbara, right? i replied yes- i hear that it is lovely this time of year. Great, he responded, and filled out some fakey tickets while Nat and i wrote our names and addresses on the tags for our bags. i asked the guy if he had a special snack that i could bring back for him later, and he said No, but if you see a cookie out there, grab it. A man after my own heart. Beautiful.

Loads lightened, we headed back to the ferry building, where i took some photos of an amazing mushroom stand, and Addie stopped somewhere to get a sandwich. She was raving about the arugula, and Nat and i devoured a Meyer lemon cream puff there that was out of control... i felt like such a Yup! We sat at a tiny table with an elderly man who was in S.F. "just for the halibut", by which he meant of course, just for the hell of it. He was totally cute, out on his own personal Saturday Adventure, and his eyes sparkled when we told him we were about to participate in a giant treasure hunt.

Said farewell, and rushed over to the Plaza, where we watched some pop-lockers and breakdancers across the street while we waited for the Hunt to begin. Finally, a team wearing horns and some unnerving fake plastic butts won Best Costume (i get it, Year of the Ox and all, but- plastic butts?), and then we were off! 17 clues in all, and we were making good headway from the start. Sat down right away and figured a bunch out, where Nat would mark them on the street map, and then devise a tentative route. Honestly, he was our Nav Man every step of the way, and without him i think we would have been up shit creek. We were making great headway, and i began to think that on our 3rd time doing this, we might actually have a shot at winning!! It was truly thrilling...

Market street was alive with the Chinese New Year parade: laughing groups of children in traditional Chinese dress, camera flashes going off all around you, giant colorful floats moving slowly in the background, and everyone competing with the sound of the firecrackers, the shouting, and the drums... The smell of gunpowder was redolent, as we wove our way through the hordes and the throngs. Everywhere there were colorful dragons, and likenesses of oxen; shiny embroidered silk outfits; gaping bystanders and crying children, photographers wheeling around looking for that perfect shot. The moon was almost full, peeking out us periodically from between skyscrapers. We raced through the city, reading plaques and signs, writing down our answers and trying not to give away the location when we'd see another team nearby. Hey, it's a dog-eat-dog world, man!

Not even halfway through, we made a fatal error. It is always hard to get around the parade route, and we have had huge time losses in the past due to this. A couple with strollers was getting the go-ahead to cross the parade route from a police officer, who led them through, and the couple told us to just follow along behind them, like we were in their group. So we did!! It was so exciting! We thought we had finally had a stroke of luck, a way to beat the system! It was exhilarating.

However, it was also the beginning of the end. This is where everything started to go wrong. The reason we crossed was because we were heading for what we thought was the site for Clue #2 (they are not solved in any specific order), Square in Chinatown. We searched and searched, for about 15 minutes, but were coming up completely blank. Other teams from the Hunt were trickling through, eyes furtively reading signs and ogling every square inch of statues... we began to realize that we were in the wrong place. It was an awful feeling, and Nat decided to ask a couple of guys for help, which is often one of the best ways to find your way to the next place. Turns out we found the two biggest passive-aggressive dickheads in the entire city, one of whom basically called Addie and i stupid repeatedly while his friend "helped" Nat realize that we were far from being in the right place. On Asshole #1's recommendation (which seemed sound at the time), we headed many blocks west, and up a big hill, where we looked around us, and down at the parade, scratching our heads. There was nothing here... again, we were clearly in the wrong place. Where had we gone wrong? What were we missing?
i asked a man for help who was standing nearby with his 9 year old daughter. He took one look at the clue and parsed it out right there in front of me, as we looked down upon the scene from above. Duh. it all began to make sense. We were on the wrong side of the parade. We never should have crossed in the first place- we had been only a block or so away from the alley we were supposed to find, and heading right for it! Ah, well. We had lost about 45 minutes, which made me angry, compounded by the fact that i was still very upset because of the Assholes.

Leaving that one aside for a bit, we dragged our feet on the way to the next clue. i felt bad because i was in sort of a toxic mood and having a hard time making my way out. We still managed to have fun, though, and after heading up to North Beach and having a cup of coffee at Trieste (yum!), things started to pick up again. We were back in our game, and knocked a few more out of the park. Eventually, as it became later and later, we realized there was no way to get back by the 9 o'clock deadline, and that we were definitely just playing for fun at this point. But we only had a few left to get, so we soldiered on, helping some other teams out along the way, finding out that Clue #2 had fucked over more than a few of them. i guess that's life!

Got some more coffee (!), trekked down last-minute back alleys filled with dissipating smoke and tried to avoid the stumbling groups of drunks who were throwing loud Pop-Its on sidewalk. The City was winding down; the parade was over. Empty cartons of firecrackers littered the gutters and ragged signs blew in the strengthening breeze. People huddled up a little more into their coats and the police began the tedious business of re-opening the streets. We ended up getting all of the clues but that one (#2), because we weren't near that area anymore and we were running out of time to get back to the Amtrak station and pick up our bags. Unfortunately, i had forgotten to pick up a cookie for Carl, but we did have two delicious Mandarin oranges left from our on-the-go Bag O' Food that night. He accepted them happily.

On the way to BART, we realized that we had been running around for seven hours!! It was crazy. We decided to split a cab, just because. (Money grows on trees, right?) On the ride to Oakland, we learned from our cabbie that the only way to make money as a driver is to turn over your passengers basically as much as you can, because of the flag drop. It made complete sense, i had just never thought of it before. We'd always sort of assumed that if you had someone who stayed in your cab for hours, doing errands and having you wait at the curb, that was where the money was. Apparently not: he said that the ideal distance for a trip was about twenty blocks- not too short, not too long (this is assuming you can pick someone else up right away). Who knew?

Home to Addie's, where we ate cookies (sorry, Carl!) and watched Shoes a couple of times before bed (yes, i know- we're 2 years behind the times). Slept the sleep of the dead.

a journey, a single step. it begins.

On Friday night, we headed to the airport for our 8:40 flight up to San Francisco. We already knew it was delayed until 9:10, because of rain there (in S.F.?! No way!?). Had some nachos, which is the vegetarian's go-to food when you're at a crappy airport bar/restaurant. Turned our backs while we ate on some loud, misogynistic middle-aged men from Jersey, who fit right in here in San Diego. Prayed we would be sitting nowhere near them on the plane.

Our flight was delayed again, this time until 9:40. Bought a National Geographic, read an interesting story about wild horses in America (some are direct descendants of those that were brought here by conquistadores centuries ago, and still have traces of striped markings). Listened to "Kim and Jessie" on the iPod more times than was absolutely necessary. The plane was delayed further, until 10:10 or so, and when i went to get the requisite pre-flight double vodka, the damn bar had just closed. Not to be a drama queen, but this made me extremely unhappy. Wasn't sure how well i was going to handle it. We finally boarded, where we all sat around for way too long at the gate, and i began to wonder if we were waiting for a last-minute passenger? Turns out we had been delayed for take-off, this time, and wouldn't be leaving the tarmac until 10:50. Fuck! BART stops running at around midnight. Would we make it in time? At one point it felt like we weren't even going to make it at all: the turbulence just minutes after taking off was possibly the worst i have ever sat through, and i was actually crying, tears were falling (yes, yes, i know: drama queen behavior). It sucked. Nat and i doodled on some barf bags to distract ourselves. ("Let 'er rip!" and a drawing of a thumbs-up. Also: "Happy Barfing! Hope you feel better.")

Touched down at 11:50, ran down the causeway and through the airport, got on the shuttle to the BART station... where it was already closed. Closed. Closed. The last train had left at 11:50, so there was no way we would have made it. We headed back to the terminal, and tried to find help in the huge, abandoned halls of SFO, but their computerized "information" system had very little actually helpful information. There was nothing about buses, or any other way to get to the East Bay once you've missed BART. Finally, i heard a little voice: You need help? A skinny young man pushing around a giant broom appeared from behind a corner. His name tag said Rolando. He directed us left, right, straight left, then down the elevator, finally to Garage G, where we got lost and supremely frustrated, and headed back upstairs. i was starting to lose it a little. Then another helpful fellow, S. Guam, pushing a mop, helped us out a little farther and we finally made it to the tiny bus stop outside, where we ran but just missed a bus.

Sat there for 20 minutes, stewing at the prospect of taking a long bus ride to downtown S.F. and then waiting almost an hour for another long bus ride across the bridge to get to my friend's house (who was already asleep) around 3 or 4 in the morning. i felt like punching someone in the gut. After some waffling discussion, Nat and i decided that fuck it, we were going to get a hotel room near the airport and deal with this all in the morning. We had some extra money, and it was a borderline emergency, so yeah. Called a few hotels from the airport; the lady at Travelodge (our 1st choice: the cheapest room, and closest to BART) apparently had an anger-management problem, and hung up on Nat because we couldn't communicate exactly where we were in the vast, multi-level international terminal. Good times.

i did cartwheels outside while we waited for the free shuttle to our second hotel choice: the Clarion. It looked super-swanky, and cost us $99+tax, but didn't even have a free breakfast! What a burn. Kicked off our shoes, brushed our teeth, and marveled at the free Showtime, which has turned into way more of a Spice Channel since i was a kid. Set the alarm (Live 105!), slept like a baby.

Friday, February 6

Related? Unrelated?

Weird Thing Number 1: Yesterday, for the first time in probably a year (or more?), i scrubbed the kitchen floor behind the garbage can/recycling/broom&dustpan area. Yes, this may seem gross, but it was really not very dirty! The floor in my kitchen is dark slate tile, so i can never tell when it needs soap, anyway... i guess you could say i was avoiding that corner. Forever.
But yeah! On a whim, there i was, scrubbing away. It felt good, real good. My floor was fucking sparkling. Cut to two hours later, and i was making dinner (we had breakfast for dinner: omelet, fruit, muffins, tea). At the end, had a bunch of fruit scraps on the cutting board. Went to toss them into the trash, and-oops!-wouldn't you know it: 75 percent of them went tumbling over the side of the trash can, all over the wall and into a great big pile on the (fucking sparkling) floor behind it. Now, has this ever happened to me before? No. Sometimes my aim is off when i go to throw a zucchini end in there or something, but usually i undershoot and it falls where i can see it, so i pick it up. No problem. But this time they went all over the newly clean floor that i had just spent 20 minutes scrubbing back to life. Why? Seriously. Why.

Weird Thing Number 2: The day before that, Nat mentioned how funky our tea kettle was looking. It's all rusty and corroded, what gives? The only explanation i could think of was that it was a cheap-o thing ($20 or so) and we had been using it for nigh on 6 years. And, we have an electric stove right now and i am convinced that those things are pure evil. Plus, we have disgusting hard water down here at the tail end of the Colorado River, so a couple of times i have had to boil vinegar in the thing to get the crust of lime off of the inside. No big. But yeah, the teapot was looking a little haggard, i'll admit it. Trusty little thing, it has served us well! The very next morning, after i made coffee, i put the tea kettle back on the range and forgot to turn off the damn stovetop. I'm sure i'm not the first person to do this, nor was that the first time that i have made that particular mistake. (in any case, i certainly never did this when i had a gas stove, damn you evil electric ranges!!) Um, half an hour later? Yeah. i walked into the kitchen. it felt really weirdly warm, and something smelled funny. Right away i knew. Shit- the tea kettle. Turned off the stove as fast as i could, but it was too late. The kettle has been super-heated for so long that the plastic on the handle had begun to melt, from the inside, sending a screw loose, where it was practically seared to the bottom of the kettle on the inside. The whole removable whistling spout-topper thingy was melted and had fallen apart as well. Wow, i sure did a number on it this time. So guess where it went? In the trash. Now i am back to boiling water in a little pot, which is mostly annoying only for the pure fact that i have exactly three pots, two small and one medium, which i often use all at once. Now one is sort of out of the game... drat!

But the weird part about this is: Why did that happen right after Nat said something about it? Seriously! What is the phenomenon that connects these things, or is there none? Is it sort of like Murphy's Law? Or how when you know you are carrying an expensive vase, it makes you nervous, and therefore more likely to drop it? Or is it more along the lines of imbuing an object with abstract energy (just go with me here)? For instance, i used to work at a stained glass store that was located a hundred feet from the railroad tracks. All of our nice, blown-glass gift items (perfume bottles, paperweights, etc.) would sit on the shelves collecting dust, because a few times a day the whole building would rattle and send a fine sifting down. We also had plenty of other work to do besides selling objets d'art, so often they would sit in the same arrangement on their shelves for weeks at a time. Sales would slow down, but the minute you walked around and paid some attention to them, just moved them around a little bit, rearranged them, they would fly out the door! Sell like hotcakes! It was as if people had never seen these things before! i often felt like King (Queen?) Midas.

Related (and way more hilarious):

Reality was an ice cube...

..melting away, but then re-freezing.

i woke up today in a state of shock, it felt like, and nothing could make me feel better. My eyes were immediately wide-open, which is weird, and i was even scared of Nat. i felt like being in reality was too good to be true. i have never in my life had such a powerful dream, one that had such resonance and residue in my waking world. It was without a doubt the worst dream i have ever had.
it was crippling, and terrifying.. i felt enslaved by the fear the whole time, and so overwhelmed and sick that i might throw up/faint at any time... is that even possible in a dream? Do you merely faint into your waking life? i have yet to find out.

To sum up: i was visiting my (actual) old best friend from when i was a kid, Molly. We were at her (actual) childhood home, in my (actual) childhood neighborhood, and we were back in the early '80s... only we were all grown up, in our late twenties.

A lot of the beginning of this dream is foggy, but something bad happened to Molly. something that Nat and i were responsible for (accident, or neglect..), and she was dead. We had chopped her up and put her in a trash bag and got rid of her somehow; tossed it in a lake, i believe.

Then i found out Nat was time-traveling (to prevent that from happening, maybe?), but something fucked up in the fabric of time. He was taking a shower in Molly's bathroom while i was freaking out in the hallway and her creepy 3-year old daughter was walking around with a pen that she drew oil paintings on the floorboards with, paintings of her dead mommy's ghost. More specifically, her dead mommy's ghost's shadow. i felt like throwing up, so i went into the bathroom, and saw Nat standing weirdly in the corner, leering at me and looking kind of floppy like he was swaying and might fall down at any moment. i gave a strangled yelp because i realized that Nat was still in the shower. There were two of him in the fucking room.

Jesus christ, this is hard for me to even type! it is making me physically ill.

(kittens! and bunnies! and rainbows, and ice cream, yay!!!)

...So, where was i?

Oh yeah: so Nat cries out, and tears aside the shower curtain. What's wrong?! he asks me. i am practically having a seizure with panic as he hugs me, dripping wet from the shower, and all i can do is gesture wide-eyed at the creepy-smiling figure (of him) standing 4 feet away. Nat looks mildly surprised, but starts moving quickly and explaining that everything is okay, this is just a small problem with the time warp scenario. He ushers me out into the hallway and closes the door.

Flash forward in the dream, Nat (both of them) has dreadlocks and is wearing all of these weird cloth arm bracelets. i am so terrified of Nat#2, that the original Nat has made him crouch in the corner of the bathroom and stay out of our way. Needless to say, i have not set foot in that bathroom for almost 2 weeks. Suddenly, someone has left the back door open and Molly's strawberry-blonde toddler is heading for the (treacherous) back stairs, and we are six stories up or something. i close the door just in time... She is asking me where her mommy is, but telling me that everything is ok, because her mommy is watching all of us, right now. She is painting one of her weird kid-style oil paintings on the floor, with that damn pen.. i am shivering, and clammy with sweat and terror. Now Molly's parents are coming home from their vacation, but they already know that she is dead, and they think it was an accident, but they want to talk to us anyway. i should be relieved, but i am not. i keep telling Nat that i "want to go" (back to our own time, maybe?).

Forward more in the dream. i realize that the "real" Nat is in fact an impostor, after noticing that he has been unusually rude and cold towards me. At some point, a switch has been made. i can tell because he is rather too meticulous in detail, too perfect. The real Nat has hair that is more sun-bleached, and some of his cloth arm-bands are tattered and faded. i go to him in the bathroom, break the spell, and we hatch a plan to get rid of the (evil) clone Nat, or whatever he is.
Fast-forward, we are on a train platform, and we send the Fake off on some random errand, with his bike. He looks suspicious as he pedals off, and i can hear the train coming, from, it seems, an eternity away... i want the sound of the train's whistle to make me happy, to make me feel better, but instead it feels like it will never get there in time, to save us.

So yeah. The end. Or as they say in the world of films,

..-~F I N~-..

Thursday, February 5

apples to... apples?

See how great "faith"* is? It requires that human beings actually have to work at bridging the gaps it creates between, well, other human beings:

Obama said the office would also work to reach out overseas "to foster interfaith dialogue with leaders and scholars around the world."

Hmmm. i love how complicated religious beliefs make human relations. Instead of simply a dialogue on a basic human level, we have to translate, soft-step, and by gum make sure not to offend anyone. Does this sound like something anyone needs? Not to me.
And then there's this:

Before signing the order at the White House, Obama told the annual National Prayer Breakfast that the program would not show favoritism to any religious group and would adhere to a strict separation of church and state.

Um, i'm sorry, isn't it a little late for that? Replace the word "program" in that sentence with "government-funded religious kow-towing" and you have hypocrisy, or at least a little blindness, and for sure a lot of glossing over.

If this money was simply being spent on secular community-enrichment programs, perhaps we could actually begin the slow shift away from the divisiveness and fervor that has caused such a mess in this country (and others) for so much of our history. Are we really to believe that there is such a need for faith-based organized outreach? If a program was non-denominational, would those struggling communities who were adamantly pious turn up their noses at the help? i would really like to think not, and so the question becomes: Is this another form of pandering? Is the administration (and believe me, i know Obama is not the first to do this, but i will say that i am somewhat more surprised by it, by him) simply glad-handing a specific population of supporters who may be fickle, especially when it comes to their God-given rights/belief system?

i am just saying: why are we paying people, on the government level, to shake hands with any religious order, i don't care which one? This honestly makes no sense. Yes, i am agnostic. Yes, i do believe that a lot of religions contain good lessons to be learned form their beliefs, and good, honest practices being used by people, every day. However. This just seems a little bit like... dare i say, special treatment? Do they need to be hand-held and patted on the head because of some special significance? Is a Christian community center any more in need (of money, volunteer work, supplies, etc.) than a secular one? i really just don't get it. Someone, please clarify.

Also, sorry for using so many hand references. Toodles.

*the version of the word "faith" i use here is the one which is specific as being heavily burdened with saccharine religious connotations.

Wednesday, February 4

Here comes the story of The Hurricane

Okay, two things:

One, look at how pretty Viagra is!! Wow.

Secondly, but maybe more importantly: listen to this song. Not sure about the video, but it's definitely got its moments. Maybe M83 is one of my new favorite bands. Hm.

i referred to flowers as "product" today at work. Please take me out and shoot me, because that is exactly what i wanted to happen if i ever did that. Great, i have become my old boss! Smashing.

Um, i found my Max (from Where the Wild Things Are) doll/hand puppet that Nat got me years ago, lying in the dark in my bottom dresser drawer. You can pull his hood on or off, and move his arms about. Cutest. thing. ever.

Saw a perfect "A" today, in the beargrass trimmings at my feet. Very striking!


Monday, February 2

i am chocolate's bitch.

Does running up the stairs from the vending machine in the lobby burn off the calories in the #44 that i just purchased?

i like to think so.

Sunday, February 1!!

Hm, i accidentally found a blog by John Kricfalusi while looking up the word IPANA online, because it was an answer in my Sunday NYT Diagramless puzzle and i was fucking baffled. i only got it through crossing letters, and thought it had something to do with the answer for "Pampas cowboy", but it turns out it is actually the answer for the clue right after that, "Classic toothpaste brand", next to which i had naively scribbled, Crest? Who among you has ever heard of Ipana? Please, raise your hand right now, because i don't believe it.

Um, anyway. Nice to see that John K is still around. i saw his name at the end of every Ren & Stimpy episode that i watched, where it became permanently imprinted upon my brain, along with that snazzy theme music and sponged-on background art. Seems like everyone i love turns out to be Canadian. Huh.
Ran a block for the bus today: right when i got there, waving my arm frantically, he pulled away from the curb and into the sunset. Jerk. Waited 35 mins for the next one. Chewed on a cinnamon stick the whole time. People probably thought i was loony tunes.

Tried to get Nat a book from the library on campus, but his password didn't work at the self-checkout machine. Why can't students' significant others just check out books for them?
::in Napoleon voice:: Gosh.

It's been one of those days.

Um, off to watch "Nature", about a deer on a mountain, or something. i need to cool off. Happy February! Groundhog Day is upon us.

::passes apple cider around::