Monday, March 30

Helen Levitt:

Another great photographer you never knew about.

NPR has a short article and a slide show of some of her (really killer) photos over here.

Another good reason i should really stop dicking around and just get to school, already. i could have learned about her ages ago. It's not surprising, either, that she made two documentaries in the '40s with another extremely talented individual, James Agee. i've gotta get my hands on those...

Had a labyrinthine dream last night involving babies and pearl anklets... in Part One, i was carting this baby around on my hip for hours. i was at work (the bakery, my old job), and i couldn't find a place to put him down so as to get anything done. At one point someone left the door open and i was in a rage because the baby had managed to toddle out into the hallway. Curious, we ventured down to the large windows at the end of the hall together, where a college class was assembled on the stairwell quietly watching the goings-on outside with great interest. The "goings-on" i speak of were an intense armageddon/firestorm scenario. i felt like all the wind got knocked out of me, so baby and i sat down heavily on the steps and watched, in silence, with the rest of them.
Eventually, we got up to leave but some of the students swarmed around us (were they fleeing?) and blocked our way back to the room we had been in. Two men started duking it out right there in front of us, very viciously, so nearby that i was cringing and trying to cover the baby with my head and arms as best i could.

Trip out!

Anyway, in Part 2, i was at a huuuuuuuuuge flea market with my sister, and we were scoping the scene for a really important piece of jewelry. Basically i was just following her around, up and down rickety stairwells and peeking behind dirty tarps until she finally saw what she was looking for from a raise walkway. There! she pointed. i followed her finger down to a small studio space where a woman was belly-dancing rhythmically. i couldn't see what my sister was trying to show me, but finally it appeared: beneath the woman's long russet-hued skirts, i saw a flash on her ankle. She had an exquisite pearl anklet on her left leg. This was the "jackpot", apparently. It meant something, somehow, which was beyond me. A creepy guy had attached himself to out cause, at some point, and now he and my sister argued about how to wrest this priceless bauble form the woman's ankle. After a half-hour of listening to (increasingly sketchy) scenarios, i finally offered up, How about we just ask her how much it is? It's probably not very much. We can just pay her, no? and they looked at me like i was crazy. But my sister grudgingly agreed. The woman penciled the price on a grubby slip of paper and handed it back to us: $37.95. i felt a wave of relief wash over me but one look at my sister and her cohort was all i needed to know that this adventure was far from over. Their faces were wide with shock.

So yeah! interesting night up there, in the ol' brain pan. Gosh, to be a fly on the wall in there- oh. Wait.

Ta ta!

Sunday, March 29

Pretty in Pink

Basically, one of the best intros ever. Enjoy, if you've got the time.

One of the (semi-unsavory) characters from my family's past has passed away. Well, he left more than 9 months ago, at this point, but because he had dropped so far off the map we are only now finding out. When my mom told me over the phone, i felt like i had been socked in the gut. Frankly, i was surprised at how much i cared; she said she was surprised at how little she cared... it's interesting how people get under your skin and you don't even know it. i would find myself thinking about him from time to time and wishing him the best, even though i had absolutely no reason to: he stole from us and was generally a decrepit miscreant. i just didn't want him to fall through the cracks, although i'm fairly certain that that's what ultimately happened. Last i had heard, he had relapsed (heroin) after rehab, and had been stabbed and was convalescing in a wheelchair. That was years ago. Whenever i drove by the shitty apartment building he purportedly lived in on Sacramento, i would keep my eyes fixed on it for as long as i could, craning my head the other direction as whatever vehicle i was in drove on impassively; hoping, perhaps, for the tiniest glimpse of his dark-circled eyes, his dark ratty hair. it never happened.

Well, here's to you, Nick. i missed you, after all. Who knew.

Thursday, March 26

been a long time.

So, you guys should probably watch King of Masks. It's good. It's darn good. And it introduced us to bian lian, which is an ancient Chinese performance art that i'm totally smitten over (except for the misogynistic aspect, which ends up being kind of explainable; harumph). Here is an example of it in action, and feel free to get lost in the related videos on the side there. We had a lot of fun with all of that last night.

Not much to report from SoCal. It's windy these days. i heard a new PJ Harvey/John Parish song on the radio (Black Hearted Love) and it was excellent. We're seeing Rasputina and Ruby Throat (!) at the Casbah on Saturday night. i re-read The Little Match Girl recently, and it made me cry all over again. Damn you, Hans Christian Andersen! i fucking love that story, all 692 words of it.

In other news: here is a video of slug sex. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll do it all. i would just embed it, but it deserves a larger size for maximum viewing awesomeness. When you're done watching, be sure to lift your finger up to your chin and manually shut your jaw. Amazing, no?!

Don't have a lot of time on the computer these days (which is probably a good thing), so i'm keepin' things short. Nat is busy finishing a Mill paper and applying for an RAship this summer. Not to mention applying for a philosophy conference in Geneva this August, so yeah! Very exciting. Wish i could go. Also, it would be cool if money grew on trees. Just sayin'.

Oh! And i spent part of last night headbanging along to the Circle Jerks in the backseat of a car with a rad one-year-old and his (also-rad) mom. i was gonna post one of those songs, but it just ain't the same in the light of day, so i leave it preserved in that perfect moment of time.

Our Song of the Day, instead:

Until next time. Here is something else to keep you busy exploring your world, if you're into that sort of thing. i guess we're more closely related to fungi than we are to plants.

Wednesday, March 18

more "excruciating minutiae"

Why is the pope such an asshat? Is it because he wears an asshat? Seriously, what could possibly provoke someone into saying that condom use worsens the AIDS epidemic?

The Roman Catholic Church believes marital fidelity and sexual abstinence are the best way to prevent the spread of HIV.

Hey, wow, that's really... nice. i'm glad that you "believe" that, i really am. But um, try telling that to someone whose spouse cheated on them and then gave them HIV because they didn't "believe" in using condoms. They're just following your rules, right? Your friendly and helpful suggestions? For getting into "Heaven" maybe?

How about we all stop worrying about the "next" fucking "life" and concentrate on this one, howsabout that for a change?


Unrelated: i made lemon meringue pie tonight. After a spectacular crust failure, i got back on track and am hoping it will be delicious. Certainly looks and smells divine... i bucked tradition and used brown sugar instead of white, added vanilla bean to the filling AND the meringue, and added some ground almonds to the crust. But Will It Float? i'll keep you all posted (because i'm sure you are just dying to know...)

Related to the Unrelated: i am hitting brick walls on the suicide-hotline volunteering angle. Hm. Need to keep looking. Especially now i have more fodder for my cannon: Making Pie. Also, Eating Pie. If someone tells me that they just can't go on, i'll say: but have you tried making lemon meringue pie before? smelled the fresh smell of a lemon on your hands you've sliced into it and squeezed it dry? Separated eggs while mulling over the spectacle of life? joined the offerings of cow teats and threshed-and-pounded grain into a flaky crust? carefully measured in the sugar and salt, stirred with a tool over a primitive flame and then baked the whole thing until your kitchen smells dreamy? mehtinks that if you were gazing upon the fragrant, browned peaks of meringue and salivating at the mere thought of all that underlying tartness, you'd be okay. at least for the nonce.

and the nonce is really all we have, isn't it?


Tuesday, March 17

The Talkies.

Well, Coraline was a bust. Seems it's not playing anywhere near us so we settled for Slumdog Millionaire, which of course was supposed to be great.

And it was... pretty good. i'm happy to say that at least it wasn't the victim of Too Much Hype, which can (and does) happen to some of us, unfortunately... all the Oscar buzz, the actual Oscars (8!), and then the unsettling aftermath involving returning the children to their real lives back in India. Don't even get me started on that whole thing, there are just way too many facets.

No, this particular movie was ruined for me by a chattering threesome sitting directly to our left. It was a middle-aged woman (MAW), seated in our row, and a couple who i can only assume were her sexagenarian parents, sitting directly behind her.

This particular arrangement, as you've no doubt surmised, entailed the sideways-sitting posture of MAW, so that she could better talk to her parents throughout the duration of the film. What were they talking about? i have no freakin' idea. i'm fairly certain it was Fārsi they were speaking, so most of it was completely lost on us, but here and there you could hear words like "slumdog", "game show", et. al. So maybe she was narrating it for them?

Regardless, the noise was too much. And to be honest, we really should have known that this evening was going to head down this road the minute our usher walked up to the front of the theater (it was a Landmark, with a fairly small crowd of about 50 people) and began to give... a speech. Well, i guess it was more of an 'awkward announcement'. He nervously spluttered that Here at the Landmark Theaters, we want you to be Happy, and that if there is Anything We Can Do to make your experience More Enjoyable, to please Let Us Know.

Uhhhh, okay?

He then went on to encourage us to buy the (amazing) soundtrack to the film, and that if anyone had any questions, to please head on out to the concession stand (a ruse!) and someone would be sure to try and help.

My initial thought was "Customer-service Spiel". Nat went with "Soundtrack Upsell". And we couldn't really blame them: in these hard times, people (and companies) are doing what they can to get by. "Standing out" is high up on the list of successful brand marketing, surely. Either way, it fell a little flat, felt too disingenuous. Has anyone else encountered this yet?

So anyway, Nervous Guy finishes his halting delivery and begins to head up the aisle, no doubt to his (and our) great relief. But what's this? Oh, a question! Joy.
i thought to myself: Here we go.

From the Better Half of a white-haired couple ahead of us and off to the side: "Is there a difference in the sound volume of the previews versus the film itself? Because sometimes, you know, they are so loud, that i have almost walked out."

Oh sweet Jesus. You give 'em an inch, and they'll take a mile.

The Poor Lad mumbled a few sentences containing only the tiny nugget of the actual certainty that he did not know, and hastened off to check. While everyone else relaxed their shoulders and exuded their polite, pent-up sighs, MAW and i exchanged a "wow, can you believe the nerve?" look of amazement. Nat chimed in with "well, he did ask." A few minutes later Nervous Guy came back in and announced (not without some pride in accomplishment of his task) that yes, the previews are a wee tick louder but that all they can do is turn down the general volume, meaning the film itself will be slightly quieter.

Yeah, but Really? Come on, Landmark employees, really? Don't make me get all Amy Poehler on your ass. Audiences have been scraping by for how many years now with the eardrum-blasting TDX Super Surround or whatever the hell it is... are we really going to merit this woman's "issue" with some actual direct action? Okay, then what about people such as myself, that are a little hard of hearing? Do you hear me saying anything? In the end, it felt a little like watching TV at home late at night, when you live in a crowded apartment building and are trying not to wake anyone up. Like you had to lean forward and strain your ears a bit.

Anyway, i thought it would be a hoot to go out and complain that it was too quiet, just to drop the other shoe. Nat's much more exuberant idea was to wait until the previews began and then yell out, "My god! MY FUCKING EARS!!" and run into the lobby.

Wow, do i digress much? Here's the end of this story: MAW and her 'rents chat it up merrily almost the whole time. Nat, who in general is sensitive to extraneous noise anyway (i know, i know, we should have just left in the beginning), looks anxiously over his shoulder at them for the first half-hour of the film, which in turn get me all annoyed and riled up. We waffle over whether or not to try and get our money back and maybe see the later show, or just stick it out. Finally, he seems to be able to ignore them and now i cannot. What an ironic twist.

After several passive-aggressive attempts to shush them (i.e. me looking over, holding up my hands with raised eyebrows and a "WTF?" expression), Nat leans back and stage-whispers: "SHUT. UP!", to which i immediately prickle and begin to burn with shame. Yes, i wish i was a tad more normal, but this bothered me. Boldness bothers me. It is something i need to work on. There, i said it.

So, now Nat and i are pissed off at each other as the last half-hour of the movie winds to a close. Before the credits have even begun to roll, MAW and her parents get up to leave. As they pass by behind us, she shouts at Nat "Fuck you– you fucking asshole!", practically in tears. Also, her voice sounded like that of a twenty-year-old. We were totally shocked. Shocked! Look, lady, sorry we sat through more than an hour and a half of your yammering (explaining the movie to her parents, we ultimately decided) and then finally had the balls to say something. That somehow makes us the assholes? Next time, why don't you just stay home?

Or better yet: maybe we will. Yeah, that sounds about right. Last time we went to that theater, we saw Burn After Reading, which should have been called Burn After Watching. Hi-oh! (sorry, i know i'm probably not the first person to make that joke.) And the very first movie we ever saw there was The Illusionist (meh), after which our companion remarked that Nat and i were both idiots for not predicting the twist at the end. Thanks, guy!
Guess it's just our luck with that theater. i vow: no more!

The moral behind all of this: Can't we all just get along? and: People, quit being such victims about everything. Just smooth out. Please.

*Update: Saw Watchmen last night (different theater), which totally made up for Friday's disaster... John Malkovich might have been sitting behind us. Got to eat some Red Vines. It was a good night. Pros: The Comedian, the voice of Rorschach. Cons: the actors who played Silk Spectre (the younger) and Nite Owl. Yeesh. In my humble opinion, the first half hour was top-notch. Not so sure about the rest, thought it was certainly entertaining. Also, Rorschach looked just like Danny Bonaduce, which fucked me up. All in all, a fun watch.

Friday, March 13

This Modern World, part two.

Going to see Coraline tonight... all i know about this movie is that she has buttons for eyes (based on my quick trip to the website), and that it was based on a book written by Neil Gaiman, who i know i'm supposed to be thrilled about but in actuality i sense that he seems a wee bit egotistical which of course puts me off like almost nothing else. i read some of Nat's "Sandman" comics, and they were good, don't get me wrong. But i can't remember much about them besides the fact that Death was hot, and that a guy i used to work with had a tattered shirt with her character on it that i coveted intensely.

Also this weekend, we're going to be seeing Watchmen. i've been trying to shut off my ears from all the controversy/hype surrounding this film. i read the graphic novel like seven years ago, and i honestly don't remember much except that i thought it was very clever and weighty, in the good way. Also, an extremely good use of paneling, which is so great because it showcases the unique artistry that only something like a comic book (or a graphic novel, excuse me) can have. Beyond that, i will definitely say that i am not going to hastily read it again in an attempt to cut the movie to bits for not staying true. i am treating them like two separate entities, which i feel is only fair. Each and every person reads a book in a different way, which is why there are always people there to tear the movie apart when they come out.
i'm sure for us it will be a rollicking good time as a movie, as long as i can detach myself from the slight tinge of bitterness left over from when Nat and i went to purchase the book itself from our local comics store all those years ago. The shop's owner, a rather hefty man with long dirty-blonde hair, a cane, and a hat, ambled over to where we were and remarked that Nat might not want to start me off with Watchmen (my only previous comics experience was the daily Far Side cartoon in the newspaper and old Archie comics in the '80s), because it might be a little too much for me. A little too over my head, if you will.

Wow. Um, guy? Don't insult my intelligence, please. i don't take kindly to that. And i never forgave him for those comments, even after i found out that he died from an unfortunate accident involving a hernia surgery. And even after i remembered later that he was the guy who went so far out of his way to help me acquire my Love and Rockets comics after some of them went out of print... Rory, i forgive you now. i understand that comics were your entire world and of course you had your pinnacles within that world, where i was still just a novice bottom-dweller. No worries here, mate. But to be fair, i'd like to think that i picked up on each and every nuance that Watchmen had to offer, or at least didn't sit there scratching my head and going, "huh?" every page.

Anyway, we haven't been to the pictures in a while, so i'm excited! Any excuse to eat (too much) popcorn for dinner is fine by me, plus they have cherry coke with ice, so i'm basically in heaven on earth at the movies. The only problem is that i'm fiercely hooked on this book i'm reading right now, Folly by Susan Minot, and i fell like i might throw up if i'm away from it for too long. No really, i have a bad case. i need it. i'm going to try and finish it on the bus-ride up to campus where i'm meeting Nat. But if i'm not done by then, he might have no one to talk to while we wait for the movie to start. Will Lilian ever see Walter Vail again? i'm dying to know... the young love described on the book's first 80 or so pages is enough to make you faint dead away, especially if you remember how powerful a look can be, or a hand taking your elbow and leading you into the great unknown. Good lord, i need to go read it right now. Bye.

Sweeny... Tom, Dick or Harry?

Last night we happened by a good old-fashioned barber shop, tucked right in among the Bigger-Better-Faster-More. (iTan, iSpa, Vons, Longs, Starbucks, Jamba Juice.)

There was a handwritten sign taped to the glass on the front door, showing evidence of the black marker being painstakingly dragged twice over each letter:


A look inside offered more of that quaintness; glimpses of days gone by. It was rather like looking into a living time capsule. The chairs were original, upholstered in a dark and sordid red leather, metal foot-rests quietly gleaming. The chairs in the waiting area along the wall were also authentic, but in a less pleasing way, their seat cushions sagging under the memory of so many hirsute patrons. An old clock on the wall had some long-gone (racist) brand logo on its face, a red "Indian" silhouette. American flags could be spotted in various nooks and crannies, as well as stickers proudly proclaiming the shop's support of "AmVets". An old barometer lay tilted atop a bureau in dusty repose, its ornate hand resting forever on FAIR.

i need to get inside for a closer look, but i'm betting they still use those oldschool lather brushes when they give a shave, like the one my dad used to have in a little ceramic pot filled with its hardened puck of shave cream. The swirling motion of that brush and the smell of Old Spice brings it all back in an instant. Will report back with more super-interesting facts, such as the proprietor's name and what kind of dog he has at home, as well as the size of the fish he caught last week, what the articles on those yellowing newspaper clippings are about, and what age his oldest customer is.

Thursday, March 12


Walked home from work the other night; followed my feet, and the full moon. Saw a guy in his front yard, beyond a latticed fence, practicing some martial art or another... i don't think he knew i could see him. What a strange night.


And can i just vent for a second? (noooooooo! groans the audience.)

First off: the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Can we just get that stuff the fuck out of the water already? 'Kay thanks.
(wow, i'd thought this mess was comprised of large, identifiable pieces of junk, but instead it appears to be more of a confetti soup: ignore the amount of times the guy says "like" in this video, and how dumbed-down it is, and you still get the horrifying picture.)

Second: How crazy is it that a piece of space debris as small as a bullet forced the astronauts on the ISS to hide in an escape pod, fearing a fatal decompression of their living/working area? It was traveling at approximately 20,000 MPH. Seriously, the mind boggles. This is actual reality; does this not faze anyone else as much as it does me? Wobbly legs and shit.

and Thirdly: i can't take it anymore, media. i am so sick of news reports that feel they have to add in details that don't matter one tiny bit... Please, the facts. Not the emotion-grabbers. Can you leave out statements that inform us as to the gender of the dead? Do i need to know that most of Tim Kretchmer's shooting victims were women? Is this supposed to make this attack somehow more ghastly? i'm not sure i have ever understood this line of thinking. Men? Pfeh. Secondary.
And while we're at it: Authorities raided his home and found porn? No. way.
"Violent video games"? How can this be?
"Scary movies", such as Friday the 13th? Holy shit! That must mean that everyone i went to high school with is going to pull out a gun, don their favorite black outfit, and start spewing lead.

Way to spin straw into gold there, folks.

Or maybe it was the fact that his father had a big gun hobby? Or that in our increasingly material- and status-obsessed society, we are closing ourselves further and further off from normal, everyday human contact?

Nahhhh, it was probably that other stuff they mentioned.


In other news: Holi is here! (Well, more like there, but you know what i mean.) Whatever, i'm a day late, but here is some happiness to balance out this post:


man, i've gotta do that some day....

p.s.) we saw one of Nat's profs on TV last night, protesting for the removal of an agreement between XE (formerly Blackwater) and Southwestern community college in Chula Vista. In exchange for the use of XE's firing range (for Southwestern's police-in-training), XE would have use of some of the rooms on Southwestern's campus. Hmmmm. Need to find out more about this. In any case, it was extremely odd that the first night in literally months that we turned on the television, the news comes on, and then a familiar face among the protesters! We were shouting so loudly and hitting/shoving each other in excitement that we couldn't even hear what he was saying. ::cringes in embarrassment:: Good thing i found this article.
Small world!

Monday, March 9

not what you think.

We have a dulcet green note in our "Stickies" application that reads, simply, "look into suicide".

The story behind this delightfully cheery reminder lies behind the fact that this is my life lately.

No, seriously.

Recently i remembered that ever since high school, i've wanted to volunteer for a suicide hotline. Not sure where this feeling originally came from, but it has been lurking in the back of my mind ever since. Maybe it's a reflection of my own desire to see the forest for the trees. i spend so much time holding on desperately to any little thing that might lift my spirits, that i am completely losing track of a cohesive, "bigger-picture" existence. Perhaps in being able to show other struggling people the things i have learned along the way, i can finally move on. It would be nice to finally be of use to someone who needs clarity, to be able to help a despondent soul. Who knows, maybe i am flattering myself. i don't even know if this is something i can do from home, or if i have to go to a call center, or what. But it certainly seems important enough, even though i'm sure there are people who think there are more important ways to spend one's time.

However, sitting around all day on the internet and being unable to leave the house until the sun goes down simply cannot be healthy. i am tired of being afraid. It's (way beyond) time to change something.

Nat didn't want me to forget, so he brought up Stickies (i know, right? why can't we just write shit on paper anymore?!) and typed "look into suicide", then paused, presumably trying to decide between the word "prevention" or "hotline", or go for both. But it was so perfect just the way it was that i made him leave it alone.

Anyway, there it is, my reminder. I've gotta look into it.

In the meantime, here are some really fun underwater art photos and a video of a guy playing "Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy" on wineglasses. Don't fight it: you know you wish you were him. i certainly do:

..magical! Also: love his bitchin' valet outfit. Toodles.
There is a stretch of road somewhere in Northern Idaho that sounds like this:

There are magpies that swoop fast and low over the highway, skimming barely above the black and yellow. a clear-grey river courses alongside, sometimes hiding behind the gorgeously steep and rocky cliffs that pop up now and again... If it is late enough in the year, a dusting of white snow covers the terrain and the sun shines richly through the cloudy sky, filling the air with soft, cold, crystalline light. You could drive forever and not see another human being– just the birds, the forever of birds.

But, eventually, you will find a turn-off, a crossroads, and then an old gas station. it sits on the corner of a great, wide expanse of land, stretching as far as your eye can see in all directions. There are black specks in the snow that almost look like ash. The snow sparkles in drifts and dunes, and pieces of charred wood lay about.
i owe the proprietor here a penny, from when i was a small child. Someday i hope to pay him back. i will get there. i need to see it all again; i am drawn to it like the forever self-immolating moth. it needs me, and i know that i need it.

Saturday, March 7

A (really exciting–no, really) recap.

The last few days have been, well, in the words of a close friend's Dutch ex-lover, to express his dissatisfaction of all things unpleasant, great or small: Not so nice.

All of the flowers in the house were dying. My strawberry plant attracted giant, juicy green aphids so it got thrown away. i bent my thumbnail backward trying to pry a sticky label off of something. My scanner was uploading crap-quality photos (read: GRAINY AS ALL HELL). i didn't leave the house all day on Friday. That's probably where it went all wrong. Wasn't meant to be inside all damn day.

Additionally, that morning, before he went to school, Nat and i were talking about the never-ending search for a New Earth, so my mind was somewhere else all day... why are people so obsessed with finding life on other planets? i asked him. What possible benefit could this have for our species? There is already enough existential angst to last for each generation to come; endlessly strengthening and refreshing with each new crop of mature, thinking minds; asking the eternal question: why are we here?

Do we really think that adding more life to the scale will help? If anything, this will throw our whole precarious balance out of whack. Going from a big fish (in a huge, infinitesimal sea of space) to a small fish (in the same giant, endless sea of stardust) will cause major damage to the collective human psyche, in my humble opinion. i'm just not sure it would be such a good thing.

Granted, it would be absolutely astonishing, and awesome, to know that we are not "the only ones". And perhaps it would even add a little perspective to our humdrum existence, filled with piddly little problems that we bend and stretch and inflate to become exponentially larger and more serious that they actually are... knowing that there is life on other planets might make things like stubbing your toe or dropping your ice cream on the sidewalk seem a little less infuriating. (also see above, re: yesterday's "problems".) i guess i just feel like we should really be able to accomplish that point of view now, here, in the current time, without needing something to chop us down to size first.

And it would certainly help to bring some of the people with some pretty foolish ideas back down to reality, or at least i hope so. One of my main hopes for a discovery of life (even a bacterium!) on another sphere hinges on the hopeful result that perhaps it would shatter people's ideas of a Biblical Earth, one that was created a mere few thousand years ago (seriously, folks?).

The only thing that saved me on Saturday was a long, chilly bike ride and a playlist of good songs i hadn't listened to in awhile. There was finally almost a half of a moon, so i could see where i was going while listening to "Bonnie and Clyde" (Serge Gainsbourg), "Rockers to Swallow" (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), and "I Got a Woman" by Ray Charles.. i felt nary a bump along the way, which is unusual. Sort of like flying. Plus afterwards i met Nat at a café and we walked home together later, stopping along the way for some after-hours swinging in a school playground. Never fails to give me butterflies... Same reason i love roller coasters, or big dips in the road. i live for that stomach-lurching feeling. Maybe that's why we're all here. Gotta be.

This morning, though, i went through an altogether less-wondrous stomach-lurching experience: the harrowing Buttermilk Affair. It was a pancake day (too many bananas, leftover buttermilk and miniature chocolate chips from another baking project), so i busted out the buckwheat flour and started heating up the cast-iron. i was listening to the radio and drinking coffee– all was going smoothly, right on schedule, which is important when you are making pancakes. Everything has to come together at the right time, otherwise you end up with an Inferior Flapjack. The melted butter was too warm for the cold buttermilk when i combined them, so i ended up with huge clumps of congealed butter clusters, which is absolutely no bueno. Because my (thirty-year-old?) microwave is on the fritz, i placed the Pyrex measuring cup directly on the electric range, which of course you are NEVER SUPPOSED TO DO.

But folks, i've done this countless times. And with less substantial glass containers, i might add. Today i was in a rush, however, trying to avoid the griddles overheating. So the temperature was up high– too high. Before the butter was even melted, the glass measuring cup popped in a startling display of glass shards and milk specks, a horrible sizzling and gagging stench following immediately afterwards.

Question: have you ever spilled buttermilk on a hot electric burner? It is fucking foul. There, i said it. It is hours later at this point, and i am still not stalwart enough to get in there and clean it up, because i am afraid of that smell singing my nosehairs once more. In any case, the pancakes were delicious enough, but now i have to buy a new measuring cup.



Thursday, March 5

it was not a dandelion.

There was an impromptu rainshower last night. It lasted all of three minutes before hastening off to another clime... it was as if you could hear a director shouting "cut, cut!" behind the scenes. Or like a singing telegram at the wrong person's house... oops! That's San Diego rain for you.

Anyway, we watched it speckle the pool's surface from our back door, just in time to see our downstairs neighbors across the way painting their walls a vivid Chinese Red. The last strip of the previous shade, a bright Coral Pink, was glossed over forever... fun to watch, indeed. And why were our neighbors painting their living room at one in the morning? Just 'cuz. Gosh!

Do you know what i do miss, though? The kind of weather that foxes get married in... When i first saw Akira Kurosawa's Dreams, years and years ago, i was so taken with that story. If i'm lucky, the day that i (if i) get married will be sunny and showering. Please watch this film if you haven't already.

Saw an "S" on the floor of a cafe last night, formed from a frayed and discarded piece of string– a broken shoelace, perhaps? The bike ride home graced me with a "c" (errant black tar spill), and an "m"– not sure about this one, it was probably a straw wrapper or something.
The prevalence of 'S's and figure eights that i find is starting to making me suspicious... i guess they are in that family of shapes that is just generally more likely to occur in nature (like 'V's, and 'T's, for whatever reason). i am also starting to wonder if i should quit reporting on these until i can get photos, which would make it all ever so much more interesting. But for truth's sake, i think i shall continue the chronicle. They are obviously not spelling anything out at this point, although at the beginning i have to admit that i thought maybe they were.
Is it going to be an anagram, then? Or do i fill in the blanks as i see fit? Do i have to wait until the end of my life to figure it all out? And what will it say?

In other news: there was a house, a tiny, skulking house which no person was ever seen walking in or out of, on Raymond Street, around the corner from us when we lived on Alcatraz Ave. This house's singular characteristic was a great gossamer mass of fluffy seed-puffs all over its frontice (yes, i just made up that word, go with it) and all over the monstrous prickly weedy plant in the yard beyond the sidewalk. They would adhere in teeming numbers to this sprawling mass of vegetation from which they (presumably) were spewed, which itself appeared to grow from directly beneath the house. It was weird because they never seemed to actually float away; to get anywhere to take root... it could very well be that this creeping plant was some sort of enchanted organism, designed solely to intimidate and reproduce, and that a Sleeping Beauty of sorts lay within the house itself, waiting to be awoken.
In any case, this choking mass of fluff would appear once a year, clinging quietly to the stucco, the brambles, the crabgrass. We used to walk by and delight in it... i would scoop up great big handfuls of the stuff and fling it into the air above our heads, where they would scatter, startled, and drift lazily down.... it always seemed like they were airborne for an exceptionally long time.
My greatest dream back then was to collect enough of these puffos and place them inside a giant makeshift snowglobe, which proved to be the project's main hindrance– could i find something big enough? Glass would almost certainly be too fragile at that size, but would plastic be pretty enough? And what would the scene be, inside this little world? A girl, playing in a huge meadow? A farmer, endlessly raking up pile after pile of them? A stretch of lonesome highway, depicting a Tumbleweed Attack? Or a simple snowscape, diaphanous and gentle? Could someone my size shake it? Should i go beach-ball sized and keep it tangible, or rent an entire storefront and use some sort of air funnel to keep them constantly in motion?

I never figured it out. Bummed about that to this day.

And i know that that house is still there, sitting quietly between its neighbors, not asking for anything or giving anything in return, except for this wonderful yearly crop. If anyone is ever on this particular block, it is a small, unassuming house somewhere on the west side of the street, and of course i can't remember which time of year it does it's thang- probably summer, but what do i know. Have fun. Hope you find it.

Leaving you with my favorite track from one of my favorite movies... Takes me right back to the glory days of youth. Until next time.

Monday, March 2

Haben sie ein zimmer frei?

...This is one of the main phrases i remember (frequently) from when Nat and i attempted to learn German before our trip to Nürnberg in 2004. That feels like another lifetime, but anyway! It means "Do you have a room free?". Useful for securing lodging.
Um, where am i going with this? Yes. The library. Today i am off to (hopefully) find some learn-at-home German texts, and even better if they come with some audio tapes... Nat has to fulfill a language requirement, and since a lot of important philosophy is in German anyway, we figured we'd build on our previously-acquired rudimentary knowledge thereof. We both have a fairly strong aptitude for language in general, so i hope it goes well (as before). But i will miss our old German tutorial, with its frightening train sound (at the end of some section or another) that sounded an awful lot like someone screaming. We rewound it like fifty times, just to be sure we weren't hearing something fucked up.

(but all i ever learned from love/was how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya) Sorry, random lyric.

This is how insecure i am (was? still am? feck.): When i was 19 or so, i went to Amoeba with a friend to buy a Magnetic Fields CD. He had dragged me there with specific purpose, and basically found the album himself and shoved it into my hankering hands. We bee-lined to the checkout counter (like i said: we had a purpose!), where some cooler-than-thou Insolent Guy (don't worry, Insolent Guy, i love you anyway) rang me up without a word and handed me my new tunes as i headed for the front door. i looked at the receipt for some weird reason, whereupon i read:

MAGNETIC FIELDS - GET LOST $11.95 (or however much CDs were back in their glorious heyday)

But here's the funny part: i actually thought that this malcontent had been so annoyed by my youth, poseuriffic eye makeup and elaborate nail polish that he had taken the time to actually type into his computer (so that it would show up on the receipt) "GET LOST".

Um, wow.

My cheeks turned dark, flaming russet-hued, and i slunk out to the sidewalk, burning with shame. What's wrong? M____ asked me, and i just shook my head frantically. A few minutes later i actually looked at the jewel case that was indenting lines into my palm due to Dissociative Grip. The name of the album? Get Lost.

Yep, that's right. It was right there in front of me the whole time. Talk about your basket-cases. Ally Sheedy's got nothin' on me!

Dear someone (anyone),

Please take Flickr away from me.