Thursday, April 30

Quieting the brain's din.

Well, here is the next place i need to go.

No getting around it, really. i must... be there.


...yes, please.

Too Much Information.

So, yesterday i had an altogether new experience.
("In the altogether"? "nude" instead of "new"?)

i'm at work, minding my own business, when a guy walks up. His breath is flammably alcoholic, but his pupils were like pinpoints, so i'm guessing there was another substance at work as well. He'd just gotten a new tattoo, on his neck, and wanted to know if he could check it out in the mirror. My co-worker and i were happy to oblige, just for the spectacle. In all fairness, it was a really nice tattoo! It was simple, just 2 words (i can't remember them) and a date: 1911. But the letters were very artfully scrolled, and the inkwork was truly phenomenal. It looked really, really smart.

And we told him so! After he asked five hundred times.

Turns out this guy had a bit of a self-image problem. He kept adjusting his (porkpie) hat and/or fixing his hair ("should i shave it all off? What do you ladies think?"), and after regaling us with a long story about his estranged wife and their 2 kids, he made us promise that she didn't leave him because of his looks.

"i mean, i'm not ugly, right? i'm a decent-looking guy? C'mon, ladies, tell me the truth."

Holy insecure tattooed twenty-somethings, Batman! i thought i was bad. Seriously, asking a complete stranger to rate your attractiveness? And with not a trace of irony? i could see another, douchier, guy using this act as some sort of come-on. But this lad was truly, truly up to his ears in self-loathing. It was a little rough to be around.

But here's the kicker: As much as he was fiddling with his clothing, what with the constant tugging, adjusting, patting down, etc., i couldn't help but, you know, look at him. And that's when i noticed it.

"It" being the operative word.

His pants were sagging quite a bit (nothing strange in this day and age), but instead of wearing boxer shorts, he was wearing tighty-whities. Thin ones. And um, did i mention yet how low his pants were? Let's just say that there was very little of this guy left to the imagination. Here are a couple of pop culture references that might illustrate the issue a little better:

#1: (see :30-:40)

and #2: (see 1:25-2:50)

Now, although "it" was never actually "out", it may as well have been. It was the male equivalent of a girl bending over and showing a whole lotta thong: nobody needs to see that, you know? Some things are just.... private. Now, cleavage is one thing. A guy walking around without a shirt on is another. But i really do not to see the exact size and shape of your genitalia there, buddy. Thanks, all the same.

i wonder if he even knew? A guy that (obviously) looks in the mirror that much must have given himself at least a dozen once-overs before leaving the house that day, how did this get overlooked? Hm. Guess we'll never know for sure.

Eventually, we gave him a flower to take to his estranged wife (he was on his way to help her pack for a trip). He proclaimed what great friends we all were now that he'd confided in us, and poured his heart out and all, and he was off down the street, giving me a "bye, April!" and April a "see ya later, Heather!"

Tuesday, April 28

really? kshfksdHgioeghilrghsg,gmsd

  1. Swine Flu
  2. Carmen Electra
  3. Jamie Lynn Spears
  4. Unclaimed Money
  5. Mexico City Earthquake
  2. Antioxidants
  3. Child Obesity
  4. Ben Folds
  5. Used RVs

...sometimes i hate that i have Yahoo mail, because then i have to look at things like that. It's almost unbearable.

Saturday, April 25

long nights.

So Nat is off on a phil-sci. retreat for the weekend, which means i got to sprawl out in the bed last night. Except, i woke up in a tiny ball because i was not warm enough without him. Alas.

i did, however, get to slumber without the constant drone of the fan, which was perfectly heavenly. He grew up next to a freeway on-ramp, so he needs the white noise to fall asleep. i, on the other hand, desire absolute tomblike silence to drift away in. So every night i go through the practice of tuning out the fan (and the light). It has gotten easier over the years, but i still wish it would just go away. i plan to thoroughly enjoy this last night of blissful silence.

Here are some really phenomenal wildlife photos... i was particularly struck by the narwhal and polar bears. Gritty shots, these, but cinematic as well.

Today i plan to download some old Cranberries songs and go for a long bike ride. High school memories, commence! Also, will be scanning in a bunch of my photos, because i tend to monopolize the computer while doing so, and i figured Nat's absence would be a good excuse to hunker down and just get it all done. Hope to greatly expand the ol' Flickr set today.

Sorry for the dull post... i am not fully engaged in the world right now for some reason. Brain is.. elsewhere? Here is some hilarity for you. Have fun!

And the Song of the Day, because this sounds like how i feel mentally. the dolorous depths, 'n all:

Wednesday, April 22

can you paint a portrait of a day?

So, i woke up dead this morning. The only elaboration i can offer is this: Have you ever seen a cake or dessert called "Death By Chocolate"? That's actually not funny to me anymore.

(My computer cord is curling itself into a curiously accurate rendition of the Golden Spiral.)

Finally talked to the homeless guy who walks by every evening i'm at work. Noticed his feet were dirty and bare, so i called out, and asked him what size shoe he wore. The answer, after some thought, was, "ten." i told him my boyfriend had an extra pair of boots he didn't need, but that he wore a size thirteen. Dang! The guy told me that he "was okay", in a very thoughtful and finite way. i think he was trying to tell me not to worry about him. i said, "are you sure?" and we sized each other up for a second, after which he reaffirmed his previous statement. He said "God bless", and off he went. Striking blue eyes.

Lavender roses that smelled like a dream, and aching feet. Dog slobber on my hands and no moon tonight.

Um, what else? Song of the Day: it's a toss-up between Hope and Bob; guess i'll go with both, because the sound quality of the first song ain't so great.


Tuesday, April 21

stuff, 'n things.

What's this? A beautiful indoor rainshower? Yes, please!


Hm. Now if only i had a skylight and thousands of crystals...

Oh well, i guess i'll have to settle for this giant robotic spider, instead. Aw, shoot– where am i gonna get all those wires? And the mechanical expertise?

La Princesse giant spider robot in Yokohama --

Dang. guess i'll just have to stick with my photo-mobile instead.


While we're at it, i think that Berber Soepboer is my new favorite person. i need this dress: through! it transforms! changes color! (much like everything else she designs).

and also this bathing suit (it looks like an anchor! way too good!):

(well, either this one or the harlequinesque detachable-diamond number right below it.)

...and basically i suppose i would love to have everything else on that page (except for the bedsheets- no offense.) Anyone feeling like they need to drop hundreds of thousands of ducats can feel free to fill up my closet.

Check out her artist's (or maybe just her human) statement:

I especially design clothing which can be worn in different ways, so the owner can make choices in how to wear the cloth.

Life exists of many choices based on expectations, desire and the available time.

When everything is still possible the world seems an incredible place.

I translate these endless possibilities in my design.

A start to realize the ultimate dream in daily life. rad is that?! In a parallel universe (hey now, i'm not saying there are any), we'd be best friends. Our days would consist of eating popsicles, making mix tapes, and painting all manner of things with fingernail polish. We would loan each other books and sit in the park making daisy chains and watching the clouds change shape. There would be coffee (and maybe cigarettes), late-night movies, and lots of seaside and/or woodsy excursions. Yay! i would always be envious of her, but heck i'm used to that type of friendship by now.

(erm, someone remind me to stay away from My little mind tends to wander aimlessly. Thanking you in advance.)

Monday, April 20

No, and yet: yes.

In news of the bad: Stephen Hawking is very sick (sad). People in this country can't seem to stop committing murder-suicide (look, if you are cowardly enough to take your own life, fine, but you have no right to make that same decision on behalf of others. no murdering your family, please). It is over 90 degrees here today; i am not ready for summer yet.

Late-night vignette:
Sometimes Nat and i go shopping around midnight at the supermarket near our apartment, because there are less (idiots) people that way. The other night, we came across a scuffed-up cell phone lying near the back parking lot. We almost kept walking, but Nat picked it up and realized that it was still working. Not 50 feet further, i spied a girl's thong (purple, in case you were wondering) lying on the ground. Things began to seem weird. Were these two items somehow connected? Had something bad just happened to someone back here? After a few minutes' research (/snooping), Nat realized that the phone belonged to one of the young men who work at Von's. Sample text message the phone received: so ur on cart duty? It also seemed likely that the thong had probably fallen out of some girl's bag, as we realized it was lying right outside of the tanning salon nearby. Whew!
So we returned the phone inside, and later in the checkout line we came across the kid who it belonged to, bagging groceries. He appeared to be stoned out of his gourd, and could hardly believe that we had found it, because he didn't even know he had dropped it! Whoooaaa, man. It was pretty cute. He said he had probably lost it while he was–sshhh!–"taking a nap" real quick out back on his break. Mmmm-hmmm, a nap. Gotcha. Right-o, my friend. The funniest part was, he stage-whispered this to us in direct earshot of the woman who was ringing us up, who also happened to be the only other Von's employee around. So i'm not sure if he was trying to hide it from her, or announce it to her. Either way, she didn't seem particularly moved by this utterance.

In news of the good: There are scores of these guys flying around at dusk these days... They are hawk moths, or sphinx moths; commonly called "hummingbird moths", and if you've ever encountered one in real life you'd understand why. The first time Nat and i saw them was at the beach near sunset, flitting like crazy around the night-blooming jasmine bushes that grew along the path near the coast. We had never seen such tiny, robust hummingbirds, and had certainly never seen them flying around at this time of day, or in such a manner! True, they were fast, but they flew in such short, tiny bursts, and almost in a clumsy, or bumbling way... upon closer inspection (which was difficult, because these things can move!) we realized that they were not birds at all, but rather giant moths! It was truly remarkable. If you ride your bike around dusk in these parts, prepare to be hit in the face by more than one of these hefty insects. Not fun. I've never had to deal with a swarm of locusts, but this is sort of how i always imagined it.

And i think i mentioned this earlier, but PJ Harvey and John Parish are touring the U.S. right now, in support of their new album. i'd previously thought that i would not be attending this tour, but now i'm realizing that to miss this much talent in one room would be truly ridiculous. i mean, Polly Jean is amazing! And playing Dance Hall At Louse Point again the other night as i was making dinner sort of blew me away all over again... apparently your memory can play tricks on you ;) i had remembered it as a sort of stale and dragging album, but in reality it packs a powerful punch. i am so excited to see them in Los Angeles, even though it means i will have to miss the Found Magazine tour :( i guess June 20th is a popular day for Must Sees.


My latest mission: to track down a copy of the x-ray that was taken of my 'shattered' elbow joint at age 7. i feel a strong pull to see this, for some reason. Seems like i am attempting some sort of anthropological research into my childhood, and i crave the Artifacts. i would also like to find a copy of the graduating class photo from 8th grade, Albany Middle School. My family wasn't really one of those that buys the school photos (at least, not past the elementary school years), but i did see this via one of my friends at the time, and boy was it a gem! If i remember correctly, i was fighting tooth and nail to not participate in this photograph, but the principal of the school literally dragged me out to the bleachers. In the final shot, i am turning my head completely to the side, hiding behind my hair. It's fucking genius, and i need to have proof of this. But where to begin? Hmm.

Your mission, should you choose to accept: Send someone a letter. Or just a postcard. Or a newspaper clipping that you think they might like. Or a fortune from a fortune cookie, or a collage, or a pressed flower, but good grief– just bridge the gap and say hello to someone. Honestly, it takes less effort than you may think, and who doesn't like receiving a good old-fashioned, real piece of snail mail? No one, that's who. Go ahead, make someone's day. You might just end up making your own while you're at it.

Thursday, April 16

A Taste of Daily Life in P.B., A Cautionary Tale.

i work at an outdoor flower shop–basically right smack on the sidewalk–on the main drag of the town where i live. There is no actual "shop" or storefront; there is nowhere to run away to when things on the street (the constant traffic noise, annoying people, dramatic weather) are just too much too handle. As someone who is something of a sponge, a day at work tends to give me a bad case of Sensory Overload.

This scene actually unfolded in front of me while i was at work yesterday:

It all started with a sound. A loud, somehow familiar but incongruous sound... was it a modified truck horn? My head cocked, waiting to hear it again. There! Okay, it was definitely a lowing sound, like a cow's 'moo'. Was it one of those electronic key-chain dealies, or a kid walking by with one of those old cylindrical toys, where you flip it over and the retreating air produces that unmistakable bovine utterance? i scanned my surroundings frantically.

But alas, it wasn't any of those things.

It was an Asshole In A Truck.

Actually, it was precisely Three Assholes In A Truck, cruising down Garnet Avenue with a bullhorn, a passable heifer impersonation, and some time to kill. They were all laughing hysterically inside the cab, not to mention driving only 5 miles an hour and causing a long line of cars to pile up behind them. And were they blasting this fucking 'moo' towards anyone in earshot? Were they just a bunch of merry pranksters? Was this an irreverent performance art piece? A fraternity pledge? An advertising scheme for the new FroYo place around the corner?

Nope. It was actually just pure, senseless destruction.

The target of their auditory assault? A chubby girl, riding her bike down the sidewalk across the street.

And they were slowing down, repeatedly mooing at her, while she did her best to bravely ignore them. Finally it was too much for her to take, and she whipped her head to the left, shooting them the Look Of Death. They cackled with glee and roared off, barely making it through the yellow light at the intersection. The poor girl had to stop at the corner and wait for the light to turn green, no doubt burning with shame and embarrassment.

Yeah, but aren't you just projecting? you might ask. Possibly, but considering that i have been through multiple similar episodes throughout my entire life, i'm gonna say... no. Pretty sure they gave her a healthy dose of psychological and spiritual anguish, and no doubt ruined her entire day as well.

My stomach was twisting itself into knots and i could feel the rage rising to the surface of my skin, burning and insatiable. Merciless. i wanted to hurt them. It would have been nice if i was a super capable stealth sling-shotter, and could have launched something into their rear window– not to hit them, but just to put a nice, loud, expensive hole in the glass. To make them jump in their seats, and let them taste a little fear and persecution for once. Make their hearts race, their brows furrow, and their inner calm go all fucking awry.

But isn't is it true that two wrongs don't make a right? But then what about retribution? Is it so wrong to hope that karma comes back and bites them all in the ass, each and every last one of them?

i'd like to think not.

Wednesday, April 15

Dear Diary,

Today we got in the most beautiful delphiniums. You would have swooned if you'd laid eyes on them. i couldn't stop sneaking glances at their indigo plumes all afternoon...

April gave me two antique hand-held flour sifters, plus an old nutmeg grater– the kind with that little built-in storage compartment for the meg itself. One of the sifters is a bit weathered, and had to be jury-rigged with a rubber band, yet: i am so happy! Can't wait to bake a cake. Now, if only i had a cake plate.

The same homeless guy walked by today, the one who never has enough clothing and rubs his arms when he walks. He doesn't carry a pack, or push a cart, and i can't figure him out. He needs a jacket. And probably some shoes. Nat has an old pair that i could probably convince him to let go of, but he's also got a clodhoppin' size 13... i will check out this guy's feet next time i see him. Today was cold, and rainy.

All of Nat's birthday presents are sitting on the couch, hiding in plain sight underneath their manila envelopes and post office mailers. He knows he's not allowed to open them until May first. So exciting! i almost don't want to wrap them up; they are most tempting just as they are.

Other things that were, today: a pair of screeching wild parrots, a bucket of Forsythia, 2 German Shepherds, a memory of my mother's old barrel full of yarn, singing songs to make the work go by faster, writing a postcard to a dear friend. The days could happily pass by forever in this way and i would never know, until i woke up.

Delphinium cultorum,Praktriddarsporre,landet,18Juli2007. 017

Tuesday, April 14




Saturday, April 11

What the hell happened to Kings of Leon?

Really, guys? "your sex is on fire"? That's what you've got? Thanks... i guess.

Honestly, i feel like these guys used to be raw and interesting, but their sound has steadily homogenized. i suppose i should be fair and actually listen to the entire album in question (Only by the Night), but based on this single i am not feeling too hopeful. It's worse than having to listen to "Bodysnatchers" by Radiohead over and over and over and fucking over again on the radio when In Rainbows came out. That was a rough month and half for me.

These two songs are just a couple of examples of an industry poisoned with the obsession of "hits" and brand identity, among other things. But let's look at some simple facts:

a) there are often better songs on the album.
b) there are certainly other songs you could play from the album. (crazy concept, i know!)
c) look, can radio stations just stop playing out the singles, already? Especially once the entire album has been released?

Cool. Glad we've resolved this issue.


In other news:

Taxes are finally done. See you next year, incredibly frustrating forms and "instructions". Can't wait. Breath is fucking bated.

Had to kick out a guy from the shop late in the afternoon yesterday. He insisted that i "open [my] heart to Jesus", even after i repeatedly said no, i had other (/better) things to do. This was exacerbated by an earlier exchange we'd had, where he tried to call me a "princess", albeit not in a snide way. i asked if he was sure that it wasn't he who was the royal heiress in question, which of course i intended purely as a light-hearted (and stupid) joke. Well, Mr. Self-Righteous didn't like that one bit. He became angry with me and insisted that i'd said that on purpose, to hurt him. "[He was] a man! [He couldn't] be a princess! 'Prince' is more like it!". And all this was because, according to him, i was "angry inside". Hmmmm. Yep, i sure am, guy, and can you guess why? For one thing, why is it okay to trot out ridiculous gender stereotypes and tell me i'm a princess (with the motivation of getting me to smile and preen), but for me to even joke that we're all princesses inside, i'm suddenly a bad, mean, angry person? For that matter, how is one moment of feeling and expressing an honest emotion (such as anger or frustration) worse than, say, living a life filled with limits and definitions and stereotypes and being constantly suspicious of other people's motives when they don't fit into your preset categories? Get over your homophobic insecurities already, dude. Set yourself free. i promise you'll feel better if you do. Oh– and stop asking people if they've "met Jesus". The guy lived more than 2,000 years ago, so, no. i don't believe any of us has had the pleasure.

It rained last night for about twenty minutes, during which time i left work and rode my bike through the rain, grinning like a fool, to meet Nat at a café. We walked home with the smell of wet concrete. It was splendiferous. Is that so wrong? Note to all you sun-worshipers out there: you're not the only ones who can bask in the glory of weather.

There was a crippled wood-dove on the corner near the flower shop the other day. April called animal control seeking to rescue the poor creature, who was sitting amicably enough on the curb. i guess it could have been a lot worse; we could have been dealing with a rabid Tasmanian devil instead. Whew! Anyway, the guy gets there with his towel at the ready and his latex gloves snapped on tight. He was small and had a very friendly face, but the bird would have none of it. The minute dude got near him, our little feathered friend mustered up some hidden reserves and flew quickly but pitifully towards us, landing on one of the wooden display tables. The bird seemed as surprised by this feat as we were. Animal Control crept up for Attack #2, but his stealth was not quiet enough. The wood dove sensed his imminent incarceration (what a horrible fate for a bird, truly?) and summoned Extra Super Deep Primal Hidden Emergency Reserves, flapping furiously but elegantly up and over the rooftops across the street, away to some fate we may never know. i smiled inwardly, and outwardly. April looked stunned and amazed. It's a miracle! she proclaimed. Animal Control just shook his head and told us that sometimes he has that effect on certain creatures. He left to help another animal in need, power not lessened in the least.

Do good things come in threes, like bad ones?

Received two very exciting emails tonight!

Cool Thing #1: i won a free book on Goodreads!

Yesterday, for no reason except that i love books and often have a hard time deciding on a new one to read, i threw my name into the hat along with hundreds of other voracious readers in the hopes of winning an advance copy of a book (or two?). There were thirty or forty entries to choose from, and i found five that looked interesting. Tonight, i received word that i will be the proud new owner (and a "first reader"! strangely thrilling...) of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. i am so excited! i can hardly believe it. Not only do i never win anything, but a (presumably) lovely book? Wonderful! The pressure to review it is a little needling, especially since i have fallen out of my reviewing for the most part, but i suppose i should do my civic duty. Can't wait to get it in the mail!

cool thing #2: my photo was chosen to be in Schmap!

Okay, this is much much sillier, because it's only one photo of many, but it felt good all the same. (The fact that Nat was more excited about it than i was, i found extremely endearing.) Basically, Schmap is an online database of travel destinations in the U.S., with a sort of Yelp-like aesthetic. An editor of theirs found one of the photos i took of the Flower Fields in Carlsbad last year and sent me a message on Flickr. i said sure, go ahead: use it! And today i received word that it's officially in there :) It's extremely gratifying, because i was never the person who was chosen for anything, or whose stuff was ever chosen for anything. That probably sounds really sappy, but it's simply the truth. The funniest part (to me) is that it's not even the best photo i took that day. But hey– to each his own.

::jumps up and clicks heels together::

Thursday, April 9


Woke up this morning in the fetal position, struggling through some of the worst cramps i've had in a long time. Took 3 ibuprofen and worked my way through a strong cup of coffee, to help the painkillers do their job. This was almost two hours ago. Along the way i became utterly transfixed by the story of Dani, a 6-year-old "feral child" who was discovered by authorities in Florida in 2007.

As my feeble attempt at a description or encapsulation could not possibly give this story the justice it deserves, here is a link to the article in the St. Petersburg Times (photographer Melissa Lyttle won an award for her documentation).

Another "wild child" case (these are both American, but there are plenty of others) involves Genie, a 13-year-old who was found in Los Angeles in 1970. Her story actually inspired a NOVA documentary, the transcript of which can be found here. Around the same time as Genie's discovery, François Truffaut's l'Enfant Sauvage (US: Wild Child) premiered in France. The film is based on the true story of Victor, a "feral child" who emerged from the woods in France around 1800. It was seen by Genie's doctors as an interesting counterpoint to the questions and treatment options surrounding her rehabilitation.

Along with the obvious references to Kaspar Hauser and Romulus and Remus, there are some interesting questions raised here about language, humanity, neurobiology, compassion, morality, and love. Fascinating stuff, it is.

Anyway, read at your own risk! A lot of these stories are not for the faint of heart (or those short on time).
So, when was the last time you watched Disney's The Black Hole? I'm gonna go ahead and guess "way too long ago".

i was not quite two months old when it came out... Pretty sure my dad had it recorded on Betamax, but i haven't looked through those tapes in years, so i could be wrong. In any case, Nat and i just finished watching it tonight (thank you, Netflix!) for the first time in, well, decades!

i won't say much, here; i wouldn't want to ruin it for anyone who was maybe thinking of watching it again for themselves. Oh, who am i kidding: basically i am here to post the freaking amazing ending sequence. Are you ready? Buckle up, friends. how was that, then? Fun for the whole family? As Nat remarked early on during this heavy, stranged-out climax: "thank god for the drug trips of the '60s and '70s."

It's certainly not a great film, but one that is truly haunting and memorable. Robots, humans, good vs. evil, man's self-destructive thirst for knowledge, and, oh yeah- a black hole. Watch it, folks! Surprisingly thought-provoking and, if anything, a strong dose of nostalgia. (Yeah, i said "strong dose" on purpose.)

p.s.) i officially need to carry my camera around with me more often, because i saw a doozy of an Easter Bunny cake wreck at the grocery store near my house tonight. Words cannot express... well, just look at the link. You'll see what we're up against. Let's just say that some people should not be allowed to handle piping bags and/or frosting.

Monday, April 6

i think it's so groovy, now...

I'm going to check out a community garden today. And because i am STILL feeling hung over from Saturday night (yikes!), i don't feel capable of any actual human interaction, so i'll probably just do a drive-by. On my bike, that is. But the thought of being able to, you know, plant stuff... well, it's pretty damned exciting! i even have a few seed packets for some reason (being in Long's at one a.m. will do that to you): columbine, sweet peas, and sage. So those should all be winners, and how could i not grow tomatoes? Don't you sort of have to do that in a community garden?
Guess i'll have to look into what time everything needs to be sown. You can't just throw some seeds in the earth and water, right? Well, it looks like i'm gonna find out. i'll keep you all apprised, whether you like it or not.

Easter's coming up, so it should be a long stretch of work week for us flower girls. But this is a good thing 'in today's economy' (dammit, i swore i would never use that phrase!). i wonder how many abominable "basket gardens" i'm going to have to make, though? Hmmmmm.



In other news: in my dream last night, i was having a race in a drained swimming pool (which conveniently had track lanes marked on the bottom!) while wearing massive stilts. it was insane. Later i raced to the airport, where i missed my plane due to a 20 minute connection window and a labyrinthine airport. Finally on another flight, i put the headphones on and stared out the window, crying, because Pearl Jam's "Release Me" was playing, and it was hittin' me where it hurts (the Nostalgia Zone). Then i woke up, and it was blasting through my radio alarm. Love when that happens!

Also, is anyone else sad the the postal service is hittin' the skids? i find this state of things immensely gloomy... perhaps we should start Operation: Postcard, or something. Stop writing emails, people! WRITE MORE LETTERS. Paper letters! Stamps, stationery, envelopes, wax seals, silver pens, whatever! There is nothing like a personal touch, no? Anyone here ever have a pen pal? Remember those? Ahhh, those were the days...

Reach out in the darkness, and you may find a friend.

Friday, April 3

music of the spheres?

So of course i'm sad that Life On Mars, the last show i watch anymore (besides The Office, of course), has been canceled. Nat and i watched the series finale last night, and it was... okay. As with Deadwood (an infinitely more tragic cancellation), i simply will not be satisfied with an abrupt ending. Boo, hiss, and all that.

Now, i don't want to give anything away, but i will say that now i have a strong desire to move to Spain with David Bowie and raise praying mantises...

~In other news, here are some breathtaking Hubble images for y'all. (OMFG, the Trifid Nebula!) My dad used to have a photo of the Horsehead Nebula that he'd clipped from a newspaper taped to his desk. i would stand on tiptoe (it was a tall drafting table) and stare at it for lengthy periods of time... definitely sort of an escape for me. Gazing at these formations now gives me an immense sense of peace and perspective.
However, may a pox be on the house of whoever opined that the Cone Nebula resembles "Jesus". Really, people? 'Cause it also sort of resembles this guy Dave that i used to know, so maybe we should pay him a vist and fall down at his feet with offerings of Heineken and Pall Malls. Should be a hoot. (But seriously: the Cone Nebula is basically giving birth to stars– how fucking amazing is that?!)

What else? Oh: Song of the Day. So, recently i found a CD that my best friend burned for me a long time ago that apparently i never listened to. For shame! It's Desire, by Bob Dylan, and boy is it a winner. Heavy on the stringed instruments and backing vocals. i love it! But the important part of this story is that not only does it contain the song "Hurricane" (which i happily downloaded recently after recalling it from a scene in Dazed and Confused), but it also has "Oh, Sister", which i have been dreaming of for months, ever since i saw a one Mr. Andrew Bird perform it live in October of last year. He had Haley Bonar on backup vocals, and the results were truly haunting. The entire audience was transfixed for the duration of the song... Now, i've gotta be honest: his version speaks to me a little more than Bobby D's does, but just to be fair i'm posting both versions, because without the original there would not be the (transcendent) cover. As an added bonus (well, for some), i'm putting on a different song of the same name as performed by Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel. i know, i know: you either love them or you hate them. So listen at your own risk; but i've gotta say, his passion in this song swept me up with it.

Couldn't find one with Haley, but this is great, too. Also, you get to see how he sets up his songs. (Sorry for the sound quality, but hey– it's live):

And here's the Bob Dylan original (with the incomparable Emmylou Harris on backing vocals):

Finally, here's Jeffie, beltin' out his own tune:

Wednesday, April 1

Spring cleaning, against my will.

i suppose it has to be done some time.

So, we have a prospective grad student coming to stay with us for a few days tomorrow. The very first thing i thought was, Shit! i gotta clean this place! Not that we live in a rat hole or anything, but– you know. If i was staying at someone's house and i went to peruse their bookshelf, only to come out sneezing from the ensuing dust cloud, yeah: i might be a little weirded out. And besides, like i (and others, i'm sure) always say: What better excuse to clean your house than company? i put on a Kraftwerk cassette (see? it pays to tidy up!) and got down to business.

Turns out that my definition of "a little dusting and tidying" is "acute and total overhaul". When you have a home filled with trinkets (read: very few bare flat spaces) and doo-dads, dusting is not a fun thing. Also, not having a duster doesn't help. But with my friends Wet Rag and Canned Air, i rocked the place, top to bottom. Found a few lost items (Nat's crazy math calculator, a co-worker's phone number hastily scrawled on a napkin, etc.), too, along the way.

In the middle of the fray, i stopped to make some tea. There were piles everywhere: old issues of Harper's, Things To Be Filed, miscellaneous paper scraps, philosophy papers, Pictures To Hang on Walls, and so on. it was overwhelming. i opened the silverware drawer for a spoon... and what i saw there gave me goosebumps.

It was freakin' filthy.

The plastic utensil holder itself (i know– classy!) was filled with almost as much loose tea leaves as flatware. At some point coffee had spilled into the drawer and some of the lesser-used items (corkscrew, Lame Dull Knife That i Hate and Have No Idea Why it's Even In There) were stained with it. Scads of plastic forks and spoons jeered up at me (you know you can't just throw us away!), and their little friends, the "disposable" chopsticks, laughed and taunted along with them. i braced myself for battle.

Half an hour later, the utensil holder lay drying in the sink, defeated. The silverware was lined up obediently on the counter, waiting to be put back in its place, and all the "picnic items", as i dubbed them, were in their own little bag, way up high, where i would (hopefully) never see them again. Why did i have ketchup packets from Jack-In-The-Box? Why do i buy soy sauce when i have like 34,325 packets of it from take-out just waiting to be used? Where did those two miniscule packets of black pepper even come from?!

i threw away Lame Dull Knife without even shedding a tear.

This 'Spring cleaning' thing's not so bad, after all. My apartment feels like a new, brighter and better place! CDs are with other CDs... my collection of bookmarks are all together, on the bookshelves! i finally threw away an old hand-drawn sticker i got when i was fourteen. Fourteen! It showed an anime-style girl, smiling and pointing a gun. i can't even remember who gave it to me. Why? Why do i still have this?

There are still Way Too Many Napkins in the silverware drawer (i always take home the ones they give you at restaurants/cafés, so i never buy paper towels), and i left the lone yellow mustard packet in there, just because. Nat's always making me buy that Dijon business... hmph. But order has been restored. No more dirty fingerprints on the cupboards or carbonized yam drippings in the oven. Hallelujah. Now i am free.

i highly recommend Acute and Total Overhaul to all of you. Happy dusting!