Tuesday, June 30

Switzerland, and sharks!

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

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


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

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

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

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

Saturday, June 27

the same, but different.

Hey, wanna know something kinda cool?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, June 25

round and round and round

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

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

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


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

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

....going to the fair!

Saturday, June 20

[new] old remedies.

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

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

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


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

lord, save us (from ourselves).

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

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

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


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

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

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

Wednesday, June 17


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

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

No. You certainly don't.

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


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

Sunday, June 14


Okay, i survived. But just barely.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, June 12

breathe. breathe.

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

Self-destruction imminent.

Why do yellow freesia exist, but just not today?

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

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

Does any of it really matter, anyway?

...probably not.

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

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


Friday, June 5

quick, when's my birthday?!

Um, y'all?

...yes, please!!!

Wednesday, June 3


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

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

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

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

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


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

Monday, June 1


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blackbirds on the roof again.

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

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

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

From John Peel:

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

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

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

Flaming June.

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

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

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

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

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

Are you happy with the way you spend your time?

What are you really supposed to be doing?

Does it really matter what anyone should be doing?

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

But enough rambling. here it is. Happy June.