Thursday, January 28

the waxen pith

Here are a couple of crayon-related items. You can thank me later.

~Christian Faur's hand-cast crayon artworks
(spooky! dark... yet bright!)


~A crayon-color diagram that may leave you gnawing with anxiety.
(yummy! ...but sorta scary.)

And do you remember that old standby art project: intense crayon rub-down, then black paint on top, let it dry, and scratchscratchscratch? Hooray for it.

*image provided by an anonymous, yet brilliant 6th-grader in New Jersey. More here.


Can i just interrupt, for a moment?

Regarding the food aid situation in Haiti:

Food distribution thus far has often been marked by poor coordination, vast gaps in coverage, and desperate, unruly lines of needy people in which young men at times shoved aside the women and weak and took their food.

No way, young men were shoving aside women? Is that a greater crime than the fact that the world always seems to have a really difficult time helping those in need? Is it so strange to think that a man could possibly be hungrier than a woman? After all, wouldn't women be more likely to have recently eaten, due to the fact that they are women, and therefore more likely to receive help? And aren't men more likely to be the ones called upon to perform laborious tasks and heavy lifting (because they are 'stronger', duh), thereby increasing their caloric needs? And does this mean that the men in question (or any others, for that matter) were not also bullying other men out of their food? And does it mean that not a single woman was guilty of food theft? My guess is no. But you win, AP article: my heartstrings are hereby tugged.

Sometimes i just get tired of all the gender crap. Women and children first, blah blah blah. People are people, people are hungry, people are desperate. Obviously i'm not condoning shoving women and stealing their food rations (dick move), but i'm not sure that women deserve those rations more than men, simply by the fact that they have a twice the x chromosomes. UNLESS: they are breast-feeding mothers. Seems fairly obvious.

Now, i'm not trying to say that chivalry is dead (r.i.p. chivalry, and good riddance), just that humans should be treated equally. Anyway, i'm sure someone, somewhere has said this much more astutely than i, so i'll let it be for now. Class dismissed.

Wednesday, January 27

you never can tell.

There is a half-burned husk of a car (an SUV, actually) on our street, one block down. Nat discovered it yesterday afternoon on his way home from school.

The engine must have exploded: the hood flew up, and buckled in the middle. The windows are all blown out (glittering on the pavement, now), every door is permanently ajar, and the steering wheel has become a blackened, bony metal ring– anything rubber or plastic has melted right off, down to the floor of the car. The smell is noxious, corrosive. All the pretty white paint has been burned off the metal frame, and even the street sign right above has one corner melted upward from (presumably) the heat. Small piles of chemical-laden sooty stuff lay hither and thither. A large, empty gas can lays on its side, discarded on the grassy strip between street and sidewalk. Was this what was used to set the fire? Why? And who did it? Jealous lover? Crazy druggie? Straight-laced Navy guy who just finally hit the roof?

Moreover, why in the hell is this scene just sitting there, waiting for idiots like us to trample around it and destroy all (if any) of the evidence?! Shouldn't the gas can be dusted for prints, and samples collected? i say.

In any case, if it is still there tomorrow, i might take my camera over and play detective. i only got to see it in darkness, so i'm looking forward to more gritty details.

::shivering with excitement::

...Don't worry, i'll wear booties and a hairnet. Wouldn't want to incriminate myself.

Tuesday, January 26

paper scraps

Saw a small capital 'F' on the floor of the bus last night, on the way back from watching Fantastic Mr. Fox (almost as fantastic as i wanted it to be). It was formed from a many-trodden scrap of one of those little strips of paper that live between the rings of a binder and the perforation of the sheet of paper itself; that little forgotten strip that usually stays forever in binders across the world unless the binder belongs to someone OCD enough to rip the fucker out. i guess i got lucky.

In other news, i used to chew on paper while riding the bus. Not sure how or why this got started, but i do remember it happening during a brief period while i was in high school. Quite possible a stand-in for a cigarette, since i was never brave or stupid enough to smoke where i wasn't supposed to. But you do get a lot of stares, regardless, with little wet bits of pulp clinging to your sweater. This is a fact.


And in Reasons I Love My Boyfriend news:

On the walk home from the bus stop, we had a tiny adventure.

Can we please hotwire this thing and ride it to Candyland? i asked, as we came upon a butterscotch-colored Camaro sitting proudly in the cold parking lot.

Man, i just want to go buy a butterscotch pudding-pack and put one right on the car...! Nat replied, ending what was possibly the best sentence ever uttered by man.

We ruminated on this (genius) idea for about twenty seconds, then realized that it simply had to be done. Across the parking lot and off to Von's we went, where, true to my form, i had to also purchase two frozen Indian dinners along with our fated Snack Pack; i can never leave a grocery store without something extra. Really. It drives him quite insane.

On the way back, i kept an eye on the guys who were doing some late-night power-washing in the courtyard to our left, when out of nowhere comes a homeless guy, asking for change for something to eat. Since this particular form of pudding is not exactly "food", we gave him a dollar instead. He looked at us for a moment and then said how wonderful it was to be young. (The guy thought we were 23, but still: he was on to something there.)

We bade him good night, then sidled over to The Car. Nat had popped one of the little containers out and was ready for action. Where do i put it?! he hissed. Quickly we decided that right on the hood, near the driver-side door, was the best place for the person to see it. i began to turn around in case the alarm went off and we had to book it.

Seconds later, and with no alarm ringing in my ears, Nat's step met mine. We got away with it! i only wish i'd gotten a photo of it, for evidence, but you will just have to trust me on this.

i sincerely hope that the driver of that Bitchin' Camaro has a sense of humor. And that they had butterscotch pudding for dessert that night, as Nat and i surely will tonight. C'mere, Yellows 5 and 6.

Sunday, January 24

[ nope. i got nothing. ]

You know that Seinfeld episode where Jerry asks Elaine, "So, what'd you do today?" and she's all, "nothin'." and he gets all huffy and goes, "'Nothing'? You mean you just sat there? Didn't do anything?" and she's all, defiantly, "yeah, i just sat there, and stared at a wall– nothin'!"

Well, that's kinda how my day went, too.

If they had the Waste-A-Day Olympics, i would be crown fucking champion. Honestly, if you asked me one thing that i did today i would stare off and go, "duhhhhhh" in perpetuity. . . drool might even fall, after the first few hours of struggling, chugging thought.

Aren't you glad we're sharing? Are you enjoying this exchange? i at least hope that my complete massacre of a day has made you feel just the teensiest bit better about your own.

Dudes, don't waste your life. Trust me on this one. Get out of the house. That's step one. If i had just made it out to the hallway, things could have been salvaged. As it is, i surfed the internet, ate leftovers, and avoided doing laundry. Is there anything more pathetic?

i'm not sure.

Wait– there IS! Posting about it on your blog. ::yawn::


(Merpanda is the lovely brainchild of Natalie Dee, who obviously does things with her days.)

Monday, January 18

absurd ablutions.

So last night i did something i rarely do: i took a bath.

Working so many days in a row combined with my bike being in the shop has lead to some sort of ferocious charley horse in my right calf. i was hoping the hot water would relax whatever kink was all worked up in there.

i had a small candle handy, so i thought i'd light it, bathside. You know, for extra 'relaxation'? (okay, i am making myself want to puke at this point. just bear with me.) It was a bright red deal: "Holiday Apple Spice", given to me by my best friend over x-mas. Problem was, the wick was too short. Flame wouldn't do much more than sputter out a tiny, feeble blue glow, so i decided to pour some of the wax off.

Now, does anyone remember doing this when they were kids? You take a candle, pour the hot wax into a basin of water (or the tub, or the sink, or a cup), and whatever shape the wax makes, that's what your profession is going to be? (example: broom = janitor.) This is how we did it; i'm sure there are other variations.

So, there i was in a tub full of water. i went ahead and poured a little wax right on in.

Now, you might not know this, but: bright red candle wax does not look exactly. . . pleasant in your bathwater. i found myself alarmed at the drips and drops now swirling around me. And the flame was still not high enough, so i threw caution to the wind and dumped it all in.

What shape did it make, you might ask? (Others would ask, "what shape did you see?")

A fetus.

That's right, there i was in the bath, trying to relax and soothe away my achin' muscles, and what should i have sharing the water with me but a tiny, blood-red fetus, umbilical cord and all.


rampant color.

One really should always have a camera on them, to catch things that you will never, ever see again.

Like yesterday, late afternoon: Nat and i are sitting in Starbuck's (shut up, you know you've been in one), drinking chocolatey drinks and talking about the math behind the Mandelbrot Set. A girl comes out of the Vons nearby, and i am pleased to see that she is carrying a rather large bunch of balloons, all in pastels. They were in three colors: yellow, green, and pink, but the amazing part was her shirt: a bright, deep teal. She was unlocking her bike, which was a pearly bubblegum pink, and i could have died at the sheer matchy-matchiness of it all. At one point her head was completely hidden behind the cloud of colorful latex bubbles and the effect was at once surreal and euphoric.

i watched for a few minutes as she struggled to tie the tangle of shining ribbons to her handlebars so that her vision would not become obscured. Finally, she climbed on and rode away into the sunset (i am not kidding), with the balloons bobbing and streaming behind her. It was weirdly mesmerizing and magical.

Either that or i was just really tired.

Anyway, about twenty minutes later, another burst of colorful shapes caught my eye. Walking out of another exit, two Indian women left the Vons store carrying a bunch of balloons, but this time the colors were all very different: all dark greens, purples, and bright reds and blues. They had on saris the color of peacocks, with red and gold accents all over. It was rather striking.

i wondered why i had seen more balloons in one afternoon than an entire year, and how different the occasions were: someone's birthday? Perhaps a new baby? Co-worker retiring? Or just. . . a party? For the fun of it? And do people even do that?

Earlier in the day, i'd been at work, where–surprise!–we have balloons. And i almost never blow them up. Maybe every other week or so. People don't seem to ask for them very often (and thank goodness, because i'm always afraid of one popping in my face while i inflate it). But it just so happens that it was The Slowest Work Day of My Entire Life. The Chargers were playing the Jets in a Superbowl playoff game, so everyone in town was indoors watching the game. A storm was brewing, so the wind was making everyone edgy and moody. i think i had two sales, and at one point i even scrubbed down the microwave, which i never really use. It was slow, to say the least. So at about 1:30, half an hour from quittin' time, i blew up. . . Chargers-colored balloons.


Yep. It's true. i chose four: a pearly white, a metallic dark blue, a regular blue, and a regular yellow. Blew 'em up, tied them with their same-colored ribbon. Somewhere around the 3rd balloon, i lost my bravery; they were floating, hidden, on the ceiling when my co-worker came in to relieve me at 2:15. When i left, i tied them to a post in front of the shop, and walked home among the first timid raindrops.

Super Secret Bonus Balloon Page!

Thursday, January 14

He Was a Friend of Mine

His name was Urs.

He had curly hair, glasses, and an adorable Swiss German accent. On the shorter side of average height, and a pretty sharp (but understated!) dresser. A great conversationalist, and smart as a whip. Sweet and endearing, with his whole life ahead of him. A very bright young man who had quite a future in philosophy (or, most likely, any damn thing he put his mind to).

All of it changed when he decided to take matters into his own hands. He ended his life, by himself, of his own accord, two days ago. No one knows why. He left no note, and there were no outward indications (a break-up, an illness, a rejection letter, nothing) of anything "wrong". Seems we will never know why he left us here. In the last email he wrote how happy he was to be coming back to San Diego at the end of January, and to see Nat and i. Nat shouted to me in the other room with the news, he was so excited.

But Urs will never know about that conversation. He never saw our smiles or heard our mental gears whirring with possibilities of dinners, games, journeys.

The last time i saw Urs we went to dinner with him and his girlfriend. We had Indian food. The waiter brushed against his girlfriend's boobs. It was hilarious. (trust me.) We drove home listening to "An Elvis Christmas" and then played a few rounds of Boggle. Urs kept calling it "Boogle"; as a non-native English speaker, it was not his best game but he played it well anyway. We were listening to a playlist on my iPod and suddenly he stopped and looked up at me: what is this song?

It's 'Perfidia', from th

–soundtrack to 2046, right?

Yes! Do you know this song, Urs?

Turns out he knew the song well. And loved it. And had never been able to find it anywhere. i explained how it took me a whole afternoon/evening of searching to get it, but that i was so happy i'd found it. He requested a copy of it, and late the next day i sent him the mp3 through our email.

Sometimes i wish i'd never sent him that damn song.

Monday, January 4

Bad vegetarians.

Stopping by a nice Mexican restaurant last night, we did our usual "stand-by-the-front-door-and-scope-out-the-menu" routine, looking for the meatless fare. Gotta make sure before you sit down, right? Right.

So we noticed quite a few things, eventually, and were seated in the lovely interior room, near an arch window against the darkening blue evening. There were candles, and sparkling lights, and various nice, rustic decor. Waters came, then chips and salsa, which included a second bowl of dip: something white and tangy. It was super delicious and we assumed it was some kind of cheese-based item.

Now, Nat and i always buy rennet-free cheese when we buy it (which is rarely, actually), because we do try and steer away from animal products as much as we can. This is dead simple when you're at the grocery store, but when eating out we often have a "don't ask, don't tell" policy when it comes to things like cheese. Life is just way too short. But when our waiter came, and i asked if i could get the enchiladas without chicken ("we're vegetarian", Nat explained), his eyes got wide and he even backed away a little.

"Oh, gosh- all of our sauces have chicken broth in them. In fact– even that dip has chicken broth in it!" (he points to our yummy bowl of cheesy delight.) After a few more questions, it turned out that every dish, including the "meatless" ones, had a chicken tinge to it. However, he did assure us that "the beans [were] okay".

Great. We'll have two plates of beans, please.

But in all seriousness, we just ended up feeling really bad. The waiter seemed embarrassed (even though we were totally nice about everything!), and rushed off after we decided to leave. Nat felt that we should leave some sort of gratuity, considering that we'd been seated and given water and had munched on a few chips. i only had a one and a five, and while i certainly didn't want to leave five dollars, one seemed almost like a rude gesture. So i left the five. Ugh.

Now, i've always maintained that not all restaurants have to cater to vegetarians (or vegans, or those with gluten allergies, etc. etc.), but this seemed a little crazy. Then it occurred to me: how many times had we unknowingly eaten chicken stock (or some such other) before? i don't remember EVER asking what the ingredients were in the (many) quantities of Spanish rice i've ever eaten. This seemed to be only a problem with Mexican food, and maybe it's because we've always been way more focused on the lard issue.

It can be difficult, because you don't want to simply sit down and announce to the waiter that you're vegetarian. This always feels a bit self-righteous, or high-maintenance, even. So usually we just pick out our dishes, and then ask about those when we order. This time, though, it didn't work out. And we made a solemn promise to ourselves to be more inquisitive about our food in the future. i just hope it doesn't close a whole lot of doors– though if it does, perhaps that would be for the best? The most fattening meals i eat are those when i'm dining out. Guess it's time to get all invested.


i will miss enchiladas, though. That is a FACT.


So, yesterday we journeyed to Balboa Park to catch the last days of two exhibits: "The DaVinci Experience" at the Air and Space Museum, and a collection of Alexander Calder's jewelry at the Museum of Art.

The first was very engaging, though a bit rocky at first as there was an old man with a staring problem nearby, for almost 5 minutes, probably due to my pink hair and one bloodshot eye from all the crying i'd done during the lovely fight Nat and i'd had on the walk through the park (stupid shit, as usual). Fan-fucking-tastic! i wasn't the only sad one there that day, though– on the bench outside the museum, we were inhaling some almonds and a banana and i noticed a lady sitting all slumped on the bench across from us. She looked so forlorn, with her chin in her hands and her eyes dolefully tracking over the gum stains on the concrete, with no thoughts to anchor them. i really really wanted to offer her some almonds, in a vain attempt to "save the day", but turns out i am way too cowardly to do that (although offering junior mints to an elderly man on the plane next to me this christmas is not too brazen, apparently. Wtf?)

Anyway, they'd managed to actually build a bunch of machines based on DaVinci's sketches. This definitely was not a show based on his paintings, which frankly is what made it mighty interesting. Mechanics and engineering ingenuity were rampant: he designed 'cars' (i would call them 'convoluted conveyances', myself), hang gliders, helicopter blades, and so on and so forth. He was definitely intrigued by the idea of harnessing geometry and gravity to make labor easier for humankind. Pulleys, ball bearings, winches, gears, chains. . . Super cool stuff, and quite a few of them were interactive. There were also (and i never would have guessed this) a number of 'war machines': spine-chilling apparatuses with scythe blades and lots of spikes. Some were designed to disable quadrupeds (read: kill horses), and others were meant to topple incoming armies from their ladders opposite your defensive wall. Of course there were the famous 'water shoes', and lots of things with wings. What a nutter.

Running out of time, we booked it up to the Calder exhibit, where we were told that we only had 24 minutes before museum closing time. Thankfully the exhibit was small (2 rooms), but it was absolutely beautiful. Wire creations, some with found pieces of glass or crockery ensconced within, sat in their boxes and shone for us. Lots of spirals, loops and whorls. Imposing necklaces, intricate cuff bracelets, and large, elegant brooches. . . i was totally in love. You could see all the little remnants of hammering the wire, and the love put into each piece was evident. Nat was upset that there were exactly zero mobiles, so with our last 4 minutes we ran to the adjoining Picasso/Miro/Calder exhibit. We found some quite nice paintings, but only one Calder mobile, which was unfortunately housed under glass and therefore not moving even a whit. Blowing through the glass did nothing, i tried. A nice addition to the jewelry exhibit was this photo of Angelica Houston, wearing "The Jealous Husband" necklace, for the New York Times Magazine in 1979:

. . .Words cannot express!!

TTFN, folks. Time to try and salvage the day.
(things i meant to do today: take a bike ride. mend some clothes. wash the blankets. pay bills. looks like these will all have to wait until after work tomorrow. what? i haven't had a day alone with the internet since before christmas. (sad, ain't i?))

Saturday, January 2

home is wherever i'm with you

Not sure if it's because i adored Charlotte's Web as a child or what, but i have a teensy spider living in my kitchen, on the counter near the sink, next to the knife block*. i noticed him there one day and thought, Hm. What should i do with him? Since i'm not a bug-squasher or a girly screamer, the only option left seemed to be capturing him and relocating him to the out-of-doors. . . But then i leaned in for a closer look, curious as to why a spider would build a web in such a high-traffic, potentially splashy area. Slowly it dawned on me. Of course! The clever little bastard had settled there because of one thing, and one thing only: the nearby proximity of fruit.

Now i know what you're thinking: spiders don't eat fruit, you ignoramus. And you'd be correct. But they DO eat fruit flies, and it just so happens that i always keep lots of fruit on the counter. Don't have a fruit bowl, don't even have the room for one. But i line up my bananas, mangoes, oranges and pears like nobody's business. And from time to time, the abundance gets away from me. Or the garbage doesn't get taken out as much as it should (heh heh). And then, the fruit flies come.

They are probably my least favorite bug. Give me the heebie-jeebies, big time. i'm pretty sure it all stems from a horrifying experience i had as a young teenager, involving a dark cupboard drawer where we kept our potatoes, and lots of time passing before anyone was inspired to actually eat one of those potatoes. . . needless to say, the person who finally decided to look in that foreboding drawer was me, and instead of finding shriveled up, benign husks i was affronted with an awful sour smell and a swarm of fruit flies straight into my face. Eyes, nose, mouth, hell–even my ears. i went bonkers for a minute there, pretty sure. Not good.

So this is where Spidery comes in (no, i haven't given him a name (yet)). i let him stay, and he keeps the fruit fly population in check. Works out great, really. Plus, i really feel as though i have a companion when i'm in the kitchen, bored out of my mind washing dishes or whatnot. And when i see an evil red fruit fly wrapped up nice and tight in a silk cocoon, my heart just swells with pride. Wish we could tiny hi-five.

*Funny thing about that knife block: none of those fuckers even work any more. Nat had them when i met him, ten years ago almost, and they were crappy then. Big, cheap, serrated things, only one of which i ever use: the small one, for when i need to open packing tape on cardboard boxes. So why do we keep the knife block? Just 'cause. (read: extreme dysfunction).