Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Iconoclast Movement

Can someone tell me why Blogger is only allowing image uploads less than half the time?

You Like Me, You Really Like Me!


Flattered as I am (and I really am), I have to say, 'What a cop out!'

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Rows and Floes of Angel Hair

I have just mistaken someone at the very best coffee shop* for someone else, and spoken accordingly.

How embarassing.

Still, she laughed it off nervously and played along.

While and after I ordered a short cap and a silver needle tea, she continued the same laughter. Her strain is maybe something else and not me. That's a relief.

I've left the house to clear my head.

I'm thinking of right turns, southpaws, cold feet, and the gold dust that settles in my lover's hair.
I'm wondering how two people can live together for fourteen years and navigate the boneyard labyrinth between them - a tired ribcage before the heart, and doors that won't open.

One shouldn't have to work so hard, only to arrive at this.

It hasn't been the jolliest of Christmases, nor the worst of times by any means, but I suspect I'm not alone in my Holiday Ambivalence. Even Spreaders of Good Cheer are under duress. I never guessed Disney would repossess Santa (who was recently handed his ass), but I guess they own everything else. Is Bill O'Reilly puffed-up, red-faced and spitting about that?

Maybe it's time to mention a few things for which I have gratitude:

- I have love in my life.
- Some very dear friends.
- Fondness for my regular readership (and I am yours), though I wish you'd post more comments, for good or ill.
- I've just learned that my blog rank on Technorati is 247,131. That's not so bad, but surprising given the low number of hits per day. I also just realized that when I made the switch to BetaBlogger, it wiped out the ads, which is odd, as they were Google sponsored. It's just as well.
- The comforting way my dog snores.
- The severely damaged nail on my index finger is half way grown out now.
- My mother's clear of cancer.
- Mr. Claus saw fit to send a friend a lap(ple)top, which is what I've dreamed of getting her for years, if I were a rich man. She deserved it.
- I'm less afraid than I was two years ago, and less still than half a decade before that.
- Sometimes I dream about Claire.
- I've some resolutions I'm willing to make.
- I've been reminded that time is quite possibly infinite, so I can't really be wasting it.
- The sun just came out for the first time since I've been home.



*There. Now you have a way to find me, and if chance keeps us separated, you can content yourself with the very best coffee in Portland, so far as I know it. They have free wifi, like every other boutique espresso place in this fair city, though at the chains you must pay.

A Terrible Beauty Is Born

Do you ever happen upon a thing and wonder that in your entire lifetime, you've never discovered it before? Having just found W.B. Yeats', Easter, 1916, I am left scratching my head and wondering just that. If you've a few moments for inquiry, as it's a rather longish one, pour yourself a cuppa and have a read, here.

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity-Jig

Thomas Wolfe* and Heraclitus** both had good, if vastly over referenced, points.

To the first I'd agree, except that childhood was not a place I'd ever particularly want to revisit, except in my writing. One might rephrase, "You can't go home again, if home never was one." This trip, I'm getting along with my mother quite well, except for her incessant need to be in my space, which is a problem with mothers generally, I'm sure. It's a minor problem. Mostly, I just want to punch my step-father in the face. Although my mother these days is quite good-natured, he's been a silent sulking and brooding lump on the couch ever since Christmas Eve morning, over what we just don't know. It seems to stem from a conversation we had about eating well, something he doesn't do, but nothing was directed at him, you know. So it's a mystery.

To the second, I'd say that though the geography of the river looks the same, it is true that the matter moving through it is ever a'changing. One is tempted to correct the redundancy or maybe I should say, superfluity, in Heraclitus, as one really can never step into the same river even once. Still, we get his point. If I damaged the proboscis of my mother's husband, it would not really be the same nose the second time fist meets prow.

I hate being negative, especially when everyone's supposed to be putting on their best face, but everyone isn't.

I have a rash over my right eye, and I just can't tell why.


* You Can't Go Home Again
** "You cannot step into the same river twice, for fresh waters are ever flowing in upon you."

Christmas Card Correspondence

J sent me this picture of his dog Buzz:



Me: That's LAST year's picture!
But it's still so cute, you want to hug the stuffings out of him.

J: Yes it is. It is an Iconoclastic Image. Timeless and demanding of broadcast.



Me: He's like the Grinch Who Disemboweled Christmas.

J: Positively medieval, yet it retains the innocence of lowly beasts.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Santatlas


What a burden this Santa must carry, while the rest of us eat, drink and be merry!

Someone help Santa!

On second thought, someone save those poor people in the cottages from the crushing airborne toys! Santa's a menace!

Merry XXXmas

Nothing says silver bells, holiday season, and bless the holy baby Jesus like your boyfriend calling you from Seattle and describing the ways he'd like to be violating you right now, while little children frolic in the background.

Of course, as there is moratorium on any mention of the inner workings of our relationship here, I'm not saying it was my boyfriend.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Golden Years



My mother, who is sixty-four, looks ten years younger. My boyfriend called her "an attractive old bird" yesterday, but was genuinely shocked to discover her actual age. Her manner and drive are possibly even younger. Although she is liable to fall asleep at the picture show, as she did tonight, she is up at five-thirty, and has more energy than just about anybody I've ever met. Not the manic id of the bi-polar, rather the unabating push of a sturdy animal, built for long hard work. She moves mountains.

Still, there is mounting evidence that she has turned a corner, or maybe I should say, passed a milestone (not like those one flushes out of the kidneys, mind you). First, I noticed the amassing of granny-floral prints on the dining room walls. Mother has always been a lush decorator, but never particularly cluttery. I asked if the five pictures on the north wall alone were an aesthetic choice, or simply a matter of storage, as the living room is currently overrun with the kitchen cabinetry they've yet to install. It was the former, as I had feared. It looks undeniably Victorian, or older still, like the painted depiction of the Louvre (Galerie de Vues de la Rome Moderne by Pannini, 1759), the walls simply teeming with the art they'd pinched.

What else? Under-seasoned food, lavender soaps and clock radio in the bathroom, squawking at such a low decibel range, that nobody who lives here heard it.

More significantly, there are several two-liter size bottles of tonic water, Sprite, and club soda, open and half consumed, tucked between the refrigerator and butcher block. You may scratch your head at this one all you like, but in my experience of old people's houses (and this includes my own relatives), there are always flat stale bottles of soft drinks, they simply refuse to part with. Pity the guest who accepts the offer of a cola. Usually, there's never but two or three ice cubes tin-tinning the glass, and even if you're lucky enough to score a Coke, it's so old it tastes like RC anyway.

Do you get what I'm saying now?



How about the grannies with the four-decade-old ice boxes, with cartons of neapolitan ice cream, freezer burnt, gummy and tasting of leaking freon? Ever tried that? It's uncanny the frequency with which such odd things can become demographic trends, and though some might question my assertions, I'll stand by them.

I'd be off to play Scrabble with the old people now, but they've gone to bed.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Coast Highway

Heading up North for Christmas in Portland. In Santa Cruz right now, looking for surf. It's cold but quite beautiful here. Beautiful houses, pretty coastline.

Won't be posting for a couple days.

Cheers.

Friday, December 15, 2006

While Visiting Griffith Observatory

He: ...but then they aren't really sure Pluto is a planet anymore.

Me: Well, they are sure, they all got together and decided it isn't a planet. Now it's a 'dwarf planet.'

He: Wait a minute, that seems a bit rude. So are they now saying dwarves aren't really people?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A Movie I'd Like to See, v. ii






A film noir where all the characters are trying to quit smoking.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Hark How the Bells!

Yesterday is spent. Seven hours straight on the Santa (how apt) Monica shoPromenade, braving crowds, underage retail assistants, sore feet, the hyperstimulating glut of merchandise, and finally, The Christmas Music. I was Mannheim Steamrollered. Yet, I spent it with someone I love, and despite the indisputable fact that I am, not unlike Camille, currently dying of Consumption, I was happy.

I actually love traditional Christmas carols, many of the versions fashioned into shape of Jazz standards, and even a few really modern versions, just so long as the bounce or the rock doesn't beat the melody to messy pulp. As a child in Oregon, we actually went each cold December door to door caroling, an experience rather far afield from the Yuletide in L.A. Do people still do that? At home, I think I played every last song known to God and man on the piano, and there was an annual performance/party at my instructor's home. Carols are forever tucked into my musical memory, snug and contented as a sugar-fed kid in footed pajamas, blanketed by an afghan on the sofa and the rosy light of the tree.



If white folks don't gather in song at Christmas time, then there really is a hole in our layer of the cultural cloth. Why unlike, say, the Irish, do we not sing spontaneously and in groups, at parties, in bars, or as we walk down the street together? I say white, of course, because I don't believe this holds true for many other groups, clearly more enlightened in this department. Of course, if you're a regular churchgoer, you have your hymnal, though as a child I really thought them quite dry and wooden. Then there is the Anthem at sporting events, and that's allright, potentially moving even, but it is quite difficult to sing, and is a completely expected and controlled event.

To sing or chant or pray in groups is an experience that fundamentally transforms the energy moving through your body. I dare you to contest the notion. You don't have to dip into the realm of scientific explanation to prove or disprove this, simply remember viscerally the last time you joined in; it just is. Unless you feel terribly inhibited about it, the feeling is joyful, freeing, and conjoining, bonding you to others as much as it allows you to expand into your own individual, spiritual space.

I think part of the impediment to public displays of song, sadly, is the value given to restraint in this fundamentally Protestant culture. I am the last person comfortable with any sort of behavior that disrupts another's sense of well-being, to the point that I can become quite vocal in my displeasure. If some jackass friend is telling a lewd story at the table when there is a family or elderly group dining nearby, I suffer with them. But nothing is lovelier to me than walking through a park or a city square, and seeing people singing, dancing, or playing, in whatever form, just for the sheer joy of expressing it. That is the quintessence of a holiday traditionally celebrated as a festival of Light, and in carnival style. No different from any really Godly Holiday, where the human spirit takes a deep breath, opens itself up, and shines all over the world.

Monday, December 11, 2006

A Movie I'd Like to See



This is a joke title I came up with some time ago. My memory was jogged by exposure to Gizoogle, which translates your text or webpage to jive.

In any case, in my little fantasy world, Snoop Dogg meets Jim Henson and Co. for, The Dark Cryzal.







And of course, Steven Tyler in the reprised role of Jen the Gelfling.

Poached Eggs

I surely love them, especially with Hollandaise, but should they be legal?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Breakfast Is Not, 'The Most Important Meal of the Day'

'The Most Important Meal of the Day,' is having any meal at all, you bourgeois mother-fuckers.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Scat and Dogs

You know it's bad when your dog farts so loudly that he leaves the room.

Soft Drink

A blog of note.

Full Moon

How unusual not to be able to sleep at this time. Lest I embarrass myself with some astrological explanation, perhaps some of our more empirically scientific minds can explain to me why it is that I always have a shortened sleep cycle, more energy, and wildly elaborate dreams at this time of the month? Hmm?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Things I'm Not Particularly Proud Of, v. 1

Not much good has come out of Levittown, NY, unless you count Billy Joel, which in my weaker moments, I do. It's something I'm not particularly proud of either, but that's not the purpose of this post. Otherwise, there has been a cartoonist, another pop star, an American Idol contestant, and Bill O'Reilly. That's pretty bleak, when you think about it. The only really good thing is a rather entertaining documentary about the city, Wonderland, by a guy from my graduating class in college. You should watch it, if you can get your hands on a copy.

When I was about seventeen, I was perusing LPs, because that's the generation I'm from, at a small record store in downtown Portland. I was alone in the store with the clerk, until two rather long-haired gentlemen with ragged east coast accents entered the place. I wish I could recall what music I was looking at - it could have been Talking Heads, REM, Run DMC, or even Whitney Houston. Go ahead, yuck it up, but I was only a gangly teenager who had just recently sprung anything remotely resembling hips, and one who did wonder, "How will I know if he REALLY loves me?" Furthermore, I was in deep denial over my genuine love of old Van Halen, the way the popular athlete can't admit he has a crush on the bookish and shy girl. Except I was the bookish and shy girl.

I could have been buying Bon Jovi for all I know, though my defensive ego would like me to point out that I was the first kid at my school to listen to the Beastie Boys. But what does it really matter, I was not cool. A socially awkward girl, seriously underschooled in the ways of boys and dating, and at the same time, it seems I was always curiously attractive to older males. It was confusing and strange, to say the least.

Anyway, the considerably older duo were obviously leering. One of them wore sunglasses on his head and gave me cursory glances, while his wingman thumbed through albums, which he occasionally pulled out as a prop to say, "Hey, Eddie, remember when you recorded this one?" Then they would both look at me, as if I was supposed to overcome my dumbfounded starstruckness and run over for an autograph, a cocktail at his hotel, and some fellatio. After listening overlong to the lame antics, I sighed and walked out the door to the bus mall, where I caught the #33 home, and tried to avoid resting my weary head against the oily curl relaxer glued to the windowpane. It was a peril of the late eighties, much like the talent that escaped Levittown, NY.

And that's the first of maybe three times an embarrasing famous man has hit on me. Five if you count Laverne, but I don't like to talk about that.



(I feel three apologies are in order here: First, I'm sorry to my dear friend whose grandfather designed that infernal city. It's neither of our faults the project was such a failure, so can't we just laugh about it? Secondly, Grant Miller, I realize I have bastardized, nay, plagiarized a format of your posts. I hope you'll take it as a sincere, if inferior, mode of flattery. Finally, for all you strict grammarians in the house, I don't like ending sentences, much less titles, with prepositions, but sometimes it seems impossible not to.)

I Believe

...in love at first oversight.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Why I'll Never Make Good

Because I just feel like a nap.

Tom Tom Club

Um, I'm a little confused by this one. Read it, then we can discuss.

How is the song "You've lost that lovin' feeling," a positive choice for a wedding, or a "symbol of (TomKat's) love"? I know when I reach that point in a relationship, that's just the time I feel like getting hitched.

Has anyone else paid attention to those lyrics? Maybe I'm reading to much into, "and there's no tenderness like before in your fingertips," or "now your starting to criticize the little things I do. It makes me just feel like crying," but it doesn't seem to bode well.

I guess when "Scientology is the basis of their companionship," they can just "audit" all the bad feelings away. It's about as romantic as Moonie Mass-Nuptuals.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Computard

I imagine whatever relative measure of respect you might have for this site and its authoress would be critically damaged, if you could hear the whining and the occasional inflamed shriek as I fail to comprehend the most basic maneuvers of bloggery. The switch to BetaBlogger went smoothly, and the template shift was pretty easy, despite losing all past taglines in the masthead. Happily, the new one is centered, and that pleases what little sense of order we possess.

However, the moon phase calendar is gone, and my sitemeter disappeared and would not be reapplied to the bottom of the page. So now it sits ungainly and garish, like a tinseled rainbow epaulette, upon the shoulder of right margin archives (I abhor the new lineup there). That process was overlong.

The most vexing chore has been trying to use the new and improved "click and drag" template reorganization, which seems to do nothing but cluster and obscure the blocks of blog section, and had me audibly frustrated in the pathetic manner of a tantrumic schoolgirl. It's not a pleasant sound, I'm sure; my dog examined me with uncertainty an unease. So if anyone knows how to use the new system, which has clearly been dumbed down to the point that a cashier at McDonald's would be more adept at this than I, let me know.

Also, my flimsy iBook power cord is dying. How do you pay $1600 for a laptop and then risk unuse because Apple was too cheap to make a strong enough connection between the ac plug and the wires? Eighty bucks for a whole new one? I don't think so, I just hope I can resplice it.

Googly-Eyed

One of the benefits of the Site Meter is tracking the key words people have typed into search engines which have led them to your blog. Though this happens nearly every day, the last 48 hours have been the most abundant search period ever for this blog.

Here's what brought 'em (and sometimes where they came from):

-You fill up my senses (SUNY Fredonia)
-peris, fairies and goddesses (Hillegom, Netherlands. Figures, the Flemish are a bit "touched.")
-charm school (Westchester, IL)
-paradise we found was always frail (Austin, Texas. Always wanted to go there.)
-first birthday charm (Law firm in Indianapolis)
-snakes on a plane scientific analysis (Clark Cty. School Board, Las Vegas, NV)
-school thought for the day (State of Georgia/Board of Regents)
-charm school for lawyers (pharmaceutical research co., Malvern, PA)
-guam snakes 2006 (NYC)
-Portland escort Janessa
-aedh wishes for the clothes of heaven words (Dublin, duh.)
-charm school Christian (Texas? Shocking.)
-clean subconsious bhajan
-grendel snakes symbol (Dallas, Texas. Dang.)
-"thing for jewish"

The first four lines almost read like a poem or a choppy song lyric.

The presence of the Georgia School Board made me shudder to think of my sorry influence upon Southern children, particularly as the place it took them was the refrigerator guarded by greedy dogs (11/25 post).

Charm school alone or plus something, is a usual route here, for obvious reasons. However, a finishing course for attorneys was something altogether new and humorous to me. You doing a post-grad year there, Stitch?

Don't know what to think about the Ophidians in that US Territory, or what they might be up to in 2006. I had a pewter platter from Guam as a kid. No idea why or what happened to it. I'm sure that was a casualty of my mother's aforementioned Stalinist Purges. That's alright, it was a piece of junk anyway.

As for Janessa, despite the fact that we are from the same hometown, I never met her, nor do those words appear consecutively in any post on my blog. Anyway, I don't know why you guys always lose a nice girl's phone number. Oh wait, the search originated in Los Angeles, so that explains a lot. Janessa, don't take any wooden nickels.

Which brings is to the query from Athens as to the hygienics of the subconscious mind. I can't say boo about Yogi Bhajan's, but when I think about Janessa, well, let's just say there are demons in the Attic.

"thing for jewish," that about sums it up, though I've been off they jocks for quite a while now. Simple twist of fate, is all. Thanks for asking though, Tel Aviv.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

As If Just Being An Actor Isn't Humiliation Enough


Had lunch with my thespian friend today, who just completed an indie horror film in which he plays a burn victim. Worked with an aspiring actress who is the daughter of a B-list somebody. The upstart male lead, son of a D-list nobody, kept hitting on her, insisting that as an alleged Method Actor, he'd hand in a better performance if they slept together.

I asked my dear friend if that makes him a Rhythm Method Actor, to which he replied, barely able to contain his laughing disdain, "He said he practices the Stanley Kowalski Method."

Apparently they don't read any plays at that school.

Monday, November 27, 2006

I Ain't Sayin' She's a Well-Digger...

but great grandfather was, and a water witch to boot. So too became his young daughter, my maternal grandmother, a dowser. Virginia, at eight, was more adept with a divining rod than her elder papa, so he took her in his truck across the Kansas country side and provided this essential service to the farmers in the area.

Of etymological interest is the latin for divining rod, Virgula divina, meaning "little rod" or, vividly enough, "little penis," the root being virga, rod. I find this funny given the similarity of my grandmother's name which, of course, means "virgin," from Latin virgo. Perhaps those more schooled in Latin (which probably means most of you), can tell me where these two split, and from what older root, though the dictionaries I perused offered no such connection. I couldn't find a trace of an Indo-European root that would explain the polarity of these meanings. It's a true yin and yang situation.

That's all, I just thought you should know.

Oh Mandy

If "you gave without taking," how come "you came"?

(with apologies to Manilow)

Advise

Does anyone out there, who actually happens to have enough fortitude, interest, and attention span to read through the damned info page, know of any reason, other than my obvious dearth of posts, why I should not switch over to the new Blogger format? Change is scary, and I'm scurd.

If I take the leap of faith, will the tagline in my masthead suddenly center itself?

So many considerations.

***(the first sentence of this post was amended, as it was an incomplete thought, which just goes to show you how little attention span I have, currently. also, i split an infinitive. the horror.)***

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Canine Thought for the Day

Every time a refrigerator door opens, it does not signify a treat for dogs.

Macho Libre

"Feminism's purpose is the investigation of truth, not the perpetuation of blame."

- Erica Jong

Friday, November 24, 2006

Medicine

This is for you, Huck, as it seems a thing that would make you chuckle. Hope it helps what ails you.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Our Lady

Where the hill crests on Vista del Mar, here in Beachwood Canyon, there once was a small grotto embedded in a stone wall right at the corner of the block. Inside stood a statue of the Guadalupe, or Mary. At night, driving past, she was lit up with votives at her feet. Little spaces like this one, more than any great work of art, are always the most pleasing to me. Small personal places that are set on a visible edge of private property, to share. No sight of this fifty-year-old alcove failed to elicit a smile.

Unfortunately, about two years ago, a moving truck took out the entire section of wall where the sculpture hung. I recall a posting in our little canyon newspaper trying to collect funds to rebuild it, but nothing has changed the jagged hole where the tribute once hung.



Today as I walked past the spot with my dog, I was thinking about what spaces, public art, historical bldgs., community gardens, parks, even old drive-in ice cream stops are worth saving. The erasure of histories is noisome to me. When the Arrow Club, one of the few Deco buildings in Portland, came down for a swank yet ungainly hotel several years ago, I felt it like the sorrow of food poisoning in my gut.

Maybe it is because I know how painstaking the work of those craftspeople was, and how work like that is almost never affordable in our modern economy. Maybe it's the human energy, the soul's imprint on those spaces - all the builders, employees, patrons, even the interlopers, who passed through there, died there, made love in the back hallways. Maybe it's simply my love of the beautiful. Maybe it's an aversion to change.

Still, life is growing and passing away, transformation and adaptation, and that is beautiful too. I guess I just prefer to hold onto what was good about the old, while embracing the new.

I hope that hole in the wall grows back. Guadalupe's feast day is 12/12, by the way.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A Cop-Out

Is how I would define the last two posts, entirely purloined, seeing as how these days I am entirely unburdened by original thought. So sue me. Sue me for the $2 of ad revenue I've netted on my blog, even though I'm disallowed from mentioning it ever since I allowed their parasitical presence last May, back when I was getting two thousand hits a day for that Snakes on a Plane business. That'll buy you a Butterfinger and a Coke, if you're buying in a cheap part of town. The ad co. doesn't even cut you a check for less than $20, and I won't see that for years.

Someday I'll figure out why I have nothing to say anymore, but here are my top theories:

1) I have a boyfriend now, and everyone knows that regular sex kills off most other drives.

2) I'm nervous about seeing my brother this weekend. The last time was when I was nineteen, and before that eight.

3) It's Santa Ana season (winds from the desert that heat up and dry out Los Angeles this time of year), which is said to make people crazy, and at the very least, clearly causes allergies.

4) A very close friend of mine whose aesthetic opinion I revere, very tactlessly took a big shit all over the world of blogging (not mine specifically), and I haven't quite been the same ever since, even though I couldn't disagree more. That's a topic for another time, though.

5) I've already emptied out the contents of my head, heart and soul, and there ain't nothing else in there. Which brings us to-

6) That one Scientology course I was subjected to has taken its toll, and now that I've met Xenu, I'm completely uninteresting. That reminds me, if you knew and Googled my name, you would see that I was subjected to a Scientology course a few years ago, a thing I would have assume was private and not a matter of public record. I don't think you can find my transcript from Brown anywhere on the web, or my attendance at any other church, for that matter. This is really a drag, but oddly enough, it is not the L-Rons (wasn't that a Phil Spector girl group in the early 60s?), who are to blame, rather, one of their detractors. Some numbskull from "The Truth about Scientology" was trying to show what a large (60%) number of students fail to return for any subsequent tutelage, myself included. So, now she's "outed" me as a member of something to which I do not belong, ascribe, subscribe or prescribe, and any time someone does a little research on me, they will have a false impression. It would be like you assuming that just because the ad co. placed Christian banners on my blog, that I am a Bible thumper. There, justice is served. Well done, Nikki at "The Truth." Jesus is not my Lord and Savior, L Ron is not my co-pilot, and I did not inhale, nor did I have sexual relations with that woman!

This actually almost cost me the formation my last relationship. When we'd just started dating, the fellow in question uncovered this fact in just the way I've mentioned, and had great reservation about pursuing anything further. Of course, he was a total fucking hypocrite, as he had done quite a turn with the fine folks at Landmark Education, which took over where Est left off.

7) I've tired of talking about me, me, me. Naw, scratch that one.

8) Early onset Alzheimer's.

9) Five years in Los Angeles.

Erection

Evidently some people feel that coverage of the Spears/Federline tragedy should not have superseded those who Rock the Vote. Huck and H/Aytch wrote about the recent political changing of the guard, as it were.

As did Grant Miller. Sir, to you.

Unremitting Failure adds (I can never simply link to his individual posts, unfortunately):

"Concession Speech

Unremitting Failure would like to thank everyone (that's you, Joe Jarvis!) who voted for us across the country yesterday. Your vote (singular) of support is much appreciated. But more than that it is--given our crackpot stands on most of the issues of the day--highly disturbing. Nevertheless, we stand tall, our belief in failure and futility as the twin pillars of the American Way of Life unshaken. Let us be clear about this--even should victory someday overwhelm us, and even should demon success take us in its jaws and shake us, we will hold true to the ideal that has preserved us: namely, that every man and woman has the inalienable right to fail in their own way, whether they want to or not. Thank you, and God Bless."

Then there's ma boy, Stitch, who has taken to cross-dressing in a burka, but he's still quite handsome, even under all that yardage.

Spears-Carrying

Y'all have gone a bit Britney crazy, and if it weren't for your blogs I wouldn't even know they split the sheets. Apparently, my eyes are glued shut as I pass the magazine rack at the grocery check-out stand, not unlike the undiscerning and pious monkey.

Grant Miller's Officially commented.

Unremitting Failure's take"

"Britney Files for Divorce


Like America, it took her years of getting fucked by an idiot to realize she'd made a mistake."

This from The Dooce!:

Chaotic no More

Wednesday, 08 November 2006

A few of you have written to ask what I think of the divorce filing heard round the world, that which Ms. Spears has drawn up against the burrowing wombat who has had access to her credit cards for the last two years, he who regularly feasts on rubber boots and sprinkler heads, he whose life is a fart joke. And I’ve been trying to come up with a way to sum up my feelings, and I guess there’s no easy way to say this because you never hope for the dissolution of a family, especially when young children are involved. But, the fact that she decided finally to flick him off her collar like a hardened, crusty booger is almost RIGHT THERE with the Democrats taking back the House in terms of hope for the future of America.

And did you see how she looked the previous night when she made a surprise appearance on Letterman? Her make-up was clean, and her dress was classy, and her hair was freshly washed and styled, as if someone somewhere found the right sequence of hillbilly lingo to convince her that she will not be forsaking her heritage if she spends a few dollars on hygiene. Although, you shouldn’t read that as a dig on the way she looked before, because I do believe that there was an undeniable authenticity to the way she showed up to interviews looking like a mother whose one-year-old had just puked up formula all over the front of the rayon blouse she bought special at Ross, and she didn’t have time to wipe all the splatter out of her bangs. I identified with that.

But I also identify with this Britney, the one who looks happy and vibrant and ready once again for the world to ogle her spectacular boobs. Because if there is one thing Britney is good at, it’s embodying every incarnation of crazy — the tired crazy, the manic crazy, the hormonal and thought she couldn’t get pregnant while breastfeeding crazy — and here she is as The Other Side of Crazy where it seems like she’s finally taking charge and saying, you know what? Enough. I’d like to feel good about myself for a while. Let’s make that happen.

You could say I’m a tiny bit thrilled.

I’m headed out to New York City very early tomorrow (Thursday) morning and will be staying through the weekend for a few engagements. Not sure yet what sights I’m going to see or what shops or restaurants I’m going to hit, and since I haven’t been in over 10 years I’m curious as to what the city will mean to me this time, now as an older, non-Mormon adult with cash. Jon and Leta are staying home which means I may end up hibernating in the hotel room trying to coax Leta into singing Mormon hymns over the phone one more time. Jesus, he wants her for a sunbeam.

And The Stitch roasted her too.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Like Stomp in a China Shop

Never mind the Scientology, Beck's amazing.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Sing for Your Supper

The album is out, do you have your copy yet? Here are the Driveblind lads at the 3rd St. Promenade. Great song.





Upcoming Shows (view all)
Nov 10 2006 4:00P
Independent Denver, Colorado

Nov 11 2006 2:00P
Graywhale Salt Lake City, Utah

Nov 14 2006 6:00P
Rasputin Berkeley, California

Nov 15 2006 6:00P
Dimple Records Sacramento, California

Nov 17 2006 12:00P
Hoodlums Tempe, Arizona

Nov 18 2006 4:00P
Zia Record Exchange Tucson, Arizona

Food for Thought


Citizen H has come to my rescue after I hollered from the locked room in the cold stone tower of my writer's block. (The views expressed do not represent the opinions of the Blog administrator, her affiliates, or dog. Then again, they might.):

"Seems NYC is pretty serious about imposing a ban on trans-fats in restaurants. This is the point where taxpayers should be screaming for elected officials' heads on pikes, for wasting taxpayer money on useless legislation when there is a glut of other serious items in need of attention.

Simply stated, if someone chooses to wage jihad on their arteries and wastelines, it's their prerogative. Yes, there's an obesity problem in this nation; but frankly, that's not any elected official's business. This is not a nanny state, or at least it shouldn't be. Let natural selection take its course--weed out the slow, weak, and stupid, but by their own actions or inactions.

It's not up to any political or judicial entity to dictate what anyone eats or otherwise does to themselves.

I know this stand can anger anti-abortion advocates, but frankly, they can bugger themselves (without govt. prying, intrusion, or legislation.)

Many of the same people who bemoan "choice" and promote legislation to overturn it complain on the other hand about government intrusion into other aspects of their lives. You can't have it both ways. So deal with it, OK?

In the mean time, quit tossing taxpayer time and money down the tubes for political points or asinine public health crusades. Save the health mania for outbreaks. If nothing else, it would cost less to start an advertising campaign on the risks of transfats. Doctors do that already for high-risk patients.

If healthcare costs for the morbidly obese, diabetics, heart disease sufferers, or those whose lives are impacted severely by poor dietary choices are the concern, counsel them on the risks.

Honestly, if those at risk are stupid enough to continue to make bad decisions with their health, the costs of further care should come out of their own pockets."

Thanks H, for chewing the fat.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween Candy

This on the Muscat Gummy candy bag, just one type of the Japanese candy I bought for the kids tonight:

"Its translucent color so alluring and taste and aroma so gentle and mellow offer admiring feelings of a graceful lady."

More Evidence

...to support my theory that the French either don't really like to have any fun, or they are just plain dumb. "French press declares Halloween dead."
Halloween dead? Wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Boo!


Halloween is my favorite holiday, and not out of sheer morbidity, rather because it is a holiday that dips into your imagination and craft. It is a celebration of things that are slippery, fantastical, and unseen. It is traditionally a celebration of the end of the harvest season, hence its association with death, as the fertile season comes to a close and Nature retracts her bounty. Think of Hades/Pluto stealing Persephone/Proserpine to the underworld, and Demeter/Ceres' grief and wrath, and so comes the death mask of winter. The relationship to death has its appeal, as it is one of the two most powerful events with which we have to contend. The unknown is scary, and so we jestingly face our deepest fears, and the darkest parts of human nature. It is a night of mischief, "called Pooky Night in some parts of Ireland, presumably named after the pĂșca, a mischievous spirit." Plus, though this observation is well-worn, it is a night when nice girls are sanctioned to dress like trollopes. Beyond the obvious saucy joy in that is a genuine connection to a tradition of witchcraft and old pagan matriarchy, which venerated (from Venus) the ebullient sexuality and power of women, until the Catholic Church anathemized it. Halloween is most assuredly a holiday ripe with robust womanness, and we wouldn't have it any other way.

I've heard of a few instances of children trying to go as terribly dark characters, and being censored for political insensitivity. It is strange to me that supernatural monsters are acceptable, but real ones, like Hitler, are somehow taboo. Perhaps we have to keep a safe psychological distance from the forces we are meddling with here, and an historical monster that proves something about the darkness being real is too much to bear. Frankly, I think these kids have the whole deal worked out right. Halloween follows a primary function of the old Carnival traditions, which is to serve as a social purgative for negative energy. It delights in duality. It plays with darkness.



"All Souls' or All Hallows' Day (Nov. 1) was the Christian version of Samhain (end of summer), the Celtic feast of the dead, named for the Aryan Lord of Death, Samana, "the Leveller, " or the Grim Reaper, leader of ancestral ghosts. According to the pagan lunar calendar, festivals were celebrated on the "eve" rather than the day. Therefore Halloween or All Hallows' Eve was the original festival, later displaced to the following day. The Irish used to call the holy night the Vigil of Saman. Churchmen described it as a night of magic charms and divinations, reading the future with witches' mirrors and nutshell ashes, ducking for apples in tubs of water (representing soul-symbols in the Cauldron of Regeneration), and other objectionable rites. Even today it is said that a girl who peels and apple before a mirror on Halloween will see the image of her future husband in the glass. Christian authorities wrote of Halloween, "Many other superstitious ceremonies, the remains of Druidism, are observed on this holiday, which will never be eradicated while the name of Saman is permitted to remain." The name of the pagan deity remains in the Bible as Samuel, from the Semitic Sammael, the same underworld god.



Of course the original divinations were oracular utterances by the ancestral dead, who came up from their tombs on Halloween, sometimes bringing gifts to the children of their living descendants. In Sicilian Halloween tradition, "the dead relations have become good fairies of the little ones." Similar customs are observed at Christmas.

In Lithuania, the last European country to accept Christianity, the pagans celebrated their New Year feast as Halloween, sacrificing domestic animals to their god Zimienik (Samanik; Samana). Their prayer ran, "Accept our burnt sacrifice, O Zimmienik, and kindly partake thereof." If the lord of the underworld accepted the offering on behalf of all the dead, the spirits were satisfied and would refrain from doing harm. If not adequately propitiated, they might descend on the world as vengeful ghosts, led by demons and "witches" (priestesses) who summoned them. The witches and ghosts are still associated with Halloween, together with such soul-symbols as owls, bats, and cats.



The pagan idea used to be that crucial joints between the seasons opened cracks in the fabric of space-time, allowing contact between the ghostworld and the mortal one."1

Some Words for Witches:

Incanatrix, Lamia ("night monster"), Saga, Maga, Malefica, Sortilega, Strix ("screech-owl"), Venefica ("poisoner"), strega, Janara (a priestess of Jana or Juno), hags, fairies, bacularia ("stick-rider"), fascinatrix ("one with the evil eye"), herberia ("one who gathers herbs"), pixidria ("keeper of an ointment-box"), femina sage ("wise woman"), incantator ("worker of charms"), magus ("wise man"), sortitariae mulier ("seeress"), maliarda ("evil-doer"), ansipex, auguris, divinator, januatica, ligator, mascara, phitonissa, stregula, krstaca ("crossed ones," fr. Greek, Christos), wijsseggher ("wise-sayer," which became English, "wise-acre"), Sorcier, bear-walker, beldam (fr. "belle-dame"), charmer, crone, enchantress, hellcat, magician, minx, necromancer, occultist, she-devil, siren, sorceress, warlock, faith healer, isangoma, mundunugu, obeah doctor, shaman, voodoo, wangateur, bag, battle-ax, biddy, fishwife, fury, gorgon, harpy, harridan, Jezebel, Medusa, ogress, shrew, slattern, sorceress, termagant, virago, vixen.



1 The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, Barbara G. Walker

Help a Sista Out

I wasn't kidding about the guest blogging. We need help.

Friday, October 27, 2006

And a Couple of Tra-La-las

My brother, with whom I have recently reconnected, but not seen since I was nineteen (before that when I was maybe seven), is coming to visit me next month. This is good news, to be sure.

He asked if he could come, and bring his Lab, Blue. I responded in an email that he was more than welcome, "and your little dog too."

Then he wrote me back:

"Your Wizard of Oz reference reminded me that we (Kathleen, Renate and I - my long absent sisters) used to think the line Glinda says at the end, "Toto too", was the funniest thing and would say it to each other for no reason at all.

Then one day when you were just learning how to speak you said it like, "Doo doo do" and it was the cutest thing EVAH, I'm telling you!"

It should be noted that one of my nicknames back then, and with no connection to the film that I'm aware of, was "Tutu."

It's really good to reconnect with family. This has been a chasm of a hole in my life for so long

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Happy Birthday!

The Charm School's a year old.
Too bad my writing has stalled like a faulty car.
Anyone care to guest blog?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Failing to Meet My Own Standards, As Per Usual

I try not to indulge my vanity much, really I do. But I confess I really like getting carded, which has been happening constantly, of late. Even today at Trader Joe's, when I bought beer for tomorrow's bbq. The cashier said, when looking at my Oregon ID (that's right, I'm still not legit here) -
"I was in Portland that year, the summer you were born." I replied, "So was I!" He said, "You never called me back." I said, "My fingers weren't real dextrous that first year."

Also, when the hot young Aussie lad (brother of my friend and current employer), who's been flirting with me all week at work (and who finally convinced me to go out with him), insists I don't look much older than he is, I smile. Because I am weak-minded and highly susceptible to flattery. Then he smacked me on the ass yesterday while we were on the kitchen floor hooking up the new dishwasher. Well, I confess I liked that too.

What a pushover. I think he wants a green card. I told him I would, in that case, marry him, but that there would be absolutely no touching.

He said that didn't sound like a very appealing kind of marriage to him.

I agreed.

I've also threatened to have him deported.

His sister and her husband were in a bit of an uproar after we had our dinner Wednesday night. She told me she gave him a "stern talking to," that I was "the nicest girl, and (he) better not be up to any devilish heartbreaking tricks." I asked her if that really applies when I'm significantly older than he. She said, "In Australia, it's always the guy's responsibility."

He told her to get used to it, because we would probably be going out again.

Before he arrived on Friday the Thirteenth (which my horoscope said would be a lucky day), from Down Under, she said, "What if you and Anthony fall in love?" I said, "he's too young for me..?" She said, "But this younger generation of guys, they seem to be going for older women quite a lot these days, and he always has older friends."

Anyway, there's a bit of confusion, a little worry, and a lot of humor that has hit the household following our "date," if you can even call it that. I don't blame them.

Still, Ant and I have talked it over, and we're going to play a little joke on them in a while. Maybe a few weeks.

When we announce that I am pregnant.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I Know You Know


that the dog is a pit bull, but few realize that the creature on the right, roundhouse-kicking the shit out, is Chuck Norris.

Monday, October 16, 2006

A Moment When I was Less Than Holy

Eighteen. Freshman year and terrified out of my gourd most of the time, though I'd no idea that was what I was feeling. It's amazing to look back on it all now and see how constantly fear piggy-backed me round the campus and flew with me coast to coast each Christmas and summer break.

Anyway, Connor and I went into one of the dorm community lounges late one night after a Thursday Funk Night dance in the p.o. courtyard. Thursdays were routinely the best party nights in school, though they made Friday sections (those were the more intimate "discussion" groups at the end of each week, in lieu of lecture) a thin slice of hangover hell if you'd imbibed. most times, I was just real tired. So Connor takes me into the lounge (which wasn't like the time Freddy Cooper and I went into the lounge, but that's another story), and shows me the Coke machine, and how he's discovered that if you put the quarters in and hold the flap up inside the catch tray at the bottom, you can get more out than the one. So we worked about eight cokes out for, what, fifty cents? Then there was the malfunctioning coin return. Without breaking a thing, we took at least twenty bucks a piece in quarters. I had laundry money for the rest of the semester. And a dirty conscience.

But, it's funny how things like that don't really seem that totally wrong when you're doing them as a kid. I know eighteen is legal, but let's be honest, it's still a teen-age, and I was definitely still a child. There is some kind of sweet, delicious feeling you have while behaving so badly. We laughed so much that night, mostly over the possibility of being caught. It's not so much glee over what you're taking as it is the thrill of seeing what you can get away with, how far you can go. Until that age, I'd never stolen a thing in my life, unless you count that peach I pulled off the shelf and drooled on when I was two and sitting in the grocery cart. I'd even turned down a piece of bubble gum offered by a second grade school mate who'd shoplifted it from the corner store, and that with a grim sense of duty pressing in on me.

So maybe the elation I felt at eighteen in my first act of delinquency was that of a kid shrugging off some fear. I'm not calling it right, I'm just saying what maybe was.

Driveblind



These fellows were my neighbors until June, when they went on a US tour. I saw them at the Viper Room and House of Blues here in LA, bookends of their tour. Now they are back in LA for a little while. They are great guys and great musicians, to boot. From Aberdeen, Scotland, their debut album on Geffen Records comes out October 24th. Terry has one of the most amazing voices I've heard in the last decade. You have to hear him live to truly appreciate how incredibly beautiful and large a voice it is. They are one of those rare bands that sound better live than on recording. Mostly, I just like talking with them at the neighborhood bar, bbqs and other people's shows (remember how loud you got at Irina's show, Nick? That was the beer. And you're right, some people can't ride bicycles, but I don't know what that has to do with what I said.), as Scots are wont to do. These are clever and decent lads, and I wish them all great success. I'll surely be at the show on the 27th. Big hugs all around.

Here's a clip of their studio session with A&M, recording "I See It All." The opening song is "The Fool Rides Again" - too bad they don't play the whole thing, it's a personal favorite. You can check both out on this podcast, however (the playlist is, in order, Sillhouette, The Fool Rides Again, Light Sleeper, I See It All).



Sillhouette (Live at the Roxy, Los Angeles. Scottish folk roots evident here.)



Raised at Midnight




Driveblind on MySpace
the band's website
Geffen page





And my favorite:

(you can hear this song on the MySpace page. or in the podcast.)

Light Sleeper

This just isn't fair
the understatement of the year
if i had known
watched you go
would i have been there?

thought i'll keep
when i sleep



so what comes now?
when i go down so slowly
so slowly

i know that things they can't go on
i'm sick and tired of being wrong
these times have put me to the test
light sleeper, won't you get some rest
light sleeper, won't you get some rest

time will tell
if i am well
or under the weather
close my eyes
tight tonight

i know that things they can't go on
i'm sick and tired of being wrong
these times have put me to the test
light sleeper, won't you get some rest?
light sleeper, won't you get some rest?

I'm a light sleeper
I'm a light sleeper
yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
I'm a light sleeper

i know that things they can't go on
i'm know i'm tired, i know i'm wrong
these times have put me to the test
light sleeper, won't you get some rest?
light sleeper, won't you get some rest?

i know that things they can't go on
i'm sick and tired of being wrong
these times have put me to the test
light sleeper, won't you get some rest?
light sleeper, won't you get some rest?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

You Fill Up My Senses

All senses, left unrefined, are physical. When they are refined, then they become spiritual.

-Yogi Bhajan

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Peep This


I might not be writing much now, but I'm watching you.

Gleaning

Here's a new-to-me blog I've been enjoying regularly, Unremitting Failure. Mostly for the snark. Already shared the Skynard post with you, but here are a couple others that have amused me.

Life Amongst the Amish. When was the last time you saw anyone work in a line about Cotton Mather? I haven't thought about him since an American History research paper I wrote eight years ago.

Bing Crosby. If you've no sense of cinematic or pop music history, you might still recall those insipid orange juice commercials in the 70s. I understand he used to beat his kids, but I'm not saying he couldn't sing.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Strategic Ad Placement

Fair and Accurate Reporting



When did he switch sides? Does that make him an R & D Man?

Affection Is Subversive

Does anyone else remember the Leo Buscaglia Society? I remember being chased across the main green of my Providence, RI campus when I wouldn't submit to a hug. Of course, that was more in fun than anything. Anyhow, this is the best example of positive social activism I've ever heard of (well, not to take anything away from Gandhi), from a young man in Sydney, Australia. Too bad the authorities tried to break it up. Here's the video, there's a story that unfolds. The skateboard stunt's one of my favorite moments.

This is the YouTube blurb:

"Sometimes, a hug is all what we need. Free hugs is a real life controversial story of Juan Mann, a man whose sole mission was to reach out and hug a stranger to brighten up their lives.

In this age of social disconnectivity and lack of human contact, the effects of the Free Hugs campaign became phenomenal.

As this symbol of human hope spread accross the city, police and officials ordered the Free Hugs campaign BANNED. What we then witness is the true spirit of humanity come together in what can only be described as awe inspiring.

In the Spirit of the free hugs campaign, PASS THIS TO A FRIEND and HUG A STRANGER! After all, If you can reach just one person..."

Here's the tv news story from Down Under.

And this article from the Sydney Morning Herald: "A City of Sydney spokesman Josh MacKenzie said he could find no record of rangers asking Mann to move on."

I love that Juan Mann's name, homophonically, is One Man.

Big Hug to all y'all (or, in the words of Ari Gold on Entourage, "Hug it out, Bitch!")

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

It Pertains to Poo*

Today I offended the regular cashier at my favorite hardware store. Favorite because it's not Home Depot - which, by the way, is about 30% more expensive than OSH, at least for joist hangers, post and and hurricane ties, and any other sort of hardware you might need for the underpinnings of your deck. I have neither done a comprehensive comparison of their other goods, nor am I saying that OSH has even close to the same selection. But I am saying that you won't wait in line for the half-life of the barium in the enema the worried GI doc gave you the last time you were inexplicably backed-up. I'm also saying that the likelihood of someone actually knowing something at OSH is as great as HD, but better to ask the old feller (who, like my maternal grandfather, is probably named Earle, Don, or maybe Roy), at your local family-owned True Value, because he's been sorting the hex bolts from the lag screws for, like, the last thirty years. That type of salesman is my personal preference, as opposed to the Home Depot employees, whose average age is young, dumb and full of...

Most of the staff at my little hardware haven have the conservative and rural everyman feel that can easily be found back home in Oregon, or anywhere else in this country once you slip out of the urban. It's more of a surprise to find it in LA, or even in liberal old Portland. But anywhere the blue collar work can be found, so shall these types of men be. The two women staffers there are sweet and hefty women, who probably get their hair poodled at the hair salon round the corner, because those are the only places that still administer perms, to my knowledge. They sip diet beverages, wear conspicuously colored eyeglasses, and are unfailingly pleasant to deal with. The other two men in employ are fortysomething long-haired fellows who give off that peculiar air of guys in bands. Maybe it's the marijuana they have undoubtedly sampled, maybe it's jocular Dave's pony-tail, or the more austere cashier's leather wristband. Something in their style and insouciant manner makes them misfits in this store, at least as career professionals. They feel more like adolescent summer help, though the cashier's too terse to be readily considered immature. And though they regularly jest with me, less the one who works the register and and more the one who went so far as to let me know he had, er, gauged my temperature, let us not confuse them with the rancid and megalomanical sorts of musicians who might viably be candidates for My Future Husband.

**
Well, while I was paying for my drywall, screws, Liquid Plumber (which I am loathe to use), Exit light, base trim, and toilet plunger, I asked if I should be worried that someone had made off with the latter item from our home.

He replied with a rather snotty, "Could we not talk about it?"***

Well, we really hadn't talked about anything, but I didn't wish to trespass -

"Sorry, I didn't know you were so squeamish as that."

"Well, there are things for which I have my limits."

Huh. I am not leaving anything out, except that earlier, when I had asked another employee where the plungers were kept, I told him that mine had gone missing, which I found rather perplexing. He laughed and said, "Yeah, that is a weird one." It's possible the cashier heard me then. Still, there was never any discussion of things plungers are actually used for.

Either way, I did not say anything directly distasteful, so what was so bothersome to this fellow was beyond me.

The irony of this is two-fold. One, for the most part I don't like poopy humor. I don't like the Farrelly Brothers much, plasticized joke excrements left on office desks or carpets are just dumb, and farts jokes tend to leave me cold.
I should make some exceptions here, however, though I couldn't possibly recount them all. It occurs to me that eighty percent of the time when my very close friend Stephen, who is all about this stuff, phones me and, say, insists on describing the loud, acrid and crouching gas he had while standing before a crowd at the ATM, I cannot help but laugh. He has also been known to detail the quality of his bowel movements, and at great length. I don't know why I indulge him in this, but it's always funny when he does, and it seems to make him feel better. He could make a kitchen table seem funny however, or even a rake.

Overall, scat humor is not upsetting or particularly offensive, it's just that for me, humor-wise, usually it's a blank stare, it's a brick wall. Maybe I made it through that particular Freudian stage a little too smoothly to find it very amusing. There's no anxiety at all - at best it's a cipher, at worst it's just annoying. That does not mean, however, that something circling round the poop, something telling about human behavior, is not funny. Quite the contrary. I laughed quite hard at David Sedaris reading his poem (too raunchy for NPR), about walking into a bathroom and finding that the previous guest had left an unflushable leviathan turd in the toilet bowl. Of course, someone was waiting their turn to get in after him. What could he do? The shame of leaving it there for the next person was too much for him, so he fumbled about the medicine cabinet and washstand drawers until he found an instrument that could take that monster down. A toothbrush.

That is a story coarse and unladylike, but it is funny to me. Why? Because it's a man in a pickle. It's about shame and tension and what lengths we'll go to just so we don't look bad. It happens to have feces at its center, but that's not the joke. Same with the plunger. It's potentially a nasty thing, an abject object. Why would someone take it? That's all I was saying.

The second irony is, having worked for a few years with a small crew of otherwise all male carpenters, as well as heaps of sub-contractors, I came to learn rather quickly that many many men LOVE to talk about shit and the like (women generally don't - same with not loving The Three Stooges). I cannot think of a single lunchtime conversation that, by its end, had not degenerated to the scatalogical. Whether we started out with international affairs, the OJ Simpson case, or the influence of traditional Klezmer on Jazz music, the end point was always the same. I do admit to being somewhat vexed from time to time, but this feeling probably owed more to my daily bouts of hypoglycemic post-meal food coma (we always ate too late), which must be something like what Gulliver endured, tied down by the Lilliputians.

I also confess to laughing to the point of near personal injury each and every time Garrett grossed out Matt enough to make him puke up his lunch. Matt was easily pushed to this point, particularly if any "bad dairy" cant were shared, or the famous "lancing of the horse's abcessed jaw" story. What was so beautiful about it was as soon as Matt, who was our foreman, hurled, Garrett, who was his best friend, would inevitably follow.

Anyway, today I was so taken aback by the cashier's reaction, I was offended he was offended. Where was his sense of humor? Even if he thought me rude, it seemed too much of a reprimand. Just a couple of months ago, I stood before him as the guy in line behind me looked at the miniature antique model car on the shelf (why they were selling this novelty item is beyond me), and said "You guys should really offer little Hummers."

Well, the cashier and I locked eyes and stared each other down. All the while I pressed my lips together as hard as if God himself had vised them. What finally escaped was an, "Um!"

The cashier chuckled, "I know, I'm really trying not to go there."

We bonded in that moment. So, was this the same man?

Someone, please explain.


* (What I told my pre-med roommate sophomore year when she asked what scatological meant)
**(Two types of plungers - know the difference?)
*** (Please note the use of ital html! Thanks Huck and Aytch!)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Bumpersticker du Jour

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."

Spotted by RPP, written by George Orwell.

Like The Great Chicago Fire

My roommate, the American Apparel model.

Hey Siren, it wasn't Mrs. O'Leary's cow that set the town a blazin'. If you were any hotter in this faux-toe, the canyon residents would be evacuating right about now. It's what makes Billy do, as you said, things like this.

That's What I'm Talking About!

Caveat: I am currently a bit feverish.

Imagine my frustration at not being able to italicize text here, like the word "talking" in the title. Before any of you smartier-than-thou-pants direct me to my tool bar right above, let me just say that the "i" logo doesn't register on my iBook, and even when I had access at work to a PC, the icon never worked anyway. Of course, if I'd get off my sorry ass and learn some more html codes... but, that's precisely the sort of thing I hate to do, even if it would be so much better to italicize "hate" for emphasis, to cue you that I mean it in sort of a whiney-draggy way, like a kid who is stalling bath time. Of course, I LOVED bath time and shower time as a child. Still do. Except that LA water dries my skin out rather savagely, so I bathe somewhat less frequently, opting for some sort of hippie shower regimen (which is also routinely what is practiced in the shower in regards to even more aggressively drying soap. You don't want me utterly and prematurely senescing, do you, People?). If you don't know what a hippie shower is, well, I've already overshared, so go look it up. That's hypocritical coming from the one who hates to read manuals for anything, unless it's a cookbook. Still, why should I read an inscrutable technical text, when you can simply show me, in which case, I'll remember it better anyway?

But I digress.



This is my point - in regards to a recent renewed fascination with old rockstars, and my avowal to espouse one, I direct you to this recent posting on Unremitting Failure, which I wish I had written.

Oh Sister



Oh, sister, when I come to lie in your arms
You should not treat me like a stranger.
Our Father would not like the way that you act
And you must realize the danger.

Oh, sister, am I not a brother to you
And one deserving of affection?
And is our purpose not the same on this earth,
To love and follow his direction?

We grew up together
From the cradle to the grave
We died and were reborn
And then mysteriously saved.

Oh, sister, when I come to knock on your door,
Don't turn away, you'll create sorrow.
Time is an ocean but it ends at the shore
You may not see me tomorrow.

-Bob Dylan and Jacques Levy, from "Desire"
Copyright © 1975 Ram's Horn Music

Art Is Psychic Alchemy

Ernest Becker championed the work of Otto Rank, and likewise believed in the redemptive power of Art for artist and spectator, alike. According to Rank:



"This very essence of a man, his soul, which the artist puts into his work and which is represented by it, is found again in the work by the enjoyer, just as the believer finds his soul in religion or in God, with whom he feels himself to be one."

Becker writes:

"Rank asked why the artist so often avoids clinical neurosis when he is so much a candidate for it because of his vivid imagination, his openness to the finest and broadest aspects of experience, his isolation from the cultural world view that satisfies everyone else.

The answer is that he takes in the world, but instead of being oppressed by it, he reworks it in his own personality, and recreates it in the work of art. The neurotic is precisely the one who cannot create. We might say that both the artist and the neurotic bites off more than he can chew, but the artist chews it over in an objectified way, and spews it out again, as an external, objective work project. The neurotic cannot marshal this creative response embodied in a specific work, and so he chokes on his introversions. The artist has similar large scale introversions, but he uses them as material.

The neurotic's frustration as a failed artist can't be remedied by anything but an objective creative work of his own.

Another way of looking at it is to say that the more totally one takes in the world as a problem, the more inferior or "bad" one is going to feel inside oneself. He can try to work out this "badness" by striving for perfection, and then the neurotic symptom becomes his "creative" work; or he can try to make himself perfect by means of his partner. But it is obvious to us that the only way to work on perfection is in the form of an objective work that is fully under your control and is perfectible in some real ways. Either you eat up yourself and others around you, trying for perfection; or you objectify that imperfection in a work, on which you then unleash your creative powers. In this sense, some kind of objective creativity is the only answer man has to the problem of life.



In this way he satisfies nature, which asks that he live and act objectively as a vital animal plunging into the world; but he also satisfies his own distinctive human nature because he plunges in on his own symbolic terms and not as a reflex of the world as given to mere physical sense experience. He takes in the world, makes a total problem out of it and then gives out a fashioned, human answer to that problem. This, as Goethe saw in Faust, is the highest that man can achieve.

- Ernest Becker (The Denial of Death)

(Top illustration - Eugene Delacroix, Illustration for Goethe's Faust, 1825-7)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

American Tail



before the white man came to this land, the bunnies felt no shame. they were free. free to be bunnies. free to fuck like bunnies. but then the day came when the white cloud covered the vast blue sky like a gloved hand coming into a cage - a cage that was never there before, and so the bunnies had shame. shame for being bunnies. and that was a dark day, even though it was a white cloud.

Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want

Good times for a change
See, the luck I've had
Can make a good man
Turn bad

So please please please
Let me, let me, let me
Let me get what I want
This time

Haven't had a dream in a long time
See, the life I've had
Can make a good man bad

So for once in my life
Let me get what I want
Lord knows, it would be the first time
Lord knows, it would be the first time

-The Smiths

The Better to Eat You With, My Dear

Downsizing



Some call it frugality,
some call it performance art.

I just call it home.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Sarcasm Runs in the Family Double Helix

This from my brother:

"I see from your blog you want a rock star boyfriend. You could just go out with a self-possessed, delusional, homeless asshole and avoid having to listen to awful music as well. I suggest you see a recent movie called Clean about the joys of actually being involved with a junkie rock star who ODs on you.

Being able to name a child Zoboe No Fun isn't worth it."

I'm going to have to make the movie a triple-header, along with DiG! and New York Doll.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Must Be the Season of the Witch

Disclaimer: This story is petty, trivial, and absurd. Why it is significant to me might not be obvious to you.

At the neighborhood bar Thursday (the day we go down there), I was repeatedly being bumped into by a 45ish burly oaf from New York. He spoke Queensish, or Brooklynese (like the difference between Aussie and Kiwi, my ear isn't trained enough). If he'd hailed from Boston, we would say he spoke the dialect of Masshole. Built like a lineman, his nudges sometimes propelled me forward like the silver balls in that click-clacking physics toy. You know the one, you pull back the dangling bead, release, and watch the "equal and opposite reaction" unfold. And that my friend, is about all I know of physics. Well, I know about leverage, but whatever.

Anyway, each impact came with a dip-shit flirtatious apology/comment. Let me say that this guy was not a bad guy, he was just too big for his control center. Likewise, his impulses outstripped his good sense and his wit. He was annoying. Nonetheless, I kept my tact intact.

The fourth time he bumped me, I looked at my friend Jessica and ironically said, as if addressing the NYC Burrough, "Hey, are you a Rock Star, because if you're not, why are you talking to me?"

The fifth time he slammed into me, he said in mock accusation, "Hey, three strikes you're out!"
(Because, of course, math is hard when you've been throwing back Long Island Ice Teas. I've no proof of this, but as long as I'm perpetuating regionalist stereotypes...)

"Oh, I'm sorry, do I need a time out?"

Polite exchange of laughter, then I turned back around.

In the meantime, the fake-titted, bottle-blonded, hard bitten, bar-owning contemporary of this Massive Buffoon, Mary (with whom I have never interacted, though I've been an irregular patron for the last four years), went into her storeroom and emerged with a child's wooden bench. Upon the backrest was carved, "Time Out." She set it on the bar and told me to get into it.

Let me be clear that while I have been known to instigate certain late night chicaneries (remember the cones), and even invented a drinking game or two (Beer-Bottle Bowling, sadly this one has never been tested, though I'm quite certain it would be fun), there are certain fraternity house antics in which I am not willing to participate. I don't do body shots; I don't mack on a brother on the pool table (this was actually a payable offense at the Sigma Chi house where I matriculated - fifty bucks was the house prize, I believe); I don't funnelate. Nonetheless, I am quite capable of making an ass of myself and quite often willing, but only when the choice is mine. Secondly, the conditions under which this occurs require a certain level of confidence in my audience, and more importantly, the knowledge that the work will be original. Acting like a donkey should be creative, not gimmicky. No resting on the hackneyed pranks an eleven-year-old with a mean streak would find amusing. So this obviously overused antic of the proprietress was not at all amusing to me.

"No," I said.

At this point, she wasn't really speaking to me directly. Or I should say, I don't believe she was looking at me when she spoke. She was standing around the bend of the bar, in the waiter area, but in full view. I was, however, looking at her. What I saw on her face was not something about pranksterishness, levity, or mirth. Instead, it was something hard and unsmiling.

"I heard someone call a time out, so get in the chair."

"I'm the one who said 'Time Out,' and I'm not getting in your chair."

"You need to get in the chair."

"No, I'm not getting in the chair, but I can leave."

At this point, she turns to the bartender (a man who is always immensely polite to me), " Bob, make her get in the chair."

Oh boy.

The guy from NYC, turns to me completely transformed. He apologizes profusely for the mess I'm in because, really, he's not at all a bad guy. He's just, you know, big oafish, and over-tippled. "I had no idea," he says. I say, "It's okay. Not your fault. I had no idea either."

Bob is in front of me now. He is rather a man of stature also (as is Mary). He softly asks me to ascend the bar, "You'll get a free drink."

"I don't want a free drink." My jaw is set.

I think at some point he was actually looking down at the floor. Aw shucks.

I don't know what exactly caused it, but shortly thereafter I caved. It's difficult for me to admit, because I felt genuinely chagrined then and afterwards. But I'll get to that in a minute.

I hopped up onto the stool, sat in the chair for maybe two seconds, then looked at Bob and said, "How's that?" Without waiting for his reply, I got back down, only to hear Her strain like the unhappy black roots that were trying to escape the confines of her malevolent skull,

"That's the shortest Time Out I've ever seen."

I know it's a stupid story. One guy amongst us, could not for the life of him figure out what I objected to. But oh-my-God I was pissed off. That bitch came out of nowhere and dominated me so hard, I could feel the rancor at the first moment she opened her mouth. My body instantly rebelled in that moment. My heels dug in. There was no question that the answer was, "No."

So why did I demure?

Because I'm trained that way. Because I was brought up to be a good girl who doesn't make waves. Because my mother systematically tried to break my will on a daily basis from the age of three onward. Because the circumstances of my life have repeatedly demanded that I endure endure endure the hardship, the encumbrance, the discomfort, the humiliations. Because at times I was the kid in school who got bullied. A lot. Even though I was smart and pretty and funny. Even though I was sweet. Because standing up for myself was forbidden.

This is an area of my life that I've been consciously trying to address for a few years now, most intensely so in the last several months. There are parts of me which are immoveable. Never have you been able to make me do a thing I deem immoral or that causes foreseeable injury to another. But when the harm is only to the first few layers to myself, well, then I am often unable to withstand the pressure.

I was very upset that I didn't just walk out and leave it all behind. In certain spiritual practices, you are meant to remain within the moment and exist peacefully and neutral. In this way you help the aggressor transform their own negativity along with you. I would say I only accomplished some fratction of that. Because I was pissed.

Except this was funny: Later, I was speaking with two friends outside when Laurie, a feisty doll and the day bartender, came out and asked what had happened. I recounted. She looked at me and recited, " 'They're all going to laugh at me, they're all going to laugh at me, they're all going to laugh at me.' Yeah, I saw "Carrie," like seventeen times." Then she sped away.

How could I not laugh at that? She nailed 25% of it. Of course no one likes to be publicly embarassed, but moreso, it was about Mary's coercion, her meanness, and my own failure.

Sitting back at the bar, Bob leaned over to me and said. "Can I tell you something?"

"Sure."

"You're so beautiful it makes it hard to work."

"Thank you, that's very sweet." (a few beats while he smiled at me)

Then I said softly, "But if that's true, why did you make me get up there?"

He didn't answer.

Moreover, why did I make me?

That night I dreamt of having my hair cut too short. How apt.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Work Is Love Made Visible

On Work

Then a ploughman said, "Speak to us of Work."

And he answered, saying:

You work that you may keep pace with the earth and the soul of the earth.

For to be idle is to become a stranger unto the seasons, and to step out of life's procession, that marches in majesty and proud submission towards the infinite.

When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music.

Which of you would be a reed, dumb and silent, when all else sings together in unison?

lways you have been told that work is a curse and labour a misfortune.

But I say to you that when you work you fulfil a part of earth's furthest dream, assigned to you when that dream was born,

And in keeping yourself with labour you are in truth loving life,

And to love life through labour is to be intimate with life's inmost secret.

But if you in your pain call birth an affliction and the support of the flesh a curse written upon your brow, then I answer that naught but the sweat of your brow shall wash away that which is written.

You have been told also life is darkness, and in your weariness you echo what was said by the weary.

And I say that life is indeed darkness save when there is urge,

And all urge is blind save when there is knowledge,

And all knowledge is vain save when there is work,

And all work is empty save when there is love;

And when you work with love you bind yourself to yourself, and to one another, and to God.

And what is it to work with love?

It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart, even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.

It is to build a house with affection, even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house.

It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy, even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit.

It is to charge all things you fashion with a breath of your own spirit,

And to know that all the blessed dead are standing about you and watching.

Often have I heard you say, as if speaking in sleep, "he who works in marble, and finds the shape of his own soul in the stone, is a nobler than he who ploughs the soil.

And he who seizes the rainbow to lay it on a cloth in the likeness of man, is more than he who makes the sandals for our feet."

But I say, not in sleep but in the over-wakefulness of noontide, that the wind speaks not more sweetly to the giant oaks than to the least of all the blades of grass;

And he alone is great who turns the voice of the wind into a song made sweeter by his own loving.

Work is love made visible.

And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.

For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man's hunger.

And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your grudge distils a poison in the wine.

And if you sing though as angels, and love not the singing, you muffle man's ears to the voices of the day and the voices of the night.

from The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran