Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Bookshelf Revealed

I was not tagged, but am instead stealing this idea from yet another blog I read (click on the title to check out Maureen McGowan: she's pretty cool, and recently wrote about Stephen King's book on writing, which I read while supposedly working the register at Rizzoli [sorry, David, but you knew I was reading. I mean, seriously, can't hide it now], and also loved. He's a good teacher, that Stephen King):

"The rules are to provide a list of books that you have on your shelves to see if anyone can learn about you from them - but not just any books. They have to be books that you've actually paid for, nothing given, borrowed, stolen, or whatever."

Okay, then, here goes. No idea what you might learn about me from this list, but these are the books that meet the above requirements and are on the bookshelf and the floor in the bedroom, where I do most of my, er, reading (and yes, I have read all these books since we installed that shelf, about six months ago. Granted, most of them are re-reads, but the rules did not stipulate if re-reads were acceptable or not; therefore, I include them):

  1. Mutiny on the Globe, by Thomas Farel Heffernan
  2. All the President's Men, by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein
  3. Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen
  4. Anne of Windy Poplars, by L.M. Montgomery
  5. Meet the Austins, by Madeline L'Engle
  6. The Executioner's Song, by Norman Mailer
  7. The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, by Robert Heinlein
  8. Persuasion, by Jane Austen
  9. The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, by Michael Chabon
  10. Hey Nostradamus!, by Douglas Coupland
  11. The Black Dahlia, by James Ellroy (piece of shit book, and shittier movie, by the way)
  12. A Spot of Bother, by Mark Haddon
  13. The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
  14. A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving
  15. Master and Commander, by Patrick O'Brien
  16. Goodbye, Columbus, by Philip Roth
  17. The Human Stain, by Philip Roth
  18. The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman
  19. Emma, by Jane Austen
  20. Breakfast of Champions, by Kurt Vonnegut

"The Nazi Seizure of Power" isn't up there because I borrowed it from City Garage. I am, to all intents and purposes, still reading it. And yes, that was an AP History quote straight out of 1988. Thank you for noticing. See? Maybe I was awake after all. There would be newer titles up there, but all the new books I have were gifts from Patrick, and therefore, cannot be counted. Oh, well. I finished Harry Potter in Catalina, and haven't yet unpacked it, which explains why it's not the shelf; also, it was a gift from Bo, which explains why it's not on the list.)

And now? I tag Julie, and Paul. On your marks, get set, go!

Delusions of Grandeur

Last week (yes, I'm recycling a story from last week. What's your problem?) this woman I work with walked over to my cubicle and leaned on my three foot wall to talk to me.

She's a nice person, and I like talking to her, usually, but last week I was preparing for the two days I took off (Friday, and yesterday), knowing that if I didn't get moving, I'd have a four foot tall stack of papers and shit on my desk today (I did, anyway. Oh, well). So she's standing there, talking to me, complaining about how cheap our department is, because her friends at other departments have color business cards, and she only has black and white business cards.

(When I pointed out that I have no business cards at all and never will while I remain in my current classification, she paused, looked at me pityingly, and continued with her ranting.)

Her points, I think, were as follows (I could be wrong. I was not-so-discreetly checking my email and filing stuff while she stood there; I may have missed something):

1. It makes our department look "cheap."
2. When she's out "networking," and she "has" to trade business cards with other people with color business cards, it makes our department look "cheap."
3. It looks cheap.

When I told her that as civil servants, the people who pay our salaries and for our supplies might prefer that we spend more money on protecting them and providing services than worrying about possibly hurting her reputation as a stylish woman with cheap looking business cards, she still didn't get it.

When I told her that some of the higher level classifications do get color business cards, she went off on some crazy idea that someone had told her that there's actually a hierarchy: certain level executives get bi-color cards, and the higher execs get tri-color cards. When I asked her who would know, except those within the deaprtment, which is bi- and which is tri-colored and just what that represents, she looked at me like I couldn't tell an authentic Louis Vuitton bag from a fake (just for the record: I could, thanks to my friend Missy, who has more LV bags than she has arms and legs. And fingers and toes. I know because I've gone with her to purchase some of them and watched her fork over the money).

When I told her, fine, you don't like your cheap business cards, I guess you just have to quit working here and go get a job at BMW [it was the only place I could think of. Where else do they have fancy business cards? How the fuck should I know?] or something, because it's the way it is, now would you please get off my fucking cubicle and go to work?

Wait, no I didn't say that last part. I think what I actually said was, well, now you have something to aspire to, don't you? (Now would you please get off my fucking cubicle and go to work?)

...

Also up for me, as you may have noticed on the sidebar thing over there, I'm going to be in the booth again at City Garage. I may be the only person to work the lights/sound at City Garage to announce it as if I've actually been cast in the show and will be on stage rather than behind the scenes, but whatever, it's exciting to me. I still haven't finished reading the script for the new show and can only tell you (because I read something on Wikipedia and the author's notes on the front page; and a review of some other production in NY) that it's sort of, in some way, related to ''Les Liaisons Dangereuses," which I, um, also did not read. Apparently there's some connection to terrorism... But I could be pulling that one out of my ass. I don't know, actually. Either I'll read it before Sunday (when I show up for the cue to cue, where they set all the lighting cues), or I'll figure it out from watching it 900 times during the run. For sure I won't be able to tell anything from the cue to cue, because historically, the cue to cue is crazy-time, with lots of starting and stopping (and not always everybody at the same place) and lots of whispered conversations between me in the booth and Charles out in the house, on our super secret agent headphones. Oh! That reminds me. I gotta buy new little foam-y things for the headphones, because that plastic stuff was hurting my ears last time.

...

Pandora is playing for me, "With or Without You," by U2, a song that instantly, and I mean, in a fucking MOMENT, takes me back to the 9th grade, walking into the band room feeling like a huge geek, totally alone and stupid and 15.

The joke is on me, though, because I think that song is really about Jesus.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Adjustment, adjustment, adjustment / Updated*

I took today off... I always need a day to re-compress after returning from any vacation, and this most recent one was the most relaxed I think I can get. So I spent the morning at the chiropractor, where Dr. Birnie and Bruce managed to wack my right leg and hip back into place. It wasn't as nice as it sounds.

My right leg and hip are an old problem for me... I'll be fine for awhile, and then will start having the very odd (and painful) sensation of being able to actually feel the bones rubbing together in there. Or I can feel the nerves being pinched... I don't know what it is, exactly. Bruce tried to explain some of my own muscular arrangements to me, but you know, lying on that massage table is not the best time to try to teach me something. I have the mental capacity of a terry cloth towel at that point. Anyway, apparently I have a shorter than usual muscle in there somewhere.

Before the massage, Dr. Birnie adjusted me, which is always hard for me. He'll get me in the position I need to be in, and then he says "Now, relax..." And then he has to re-position me, and say it again, because when I hear that word "relax" I instantly do the opposite. Maybe he should say instead, "Now, tense up..." Maybe that would work. And hearing all the pops and squeaks of my own body is never sweet music to my ears. But afterward I felt much better. And then in to the massage room, where Bruce worked his crazy, I don't know if he's for real but I'll lie here anyway, magic.

Anyway, now I'm off to an ensemble lesson... it's the last one for our friend Loren, who heads north for college at Humboldt State. Also playing tonight, besides me and Patty, will be Greg. Greg will be a senior in high school next year, and will soon be, if he's not already, kicking my ass on the flute. I love that.

...

Just got home. It was a fun night with Greg, Loren, and Patty (I hope Greg and Loren had fun...?). I picked Loren up - the kid drives, but he's on crutches at the moment, and so needs a chauffeur. It was nice to get to talk to him - he's a good guy. Playing quartets with them was fun, but I think maybe we talked more than we played. And laughed. Afterwards, Patty ordered us a pizza (plus salads for me and her), and we sat around without our flutes in our hands and talked some more (topics: Kurt Vonnegut, "Private Hotcakes," alternate dimensions, the movie "Fight Club," Radiohead, Harry Potter...). Then it was over, and we said goodbye to Loren, who leaves for school soon. I think Patty was sad; Loren said he was really excited, which makes me excited for him. He said he was "done" with high school, and ready to move on. I think he was popular, and athletic, and had a lot of friends, but I get the impression that there's more to him than sports, and he's looking forward to finding out what that is, and showing it off. He surprised me by saying he likes Radiohead and the Pixies; because of him, I rode home listening to OK Computer. No Pixies in the car at the moment!

(He also told me that his friend who went to our most recent flute recital thought I was 26. I don't know if I believe him, but still: cool! I had to ask if it was the cute, tall, male friend? No, it was a girl. Damn!)

OK Computer was my standard "going home from Culver City soundtrack" for awhile there, but I'd sort of put it aside for awhile: even I can get sick of the things I love. Anyway, listening to that lead to all sorts of crazy thoughts. "Karma Police," in particular. Most of the song is gibberish, but that whole section, "I lost myself..." feels very familiar.

I know I'm sort of rambling. I'm just feeling a tinge of regret, because I acted very much unlike me with someone. I recently got angry with someone who made a mistake with me. I said mean things, and actually wished I'd said more - that's not normally the case with me when I'm angry. I guess I can edit what I say. The thing is, I didn't say all the hurtful, pissed off, bitchy things I wanted to, and I left things in such a way that it feels wrong. I should apologize... but I'm not sure if I'm ready. And maybe they're not ready, either.

Anyway, I don't know what apologizing is supposed to accomplish. Maybe just walking away is really all that's required, sometimes, with people? I can't make the situation better: what happened isn't going to change. I don't know. I thought I didn't have to think about this anymore, but here I am, thinking about it. And maybe I'm more afraid of what this person is saying about the situation to other people? That's pretty lame, of me. I don't know, I hate thinking about it.

*Don't get me wrong - I think I might still be angry. But I do think I took it too far, with my comments, and what I had in my head. This person didn't deserve the big "fuck you" from me. So. There's that, to think about, too.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Kevin...?


So this guy's name was "Kevin," which didn't strike me as significant until I got a good look at him, and thought, hey, either that's Kevin from the Kevin and Bean Show on KROQ or a very good replica.

Never did the thought of running up to him and saying, "Hey man, gimme a mic: it's the Kevin and Beanie show!" occur to me. Not once. I swear to God.

I'm rather glad I didn't, because this guy (or another replica) and his wife sat next to us on the boat, and he had the most annoying speaking voice I've ever heard, which of course, clears this from being Kevin from KROQ, because as you know, Kevin from KROQ's voice has induced me to dreaming about kissing him. The guy on the boat? His voice induced me to wanting to slug him and his wife.

Catalina Photos

















More Catalina photos here.

We're Back

Catalina was awesome... We haven't had that much fun in ages. It's interesting how enjoyable this trip was - the hotel we stayed in was about 1.5 steps up from camping: there was a pretty serious (and disgusting) sewage problem our first night; the service was mostly unremarkable. Other than a sliding door, our room lacked windows, and therefore, circulation. Luckily the air conditioner worked. The decor was ugly. Fake dark wood furniture, hundred year old industrial tile in the bathroom. Really ugly bedding, hard-as-a-rock mattress, harder pillows: not built for comfort, our room. The place was relatively clean, though, the tile in the shower was so dark it was kind of hard to tell. There was a lovely iron burn on the carpet. Patrick read some poor reviews on the place after we booked our reservation, which included the boat trip from LB to Avalon, so we decided to go with it. It really was a bargain, but you get what you pay for. They did provide free breakfast (toast, English muffins, Eggo Waffles; the "Mexican Scramble" was surprisingly good); the view was nice, and... Oh, I guess that's about all I can say that's good about the hotel.

The rest of our trip, though, was awesome. We met up with our friends Chris and Monica at the Catalina Express landing in downtown Long Beach. I had received my copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows from Bo the night before, and started reading it on the Jet Cat, which turned out to be a huge mistake... apparently reading in cars and reading on boats produces in me the same, nauseating reaction. Or it could have been the 200 preadolescent teenagers we were sitting by and the one stinky infant in front of us. Cute, but: stinky. The blend of smells was really not good for me. Anyway, thankfully the trip is short, and we all vowed to sit outside on the return trip.

Once we arrived, we were supposed to have been met by a hotel shuttle; because he read the reviews, Patrick knew there was a chance they wouldn't show, and he was right. The hotel was a short walk (a short uphill walk) from the landing, so we all set off through the main drag of Avalon. It was a gorgeous day, and there was lots to look at. It's been awhile since I've been there, and I remembered a few things; it's very beautiful there, in spite of the recent fire. We arrived at the hotel at about the same time some other passengers from our boat arrived, having been picked up in what looked like a golf cart that had been upgraded to a gardening truck. I guess they called the hotel? They had more luggage than we did, and obviously had had to wait. The man who checked us in explained that the van had "just" broken down the day before.

How convenient!

After stowing our luggage in our rooms, Chris and Monica met us, and we headed down to walk around and find some place to eat. We wound up at Antonios Pizzeria. It was very good, and a good start to our trip. After that, we went back to the hotel, changed into our swimsuits, and headed to the Descanso Beach Club. Catalina has a couple of free beaches, and we had to pay $2 per person at Descanso, but Chris and Monica, who wanted to snorkel, preferred it. It was fine with us. I didn't go into the water on Friday, feeling a little weird about it (don't ask me why. There were no waves at all). Then again, I had 700 pages of Harry Potter to read: I was fine, lying there on my towel with my book, working (with not much success) on my farmer tan. That thing is heavy duty. Later, some very nice people gave us their beach chairs (the Beach Club rents them), and I was even more comfortable. Patrick took a nap, and Chris and Monica spent about 3 or 4 hours swimming in the ocean.

After the beach, we went back to the hotel to clean up, and met later for dinner, at the El Galleon. We thought we were early enough to beat karaoke night, but unfortunately the last 30 minutes of our meal was accompanied by an older (white) man's deconstructivist version of "Sex Machine" - other than his performance, the rest was all mostly forgettable. There was a guy, named "Kevin" who looked amazingly like Kevin Ryder from the Kevin and Bean show; his musical selections tended toward country (he performed Garth Brooks' "Friends in Low Places," and another song by Waylon Jennings), so I'm not sure if it was that Kevin or not. I got a blurry photo of him in the background of a picture I was supposedly taking of Monica (if it was him, I didn't want to be so obviously staring at him; if it wasn't, well, obviously I didn't want to be so obviously staring at him). Photos will be uploaded at a later time. Anyway, I guess I only like karaoke when David "Studebaker Hawk" is DJing. Michelle, the DJ at the El Galleon, was horrible.

When we got back to our rooms, it turned out that the water that we saw flowing down the street below our hotel and the pipes being worked on by about 12 guys was affecting our toilets, because there was a very bad gurgling sound emanating from our bathroom. Though there was no spillage or (thank god) flooding, we were unable to use our toilets until about 2 a.m., and even then, something was still not quite right.

Saturday, though, was the best day. In the morning, we visited the tiny library so that Patrick could get a first-hand look at their computers and network equipment: all that stuff is going to be upgraded soon, and he's the guy who will probably either have to do it or provide instructions to the person who does. After that we went on the semi-submersible submarine tour and looked at all the fish there were to be seen in the ocean that day. We saw of garibaldis, which, as I found out from the guide, are the official state fish of California. They are also, I found out just now from Wikipedia, sequential hermaphrodites, a fact the tour guide neglected to mention. I thought I saw a California Sheephead, but there were mostly garibaldis, smelt, and bass. Still, it was fun, and very pretty. After that, Patrick and I rented a golf cart and went on a self guided tour of the island. We didn't go very far, but we did go, mostly, UP - the view from some of those lookout points was gorgeous. Anyway, again: more photos to come, later. We were able to see more of the spots that were brown and had been burned, but since we were prohibited from visiting a lot of the island that had been affected by the fire, we didn't see much of that, but we did see lots of gorgeous homes, beautiful views, and other people in rented golf carts.

Chris and Monica got back from a very long hike at about the same time we returned from our golf cart ride, and they were ready to hit the beach. Monica had gone solo kayaking the day before, and had talked Patrick into wanting to try it. I was a little less excited about going out in a kayak, but I let Monica persuade me that it was easy. I'm glad I did. Kayaking was sooo much fun. We were out for about an hour and a half, and didn't go very far from shore. We did travel pretty far away from the starting point, and even (crash) landed on a rocky beach - on purpose! The waves at that beach were a bit stronger than the ones at Descanso, and since we didn't want to lose our kayak or the oars, we only stayed there for a little while before climbing back in and launching ourselves back into the ocean. If you wanted to see something funny, it would be me and Patrick attempting to navigate waves in a kayak; fortunately, there will be no photos to come, just our memories.

Anyway, I'll spare you the rest of the trip. We had fun; I finished Harry Potter; we saw "Ratatouille" at the Casino movie theater (it was the only thing playing - the theater was beautiful, the movie was very good), and we're home now.

I missed my cats!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Pinkberry


As you know, trendsetters that we are, always on the cutting edge of everything, after like a year, Patrick and I finally hauled our butts to Pinkberry

There's one near us down on 7th Street in Long Beach; and last night after my rescheduled flute lesson, we decided to go. Actually... I was all set to vegetate on the couch, so it was Patrick's idea.

The place was filled up with young, hip people, and then there were the smattering of older, slightly less hip people (I suppose we fell into this category). I had no idea what I was ordering, so I ended up with a "small, original, with strawberries." It wasn't until after I ordered that I realized they had blackberries (my favorite). The cash register is kind of in the wrong spot... you either have to get out of line to peruse the case of toppings, or know what they have ahead of time. I didn't really care for it on my first bite - that tartness kind of threw me - but as I continued eating, I really enjoyed it. And then Patrick shared some of his pineapple with me, and I figured it out.

Pineapple and Pinkberry "original" = Heaven On Earth.

Next time I'm getting pineapple and blackberries. It did seem a tad expensive, for yogurt (I don't know what they're thinking, charging $7.50 for shaved ice. That better be some damn good shaved ice), but worth it.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Tammy Faye

Patrick and I turned on CNN last night hoping to catch a story about Tammy Faye, who died on Friday. Instead, we caught a 20 minute (at least; we turned it on in the middle, went away, came back, and it was still on; it seemed like at least 20 minutes, but I could be wrong) story about NFL player Michael Vick, who has been accused of supporting and participating in dogfighting.

CNN's coverage included, in a split screen with Senator Robert Byrd's condemnation of dogfighting in general and Michael Vick in particular, video of actual dogfighting.

Obviously that's the point at which we turned off the story.

When we tuned back in about 10 minutes later, they were still showing the same two dogs fighting - albeit, in a smaller window on the screen, next to the reporter.

What's up with that, CNN? It was disgusting and sad and I really didn't want to or need to see it in order to understand just how despicable dogfighting is. If the allegations against this Michael Vick character are true - and please note that I had never heard of him before yesterday - I hope that not only does he lose his Nike endorsements and his job, but that he lives the rest of his life in shame and, hopefully, jail.

...

Anyway, after all that, we didn't feel like sticking around at CNN to find out if they were going to show anything about Tammy Faye, and frankly, now I find I'm not really interested in CNN's coverage of anything. So instead I went online, and read a few news stories. I didn't see the Larry King interview - Patrick watched it, and actually advised me not to, saying it was too sad, seeing her so shrunken and sick. (Also, he knows how I feel about Larry King.)

Tammy Faye was one of the few religious people I trusted and respected, which I know sounds totally wacky. She seemed, to me, to have a truly good heart, amazing perseverance, and a love for people that you don't see in a lot of public figures who claim to love God. Maybe she was ridiculous - maybe she looked like a clown, and had that little-girl voice, and her version of "beautiful" was just so wrong... She had made mistakes and talked about her own failures and limitations, yet she still believed in something: and with gentleness and understanding, made that something she believed in, to me, seem a little bit less unbelievable.

I think she'd like that.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Books

You may have noticed that I have two books on the side bar thing of my blog, "The Yiddish Policemen's Union," and "The Nazi Seizure of Power." They've been there for awhile: I guess I'm taking my time for a change.

I started reading "The Nazi Seizure of Power" one night in the booth at City Garage (before the show started, I swear). For some reason it was packed in with all the sound effects CDs and collections of slides from shows past. Actually it makes a lot of sense for that book to be at City Garage, but more on that another time. Anyway, it's a scholarly book - not a novel, but rather a collection of facts and reportage on one town (in this copy of the book, the town's real name is still concealed and called, therefore, the fictitious "Thalberg," located "somewhere in Germany," however, I believe future editions of the book named the actual town. I'm not sure, though. This is an old edition I've been reading) during the very early years of the Third Reich; I think it started out as the author's dissertation. It's not exactly compelling reading... I mean, it's interesting, but the guy uses many, many acronyms (I despise acronyms), and to make it worse, they're acronyms of German words, so I have no idea what he's talking about sometimes. It's not good that I've been reading it in bits and pieces (I hate reading like this... I prefer to start a book on Monday and read, pretty much nonstop, through Tuesday or Wednesday... until I'm done. Yes, stopping once in a while to sleep, go to work, whatever, but to get great chunks of reading in all at once. What I've been doing with this book is read for five minutes, put it down, go to sleep, wait a few days, and pick it up again: it's not helping my understanding, but I've not yet decided if I should just give up or start all over).

That's the way I feel about the other book I'm reading, by Michael Chabon.

Michael Chabon is one of my favorite authors; I've been reading him since I found a copy of "The Mysteries of Pittsburgh" in the remainder section at Crown way back in 1990 or so. (By the way, I read on Wikipedia {where most of the "facts" for this posting came from} that they've made a movie out it, which should be interesting and problematic for fans, considering that Sienna Miller is in it. Plus, I already have some pretty high resolution internal ideas of what things look like... Also? I've heard some of the news stories about Ms. Miller's misbehavior while filming this movie, but I never made the connection that the movie she was filming was this movie. OK. I'm slow. Also, I don't really care for Sienna Miller; her news stories didn't stick with me.)

OK, so either I'm not very smart, or Michael Chabon is a fucking genius, because I kind of thought that some of things in this book were real. I've been reading it as if the history behind the story had actually happened. Granted, history is my worst subject (remember, I slept through it in high school and/or drew pictures of the back of Sean Leys' head...), and I haven't done much since high school or that one community college class I took to improve my knowledge, but still: I had no idea that this Jewish community in Alaska didn't actually exist.

I mean, the main problem I've been having with the book is all the Yiddish terminology; now I have to rethink a lot of what I've been considering to be the "real world" hidden in with all the fictional stuff... Argh. Ultimately, though, in spite of all the trouble I've been having, Michael Chabon is making me love his characters. The guy has such a wonderful way of writing, and I wish I had done a little thinking ahead and marked the sentences in particular that I've fallen in love with... but I didn't. I do think that I'm going to have to re-read this book, with a notepad and a Yiddish/English dictionary, because I know I'm missing out a lot on some pretty important meaning, and mood. There's a certain amount of playfulness in his writing that helps me to understand even when the actual words aren't familiar to me, but still: I would like to know what it is I'm reading. It's not so much to make it totally unreadable, and of course there are some things you can pick up based on context, but still. Re-reading isn't a problem for me - usually I read a book so fast through the first time that I know I will have to re-read it just to catch things that I missed in the first pass through. I'm okay with that - the first reading, I'm usually so excited (if it's a good book) that I know I'm skimming things that will turn out to be vitally important later. I like re-reading, so it's not a problem. I'm ready to find out what ends up happening to Meyer Landsman, one of my new favorite characters; and then I'll be ready to read it all again.

Now, see, I have a problem: my friend Bo put a copy of the new Harry Potter (I don't even know the full title of it... I've been avoiding it, actually, because I want no pre-conceived notions until I can hold the damn thing in my own hands) on hold for me, and I have to go pick it up. I considered hitting the midnight sale at Borders myself, but no, that seemed like a totally nerdalicious thing to do. At my age! So, the question is, will I finish these two books first? or will I put them slyly away? Should I wait until Patrick and I go to Catalina and cart Harry with me out to the beach or pool or wherever we're going to be whiling away our lives for a couple of days?

In the past, as each new Harry Potter came out, I would break out the previous books, and read them, one by one. This time I didn't do that, and I'm feeling a tiny bit weird about it. Will I even remember what the hell happened in the last book? Because you know what? I totally don't. I just walked over the bookshelf where they're stored (ok, actually? They're "stored" on top of a speaker, not on a bookshelf), and it looks as if the sixth one is missing, which is a problem, because I don't remember who I loaned it to. I remember buying it: I remember reading it (I finished it on Bo's couch, when I was birdsitting while he was out of town with his wife)... but who has it? If you have my copy of "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" (it's a hardcover), would you do me a favor and drop it off on the front porch tonight? Seriously: no questions asked.

While I'm at it, whoever has my DVD of "A Concert For George," you can drop that one off, too. I miss it.

...

Thanks, Wikipedia, for the facts*!

Michael Chabon
Nazi Germany
The Mysteries of Pittsburgh
The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (film)
The Yiddish Policemen's Union
Sitka, Alaska
Peter Saarsgard

*

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Instant Karma!

Over the weekend, I had a conversation about bikes, and some other stuff, with an acquaintance. She's a lovely girl, beloved by many (perhaps "all" is a more descriptive and truthful word), and I don't want what I'm about to say in any way to be construed as negativity directed at her. For one thing, that would piss off at least one of our mutual friends, and I cannot afford to lose half my readers because I wasn't careful about how I wrote something. I wouldn't really mean it, anyway. I like her a lot, myself. And, in spite of her almost annoyingly blinding inner light of a thousand suns (I don't even know what that means), I do hope some of her beloved-and good-ness will rub off on me in time. I don't think that's how it works - but whatever. She's definitely a nicer, less confused person than I am.

So, we were talking about many things: massage, yoga, boys, chanting, reiki, hiking, books, and bikes. For some reason I guess I was being a tad bit contrary... I do think some of those things are interesting (absolutely have no interest in hiking), and she is definitely an entertaining and fun person to talk to; I may have been hitting her with my "You don't really believe in crap, do you?" face just for the sheer pleasure I take in making that face (no, I'm kidding. I made no such face. I wouldn't know the first thing about making that face). I don't know what I'm getting at, here; maybe she didn't care or wouldn't care, or just thinks I'm a poor schlub with nothing to look forward to in life. Quite possibly I am transferring some of my whatever to her. I'm sure my psychology friends (or friends who know something more about human behavior than I do) could figure it out. I just know that when we were talking about what we like to read, and she said "non-fiction," I, in my stupid way of thinking that everyone is interested in the things I am interested in, was a bit surprised to find that what she considers "non-fiction" is like, holistic, new age inner wellness crap.

Wait, did I say "crap"? See, I was trying so hard, there. And that was some run-on sentence, now wasn't it?

No, really, I'm just being negative because what the hell do I know about this stuff? You got it: I know nothing. Somebody says "karma" to me, and I say, fuck you (well, not really. Wait, maybe I do. Did I? Yeah, I think I did, at least once, and fairly recently. Or maybe I just wanted to say "fuck you" to that person, and by way of writing it here, I have, in effect, said it. There. I feel much better now. Was that confusing? I'm sorry). Listen: I'll say it again... I know nothing about the way the world works, and I'm pretty sure I like it that way. Believe what you want to believe; I may or may not catch on some day on my own. Maybe I don't even believe in Beatles.

...

On a different note: Pandora is playing a New Order song, and I have never, ever, admitted to liking New Order (because I don't, OK?), but this song: "Age of Consent" really, really good. And it kind of even goes with today's post. How's that for, I don't know, a little synchronicity? A bit of a felicitous thing, huh? Totally goes with one of my parenthetical comments above, and if you can figure out which one, well. You're smarter than you look.

Yes, I'll take a side of karma with my bullshit, thank you very much. Make it a double!

I want to die while you love me, by Sonia Larios? Pfft!


After spending most of the day Sunday mocking this poem, I have to admit it has quite a hold on me. I might have to attempt to set it to music or something. Or maybe someone has already!

See, I was planning on presenting the poem, in it's entirety, but as it turns out, if you Google "I want to die while you love me," the whole thing, word for word (albeit, slightly rearranged), is actually by somebody named Georgia Douglas Johnson.

Now what I want to know is, did the Editors of Penstrokes, class of 1990, know that there was some pretty heavy plagiarism going on in their pages, or were they blissfully naive? Or were they dipping into Adam's mom and dad's liquor cabinet? Did my parents' innocent tax dollars fund this travesty?! I demand to know the purpose and the meaning of the whole plot! This seems like it could've been quite the scandal, and I! I with my enquiring mind and awe-inspiring Internet-probing skills, have unmasked the perpetrator (sorry, that's another line from Rhinoceros)! Yes, in just seventeen short years, I solved a mystery no one even knew was a mystery! Sonia Larios, whoever you are!, I deem you worthy of joining the ranks of Jayson Blair, Matthew Lesko, Vladimir Putin, and Michael Bolton! Quite an illustrious group, there: plagiarists, every single stinkin' one of them!

See, because I reached into my boy-crazy little mind and whipped out my own, original piece of crap poem, (I can even tell you the genesis of that poem: when I got the inspiration, where I was and what I was doing and everything. Oh! That's a story for another day, people!) I feel I have the right to be just a tiny bit morally superior. Just for a moment: a second, wait, just for one tiny little space in time... no, wait:

it's gone.

Somehow, when I thought a 16-year old punk kid with the same last name as the boy who used to beat me up in the second grade wrote this, I thought it was pretty ridiculous. Now, knowing that a real poet with other works of art under her belt penned this poem somewhere in the vicinity of 1903, well. I have way more respect for it. Come on, everybody, say it with me!

I Want To Die While You Love Me
BY GEORGIA DOUGLAS JOHNSON (Who Will Never Be Sonia Larios; and, vice versa)

I WANT to die while you love me,
While yet you hold me fair,
While laughter lies upon my lips
And lights are in my hair.

I want to die while you love me,
And bear to that still bed,
Your kisses turbulent, unspent
To warm me when I’m dead.

I want to die while you love me
Oh, who would care to live
Till love has nothing more to ask
And nothing more to give!

I want to die while you love me
And never, never see
The glory of this perfect day
Grow dim or cease to be.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Why you should never type a random symptom into Google:

Click on the title of today's post and you will understand, after you read the section called "Neuroglycopenic manifestations," why I am going to go hide under the covers for awhile ("neuroglycopenic" may be my new favorite word).

Monday, July 16, 2007

Scratch Your Name

Busy day, busy night. Got home from my flute lesson at around 9:30; walked in the door and was greeted by three very hungry, very needy, very silly cats (they had food! They just wanted me to swish it around for them).

My first real night home alone (last night I got in late, so it doesn't count). Patty made me dinner, so no need to eat: decided to drink another beer. My favorite spot at night is sitting on the dirty kitchen porch, with the porch light out, watching the neighborhood. Not a whole lot happening on my street tonight, so I looked at the stars instead.

Did a few loads of laundry, and that's why I'm up now. Just waiting for the mattress cover to dry. Just sort of looking forward to going to bed, now. It was a busy day at work, and I don't much want to talk about it. Nothing happened; still working on my forms. It's not that exciting. Listened to "Scratch Your Name" nonstop while in the car - have been since Saturday. I let a couple of my friends listen to their album - Paul didn't really like it, and I'm not sure what Bo's opinion was. Personally I think it's the best thing since I don't know when, but it's OK if those guys don't like it as much as I do.

Ah. I go to bed now.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Rhino is done



Well.

It's over. It was a long day, though, and I'm pretty tired. Before taking Patrick to the airport, we went to Tito's for lunch, and then after dropping him off, I decided to kill time in Culver City and Santa Monica instead of turning around and driving all the way back home to Long Beach. I went to Target, in Culver City, which I think I've already described as "Hell on Earth," but it wasn't that bad. I was in and out in about 20 minutes (and I spent about $45 in that time). Then I drove up to SM and sat in the park overlooking the ocean and read my book for awhile before heading to the theater.

I will admit it: I was sad that tonight was the last night. It seemed to go so fast, and yet, I know just two weeks ago I said to Bo: "When is this show going to be over?"

No videotaping, after all - they got all the film they needed on Friday. So I was needlessly worried: a familiar state. I did, however, fuck up anyway, even without Charles being there - I made it through the whole show, but at the very end, the very last audio cue: the music for the curtain call, actually - I forgot which deck I was working with, and I hit play on the wrong machine. Fortunately that one had been faded out in the previous light cue (the blackout); so, when I hit play, it meant nothing happened (better that than the sound of rhinos roaring/singing). And my brain was moving very slowly, so that it took me a good 15, 20 seconds to figure out what the hell had happened. Oh, well. Other than that, it was a great show: we were sold out, the cast was great, and, as I said, mostly no mistakes on my end. I wasn't even nervous.

Following the show, I packed up Bo and we drove to the cast party, which was held at Ruthie and Aaron's (I'm assuming that's how her husband spells his name). Ruthie gave me one of my favorite line cues in the whole show: near the end of the first act, she says, quite upset, "I was chased all the way from the house by a rhinoceros!" She phrased it with a very pretty French accent on the "rhinoceros!" It was a nice party, where I drank a can of Modelo and a half (canned beer: not usually my thing, but since I showed up empty handed, I really don't get a vote, now do I), ate a lot of cheese and bread and half a chocolate covered macaroon (I was feeling guilty about that BRC burrito from Tito's). We didn't stay long, as Bo wanted to get home, and I have to work tomorrow (those actors! what free-wheeling lives they must live!). Patrick's out of town, so I came home to a dark house, kitties wondering where the hell I've been all day, and a big pile of dirty laundry.

And I have something new to think about: Frederique asked me if I might do the lights for Quartet, the next show they're doing, by Heiner Muller. I'm still thinking about it, and of course, haven't had a chance to discuss it with Patrick yet. I already sort of miss the idea that I will be at City Garage next weekend, and can't really get my head around it just yet.

P.S. The photos were taken by me while hanging out in the park, reading, to offer up as proof that not everything in this blog is a big pack of lies. Obviously if I'd gotten a view of the ocean in the first one it might be more believable, but as it is, I can attest that yes, that is my leg, and yes, that is my book, and that's the ground in the park on Ocean Blvd. in Santa Monica. The other photo is just of some dude with a camera and a tripod who approached that woman standing there. He came out of nowhere while she was gazing at PCH, right in front of me, and he stood next to her for awhile before asking if he could take her photo. It all seemed very strange to me, but, she did look nice. After he left, some punker kids walked up near where she was standing and proceeded to make out about a foot away from her. Soon after they arrived, she left. That seemed like a good point for me to get going, too.

Weekend blogging / My exciting life

I noticed somewhere (and maybe I've mentioned this before...?) that some of the "real" blogs I read (the ones with ads and comments and returning visitors; where the blogger has the ability to view the IP addresses of the readers... ah: now there's some technology I wish Google Analytics would pass on down) don't post on the weekends.

Now, that just seems silly to me. And maybe a little snobbish. But that could just be me being judgmental.

Anyway, here I am, on Sunday morning, blogging in my robe with my wet hair and a kitty on my lap. Pathetic and sad? Maybe. I prefer: inspired. Cozy, too.

Last night at City Garage, I ran a much tighter show than the night before, which figures, because the director's husband Charles wasn't there and there was no video equipment in sight. Ah, nerves. I still felt that same weird way I felt the night before but I'm just chalking that up to, I don't know, low blood sugar or something (before the show I made a stop at Famima!! and bought a diet Coke and a dark chocolate Snickers bar. Paul got half, as I haven't eaten a candy bar in months. He wasn't thrilled with the dark chocolate, but I liked it). Also at last night's show was a guy, Jed, who was in 2001's Gertrude Stein Project with me; I haven't gotten a chance to talk to him since then (and honestly, at that time, I was much more shy with the real actors at City Garage; I probably didn't speak much with him, ever). It was nice to talk to him now - he had good memories of that show, which was nice to hear. He works in the movies and stuff, which is pretty cool. Neat guy.

I carpooled last night with Bo and Martha and their friend, and was grateful to not have to drive. In fact, after we dropped off their friend (she lives in Lawndale, a city I didn't know even existed until they erected that enormous sign off the 405 freeway a few years ago), I curled up on the back seat and went to sleep. I did the same thing Friday night when Patrick was driving.

Afterwards I drove home alone, singing "The Motorcycle Song" to keep myself awake. Quite loud.

This morning on KPCC, I heard a story about a group of people who get together at a bar somewhere and read their teenage poetry and screenplays and stuff, and laugh about it. I wish I had some of the stupid things I'd written as a teen (or maybe I don't!). I was a weird kid, I guess. I wrote a lot of notes to my friends and the boys I had crushes on. Eric Taylor was one of the recipients of those notes; he has hopefully not saved any of them for posterity. I'm pretty sure I was never that important to him, but still, just in case: Eric, if you're reading this? I'm not ever gonna be famous. You can throw them away now!

Side note: my crush on him was heavy duty. It started when I was in the 7th grade, and he was in the 8th. He was a year older than me: tall, blond, blue eyes: gorgeous. And funny! We finally did actually get together once or twice, some years later, and for me it was like being with a movie star; I was (and am) so not cool. He picked me up on his motorcycle, and I was pretty much in heaven. We went out a few times, and then of course, he disappeared again on me, but at that point, that was fine.

I wasn't just writing love notes: I guess those notes (to my friends, to boys) were a lot like these blog entries. Not that interesting, dotted with semi-interesting things, once in awhile (I hope). I remember putting a lot of time and effort into some of them, drawing pictures, etc. My friend Damon got some of my early efforts at painting. I wasn't very good! I would write something, usually on tiny graph paper, in my tiny fake architectural writing, and then fill the rest of the sheet with wannabe psychedelic designs. I guess I suffered from the same low-grade ennui most teens suffer from... it was the age of The Cure, The Smiths, Depeche Mode: the world seemed dark and sad and scary a lot of the time. Missy and I wrote a lot of notes, too, and we were fond of certain curse words. I remember my mother found one that had the word "fuck" written in big 4" tall letters. You can imagine how thrilled she was to see that. On most of my notes, I would almost always quote The Cure ("wish I'd stayed asleep today...!") and draw a little clock showing the exact time, at that very moment. (I just did a little research, looking for an audio clip of that Cure song, "Close To Me," which is from their album The Head on the Door, and I had totally forgotten how wonderful they were. Man. The Cure were terrific.)

Anyway, a few weeks ago I know I promised to post a poem. I don't have the one I was working on (the world's worst poem!) yet; I guess I've kind of given up on that one. But in honor of the story I heard on NPR, I'm going to share with you a poem I wrote in the 12th grade, which was published in "Penstrokes," the literary magazine at my school.

Before you get all excited, I'm pretty sure everything that was submitted to Penstrokes was published (maybe Adam, who was involved in Penstrokes, can confirm this). I actually submitted more than one poem; this is the "good" one. "Good" being relative, of course.

Blue Line
By Irene Casarez

The sky looks painted on
Today, I walk in the wet grassy footprints
Of anybody who has had that thought before.
The sky looks like a boy
With his box of crayons
Drew a blue line
Straight across the top of his paper and
Labeled it.
The sky looks as hard as cement
Today, wherever I step I leave
Wet grassy footprints.

Now, just for comparison sake (and I know it's unfair to post someone elses poetry here; no names will be used! And no, I did not write these), here are the first lines of another poem that was published in Penstrokes that year:

"I want to die while you love me,
While yet you hold me fair..."

Oh, and here's another good one:

"I walk the shadows, scorn the light;
I sing the moon and dance the night..."

OK, one more:

"Love was here,
Now it's gone,
What am I to do,
Now that he's gone."

The rest of the stuff in Penstrokes was mostly stories about young men, by young men, developing into young men. Stories by young women, about young men, committing suicide while single tears stained their cheeks. Poems about unrequited love, poems about girls with bleached blond hair. Ah: I love it all, as bad as it is. Or maybe it's not bad: what the hell do I know?

Now I should start getting going... I have to take Patrick to the airport later. I haven't decided if I want to head out to Santa Monica early for the show, or come back home and chill. I'm not ready to start thinking about life Post-Rhinoceros. Tonight is the cast party, which should make up for the whole damn thing being over, but I hate to put so much importance on a party I'll probably have to leave early from (work tomorrow, and I just remembered I can't call in sick: timecards are due). Well, you never know.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth - with further edits


[All the superfluous "actually"s have been removed.]

Today while Patrick mowed the lawn, I decided it was a good time to turn the stereo on and watch "The Kids Are Alright" again. I turned the stereo on, and then I turned it UP - the lawn mower was loud, but Patrick said he could hear the TV outside! Hey, what's the point of having powerful audio equipment if you don't turn it up once in awhile?

Not to take anything away from my obsession with Stewart Copeland (which persists, in spite of fewer mentions than usual in this space), but Pete Townshend... wow. What a genius. I was just browsing his website with his girlfriend Rachel Fuller [this is the website he has with his girlfriend; Rachel wasn't here, reading it with me!], and reading her blog. She seems like a kook - but a totally cool kook, and they appear to be happy.

Now I am avoiding the inevitable, which is cleaning up the kitchen. To tell you the truth, I've been avoiding cleaning the kitchen (and living room, bathroom, bedroom, and doing the laundry) all week. I'm feeling a bit sleepy, and may just take a nap instead

Today has been lovely - got up at around 9:30, poked around the Internet for awhile. Took a shower, then got dressed and took Franny to the vet (Fra-fra-fra Franny and the Vets!). She's been sneezing, and has a bit of the ol' drippy eye. She saw Dr. Kellie Smith, who she saw before when she had Mange! (that's not the end of the sentence, rather, I think every mention of Mange! should include a capital M and an exclamation point); Dr. Smith remembered her, and was very sweet with her. Franny turned into a big cuddler on the examining table. Really, I was very surprised at her display of docilitiy. Anyway, turns out she needs antibiotics... her gums were looking a bit red, and that's a bit of a concern, apparently. She may need to get some dental work done, which would suck.

Afterwards I brought her home, squirted the medicine all over a nice hunk of turkey sandwich meat, and let Franny go to town. She's been taking a nap most of the afternoon. Which is what I should be doing, too.

Tonight I think I'm carpooling to Santa Monica with my friend Bo, his wife Martha, and their friend. I'm so glad to not be driving. Last night we went with Patrick. The director's husband Charles put him to work, manning a video camera: they record every show, and will do it again this Sunday. There was something going on with me last night - I just didn't feel very well. A bit shaky and kind of nervous. I thought it was because Charles was there: he hasn't seen me run the show in ages. But I think I'm either coming down with a cold, or was having a low blood pressure moment - I felt this way on Thursday night, too, at flute choir. I feel fine and like myself but then once in awhile I'll listen to myself talk and I sound very mellow and slow and unenergetic. A nap. I need a nap.

One good thing about this weird feeling is, I feel like a much nicer person all of a sudden. I noticed I was smiling at everyone at the vet, and petting everyone's dogs (there were a lot of dogs this morning), and chatting up the technician who took Franny's temperature: this is not my normal SOP! I feel very relaxed and calm for a change. That's gotta be good, right?

Friday, July 13, 2007

New Blog for Your Perusal - Updated


My friend Paul (A.K.A., "Uncle Pauly") has a blog now. Which, if you know Paul, is pretty cool, 'cause: boy can write (unfortunately, he can't drink. And I can think of no excuse for that shirt). Anyway, if you're interested, here's a link, here. He says he doesn't know how long he'll be able to sustain an interest in writing, but whatever. For now (and "for now" is all some of us have, no?) you can check him out.

One post in, and I'm already hooked. Although, maybe Paul's shopping lists would be interesting reading to me... I don't know. I'm a fan, it's true.

...

I don't remember if I mentioned that my work wants me to become a Notary Public? A couple of weeks ago I went down the Long Beach Adult School and took a six hour course. At the end of those six hours, some lady from the government came and tested us.

The class was not difficult; the test was another story. More than half the questions required me to know things we had not even mentioned in class; I ended up guessing on about 2/3 of the test. There were only 30 questions, and you could miss five. I was the second person done (actually, I was the first person done, but I waited to turn in my test because I didn't want it to look as if I was giving up). I felt like shit that whole day: it was hot, the people in my class did not impress me (they reminded me of the bozos in my 10th grade biology class, taught by Sanderson the Lesbian; she was pretty cool, but no one paid attention, least of all me. She had a terrific way of insulting us while at the same time making us laugh. Also, she screened "Harold and Maude" for some of us one day after school), my stomach hurt ALL day, I missed most of my niece and nephew's birthday party, and then I had to run off to the theater... it wasn't a good day. So I thought I flunked the class pretty much from the minute I started reading the unfamiliar questions.

Today I received my results: I fucking passed.

I can't believe it.

Last Weekend of Rhinoceros

Hey, this weekend is your last chance to catch Rhinoceros at City Garage... after Sunday, we're closing this show down.

I'm having my usual conflicted feelings about it. On the one hand, I love doing it. I love being there, at that theater - it's fun, and I finally feel a little more comfortable, like they know me and that's cool. On the other hand, schlepping out to Santa Monica (although my carpool buddy makes up for the drag of all that driving) three nights a week is not that much fun. Finding parking on Sunday afternoons in the summer in Santa Monica: not fun. Roasting in the super-hot, stuffy booth with only a hundred year old tired fan for circulation? Not fun.

So yeah, I'm glad we're almost done, but I'm also glad, now, on Friday, that there are still three more nights. Does that make sense? Anyway... the good part of all this is, the show ending means I get a break. I get to go to Catalina, and the flute convention. I get to hang out on the weekends with Patrick. So, yeah, that's all good. I just hope he doesn't get bored with me, now that I'm gonna be home all the time!

...

Wow, now that I wrote all that, I feel kind of sad about it ending. It's kind of a bummer. I know it's good to look forward to the next thing, but I'm just not sure what that is. And Patrick's going away again this week... Wow. Now I'm all depressed. Well, on that note...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Happy Birthday, Bo Roberts!


Today is (or was - it's almost over) Bo's birthday! I can only say good things about my dear friend, Bo.

He's a great guy, and funny - ! I'm tired, now, so I'm not full of anecdotes, but if you were in the car with us during our rides to Santa Monica, you would have a cramp, from laughing. And all those years at Rizzoli, working together - hardly ever had a fight (well, once we did, but he probably doesn't remember. And I think I was in the wrong, so that's fine with me, if he chooses to not remember). Who cares? He's terrific.

We're funny. Silly, foolish: we do it all. Not only does he make me laugh, he lets me make him laugh, which is even better. Really: I crack him up. You can't ask for more than that in a friend.

I hope he had a lovely birthday.

And: sappy time is now over. Aren't you glad?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Noisettes - Updated

OK, so when you consider that A) I like very few bands with female singers, and B) I just heard this song five minutes ago, I think it's pretty incredible how terrific this band is (does this sentence even make sense? I'm struggling, tonight). I have a new favorite song, "Scratch Your Name," by Noisettes. Pretty darned cool. Check out this stuff at FM 94.9. I'm just gonna ignore the fact that they're also recommending Sting's kid's band "Fiction Plane," which I advise you to do, as well. I mean, come on. Seriously. Fiction Plane? No.

I have to go to Borders later anyway for something else, I may have to pick up this album ("What's the Time Mr. Wolf?") while I'm out there. It's not the first time I've bought a CD based on one song... but somehow I have a feeling I will not be disappointed (I've had that feeling before, too, but Hope Springs Eternal, right? I mean things don't get to be cliches without some glimmer of truth, right?).

In other music news (?), I guess it's come to everyone's attention that the Smashing Pumpkins have a new album out? And I just want to get right in the fray here and say that I don't care. There was a point in time when I did care - and then that point in time came to an end, as does everything, I guess. I got to that point with the Smashing Pumpkins a long time ago that I'm at now with the White Stripes: sometime in 1994, I became bored with their schtick. It doesn't mean it's not a good schtick, it just means it no longer is retaining my attention. Also, I don't know, there was a Fleetwood Mac cover somewhere in there that they did that just didn't fly with me for some reason. So there you have it, my extremely opinionated, non-factual, anti-review of an album that I've only heard one song from... Yes, that's how things work around here. Welcome!

...

OK, so Borders didn't have the album I wanted (they did, however, have the other thing I went for [it's for somebody else who on occasion reads this blog], a new book I wasn't looking for by Michael Chabon, a Modern Drummer and a computer book for Patrick... and $122 later... we had to go to Fingerprints for Noisettes album, which is funny, because we were just there yesterday, to buy Blood Brothers for Patrick. And it was only $9.99, which is just crazy-cheap. I got a tiny bit panicky when I couldn't find it on the shelf, but then the dude working there went to the super-secret location they had it filed, and pulled it for me. We listened to the first three tracks on the way home, and boy am I in love. I repeat: totally cool.

...

Oh, and here's something else I'm thinking about (stolen from Wikipedia):

Stewart Copeland [his birthday is rapidly approaching], best known as drummer for The Police, says in the commentary track to the DVD version of his documentary film "Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out" that he had to overlay a music soundtrack and use the image only in one shot where "Happy Birthday" was being sung in the original footage, because the rights to the song are "incredibly expensive".

I think my next cat's name will be "Armstrong."

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Apropos of Nothing

So where have I been? I've been hanging out, wondering.

You know how people will say, "I was thinking in my mind," as if they do their thinking, on other occasions, while utilizing some other organ (we all know what organ men are thinking with most of the time, but I guess some people do their thinking with, I don't know, their elbow or something)? I usually make fun of this, when I hear other people say it, but this time it's me, and I'm saying it: I was thinking in my mind (rather than with my fucked up heart) the other day, and I came to this conclusion, which will mean nothing to any of you, but means a lot to me:

Drew, the man I didn't marry, or Patrick, the man I did marry, would never act toward me the way any of the other lusts/loves of my life did. Both of them are pretty darned good guys. Patrick: the best. Certainly both of them are better at this "person" business than I am. Granted, I don't know what Drew has been up to since we broke up, but I'd bet money he hasn't changed, as Jane Austen might put it, in essentials. I don't need to know about it or anything, I'm just saying that I have a feeling that guy doesn't know how lucky he was to get away. And Patrick? I could stand to have more of Patrick's goodness rubbing off on me (that sounds dirty. I did not intend for it to sound dirty!) for another 10 or 20 or 30 or 100 years.

I'm a lucky girl, when you think about it.

Yes: think about it. Maybe in your mind, maybe with your big toe.

OK, so maybe I can give a little background on this: at this weekend's garage sale (I made $40, and then I went and spent $55 at Target), I was playing Scrabble with my mom and her friend Margie. We set it up on the driveway, so we could keep an eye on our sale. By the end of the morning, the "hordes" of shoppers had dispersed (actually, very early in the day, we did have hordes. Hordes of fucking cheapskates, yes, but there were many of them), so we had plenty of time to sit and play (I won, in spite of my mom's awesome "cleansers"). Margie, whose own two daughters have had one unsuccessful relationship after another (respectively), was asking questions about Drew, and wanted to know what the story was.

So I sort of opened up a tiny bit - I said more than my mom has ever heard me say on this subject. I talked about what a good person he was and how much I loved his family, and how nice they all were to me. Then my mom threw in that she felt sorry for him when I canceled the wedding and everything. Which I did not know. That she felt sorry for him - that was a surprise. And then I said, well, I felt sorry for him too. And Margie goes, "so why didn't you marry him then?" (This attitude, that one should marry someone because you feel sorry for them, is a bit illuminating, vis-a-vis her daughters' multiple unsuccessful relationships!) And my mother answered for me. She looked at me, there on the driveway, at an old rickety card table, under the bright July sun, and she said, "Because she didn't love him."

I have never said anything like that to my mom, or anybody, actually. "I didn't love him" are words I never say. Maybe I say, "I didn't love him enough," or I make a joke about making his life a living hell, but to put it that bluntly? I never do it. It was kind of scary - I almost felt like all my secrets, all the shit I never tell my mom because I don't want her worrying or praying for me, or nagging me - all that stuff was out there on the card table (which is of course what card tables are for, is it not?). Of course it wasn't really, and my mom will never see my true self (because I may be heartless, but I'm not crazy), but I have to say, it was a really serious, true moment without any of our usual bullshit, and I felt totally weird about it for a long time.

And maybe I still do.

Happy birthday, Arlo!

Today is Arlo Guthrie's 6oth birthday - listen to "Cooper's Lament," one of my favorite songs, in honor of him.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Summer Flute Choir: Leaner, Meaner, and... Cleaner (?)

Last week was the first session of the summer flute choir... I missed it, as I had a date with my old friend Missy (she's not old, but I've known her since I was, I don't know, five?), who I haven't seen in a hundred years. This is just our second summer doing it this way: totally informal, whoever can come, comes, and we meet at our teacher's house and sight-read stuff for however many of us showed up that night.

Tonight there were four of us, so (obviously) we played quartets. Patty gets to play with us, for a change, and we move around so everyone gets to play first. Patty has a ton of quartets, and there were some things in the stack none of us had played and some things we all have played (Catherine McMichael's "Gaelic Offering" is a huge favorite. I can't find an audio clip, so you'll just have to believe me)... and some things we should never play again. It's good to find out which ones are the dogs, and get rid of them!

On the way home I did something I haven't done in ages: I stopped at 7/11 and bought cigarette papers.

I know, I know, before you start thinking I'm some sort of deviant - the papers (Zig Zag, of course) are for my flute. At the last concert, I had a big problem with having water in my keys - mostly on my piccolo. I don't know if this is a result of having a big ol' gold headjoint on my middle of the pack flute (it's kind of like putting really expensive and fancy tires on a Hyundai; well, maybe my flute is comparable to a Honda, at least) or due to the weather or what, but - spitty! Especially my piccolo; those tiny trill keys are the worst. Anyway, cigarette papers are an old trick. You can buy "cleaning paper" nowadays, sold by legitimate flute dealers, but why bother? The Zig Zags were less than $2, I got a Squishee (7/11 has been taken over by Kwik-E-mart!)... the guy behind the counter asked me if I was Persian (seriously: happens EVERY SINGLE TIME).

Well, I think I promised you a summary of this weird work week, and hey: I keep my promises. Unlike sane people, I did not take Thursday or Friday off... so my week was bisected by July 4. The holiday itself was fairly quiet: we had His Truck towed to the GMC dealer, which was closed, of course, so now we're just waiting for the verdict (at this point, we know for sure we'll be spending about $600; there could be more work necessary, but they already know we're not that attached to this vehicle, so I doubt they're going to try to shyster us into spending a ton. Shyster? is that a real word?). Then we came home and vegged around the house for awhile... then we walked the 1.5 miles to the local community college, where they have fireworks. Vegged there some more, watched the 15 minute show (short, but sweet!), and walked back home, where, thank God, Puma, Dora, and Franny were all fine. Well, Franny was hiding under the couch, but nobody had any psychological meltdowns, thanks to our stupid neighbors and their home fireworks show.

Going back to work today just felt wrong. As it will again, tomorrow, I'm sure.

As for the previously promised poetry (listen up, alliteration is not poetry) - you'll have to be patient. I've got the first stanza but I think I want my friend Paul to review it for me before I post it here for the world. I'll say right off the bat, it's a piece of crap, and I know it's bad: I started it knowing it would suck, as in, big-time suck. But what the hell, if I'm going to bother to write shitty poetry, and talk about it on my blog, why not just share it with you?

The other thing going on with me, is, I was asked to do the flute thing again for the next show at City Garage... unfortunately I can't do it, which really sucks, big time. We're going out of town a bit this summer for a change, and while I'm very much glad to be getting away, it means I would miss about half the rehearsals. Which, obviously, can't happen. I have to admit, though: I LOVED that I was asked. It practically makes up for everything; the last two weeks of May and most of June, actually.

Which makes no sense to you, but whatever. Can I have some privacy, please?

(that's a total joke, as I pick and choose with great care - or not - the things I share here)

...

and, what else? Oh, god: another garage sale. My mom's hosting another one this Saturday, and this time I actually have what I think are worthwhile things to sell - cleaning the kitchen seems to have been a fairly profitable venture (well, if I can sell that shit. Anybody want a slightly used rice cooker?). So there's that to look forward to. I was kind of excited about the weather being warm, but now it seems to be cooling off in Culver City, so maybe I can't work on my farmer tan, after all. We'll see.

Oh, and I am totally in love with Devo right now. "Gut Feeling (Slap Your Mommy)" is total genius. The clip on Amazon sucks, as it's much too short and is just a bit of the (rad) intro, so you get nothing else from the rest of the song, which - I love. Listened to it all the way home.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

So. I lasted one freakin' day.

Wow, so, here I am. A bit more than 24 hours after stating, "Oh, I need a break from all that frantic blogging I've been doing!" Yes. Pathetic and sad, but there it is.

No, but seriously: I knew when I said it that the whole "taking a little time off" stuff was bullshit. I'm not saying I was lying from the beginning, but I did hope that maybe I could walk away from this a little. You know, just a BREAK, no big deal. I wasn't going to go blog somewhere else; just: give it a rest, already.

OK, so I couldn't do it. Not sure what that says about me right now... but I was sort of mentally composing this message all day. That's a new syndrome, I'm sure: mind-blogging.

Anyway, today was Exciting. The last couple of days at work I've concentrated on two things: the Excel thing I told you about (got the revised, final [?] version off to my boss this morning), and cleaning and organizing my desk. I work with a pack rat, and my desk and the surrounding floor are starting to look like her desk and floor: total chaos. I just can't work in that kind of environment. Craziness! You start going a little nuts when your workspace is a disaster. She might disagree, but everybody knows she's mostly nuts. Obviously this theory of mine is based on the scientific method. I straightened up, made some folders, put shit away, re-organized, and made plans for a run to Office Depot. Went to lunch, roasted in the parking lot, wrote a semi-funny email to my friend Paul about said roasting (here's a mostly not funny tidbit: "I am, to quote the stupid Press-Telegram (why they just don't give it away is beyond me. 25 cents worth of crappy reporting! You get what you pay for, absolutely in this case), "Roasting." Indoors it's not too bad (in fact there were moments today when I had my heater on), so I shouldn't complain, but coming back from lunch, when I usually take my post-lunch 15 minute nap? Roasting. Like a fat chicken."), and then I got a call from Patrick.

He told me yesterday that he would be traveling to various west side libraries today, delivering, installing, and setting up some computers. I hoped he might've gotten a car from his work to drive but they were all in use, so he took his own GMC Jimmy (herein to be referred to as His Truck). His Truck has been a huge pain in the ass for awhile now: failed the smog two years in a row, general bad things wrong with it, the AC doesn't always work... while not quite a piece of shit, it's not a good car, either. So, at around 3 o'clock, I got a call from him.

While driving from (or to... now I forget the details) the Manhattan Beach library towards Culver City - he was on Sepulveda Blvd., very near Fry's (aka, Geek Central), somehow, his gas pedal was stuck. As in, depressed. As in: gradually speeding up to about 60 miles per hour, and not able to remove the magical pressure on it. Braking, the obvious choice, was even difficult. But while talking to me on the phone, he sounded cheery. He laughed about it, even. So, I put down the phone, told my co-worker and my boss's second in command that I needed to go pick him up, and headed down there, without much worry in my mind.

Got down there and saw that he was able to successfully drive himself safely, without hitting anybody, into a parking lot, into a PARKING SPACE, and park His Truck: he's fine, the car is fine, but then he started telling me about it: accelerating into a parking lot, around a corner, with the back tires basically spinning out, both feet on the brake, the parking brake, etc. I don't know how he managed it, but he is fine, and he didn't hit anything or anyone, and for that: I am most thankful. I'm just glad he didn't have to go to Lancaster today: the roads out there might not have been as forgiving!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Taking a break

Hey: it's summer. I'm taking a few days off from blogging to read, enjoy having my husband home after his week in Santa Clara, and see how the kitten Franny reacts to my stupid neighbors' fireworks.

and maybe I'll even get some housework done.

No end date, no big deal - we'll see how long this lasts. I have me pegged to blog again at least by Wednesday. Just wanted to reassure you that yes, I am still here. You know what Thom Yorke says about trying to make me disappear, don't you?

Can't wish me away, can you?

So when I get back, I promise to have a report about my clean house, my weird short work week, and the world's worst poem I started working on. Yeah! Poetry! What could be more exciting than that?