Wednesday, October 29, 2003

great hulking monster that I am

One of my dance teachers, coming around to poke us each individually in the back to show us which muscles we were supposed to be using to hold our arms above our heads, said that I had "hefty lats." Huh. It was sort of like when my doctor commented on my trapezius a year or so back. Both times I wanted to say, don't make me angry, you wouldn't like me when I'm angry, but I was flattered as well. Toss people on the ground a few nights a week for ten years, I guess this is what happens.

Maybe I should bag the bellydancing, invest in some spandex and a dumb stage name, and take up wrestling?

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

detritus and luxury

You know how every house has a junk drawer? Admit it, you've got one. Half-full matchbooks, individually wrapped fork/napkin combos from the takeout place, endless sets of cheap chopsticks, rubber bands, crumpled warranties for items that have long since gone AWOL, capless pens, penless caps, bent paper clips, plastic straws, rusty scissors, and the innumerable "little wheels off of things," as Shirley Jackson once wrote.

This morning I went looking for a phillip's-head screwdriver in my new place, and ascertained something I had suspected: every drawer in that flat is a junk drawer. In addition to the usual suspects, every drawer I opened contained at least one crayon, and a couple of plastic grocery bags. Costume jewelry rings, packets of red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese, a long-empty single-serve soymilk container with its straw still inserted, paintbrushes with dried paint gluing the bristles together, plastic forks to eternity.

On the friends-of-hoarders listserv I'm on, someone just posted that scientists have uncovered the gene for OCD. I'm thinking I'd like to open a can of OCD whup-ass on my new place, but I need to talk to the Master Tenant, she of the two howling daughters, before I touch a thing. I remember what happened when I tried bringing some order to the kitchen of the group house I once inhabited in Oakland. Either the order crumbled after a week, or I drew the wrath of He Who Must Accumulate; it was a discussion in that very kitchen between he and I about whether covering the walls with extra egg beaters was really decorating or not that sent me packing.

Anyone who has seen my studio knows that this is a coals to Newcastle situation. But I really am trying to pare down. Here's Hans Hoffman on the matter (although I believe he was talking about either writing or art, not my desk), "The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so the necessary may speak."

Speaking of which, has anyone else noticed that the magazine 'Real Simple' is totally cluttered with ads and features on things to buy? Does this seem disingenuous to anyone else?

Oh, and. Mies van de Rohe and his "less is more" statement? I read that he actually said that at a dinner party when the hostess was trying to serve him another helping of something he wasn't enjoying.

Absolutely fascinating and totally snarky: James B. Twitchell's 'Living it Up: Our Love Affair with Luxury.' Here he is on a recent fad:

"The word [pashmina] is a linguistic trick. Cashmere is goat hair from Kashmir, an area between India and Pakistan, whereas pashmina is simply the Persian word for the same goat in the same area. In other words, it's the same stuff."

Friday, October 24, 2003


Means "yes" in Arabic. At a bellydance performance, calling it out is a sign of encouragement.

Last night I went to see to see my teacher's apprentice troupe perform, and before they went on, she and I were talking at the bar, and she told me that she'd been meaning to ask me if joining them was something that would interest me.

My friend told me afterwards that if I was hyperventilating, it wasn't obvious. "You looked," he said as he walked me home (I think my feet must have touched the ground at some point, but I have no recollection of it) "very calm and thoughtful. Like you were giving the question serious thought. I almost thought you were going to say no."

As if!

"It's a time commitment," Jill told me. "Probably three nights a week. Can you do it?" and I wanted to say, would you like me to move heaven or earth first?

I finally understand what people mean when they say they were beside themself with emotion. I honestly thought I was having an out-of-body experience.

The trippy thing about this is that almost exactly a week ago--Wednesday the 15th, to be exact--a new actor/teacher acquaintance asked me if I'd ever acted, and I told her that I'd stopped after college. She pushed, and got me to admit that I have always thought about pursuing it but have been too afraid. Then she told me to go out and have a head shot taken. I did not trust my voice; she had somehow managed to hit something so deep, so quickly, that I was totally unprepared for it.

Some dreams, you know? You have them, but they seem unattainable enough that you don't have to live up to them. I felt this morning, as I thought about these two women asking me in all openness if I wanted to do these amazing things, as though some new creature was struggling to be born of me. Maybe later in my life than I might have liked--sometimes I feel a little old to be starting either of these pursuits--but maybe this new creature just has a long gestation period.

I'll write about this further, but right now I need to run errands. I'll say this: I am terrified of performing. I'll be so exposed and vulnerable! I think to myself. And then I remember, uh, I've been an artist's model for twelve years... how many complete strangers have seen me naked? Uh, hello? And I'm afraid of being in front of strangers WITH MY CLOTHES ON?

Thursday, October 23, 2003

horror movie footsies

Just in time for Halloween, the skin on the soles of my feet is doing its best George Romero. I'm not sure if it's my new shoes, or the fact that I've been taking so many dance classes (barefoot), but combined with the dilapidated silver toenail polish, the effect is downright reptilian. I'd been thinking about getting one of those sassy spa chair pedicures before the peeling began, but now I'm afraid to; afraid the esthetician will recoil in horror--or worse yet, that I will get A Lecture. Like the 'Happy Teeth' lecture, you know the one.

Speaking of Halloween, I have decided to go as Anger. I have this fabu gown purchased for five smackers at Out of the Closet, the resale shop that gives all its proceeds to AIDS research. This is important because I suspect I am the first born female to wear this shimmery purple-pink-magenta confection, with its two layers of tulle on top and a built-in crinoline; the thing is a size 14. I have some serious taking in to do. Currently my plan is to make myself some nice prosthetic spines to glue to my shoulders and upper arms, but that involves latex and I am NOTORIOUS for not getting latex-based costume concepts done in time. For other people, fine. I made Slice a prosthetic chin once, and Avocado a lovely pair of troll ears. But for myself, usually it's a last-minute thing with a real headlong quality to it. Mymble has suggested that I find something I can carry as my Grudge, which just proves again how freaking brilliant she is; I'm thinking a puppet about the size of a cat. But with a lot more teeth.

Blogger Stats tells me that someone came here because they were looking for Google hits on Rocky Roulette, the pogo-stick stripper. I am incredibly happy about this and I have no idea why. Either it's someone who knows him, or maybe it's the man himself doing a vanity search. Just think! Brushed by his glittery glory! Nothing but the best for you, Rocky; carry on the good work and for god's sake, don't get that lovely body hurt tumbling off some sweat-slicked stage somewhere.

Yes, I'm free associating. The last neuronal twitches of someone who worked out too hard and then ate too much Thai food. At least I'm not complaining, right?

Incidentally, if you like bluegrassy music with satirical modern themes like "We're Winning the War on Drugs", or music played on a washboard, or women who can sing like Betty Boop, you really must go see the Asylum Street Spankers on their "How the West Was Spanked" tour. Trust me on this one.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

eight hours in a row

You know how when you stop dating someone, maybe you decide you need to start taking better care of yourself? Well, this time that is manifesting a few different ways for me. One is that I've started being more consistent about the gingko biloba, using facial cleanser instead of soap, eating vegetables, like that. The second is that I've started sitting meditation in the mornings--the thing E kept trying to get me to do, I finally see the point of; issues around the way I handle anger were raised in my last conversation with PRobot and sitting seems like a good way to approach understanding better what that's about. Not that sitting appears to be doing Anything yet, but I know that's quick-quick must-have-it-now thinking; just sitting quietly for ten minutes a day has to be having some positive effect even if I'm not aware of it.

What is definitely making a difference, though, is getting enough sleep. A project made easier, ironically, by my moving out of my workspace. The room I rent to sleep in is so tiny that I can only have what I absolutely need--bed, dresser, one plant. Which means I am not surrounded by all my art supplies and books and chaos; not even my oh-so-seductive computer. So when I'm home, I'm much more likely to go to bed at a reasonable hour (that meaning anything before 4 am.) Lately I've been getting to sleep by 1, which is astonishing, and getting at least seven hours, which is even more astonishing.

It's making me feel a lot less jagged, that's for sure. I also just read that deep or REM sleep is vital to memory function because otherwise short-term memory traces (engrams?) don't get reinforced into long-term memory. Considering how spotty my memory's felt lately, anything I can do to support it, I'll try. A writer who can't remember shit is missing a pretty important tool.

I have a whole bunch of classes left on my card at the main studio where I take dance lessons, and not enough days to use them at my usual pace, so I'm trying something new each day. Today it was Afro-Cuban Modern, which totally kicked my donkey; the teacher used a bunch of ballet terms, which always confuses me, and we seemed to do an awful lot of leaping up and down. I was laughing pretty much the entire time, even when I lept straight into a wall. Especially when I lept into the wall. I have always panicked in classes where we had to learn a sequence of moves; I'm always going the wrong way, smushing other people, cursing my math skills, whatever. But this morning I knew I wasn't going to get it right the first time or the second, I had no attachment to doing it 'perfectly' because I'm not planning to become a professional Afro-Cuban Modern dancer, and there were other people there who were also running into the walls. Maybe I'll go again next week and try to leap into the big front window, or the stereo, or the fan. But tomorrow: Beginning Hip-Hop, which I think entails crashing into the floor instead of the walls. And then belly dance, which should be a cakewalk by comparison. We don't move fast enough in bellydance to crash into anything.

Afterwards, I treated myself to a stroll through General Bead, where a condition of employment is that you must have bleached hair dyed some unusual shade and wear lots of clashing colors. All of the adding machines (no registers) are encrusted with rhinestones and shiny plastic cabochons, and Handsome Boy Scratchy, the world's greyest non-grey cat, hangs out on some crocheted acrylic thing on the middle counter all day supervising the transactions. Today for the first time I noticed that HB Scratchy had a brush laying on his shmata, so I brushed him while the nice lady painstakingly counted out my order and he nearly fell off the counter. I'm puzzled by his lack of jeweled collar--everyone else who works there bristles with beads--maybe he is the one surface upon which no gem is glued?

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

down hips and snake arms

Tonight some things started to feel like they were working in my belly dance class. I'd been concerned--I haven't been able to practice very much lately, and I haven't made it to class as much as I'd like. But there's definitely something positive going on in my obliques--I'm able to get deeper into 'down hips' than I was before--and I started to coordinate the arms with the hips on the taqsim.

That latter is a colossal struggle. Every time I try to get arms and legs and hips to move together, each according to their own particular task, I gain more sympathy for my own students, most of whom are in the first and second grades. They're not entirely coordinated yet, they are still growing into their bodies. Many of them are dealing with some challenge or another of various degrees of subtlety. One boy can't seem to cross the mat without hopping like a rabbit. Another appears to be incapable of remembering the simplest technique long enough to perform it. One girl starts a front roll and ends up back rolling, and her sister just gets tired because there's something wrong with her heart. We get kids with Tourette's Syndrome, ADHD, all kinds of stuff, because the occupational therapists think martial arts will be good for them. Even the kids with no problems still have to learn how to focus; an hour is a long time.

We do what we can. We tell them to do what they can. We praise the smallest victories.

Something that has come up in my reading lately ('How to be an Adult in Relationships', by David Richo, if you really want to know) is that we love people the way we wish to be loved. We show them what we want by the way we love them. Spookily enough, today I came across a journal entry from February when the pain of what had happened with E was greatest. I had written that I needed to start treating myself the way I'd been treating him. I go comatose whenever I read anything about drawing myself a luxurious bath and making love to myself, blah blah, but there is a kernel here of something important. I need to be my own hero, my own heart; and as I do for those brave kids who keep coming in, I need to praise my own small victories. Tonight it is that my teacher told me that my snake arms looked great and then she pushed me and one other student to do something harder. She believes in me, I believe in my own students, I believe in myself.

Something I didn't write yesterday about the camera lucida, because I was too tired, is that the device is really quite simple. As Hockney says, it's a prism on a stick. The stick telescopes and has a little foot, so you stand it up on your drawing surface and by looking at it the right way, you can see the subject of your drawing and the paper at the same time. Such a thing can be very useful to the portraitist, who marks in the corners of the eyes, nostrils, mouth; the reference points that will make the rest of the drawing easier to get right.

The thing is, the camera lucida does not project an image onto the paper. Instead it creates an illusion in your eye, sort of like the trick that makes binocular vision possible, two things in the same place that aren't.

All of which is happening entirely in your own head. Look away, bump the prism, and poof, no image.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

camera lucida

My mother just showed me a photo of an ancient female relative. The photo has to be at least 90 years old, shellacked to a board. It features this incredibly dour-looking woman, built like a tank, in dark clothes. Neither my mother nor I look anything like her. The oldest photo we've seen so far of a relative.

I'm going a little stir-crazy here. Detroit, especially the burbs, is not pedestrian-friendly in the slightest, and out here it's one strip mall after another, with long stretches of road between. At least it's green and tree-y. The weather's been insanely, unseasonally warm, and that's been nice. The elevators in my parents' building have been very sporadic... climbing the stairs to the ninth floor, unfortunately, is the most exercise I'm getting.

On the landing at the fourth floor, my boots stick to the floor and light shows through around the edges where the metal landing doesn't quite meet the walls. Between seven and eight, it's taken someone a couple of tries to spell "jackass bitch" properly with a lipstick on the white-painted cinderblock. The place is falling down around my parents and their elderly, been-here-forever neighbors; to hear my mother tell it, the first of every month around here it's like lemmings.

Just before I left for Detroit, she writes casually, PRobot and I essentially broke up via polite emails. "Essentially" because "break up" isn't quite right; it indicates a level of mutual into-each-otherness that just wasn't happening. I keep expecting to feel something more than I do, but I wasn't particularly surprised, and I do honestly believe this is for the best. Certain things important to each of us were not manifest.

Which is not to say that I'm not sad and disappointed, but I think being here with my folks is giving me a larger perspective. And, well, how can I put this? I did not know that I had the capacity to restrain myself from falling in love with someone. Generally when I feel the loopy gravity, I let go. But there was so much evidence that such abandon would be unwise, especially after burning man, that I kept myself in check.

I don't like being in check, but it has its virtues. The trick now is finding that person with whom I don't need to restrain myself. Someone who thinks I'm the cat's pyjamas.

I've always wondered about that spelling, incidentally. Pyjamas? Pie-jamas? Pyee-jamas?

I'm feeling pretty introspective, but the keyboard setup on my mother's computer is very awkward and it's killing my wrists. Think I'll go back to reading David Hockney's 'Secret Knowledge', an absolutely fascinating book about the Old Masters. Hockney thinks they were using various optical devices--camera lucida, camera obscura--as aids to their drawing and painting. If he's right, and his evidence is compelling, we've all been working way too hard and thinking too little of what we're capable of.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

that man is not my governor

To say I don't believe what happened here yesterday would be an understatement.

Snufkina came over for dinner last night--the first meal I've cooked in the new place, and it has not apparently killed us--and one of the first things she told me was that when she'd left her friend's house, 25% of the returns were in and it was looking like the recall would go through. We're both on the MoveOn.Org list, so we have a lot of the same information, but we talked for a while about how scared we were and how ill-suited we believed that musclehead to be for public office. Then the conversation turned to other things, as it always does between us, and I ate my salmon down to the skin and some guys came by to pick up a key from my roommate and we had a nice little social moment and I started to appreciate apartment life. Went to bed not thinking about the election.

Imagine my horror, hustling to BART, when I saw the photo on the front of the paper. Arnie in a storm of red, white, and blue confetti. Have you heard that Orrin Hatch wants to propose a constitutional amendment that would make twenty years' citizenship adequate to run for President?

Guess who's been here twenty years?

We couldn't get the ERA through, and Hatch wants us to make it possible to have the Terminator as our president?

I'm saying it: what the hell is wrong here?

So I get to fly home to Michigan tomorrow for my dad's birthday, and I just know I'm going to spend the weekend getting ribbed about this. I may have to make myself a T-shirt before I leave, warning people that if they bring it up I will have to hurt them.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

le petit mort

Walking down Mission Street after a morning spent in pleasurable pursuit--particularly if one has not yet showered away the evidence--is an interesting exercise. I am reminded of what Josh Kornbluth says in his monologue 'Love and Taxes' about what happened after he filed his taxes for the first time in seven years: "Dogs began to follow me through the Mission."

The married owner of the Greek import store not only sold me half a pound of feta and a tin of stuffed grape leaves. He hugged me. Repeatedly. Offered to find me a bellydancing job at a restaurant that advertises on his radio program. And then told me that he wasn't asking me for a date, as the difference in our ages is so great, but would I come by the next day for coffee? I was afraid I wouldn't make it out alive, under the amused alabaster gaze of dozens of statues of Greek gods, racks of books, shelves of galaktaboreko and sour cherry preserves. I squirmed out, nearly knocking over the tottery old lady standing in the doorway squinting at the jars of taramsalata.

Half a block on, still laughing, I heard a man yell hey, hey! I'm housebroken! If you take me home, I promise I'll behave! When I turned around, he barked at me and waved his cane.

Some days, this sort of thing drives me beserk. Especially if it happens at night. I yelled at some guys once who tried to get me to come over and hang out by their truck and drink beer with them as I was walking near City Hall. It really angers me when men don't get it that coming on to a woman walking alone at night isn't sexy or attractive, it's scary. Even the most sensitive of my guy friends don't always seem to understand why women are so cautious about which route they take, or why we might choose to drive or use the bus instead of walking or bicycling. It's an old, old complaint women have about men: we don't have the freedom to walk any old place we like at any time. Sure, men worry about being jumped and mugged--but not about being jumped and raped. Or even just yelled at suggestively, which is really wearying.

During the day, though, and if I'm in a good mood, it's not such a big deal, and sometimes it's so funny that I start thinking I should go buy a lottery ticket or something because I'm obviously sending *some* vibe out into the universe.

I'm gratified by how quickly I have come to think of the new place as home. Yes, I had to ask the man drinking the 40 on my stoop to move over the other night so I could perform the zen ritual with the key (breathing, breathing, thinking no-thought). Yes, the apartment smells of roommate one's children. Yes, roommate two pees with the bathroom door open and is still not very good at the guitar. Yes, my room is just a hair larger than six feet by six and covered with crayon drawings of what appear to be balloon aliens with razor stubble and petals around their heads.

But it is so nice to lock a door and sleep in a bed and not wake up to the sounds of the body shop opening for business beneath me. No hydraulic lifts, no air-powered lug-nut removers, no intercom. And I've always liked sleeping in small spaces, so the new room feels cozy and safe, not claustrophobic. I slept in my studio last night because it was too late to go home, and didn't enjoy it nearly so much.

I AM going to paint over those aliens, though.

Work last weekend was pretty intense. I did the set-up for a party that a well-known high-end jewelry store was having for their 'level T-4' customers. I'm not exactly sure what T-4 means either, except that the senior managers all know these customers by name and by which one-off pieces they own. T-4 customers come in from Colorado and Seattle for little events like this. They eat a lovely catered lunch and watch a video of black pearls being strung by a woman who has been with the company since the dinosaurs chewed tobacco. During the set-up, as I was moving chairs back and forth and back and forth, there was a guy who did nothing but watch the jewelry and loose gemstones being arranged in a vitrine. I suspect he was armed; I thought it impolitic to ask. Heaven knows, they were probably all strapped.

I made sure not to make any sudden moves.

There is such an incredible gap between the lives of the people I serve and my own that sometimes I hardly believe that we are the same species. In the four years that I've been catering, I've met a lot of waiters and chefs who become envious of the people we work for. They drift through the living rooms, the massive kitchens, exclaiming over the sculptures and the Wolf ranges and the shiny floors. They play name-that-painter. And I sympathize, I really do. It must be nice to live in a beautiful, tastefully-appointed home (although not all the rich do, of course; some of them have Terrible taste that no amount of money is going to fix) that you don't have to keep clean because you have staff for that. When you open a door in the home of a certain oil scion, looking for a bathroom, instead you find a beautiful indoor swimming pool fit for a hamam. Sometimes, when we have to turn a garage into a kitchen, we have to throw a tarp over the DeLorean and make sure our tables don't scratch the Jag. In the past week I've watched two different housekeepers blowdrying little wet dogs in two different laundry rooms, and I've thought about the times I've had to bathe my own cat (and yes, I still have the marks.)

But I have to wonder. Does food really taste better off a $700 plate?

I have also developed an obssession with junk drawers. I'm convinced that even the wealthy have them, and I'm going to start looking. I can tell you this; the rich don't have any better idea of what to do with all those wicker baskets that gift sets and flower arrangements come in than you and I do. But where you might keep your napkins in one, and I've used one for ticket stubs and ATM receipts, wealthy people have CLOSETS piled full of the damn things.

I am not exaggerating on this one.

Imagine the chaos if suddenly all those baskets were released back into the wild!

Thursday, October 02, 2003

the boing boing boing boy

After yesterday's ex excitement, I did in fact toddle off to work, feeling better with every mile that passed under my (rented) wheels, and howling along with the radio. The party turned out to be a fundraiser sort of thing for a nonprofit called Common Sense Media that I found very interesting. They're beating the same "protect our kids" drum that folks like Tipper Gore have made so infamous, yet they are pragmatic and non-partisan. Their site, like, features reader-supplied reviews of various media products (including video games) that break the product down--does it contain drug references? Sex? Violence against women? Materialism?

I'm not doing a good job of describing it, but the guy who spoke teaches First Amendment law at Stanford. He's not a reactionary who wants us all to go back to the days when actors sitting on beds in movies had to make sure they kept one foot on the floor. The site just gives you a heads-up about what a show or game or movie contains. It's like Consumer Reports, with an eye to making informed decisions about "The Other Parent"--the speaker's name for television, and also his book about its influence on kids. One of the guests talked about how when her young daughter wrote a review of 'Bend it Like Beckham' for the site, it was a chance to do some real critical thinking about what she'd seen--which seems like the whole point, to me.

It seemed like something I could get behind. It was an interesting evening. I might have to check the site myself occasionally--I hate going to see something and getting surprised by portrayals of violence against women. Unless of course the women are fighting back...and even then, I've been known to demand my money back (True Romance, anyone?)

I got cut early, so I was able to make it the Hotel Utah in time to see something that has probably scarred me for life. That would be the pogo-stick strip stylings of the incomparable
Rocky Roulette. Surrounded by bellydance performances by my incredible teacher Jill and members of her troupe, the classic burlesque of the Cantankerous Lollies, and the vigorous, yes-I-got-everything-waxed samba of Agogo, Rocky particularly stood--or hopped--out.

He took the Utah's tiny stage wearing an oversized black choir robe and what had to be a wig, and explained that he wasn't feeling entirely well. Suddenly some loud rock music (I can't identify what the kids are listening to today, sorry, unless it's Radiohead. Sometimes I can also pick out the White Stripes) came rolling out to chase off the lingering samba rhythms. Rocky shucked the robe, grabbed a blue-sequin and ball-fringe adorned pogo stick with "RR" emblazoned on it, and started madly bouncing around the stage while taking his clothes off.

I can honestly say I have never seen anything quite like it.

Let me hasten to add that I wasn't offended by this odd display. Far from it. I'm a huge fan of the movie The Full Monty because I love watching men strip awkwardly in an attempt to please women. I am all for that. Mostly I was concerned that this boy, who was holding his hair on with one hand, was going to bounce right off the stage in the middle of shedding his slacks to reveal a light pink rhinestone-studded thong. Which in fact he did, tumbling into the audience. Fortunately it's a short drop, and he was back up on his pogo stick momentarily, apparently unscathed, slacks flapping around his ankles. I took my hands away from my eyes.

Two members of Ultra Gypsy came on directly afterwards, looking bemused. All the snake arms and body rolls in the world can't quite touch a guy stripping on a stick. But Erin and Felice did a lovely job nonetheless.

It's actually pretty strange, having bellydancers in the middle of a show touted as burlesque, especially with slides of vintage porn (love those full, real, unretouched fifties bodies!) being projected onto the wall behind them. Bellydancers generally make every effort, as I understand it, to hold themselves apart from stripping or anything that resonates with it; down to wearing some modest covering over their costume until just before they take the stage. It's weird. Here you have a woman in a gauzy skirt and a belt and bra covered with shiny things (I'm thinking of cabaret or Egyptian style now, not Tribal, which tends to be pretty covered up), undulating up a storm. And yet. She does not backbend in such a way as to display her crotch to the audience, she does not touch herself suggestively, and if she's dancing with a snake or a cane, she is subtle in how she uses them. There is a fine line, and pro bellydancers spend a lot of time thinking about that line.

What got me is that I found the Ultra Gypsies a lot sexier than either the Lollies or Agogo. I know I'm biased. Jill is my teacher, and I have chosen bellydance for a lot of reasons. A big reason I'm staying with it is that it's so damn hard and I need the challenge. But it's also, to my eyes, incredibly beautiful. I've seen the Lollies before and pretty much walked away that time to scrounge for snacks; last night was no different. They're cheerful, they're good dancers, they're coordinated, but it just didn't do anything for me--and I look at girls! Agogo was the same thing during their first number, which was both highly athletic and kind of repetitve. I saw in both cases that what was being demonstrated was supposed to be sexy, and from the crowd response other people were finding it so, but it just seemed like grown-up cheerleading to me. I mean no disrespect to dancers in either style, or even to the dancers in question. They were good at what they were doing, and it looked like fun, and it was fun to watch. But it was so blatant, where bellydance is so subtle, and I guess I come down on the side of subtle.

Then on their last number, the glittery one, Agogo started pulling people up on stage, and they snagged me, and it was fun. Even though it is virtually impossible to dance in overlarge tux pants and the sensible, high-traction shoes I wear to work. Mostly I tried to keep from getting a feather in the eye, since I have no idea of Samba footwork, and hoped Jill was noticing that I can in fact dance in front of strangers without freaking out.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

a ghost at the wedding banquet

It seems that Blogger is protecting me from expressing my basest, pettiest nature. This is the second time I've ripped out some truly intense thing that would not reflect well on my ten years of quasi-Zen aikido practice, and Blogger has managed to lose it somewhere between post and publish.

Not that I honestly mind, now that've cooled off slightly, although I did have an image I loved... I'll try to recreate it... but there's no need to reprint a segment of the email that set me off.

Suffice it to say that Slice, with his usual lack of care, put me on the mass email list of people who had expressed curiosity about whether he and Bride Of Slice had a wedding registry anywhere. I learned from the email that "[MY] PRESENCE IS THE GREATEST GIFT!" and that contributions towards the purchase of a "FAMILY car" (emphasis theirs) would be appreciated.

Need I remind the careful reader that I am most distinctly not invited to the wedding? My ABSENCE is the greatest gift, as far as I can tell, and there is no way in hell I am contributing towards the FAMILY car for the FAMILY he's going to have with her that he couldn't envision having with me.


I'm not being fair to him, I know. As loving as he is, I never knew him to be particularly sensitive to undercurrents or delicacies; in many ways he is a bull in a china shop. He's also getting married in a week, and is freshly returned from a long dreamt-of Balinese sojourn. He is big and round and ripe with love and anticipation and thoughts of a rosy future with wife and spawn in a house full of Mexican and Balinese trinkets, and the handmade arty things they're asking people to craft as a sign of love and support in lieu of purchased material objects. Meanwhile I am the troll under the bridge, dark, haggard, and emaciated; my long filthy claws and teeth dripping venom, my scabs oozing, my fur matted (that last image is not such an exaggeration--someone needs to tweeze her eyebrows), the bones of young innocents sucked dry and scattered about me. Halitotic and farting.

Isn't this fun, once I get started?

Writing the word "farting" makes a big difference, actually. It's just funny enough to make me stop while I'm ahead. I think I'll go read Gregory Corso's fabulous poem Marriage again, and get ready for work. In the original lost post I went on for a bit about fear of abandonment in light of men telling me that we will continue to be friends and then it not happening, but I won't go there again today. Better that I take up the tweezers, and the wine key, and go make some money to pay for my fabulous single girl lifestyle, and all the freezer burritoes I can stand.

Pengiun dust! Bring me penguin dust!

I promise this won't hurt. Too much

First day back in a few, after an evil little DSL adventure, a misplaced trouble tag, and one cranky blogger sitting around none-too-patiently waiting for a technician to call sometime within the EIGHT-HOUR window, not so much as peeing for fear of missing the phone call, only to find that the trouble tag somehow got dropped somewhere, and there was never going to be a phone call. Turning to dial-up (cue sound of the Pony Express whickering in disdain in the background) only to discover that that wasn't working properly either. Is Mercury still retrograde? Are you sure?

So I have decided that I simply complain too much. I'm one of those people who if you ask me how I'm doing, I'll give a real answer--you know, a buzzkill sort of person. From here on out, then, sweetness and light. Got it? That's me. Sweetness and light. And if you don't believe it, well, you can just--

Yes. How can you tell? I wrote this great long rambling entry about how I get paid to throw little children on the ground. It had links. It had pictures of adults getting thrown on the ground. It was approaching wittiness. And now it is gone, gone, gone, wherever the lost pixels scamper happily below the trees, free of their servitude.

Anyway, here are the pictures. Out of context they won't make any sense, so I'll just say: today I tried to teach my more advanced class (some of them are as old as ten!) nikkyo, which is not only complex but painful. It's interesting how much they go on about the painful part, but I noticed that they were more focussed than usual; I think the idea of learning this subtle little move that can incapacitate unsuspecting friends appeals to the little darlings.

I had so much else to say...not having access has made me feel like a balloon being filled with water...but my day (three hard-boiled eggs, two Clif Bars, and a Chicken Saag in a pear tree) is catching up with me. Heck, it's running right past, and it's laughing this evil little laugh.