Sunday, November 16, 2003


A couple of months ago, I applied to a program that sends one journalist, photographer or videographer to Salvador de Bahia, Brazil for a month to work on a self-designed project. Wrote the letter, paid the fee, got the forms in and promptly forgot, so that in case I wasn't chosen I wouldn't feel too terrible. The date when they were supposed to announce the finalists came and passed and I heard nothing, then an email came that they had to delay the announcement because they had too many good applicants. Well, that's it, I thought.

Came back to my studio tonight after an incredibly silly musical about nuns on a cruise ship and the world's largest torta con chorizo, and after wrestling with my failing computer for about half an hour finally opened the email revealing that...

I have been chosen as a finalist!

There are nine others, many of whom appear to be older and more experienced than I am, if their profiles are any indication. Some of them are serious heavy hitters; I noticed a couple of daily editors. They want to study things like Candomble and the lives of prostitutes and the Middle Passage. And there I am with my curiosity about the first Sephardim in Brazil and their role in the slave trade, this insane idea involving serious digging around in ancient dusty shit, and they've misspelled my name in the finalist list and I am so, so excited. Now I have to dig through all my files for the perfect clips to send as additional support for my project, since I couldn't send any with the original application. I am incandescent.

The same session netted an email from a guy I'd met at a play; he'd been struck by the fact that I started our first conversation with an explanation of how a left eye/right hand-dominant sniper holds a pistol on its side so she can use the sights properly. He is also a writer who is opening a novel with an image of an exploding hippo. I've been meeting rather a lot of men lately, suprisingly enough off-line. There was a moment last week where I found myself wondering how so many men could be squeezed into the woodwork. It's probably because I have no time to date anyone and not all that much interest, but it's so wonderful when a man makes an effort, and some of these guys are. Might just go out with the exploding hippo fellow. What the heck. The novelty of meeting men off-line is also refreshing--I'm glad to see I'm still capable of it, although it's sort of weird being on a first date and not having been so thoroughly briefed beforehand.

I rather like it.

The interesting piece is that I am exerting very little effort, which is unusual for me. I'm often the one who asks for the first date, primes the steady flow of emails, does the, um, legwork. And I sometimes find myself wondering, in my less certain moments, whether the men I get involved with really want to spend time with me, or if I'm just something that happens to them; if they continue to go out with me because it's easier than saying no. So this new modus operandi--let him call me--makes me a little nervous because I am releasing control of the process, but also makes me feel like I'm not going to get into another situation where I have to bite back the tearful question, "do you really want to be with me, or are you just afraid to hurt my feelings?" Let me be clear: I am NOT turning into a Rules Girl. I just have a lot of other stuff on my plate, and people I want to spend time with that I don't see enough.

To that end tomorrow--later today--a new (platonic) friend I met via Tribe is coming over to the studio to teach a workshop in the design and construction of sock monkeys and other critters. He's promised to bring along his Sock Platypus to show us, and he sent out a link to the Socktopus. Of course I'm thinking about making a sock lemur. Although a sock meerkat would probably be pretty easy, seeing that meerkats are sort of sock-shaped to begin with. I'm really pleased that Naiad and Almeida will be coming, neither of whom I've seen in a while, and Snufkina, who just turned 30 and therefore deserves a new sock monkey. Poi might come by, before heading off to fire spinning practice; I love that conjunction of events. Sock monkey construction/fire spinning. AND hopefully we'll use up lots of my buttons and scraps.

From a leftover-Halloween-candy wrapper surfing the pile of stuff on my desk: There are about 9,000 tastebuds on your tongue. I think about this as I walk by the new Cicrcuit City on Van Ness, which features massive photos of people improbably enjoying their gadgets (does ANYONE really use their laptop while lying on their stomach on the floor? For more than a few minutes?) In one, an ecstatic woman is lifting a clump of popcorn to her mouth as she watches what we assume is a Shamu-sized television, and the magnification of her taste buds is sort of unnerving. They're just too Lovecraftian at that scale. She needs some tentacles coming out of her chin, or eyes on slimy stalks.