Sunday, October 31, 2004

an awesome dog story

Courtesy of Daryl Sng, the story of a Rottweiler service dog named Faith who can smell changes in her person's body chemistry. You totally have to read this, it's amazing.
tag you're it

Been meaning to carry my camera more consistently; San Francisco is full of wall art, officially sanctioned and otherwise, and I love capturing it. This fella Drew, meanwhile, likes putting it up. No small feat in Malaysia. Fortunately for him, the cops are all apparently too fat to catch him.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

bart swat?

In anticipation of evil election-time shenanigans, BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit, our train system that links the East Bay with San Francisco and runs thousands of happy people down to the airport every day) has announced that they're bumping up security throughout the system, just like New York and DC. Bomb-sniffing dogs, folks in bright green vests, and SWAT teams.

I had no idea that the BART Police had SWAT teams. I mean, I know I shouldn't be surprised; the officers you do see around on the platforms and trains have guns and everything. But I mostly think about them wandering around making sure nobody eats or plays loud music or hawks loogies onto the cloth seats. When there's a hostage situation, where do the BART SWAT snipers take their positions? On the escalators? Do they have their own bomb squad? They must.

It's going to take a little doing for me to get my head around this. And once I've accepted it, I plan to start work on a TV pilot about the pulse-pounding adventures of transit cops. Because really, nobody else has done it.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

that time of year

Just a friendly reminder that if you live with a pure black or pure white cat, you might want to keep her indoors for the next few days. I don't know if it's true that misguided individuals like to snatch such beasties for evil Halloweeny purposes, but why risk it? I was in the vet's waiting room once with a man who'd brought in his cat because someone had nabbed her and carved a symbol into her chest (probably as part of a gang initiation, he thought); he was a complete wreck. Tough-seeming guy, too. And that wasn't during the spooky season.

The San Francisco SPCA has nothing to say about that this year, but they do offer some helpful tips for getting your dog in the Halloween spirit, especially if the pup is not entirely comfortable with kids yet. I just like the idea that they're telling dog owners to dress up in cheap masks and limp around the house to acclimate the dog.

Oh, and the cat came out okay.

edit: I spoke too soon. The SFSPCA does have a few words on the vulnerability of ebony felines, as well as an interesting morsel about the evolutionary advantage of having a black coat.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


Well, I did it. Survived my first public performance as a member of a professional dance troupe. I'm, to quote the velveteen rabbit, a real rabbit now.

Managed not to fall off the bar, either, which is a real plus.

Yesterday was just lovely all the way around. I'd managed somehow to not schedule any catering or modeling or lunch commitments, so I could spend the day leisurely getting ready for our show at the Odeon. Went to Piedmont Boutique to buy some odds and ends--false eyelashes, fishnets--and ended up walking out with a pair of hot pants covered in red holographic sequins, a pvc-covered bra, a new garter belt, two big fluffy hair doodads covered in red feathers. Oh, and a pair of false eyelashes with rhinestones on the band that you glue to the eyelid. A much different look than our usual garb, but Jill wanted something with a retro burlesque feel.

I did, however, stop short at sequinned, flower-shaped pasties to pin to the bra. Nope. No sir.

The experience was a post all by itself, but I have real work to do, so I'll try to sum it up in a few words:

1. friendly salespeople covered in glitter
2. another woman in the changing room trying to pick out a red vinyl devil costume, with the help of two noisy friends and their quiet babies
3. the equivalent of nine hours' catering pay expressed as sequins and lash adhesive

As I was handing the woman behind the counter my bank card, I said something rueful about not paying rent. Well you'll look great standing out on the street, she noted, after you get evicted. Let me tell you, dahlings, if I stand out on the street in these items, making rent will not be a problem. I was giggling all the way home on the bus, which was tricky because I was trying not to breathe through my nose (anyone who's taken a bus to or from the Haight knows what I'm talking about here) and trying to keep my feathers from getting crushed in the press of unwashed bodies.

The rest of the preparations went pretty smoothly. I cleaned up, played a CD Snufkina had made of my favorite music, and tried to still my breathing so I wouldn't end up with eyeshadow all over my forehead. I'd left a lot of time, knowing I needed to get those lashes on, and that turned out to be a good thing. Last night was my first time applying my own falsies, unless you count that time in a parked car in SOMA at night, which I don't; I was afraid I'd glued my left eye shut for good and gave up on the whole enterprise. Last night was much better, although the lashes extended out, oh, eight or ten inches from my actual eyes; my hair kept getting caught in them. By the time I was done, I knew there was no way I was taking BART from the Tenderloin to the Mission, so I got a cab with the world's most flusterable driver behind the wheel, which was fun.

The event itself? Blur. Six wonderful friends showed up, post-workout, post-work, post-dividing-up-of-the-marital-property, bearing flowers, bearing knitting, bearing with me. MonkeyScientist did not recognize me when I came to say hello, which is pretty funny in light of the fact that we're sleeping together; he claims the feathers threw him off. Thread worked on her Halloween costume and drank bourbon. The bar went from thinly populated to packed and raucous, there were a couple of acts before us, and then we were in the tiny backstage area, passing around one small mirror and reapplying lipstick.

I did mention that I didn't fall off the bar, right? That's not figurative; the five of us who hadn't done the choreography in public before were relegated to the bar, while the group that had got the stage. Which meant that we couldn't do any of the turns or the floorwork, so we just sort of noodled through those parts, or vogued, or laughed and blew kisses at each other. I sort of remember how that went, and giving up on moving my feet at all when I realized that I had about six inches less to work with than we'd had in Monday night's rehearsal, and the realization that the song was coming to a close much earlier than I'd thought it would. It's a much longer song in rehearsal... I couldn't see anyone except my troupemates and the tops of the heads of the people at the bar, I missed great big hunks of the choreo, and my plan to grab someone's drink on one of the posing moments went straight out the window. But I had a great time, got a buck pushed into my stocking, and everyone congratulated TalkyBabe and I when we got back into the dressing room for having made it gracefully through our debut.

Then I had my drink, on the house! Woohoo! Blotto on one Cape Cod, on top of no food during the day, on top of the most intense feeling of relief. At just about the point where I was going to really start embarrassing myself (after I'd kissed both Snufkina and her boyfriend Muscles, who handled it with their usual patience, but before I started kissing strangers), MonkeyScientist took me home and fed me ice cream, and his cat tried to eat my feather hair doodads.

I have waited nearly a year for last night. And it went just exactly as well as it might have. Although I have to say that I'm finding the clothes I have on today--jeans, a grey T-shirt--unspeakably boring.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

do you remember your first time?

Boy, I sure do. I was so excited--I'd been looking forward to the moment since I was old enough to know what it was. I was eighteen when it happened, which I think is a perfect age--old enough to be responsible and to understand the consequences, young enough to be enthusiastic. There was even a photo of me doing it, in the school paper. I've still got a copy. I've got an oddly distracted look on my face, considering my blissed-out state, and there's that truly unfortunate asymmetrical haircut, and I'm sitting on someone's shoulders holding up a sign.

I'm talking about the first time I voted, of course. What did you think I meant? Honestly, you people and your filthy minds.

Anyway. I've been thinking about that first time a lot. I thought about it today, when I went to my mailbox and found that I'd gotten my absentee ballot from the Registrar of Voters. Yep, I'm voting paper. It's a sorry state of affairs that if we want to feel secure that our votes are being counted, we have to vote from the privacy of our own homes. Walking to dinner tonight with AX and Pavlova, the latter talked about how much she loves going to her polling place and running into scads of people she knows, and the former told a story of going during the rush and seeing people spread out over every surface dutifully filling out their ballots and thinking, now there's democracy. That sounds wonderful to me, but I don't trust Diebold, or touch screens, or for that matter the poll workers I've dealt with in the past who hadn't mastered the rudiments of sorting things by alpha order (I have two last names, which makes things all the more complicated for these folks).

So I have become a Permanent Absentee Voter, when really what I'm trying to be is more of a Presentee Citizen. And as exciting as I find standing in those little fold-up booths (sadly, I came of age after the great curtained booths had gone the way of the dinosaurs) wielding my little library pencil (and getting the I Voted! sticker afterwards, natch) there are certain compensations to voting from home.

There's a whole aspect to it, really, that hasn't played up, but should. The sex appeal. The upstanding citizens at Votergasm get it. Incidentally yes, I've signed the pledge, at the American Hero level. Even if it means I've consigned myself to a sexless hell for the next four years, I love the drama of the gesture--and if it means I only sleep with non-American nationals, that's not all bad. And I think American Heroes can still graciously allow American non-voters to go down on them.

But I digress. Think of all the fun you can have, voting from home! Knowing that you can take as long as you want, dressed however you like, in whatever position, at whatever hour of the day is your best for that sort of thing--now that's hot. You can do it on the floor, the counter, the kitchen table. You can incorporate any sort of food or toys you like, as long as you fill everything out properly, don't smear the ink, or catch your ballot on fire. Remember that scene in Dangerous Liasons where John Malkovich writes a steamy letter using a beautiful woman as his writing desk? Afterwards, the ballot goes neatly into its envelope (you don't even need a stamp, is this a cheap date or what?) and then you can either slide the whole thing into a willing mailbox, or walk it over to City Hall and hand it saucily to one of the nice people waiting there for it. And la voila, nobody is the wiser.

Just don't, you know, leave your underwear in the envelope for the wrong people to find.

I'm being silly, yes. But after the last election, our national rape fantasy's been getting played out in horrible, vivid detail because, in part, too many people still believe voting doesn't matter, and too many others don't believe that blatant vote fraud is worth addressing. Anything we can do this time around to rectify those errors is worthwhile. For crying out loud, members of our own Congress have asked for international observers to come monitor our elections (if you still think it's just benighted banana republics that can't run an honest election--if you're one of those folks who felt that the Florida debacle should be ignored because it was "time to get on with our lives"--you really need to read Rivka's post over at Respectful of Otters on voter fraud in Nevada.)

All over the country, people are taking time off from work to go door-to-door, make phone calls, drive people to the polls (two members of my troupe will be out in the swing states--right now that's the only valid excuse for missing a rehearsal!), or just sit and watch and make sure that everyone who wants to vote gets to.

Compared to all that effort, sending away for an absentee ballot (in California, you have until October 26th to apply, and you can even download the application as a pdf file) and then getting it back in is ridiculously easy.

You don't even need lube.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

thunderbirds are go!

It appears that I will be dancing in public next week, in the sense of deliberately dancing as a performer for the first time since joining the troupe nearly a year ago, at a fundraiser for Cyclecide. They were on tour, a big-rig driver fell asleep at the wheel and totalled their bus, now they need a new one, their friends and colleague troupes are throwing an event at the Odeon to scrape together some moolah.

Which is probably, for you, what I've been calling MITIN: More Information Than I Need. Just a sign perhaps that I'm a squidge nervous, and trying to not think about being nervous. Our troupe is performing under a different name, we're doing a piece that we're still working out, and we'll be wearing different costumes than we do ordinarily. So I guess everyone's going to be a little off-balance, right?

The really funny thing that struck me last night at rehearsal, though, was this. The piece is big; it's being choreographed to include all of us. So relative height is very important. Can't have shorties in the back or Amazons in the front, right? Bad sight lines. So Jill had us all line up in height order so Holly could make a list. And I was third from the "tall" end. I would have been fourth if Kristin had been there, and I actually think I'm a hair taller than Erica, but still.

At 5'6", I'm at the tall end of the spectrum.

That never happens. Only when I was teaching aikido to children could it be said that I was consistently the tallest person in a gathering or group. And some of the teenagers, well, it was just a matter of time before they shot past me. For some reason I thought this was really funny, and I was stifling giggles as I stood there staring at us in the mirror. Jill shot me a look, and I had to admit why I was laughing.

And that was without the platform boots. Heh heh heh.

Thursday, October 14, 2004


Dubya is so concerned about women's "sexual rights" being unclear that the US is not signing onto an international declaration of the rights of women to education and health care.

I will write about this again in more detail after my headache, both real and figurative, goes away.
one perfect day

What would you do if you had a twenty-four hour span that was just flawless? Where you got to hang out with someone you liked, and it was easy and warm and fun and you felt like you could do no wrong? Even if you were exhausted, even if the conversation turned to sad topics, even if you didn't end up accomplishing everything you'd thought you would. And you didn't know how many more days like this you'd get, that you had to hold on to this one with all your claws. Would you write the whole thing down? Try to draw it? Or let it slide back out of your memory like everything else does when you've crossed the thirty line and the fabled near-eidetic memory is more like a threadbare eiderdown?

I'm in that space. I had a day like that. A night of laughter and Indian food and good music; doors opening. Then the latest imaginable breakfast, a breakfast that would rightly have been called teatime in England. We walked along the Pacific to the zoo. I couldn't get a decent photo of the strange dog that looked like a toy you might win at the carnival, stuffed with sawdust and covered in the cheapest possible fur. Sticky little children ran up to the thick glass that was all that stood between them and massive feline destruction and we said bait to each other. The aye-aye enclosure is still closed with no explanation, so no aye-ayes to be had for love nor money. A pigeon walked around in the sun-slanting diner and it took forever for the food to come. Evening slid in and it was time to fall back into the stream of time and responsibility.

This is (obviously) about one of the friends who's leaving. Not the tiger, silly. The tiger's not going anywhere, and boy does she know it. I'm really not as morose as all this sounds, just... quiet.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

where's indri?

Mom's been in town since Saturday night, and we've been running around a lot; you might think that I'm spending the days trying to wear her out. Especially to hear her tell it. Yesterday we drove out to Napa and I modeled for a new group that just wuvved me to bits, so that was fun. Then Mom and I (yes, she knows I model and is cool with it; after all, she did it before I did) looked for something to do in Napa that didn't involve wine culture, and you know what? There ain't much.

So we went bought lots of silly food at Dean and DeLuca, which is sort of a story in itself, and picnicked, and then went to see D and her goats.

This picture is of a randy billy goat. So you know what such a guy looks like. He's especially anxious because a female on the other side of the chainlink "wall" is in heat.

I'm probably going to be sporadic for the next few days, but I'm back on the blog train. Never fear.

Friday, October 08, 2004

cascading but pleasant weirdnesses

Goddess bless the 21st Century.

My mother and AX's are getting acquainted via the comments section of my blog.

When I knew I was going to blog about AX and I doing whatever you want to call this--breaking up is not quite the phrase, let's try reshaping the basic material--I wrote emails to the two women I have laughingly referred to as my sisterwives, warning them that I would be talking about our mutual friend here, and that if they didn't want to hear about it, they should stay clear for a while.

One wrote back thanking me for the warning, and later kept me up to speed on whether I could expect to see her at an event we would likely both attend. The other went and read the relevant post. Then she invited me to join her last night (at the same event, incidentally); afterwards she brought me home and planted me on one of her couches in her funny Thai pajamas. This morning she made Stuffed French Toast (good lord) and I washed a huge pile of dishes out of gratitude for her generosity of spirit. On the #5 Fulton bus we sat across from a young man with a perfectly tended low mohawk and a serious tool belt hung with what looked like implements of mass demolition, big heavy pointy steel bars; he read Chuck Palahniuk, she worked on the sleeve of one of her fairy blouses, and I squinted against the sun, feeling my headache recede and thinking about what size of plastic box would best fit the various kinds of paints--acrylic, water-soluble oil, textile, gouache--that need to be sorted in my studio.

Tonight I'm going to a friend's to watch the debate; we're going to see what kind of drinking game we can make up around how often Bush says his job is hard. I expect to be pretty toasted by the time it's over. Tomorrow I'm going to the zoo and my mom is coming into town to eat sushi for a week.

This is not what I expected from my life, and I'm glad of it. I couldn't have planned this. The grace keeps showing up in the most unexpected places.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

i don't know why the police were in my building last night

I just wish they hadn't buzzed me to let them in at 2 a.m., it kind of freaked me out a little. Not that they woke me; I was too busy cursing at my virus-ridden laptop and eating grocery-store puddin' right out of the container (trust me, mine's better), but still.

I hoped, briefly, that they had come to take my upstairs neighbors, the new folks in Unit One, away in chains. I can hear these people do everything. Everything. And they're clumsy at it, and they had apparently fallen asleep with the music on and set to a bass rhythm just a little too fast for my heart rate. But no such luck.


The nice thing, admittedly, about living in a real residential building again instead of over a tire dealership, is the knowledge that if I scream someone will hear me. I slept with the kitchen knife close (but not too close) to the air mattress anyway.

Just what I don't need is an accidental middle-of-the-night bed deflation.

Monday, October 04, 2004

seasonal affectiveness

So I was trying to think of what to say about the past week of introspection, and realized I didn't have time today to really boil it down. But it was a pretty intense week; I went back through a lot of old journals, had some painfully revealing conversations with people I care about, and generally tried to go into my moodiness and let it happen instead of trying to avoid or beat myself up about it.

And then came through for me again with these important words from the Queen of Swords:
Champion your own needs.

The card that lands in the Challenges position refers to ways that you can turn obstacles into stepping stones.

With the Queen of Swords in this position, improve your ability to balance your needs against the pressures of expectations from a possible romantic interest. This challenge may be turned into an opportunity by developing some enthusiasm for spending more time on your own needs.

Make the pivotal decisions in your own life and live directly with the consequences of your choices. Become your own best advocate in your forthcoming relationship. To help you accomplish this goal, shorten the list of circumstances and demands that have the power to distract you or divert your energy. Define your boundaries. State your goals clearly. Start acting on your own behalf. Championing your own needs may actually help you bring more clarity into a relationship by setting boundaries that your possible partner needs to respect.

AX gives me a hard time about I have plenty of decks, he tells me. You could read actual real physical cards. I point out that I have a couple of decks of my own, that I'm perfectly capable of using. But for some reason, I'm getting better results using a machine... the above doesn't just apply to my romantic life, of course; I've been sliding off-track for a while for a whole host of reasons. I am too interested in too many things, which is why I should really be a writer and not, say, a toll-booth money-taker or something.

Friday, October 01, 2004

a tidbit

My aunt sent this:
A guy hears a knocking on his door. He opens it up, and no one is there. He looks all around and he finally sees a little snail sitting on the doormat. He picks it up and throws it across the street into a field.

A year goes by, and one day he hears a knocking on his door. He opens it up and no one is there. He looks all around, and he finally sees a little snail sitting on the doormat.

The snail says, What the hell was that all about?